MINUTES OF A MEETING OF THE ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE HELD ON MONDAY 26th SEPTEMBER 2022
PRESENT: Cllr. Kings (in the Chair), Cllrs. Dyke, Fletcher, Pethurst and Simpson.
APOLOGIES: Cllr. Fairweather.
Declaration of Interests, Dispensations and Predetermination:
Members are required to declare any interests, dispensations or predetermination on items on this agenda in accordance with the Council’s Code of Conduct. Members are reminded that changes to the Register of Interests should be notified to the Clerk.
10/22: Play Equipment:
Replacement backboard for basketball hoop – Ball Field.
Members were surprised at the amount of the quote and queried if we should be seeking other quotes. The Clerk explained that this was not for a complete replacement item but for parts needed to repair the current equipment. If we were to use a different suppliers’ spare parts, any guarantee would be void and there may be safety implications. Members agreed the equipment was popular and well used. Cllr. Kings proposed the quote from Wicksteed Leisure for £666.71 be accepted, this was seconded by Cllr. Pethurst and agreed.
Several tenants had complained that they had lost produce to the badgers who were coming into the allotments. The Clerk had spoken to Natural England for advice. As a protected species, a licence to permit interference with a badger sett is required, before any action can be taken. To apply we would need to appoint a named ecologist to produce a report on our behalf. There are no guarantees the application would be successful. Members were sympathetic to the tenants who had lost produce, but felt the cost of obtaining a licence would be prohibitive.
It was also felt that this year had been particularly bad, as the extreme dry weather had led to the badger’s normal food supply dwindling. The Clerk would include some tips on protecting produce from the badger population in the newsletter which is sent with the tenant’s invoice.
12/22: Highways Issues:
Cllr. Fletcher raised concern regarding vehicles that drive on the pavement in Stone Street, where the road is very narrow, putting pedestrians at risk of injury. This has been a long standing issue. Cllr. Fletcher and the Clerk will work together on generating a Highway Improvement Plan for submission to Kent County Council.
The vehicles of construction workers now parking at the top of the High Street near the Brick Kiln site were also causing concern as it narrows the road sufficiently, that two vehicles travelling in the opposite direction cannot pass one another. Cllr. Fletcher had already spoken to the site representatives, who advised they cannot open the actual site for parking until January next year. If the problem persists, he offered to speak to them again to discuss alternative options for parking.
13/22: Car Parks:
Jockey Lane – Christmas Market 9th December
The Clerk advised; we had received a request to hold the Christmas Market in Jockey Lane Car Park again this year. Cllr. Fletcher declared an interest as he has a stall selling honey at the market and did not take part in the voting on this item. Members agreed they would approve the request this year but would like the organisers to consider using the High Street again as they did in their inaugural year.
Tanyard – bollard and signage
Several vehicles have consistently parked in the Tanyard Dental Surgery, sometimes causing an obstruction to the ground contractor’s access. The Clerk had obtained a quote for signage stating it was private property and no unauthorised parking was allowed. It had been agreed at a previous meeting that a bollard should also be placed in the entrance to prevent any parking in the area. A bollard from a previous project had been used to replace the bollard broken during Cranbrook on the Green. If it cannot be reused, another will need to be purchased. The cost of the signage from Iden Signs would be £18 + VAT. It was proposed by Cllr. Kings, seconded by Cllr. Pethurst and agreed to accept the quote.
14/22: Litter Picks and Litter Bins:
Litter had been a particular problem lately. Members discussed resurrecting the biannual litter picks organised by the Parish Council. The Clerk would speak to Cllr. Fairweather on his return to see if he would volunteer to organise an autumn litter pick for Sissinghurst. Several community minded residents already did litter picks of their own accord, which was hugely appreciated by the Parish Council. Cllr. Simpson was happy to help organise a litter pick in the new year, when she hoped to have more time. Members felt a sponsorship scheme with the local businesses could be an option. Cllr. Fletcher offered to speak to Domino’s to see if this could be arranged. The Clerk also agreed to speak to Hawkhurst PC who were apparently very good at encouraging volunteers to take part.
15/22: Street Lighting:
Column 136 in Quaker Lane has been vandalised and requires replacement. It is hoped the new lanterns being used now, are more vandal resistant. It was proposed by Cllr. Kings, seconded by Cllr. Pethurst and agreed to accept for quote for £350 + VAT from Streetlights.
16/22: Any Other Environmental Management Issues:
Ball Field – Cranbrook on the Green 2023
The Clerk advised we had received a request to use the Ball Field for Cranbrook on the Green 2023. Members discussed the request, and felt it may be the most appropriate way to help facilitate the event, as grant funding available in previous years, could not be guaranteed.
Ball Field – Metal barrier
Bowls Club members require access to park their vehicles on the field. The Parish Warden had submitted a proposal to the Parish Council to exchange the bollard currently being used to prevent unauthorised access, for a metal barrier custom made by Cranbrook Iron. The quote including installation ranged from £480 – £630. Members agreed to consider the request on receipt of detailed drawings to show the design and dimensions of the barrier. The Clerk would ensure these were ready for Members to study at the next meeting.
17/22: Five Year Plan and Cost Savings:
Members had been asked to consider future projects to help formulate the Five Year Plan.
Cllr. Fletcher suggested we consider how the Crane Valley will look once the Community Centre has been built. An outdoor gym had been suggested in the past by Mark Lawrence, a member of the TWBC Health Improvement Team, who offered to look into funding for the project if we identified an area for the equipment. The Clerk would contact him to see if any progress had been made.
Preventing flooding in the Crane Valley was also a project worth considering. Concerns had been raised that with the development of the Brick Kiln site, flooding may become more of an issue.
Cllr. Pethurst felt that acquiring land to provide more allotments should be identified, as it is in the Neighbourhood Development Plan.
Members were also asked to consider where savings could be made. The electric vehicle points were being heavily subsidised at the moment. The scheme set up originally was very confusing and there had been several company name changes and acquisitions. The Clerk had been in contact with BP Pulse who now looked after the maintenance of the points and asked for a Business Manager to visit the office to explain in detail how the scheme should work and the difference between the various companies involved. We remain in contract with Eon Next for the energy supply until April 2023.
South East in Bloom had mentioned mowing the Ball Field less and increasing the wild flower area would generate some savings, when the park had been judged for the competition. The Clerk questioned this statement, as often the maintenance of a wild flower area was more costly. She also reminded Members that we are in a contract with Kent Grasslands until April 2023 so any changes in the contract would have to be agreed with them.
18/22: Items for Information:
a) Cllr. Pethurst congratulated Cranbrook in Bloom on receiving Gold in the South and South East in Bloom Competition this year. He also reported we had received Silver Gilt, for our entry of the Ball Field, in the Parks category. Cllr. Fletcher thanked him and Marion for the huge amount of work they had put into our entry.
b) Cllr. Fletcher reported that South East Water had offered to come along to the next Parish Council meeting to talk about the water main upgrade in Cranbrook Road. Most residents had now received notification of the project and how they will be affected. He did not think it necessary for them to attend a meeting, but would encourage them to buy a page in the next edition of The Cake.