Environmental Management 28th June 2022


PRESENT: Cllr. Kings (in the Chair), Cllrs. Fairweather, Fletcher and Pethurst.

Parish Warden – Ivor Hatcher.

APOLOGIES: Cllrs. Dyke and Simpson

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.

1/22: Election of Vice Chairman:

Cllr. Kings nominated Cllr. Fairweather, this was seconded by Cllr. Fletcher and agreed.

2/22: Allocation of Sites for Responsibility:

Members volunteered to take responsibility for the following sites:

Allotments:                                         Cllr. Pethurst

Crane Valley and Tanyard:                 Cllr. Fletcher

Jubilee Field                                        Cllr. Fairweather

Regal Car Park                                    Cllr. Kings

Ball Field & Jockey Lane Car Park    Cllr. Dyke

3/22: Issues from Inspection of Grounds:

a) Allotment Tank Repairs:

The Clerk advised that although a quote had been accepted some months ago, the work had not been completed. An alternative quote had been sought and shared with the committee prior to the meeting. Cllr. Fletcher proposed to accept the quote totaling £289.00, this was seconded by Cllr. Kings and agreed.

Whilst visiting the allotments Cllr. Fletcher remarked that more recently plots are being taken over and tenants then struggling with managing the plot. He suggested that some of the larger plots could be split to become two or three plots, thus giving tenants a better chance of managing a smaller space. Several were identified as potential candidates suitable for splitting. The parish council would need to separate the plots by creating a path. Cllr. Fletcher can assist with this as and when required. Cllr. Fletcher proposed that moving ahead with splitting the plots identified, it was seconded by Cllr Kings and agreed.

b) No Mow May:

The council is keen to identify areas that can be mowed less regularly to provide better habitats for wildlife. There are strips that are left to grow in both The Ball Field and Jubilee Field. It was felt that it would not be appropriate for the strips to be made any bigger as they would start to encroach on the recreational areas. The Parish Warden commented that the grounds contractors do avoid mowing any flowers that they see growing in areas that is suitable to leave unmown. No Mow May is also on the agenda for Properties and Burial Grounds meeting in July where it is thought that there is more opportunity to identify areas that are more suitable.

4/22: Play Equipment Review

  1. Lack of grass around new equipment – Ball Field

There is still an area where the grass has not returned. Seed had been put down, but the conditions had not been optimal for new growth. The Parish Warden will continue to monitor the area and if necessary reseed at a suitable time.

  • Quotes for play equipment

During the removal of the large play unit in the Ball Field, the traditional slide and balance toadstools had also been removed. Members of the public had expressed a desire to see similar items return. Prior to the meeting the Clerk had circulated a report summarising quotes that had been obtained for potential replacement slides and balancing equipment. The council does not currently have enough earmarked funds to cover the purchase of the equipment. However, it was noted that several members of the public had previously discussed fundraising to help towards purchase costs. It was suggested that the quotes of suitable equipment be shared with the potential fundraisers to gain their thoughts. Cllr. Kings will write an article for the next edition of The Cake.

5/21: Issues from Car Parks:

a) Coach Parking:

The council had recently received correspondence regarding the exit of the Regal Car Park. Some coaches exiting the car park are receiving damage to the underneath due to the gradient of the decline as they leave the car park. This issue has been investigated in the past. It was concluded that nothing could be done due to the combination of the exit gradient, camber of joining main road and the position of the cottages.

b) Tanyard Car Park – Sycamores at entrance

The Parish Warden confirmed that the grounds contractors had been asked to cut back the sycamores.

It was observed that the sycamores growing out of the Kings Head Well have not been removed. The Clerk will contact the owner to request an update.

  • Consider Bollard at Entrance to Old Dental Surgery

The Parish Warden reported that the bollard preventing unauthorised access to the Crane Valley needs replacing. However, he suggested that the new bollard be situated closer to the entrance of the old surgery. This would eradicate the problem of cars that use the aera as an overspill from the Tanyard car park, blocking the access to the Crane Valley which the contractors use. After discussion, the committee felt that the matter should be raised at the next Full Council meeting.

In response to a question regarding the safety of the old dental surgery build, Cllr. Fairweather suggested contacting TWBC for pre-planning advise that he believes is free to parish councils, as it may be possible to fully demolish the building without affecting the future footprint of the community centre.

6/22: Crane Valley:

The Kent High Weald Partnership (KHWP) had submitted a service agreement formalising the service they provide to the parish council. The total cost for the year is £3500.00. Cllr. Fletcher proposed that the agreement be accepted, this was seconded by Cllr. Pethurst and agreed on the understanding that the date the agreement covers be clarified. The agreement also requests that copies of specified council policies be provided to KHWP. To fulfil this request the council will need to approve a Volunteer Policy at the next Policy and Resources committee meeting.

KHWP had also recommended a Floral Survey to be carried out on the Crane Valley that can be used as a baseline to monitor potential affects from the building developments at Brick Kiln and Turnden. Cllr. Fletcher proposed that the quote of £1050 be accepted, this was seconded by Cllr. Kings and agreed.

7/22: Any Other Environmental Management Issues:

a) Wilsley Pound Animal Statue Request

The committee considered the request from a Staplehurst resident for animal statues in the pound. It was felt that in principle it was a good idea, however, statues in the pound would likely be a distraction to drivers and that this would be hazardous to cars approaching the roundabout and the petrol station.

b) Jubilee Tree Plaques:

Cllr. Fletcher referred to an email that had been circulated prior to the meeting detailing the cost of £154.99/each and design of Queen’s jubilee tree plaques provided by the Royal British Legion. He proposed purchasing two plaques for the trees that had been planted in Cranbrook and Sissinghurst for the Queen’s Jubilee. This was seconded by Cllr. Fairweather and agreed.

8/22: Five Year Plans

Cllr. Kings requested that each councillor consider future requirements for the areas they are responsible for. This will be help formulate the budget for the next financial year and five-year plan.

9/21: Items for Information:

Cllr. Kings mentioned the TWBC Leisure Strategy consultation. He is joining a Zoom meeting with the consultants and Cllr’s Hatcher and Tomlinson. Please forward any suggestions to him.

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