PRESENT: Cllrs. Fletcher, Bunyan, Fairweather, Gilbert, Hartley, Hatcher, Pethurst, Rampling and Simpson. Borough Cllrs. Dawlings, Fairweather and Warne.
APOLOGIES: Cllrs. Beck, Dyke, Fermor, Kings, Tomlinson and Waters.
The Chairman read out the following statement:
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. The meeting is routinely recorded as a clerk’s aid.
1/22: Election of Chairman
Cllr. K. Fletcher –nominated by Cllr. Fairweather, seconded by Cllr. Gilbert. There were no further nominations, all members present voted in favour of the proposal. Cllr. Fletcher was elected Chairman and signed the Declaration of Acceptance of Office Register.
2/22: Election of Vice Chairman:
Cllr. C. Gilbert –nominated by Cllr. Fletcher, seconded by Cllr. Bunyan and agreed.
3/22: Election of Chairman of Policy & Resources:
Cllr. R. Beck – nominated by Cllr. Fletcher, seconded by Cllr. Hatcher and agreed.
4/22: Appointment of members to committees and election of each Chairman:
Cllrs. Dyke, Fermor, Kings and Waters had indicated prior to the meeting, which committees they would like to join. Cllr. Tomlinson would advise the office by email, which committees he wished to join.
Planning and Preservation Committee:
Committee: Cllrs. Bunyan, Fermor, Gilbert, Hatcher and Kings
Chairman: Cllr. Bunyan –nominated by Cllr. Fletcher seconded by Cllr. Gilbert and agreed.
Properties & Burial Grounds Committee:
Committee: Cllrs. Bunyan, Gilbert, Kings, Rampling and Waters.
Chairman: Cllr. Gilbert –nominated by Cllr. Fletcher, seconded by Cllr. Bunyan and agreed.
Economic & Community Committee:
Committee: Cllrs. Dyke, Fletcher, Gilbert, Hatcher, Pethurst, Rampling, Simpson and Waters.
Chairman: Cllr. Hatcher –nominated by Cllr. Fletcher, seconded by Cllr. Pethurst and agreed.
Environmental Management Committee:
Committee: Cllrs. Dyke, Fairweather, Fermor, Fletcher, Kings, Pethurst and Simpson.
Chairman: Cllr. Kings – nominated by Cllr. Fletcher, seconded by Cllr. Pethurst and agreed.
Neighbourhood Development Plan Steering Group:
Members: Cllrs. Fletcher, Hatcher, Hartley and Pethurst.
Chairman: N. Warne – It was proposed by Cllr. Fletcher seconded by Cllr. Pethurst and agreed that Mrs. Warne would remain the titular Chair of the Steering Group. Cllr. Pethurst agreed to undertake the administrative duties of the Chairman on behalf of the Parish Council.
The Chairman and Vice-Chairman are ex-officio members of all committees.
The Vice-Chairman of each committee will be elected at the first meeting of the said committee.
5/22: Appointment of Delegates and Charity Representatives to other bodies:
Delegates to the Kent Association of Local Councils:
Cllr. Fletcher – Reserve Cllr. Gilbert.
Delegates to the Cranbrook Conservation Area Advisory Committee:
Cllrs. Bunyan and Hatcher.
Delegate to the Cranbrook Tourism Group:
Cllrs. Hatcher and Dyke.
Delegates to Cranbrook Museum:
Delegate to the Citizens Advice Bureau:
Delegates to Age Concern:
Cllrs. Hatcher, Pethurst and Simpson.
Delegate to The Hop Pickers Line:
As no councillors volunteered, Graham Holmes had previously indicated that he would be happy to continue as our representative and to report the group’s activities to the Parish Council.
Cllr. Fermor would be asked to continue as the Parish Tree Warden.
Councillors were asked to confirm their representation on the following Charities:
Katherine Elizabeth Wood Charity – Cllrs. Hatcher and Simpson.
King George V Playing Field – Cllrs. Beck, Fermor and Rampling.
John Spicer’s Apprenticing Trust – Cllr. Fermor. would be asked to confirm she is happy to continue.
Thomas Adrian Veitch Memorial Fund – Cllr. Fletcher.
St. George’s Institute – Cllr. Rampling.
6/22: Confirmation of next year’s Parish Council Meetings.
Parish Council meetings will continue to be held on the second Thursday of each month at 7.30pm. This was proposed by Cllr. Fletcher, seconded by Cllr. Bunyan and agreed. Meeting cards will be provided for Members as soon as possible.
7/22: Minutes of the Previous Meeting to be confirmed:
The Chairman proposed the minutes of the meeting held on the 14th April 2022 be adopted as a true record. This was seconded by Cllr. Fairweather and agreed.
8/22: Review of Standing Orders/Financial Regs/Procedures/Policies/Risk Management Arrangements:
The Chairman referred to the email circulated by the Clerk which included the link to the relevant page on the website. He advised we have a duty to review them annually. The Data Protection Policy, amended and subsequently approved by the Policy & Resources had been circulated with the agenda for tonight’s meeting.
The Chairman proposed the Data Protection Policy be adopted as presented and that all the remaining policies, procedures, risk management arrangements and internal finance controls are still relevant and acceptable. This was seconded by Cllr. Hatcher and agreed.
9/22: Confirmation that HSBC, Lloyds and Unity Trust will continue to hold the Parish Council bank accounts:
Cllr. Fletcher proposed that the Parish Council bank accounts will continue to be held by HSBC, Lloyds and Unity Trust. All variable direct debits would continue to be the payment method for items such as the business rates and BACS would continue for the payment of salaries and their associated costs. This was seconded by Cllr. Fairweather and agreed.
Report from the Chair and Committees:
10/22: Chairman’s Report:
The Chairman stated that as he had recently given a full report at the Annual Parish Meeting, he did not have anything further to add.
11/22: Policy & Resources:
Cllr. Fletcher referred to the minutes of the meeting held on 10th May and invited questions. As none were raised, he proposed adoption, this was seconded by Cllr. Hatcher and agreed.
Cllr. Fairweather thanked the Committee for approving the grant application for the Queen’s Jubilee Celebration in Sissinghurst being held on Saturday 4th June.
12/22: Planning & Preservation:
Cllr. Bunyan referred to the minutes of the meetings held on 19th April and 3rd May and invited questions. None were raised. She reported that there had been a problem with the TWBC website prior to and during the meeting of 3rd May and because of this, one application had been deferred until the next meeting.
13/22: Properties & Burial Grounds:
Cllr. Gilbert referred to the minutes of the meeting held on 26th April and invited questions. None were raised; however, it was suggested that replacing the councillor’s chairs in the Chamber should be an item on the next agenda. Cllr. Gilbert proposed adoption of the minutes, this was seconded by Cllr. Bunyan and agreed.
14/22: Economic & Community:
Cllr. Hatcher advised there had been no recent meeting. He was considering holding an informal zoom meeting with members of the Committee to discuss the agenda content for the next scheduled meeting on 21st June.
15/22: Environmental Management:
Cllr. Kings advised there had been no recent meeting. Cllr. Hatcher asked if the Council would consider adopting a policy of ‘No Mow May’ which is vital to allow the propagation of wild flowers to support the bee population. It was agreed that it should be an agenda item at the next meeting. The Parish Warden and the grounds contractors would be asked their opinion on the possible impact of implementing it. Cllr. Rampling suggested the Millennium Field in Biddenden was an excellent example of how the policy could work. Local people take on the responsibility of removing thistles and weeds such as ragwort to help manage the area.
Cllr. Fletcher reported the bearings on the Rocking Horse in the Ball Field had been successfully replaced. He had been surprised at how large they were, which went some way to understanding the cost and also how they had lasted for sixty years.
16/22: Neighbourhood Plan:
Cllr. Pethurst reported that he continues to actively pursue our consultant, Feria Urbanism, to provide the documents required for submission.
17/22: Reports from Delegates:
a) Hop Pickers Line Heritage Group:
The Chairman read the following report which had been provided by Graham Holmes:
The Group has now made a submission to the Borough Planning Officers in respect of the Cranbrook Station site Planning Application.
Forthcoming events involving the Group are as follows:
18th September – High Weald Walking Festival around Goudhurst to include remaining railway structures.
24th September – Horsmonden Nostalgia Day where the Group will have an information display stand.
Cllr. Bunyan advised the next meeting was scheduled for the 25th May. She also reported that Linda Hall had resigned as secretary of the organisation.
c) Age Concern:
Cllr. Simpson reported the Coffee Mornings in the Vestry Hall were going very well with around 20 attendees at each session. Volunteers were being trained to provide a service to maintain hearing aids on a monthly basis. As Cllr. Rampling had some experience of hearing aids, his offer to be added to list of volunteers, was gratefully accepted.
d) Cranbrook Museum:
Cllr. Pethurst reported that the AGM had been held recently, the first since the Museum had been registered as a Community Interest Organisation. He advised a change to the display in the Vestry Hall cabinet was being considered. The lighting in the cabinet may need to be improved.
e) Tourism Group:
Cllr. Hatcher reported that at the last meeting the ‘Walk Through Time’ maps and applying for grants had been discussed. The grants applied for had unfortunately been time sensitive, as many grants now are. They may reapply later in the year. Borough Cllr. Dawlings is intending to approach Cllr. Seán Holden to explore any funding that may be available from Kent County Council.
Cllr. Dawlings reported that the early summer events such as Cranbrook Goes Nuts in May will be promoted in the Wealden Advertiser again this year.
18/22: Clerk’s Report:
The Clerk reported that the first tranche of precept for 2022/23 totalling £186,478.00 had been received.
The Clerk reported that we had received a letter of thanks from the Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance for the grant of £300 that we had recently awarded them.
20/22: Reports from Borough Councillors:
a) Cllr. Dawlings reported that after the recent borough elections, TWBC was looking very different. It now consists of:
Liberal Democrats – 16 councillors
Conservatives – 13 councillors
Tunbridge Wells Alliance – 9 councillors
Labour – 7 councillors
There are also 3 independent councillors.
He will be resigning as Leader on the 25th May. The next process will be to form a coalition.
Ukrainian refuges are beginning to filter through with 150 settled in 100 different accommodations. It is an excellent example of how the Borough and County Council are working together.
He also reported that everyone entitled to their energy bills rebate who pays their council tax by direct debit has received their payment already. For those who pay by a different method, their rebate may take longer to arrive.
On the Turnden planning application, the Secretary of State has to make his ruling by early July, so we should expect to hear soon.
The Chairman expressed his thanks to Cllr. Dawlings for everything he had done to support Cranbrook and Sissinghurst during his time as Leader of the Council. His thoughts were echoed by Cllr. Warne.
b) Cllr. Warne raised concern that all the Liberal Democrat seats bar one, now held at TWBC are in the centre of Tunbridge Wells. She intends to ensure this part of the borough is as represented as it has been under Cllr. Dawlings leadership. She reported that discussions have yet to start on the forming of a coalition. Sunday 15th May has been given as the earliest date the LibDems can meet. The Tunbridge Wells Alliance Party will be pressing for the provisional arrangements that had been prepared last year.
She also referred to the Queen’s Speech and the fact that Michael Gove MP was suggesting that neighbours comments should be given more consideration when planning applications are considered. She wondered if that had been a result of the evidence given at the Turnden Inquiry?
c) Cllr. Fairweather stated he had little to add to what had already been reported, except to say he had whole heartedly enjoyed his single year as the Portfolio Holder for Communities and Wellbeing. A lot of good work has been done by councillors, officers and partner agencies. He was also pleased to report the garden refuse collections are now back for good.
21/22: Items for Information:
a) Cllr. Fletcher felt that everyone is beginning to wake up to the fact that the High Weald Academy is closing, it will be felt even more in September. He is still trying to arrange a meeting with Nick Abrahams, Area Education Officer for Kent County Council.
b) Cllr. Fletcher reported that Rhokett Ltd, a premium dessert supplier based in Gills Green has set aside opportunities for Ukrainian refugees seeking employment.
c) Cllr. Gilbert reported that the Men’s Shed group continue to meet on Mondays in the Coach House at Cranbrook School and Cranbrook Sports Club have provided a space for a working shed.
d) Cllr. Rampling shared his frustration at trying to improve the broadband speed in the Three Chimney’s area. The grant application had been rejected, so it would be the residents that would need to find the £80K needed to move forward with the project. In his opinion broadband is as essential as running water these days.
e) Cllr. Fairweather reminded everyone present of the events coming up and encouraged them to support the activities:
Cranbrook Goes Nuts in May – 25th May
Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Celebrations – Saturday 4thJune, 1pm – 4pm, Jubilee Field.
Sunday 5th June, Cranbrook Town Centre.
f) Cllr. Hatcher advised the next COD’s production Priscilla Queen of the Desert had been cast.
g) Cllr. Fletcher advised the public toilets were now open, a bin had been damaged but other than that, no damage had been reported. The field shelter had been graffitied, but that was not considered a problem. Seating inside the shelter was still needed so if anyone knew of any, please let him know.
The meeting was closed.
A parishioner voiced her concern at the lack of policing in the Parish.
A volunteer organising the craft tent for children, at the Cranbrook Goes Nuts in May event was asking for more volunteers to help. Anyone over eighteen can put their name forward.