Full Council Minutes 11th August 2022

MINUTES OF A MEETING OF THE PARISH COUNCIL HELD IN THE COUNCIL CHAMBERS CRANBROOK ON THURSDAY 11th AUGUST 2022PRESENT: Cllrs. Fletcher (Chair), Beck, Gilbert, Hatcher, Hartley, Fairweather (also Borough), Pethurst, Rampling, Simpson, Somers, Tomlinson and County and Borough Cllr. Sean Holden (in part)

APOLOGIES: Cllr. Bunyan, Dyke, Kings & Waters and Borough Cllr. Dawlings

Declaration of Interests, Dispensations and Predetermination:

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.

Mrs. Carol Somers was welcomed as a new parish Councillor.

55/22: Minutes of the Previous Meeting to be confirmed:

The Chairman proposed the Minutes of the Meeting held on the 14th July 2022 be adopted as a true record, this was seconded by Cllr. Tomlinson and agreed with one obtention.

56/22: County and Borough Cllr. Holden gave the following report:

Due to time constraints Cllr. Holden had requested that his report move up the agenda.

Ukrainian refugee update – He reported that he had been asked to assist with a case of Ukraine refugee who had been struggling to find a primary school space. He managed to find a space for the 10-year-old at Benenden Primary. There are currently c2000 Ukrainian refugee across the county. There had been a handful of problems with host receiving their thank you payments of £350.00.

Bus Service Consultation – the KCC Environment and Transport Cabinet Committee had decided to proceed with the proposed savings which would affect 39 bus services. The bus providers have simultaneously announced discontinuation of services which will impact some school transport. KCC are still obliged to provide transport to children who live more than 3 miles from there appropriate school.

Road Closures – there appears to be a large amount of road closure signs in the county. He will be requesting data on the number of road closure permits issued.

Windmill Sweeps – the sweeps have been returned to the windmill. An alternative craftsman had been used on this occasion and it is hoped the repairs will last longer. The official reopening date is 7th September.

Cllr. Fletcher asked Cllr. Holden to enquire who at KCC can provide the data he had previously requested regarding pupil numbers in the area, as the previous contact is no longer available. Cllr. Holden agreed to enquire on his behalf. Cllr. Fletcher asked if Cllr. Holden could assist in speeding up communication with the Leigh Academy regarding use of the redundant buildings at the High Weald Academy site.

Reports from Committees:

57/22: Policy & Resources:

Cllr. Beck announced that he will be resigning as parish councillor and will be putting it in writing to the Chairman. He gave his appreciation for the opportunity to represent the parish as a councillor and as chairman of Policy and Resources. Cllr. Hatcher proposed that Cllr. Pethurst take over as chair, this was seconded by Cllr. Fletcher and agreed.

He apologised for not ensuring the grant application for Cranbrook Town Festival had been received on time. Cllr. Hatcher asked if the money would be on time for the event to still go ahead as planned if the grant was successfully approved at the next Policy and Resources meeting. Cllr. Beck stated that his understanding was that the organisers had adequate cash flow to go ahead with the event.

He then referred to the minutes of the meeting held on the 9th August and invited questions. As none were raised, he proposed adoption. This was seconded by Cllr. Fletcher and agreed.

58/22: Planning & Preservation:

Cllr. Hatcher referred to the minutes of the meetings held 19th July and 2nd August. There was nothing that needed raising from either meeting. The committee is still low on numbers, new members would be welcomed.

59/22: Properties & Burial Grounds:

Cllr Gilbert referred to the minutes of the meeting held on the 19th July. He highlighted that work is ongoing for No Mow May and Wilding options; this includes looking at examples in other local burial grounds.  Cllr. Pethurst was of the opinion that it would be inappropriate to not maintain the cemeteries. He also highlighted the need to examine Vestry Hall energy options.

He proposed adoption of the minutes, this was seconded by Cllr. Rampling and agreed.

60/22: Economic & Community:

Cllr. Hatcher reported that the working group had met and discussed the committee structure document. The scope of the committee had been reduced therefore will propose at the next committee meeting that the name is changed to Community Development Committee.

61/22: Environmental Management:

Next meeting 13th September.

62/22: Neighbourhood Development Plan:

No update

63/22 Chairmen’s report: to consider approving all committee meeting minutes under one proposal

To ensure that there is more time at Full Council meetings to discuss future projects, the Chairman proposed that instead of each committee chair presenting individual minutes for adoption, the council chairman will put forward for adoption all minutes under one proposal.

Members should have read the minutes prior to the meeting and taken up any queries with the individual chairmen prior to the meeting. There will still be an opportunity to ask questions if further clarification is required.

The proposal was seconded by Cllr. Gilbert ad agreed.

64/22 To consider increasing EV charge fee to 45p/kWh

The Clerk had reported that the reimbursements from the EV points would need to be raised to cover the electricity bills. Raising the fee to 45p would cover electricity costs, however 50p would be required to also cover the annual maintenance package. Due to the likely rise in electricity bills, Cllr Simpson proposed that the fee be increase to 55p/kWh. This was seconded by Cllr. Gilbert and agreed.

65/22 Local Government Boundary review – Consultation Stage 2

Cllr. Fletcher referred to the meeting when the Chairman of Goudhurst Parish Council had attended and spoken of his concern that the Goudhurst ward would be split into two. His fears had come true. The new boundary has south Goudhurst with Hawkhurst and Benenden, the north will come under the ward Rural Tunbridge Wells along with Horsmonden, Matfield and Lamberhurst.

Cllr. Fairweather was of the opinion that Cranbrook and Sissinghurst had fared well from the changes in comparison to other areas.

Cllr. Fletcher read out a paragraph that Borough Cllr. Dawlings had sent on the subject of LGBCE proposals on ward boundaries:

‘As I have mentioned several times, the decision to continue to elect the Council by thirds is going to result in very large three Member wards – my preference would be to have all-out elections which would enable there to be single- or two-Members wards.  The initial proposal for Cranbrook is to combine with Sissinghurst and Frittenden and for Benenden to move to being part of Hawkhurst and Sandhurst (and part of Goudhurst) ward.  To the extent that the Cranbrook and Sissinghurst will now all be in the same Borough Council ward, I think that is a positive proposal.  But I will happily underscore any comments that you want to make in responding to the LGBCE proposals.’

66/22 Community Centre/Medical Centre:

Cllr. Gilbert reported that Jonathan White has updated the business case, which will be shared with all councillor’s w/c 15th August. A procurement report outlining the various options available will also be shared alongside the business case. Review of the two documents will be an agenda item at Full Councill in September.  He asked that everybody review the documents and if they have any questions can they contact him with these questions prior to the meeting in September, thus ensuring the questions can be answered in full at the meeting. Jonathan White is hoping to attend to the September meeting to answer questions.

The meeting will be advertised on social media, website, ‘Be in the know’ and on posters around town.

The September Full Council meeting is scheduled take place in Sissinghurst. Cllr. Fletcher proposed moving the September meeting to Vestry Hall, Cranbrook, as there is greater capacity for members of the public to attend, and hold October’s meeting in Sissinghurst. This was seconded by Cllr. Fairweather and agreed.

66/22: Delegate Reports:

a) Tourism Group:

Cllr. Hatcher advised the group had discussed the reprinting of the ‘Walk through time’ maps. Funding will be sought from KCC and KCC crowdfunding.

b) Hop Picker’s Line Heritage Group – Report provided by Graham Holmes:

A successful site meeting was held with the developer of the Paddock Wood Church Farm site, the KCC Public Rights of Way Officer and the Network Rail Training Manager. The topic under discussion was the application for placement of a HPLHG interpretation panel alongside the existing railway footbridge.

The Group now hope to move forward to the next stage involving funding.

c) Age Concern:

Cllr. Simpson reported the coffee morning is going well.  From September homemade cakes will also be available.

Volunteers are receiving training to be able to offer a repair service for hearing aids. There a re also plans to introduce Keep Fit.

Cllr. Simpson is now the new Chair for Age Concern


Cllr. Hatcher referred to the minutes of the meeting held on 27th July 2022. In response to a question regarding the absence of attendee’s names, Cllr. Hatcher explained that for GDPR reasons the group had decided not to use members full names in the minutes, just initials.

e) Citizens Advice:

Cllr. Hatcher advised that he had recently meet with CA in Cranbrook. He had shown them 3 potential venues for them to hold face-to-face meetings: Addision Room, Hive and Church House. No decision has been made as yet.

He explained that CA was having trouble finding volunteers. In Southborough they use an admin to facilitate Zoom meetings between clients and CA trained advisers.

67/22: Clerk’s Report:

The Deputy Clerk advised that the Clerk will be returning to the office as of Monday, on a phased return, morning only for a week.

68/22: Correspondence:

No correspondence had been received that required reporting.

69/22: Borough & County Councillor Reports:

a) Borough Cllr. Fairweather gave the following report:

Six out of thirteen planned meetings at the Borough Council had been cancelled.

A decision had been made to increase parking charges in the Borough by 75%. This had resulted in the portfolio holder resigning from their post.

b) Borough Cllr. Dawlings had submitted the following report:

The Tunbridge Wells Agreement agreed between the Parish and Town Councils and TWBC on partnership working – this is published on the Tunbridge Wells BC website.  This was an agreement setting out a basis for partnership working; it was and remains important and it is very regrettable that the Lib Dem led coalition decided to ignore this completely when proposing fee increases last month.  There are fee increases which do impact on Cranbrook & Sissinghurst where I think a response is needed. In particular I would suggest that there should be no agreement to increase the Garden Waste charge and certainly not before the Civic Amenity Vehicle service is reinstated.

70/22: Items for Information:

a) Cllr. Pethurst referred to the upcoming elections in May. He felt that parts of the community are unaware of the council’s activities and responsibilities, and suggested that the expedition of The Cake be dedicated to this. Including a section on the difference between Parish, Borough and County council. This was considered an excellent suggestion, and the Spring edition will be an Election Edition. Cllr. Hatcher will forward an article he has written on what being member of the planning and preservation committee entails.

Cllr. Somers advised that she wished to join the Planning and Preservation Committee.

b) Cllr. Fletcher reported that the latest edition of the Cake had been subedited by Trisha Fermor, editing by himself and Coffee Shop Media. Included is an article about the old soup kitchen.

Recruitment of a volunteer to organise the new community kitchen/warm room was in progress. Funds towards the project currently stand at £2500.00

Further to Cllr. Beck’s announcement to step down from the parish council, Cllr Fletcher thanked Cllr. Beck for his time and dedication, particularly all the support work that goes on behind the scenes. He was sorry to see him go.

The Meeting was closed.

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