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

APOLOGIES: Cllr. Hatcher.

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.

85/22: Internal finance check:

Cllr. Pethurst confirmed that the internal finance check had been completed and everything was in order.

86/22: Authorisation of payments made after the December meeting:

A list of payments totalling £26,772.38 made after the December meeting, is filed with these minutes.

87/22: Transfers of monies between accounts:

The Responsible Finance Officer confirmed none had been made this month.

88/22: Invoices for Payment:

A list of payments to be made in January had been circulated for approval, a copy of which is filed with these minutes. In response to a question from Cllr. Bunyan, it was confirmed that the payment to KCC, was for the maintenance of the Crane Valley Nature Reserve by the Kent High Weald Partnership. Cllr. Pethurst proposed the payments be approved as presented, this was seconded by Cllr. Bunyan and agreed.

These included:

Policy and Resources                          £7,568.73

Properties & Burial Grounds              £1,770.61

Environmental Management               £4,327.47

Total        £13,666.81

Two members are required to log in to the account and authorise the payments following adoption of the minutes on Thursday evening.

89/22: King Charles III Coronation:

It was hoped that the article in the latest edition of The Cake would produce an influx of ideas to celebrate the Coronation, however, no new suggestions had been received as yet. Events already organised for May 2023 include the Weald Rural Games on Saturday 20th May, Cranbrook Goes Nuts in May is scheduled for Sunday 28th May and the Choral Society has arranged a concert in St. Dunstan’s on Saturday 29th April. A longer term commemorative idea being considered, was to provide some outdoor adult gym equipment. Cllr. Fletcher has a meeting planned with Mark Lawrence, the Everyday Active Champion for Tunbridge Wells at which he will put this forward, as a possible suggestion.

90/22: Fixed rate energy contracts from Utility Aid – Update:

Cllr. Pethurst reported that we had accepted the terms of the EDF Fixed for Business Online 2-year contract for all the current electricity contracts that are due to expire at the end of this financial year. The new contracts will be applicable from April 2023. The issue is that you do not get an opportunity to read all the small print before accepting the contract, as prices have to be locked in by 4pm on the day the rates are obtained. After reading the contract in full, Cllr. Pethurst and the Clerks have some concerns. Utility Aid have dismissed the concerns; however, Members would like some reassurance direct from EDF. Cllr. Pethurst will follow this up with the Clerks next week.

91/22Quote to service security alarm and tidy office cabling:

We had received a quote from MPR Solutions which supersedes the original quote already approved. It had not been established until they arrived on site that the whole system requires setting up again which is more costly than a routine service, originally quoted as £126. We had also received a quote from them to tidy the cabling in the communications cupboard and remove any unnecessary cabling.  To take over the alarm system and service it would now cost £275. In addition, the reorganising of the cabling to include labelling all cables for identification purposes would cost £372.52. They have also suggested some optional new hardware which should speed up the network, also making it more secure. The cost of this would be £671.43 + VAT. The current switch system was installed in 2005 so had lasted well. Subject to confirmation that any replacement hardware would have a similar lifespan, it was proposed by Cllr. Pethurst, seconded by Cllr Gilbert and agreed to accept the quote of £1,318.95 + VAT in full to include the replacement hardware.

92/22: Grounds Contract Specification:

The current specification had been circulated to the Committee Members. Approval of the specification is necessary before the contract can be advertised on the Public Contracts website.

It was proposed by Cllr. Gilbert and seconded by Cllr. Bunyan and agreed unanimously that no changes were necessary.

93/22: Kent Association of Local Councils Community Award Scheme 2023:

Process of Nomination:

The KALC Community Awards Scheme had been recently launched for 2023. The Parish Council can make their own decision as to how they want to identify those that have made a significant contribution to the local community, alternatively we can decide to formally invite nominations from the local community? The closing date for nominations this year is Tuesday 28th February 2023. Members agreed that the nomination process should remain the same as previous years. Cllr. Bunyan nominated Mitzi Newsom for the work she does for the Sissinghurst Flower Show Society. This was seconded by Cllr. Fletcher and agreed. Cllr. Bunyan offered to write the 30 words required to accompany the nomination.

94/22: Community Centres/Medical Centre:

Cllr. Fletcher advised he was planning to invite all the GPs to a meeting, to hopefully finalise the specification for a medical centre. Members agreed that although we had not yet received confirmation from the Planning Department at TWBC that the footprint of the Tanyard Dental Surgery could be incorporated in the plan for the Community Centre, it was becoming a safety hazard, therefore quotes to demolish it, should be obtained without delay.

It was reported that we had received a quote of £1,150 + VAT + any disbursements from Stratford’s to compile a written report on the Jubilee Field. This is a necessary requirement of S119 of the Charities Act 2011, as we are seeking permission from the Charity Commission to gift a section of the field to allow the new Sissinghurst Village Hall to be built.

The benefits to the Jubilee Trust are increased access to the Jubilee Field from the new Community Hall, giving access to toilets, kitchen, changing rooms and community space.

Off street parking allowing for safer access to the Tennis Club, play equipment and the Jubilee Field. Cllr. Fletcher proposed the quote be accepted; this was seconded by Cllr. Gilbert and agreed.

95/22: Review of Aims and Objectives of Policy & Resources:

It was agreed to defer this item to the next meeting.

96/22: Staffing:

No issues were raised.

97/22: Grant Applications:

No new applications had been received.

98/22: Items for Information:

a) The RFO advised we had received notification of a 5% increase in our Streetlight Maintenance Contract charges for 2023/24. There are sufficient funds allocated in the budget to cover the increase.

b) Cllr. Fletcher tabled the lighting plans we had received for the Brick Kiln Development. He also gave a report on some anti-social behaviour that had occurred in Cranbrook and on which the police are now taking action.

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