Present:  Cllr Kemp (Chair), Cllrs Bunyan, Cook & Warne

Apologies:  Cllrs. Fermor, Hartley & Smith.

  1. Proposal :  NDP Consultant recommendation to be decided by the end of September.

The two shortlisted consultants, Richard Eastham of Feria Urbanism and Angela Koch, will make presentation to the Full Council at the forthcoming meeting on 8th September for consideration. 

A discussion took place as to how the shortlist was arrived at.  Cllr Bunyan expressed her concern that the committee had not yet fully considered the options. Last year Cllr Kemp approached the Hawkhurst Clerk, Nicole Malen, to get a list of possibles and her recommendations.  He pointed out that the pool of NDP consultants is quite small.

Cllrs Kemp & Bunyan have met and interviewed Richard Eastham.  He has been managing the NDPs for many other parishes locally, including Hawkhurst, Ticehurst, Loose and Paddock Wood.

Cllrs Kemp & Hartley have also met and interviewed Angela Koch. She was also impressive.

Both were considered to have great merit and have a good history of delivery. They are distinguishable by differing operational strategies which have implications on speed of delivery, level of voluntary input and, therefore, cost.  In light of the fact that we are now four years behind with our NDP, Cllr Kemp stressed that his favoured option is the one which will bring the speediest result. 

Cllr Cook reminded the committee that previous discussions about the consulltants has taken place.  Further, Cllr Warne had attended Richard Eastham’s recent update presentation to Paddock Wood, and was impressed by the level of community engagement.

Cllr Kemp suggested that the committee could attend a similar presentation by Angela Koch at one of her active projects.  Cllr Kemp to find out possible opportunities and ensure someone attends so that both could be considered equally.

He stressed that importance of involving consultants as their experience and success in engaging with communities and stimulating action can bring great benefit to the community.  They are well connected in the localism movement, which offers opportunities for communities to access support networks, which can act as a catalyst for spin-off community projects and activities.

It was agreed that the committee will review the shortlisted consultants after their presentations to the Council and their considerations.  Cllr Kemp then to write a report to submit to the Policy & Resources Committee.

  •  NDP Funding

Cllr Cook has been trying to fill out the form for government funding of up to £9000. 

Cllr Warne agreed to review and identify what other information, including costings from the consultants, is needed to complete the application.   

Cllr Bunyan identified the need to confirm the PC budgetary allocation for the NDP.  She will check with Cllr Swann.

Cllr Kemp asked the committee their opinion on whether the community will support a spending in the region of £30k on the project.  Cllr Bunyan expressed the view that many may consider it waste of money as some parishes have found their NDP to be no protection against unwanted development.  Cllr Warne felt that any monies spent on a process which promotes community engagement & inclusivity are monies well spent and should be viewed as an investment in our community.  Cllr Cook pointed out that any community without an NDP, when everyone else has one, would immediately become a target for unchecked development.

When viewed in the context of the lifespan of the NDP the cost per household figure over 20 or 30 years it hoped should not be too onerous and be considered as a good investment.

  • Crane Valley Land Trust

Cllr Kemp informed the committee that a working party collective of 12 members of the community has applied to the National Community Land Trust Network to set up the Crane Valley Land Trust.  The CLT Network is a growing movement across the country and can form part of the community delivery element of the NDP.

He reported on progress of the application: following a visit from the consultant, Stephen Hill, the CVLT has so far received approval from the national network as being viable and has achieved Stage 2 & 3 funding to complete it’s set up.  The committee was briefed on the aims and possible legal structure of the CVLT:  it being a professionally-run membership-based community benefit society which aims to buy and develop land for housing within Cranbrook & Sissinghurst, with all profits reinvested in the community for the benefit of the community.  It would tailor it’s raft of housing delivery in response to the local demographic, offering a mixture of housing types and tenures, including those currently lacking, for example, serviced plots for self-builders and affordable-in-perpetuity properties for key workers, and all to be of good design and quality.

Cllr Cook said that it is essential that a firewall should exist between the NDP and the CVLT.  He advised Cllrs Kemp & Warne that is would be unwise for whoever is leading the NDP to also be leading the CVLT. 

  • Engaging businesses & schools in the Autumn term: meetings & invitations

It was agreed to send out a letter of invitation public business meeting should go to all the Cranbrook and Sissinghurst businesses the week before half-term, ie, mid-October.  Cllr Warne to draft a letter.

It was agreed that a letter of invitation to a meeting with all the Cranbrook & Sissinghurst Schools (Cranbrook Primary, Sissinghurst Primary, Colliers Green Primary, Dulwich Prep, High Weald Academy and Cranbrook School) should be sent during the week commencing 12th September.  Cllr Cook offered to write these, to include a request for the head to come themselves or to send a representative to a meeting for schools.

  •  Stakeholder mapping

Suggest buy the Cranbrook & Sissinghurst parish map from Pages newsagent and start marking out land ownership.

Cllr Kemp to ask the Gills for their input from work with CVLT so far.

  • Novation of NDPC in its public form : recommendations for first phase start-up team

The optimum number for the core team should be between 8 -10, half from the council and half from the public.  Cllr Bunyan expressed her intention to resign from the committee.  A list of potential candidates from the public was discussed.  Cllr Cook felt important to include candidates that could reach as broad a spectrum of the community as possible.  This was agreed.  It was also felt that another Sissinghurst representative was needed. 

Cllr Bunyan to ask the other Sissinghurst councillors for suggestions.

Cllr Kemp to approach Liz Daley, Richard Gill, Mark Wade, Joy Temple, Tally Wade.

Cllr Warne to approach Andy Parkes and Emma Wood.

Aim: to firm up membership of committee at next meeting on 5th October.

  • Proposal: new Chairperson to lead NDP committee through next stage

Cllr Kemp stated that he would like to hand over the Chair after the the consultant has been decided upon and appointed.  He proposed Cllr Warne for the role.  This was seconded by Cllr Cook and agreed by Cllr Bunyan.  Cllr Warne accepted. This proposal to go to full Council for ratification.

Date of next meeting:  Short pre-EGM 7pm Thursday 15th September, suggest in Addison Room

Committee meeting – 7.30pm Wednesday 5th October, Council Chamber

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