PRESENT:  Cllr. Warne (in the Chair), Cllrs. Fletcher, Hatcher and Pethurst, Marion Cranmer, June Bell, Liz Daley

APOLOGIES:  Anne Hopper

Cllr. Warne read out the following statement:

Members are required to declare any interests, dispensations, 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.

June Bell asked if Anne Hopper could join by zoom.  Under the Terms of Reference, the Clerk informed the Steering Group that Anne Hopper having now left the area and moved away is no longer eligible to sit on the Group.  The Group expressed their disappointment due to her wealth of knowledge and experience and the Clerk was instructed to write thanking her for all her previous work and input which was extremely valuable to the forthcoming Neighbouring Development Plan.

  1.  NDP Update/Action:

Cllr. Pethurst reported that the comments received from Deborah Dixon, Tunbridge Wells Borough Council Planning Officer had been forwarded to Richard Eastham.  He has reviewed the comments received and there were comments he deemed worthy of recognition and comments which he felt were not necessary.  Richard Eastham had been asked to go ahead on this basis to return the separate chapters once completed, so that himself and Cllr. Hatcher could go through them.  Cllr. Pethurst informed the Group that to date nothing had been received and he had contacted Richard Eastham who apologised and explained that he had been working on other projects.  Richard Eastham was now in a position to give the project his full attention.  Cllr. Pethurst was concerned that in making the document accessible Richard Eastham may feel that his design is being curbed.    Cllr. Pethurst had contacted Deborah Dixon to see if she would be available to discuss the accessibility issue with himself and Richard Eastham and she had agreed to do this.  Cllr. Hatcher suggested that we wait until the first chapter is received back from Richard Eastham to see how accessible the document is and feedback any necessary changes.  The document needs to pass the Accessibility Regulation 2018 for public sector bodies.  Cllr. Hatcher explained that the last version of the document for the most part could be read by a screen reader but there was work to do such as having alternative text for images.  It was agreed that Richard Eastham should go ahead with producing the document in word format and the Steering Group would deal with accessibility. The Clerk was requested to make enquiries on how much it would cost to undertake this work but the document needed to be available before this could be undertaken.  The Clerk reported that she had already made some enquiries but had not received any responses.

Deborah Dixon had forwarded information regarding training given by Smarter Digital Services on accessibility at a cost of £250 for up to 15 people.  Members of the Group all agreed that they did not want to undertake training, they wanted someone who is trained to undertake this work on behalf of the Steering Group.  Discussion then took place on funding this additional work and the Clerk gave a breakdown of the funds available, taking into account money already allocated.

  •  Timeline:

At present no timeline could be given.

  • Item for Information:

Cllr. Warne explained that due to family reasons she was stepping down from the Parish Council and as Chairman of the Neighbourhood Plan.  The Steering Group suggested that as a resident of Cranbrook she could remain a member and take a temporary leave of absence for three months.  The Clerk confirmed that this complied with the Groups Terms of Reference and the Vice Chairman would take on the role until Mrs Warne felt able to return.

  •  Date of Next Meeting:

The next meeting was scheduled to take place on Monday 28th February 2022 if required.

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