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

APOLOGIES: Cllr. Kings.

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.

60/22: Internal finance check:

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

61/22: Authorisation of payments made after the October meeting:

A list of payments totalling £18,311.97 made after the October meeting, is filed with these minutes. Referring to the discussion at the last meeting regarding electric vehicle charge points, Cllr. Fletcher advised that the Clerks had a Teams meeting with B.P Pulse tomorrow morning, to discuss and clarify how the system is intended to operate.

62/22: Transfers of monies between accounts:

The Clerk confirmed none had been made this month.

63/22: Invoices for Payment:

A list of payments to be made in November had been circulated for approval, a copy of which is filed with these minutes. In response to Cllr. Fletcher, the Clerk advised the payment to Playsafety Ltd is for the annual ROSPA reports on all our play equipment. It was proposed by Cllr. Pethurst, seconded by Cllr. Bunyan and agreed to approve the payments as presented.

These included:

Policy and Resources                          £8,841.36

Properties & Burial Grounds              £1,635.81

Environmental Management               £1,133.48

General Funding                                 £   420.00

Total        £12,030.65

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

64/22: Budget for King Charles III Coronation:

A meeting had been held and attended by Cllrs. Fletcher and Pethurst, along with representatives from Cranbrook in Bloom and the Nuts in May team. Numerous ideas were discussed including a long-term memorial and individual street parties in some neighbourhood areas. An article will be included in the next edition of The Cake asking for suggestions from parishioners on how they would like to celebrate the event. St. Dunstan’s Church were intending to show the coronation on a large screen.

Cllr. Bunyan suggested also asking some of the older generation to share their memories of the previous coronation. Cllr. Pethurst felt this was an excellent idea and could tie in with the Museum and History C.I.O.

It was essential that parishioners were aware that we need to pull together ideas now, to allow plenty of time to plan for the event.

65/22: Update on Five Year Plans development:

Costs and energy saving:

Cllr. Gilbert advised an energy survey was carried out last Wednesday on the Vestry Hall Complex. The company undertaking the survey had experience of working with listed buildings. When the report is received, we can discuss which recommendations we would like to carry forward.

66/22: Community Centres/Medical Centre:

Cllr. Gilbert advised a board meeting was scheduled for 14th November. Different heating options will be discussed including ground and air source heat pumps. The company who had completed the survey on the Vestry Hall Complex would also be approached for advice.

Cllr. Bunyan advised it is possible to build large buildings to Passivhaus standards.

Cllrs. Gilbert, Fletcher and Pethurst were meeting with a mentor, provided free of charge by Funding for All, to help us develop a funding strategy.

67/22: Staffing:

The Clerk reported that the Local Government Pay Claim 2022/23 had been agreed. Each scale point would be increased by £1,925 with effect from 1st April 2022. NALC are encouraging employers to implement this pay award as swiftly as possible.

The NJC had also agreed that from 1st April 2023 all employees covered by this National Agreement, regardless of their current leave entitlement or length of service, will receive a permanent increase of one day (pro rata for part time employees) to their annual leave entitlement.

A meeting would be arranged in the near future with all the Clerks and Cllrs. Fletcher and Pethurst, to discuss roles going forward, now we have two qualified Clerks.

68/22: Grant Awarding Policy:

Cllrs. Pethurst and Fletcher had made some minor amendments to the draft documents presented at the last meeting. These had been circulated to the Committee prior to the meeting. The Clerk advised that as we now award grants using the General Power of Competence as opposed to using S137 of Local Government Act 1972, it was possible to have the flexibility to award grants to an individual in some circumstances. Cllr. Pethurst proposed adoption of the amended Grant Awarding Policy and Application Form as presented, this was seconded by Cllr. Hatcher and agreed. Copies will be filed with these minutes.

A wider discussion on grants followed. It was agreed that all Chairmen should consider applying for grants for some projects as opposed to relying solely on precept monies. The Clerk would add the item to the relevant committee agendas.

69/22: Grant Applications:

a) Cranbrook Voluntary Service

A request for £250 had been received from the Cranbrook Voluntary Service which would enable the organisation to continue supporting the residents of Cranbrook and Sissinghurst that need transport to attend doctor or hospital appointments. Members discussed the application but felt essential information was missing, such as, how the service operates and exactly what costs the grant is intended to cover?

There was also some concern raised that a similar service is already provided by the NHS. Members were unaware that the Cranbrook Voluntary Service existed. It was agreed the Clerk would ask for the additional information and an up-to-date bank statement from the organisation, before the Committee makes a decision.

b) Cranbrook Literature Festival

A request for £1000 had been received to help with the cost of the Cranbrook Literature Festival. The purpose is to raise funds to encourage literacy and literature in schools and to promote reading and writing to the community. Cllr. Fletcher suggested they should also look to alternative grant providers such as the Kent Community Foundation. Members asked for clarification as to when the grant was required and details of the other local organisations and businesses providing assistance. The Committee agreed to defer a decision until the additional information was received.

c) Sponsoring a Christmas Tree at St. Dunstan’s

The Clerk advised the cost of sponsoring a tree was £50, the same as last year. There was some concern that if insufficient sponsors were identified, the event would not go ahead.                   Cllr. Pethurst proposed that we sponsor a tree on the understanding, that if the event is cancelled, the money is returned. This was seconded by Cllr. Hatcher and agreed.

d) Royal British Legion – Remembrance Sunday

An application had been received requesting £400 towards the cost of printing, flyers, signage and the band. It was agreed the RBL should be informed that our new policy requires applications to be submitted 3 months prior to an event. It should also be made clear on printed publications in future years, that the Parish Council sponsor the event. Cllr. Hatcher proposed the grant be awarded in full, this was seconded by Cllr. Pethurst and agreed.

70/22: Items for Information:

Cllr. Hatcher reported that the Citizens Advice Bureau were aiming to have a presence back in Cranbrook Library from January 2023. He will give a full report on Thursday.

Cllr. Pethurst reported that the Rainbow Preschool is set to close. There will be insufficient places available for local children. An article has been written to highlight the issues in the next edition of The Cake.

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