PRESENT: Cllrs. Fletcher (in the Chair), Gilbert, Hatcher and Kings.

APOLOGIES: Cllrs. Beck, Smith and Warne.

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.

Cllr. Kings declared a personal interest on item 85/21 (c) as his partner is a volunteer for the charity. 

79/21: Internal finance check:

Cllr. Beck confirmed via email, that the internal finance check had been completed and everything was in order.

80/21: Authorisation of payments made after the December meeting:

A list of payments totalling £15,525.64 made after the December meeting, is filed with these minutes.

81/21: Transfers of monies between accounts:

The Clerk confirmed no transfers had been made.

82/21: 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. It was proposed by Cllr. Fletcher, seconded by Cllr. Gilbert and agreed to approve the payments as presented.

These included:

            Policy and Resources              £6,367.96

Properties & Burial Grounds              £2,042.67

Environmental Management             £1,455.22

General Funding                                £1,038.78

       Total        £10,904.63

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

83/21: Community Centres/Medical Centre:

Cllr. Fletcher advised that Baxall Construction were going back to their suppliers, for a review of costings, due to the unprecedented rise in material costs. He also advised we are still awaiting a detailed specification from the GPs for the Medical Centre.

84/21: Staffing:

No issues were raised.

85/21: Grant Applications:

a) Counselling Centre:

The Counselling Centre is a non-profit making mental health charity based in Tunbridge Wells, providing a valuable alternative referral resource for already overstretched NHS services. They also run an Assisted Places Scheme which provides subsidised counselling for those on a low income. 20 of their clients are from TN17 and TN18 postcodes. A request for £250 towards a total project cost of £27,635 had been received. It was proposed by Cllr. Fletcher, seconded by Cllr. Kings and agreed to award £200, towards supporting their project.

b) Request to cover the cost of the purchase of decorative Christmas stars for the Town:

It was proposed by Cllr. Fletcher, seconded by Cllr. Hatcher and agreed, the cost of the decorative stars should be met by petty cash, on production of a valid receipt.

c) Home Start South West Kent:

This charity is based in Tunbridge Wells. They aim to support families who have children under five years old and who are struggling to cope, to improve their wellbeing, parenting and family management skills. Each year they expect to work with at least one family in this parish.

They had requested £1,291, the average cost of supporting one family for one year. Members discussed the application in full and although felt the work undertaken was commendable, they also believed the benefit to the area was not commensurate with expenditure, as is required by our Grant Awarding Policy. For this reason, Cllr. Fletcher proposed the application should not be supported, this was seconded by Cllr Gilbert and agreed.

86/21: Items for Information:

a) Cllr. Fletcher referred to an email from the Local Government Boundary Commission for England, that had been circulated by the Clerk. The email advises of a 10 week public consultation inviting proposals for new council wards and ward boundaries for Tunbridge Wells Borough Council. He encouraged everyone to submit their comments individually. The consultation closes on 21st March 2022 –

b) Cllr. Fletcher reported that solicitors and counsel looking into a judicial review over the closure of High Weald Academy had advised that unfortunately there was no reasonable prospect of a successful claim.

c) Cllr. Hatcher advised that a zoom session with the company who had been awarded the contract to upgrade and support our website had been set up for Monday morning at 9.30am. If any Member interested in attending could let him know, he will share the joining link with them.

d) Cllr. Hatcher advised Revd Ann Pollington was stepping down as Chair of the Katherine Elisabeth Wood Charity and he had been elected to take on the position of Chairman.

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