Policy & Resources 10th November 2020

The meeting was held remotely using Zoom software.

PRESENT: Cllr. Beck (in the Chair), Fairweather, Fletcher, Gilbert, Pethurst, 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.

50/20: Internal finance check:

Cllr. Beck confirmed that the internal finance check has been completed and everything was in order.

51/20: Authorisation of payments made after the October meeting:

A list of payments totalling £15,826.23 made after the October meeting is filed with these minutes.

52/20: Transfers of monies between accounts:

It was proposed by Cllr. Beck, seconded by Cllr. Gilbert and agreed to transfer £100,000 from the Lloyds Current account to the Unity Trust account so the majority of payments can continue to be processed online.

53/20: 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. It was proposed by Cllr. Beck, seconded by Cllr. Gilbert and agreed to authorise the payments. Two members are required to logon onto the account and authorise the payments.

These included:

Policy and Resources                         £13,054.42

Properties & Burial Grounds              £  1,840.89

Environmental Management              £     786.67 

Total          £15,681.98

54/20: Mid-Year Internal Audit Report- KCC

The Clerk was pleased to report that no issues had been raised. A copy had been circulated to all Committee Members.

55/20: Motion put forward by Cllr. Pethurst:

“All Parish Councillors to be reminded of the risk under Phase 2 of GDPR of the continued use of personal email addresses for conducting Parish Council business, and to be offered the opportunity to have Parish Council specific email addresses for the sole and exclusive purpose of conducting this business in future.”

Cllr. Pethurst was invited to present his motion to the Committee. He explained that he had attended a training session provided by KALC in January, at which the use of personal email addresses was discussed. He felt all Members should be reminded of the risks associated with using personal email addresses and be given the opportunity to minimise the risk of having personal equipment confiscated in the event of a criminal investigation, if any Parish Council information or communication is stored on it.

Members discussed the option of also providing hardware such as tablets. Cllr. Warne suggested we express caution, as the tablets provided by TWBC had proved not fit for purpose during lockdown, as they did not support all online meeting platforms.

Some Members indicated they did not want another email address to monitor and were concerned that parishioners that contact them via email, would so using their existing details. It was also noted that a great deal of computer data is no longer stored on individual servers, so the likelihood of having personal equipment seized was now reduced.

Following a great deal of discussion Cllr. Beck proposed the motion be amended to “On request all Members be given the opportunity to have a Parish Council specific email address for the exclusive use of conducting Parish Council business”. This was seconded by Cllr. Warne and agreed. The Clerk agreed to investigate what generic email addresses were available for use.

It was agreed that the decision should be reviewed as an agenda item in six months and to seek confirmation from our GDPR officer that we remain compliant with legislation.

56/20: Staffing:

There were no issues report.

57/20: Carriers Road Parking Spaces:

Cllr. Fletcher reported that as agreed by the Council, he had suggested to TWBC, a 99-year lease at a peppercorn rent, which had been originally received with enthusiasm. However, TWBC had now responded with a counter offer which included a mutual break clause at year 25 with an annual break clause every year thereafter. It was proposed by Cllr. Fletcher, seconded by Cllr Beck and agreed to accept the mutual break clause after an initial 25 years followed by the recommendation of a break clause every five years thereafter.  

58/20: Regal Car Park – area to be used for Christmas Town Market.

The Clerk advised we had been approached by the organisers of the Cranbrook Town Market with a request to use an area of the Regal Car Park for the Christmas Market. The lease does allow for community use, subject to Council approval. It was proposed by Cllr. Fletcher, seconded by Cllr. Fairweather and agreed to grant permission subject to the organisers ensuring adherence to any Covid 19 restrictions applicable at the time.

59/20: Cyber Insurance Renewal:

A quote of £414.96 had been received from our insurance broker, to renew our cyber protection policy. It was proposed by Cllr. Beck, seconded by Cllr. Smith and agreed to accept the quote as presented.

60/20: Grant Applications:

a) Sissinghurst Flower Show Society

An application had been received requesting £350 towards the cost of replacing the flower troughs. It was proposed by Cllr. Beck, seconded by Cllr. Smith and agreed to award the grant in full.

b) St. Dunstan’s Sponsor a Tree

A request had been received asking the Parish Council to sponsor a tree in St. Dunstan’s Church for £50. There is to be twelve trees in total. Each sponsor can suggest a local charity to benefit from any funds raised. Cllr. Beck proposed the Council sponsor a tree, at a cost of £50, this was seconded by Cllr. Fletcher and agreed. Cllr. Waters had suggested that if Members support the request, she would be happy to make salt dough decorations which featured photographs of Members faces. Unfortunately, this idea was not well received.

c) Home-Start South West Kent

An application requesting £500 had been received, to help support disadvantaged families in the parish and the wider area. Members were reminded that our policy states that the amount of people helped does need to be commensurate with expenditure. With this in mind, Cllr. Smith proposed that £100 be offered as a contribution towards the Charity’s work. This was seconded by Cllr. Fletcher and agreed. 

d) NSARDA Kent

A request for financial assistance had been received from The National Search and Rescue Dog Association in Kent. Members agreed that although it was a worthy cause, as there was no evidence that it would directly benefit our parishioners, they felt unable to support the request.

e) CATWD

A request had been received from Citizens Advice Tunbridge Wells & District (CATWD) asking us to consider making a contribution towards the charity’s work this year. Members agreed that the service is even more valuable in the current climate, however, the amount awarded historically does represent a significant proportion of the funds we allocate for grants. It was proposed by Cllr. Fairweather, seconded by Cllr. Fletcher and agreed that £1,000 is awarded now, with the proviso that we will consider a further application if we have any surplus funds remaining at the end of the financial year.

61/20: Items for Information:

Cllr. Smith gave a brief update on the land required by St. George’s Institute, to facilitate the building of a new village hall in Sissinghurst. A meeting of the Jubilee Field Trustees is scheduled immediately prior to Thursday’s Full Council meeting. He hopes to get final agreement from the Parish Council, as sole trustees, on the land area to be transferred. Any agreement will be subject to approval from the Charity Commission. Cllr. Smith confirmed that the delivery of the new hall would be the result of a S106 agreement and in exchange for the developer building any affordable homes. It would deliver tangible benefits to the village.

Cllr. Warne reported the consultation on the Regulation 14 draft NDP was well underway. A number of responses had been received and several residents had taken the opportunity to attend the zoom virtual events to ask their questions.

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