Policy & Resources Minutes 12.01.2021


The meeting was held remotely using Zoom software.

PRESENT: Cllr. Beck (in the Chair), Fletcher, Gilbert, Smith and Warne.

APOLOGIES: Cllr. Fairweather.

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.

73/20: Internal finance check:

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

74/20: Authorisation of payments made after the December meeting:

A list of payments totalling £14,070.38 made after the December meeting is filed with these minutes.

75/20: Transfers of monies between accounts:

Cllr. Beck reported that £10,000 was transferred from the Lloyds current account to HSBC current account.

76/20: 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. Beck, seconded by Cllr. Fletcher and agreed to authorise the payments. Two members are required to log in to the account and authorise the payments.

These included:

Policy and Resources                          £6,069.41

Properties & Burial Grounds              £   934.79

Environmental Management             £1,821.01        

Total           £8,825.21

77/20: Community Centre/Medical Centre:

There was no report made under this item.

78/20: Grounds Contract:

The opportunity to tender for Grounds Contract had been advertised in January 2020. Multiple applications were received, these were subsequently shortlisted to two local companies, just at the point the Coronavirus Pandemic struck. It was agreed at the time to extend the present contractor’s contract for a further year. Members discussed the attributes of both the remaining two tenders.

It was proposed by Cllr. Fletcher, seconded by Cllr. Gilbert and agreed to accept the tender submitted by Kent Grassland Services. The Clerk confirmed the contract would run until 31st March 2023 as detailed originally on the Public Contracts website.

79/20: E.ON electricity contract renewal for Street lighting/E.V points.

The Clerk advised that we had received renewal terms for the streetlighting energy contract. We had been quoted for two options, one using ‘green energy’ as in wind farms and other using ‘grid electricity’. There was minimal cost difference between the two options. With this in mind, Cllr. Beck proposed the green option was accepted, for a supply period of 36 months. This was seconded by Cllr. Smith and agreed.

We had also received a quote to renew the EV charge point supply. The quotes contained options for one, two and three years, the latter being the most expensive. Members discussed the Clerk’s time and effort versus the extra cost to secure a fixed price for a longer period. After a full discussion Cllr. Fletcher proposed that the quote, fixed for two years at 25.32p per kWh with a standing charge of 48p per day be accepted. He also proposed that the unit charge on the EV charge points should be increased to 33p per kWh and signage to reflect the change should be purchased and erected. The proposals were seconded by Cllr. Gilbert and agreed.

80/20: Staffing:

Cllr. Gilbert reported that he would soon be undertaking the annual inspection of Vestry Hall Cottage and would take the opportunity to discuss with the tenants, their caretaking role going forward.

81/20: Grant Applications:

An application requesting £1,600 had been received from Cranbrook Primary Out of School Club. Due to the pandemic and subsequent closure of schools, their operating costs had remained the same but their income had reduced dramatically. This was because some parents had continued to work from home. They needed financial assistance to be able to continue providing the service. Cllr. Beck proposed the grant be awarded in full, subject to the organisation providing copy for an article in the parish magazine to highlight the facilities they offer, which would hopefully improve take up of the service. This was seconded by Cllr. Warne and agreed.

82/20: Items for Information:

Cllr. Beck asked members to consider compiling a list of solicitors the Parish Council could use for legal matters, such as checking leases. Recommendations could be discussed as a future agenda item.

Cllr. Gilbert reported that the lease for KCC to use the Vestry Hall as an Asymptomatic Testing Centre for the next 8-9 weeks, had been agreed.

Cllr. Warne reported that a drafting error in the Tunbridge Wells Local Plan had been discovered in relation to the Turnden development. They had only included phase 2, the 160-170 houses, the 36 that had already received permission had not been included. This had pushed our figures up from 453 to 467, for Cranbrook and Sissinghurst. The Plan did get passed by the Planning and Transport Cabinet Advisory Group last night, so would now go before Cabinet to get signed off and then to Full Council for final approval.

She also reported on the government consultation – Supporting housing delivery and public service infrastructure, which is looking at adopting new permitted development rights. A new Business Class Use E has been added which is more flexible and would allow for conversion of any commercial space to residential. However, it does contain exemptions including the AONB and Listed Buildings. The consultation runs until the 28th January.

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