MINUTES OF A MEETING OF THE BURIAL GROUNDS AND PROPERTIES COMMITTEE HELD REMOTELY ON TUESDAY 27th OCTOBER 2020
PRESENT: Cllr. Gilbert (in the Chair), Cllrs. Bunyan, Fairweather, Fletcher (in part) and Kings.
APOLOGIES: Cllrs. Waters and Fermor.
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. Bunyan advised that she would not take part in the discussion or voting on the lych gate in Sissinghurst, if Glade Joinery had submitted a quote, as it was her son’s company.
5/20: Budget and Five-Year Plan:
Members discussed the Five-Year Plan, prepared in draft form by the Clerk. Cllr. Bunyan suggested that the plan to oil or treat the noticeboards in the parish, should be amended to show that it should be undertaken on an annual basis, to ensure they remain in good condition. With this minor amendment made, Cllr. Gilbert proposed the Five-Year Plan be accepted as presented, this was seconded by Cllr. Fairweather and agreed.
Members had been circulated a draft budget for consideration. As part of the process it was necessary to review the hire costs for the Vestry Hall and the burial fees. Cllr. Gilbert had looked at all the surrounding parishes and felt that the disparity in fees needed to be addressed and we needed to ensure we can maintain the Cemeteries to a good standard. Members agreed that in the current climate and considering the financial pressures on people, that any increase should be implemented over a period of time. With this in mind, Cllr. Gilbert proposed that the burial fees from 1st April 2021 should be increased by 20%. This was seconded by Cllr. Bunyan and agreed. Members agreed that the Vestry Hall hire fees should remain unchanged to encourage use. The income for this year was considerably reduced due to the impact of Covid 19.
Following a full discussion on anticipated expenditure, Cllr. Gilbert proposed the draft budget be accepted as presented, this was seconded by Cllr. Kings and agreed. A copy to be filed with these minutes.
6/20: Golford Cemetery:
a) Turning Circle, tarmac repairs and edging:
Significant work was needed to improve the tarmac area in the Cemetery. We had received three quotes ranging from £18,575 to £28,739. It was decided that £5,000 should be earmarked in the budget for this work to be undertaken in the future, it was not considered urgent at the current time. The gates remain locked to deter visitors from driving over the grass and it was hoped that as a result there would be less impact on the tarmac surface. It was agreed to keep the locking of the gates under constant review.
b) Waiver of purchase fees for existing plot:
The Clerk explained that we had received a request to waiver the plot purchase fee for a burial that had taken place in 1924. The great granddaughter of the deceased wanted to mark the area her ancestor was buried. Our regulations state that a plot must be purchased prior to any memorial being erected. It was agreed that permission to erect a memorial on the unpurchased grave be approved on this occasion; normal permit fees would apply.
7/20: St. Dunstan’s Churchyard:
Members agreed that an extension to the current area designated for wilding, was not necessary at the current time. There were no other issues raised.
8/20: Sissinghurst Cemetery:
Quote for Lych Gate repair:
Three quotes ranging from £988.15 to £1,800 had been received, with varying solutions to repair and improve the stability of the structure. After a full discussion and in light of comments made during the site visit in July, Cllr. Gilbert proposed the quote of £988.15 from Glade Joinery be accepted, this was seconded by Cllr. Fairweather and agreed.
9/20: Cranbrook & Sissinghurst War Memorials:
Cranbrook War Memorial hedge:
Members were reminded that the hedge had been heavily pruned in November 2018. A quote of £340 to undertake a repeat pruning had been received. Members agreed that they would like at least one more quote, for comparison purposes, which the Clerk would arrange. It was agreed to delegate the decision on which quote to accept to Cllrs. Gilbert and Fairweather. Cllr. Fairweather also agreed to speak to the owner of the neighbouring property to ask if he would allow the height to be reduced sufficiently, to ensure pruning is more manageable in the future.
10/20: Angley Cottage:
The Clerk advised that although the cottage belongs to the Tomlin Murton Playing Fields Trust, the management of it was the responsibility of this Committee. It was proposed by Cllr. Bunyan that the rent be raised by £20 per calendar month from 1st April 2021, this was seconded by Cllr. Gilbert and agreed. Members acknowledged that the tenants keep the cottage in immaculate condition and provide cover for the caretakers as and when necessary. Comparison with other affordable rental properties in the area may be necessary, prior to the next review.
11/20: Vestry Hall:
The Clerk reported that the roof light in the ladies toilet was leaking. This had been investigated by a local roofing company. They had suggested, that initially they could redo the sealant around the roof light which would cost in the region of £40. If this was not successful, we would need to consider a replacement roof light, which would be much more costly. Members agreed we should try the more economical option first. Cllr. Gilbert suggested the Caretaker be asked to apply some stain block and emulsion to the area afterwards, so any further leakage could be quickly identified.
It had also been reported that several of the window panes in the hall were cracked. The latest appeared to be intentional damage, but it was not clear how it had been done. The Clerk was awaiting a quote from Croft Glass. Members agreed to delegate acceptance of any quote to Cllr. Gilbert. In response to Cllr. Bunyan, the Clerk agreed to specify that the quote should include the painting of the putty following repair.
12/20: Vestry Hall Cottage:
Cllr. Gilbert advised he had completed an inspection earlier in the year and had identified some issues with the wall adjoining Church House. The Clerk agreed to check the deeds to clarify ownership. He was also keen to undertake an internal inspection of the roof space.
The Clerk advised that Policy & Resources would be the correct forum to discuss a rent review as it was part of the Caretakers salary package.
13/20: Information Centre:
The Clerk reported an issue with the staff toilet, it was agreed that she could contact a local plumber to investigate either a repair or replacement.
She had made enquires with the Conservation Architect who had confirmed that if a replacement was necessary, Listed Building Consent would not be required.
14/20: Noticeboards and Shelters:
a) Glazing repairs to bus shelters:
The Clerk reported several panes of glass broken in bus shelters at Swifts View and Woodlands. She would ask Croft Glass to quote on the cost of repair. Dependant on the cost, she would discuss with the Chairman whether it was worth submitting an insurance claim.
b) Cleaning of the bus shelters:
A quote for £60 to clean the bus shelters had been received. It was proposed by Cllr. Bunyan, seconded by Cllr. Gilbert and agreed to accept the quote.
15/20: Benches and Cycle Racks:
A replacement for the ‘Sam Dann’ bench had been sourced at a cost of £330 + VAT including delivery. There would also be a minimal cost to add, for installation. It was proposed by Cllr. Fairweather, seconded by Cllr. Gilbert and agreed to purchase the new bench.
16/20: Red Telephone Kiosks:
Cllr. Fletcher reported that the kiosk at Baker’s Cross had been converted into a book exchange, which was being well received.
17/20: Items for Information:
Cllr. Fletcher advised he was currently in discussion with TWBC regarding the parking spaces on Carriers Road. Negotiation on the possible timing of a break clause is ongoing.