Meeting documents

Parish Partnership Panel
Thursday, 13th June, 2013 7.30 pm

Civic Suite, Gibson Building, Kings Hill, West Malling
PPP 13/009 Minutes
RESOLVED: That the Minutes of the meeting held on 21 February 2013 be approved as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.
PPP 13/010 Update on any action identified in the last Minutes.
The following actions were identified from the last Minutes:

- Minute Number PPP 13/003 - Police Liasion and Minute Number PPP 13/007 - Kent County Council Services Update:

The Democratic Services Officer confirmed that information on the Redeeming Our Communities initiative and the consultation process regarding streetlighting had been emailed to all parish councils.

In response to a concern raised by Borough Green Parish Council relating to the Terms of Reference and submissions for the Parish Partnership Panel agenda, the Chairman reassured Members that parish council involvement was welcomed and was to be encouraged.
PPP 13/011 Tribute - Aylesford Parish Council
Aylesford Parish Council paid tribute to Mr Andrew Flindell, parish clerk, who had sadly passed away.

The Parish Partnership Panel and Aylesford Parish Council offered their sincere condolences to the family and noted that Mr Flindells passion, contribution and commitment to the parish would be greatly missed.
PPP 13/012 Parish Caretaker Scheme
The Chairman of Wittersham Parish Council (Councillor John Rivers) talked about the Parish/Village Caretaker Scheme in which Wittersham Parish Council were participating. The Scheme saw smaller parishes working together in a 'cluster' to share funding resource and undertake minor works, such as grass cutting, litter picking and clearing footpaths in villages.

The process undertaken to establish the Scheme and the things needed before the Scheme could operate were outlined and the information was welcomed by the Panel.

Members recognised the potential benefits of closer working relationships with neighbouring parish councils but also recognised that the Scheme might not be suitable for everyone.

The Chairman suggested that consideration was given to the creation of a 'Task and Finish' working group to review all the options and to see if there was any appetite for a local scheme. The Panel was supportive of this approach.

The Chairman thanked Councillor Rivers for his interesting and informative presentation and noted Wittersham Parish Council's offer of future support and advice.
PPP 13/013 Police Liaison
Chief Inspector Kirby, Borough Commander for Tonbridge and Malling, provided an overview of the achievements made in performance and the neighbourhood policing agenda. Members were advised of a 2% reduction in all crime in Tonbridge and Malling and that nearly 9 out of 10 (88.2%) of victims were satisfied with the overall service provided by Kent Police.

The key strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats were presented and noted by Members.

Particular reference was made to the new way of monitoring and publishing data, with emphasis now on 'victim based crime'.

It was reported that engagement opportunities with local communities would continue to be explored. Kent Police were looking to commission mobile police stations to provide a high visibility contact point to offer reassurance for rural communities.

Parish councils were also encouraged to contact Kent Police if they had any concerns regarding local police visibility. The Panel was reminded that the face of policing was changing with internet presence now very prominent. However, Members were assured that the reduction of crime remained a very important, vital and successful element of police work.

Hildenborough and Wrotham Parish Councils commented that they received an excellent service from Kent Police, with good local communication and visibility.

The Chairman thanked Chief Inspector Kirby for his presentation and reminded the Panel that the Police Crime Commissioner (Mrs Anne Barnes) was due to have her surgery in Tonbridge and Malling on Wednesday 19 June.
PPP 13/014 Criteria for the introduction of cold calling zones
The Chairman of the West Kent Neighbourhood Watch Association, Mr Peter Rolington, explained the criteria for the introduction of cold calling zones.

The main purpose of Cold Calling Zones was to discourage cold callers, like rogue traders and unwelcome sales persons, from specific residential areas in an effort to protect vulnerable people from being targeted. It also helped to prevent doorstep crime.

Local zones had been created in collaboration with Community Safety Partnerships, Neighbourhood Watch Groups and Trading Standards.

Mr Rolington was pleased to report that local schemes had proved very successful with distraction crime now virtually eliminated in these cold calling zones.

The process for setting up a cold calling zone was outlined in the presentation but it was noted that the Neighbourhood Watch was the primary driver in getting these established, usually at the request of residents. Community Safety Partnerships could also offer advice and assistance.

Positive outcomes included residents being more aware of how to deal with cold callers, increased feelings of safety, increased support for vulnerable residents from the community and local agencies and an increased interest in setting up Neighbourhood Watch schemes.

Further information and advice was available from

The Panel thanked Mr Rolington for the useful and informative neighbourhood watch newsletter (E-watch) sent weekly and those parishes not already signed up to receive it were encouraged to do so.

The Chairman thanked Mr Rolington for his useful and informative presentation which had been greatly welcomed by Members.
PPP 13/015 Local Plan Update
The Director of Planning, Housing and Environmental Health updated Members on progress towards a new Local Plan for Tonbridge and Malling, including the commissioning of key parts of the evidence base and the current timetable. The report presented to the Planning and Transportation Advisory Board of 4 June had been circulated to all parish councils for information. It was noted that getting evidence for the new local plan soundly based was of critical importance to the formulation and independent testing by inspectors of the future development strategy for the Borough.

The presentation advised of progress made since May 2012 in preparing an evidence base and responding to the Government's planning reforms.

It also set the scene for a new consultation and engagement strategy, and particularly the role of parish councils. A more detailed event with the parishes was planned for September 2013, on a date to be identified as soon as possible. This would give a more detailed explanation of the Local Plan process and how and when parish councils could get involved; advise of engagement techniques and provide examples of good practice.

It was emphasised that comments and open dialogue with parish councils was welcomed throughout the whole process and dates of sessions would be advised as soon as possible. It was also intended to hold a session in the Autumn on planning and enforcement issues of concern to parishes.

The significance of the duty to co-operate with neighbouring authorities was also noted.

The Director of Planning, Housing and Environmental Health also referred to the recent announcement of the Department for Transport regarding consultation on options for a Lower Thames Crossing. The report presented to the Planning and Transportation Advisory Board of 4 June had been circulated for information and provided more details of the options.

Parish councils were encouraged to make individual representations to the Department for Transport by the consultation deadline of 15 July 2013. It was suggested that the Borough Council be copied into those responses for information.

PPP 13/016 Future Arrangements for Parish Liaison
The Chairman thanked Parish Chairmen and Clerks for attending the recent reception to discuss improving communication and working relationships. This meeting had been very positive and helpful in highlighting areas for improvement, particularly as the Borough Council was keen for parishes to have opportunities for full and open dialogue.

It was noted that greater notification of meeting dates and submission deadlines for agenda items had been requested by parishes and this information had been circulated, together with relevant officer contact details.

The Chairman advised that Kent County Council had recently announced that Locality Boards would finish. However, the Leaders of the Borough Council and County Council would meet to discuss future communication between the different tiers of local government. It was the Borough Council's intention to suggest that future communications be based on the current Parish Partnership Panel, Joint Transportation Board, Local Strategic Partnership and Tonbridge Forum model. With this in mind, the Chairman advised that the Borough Council would formally appoint a parish council representative to the Local Strategic Partnership, in addition to the Kent Association of Local Councils representative, and two parish council members to the Joint Transportation Board.

Parish workshops were confirmed for Local Plan and Parking Enforcement and it was hoped this would give a better working knowledge of what the Borough Council could do.

The Chairman was pleased to report that parishes had signed up to the arrangements for a new Joint Standards Committee and parish councils would also have representatives in the membership.

Finally, there would be continued support for Task and Finish review groups, formed of communities affected by the issues being considered.

Parish councils expressed their appreciation for the progress being made to improve working relationships.

PPP 13/017 Kent County Council Services Update
The Kent County Council Community Engagement Manager reported that the 2013/14 Member Grant scheme had launched on 3 June with a shorter application form and updated guidance and terms of reference. Members were advised to contact their local County Councillor for further information.

The draft Tonbridge and Malling Cycle Strategy was currently out for public consultation, which ended on 30 June 2013. Feedback received from the consultation would shape the final version of the Cycling Strategy and would be presented to the Tonbridge and Malling Joint Transportation Board in September 2013. Comments could be submitted via the Kent County Council website.

Other areas of interest highlighted related to the A20 Statutory Quality Partnership Consultation, which had a response deadline of 15 July 2013; the Kent Lane Rental Scheme and the public consultation on street lighting, which ended on 23 August 2013.

Members' comments and concerns regarding the charge of £2,000 per day for inconvenience caused under the Kent Lane Rental Scheme were noted.

Finally, it was reported that following the County Council elections on 2 May Councillors Sarah Hohler, Peter Homewood, Trudy Dean, Valerie Dagger and Matthew Balfour had been elected to represent the Malling districts. Within the new arrangements Peter Homewood had been made Vice Chairman of the Council, Matthew Balfour Deputy Cabinet Member for Transport and the Environment and Sarah Hohler would Chair the Communities Cabinet Committee.
PPP 13/018 Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council Services Update
An update on recent events and other key points relevant to Tonbridge and Malling was provided by the Director of Finance and Transformation and the Director of Planning, Housing and Environmental Health. The headline messages included:

- Community clean up events

The Panel was reminded of upcoming initiatives such as Bash the Trash. Details had been circulated and were available from Waste Services.

- Welfare Reform update

Members were advised of an increased demand on services and staff due to the growing number of enquiries from residents, many connected to the 'bedroom tax'. These enquiries were over the telephone, via email and face to face. The benefit cap due in mid July would have a further impact on work pressures.

The Panel was reassured that staff were doing their best in extremely difficult circumstances to assist concerned residents.

„X Housing Allocations Scheme

The Director of Planning, Housing and Environmental Health advised that the housing register would be closed for a period in September. This was to enable current housing register applicants to be reassessed for their eligibility to meet new criteria under a new housing allocations scheme. It was noted that a higher priority would now be given to those with a local connection.

Further advice and assistance could be provided by housing services.

The meeting ended at 2110 hours

Attendance Details

Cllr N J Heslop (Chairman), Cllr B J Luker (Vice-Chairman), Cllr Mrs J A Anderson, Cllr J Atkins, Cllr J A L Balcombe, Cllr M A C Balfour, Cllr Mrs J M Bellamy, Cllr D Keeley, Cllr Miss A Moloney, Cllr A G Sayer and Cllr Mrs C J Woodger.
In attendance:
Councillors Baldock, Coffin, D Davis, Mrs Murray, Rhodes and Miss Sergison were also in attendance.

Together with Kent County Councillors Balfour (Malling Rural East), Mrs Dagger (Malling West), Homewood (Malling Rural North) and and representatives from Kent Police, Addington, Birling, Borough Green, Hadlow, Hildenborough, Leybourne, Mereworth, Plaxtol, Stansted, Trottiscliffe, Wateringbury, West Peckham and Wrotham Parish Councils and Snodland Town Council.

Other representatives: Councillor J Rivers (Chairman of Wittersham Parish Council) and Mr P Rolington (Neighbourhood Watch).

Apologies for absence were received from Borough Councillors Parry-Waller and Rogers, County Councillor Mrs Hohler (Malling North) and Kings Hill and Platt Parish Councils.