Agenda and minutes

Special meeting, Parish Partnership Panel - Wednesday, 18th May, 2016 7.30 pm

Venue: Civic Suite, Gibson Building, Kings Hill, West Malling

Contact: Committee Services  Email:

Note: Special meeting 

No. Item

Part 1 - Public

PPP 16/13

Minutes pdf icon PDF 102 KB

To confirm as a correct record the Minutes of the meeting of the Parish Partnership Panel held on 18 February 2016


RESOLVED:   That the Minutes of the meeting held 18 February 2016 be approved as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.


PPP 16/14

Funding Arrangements with Parish Councils - options and consultation pdf icon PDF 15 KB


The Director of Finance and Transformation advised that a six week public consultation on ‘fairer charging in Tonbridge and Malling’ had started and residents, parish councils and other key stakeholders were invited to participate.


Members were shown a short video to explain the concept of fairer charging. This was followed by a presentation focusing on issues relevant to parish councils.


The Borough Council was considering changing the way it charged for the Tonbridge and Malling element of the council tax bill from 2017/18 onwards.  The introduction of a local charge (technically called ‘special expenses’) to pay for local facilities and services provided by the Borough Council, such as local parks, playgrounds, allotments, flower displays, events, cemeteries and churchyards, was being considered.  This would promote fairness for all residents in different parts of the Borough when paying towards the cost of these services, generate savings to offset ongoing reduction in Government funding and protect services. 


It was explained that residents living anywhere within the Borough, other than the town of Tonbridge, paid an extra parish precept for local services such as playgrounds and open spaces provided by the parish/town council.  As Tonbridge was not parished services to these residents were provided and funded by the Borough Council.  However, to provide some equity, the Borough Council paid grants, totalling just over £225,000 to parish councils to help them with the costs of the local services they provided.


Tonbridge and Malling continued to face significant financial challenges due to cuts in Government funding and needed to make savings of £1.8 million over the next four years, whilst protecting the services that the authority provided.  The Council had adopted a Savings and Transformation Strategy to assist with the focusing and delivering of savings from a range of areas.  It was noted that one of the areas being reviewed as part of this process were the grants made to the parish councils.  The Director of Finance and Transformation explained that it would be unfair to simply remove the grants to the parish councils without considering the cost of the local services that the Borough Council provided in Tonbridge.  Members were advised that the local services provided by the Borough Council in Tonbridge totalled some £800,000 and this could be converted into a local charge which, just like a parish precept, could be charged directly to Tonbridge households.


As part of this proposal, the Borough Council was seeking comments via a Public Consultation.  Information could be found on the Borough Council’s website, including the questionnaire, the short video shown at the meeting and other supporting information.  All Members and parish councils were asked to spread the word and encourage residents to participate as all opinions were welcome.   Copies of documents could be provided in a pdf format for placing on parish notice boards or websites.


It was emphasised that all figures used in the presentation were indicative and these would be clarified if the proposal went forward. The deadline for responses was noon on Monday 20  ...  view the full minutes text for item PPP 16/14

PPP 16/15

Planning Enforcement


The report of the Director of Planning, Housing and Environmental Health (tabled at the end of the meeting) responded to an issue raised by the Kent Association of Local Councils (Tonbridge and Malling) regarding communications with parish councils over planning enforcement cases.


Members were advised that investigations into some enforcement cases involved complex evidential work, confidential matters in the context of potential legal actions and required thorough and lengthy investigation.    However, the value of effective communication was recognised and a new update system for parish councils would be implemented by the Development Control Manager.  The intention was to provide regular (fortnightly) updates on enforcement cases where the parish was the ‘complainant’. 


For the moment these updates would focus on those investigations where the parish council had raised the issue.  Members were advised that further questions about the detail of those investigations could be directed to Development Control.  The new system would be monitored for effectiveness.