The Chairman provided an update on key points relevant to Tonbridge and Malling. The headline messages included:
Christmas Waste Collection:
This year there would be no suspension of the green lidded bin service over the Christmas holiday period. In weeks commencing 26 December and 2 January all refuse and recycling collections would take place just one day later than normal. These collection arrangements, together with handy hints on recycling at Christmas, would be communicated via bin hangers which would be delivered to residents over a two week period starting 5 December, as well as on the website: www.tmbc.gov.uk/waste
Council Tax setting:
The Director of Finance and Transformation had written to all parish councils on 2 November 2016 following the meeting of Full Council advising them of the decisions regarding s136 and Council Tax Reduction grants and the introduction of Special Expenses. In summary, the recommendations outlined at the last meeting of the Parish Partnership Panel, and set out in those Minutes, had been agreed.
Parish precept forms had also been enclosed and should be returned by 27 January 2017.
The tax base for 2017/18 would be prepared in early December and parish councils would be advised of details for their own parished areas as soon as possible thereafter. The Chairman assured Members that this information would be shared at the earliest opportunity as the Borough Council was mindful that parish councils had to set their own precepts.
Finally, further detail relating to the Special Expenses (Fairer Charging) consultation and decision was available on the website at:
Council Tax Reduction Scheme:
An update to the Borough Council’s Council Tax Reduction Scheme for 2017/18 had also been agreed at Full Council on 1 November 2016, details of which were available on the website at:
Business Rates – 2017 Revaluation:
The Valuation Office Agency had now released the new valuations for non-domestic properties which would come into effect from April 2017. If parish councils wanted to check their own valuations, as there had been some changes, details were available on the Gov.uk website: https://www.tax.service.gov.uk/view-my-valuation/search
If there were any queries these should be directed to the Valuation Office.
Local Plan – Update and Consultation:
The Local Plan consultation ended at 1700 hours on Friday 25 November 2016.
Retail Centres outside Tonbridge:
Most of these were now completed with the most recent being in Wateringbury, where a defibrillator was installed, and Plaxtol, where improvements were made to the access to the car parking area. Work continued to progress projects for West Malling and Snodland and both the Cabinet Member for Economic Regeneration and the Economic Regeneration Officer were working closely with both teams.
The Borough Council was also working with Action with Communities in Rural Kent to roll out a new business support programme for village/rural stores. The offer would specifically include one to one guidance and support from a specialist retail advisor on business planning, store layout, product sourcing, networking with other retailers and diversification.
Around 20 stores had been identified for support but general marketing would also be considered to promote the scheme. Further information was available from the Economic Regeneration Officer (Jeremy Whittaker).
There continued to be a good response to the launch of the Borough Council’s online lottery, operating under the name of Hive, with 28 good causes now approved as members. These included a number of sporting clubs, schools and organisations providing mental health, disability and homelessness support services.
The next meeting of the Parish Partnership Panel was scheduled for Thursday 16 February 2017 and would focus on discussions with Southern Water.