(1) Local Election and New Appointments
Following the local elections on Thursday 2 May, the Chairman opened the meeting by congratulating and welcoming newly elected and re-elected Borough and Parish Councillors. This was the first meeting of the Panel in the new municipal year.
The recent appointments set out below were noted:
- Leader – Councillor Nicolas Heslop
- Deputy Leader – Councillor Martin Coffin
- Mayor – Councillor Mrs Jill Anderson
- Deputy Mayor – Councillor Roger Roud
- Cabinet Member for Strategic Planning and Infrastructure (Councillor David Lettington)
- Cabinet Member for Street Scene and Environment Services (Councillor Robin Betts)
- Cabinet Member for Community Services (Councillor Mark Rhodes)
- Chairman of Area 2 Planning Committee (Councillor Howard Rogers)
- Chairman of Area 3 Planning Committee (Councillor Dave Davis)
The Chairman thanked the outgoing Chairman of the Kent Association of Local Councils (Tonbridge and Malling), Mr Patrick Thomas, and referred to the good working relationship between the organisation and the Borough Council. This had been greatly appreciated and welcomed. It was hoped that a similar approach would be established with the new Chairman, Mrs Sarah Barker.
The Mayor was invited to address the Panel and she announced that the Civic Service would be held on Sunday 30 June at Hadlow Church and all were welcome to attend. Further details were available from the Mayor’s Office (email: email@example.com) In addition, the Mayor expressed pleasure at her appointment and appreciated the opportunity, especially of meeting the volunteer and community groups who worked tirelessly to help others. In particular, she referred to her recent attendance at the Tonbridge Lions It’s a Knockout event for those with learning difficulties. This had been well attended and greatly enjoyed by everyone. Finally, the Mayor would be pleased to attend any community or parish events and this could be arranged via the Mayor’s Office.
(2) Recent Flooding
Reference was made to the flash flooding which had occurred on Monday (10 June) evening and the devastating impact on a number of residents’ homes, particularly those in Birling, Snodland and Ryarsh. At the current time across the Borough there were 28 verified flooded property reports, including 1 business.
It was reported that on the night of the flooding, the Borough Council had worked closely with KCC Highways and Kent Fire and Rescue Services and had Officers out on site monitoring the situation. Fortunately, an Emergency Rest Centre had not been required.
The following day (Tuesday 11 June) Borough Council Officers had spent the day talking face to face with residents impacted by the flooding and offered advice and support. All flood damaged goods would be collected by the Borough Council free of charge and this information would be circulated to all affected residents.
In the meantime, residents were being referred to the County Council’s Support and Assistance Service and/or Business in the Community for additional guidance. The County Council were also prioritising the clearing of drains and gullies.
Finally, local town and parish councils would be provided with regular updates as past experience had shown that resolving the impacts of flooding could often take a significant amount of time.