Planning and Transportation Cabinet Advisory Board - Monday 4 September 2023, 6:30pm - Start video at 1:24:18 - Tunbridge Wells Borough Council Webcasting

Planning and Transportation Cabinet Advisory Board
Monday, 4th September 2023 at 6:30pm 









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Seat 3 - 0:00:00
a good evening and welcome to this planning and transport Cabinet Advisory Board. Today, the Monday, 4th of September 2023 I am Councillor Steve McMillan, and I'll be cheering this meeting
before we start, please can give you a full attention to the following announcements from the clock
should evening everybody. Thank you Chairman. In the event of the fire alarm ringing continuously, he must immediately evacuate the building at walking pace officers. Will scorch you via the most direct available route, and no one is to use the lift. We will make our way to the fire assembly point by the entrance to the Town Hall Yard, car park, on Munson, Way, once outside to check, will be made to ensure everyone has safely left and no one is to re-enter the building until advise it is safe to do so. This is a public meeting and proceedings are being webcast live online. A recording will also be available for playback on the Council's website shortly afterwards. Any other third party may also record or film meetings unless exempt or confidential information is being considered, but are requested as a courtesy to others to give notice of this to the clock. The Council is not liable for any third party recordings. Can I remind everyone to use their microphones when speaking and turn them off when you're not the red light indicates that the microphone is on any comments that are not recorded for the webcast may not be included in the minutes of the meeting
is very important that the outcomes of the Meeting are clear. At the end of each substantive item, the Chairman will ask whether the matter was agreed in the absence of a clear majority or if the Chairman decides a full vote is desirable. A vote will be taken by a show of hands. Members requesting a recorded vote must do so before the vote is taken. Thank you Chair
for the benefit of the recording, we are going to take a roll call, the club will call your name and, if you are prison, please introduce yourself.
thank you, Chair, Councillor Barrington, Ken
present, thank you, Councillor Brice
present, thank you, Councillor O'Connell, present, thank you, Councillor O'Hara
present, thank you, Councillor Pope
thank you, Councillor Roberts prison, thank you, Councillor Wilmington present. Thank you Councillor McMillan, present. Thank you officers this evening are David Skelly present, thank you and Carlos Hatton
present. Thank you.
Thank you Chair
thank you, members of the Committee should be familiar with the process, but for the benefit of any members of the public who may be watching, I would like to explain a couple of things. Committee members have had their agendas for over a week and have had the opportunity to ask any factual questions of the officers ahead of this meeting. When we come to the substantive items on the agenda this evening, the relevant officer will then set out their report. Registered speakers will then be invited to make their statements. We will then move into member discussion at the end of the debate. I will try to summarise the Committee's view and members should ensure that any proposals or actions are correctly captured

1 Apologies

apologies for absence, do we have any apologies for absence tonight,
thank you, Chair, apologies have been received from Councillors, LB, Barrett and Rogers

2 Declarations of Interests

OK, thank you, OK, or declarations of interest, and does anyone have any declarations of interest to make in items on the agenda today?
yes, I do chairman.
the article on the Kent Highways Partnership service level agreement, through my Kent County Council Members Grant I have supported
that organisation with some monies,
particularly for Albert Road, and for a couple of other sites as well.
thank you noted, thank you very much.
agenda item 3 is to note, if any members of the public, obviously members of the Council, have registered to speak, do we have any such persons
now we don't care.
so now we move to a chip and item 4, which is to approve the minutes of the meeting held on the 10th of July 2023, the only issue relating to the minutes that can be discussed is their accuracy, are there any amendments to these minutes from anybody?
I'll take that as a no, so are we agreed motion carried.
motion carried.
agenda item 5 we will now consider the Forward Plan as if the 14th of August 2023.
I think all Members have been given copies of their agenda of the full plan, do members have any comments?
so no Members have any comments on the Forward Plan as it currently stands.
I might have one I'd like to, I'd like to understand
when we are, as a Council, very very focused on the financial position of whatsoever of
what we tried to do here, that why the wider John Street car park charging has not come into line with other car parking or car parking.
situations or pots.
decisions that we've had to take in the past, it doesn't seem to me that we have taken that that decision and that decision should be referred to tick to whether it be Councillor Hall or Rutland, but I think a decision needs to be made about charging that John to the John Hall car park
sorry which car park at,
John St John Street.
the forward plan are items just to explain the forward plan are items that are notified as progressing towards Cabinet, and any item that goes to Cabinet must must appear on the Forward Plan, I'm not aware of John Street s car park
and it would obviously be down to the officers responsible to notify me to put things on the Forward Plan so in these in this instance the best I I best I can offer is to go back to the relevant officers and and find out what the position is and to let you know but, it, it may be that it's that it's just not there yet and that it's coming forward, but it decisions on what goes on the Forward Plan are outside my control,
I'm purely the recipient of items that go on them Forward Plan rather than the sort of the starter,
so I'm I'm reliant on officers to to give me information on that so,
I can certainly find out for you and let you know afterwards would that be
can I ask why, when we as a Committee make a recommendation that is put onto the Forward Plan?
sorry, can I just want to come in, I probably would come in the under fees and charges setting for 2024 25, but perhaps,
but that's that's not due to go to Cabinet until November.
it is probably a detailed item within that right,
OK, it could where it could very well being contained within another report, but if you'd like me to find out for you, then I'm happy to do so I can thank you though we go.
OK, so, subject to the campsite we've just had a all we agreed about, the forward plan is the motion carried.

3 Notification of Persons Registered to Speak

4 Minutes of the meeting dated 10 July 2023

5 Forward Plan as at 14 August 2023

6 Biodiversity Action Plan and Biodiversity Net Gain

thank you very much are going on to 1.2 agenda item 6, the biodiversity action plan and biodiversity net GI, do we have any registered speakers?
so I will now invite David Scully the landscaping biodiversity officer to introduce his report.
thank you Chair,
I'm pleased to be here to speak before you today on this important matter, but also this number of members, I'd haven't met before, and so just to introduce myself on the landscape and biodiversity officer at the Council are and are working in development management as well as policy and oversee work or people like the Ken Harwood Partnership mentioned earlier, so if you have any issues in relation to that please do come and talk to me or or send me an e-mail about questions. this paper is in relation to the Council's actions to comply with the Environment Act 2021, you may recall that the government introduced the 25 year Environment Strategy back in 2018, setting out their attention is for biodiversity, including biodiversity net gain, and the Council adopted a de facto biodiversity net gain policy in 2019.
and within the draft local plan we also had a policy for 10% biodiversity net gain.
the but Rahman Bill received Royal Assent in the 9th November 2021, stating that 10% biodiversity net gain would become mandatory for all development from November 2023.
and provided some information on the what's required in terms of a biodiversity report,
this sorry to say that the guidance and further legislation required under the Environment Act has been very slow materialising. We've been waiting for it for a number of years and certainly months we've been expecting stuff but it has come through very, very slowly we're still writing the final piece of loads of secondary legislation,
and it's been confirmed that net gain will commence from November 2021, not on a specific date yet, but that will be deferred for smaller sites in in in April, the means of calculating biodiversity through what is called a metric, the Defra, Mattrick,
and still there some discussion over the final version of that metric and some of the principles involved, but most of the detail is out there.
hours, some final elements about whether it's on site off-site, what on-site or off-site means and about certain habitats, and so on.
the government always promised there will be some additional funding to do with biodiversity net gain, but it has never been clear on what that level of funding is.
we've had two rounds of grants that came very late, some re literally towards the end of the year, and we are asked to then justify what we'd done during the year, even though we didn't know any money was coming
and we've now got our third round which we're trying to work our way through we've accepted the grant and we're working out how we're going to apply and try and claim that that money
show like all councils have been trying to plan for an unknown level of work
using a system that's still not completely clear.
and with an unknown level of funding really going forward, but we were doing our best, we've been trying to be very proactive,
not many councils have been applying net gain up until now, some are starting from scratch, so we feel that we are.
ahead of the game in some respects
this report covers three pieces of work.
firstly, about carrying on with the Council's interim biodiversity net gain project, which was set up in 2019, and the reason for setting up that project was that we could start asking developers for net gain and if they couldn't meet it we had a scheme that would provide it if that was if that was necessary shows about carrying on with that project but then also making sure it complies with any legislation and guidance that comes out for mandatory net gain in November
so that we can carry on offering that that net gain,
the second part is to prepare for and delivery deliver the mandatory net gain Nascar. There's gonna be extra
requirements there will come in in November over and above what we're doing at the moment be much more rigorous and what we've been doing so far in terms of compliance and monitoring, and we need to prepare for that in terms of our internal procedures and policies to make sure we're fully compliant so we're doing some work on that internally.
the third part is a new duty, we've always had a biodiversity duty under the MNEK Act since 2006 as the natural Environment and Rural Communities Act, but it has been strengthened by the Environment Act, so we now have to set out formally in a report what we are going to do for biodiversity
and monitor that and report on it over a period of time so it's a compulsory requirement. and a biodiversity net gain element is a compulsory part of that work,
we've got some recommendations for you in the report, I'll come on to the amendments to that shortly, but essentially the first recommendation
is that we continue with the existing biodiversity net gain project on Council woodland.
and we then made the ENF efforts to register the land for biodiversity net gain credits under the Environment Act 2021, so it can carry on being used for that the work essentially is about providing a really robust level of evidences
then won't be subject to challenge by developers and where it can be absolutely sure about the the amount of money will be charged and so on.
the second recommendation is that
we continue to prepare for the mandatory biodiversity net gain
part of that is continuing to develop the guidance procedures that we need internally.
We also need to collate information and work out how we're gonna, monitor the biodiversity now going through things like our GPS systems and capturing it from planning applications, and the third part is to a point KCC, ecology, under a service level agreement, to assist the Council in reviewing the information submitted as biodiversity net gain at the moment. I do that it is quite difficult because it's getting more and more complex and technical and also have a limited capacity to be able to do that.
It is having an impact on other work that I do, and it's like your site to be more rigorous and also require monitoring in a different way, which I don't have the capacity or even the skills necessary to do so, that's why we were looking to do that on a talk a little bit more about that.
the third recommendation is to embark on the biodiversity reports, the compulsory report and there is a target date for that 4 January, the first 2024, where we are supposed to set out and what's described as our first considerations. There's not a lot more detail the than that at the moment and then there'd be if, as as further timescales about when that report needs to be confirmed and then reviewed and and and and so on
show there's some changes to the recommendations which kind of bad principally through advice from legal services, after the report was published we did have advice from legal before the report was published, but I think there was some further discussions and these points were picked up just to be absolutely clear about the way going forward, so you've been set been passed round the advisory recommendations, and the words in red are tracked changes
to show you what's being added to the recommendations and essentially it's about being clear about the way forward and how that's going to be delivered with daily contracts and one and so on.
show, I hope, that clear in terms of what we're trying to do,
there is a say.
the essence of this, you'll see from the from the legal cost-cutting issues, is this we need to do this work to comply with legislation, and we also want to be in a position that we're not holding up development simply because we can't provide the net gain,
you'll see this some caveats in the
report in that we can't.
to developers where they obtain a net gain from there may be ways we can encourage, not going to be taken up, but it could be an open market as of November,
and people will be able to offer their land
for various prices subject to meeting the criteria by them by the government.
I anticipate, you may well ask some questions because it is a sort of complex area and so on, and I'm happy to answer those for you.
thanks very much David, I am sure there are some new Members with some questions would even like to stop.
Councillor Ross, why can't we do it on the Commons?
the any land can be put forward for biodiversity net GI, so any landowner can put forward for biodiverse negating the Commons, conservatives can put their land forward,
private landowners, farmers and people who are already doing that
at KOs and discussions with people who are preparing their land for biodiversity net gain
I've discussed it with the Commons Conservatives about how they might go about doing that.
there is quite a costly exercise because you have to first of all undertake a baseline survey.
and establish what the existing biodiversity units are and apply the metric and then work out how you're going to achieve the uplift in biodiversity.
we were able to do that without woodland because we were at a
quite a lot of confidence that there was some easy gains to be made and because it wasn't then pod legislation.
we were able to draft the project and the section minus shakes accordingly, to have been able to use the section 1 0 6 money to carry out that work and prepare for biodiversity net gain.
one is through a section 1 shakes, sorry, we can't do that on other people's land unless they're gonna want to be part of the section 1 0 6 and also the need to be able to guarantee that the work
will be carried out for 30 years at least.
so going forward, there's no reason why the the Commons conservatives.
prepare for biodiversity net gain, but it will be costly and is also at risk, because.
we cannot
prescribe where developers we use the net gain credits from,
we can only try and encourage and use some policy requirements which we were working on
the money that's been collected so far for biodiversity, net gain, which is around about 58,000 pounds,
must be spent, obviously in strict accordance with whatever's written down in a section 106 agreement, and that Section 106 agreement specifies the project as the council's interim biodiversity net gain project, as set out in 2019.
the further money which may come forward is development which has been approved, there is a signed Section 1 0 6 but it hasn't yet commenced, and that's quite a lot more money,
but even if all that money comes in, that'll only give us 6,000 pounds a year to over the 30 years to maintain that biodiversity net gain, so there'll be a quite a lot of capsule and investment upfront and then it'd be spread out over a longer period of time.
also, the difficulty increases with other size, particularly some of our parks because of the amount of access is very hard when there is a lot of amenity pressure on sides to get the uplift in net gain, so you may well be able to improve it in terms of biodiversity but whether that would meet the ferry specific condition assessments in the metric that would boost the net gain and give you those extra credits is quite a challenge when you're under a lot of.
amenity, pressure and usage, and the other issue is that the work that you do must be genuinely additional to something that is not already occurring.
so if you are already mandated and have a clear objective or requirement to maintain the site for biodiversity, it'd be very hard to claim the additionality
we are able to do that with a woodland, because the woodland has been primarily managed for forestry,
which does require biodiversity but not to the same level that we're trying to take you through for the biodiversity net gain project.
but other sites could be considered.
it's all new territory and people are learning and experimenting and people are,
you know, some people have taken a big chance on it by developing sites and some people are, we don't know quite how it's going to work out to be honest
and we still haven't got the final legislation.
I take the point, this is a difficult and complicated process.
and I note that you say in the report some way that you've no idea, how much money is gonna be coming, how it's going to work, what the criteria will be, the whole list of ifs and risks, as it were, so I type very much take that point and we've never been here before.
I don't see why we're going through this here and these bits of land, this is the 30 year contract, these Les, these forests are owned by the Council and run for forestry purposes,
although we chopped down the trees to sell them and added there's an income from them.
but we can't we can't if we decide to sell these forests, we can't do that for 30 years if we enter into this, so that strikes me as being quite a big restriction on future councils, who may well be elected when we're all
dead and gone most of us
because we've got this committee Convener, sorry, sorry, Joe,
and this is quite a big commitment for 30 years, tying the hands of future councillors on some pieces of land that are currently, as of today, held specifically for the purposes of as a financial investment as a financial asset, and we can't do anything with them for 30 years and we add another Council makes you turn around in a few years' time and say,
there has got a scrappy bit of land over the other side of Hawkenbury that currently seems to be used by nobody, except for children on mountain bikes we can sell it for a million quid
that would make a big hole in.
speaking as those of us around the table here who have been scarred by the issue of car parking charges to raise 80,000 quid to selling a bit of land that nobody wants a scrappy bit of forest that nobody visits, but some kids are mountain, but
we won't be able to sell that for 30 years and I'm not sure
and I don't know, but there are people here who've got much more experienced than me if this is a producer eras, but if this is a responsible thing to do from a financial point of view, I'm sure you'll have comments on this, so I'm doubtful that we should enter into this on the scrappy bits of land that nobody is interested in. I would also say I very much take your point that this is all new ground
but if you were to go with the Commons Conservatives, as you will know, you will find them welcoming you with open arms at all sorts of things that you could do on the comments, and the comments will be there forever. I mean, there's none of this 30 year business, they're gonna be, they've been there for donkey's years and they will be there for donkey's use in future,
I have my doubts about the whole thing I think.
so firstly I would say this report is not about the future management or the ownership of the woodlands. The woodlands were reviewed back in 2016 as part of the asset disposal programme and members decided to retain the woodlands. Secondly, the 2019 report to Cabinet was specifically about this project and the Section 106 agreements signed subsequent and then have all tighten Council decisions about this woodland. I would also say this woodland is not unimportant. The reason that Members have kept is because it is important to the local community as ancient woodland is a local wildlife site. It provides a great deal of amenity it is also part of a much more strategic group of woodlands that provide
ecosystem services across a large part of the borough, extending from the east to Tunbridge Wells all the way to Tonbridge in terms of.
things like it's carbon sequestration or flood mitigation, aquifer protection areas and so forth, but particularly about a woodland biodiversity community. So it is an important piece of woodland and, as part of the reason the Council decided to keep it whenever it's been looked at, but also because of the services it provides to the community, and I say the Council has been very much aware of that in the decisions it has made in 2016 and 2019 and through the subsequent planning applications. So it's not something which has just come out of the blue or is unlikely, and also the Council has committed to that taking that money, if the Council were not to proceed with this project on these woodlands, which would be subject to a separate decision or portfolio holding decision, as always is through Section 106 money and that money would have to be returned to the developers. It is outside those agreements, and that would call into question the applications that were made on the basis that they would provide a 10% gain in biodiversity, so there are a number of difficulties that I think going forward, Shirley and say
there is a lot of potential per 10 year potentially potential.
we don't know quite what the overall potential will be, but the Council should look at other opportunities and other size to provide a broad range of habitats, but this is about biodiversity, net gain
is not about community,
it's not about access or managing sites which people use for amenity per se, it is about it's got to deliver on biodiversity and so it has to be the size which can deliver the best biodiversity, so the the is not.
the the the comments can't do that, but it's up to the landowner, as the comments can serve to put the land forward and do the work necessary and prove that it can deliver net gain and we do work with the Commons conservators
consistently on these issues say we would advise them on biodiversity net gain quite recently I think that as not the first time I've had those discussions,
I've just written a portfolio report that's been approved to pass over 50,000 pounds worth of section 1 0 6 monies the Commons Conservatives
and that we know we're doing all the time.
Carlos Vela says yeah, thank you Chair, I think one of the other things, sort of marry up with this particular issue is that
without the biodiversity not getting projects, you wouldn't get these sites coming forward which are important for housing delivery, so as Scottie's set out already. it is not down to the council to to
sort of mandate where this biodiversity net gain comes forward, so developers can do it elsewhere, but it's more problematic if there isn't site available. So the Council has been very proactive in providing its land, as Mrs. Kelly set out in terms of its decision-making in the past about protection of this woodland and in 2019 declaring a biodiversity emergency as well. So it is a very important matter,
but this also allows for housing to come forward and, importantly, affordable housing. So without this site and other biodiversity net gain size is quite difficult to bring forward sons, some housing sites as well. So it's important to to relate the two together,
I dare I just remind me. Also since 2019,
when we've approached developers about off-site provision, we've always said to them that is up to them where they provide it, so anybody could have come forward and provided it if they've managed to meet the necessary criteria and secured at land in net gain, and our offer was a simple offer that they could use if they didn't want to do that and all of them are taken up our offer rather than going elsewhere to other other locations
Councillor Mowat, thank you,
thank you, Chairman, and if I could support Mr Scully's explanation that that I was certainly around when
the woodland came under scrutiny and I was grateful for the fact that we made the decision that we did.
arrest and and a Councillor for Pembury, you only have to go down there and see that that piece of woodland immediately abuts the recreation ground, and it provides eight ways for huge amounts of activity overflying from the recreation ground, we mentioned about mountain bike, some pieces of land etc and are fully supportive of any activity that areas is the lungs of Pembury, if you like and if you go down and see the work.
which is it another
report in this paper, but the Kent High Ball Trust
the activities down there and you got sweet chestnut coppicing as well, and they've open up vast areas so that the heathland can actually come through after years of being overgrown, and it really is one of the jewels in Turnbull's crown as you rightly say Mr Scotland. that and I fully support,
this report and recommendations that and what Mr Hoeness said as well, about a strong rationale for why we need to continue, I think, with this. particularly arrangement that we have at the moment, so I would like to convey my thanks to the officers, thank you.
I apologise to you to thought I'd have done this enough to then the procedure by now yeah I I thought the
the report made a
really interesting reading, thank you, thank you for your area.
I have a question on the KCC side of things 0 0 on, I guess its recommendation to.
it seems like we have been doing Tunbridge Wells Borough Council has been doing an excellent job of are excellent work around this area of biodiversity net gain
Europe is the extreme notable belter you've been working hard, I think breeding from your report you've been confiding into the central government guidance on this this area of work more generally which, all kind of leads me to think Well, maybe there is.
an argument for keeping this work, that's been doing fantastically well in house at the moment, keeping that in house and using the money that potentially we don't know how much and in what format is going to be, but keeping the money that we get to support the work that you are already doing here.
rather than passing that on to to Kent County Council and one and maybe losing some of that that excellent work that we've been, we've been doing at the moment, so I just add I'm sorry that's a statement rather than a question, so let me let me let me put that as a question
you've obviously suggested in your report that you would that this is your recommendation and I just want to understand a bit more why that is because from reading it and from reading the context and the background, it's difficult for me to understand why we wouldn't just keep keep the money ourselves and do it ourselves
thank you as a good question and I'd neglected to say also there's gonna be a slight change in the report, at think it's 3.7, where we Pacific we say of this Karen Grant, we're gonna give 15,000 KCC one and the rest of ourselves that's not quite true. Basically we're going to, if necessary, give some to KCC and use of EST ourselves for this year, but there's still the plan is that future years the grant will be available to the services of KCC.
So there's recommendation saying that I've just removed the actual figures because we don't know what they're going to be at,
but there's two reasons for there are several reasons for looking into using KCC ecology add firstly we just don't have the capacity we would have to try and employ somebody else,
I'm a chartered landscape architect I'd picked up the biodiversity roles over the years and I've I do have a certificate and biodiversity recording species surveys from Birmingham University
I also held a licence for bat surveying and also been doing dormice, surveying and so forth over the years.
but in terms of some of the work that's needed to properly implement and monitor biodiversity net gain, I do not have this foursquare skills
we would need to get some additional skills in
and with 15,000 potentially stood out, know exactly what that amount is were all we were told that provisionally, but we don't know this could be very hard to actually recruit.
and, in addition, recruiting an individual or part-time person to a post like that is quite difficult because it would be a very specific role to do one thing, and that's generally not what oncologists do.
out of all the authorities in Kent ourselves and Dover are the only two which don't actually use KCC services at the moment,
that's been, because I've been fulfilling that role, I do talk to them a lot, I work with them a lot to work with him on Kent nature partnership a lot and so we have some benefit of that relationship.
but in terms of going forward with the mandatory biodiversity net gain that are gonna be extra controls and requirements as well in terms of monitoring, particularly which needs a different level of survey skills, particularly around habitats, which again I don't have show,
we think there's a lot of benefit in a joined-up service, so we get consistency and clarity across the county because we'll also be working within the framework of the local nature recovery strategy, which is a UK-wide strategy and previously was steering net gain towards delivering on that strategy as well.
we don't know quite how relationship with Casey, she is going to work out, and that's why it's been left open to be negotiated by the head of service. It may be. We only need a small amount of their input or we may need to use all the funding to get their input, and we're gonna have to work on that agreement just because we've said we're going to enter into a service level agreement, we haven't said what level of service that is we could withdraw from it any time we could say we weren't going to give a portion I might still do some of it, we've got to see what the demand is, what the quality of the submissions is, what the legislation says we can and can't do to to work that through so it's a little bit of uncertainty there, and that's why we left it free to have to be negotiated and we will probably have to come back to Members in her future day to see how things are going and work that through, but I hope
and also part of the recommendations, because it comes through the Planning Advisory Service about having teams of people to do net gain because they can share experiences, taken, work together on solutions and so on, and I've been much more a complete set of professionals.
Sorry, I hope you would trust us on this to
seek this relationship, and I want to do it now again. There's no guarantee cases will even have the capacity if they can't build the capacity we may still have to be doing it ourselves, so we, but we think it's important to get out foot in the door now and build that relationship and work on it as a Kent wide scheme.
But yes, well, we were not, we've never have commissioned them and just pass something over on in that area of work, and we won't do that in the future. We'd be building a relationship and using them to our best advantage and so on, and maintaining control of what we do.
thank you,
thank you, Chair
yeah, I think just to reiterate, I would lots of commend Mr Scotland work that he's done today it's been invaluable
not only on the biodiversity action plan, biodiversity, net gain project but also his involvement across all the different partnerships which are outlined in the in the report is yeah I can't commend him enough to be honest, but there's there's only a certain amount of resource that we have in order to do this work. I absolutely appreciate what you're saying about that. unknown factor with KCC in terms of them undertaking this work,
as Ms Sky set out, all of the other authorities bar us ourselves and Dover are already committed to give the the new burdens grant from Defra to KCC to undertake this work, it is technical advisory service as part of the planning process and we do get that advice on other matters as well archaeology Highways, things like that from KCC so similar to that.
but the the seller, as is kind of something for us, to negotiate with them, and it can have a review clause in it, and we would expect it to certainly our offer a 12 month period to see how it is going, how much of the work is being undertaken by them, how much is SANG being set for us to do in terms of the draft SLA that's been appended to this report? There is another inclusion in there that the ecologists,
biodiversity officers employed by KCC would actually be able to undertake training for the staff here as well, so as that additional bonus, the maybe offer a 12 month or longer period. The training is done to allow us to onsite work ourselves.
so whilst that sort of that new burdens funding from Defra is a bit unknown, we are in a bit of a case of we don't really have the resource to do ourselves from November. we can test it as part of the SLA for the for the first 12 months and then review it after that period.
I got one comment that I think it's really great that Tunbridge Wells Borough Council adopted the 10% net gain target in 2019, so that was a really good news, I've got questions bit of an odd question, the some BMG units is there a competitive market in them, so if a landowner wanted particularly to participate can the units be priced differently to attract developers?
yes, sir, I assure I was alluding to earlier in terms of a market, because
trying to set the prior shows that it is attractive developers as part of the the work we're doing for our continued work, we need to be clear that
we're charging enough.
but equally you know, we don't want to be charging too much, because then nobody who use it,
we think it's about right, there's a lot of talk about
being in the region of
25,000 per unit, but we'll have to say
so we will probably be in the region of about 2022 I would imagine but we're gonna test that. year,
I or my question, is, has there been any feedback from the service and from other services who make use of them, KCC services, and second, that is there is this KCC so have a monopoly over this in terms of the rightness that we saw the other borrowers that perhaps we've not considered button Renwick or we have sought,
yes, I, I've spoken to a number of the other authorities, a huge Katy she and they're very happy, sorry, I have been working with Katy quite closely for the last four or five years in terms of looking at.
biodiversity net gain when it was first mooted the work we've been doing. we have a task and finish group in the Kent nature partnership, which is run by KCC to to look at net gain
and there isn't a new partnership to do with the local recovery local nature recovery strategy
it's better, I think, than using
any commercial arm at the moment, because
there would be a too much of a conflict of interest.
and so there's a limited the number of people we could use. We have been using Kent Wildlife Trust who have a sort of consultancy arm, but they've been struggling to to meet the workload and also the level of work. We need it as well, so that's been difficult,
so as Carlos said, you know, there'd be a review period, so if we were unhappy with the service in any way we can seek other options, but at this stage, particularly where the funding is uncertain and we can't commit to somebody really long term KCC seem willing to embark on this journey with us and with all the other local planning authorities,
and so we are grateful for that in many ways, because otherwise we might need to employ somebody which would know whether we could afford them in the long term or commit to a contract with a commercial arm which again we might not be able to commit to and they may not be interested. So I think is the best option at the moment by far
thank you.
I can help with a couple of questions, so I back to the point about the the commercially savvy, the the especially I understand the point about. We don't know the funding, but TW BCS is very focused on being a green green council and will bring that back to the point that I should have made greater. We started earlier in this process,
I am somewhat concerned. This is personally I'm presumed somewhat concerned. You've given me some confidence in what you said today, but I am somewhat concerned about KCC's delivery, especially if they're doing it across as such a big county in their ability to deliver the services that we require specifically for DW MBC, because what we require is different to properly what they need in Dover or what they need in other parts of the county. And so, whilst I understand the point about the could we afford, it could be not and we haven't made, the point would be if we are committed to being a Green Council, then that should be a priority. As Miu Miu more, and we should find the money somehow,
maybe the expenses monitor, rather than it services or whatever it might be, but we need to find the money because it is very important for the for the vote for us and for it for our future.
the loud, I do understand that and.
that is why we've kept our service in-house so far in terms of biodiversity and landscape, and we are still going to do that what? Carlos explained earlier was that this is a technical exercise, we can ask them to do in terms of reviewing the planning application, and we do that with experience and its viability report. and so on movement, you know with all sorts of little technical reports like KC archeology show
he said at a very specific task they're being given rather than they're not advising this generally on biodiversity and they're nocturnal, and that's what we should be doing percentages and not telling us where we should put it
they're just reviewing the technical elements of the was called the biodiversity net game plan that gets submitted with the planning application to check the surveys are correct, the data is correct and all the technical elements to go into the metric are done correctly and that's a very technical exercise
OK so there should be clear whilst will be controllable with Westphal being at all were what we'd been doing, this is a technical exercise almost confirming what's been what's going on and out in our area.
yeah, so I think the in terms of the
the the Council's previous decisions you like, declaring climate biodiversity emergency, was really important. In 2019, the Local Plan has progressed to a stage of examination. Now has got to set policy, and they're requiring biodiversity net gain, which complies with national policy as well, so that kind of direction of travel about the importance of what biodiversity is within our own control, and that's what we're trying to implement, as Mrs. Kelly set out, is very much technical exercise of when a planning application comes into. It says lots, and lots of different documents and KCC would be evaluating some of that information on our behalf, rather than setting the direction of travel for us
a separate question, David.
in terms of it, you said in November 23, it becomes a bit of a free-for-all in terms of
when we can, I can you just be a bit clearer on what that would actually means.
in terms of guys, so I wish I could be a bit clearer about what the government retains, I'm trying to keep up with all the staff that has been
submitted, nor the consultation so stopped, but it is quite difficult and again KCC have been very helpful and that even though we haven't been part of commissioning a one officer to prepare for net gain they share all that information with it and so they've been monitoring and so on and that's been really helpful.
but in terms of the free for all, it is understood as from November,
any landowner can register the land for biodiversity net gain.
Quite the details of that process is not entirely clear, but they would then be expected to provide all the information in terms of the surveys and the metric calculations about the baseline units they have and what gain units they are offering and at what price
and say it will be a free market show it will be provided you're registered in the government's scheme. The developer can use those credits if he's shown he's purchased them and secured them through a legal agreement to deliver his planning. His development
where there is no.
other option available for offsetting any anywhere within the Borough or elsewhere a developer can buy a government credit,
the government's
units are set at a very very high price to discourage that, so it's expected
that mostly N off-site provision will be relatively local, I, the borough or the county
thank you for that, as though to be clear, but as has happened previously, is we've been put with the money that we receive, we've provided those we've provided this opportunity going forward, anybody can provide those opportunities and the developers are glad that the developer will be allowed to choose which one he decides to use as long as it's registered with the government et cetera.
and I said, By the way, I also want to say thank you to the that I think it was an excellent report and thank you for your hard work, really, it really is a major piece of work, either constantly whether fully for the Council, okay, Members, any more questions before I say
theoretically, it's possible for someone.
we want to build something in Tunbridge Wells and they need to buy these assets these units
and is a free market in these, and there's nothing to stop them paying 10 quid and giving it to someone in Scotland them are right and understanding that.
not quite right,
within the metric, there is inducements to be local and fit within a strategy such as a local nature of risk strategy, one of the
inputs into the metric will penalise developers for not doing something outside of a strategy and further away, so that they would have to provide more units or provide more money that all the schemes must be registered with the government and be a bona fide scheme, and it must be secured under a legal agreement or a conservation covenant.
and also there's some trading rules within them, the metric as well, so you can't.
lose a high quality habitat
like lowland meadow,
and replace it with just ordinary menaced grass, so there's all sorts of ways of is
a device to encourage and.
incentivise developers to provide a locally, through an approved scheme, that well recognised.
Councillor Wellington,
thank you,
just this is this is really just asking for your personal view, it sounds like to meet the barriers for any organisation, be that a
I am a local authority, Commons Conservatives or indeed private Llandovery the barrier to get set up to be able to
themselves all these credits, essentially is quite high requires, I think, you touched on quite high level of technical expertise, so
I'm sorry I've got one of Murdoch's statement. it's really a question, can can you please speak to the the the difficulty of getting up to the standard and whether or not it's likely that many people within the borough other than TW PC with the support KCC are gonna be able to like the likely to be able to get to that level?
yes, it's gonna be interesting to say I've been contacted by at least three landowners over the last year or two
saying I have land available, do we want to buy, have contacted by Horsham District Council this morning, saying they're interested in buying land for biodiversity net gain, what should they do and can now give him any advice
and so there is a bit of unknown there still. the difficulty, as you will have to do the survey which is quite detailed and you will have to analyze it through the metric and set out exactly what you're going to do in order to achieve a net gain, and so every habitat has a condition assessment with different scores and you have to show how each of those scores will be changed through the work that you do and be very precise about it. So there's quite a lot of work, so it's a lot of upfront money if you're not going to be able to sell anything so there is a risk there shows people who are prepared to take the risk
any further questions.
well, it's sort of a question and a comment, KCC ecology I presume using them gives us access to a wider range of expertise than if you recruited one person to do it part time for Tunbridge Wells Borough Council and also cover if you recruit one person, then they leave. you've got a problem, whereas hopefully they've got a reasonable sized team is that right?
that is exactly the point, and thank you for putting it so well, I wish I'd said it like that earlier
because, yes, the training, the the side, the the the the the level of staff, you get that from the top right down to the bottom to the different things, the expertise experiences I will have and a covering of holidays and so on yes much better, thank you, thank you.
Councillor Coupar
it's back to the sort of training piece which you mentioned a bit earlier about KCC coming in, to give training,
assuming that it shows you, that's really providing the service internally right now, would they just be training you?
now there is a much greater move, we need to move towards training officers generally in development management, but also training members and also with biodiversity, training, other services as well, so there's a lot of apps getting, I think it's needed across the board really, and it is primarily just a lack of resources means we haven't been able to do that as much as we would like.
sorry, did you?
yes, sir, for long question and to that.
while we welcome some of the borough councils as well. to borrow a story that a Town Council has been considered as part of that potential training, I'm just thinking mobile software comments in the level of government grant that we cover over there as well.
yes, we do try with parish briefings and so on, to do that and which I think we did have a session on biodiversity, not that long ago.
that is something we need to keep doing, and certainly I met with
the Pembury Parish Council about some of the work we were doing not so long ago,
we were always interested to hear from parish councils and parish councillors, either through myself or through the Ken Hywel Partnership, to assist with work like this and training but it's very good point we ought to and I think also the biodiversity duty will be a thing where we are going to have to contact everybody and get everybody's input to that kind of piece of work, so that's something where we will pick up on that more thank you.
as the right.
I very much tight Councillor Burns and King's point about use of these things, particularly in Pembury, but I noticed in the 2 Hill summary.
in Pembury, woods there are mountain bike jumps that have been constructed, their needs have been removed, as per the client instructions
will this scheme restrict access that is currently there?
to residents of the borough.
no, it won't accesses gonna be a part of any work we do to try and make sure that it is maintained.
it is not the purpose of the net gain to
facilitate additional access, but in any woodland or amenity or public access land around or develop around.
existing towns and villages.
We always have to deal with these issues is a constant thing. I mean we were responsible for a number of sides as a local authority and we have things. No unauthorised work, unauthorised camps, horses all sorts. It's a constant thing, something we have to deal with,
and that issue particularly is being dealt with.
There's some negotiations with the local community about how that can be dealt with and controlled and to stop people actually building and digging holes and jumps, and so that the site doesn't deteriorate. But the work we've done in terms of a baseline already understands that Karen Hughes and we're trying to improve it in terms of biodiversity. Over and above that
but elsewhere it says there's a licence to be granted to provide mountain biking Eden Pembrey Woods.
that, as far as I'm set out, I am not responsible for the actual day to day management was, but my understanding from Peter, every is what he's trying to do is agree a licence with somebody so that the works are self policing and so therefore, if they don't look after it properly, he can stop them if he wants to, rather than letting a use, continue and unbridled.
any further questions.
OK, so thank you very much indeed, David and I said we're now open for discussion among Members debate, has anybody got any comments or if anybody wanted us anything or how we discuss them?
Councillor Rogers.
I would just like to
thank Mr Davis Scully for a very comprehensive report and
his knowledge and appreciation of the subject matter is an outstanding and you've clearly outlined
the complexity in the process, and I can't see any issues has been debated
quite strongly on on some questions in that, but I, I think you've done an outstanding job and I can't see anything while we will recommend any of that for thank you very much for your time and being here in answering the question.
thank you and thanks again for the reports as it has a very interesting tweet and and and I certainly learned a lot about something I knew very little about 400 always good,
don't want to speak on behalf of of of all other councillors but listening to the to the previous questions it feels like many of us came in with some level of concern about the relationship that we're looking to build with KCC and thank you both Ann Carlos and David for for explaining that in more detail.
it's certainly important when you explained about the fact that this is something that we're gonna be reviewing in
12 months, and it's not just going to be our sort of handing over our responsibilities and what we're doing wholesale that that filled me with a lot of encouragement.
I'm ready, I'm I'm unspeaking just to say that I, I hope we keep that that mindset in mind and obviously think carefully about what what we can do more work KCC, needs to do and of course see how the relationship is going in 12 months' time because I think that is really important and it's important mostly because we've all we have done some fantastic work in the borough.
and you know I want to see the recognition, goat where where it belongs, and also for us to continue doing the good work that we are doing here, so
thank you, Councillor Wellington, I actually I agree with you right that's what probably met my mother, my biggest concerns is
KCC delivery because obviously there have been, I think. every Member here has probably been troubled by issues within KCC that have affected us, and there there would be the ability or lack of ability to deliver on certain situations, so too sought to delegate another part of our bodies for a very important part of our our
our work to and then our future too through a an organisation that doesn't always deliver has given me a cause of concern but the fact that, that we discussed. Having yesterday said, I I, I would suggest that the seller has to have in a minute them a review period of 12 months. It has to have that and I I think he also needs to have in it that there. But during that process there must be at least two TUPE, at whatever period, three periods of of one of education where they come in and talk to our people. So we are getting that we need to have. We, I think that the SLA needs to be very tight and we need to have those things in there and that's because if the salaries tie, I think they're the least we can hold them to account and if they don't deliver, then as members, we can decide to bring that that back in house, because I think this bit this biodiversity is so important to us that we have to have it right and, as I said, my concern is KCC have not delivered on a number of occasions and as much as that I think David, you give me confidence that you are getting this or you are hearing the other, you've felt the support that you've seen the support, but obviously we, as Members have felt some pain so in other areas, so that that that's probably why the were some of us are slightly circumspect about giving them the responsibility,
so I would suggest, sorry
but just going to cover it now, I had less concerns about KCC ecology because I don't think we can build that expertise with one personal half person, although yeah, naturally outsourcing can be problematic and I get that, but I think the only way to get that expertise for part time and when you need it is to use external,
organisations, and I guess it's whether at some this KCC ecology, or
I guess in the future,
you might it might go to another organisation, so I guess those options are there to change it around, so I don't have the issues with that so much.
Councillor Ross I I can't find it now, somewhere in here, I think you'll report new sites
for the 15,000 we get 44 days a year,
perhaps 300 quid a day I mean I don't have I take the point about KCC, my problem is,
the whole government concept behind the whole thing, and indeed your report, you sum it up very well. It should be noted, is still some uncertainty over the future level of funding. LBG will operate the level of demand, the quality of submissions and so KCC ecology cannot commit at present to a particular service. In addition, KCC ecology will be constrained by the success of the planned recruitment. I mean it's a bit of a dog's breakfast, frankly, but you know, I suppose we are where we are. Unfortunately, but for now I mean, whatever the government plans to do is all going to change next year, isn't it, because there'd be an election, there'll be another government, so I suppose we can we can go with the flow knowing that it's all going to change.
J Tesco I, I'm I made an established and I might be incorrect that all districts across KET are gonna have to be doing more of this, so it's likely that KCC ecology is actually gonna be a growing team to service all the districts.
because this is fairly new and it's building up,
but yeah, I think they're going to have problems and I think everybody with problems getting enough people, perhaps with the
with the expertise and knowledge and but that could be for all types of organisations, private organisations as well, so
yeah, I guess we get to pick and choose and we can change that contract if required.
I think that's why the SLA is so important, it needs to be tight, and I'm I'm just wondering whether we put it we we add to the add to the recommendation saying that we are a minimum of 12 months review and also that we we we would like to see some mam or periods of education or the least stupid two days of education or whatever whatever David you would reckon thinks it's reasonable.
the that has to be part of the SLA that they have to come in and deliver that, because my fear is that they will serve in this area, we will be able to do this, but then they don't deliver it, so I would, I would said tended,
I I feel that we'd be quite a good addition to add to the recommendation, and I know other members think about that.
if, if that's our proposal Chair, then I'm I'm happy to second that.
it is prohibited.
members to be agreed.
great OK can we?
sorry, just just to be clear, so that the the recommendations that are set out in the revised report are accepted, with the addition of that the SLA should contain a minimum period review of 12 months, plus you would require two training days within that year.
I don't mean to get procedure, but I think it was and I met, we were, we were deciding whether or not we were going to amend amend the recommendations, and then I'm guessing, we will then need to vote on the recommendations as a as a package.
I think there'd be resisted, it explained what the recommendation would be, that we would be voting on.
is that that's that's how I answer what Dave says, we are saying.
district councils.
in the what are we looking at now ecological advice service report, it says there is one training day, one training session,
so presumably if we want more we'll be paying for it.
well, that's why I'm saying that we that's what they say, was from saying it'd be in our SLA, we should ask for to a minimum of two.
I'm sorry, yeah, so basically you have three options with the recommendations included in the report, you can either accept the recommendations in their entirety or, as you have done as as as as as the CAB, you can make recommendations where men recommendations that go forward to Cabinet my understanding is from correct is that you are proposing that the recommendations that go forward to Cabinet how slightly amended to include the two points that you have raised as in the 12 month review and a minimum of two days that can be included, I mean,
the officers can say now whether that's feasible, and that's actually you know, you can actually say Well, that's not a problem. and they can say, Well, that's not a problem, we can include that in the report that's going forward to cabinet, but they'd be identified as those recommendations that you would like it added, as, as recommended from the CAB, sorry, if I put that bit wordy but yet does that make sense yeah,
yes, there's no problem, we've taken on bulldoze recommendations and we could amend the pool accordingly.
you can infer you can vote in its entirety, you can vote on the recommendations as amended, which are the sheets that you have in front of you.
with the with the already with the agreement that one of the recommendations, as amended
this evening's meeting,
Sir Nicholas.
sorry, just a quick question, probably for for you guys I believe Tunbridge Wells Borough Council's training budget
is allocated for the offices and
because I suppose in organisations you would probably do a training needs analysis and look at those and what the officers required over that period of time if you felt that biodiversity.
as you are articulated earlier, where it needed to be increased and go to those officers, then wouldn't you approach your training, team and asphodel
to fund that and sort of allocate you know those day those officers to come in and and there's a whole sort of properly written on process behind that rather than just asking for an unusual day we don't actually know what we're gonna do with that additional day or necessary how that's gonna be sort of utilised it if at all maybe I don't know
it's just the right brochures, hospice, is what I'm thinking?
yeah ma, my understanding is that we would fund this through the additional grant funding that we would have from government as part of the preparation and delivery of biodiversity net gain, and that training would be training officers and members on biodiversity net gain that was envisaged, I think within the report and within the SLA to to do so, so I think that that's what would be intended to write into the SLA training days from Casey's here on biodiversity, net gain for officers and members so that if we got two days we probably have an officer day and a member day
and what we would discuss that within the service to make sure that we are delivering Watson required.
and slightly concerned about specifying two days, I'm wondering about it being worded, you know that the SLA should include sufficient training as specified by the
team that you actually work out, how much training you believe you need if that is two days, that's fine, but I'm a bit concerned because of the Town and Parish Councils was sort of mentioned.
so I'm wondering about wording it less precisely, but to achieve the same objective.
I think that the issue would be obviously for that, Kate Casey, so you would be that if we turned around and said sufficient, they would say Well that's open-ended, so I think I think we, we have to say as a minimum of and then obviously what we can request more, though I think we must start with a position of some.
I wasn't suggesting that the SLA should say that I was suggesting that our recommendation should give the flexibility to the Tea Mino to actually put in the seller a figure that works for us, if is two days, I'll shut up, you know, I wasn't sure if it was two days.
yeah, thanks to him, I mentioned the training earlier on in the sort of discussion, because it's in the the draft, at Sully doesn't
necessarily press prescribe too much, but the details of negotiation on the SLA are proposed to be delegated back to the Department essentially to negotiate that
in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Housing and Planning so subject to the those details being acceptable and that the training covering what we need it to and it doesn't necessarily need to be prescriptive in this particular recommendation because it will still be for us to negotiate and we will bear in mind everything that has been said both here and at Cabinet.
I still had stolen, I still feel I understand what you're saying, but I still feel that we'd like that, but I think this committee would like to have an understanding of where we put all our penny's worth in where we think that the that the there is a certain amount that that needs to be done as a minimum requirement, so when we're not saying that you can't negotiate it but we say these are the minimum requirements that we as a committee figure of available,
shorten the and the tone of the debate is going to be captured in the minutes as well, and that will be presented to Cabinet with exactly the precise details what you've said.
OK, Members, should we vote or should we vote on the recommendations as provided do I need to read the motor or I think OK, OK,
so we're gonna be voting on the recommendation that the Council interim biodiversity net gain project utilising Council owned woodland be continued as proposed in his report and the necessary work and efforts being made to register the land for biodiversity net gain credits under the Environment Act 2021 including the appointment of a consultant to undertake the necessary surveys and to provide advice on the long-term management of the scheme. 2, that the Council continues preparations for the mandatory biodiversity net gain, which commences in November 2023. This will include continuing to develop guidance and procedures for developed management, collating information on biodiversity net gain being provided in the Borough and developing a new longer-term strategy for the off-site provision for biodiversity, net gain and appointment of KCC ecology under a service level agreement SLA to assist the review of biodiversity, net gain plans submitted in support of planning applications in the borough, with the additional
suggestion that there is the the SLA has a one year review and that there are minimum of two days of education provided at 3.00 that, as required by the Environment Act 2021, the Council prepare and publish a biodiversity report through consultation with members and key stakeholders. The biodiverse report shall, as a minimum, meet the requirements of the biodiversity duties and set out of the Council's biodiversity action plan and for that delegated authority be given to the Head of Planning, in consultation with Cabinet Members. For Housing and Planning to implement the above actions set out in recommendations 1 3 2, above, including entering into an SLA with KCC ecology following any necessary,
as we previously discussed, and that delegated authority be given to the Head of legal partnership in consultation with the Head of Planning, to negotiate and complete all necessary agreements with a consultant referred to in paragraph 1. Above
all, we agreed
I'm sorry.
yes, please, chairman, through Ms Britt, or could it be noted that I've deliberately not commented on the upcoming service level agreement with KCC?
as a county councillor father abstained from from that dialogue. Thank you but agree otherwise think,
sorry, we will agree that great,
Greg thank you very much.

7 Kent High Weald Partnership Service Level Agreement 2024-2027

by item 7, the Kent High Weald partnership service level agreement 24 to 27.
we have no registered speakers, and so I'm going to invite David Scully to continue his hard work.
and introduced this report.
yes, thank you.
it can help all partnership has been working on the bar for the Bar for 22 years, and although there is every independent organisation under a formal partnership between KCC and Tunbridge Wells Borough Council, they operate only within Tunbridge Wells Borough.
and the they might be considered the equivalent and what other authorities have us like countryside rangers or what have you?
the Ken Howell Partnership is one of nine such partnerships, which together cover the whole account, but they are unique amongst all those partnerships are their only work within a single borough.
that doesn't mean to say, because of their name, they only work in the high world, they also cover the Low Weald as well, so they cover the whole of the borough.
and their operation is funded by financial contributions from Tunbridge Wells Borough Council and KCC with further in-kind contributions from KCC, such as line management, training and IT support
and a range of Andrew agreements with bodies such as Parish and Town Councils and also a considerable amount in external grant funding.
core funding from Tamworth Borough Council is provided under a service level agreement which ensures value for money and support for corporate services, so we can call upon them to address issues that we raise as as an authority and help us deliver on those obligations.
both the agreement with KCC, which takes the form of a memorandum of understanding
and the SLA need to be reviewed because I expired in 2022.
here I must confess the reason that we haven't brought this up to date before now is because I've been too busy
with a thing called the Local Plan.
Joe, you will have been circulated, the
annual report.
and just to be clear, what we can have a partnership deal with is three issues. One is community and it deals with the education, volunteering and healthcare, wellbeing of our community. It deals with nature deals with protecting and enhancing the biodiversity of our borough and it also deals with the land and it cares for the for the land and the conservation site in the market has direct responsibility for land management on a number of important sides.
you may find that the the 21 22 report of interest, which is the sort of summary I'm just gonna, take you to one which is their wellbeing, highlights, because again it became a priority for the Council in recent years and we've asked that the partnership to focus on wellbeing. So in that year they supported six families through their therapeutic family, for our schools programme. For his time they provided horticultural therapy to a community allotment of 27 adults with poor mental health or learning difficulties. They supported 36 adults suffering poor mental health and social age or social isolation via the online live well can connect with age programme provided nature connection, support our community allotments for for NHS psychiatric patients and their support workers grew 30 different varieties of vegetables, herbs and polite or friendly flowers from seed on our community allotments.
helped enhance the Horsmonden community garden are managed and maintained to community allotments and began supporting develop a community garden project in Sheffield. So that's the kind of work they do with the communities, but they also have a huge volunteer and programme which is yeah really really.
significant in terms of the contribution that they they do,
and you'll see in a section 5.7 of the report
about the the funding.
and that
the recommendation is that the new SLA
encourages an increase in funding to cover essentially a cost of living rises, including an increase in pay award from KCC to the staff
and sets a new level, but is to be fixed for the period of the S L and now will have to report on the value for money that I deliver on and develop a new management plan
I hope that you will support the
recommendation to go to Cabinet and but I'm happy to answer any questions on the report or the worker can have a partnership.
anybody any questions.
thank you Chairman, and I know I would totally endorse what Mr Scotti has said, if, if any of you get the chance to look at their website, no annual report, et cetera, there's some sterling work going on there, and when I was first elected as a county councillor it was Kelly who heads up the team
they're based at bedroom pianism. and wow, we developed an excellent dialogue immediately and I think the first tranche of members got money, I'll put it in, was down at the allotments down at Hilbert Road, as I mentioned earlier, and with some very deserving clients of this and,
we put in, I think, some new shared additions and everything else, and that convinced me from day one Kelley legally, comes back to me as a legacy of the every year, just asking for a bit more money, and I have no reservations about supporting the work that they do that in terms of
the community benefit and also what Mr Scully said as well about the wellbeing etc so thank you very much.
I think I would support those comments, I mean I, I became aware of the
Kent High Weald Partnership when I got involved with the friends of Calverley grounds and as I've been a volunteer working with them,
the money that we're looking to to offer them is actually very good value because a lot of the lot of the resources is also through people offering their time for free working with them and using their advice to deliver that work.
managers just add, just on on the volunteering role. This is a really important part of the work that they do. They do something like 100 to 124 120 events a year, and I know some Councillors do bouncy. If you haven't already, please do not permit and do go along to volunteering then because at uniquely amongst a lot of voluntary events, it is open to all. There is no sort of pre-determination about in a way you come from, what commitment you are going to make anybody can turn up and will be cared for and will I move or take part in the experience for as long as little as I want, which a lot about the volunteering events down, do you have to register and it goes through a complicated process? So the fact is open to everybody. It is really really important, and it's one of the views at, and the value of the work they do. If you wish to say, volunteer day was worth 100 pounds. You're talking well over 100,000 pounds worth of work, that we gather volunteers, so it works both ways and really important. Thank you.
sorry, it's great value for money, it's a must, do
I think
it says it's it's a wonderful organisation and I think we should support it, so if, if that's OK I think members wishes we should vote for that will give up on this motion. Are we agreed
OK so.
we made a federal recommendation that the draft settling a draft service level agreements between Tunbridge Wells Borough Council and Kent High Weald Partnership K W H Deputy P, be approved that the draft memorandum of agreement between Kent County Council and until the BBC governing the operations of the Kent Highway Partnership be approved by the Head of Planning Services and Cabinet Member for Housing and Planning be given delegated authority to make minor amendments and sign on behalf of TW B C the S L and M O in one in the three points made.
previously, and not before, about the funding of the highway.
count High Weald Partnership for the period 1st of April 2024 to 31st March 2007, be set at 76,194 pounds 50 annually, subject to the setting of the Council's annual budgets all be agreed.
thank you very much.
OK, following on that.

8 Urgent Business

I surveyed out of business.
I confirm there is no such
business to to.

9 Date of the Next Meeting

to discuss thanks to this and the date of the next meeting, everybody is on the 9th of October 2023
Councillor Robert.
although I don't know if it's the private law and it's on
the date of the next meeting, unfortunately we are parish meets on the first Monday of every month and you've you've got two councillors from their ward so we haven't to miss the parish meeting to be here I don't know if there's any consideration that we can maybe have every other Monday of the month this May in
listening rubbish, you might be a very good point because I'm in exactly the same situation
as you
so is there any chance that we can actually move this meeting from my mum?
base sorry of
if delivery backtrack a bit of it.
Council meetings are set and agreed at Full Council
in December at December, Full Council and they're set for the following municipal year, so the one we're working on, we will start working on shortly, we'll go to Full Council in December and will be for 24 25 municipal year historically, the cabs have been quite rigid in the dates.
and moving them
could prove quite complicated without you know I can look,
but I could we could have a look but bear in mind that you know if we were trying to accommodate all Parish Council meetings.
we would never get a meeting source.
so I do apologise if we don't do it sort of lightly,
but I think it would prove quite difficult to move come on because I make a
suggestion, I don't know amendment, this is open discussion, but can we move the meeting to 5 30 and then start off slightly earlier so we could actually get to our parish council meetings?
that could be, that is something that you can consider, but also I mean we can move the time of meetings, but obviously it would be subject to agreement across the board, I mean, from a Officer point of view, we are always happy to have an earlier meeting.
but it in the past, we've we've experienced issues with people getting here on tie at 5.30 being a little early for some people who are info of work, so it is something that you certainly what I would suggest this is perhaps take it to group leaders and let them have a discussion about it and if you feel that the general consensus is that a different time would work better, I think realistically a different time may prove slightly easier than to try and move the day but
yeah, I just take a quick show of hands where I would how would anyone feel when you go into a group linguist how would members feel about we started the next meeting at 5.30 rather than 6 that I just wanted to got Brook, isn't one does that create a problem for real?
Sadly I don't work in the borough very often, so I would be lay all the time one, yeah there'd be local politics,
my work day runs until 5 30, so I could probably I might be able to find a solution, but it wouldn't be easy easy. and I know Gavin is not here but
sorry, Councillor Harris is not here, but he also might struggle, so I do know, I'm not, so I'm not saying that's a hard one for me, but I think we probably need to think about it
or is there the option of moving a variety having invited teams as well because then we could probably
see it even though I just get it if I may just.