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Parish Chairman’s notes March 2021

Parish Chairman’s notes March 2021

Capel Parish Council are pleased to welcome Maddy Boyle as our new Parish Manager and Clerk (and legally the ’Proper Officer’). Maddy who started in her post on 25th January lives in the centre of Five Oak Green and knows the parish well. She was selected from a short list of high quality candidates and we wish her well in what we hope will be a long and successful relationship with the council. Her role includes writing agendas and minutes for parish council meetings and most of its committees (as ‘Clerk’), but she will also be managing the allotments, the recreation ground and all of the other assets the council owns as well as helping and guiding councillors in their work. Maddy is the executive officer of the council and will work closely with our Responsible Finance Officer, Helen Munro who handles the finances and the website. Maddy can best be contacted at clerk@capelpc.co.uk and Helen at finance@capel.pc.co.uk

On February 3rd TWBC voted to send the pre-submission Local Plan out to consultation. This is known as the Regulation 19 process. This was very much against the wishes of Capel Parish Council who have always argued against building on the Green Belt in East Capel and Tudeley, both of which are also vulnerable to flooding. Despite the Parish Council chairman and other objectors taking part in the debate, borough councillors refused to overturn the recommendation (though 16 of those present did not vote for it which suggests some unease about the plan). In many ways the present proposals are even worse for Capel than those put forward last year at the draft plan stage (Regulation 18). Despite the 8000 comments from the parish (the vast majority hostile) the number of houses proposed at both sites has increased to a total of 4160 in the plan period with the possibility of another 800 at Tudeley later. We have also seen a proposal for a ‘By-pass’ around Five Oak Green which would carve its way through the last hop garden in the village and would be completely unnecessary without the Tudeley proposal. The Parish Council and other groups will again be opposing the plans at this stage.

The Regulation 19 consultation will last from 26th March to 21st May. We do not know what form this will take but it is vital that if you made a comment at the previous stage you do so again. Objections will then be looked at by a planning inspector at a public enquiry. We need to convince the Inspector that the plans put forward for Tudeley are unsustainable and that building on the Green Belt at East Capel is unnecessary – especially when both sites are vulnerable to flooding. The fact that there is a much more sustainable site at Castle Hill which the planners refused to consider adds strength to the argument. Please keep a look out for further updates in the coming months.

 

At the time of writing the government have announced that local elections will take place on May 6th. In Capel there will be four different elections for the 9 members of the Parish Council as well as for Borough Councillor, County Councillor and Police and Crime Commissioner. The first two of these elections are held over from 2020 because of the pandemic.

We would welcome new candidates for the Parish Council which will be elected to serve to 2024. If you would like to stand for election, please contact the clerk who will respond to you when the nomination details are available.

If you would prefer to arrange to vote by post or proxy (given the ongoing pandemic), please contact: elections@tunbridgewells.gov.uk

Hugh Patterson

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