Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Virtual Meeting

Contact: Email: dtc@tenterdentowncouncil.gov.uk 

Items
No. Item

23.

PRESENT.

Minutes:

Members:  Sarah Barber (ABC), Mike Carter (Local Businessman), Shaun Dewey (K&ESR), Sue Ferguson (MyTenterden), Rod Hardingham (Little Dane Court B&B), Cllr. Justin Nelson (TTC), Cllr. Roger Quinton (TTC), Simon Robinson (TDCC), Cllr. Mrs. Pam Smith (TTC), Cllr. Alan Sugden (TTC), Glenn Thompson (Footballers), and Seren Welch (Tourism Consultant).  Town Clerk Phil Burgess and Deputy Town Clerk Claire Gilbert (TTC) who took the minutes.

 

Non-members:  Cllrs. Mrs. Jean Curteis, John Crawford, Dr. Lisa Lovelidge, Callum Knowles, Mrs. Kate Walder (TTC), Siggi Nepp (TDRA), Kayleigh Brunger-Randall (Resident) and Stuart Medcalf (Resident).

 

Cllr. Matthew Forrest from ABC who is the Portfolio Holder for Culture, Tourism & Leisure would be attending in future in place of Cllr. Peter Feacey. 

 

Kayleigh Brunger-Randall (Resident) was welcomed to the meeting and had already signed the Town Council’s Code of Conduct Form. 

 

 

24.

APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE.

Minutes:

Mike Bartlett (TDCC), Cllr. Paul Clokie (ABC), Andrew Keates (Resident), Natasha Mahoney (Christmas in Tenterden) and Cllr. Ken Mulholland (TTC).

 

25.

MINUTES.

To consider and, if approved, confirm the minutes and report of the meeting held on 25th February 2020.

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 25th February 2020 were agreed.

26.

ELECTION OF CHAIR.

To appoint a Chair for the 2020/21 Council year.

 

Minutes:

It was suggested that Seren Welch continue as Chair the Sub-committee for the new Council year, however, due to work commitments this would not be possible.  Cllr. Mrs. Pam Smith was elected for a three month period and the Chairman role would be re-elected in September 2020.

 

27.

TOWN CENTRE CO-ORDINATOR POSITION.

To consider recruiting, after lockdown, with the agreed job description with an explanation that the job description has shifted more towards town centre management.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

 

Phil Burgess reported that it would be difficult to be specific on the percentage split of the Co-ordinator’s role at the moment.  Phil suggested that after lockdown, it might be better to advertise for the post with a covering letter stating that the role is flexible and a moveable feast.   Seren Welch reported that in the Ashford Recovery Plan, there is an allocated budget for a Covid 19 co-ordinator position; perhaps it should be taken into consideration whether the Co-ordinator role could sit with this post.  Currently the job description is heavily weighted towards tourism and the percentage should switch to only 20% tourism and 80% high street regeneration.  The role needs to be simplified so they can concentrate on the immediate issues. 

 

Cllr. Justin Nelson suggested phasing the job description: Phase 1 for the High Street and Phase 2 for tourism; for now the role should be 100% recovery.  Cllr. Kate Walder suggested that given the situation with Covid and the focus we need on the high street, would it not be sensible to find someone to do this on a consultancy basis rather than full time appointment; this would help to get someone on the ground within one month.  Sue Ferguson commented that we need to recruit a Co-ordinator as soon as possible and explain the current situation that the post will be solely town recovery related first and tourism will follow at a later date.

 

Mike Carter reported that if ABC are recruiting a Co-ordinator for Covid response then it would be helpful if they could provide input to Tenterden.  Sarah Barber reported that in the circulated ABC action plan there is a temporary Information Officer post for three months to provide health and safety guidance to businesses, etc. This Information Officer would cover both Ashford and Tenterden.

 

Seren asked how long the process will take to go through the Town Council’s committees to appoint the Co-ordinator.   Phil Burgess reported that the role had been approved by the Town Council but the advertising had been postponed due to Covid.  The Sub-committee can recommend that with the adjustment to the percentages of the role, that the Job Description goes to the External Committee on Monday, 8th June for approval of advertising, which should take place around the third week of June.  Seren commented that it would be at least mid-July before someone would be in post if they have to give notice.  The next 12 months of the role would need to be high street focussed and then reviewed and percentages adjusted in 12 months’ time.

 

Action:  percentages to be adjusted on Town Centre Co-ordinator’s Job Description and presented to External Committee on 8th June 2020 for advertising. 

 

28.

TOWN RECOVERY PLAN. pdf icon PDF 330 KB

To consider a plan of action for a Town Recovery Plan. *

Additional documents:

Minutes:

 

Phil Burgess reported that there is around £116,000 Government funding allocated to the Borough, of which around £40,000 has been allocated to Tenterden to assist with physical barriers, ground vinyls to direct people, and signage around the Town, as well as the assistance with businesses themselves.  We are looking to widen the high street at pinch points where necessary; suspend parking bays and give us space if possible for outside tables for cafes and restaurants if agreed by KCC (not agreed yet).  It is hoped that agreement will be reached with KCC before the July opening of all food and beverage outlets.  We are also looking at a voluntary one-way system up and down the high street to allow for safe queuing and passage.  Phil reported that ABC have been extremely helpful with the proposals for Tenterden.  Cllr. Callum Knowles had been speaking to Trevor Ford at ABC who has indicated there may be more funds available for Tenterden and would communicate this to the Town Clerk.

 

Siggi Nepp requested that any sort of signage or physical amendments to the high street is considered sensitively as it is in a conservation area, so there needs to be co-ordination on signage and barriers.  Cllr. Alan Sugden reported that safety is paramount and should come first.  Sue reported that there are many more cases of Covid in the Town, so we need to be careful.

 

Glenn Thompson asked if there was any provision for the dissemination of information.  Phil reported that there is a budget for comms and ABC will assist with this.  Funding for comms is dependent on us putting the Government logos on all advertising.  Kayleigh Brunger-Randall asked if there will be provision for disabled parking in the high street during the closure of most of the bays.  Phil reassured that ABC will be looking at alternative areas for the disabled bays and police bay if they need to be relocated. 

 

Seren asked what the plans were for the comms as we need to reassure people that not only are TTC doing everything they can, but so are the retailers to ensure a safe environment.  Phil reported that ABC will mailshot businesses again as they have been supporting them through the Covid grants.  Pam suggested that TTC carry out a mailshot as well; Phil will liaise with ABC.  Seren suggested that there needs to be a regular digital communication to businesses and/or leaflet drop; there also needs to be a campaign to encourage ‘support local’.  It was suggested that ABC could be asked to contact all the Tenterden based businesses and ask them to get in touch with TTC direct so that we can include them in digital comms. 

 

Actions:  Phil/Claire to contact ABC to ask businesses to contact the Town Council if they wish to be included in our digital comms.  Seren agreed to liaise with Phil on a list of items to consider for distribution to businesses.

 

29.

VISIT TENTERDEN INSTAGRAM ACCOUNT.

To consider the transfer of ownership of the Visit Tenterden Instagram account to Ms. S. Welch.

Minutes:

 

Seren reported that in April this year, she had already started being contacted by businesses for support via Visit Tenterden Instagram; many of whom were from further afield.  If the Instagram account was not owned by the Town Council, Seren could pass on much more information to those businesses and provide them with support, which would not be in the Town Council’s remit.

 

Seren reported that over 14 months ago when the Instagram account was set up by Claire Gilbert, the Town Council planned for the Town Centre Co-ordinator to take over the Instagram account within about three months.  However, this post has not been filled and therefore all the content and visuals from the last 14 months that have been uploaded have been provided by Seren and are owned by Seren.  There are other projects about to take off including the Interreg Experience Fund and Seren is hoping to pass this information onto businesses; the Visit Tenterden Instagram account is the quickest and easiest way of doing this.

 

Justin asked if the Instagram account ‘Visit Tenterden’ is owned by the Town Council and would it be an issue with the Auditors if it was passed over in its entirety. 

 

Kate thanked Seren for producing such a high quality product, which is really good, beautiful, and affective.  Kate understood the issue of immediate contact and moving across the boundaries for the tourism offer.  Seren already owns the Visit Tenterden email address and Facebook account, therefore, Kate felt that she should be given control of the Instagram account given that she owns the content.

 

Sue reported that ‘Visit’ and the location is normally owned by the local authority and this should not be given away to a business.  Sue suggested the Town Council changes the name of the account in consultation with Seren and the Town Council can then reapply for the Visit Tenterden account name.  Mike suggested handing over the account to Seren for a period of 3 to 5 months and then it could be handed back to the Town Council once the new Co-ordinator is in post.  Sue commented that this would not be a viable option.

 

Seren reported that the Town Council have only interjected once on the account in the last 14 months.  Seren is desperately trying to support industry in our Town and with 25 years’ experience of supporting the country and different sectors across the tourism offering, she would like to have free reign on the account.  There needs to be an impartial voice to promote local businesses and the tourism product on our doorstep. 

 

Kate highlighted the need for Seren to retain the Instagram account name at a time when it is desperate to promote the Town.  Seren suggested that within 14 days of passing over the account, she will hand back the ‘Visit Tenterden’ name but Seren will retain the content base and follower base to continue the discussions with all the help available.  Cllr. John Crawford commented that he could not  ...  view the full minutes text for item 29.

30.

HIGH STREET REGENERATION WORKING GROUP. pdf icon PDF 5 MB

A reminder of the actions presented from the Working Group meeting held on 20th January 2020. *

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

 

Justin reported that the Working Group had also met on 25th May 2020 and the notes of that meeting had been circulated to the T&B Sub-committee.  The notes of 25th May were self-explanatory and it was now for the Tourism Sub-committee to decide whether the Working Group’s recommendations should go to External Committee.

 

Siggi reported that she had taken comments from the TDRA Committee on the Working Group’s recommendations and will formulate a response in due course.  Siggi asked if the intention is for Oaks Road to become a cul-de-sac as this may force traffic onto Beacon Oak Road and back onto the A28.  There was a lot of discomfort about the two proposed roundabouts in the concept ideas for the High Street in terms of space they would need for larger vehicles and impact on a heritage setting.

 

Kayleigh Brunger-Randall commented that she did not like the idea of narrowing streets and losing parking especially for those with mobility problems is not acceptable. 

 

Phil requested that the proposed concept ideas for the High Street are parked for now in light of the controversy surrounding their publication in the local paper and on social media.  Mike commented that we need to look at the longevity of the high street and need to start refining the ideas for when developers start building in Tenterden.  Phase 1 has been done by Redrow with the proposed roundabout on the Beacon Oak Road/Ashford Road junction, but we need to start looking at other phases.  Mike commented that they want to make this a real boom for Tenterden and a vibrant policy for Tenterden; we need to start planning for the 2030 ABC Local Plan review. 

 

Cllr. Roger Quintin reported that he had received comments from neighbours, all of whom have said the Council have got more important things to do than rejig the high street during this crisis.  Roger commented that the scheme has been badly put together and this needs to be put on the back burner for a later date.

 

Kate asked if there were any costings for the concept ideas as these would be critical.  Callum reported that there needs to be a view from KCC Highways as it is an A Road which comes with many caveats; we need to know what is feasible.  Kate reported that Tenterden High Street is one of two or three in the Country with Georgian wide configuration and we need a clear indication from heritage bodies on what their view is.  Kate suggested that if we can proceed with the concept, then we will need to give the public more detailed information; a set of diagrams on its own is not enough. 

 

Seren reported that there seemed to have been many different ideas put together into one proposal which will hinder individual projects.  Kayleigh commented that the proposed one-way system around Bridewell Lane and Highbury Lane has been done temporarily in the past so could work for the future.  John commented  ...  view the full minutes text for item 30.

31.

ANY OTHER BUSINESS.

Minutes:

 

(a)         Rod Hardingham commented that there had been a lot of discussions going on about presupposing that things will be the same as in the past.  There are lots of empty stores and there will be more.  We need to take some time and look at what is going to be happening in the next six months.  Rod felt that it was too soon to make decisions about long term plans, especially when there is now the possibility of second peek in infection.  Seren stated that business rates are based on rents and the public should not keep attacking ABC over this as they are being very supportive to businesses.  There will be a deficit and we need to focus on what can be done on focussing on the short term to help the high street.

 

Callum had circulated to the Sub-committee an email from Andrew Osborne at ABC and they really want to know what Tenterden wants to prioritise.  ABC does realise that Tenterden High Street is important to the Borough and we need to prioritise what we need and go back to them.

 

(b)         Kayleigh asked if we should consider making a co-operative so that businesses can come together in one place, e.g. farm shops, vineyards, etc.  Kate reported that there needs to be a quick campaign to the public to encourage them to remember who they shopped within the past 8 weeks and need to do a powerful and personal Tenterden comms to say thank you to those businesses who kept us going and to continue to support them. 

 

Sue reported that Produced in Kent is a large Kent-wide based organisation that supports all the local food and other retailers and farms, etc. so any co-operative ideas could be carried out in conjunction with them.  Sue also reported that a new shop will be opening in Tenterden called Flossy Watts at East Cross which will be focussing on local makers. 

 

(c)         Sue asked how long the scaffolding will be up outside the Town Hall; Phil confirmed that it will be for approximately three months whilst the much need roof repairs are carried out.  Sue asked if it would be possible to look at a small art design to cover up the scaffolding at the front of the building.

 

(d)         Pam wanted to thank Matt the Town Council’s Gardener for making the Town look great with the flower beds and new beds at East Cross Garden.  Pam also reported that the Summer hanging baskets are now up.

 

32.

DATE OF NEXT MEETING.

Minutes:

To be confirmed.