To be held on
4 December 2001
Town Hall Royal Tunbridge Wells

27 November 2001
To the Members of the Tunbridge Wells Borough Council

I request your attendance at a meeting of the Tunbridge Wells Borough Council to be held at the Town Hall, Royal Tunbridge Wells, on Tuesday 4 December 2001, at 6pm, when the following business is proposed to be transacted.

  1. Apologies for absence.

  2. The Chief Executive, as Returning Officer, to submit the attached 'Return of Person Elected as Borough Councillor1 at the by-election for the Cranbrook Ward, held on 18 October 2001.

    The Chief Executive will also formally advise that Councillor Ealden, representing Hawkhurst Ward, has resigned from the Council, with effect from 12 November 2001. (There will not be a by-election in this Ward because we are now within the 6 month period immediately ahead of the all-Council elections in May 2002; election law states that, where a vacancy arises within 6 months of a scheduled election due to be held for that seat, then no by-election shall take place.)

  3. The Minutes of the meeting held on 9 October 2001, if in order, to be approved as a correct record.

  4. Questions from members of the public.

  5. Mayor's announcements.

  6. Questions from members of the Council, of which due notice has been given pursuant to Standing Order 9, to be submitted and answered.

  7. To receive the reports of the following Boards and to pass such resolutions thereon as may be deemed advisable:-

    • Selection Committee - 20 November 2001 - (page 153)
    • Central Board - 20 November 2001 - (page 154)
    • Operational Services Board - 22 November 2001 - (page 182)
    • Operational Services Board - 27 November 2001 : Investigation into the Telephone House Planning Application
      [ - Director of Operational Services, John Haynes' report into the Telephone House planning application / planning appeal - ]
      - Recommendation requiring confirmation by Council

  8. To authorise the Common Seal of the Council to be affixed to any contract, Minute, notice or other document arising out of the Minutes, or pursuant to any delegation, authority or power conferred by the Council.

  9. To consider the following motion, notice of which has been duly given by Councillor Wratten:
    "That a letter from this Council be sent to the British Airports Authority, expressing concern over the number of low-flying commercial jets in the vicinity of the Borough of Royal Tunbridge Wells, especially in the early hours of the morning."

  10. To consider the following motion, notice of which has been duly given by Councillor Ballantine:
    "This Council is concerned that 17% of staff have "personally experienced harassment or bullying during their period of employment with the Council and 15% (have) stated that they were aware of staff working for the Council who suffer from harassment and bullying". The Council is also concerned that there have been complaints about bullying of staff by Members.
    The Council is pleased to note that a "Harassment and Bullying Procedure" is being developed and confirms that the policy should apply to Members as well as Officers."

  11. To consider the following motion, notice of which has been duly given by Councillor Bullock:

    "This Council welcomes the report prepared by the Director of Operational Services on the Telephone House planning application but considers it does not go far enough nor has it the urgency ascribed to the actions that are necessary to ensure Members' confidence in the process. It therefore resolves that Members reaffirm their right to represent all parties when considering planning applications, whether in Committee or to Officers acting initially under delegated authority. Further, as from today, Members instruct Officers as follows:-

    1. Ward Members, residents and formally constituted interest groups must be constructively engaged in discussions on major planning applications at a very early stage, including at pre-application discussions;

    2. Standing Order, Part E of the Director of Operational Services and the Planning and Building Control Services Manager delegated authority (d) (authority to refuse applications) should be altered to mirror delegated authority for approvals, 1(a)(i)(ii) and (iii):

    3. Whenever an applicant appeals against a decision taken in Committee, the Officers should be proactive in ensuring that:

      1. any negotiations on a Statement of Common Ground must be discussed and agreed with Ward Members, Chairman of respective Planning Committee and interested third parties before submission to the appointed Inspector;

      2. if Member(s) are to give evidence at Appeal then a case review meeting must be held with Member(s), Lead Officer and Counsel before the hearing;

    4. In all major Appeal hearings, the Lead Officer must be a senior Officer of the Council who together with other witnesses must be well briefed and totally committed to defending the grounds for refusal. In such cases only leading Counsel should be engaged;

    5. Serious consideration should be given to the production of a Borough-wide design guide to supplement the Kent Design Guide and existing supplementary planning guidance."

  12. Report of Borough Secretary and Solicitor/Monitoring Officer:
    Complaint Relating to Processing of Housing Benefit Claim - Proposed Local Settlement - F. Martin Harris, Borough Secretary and Solicitor and Monitoring Officer - Background Paper: Ombudsman's Draft Report

  13. Allocation of Seats of Boards
    Arising from the result of the Cranbrook by-election and the resignation of Councillor Ealden, the political group leaders have been asked if they wish a formal reallocation of seats on the Council's Boards and Committees to take place.
    Even the absence of such a reallocation, this may be an opportunity for group leaders to adjust their membership on Boards and Committees, where 'vacencies' have subsequently resulted.
    The up-to-date position will be reported verbally.

    Chief Executive

    TWBC Internal Inquiry into the Telephone House Debacle

    Questions from Members of the Public / THNA at the Full Council Meeting 4 December 2001:
    Telephone House planning appeal decisions

    The Telephone House Neighbours Association, Tunbridge Wells
    The aims are to heighten peoples' awareness and concern for the controversial high density development on Telephone House site, Church Road / York Road, Tunbridge Wells.