Hawkhurst Parish Council

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Chairman’s Letter July 2023


The start of summer has seen our village come together for many events, such as the 5k and 10k runs which were very well supported. It was also great to see so many people at the Village Fete. We were blessed with fine weather and excellent stands from commercial, charity and community groups. The Church stall made a fine cuppa and the beer tent was an unavoidable temptation. I resisted urge to don bells and join the Morris Men, but I was entertained by the wonderful children’s theatre group. The queues to see pictures at the History Society stand brought it home to me how history is the thread that connects us all. It is great to live in a village with such an active community. The next big event is Hawkfest, Friday 11th to Sunday 13th August, it has a beach theme, so I will have to find my Hawaiian shirt! There is an 80/90’s club night, plus bands and singers celebrating local talent and a family day on Sunday with games, competitions, and a band.

After a few days as your new chairman, the Parish Assembly was upon us. The meeting held in the primary school and we heard from the Neighbourhood Development Plan group who outlined their work ensuring your views are better reflected in Borough Council planning decisions. In the future I would like the Assembly to be more about sharing all that affects our community. So next year expect better publicity and a variety of attendees – community and charity groups, other authorities, and the police.

Our basic admin has been under resourced for a long time. Our locum clerk Lisa Racket will, from August, work part-time in the Parish Office, supported by a part-time deputy Tracey Parfit. Our office administrator Bryony Dhillon, had hitherto been holding the fort since our clerk went off sick at the beginning of the year.

To reiterate my commitments as your new Parish Council Chairman:

  • maintaining our precious village fabric – looking after things properly should be a given;
  • involve you in what we are trying to do in an open and friendly way; and,
  • to ensure open and honest debate within the Parish Council permitting ideas to flourish.

With a dedicated admin team, we can deliver an improvement plan at pace to make our village be a better place to live, work and visit.

Thank you,


Cllr Michael Anderson
Chairman, Hawkhurst Parish Council

Previous Chairman’s letters …

About Hawkhurst Parish Council

Hawkhurst Parish Council aims to listen to residents and play a vital part in representing the interests of the communities we serve and improving the quality of life in the parish. Whilst we are the lowest tier of local government, Parliament has granted Parish Councils the power to spend money on a variety of services and we have wide powers to choose what action to take on behalf of the community.

The Parish Council does not receive general government grants. The Council has the authority to raise money through a precept which is added to Council Tax Bills, and to make charges for services such as hall hire and burials. The Council is must not have a deficit and is not permitted to borrow for any purpose unless it is supported in a local referendum.

Hawkhurst Parish Council has 13 councillors representing around 5,000 residents. Elections are held every four years. The Parish Council directly employs a clerk, finance officer and village warden. The council is based in The Office at the Moor, Hawkhurst, Kent TN18 4NT and is open to visitors 9.30 to 12.30 Monday to Friday.

The Full Council meets once a month. The Council also has a Strategy, Administration and Policy Committee, Facilities and Services Committee and Planning Committee.

The public assets, Hawkhurst Parish Council is responsible for include: 

– Hensil
– Ockley

Copt Hall community centre 

King George V Playing Field
– Sports Pavilion & Community Centre
– Muti-use Games Area
– Children’s Playground
– Pitches

The Moor

Hawkhurst Cemetery

– Playing Fields
– Children’s Playground

Streetlights (but not those next to major roads which are Kent County Council)

The Office at the Moor – the Parish office

Victoria Hall – currently leased to the Kino Cinema and cafe

Village centre planters and hanging baskets

War memorial at the Highgate cross roads

Fowlers Wood – a field saved from development, now a rewilded wood with a public right of way through it.

Higher tiers of local government covering Hawkhurst are: Tunbridge Wells Borough Council; and, Kent County Council. They have legal duties to deliver services such as refuse collection, education, housing, planning, transport, environmental health and social services.

Annual Parish Meeting presentation 2022

Role of Parish Councillors

Hawkhurst Parish Council has 13 Parish Councillors. Parish Councillors are elected representatives, not employees, and serve for a 4-year term, unless co-opted or elected in a bye-election when they serve until the next election. Anyone who lives or works in the parish, is a British citizen and has attained the age of 18 is eligible to become a Parish Councillor.

The Parish Council needs councillors with a wide range of skills and to be able to work as a team. They should be well-informed about local views and be able to listen and question constructively in order to improve the quality of life in the parish. 

Parish councillors are responsible for overseeing the managing and maintaining of council facilities and services. Councillors decide on the budget and how much to raise through local taxation and charges for services such as hall hire or burials. Individual Parish Councillors cannot by themselves make decisions on behalf of the Council, but they can actively lead and engage with issues and projects. Councillors also influence and shape the long-term development for the Parish, commenting on planning applications and creating a Neighbourhood Development Plan. 

Occasionally there will be difficult decisions. These need to be approached and debated in an open, honest and reasoned way. Councillors are required to comply with the Code of Member Conduct, bulling of staff and councillors is not tolerated, and at all times councillors must act in an ethical way and declare an interest when necessary.