Chairman’s Letter October 2022


I would like to take this opportunity to remind you that residents are welcome to attend all public council meetings. Full Council meetings are on the third Monday of each month, starting at 7:15pm at the Copt Hall. Most committee meetings are also at Copt Hall at 7:15pm on a Monday. However, planning meetings are every three weeks at 7:15pm at the Sports Pavilion at KGV. Please see our website for details of future meetings.

At the Full Council meeting on 21st November, we will be considering HPC’s priorities as we start the budget-setting process for 2023-2024. We will also be discussing how to proceed now that planning permission has been granted for the proposed Community Centre. Why not come along to find out what is going on? There is an opportunity for residents to speak at the start of the meeting. The time allowed for this is limited, so if you would like to speak, please contact the office to reserve a slot.

If you have not already done so, there is still time to respond to TWBC’s consultation on the Air Quality Action Plan for Hawkhurst. This can be found on TWBC’s Talking Point website.

I am delighted to inform you that following the Extraordinary meeting of TWBC Full Council on 5th October, TWBC has agreed to consult on a change in its electoral arrangements from the current system of election by thirds to all-out elections. Thank you to our Borough Councillors for voting in support of this consultation.

As mentioned in my September letter, HPC and other local Parish and Town Councils have been campaigning for a change to all-out elections because we believe that this will allow the most effective representation for residents across the whole borough, avoiding the need for geographically huge wards in rural areas.

I appreciate that this is a somewhat niche topic so a bit of context might be helpful. Nationally, most borough/district councils have all out-elections. In fact, TWBC is the only council in Kent that elects in thirds. Indeed, the Electoral Commission has recommended all-out elections every four years on the grounds it best serves the interests of electors. We believe this is what we should be aiming for.

One further advantage, especially in these challenging times, is that moving to all-out elections would save TWBC more than £200,000 over each electoral cycle. Please do respond to the consultation, which is again on the Talking Point website.

All the best,

Clare Escombe
Chairman, Hawkhurst Parish Council