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Full Council Meeting:
Monday 8 May
Links to meeting agendas will normally be published in the table above three days (excluding Sundays) before the meeting.
Brenchley Parish Council represents the residents in the villages of both Matfield and Brenchley and has nine Councillors. Parish Councillors are all unpaid volunteers who give up their time to help administer the Parish within which they live. Elections are held every four years and most residents are eligible for nomination.
The Council normally has its main meeting on the first Monday of every month at Matfield Pavilion on the village green. Meetings may also be held on the third Tuesday of the month when there are significant planning applications or other urgent business which cannot wait until the next main meeting. Members of the public are welcome to attend and each meeting has a public question time. The date of the next meeting is given at the top of this page. The minutes of Council meetings are published on the website on the PC minutes page and relevant Council documents can also be viewed on the PC documents page.
The Parish Council raises money from the Borough, in our case Tunbridge Wells, by way of a precept (a local addition to Council Tax), which is spent throughout the Parish to maintain facilities, to try and ensure the welfare of the local community and to preserve the nature and essence of our historic and picturesque villages.
The Council also provides a link between the residents of the Parish and the Borough. Planning Applications ,in particular, are a focus for the Council which, although not having the final decision, provides recommendations to the Borough based on local knowledge.
The Council owns Matfield pavilion and land within the Parish such as the village green in Matfield, the 'Drying Ground' opposite, the playground in Brenchley and the playing field in Petteridge. Most of this land has been gifted to the Parish by generous benefactors over many decades. The PC also provides and maintains or contributes to a variety of important local services. These include buildings, allotments, bus shelters, car parks, common and open spaces, community safety and crime reduction, events, footpaths, leisure and sports facilities, rubbish collection and litter bins, public toilets, planning, street cleaning and lighting, tourism activities, road safety measures and youth projects. The Council is also responsible for the upkeep of the War Memorials in both villages and employs contractors to mow the many acres of grass it owns each year.
The Parish Council has also been actively campaigning over many years to increase the stock of local affordable rented housing. This is a daunting task considering the scarcity of available sites, the price of land and the many conflicts of opinions and interests that exist locally. However six homes were built in Matfield in 2010 and and a further seven in Brenchley in 2014.
Parish councils are the first tier of local government in England. Brenchley Parish Council encompasses both Brenchley and Matfield as well as the hamlets of Petteridge, Market Heath and Castle Hill, and countryside as far as Pembury to the west, towards Horsmonden in the east, north to Mile Oak bordering Paddock Wood and south towards Lamberhurst.
Private individuals in a democracy have wide freedoms of action restrained only by laws for the social good. Councils however do not have those freedoms and are regulated bodies. In essence a Parish Council can only do something if there is an Act of Parliament permitting it to do so. The Parish Council endeavours to do the best for its residents within the constraints placed upon it and to get the best value from the limited funds available.