Parish Council Strategic Statement


Brenchley Parish Council
Strategic Statement

Overall Goals of the Parish Council

The purpose of the Parish Council is to promote the well-being of the community of Brenchley and Matfield, both immediately and for the longer-term future. In order to do this, we:

1. Represent and advocate, especially with other parts of Government, the interests of the community as a whole on issues affecting their well-being;
2. Provide effective and transparent delivery of the services for which the Parish Council has responsibility.
3. Work to maintain a balance between safeguarding what is valued about the parish and supporting or encouraging changes that meet the needs of the community for employment, housing and services.

Key priorities to 2021

Influencing the rate and type of housing development
Planning decisions are made by Tunbridge Wells Borough Council. We will seek to influence them, in line with our policy statement, 'Shaping The Future' . This acknowledges the need for some development, but aims to safeguard the character of the parish and protect the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. In line with the views expressed in the Parish Plan Survey, we will advocate smaller scale developments and meeting the need for affordable housing and down-sizing.

Seeking action on community concerns about speeding, HGV traffic and parking
The Parish Plan Survey showed that these issues are major concerns of the community. Speed limits on local roads and any controls on HGV traffic are set by the County Council. In conjunction with interested community groups, we will explore and promote setting and enforcing appropriate speed limits and parking controls and limiting the impact of HGVs. These concerns are shared by many other communities, so we will seek to learn from their ideas and experience.

Delivering or promoting solutions on other ideas and concerns emerging from the Parish Plan Survey
The Parish Council will pursue other elements of the Parish Plan Survey with wide support which are within its power and are achievable. As one example, the Parish Council has already encouraged the formation of a litter picking group. We will also consider what further improvements might be made to the Brenchley playground and explore how best to meet the expressed need for a playground in Matfield.

Maintaining and improving community assets and services
The Parish 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. We will maintain and improve these so that they continue to benefit the community. We will continue to maintain the War Memorials and provide or contribute to a variety of other local services and activities. These include allotments, bus shelters, car parks, footpaths, rubbish collection and litter bins, public toilets, street cleaning and lighting and youth projects.

Encouraging greater involvement in community activities
Local governance and activities work better with, and often depend on, strong community involvement. We will therefore encourage such involvement, while respecting residents' decisions on how active they wish to be in the community.

Responding to changes in Government, County Council and Borough Council policies and plans
We aim to identify and respond to policies, plans and events in the wider world that may impinge on the well-being of the parish. We will collaborate with other Councils to identify and promote effective Parish responses to opportunities and issues arising from changes to devolution and the role of different authorities.

How we will work to achieve our objectives

Effective communication and consultation
We see engagement with as wide as possible a cross-section of the community as critical to our effectiveness. We will therefore further improve timely communications, through both traditional and social media and through public meetings, in order to keep the community informed and to listen to and understand concerns, suggestions and priorities.

Maintaining the highest standards of transparency and accountability
We embrace the need for transparency on what the Parish Council is doing and for us to be accountable for what we do and the use we make of resources. We will follow best practice on these issues to enable our performance to be assessed.

Working efficiently and effectively
We will be clear on our collective and individual responsibilities. While respecting agreed procedures, we aim to make prompt decisions with minuted and time bound, action points which are subsequently monitored. In its discussions, the Council encourages free and informal expression, while respecting and negotiating differences of view and maintaining our collective support and responsibility once decisions are made. We will be open to involving others outside the Council with relevant experience.

September 2017

A copy of this document has also been archived on the Council Documents page.