Committees and working groups
Resources and General Purposes Committee (R&GP) This committee is responsible primarily for finance, planning, staffing, training and other resource related matters. These include the day-to-day management of the Recreation Ground, children's play areas, churchyard, burial ground and the two parish owned allotments. Each R&GP meeting starts with a public open session. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Parish Council has subsumed all R&GP responsibilities into the full council agenda. This enables the public tp access discussions and decisions made in hybrid Parish Council meetings.
The Staffing Committee meets when necessary to consider personnel matters e.g. appointments, pay and conditions, staff appraisals, training and development, and recruitment. These matters are always considered in confidence in closed session.
Working groups are not constituted as committees, therefore legally, they do not have the power to make decisions or spend money. Instead working groups act in a purely advisory role. This enables councillors to gather technical information and input from architects, planners, surveyors and other building professionals, ecologists and other specialists, and residents with local knowledge.
Working group meetings are relatively informal. They provide time and space for exploratory and detailed discussions, and the time to reflect and check facts before the group makes recommendations to the Parish Council or Resources Committee).
The Policy Working Group meets to review internal policies and and procedures on a rolling basis, and annually to review the level of insurance cover prior to renewal.
The Planning Working Group is an informal discussion group that meets when needed, to discuss the more complex individual planning applications in detail.
The Finance Working Group meets during November, December and January to discuss options and recommend a draft budget to the Parish Council for the following financial year. By law, only the full Parish Council can set the budget and precept. These key decisions are always made in either January or early February, during a public meeting.
The Flood Working Group formed as the Parish Council's response to two severe surface water flooding incidents in 2018. The Group brings together residents with local knowledge, landowners and outside expertise, with the aim of reducing the risk of further incidents. Members are developing a Flood Plan that collates and applies local knowledge. This document will enable emergency services to make a coordinated response to future flood events. Group members are also trained as Flood Wardens to act as the local eyes and ears, and increase community resilience. The Parish Council is affiliated to the National Flood Forum, a charity which supports communities and individuals at risk of flooding and helps flood action groups to develop innovative local solutions to local problems.
The Affordable Housing Working Group meets to review options and opportunities for local needs and affordable housing, and is working with English Rural Housing to identify potential sites for a local needs scheme. The Group also leads on parish-wide housing needs surveys (HNS). The most recent HNS in 2022 updated the evidence of local need for different housing types.
The Allotment Working Group has oversight of Churchfield and Beanfield allotment related issues. The group is also keeping a watching brief on the Bridge Street allotments. Ashford Borough Council intends to off-load its responsibility for managing these, but has not provided the Parish Council with any details or timescale for the asset transfer.
The Community Transport Working Group is dormant. Until the COVID-19 pandemic it met to develop the Wye Flyer project.
The WYE3 Masterplan Working Group formed in 2016 to collaborate with Ashford Borough Council and Telereal Trillium to develop the WYE3 Masterplan. However, as Ashford Borough Council has not called a meeting since December 2017 this group is dormant.
The Wye Neighbourhood Plan Working Group completed its task in 2015 with the handing over of the submission draft to Ashford Borough Council. In 2019 the Parish Council formed a Neighbourhood Plan Review Working Group to gather evidence and prepare to update the adopted plan document and realign it with more recent policies when the government clarifies national policy. The group is also preparing a revised design guide.
The Wye Christmas Street Party Working Group organises this annual social event in Church Street with Parish Council support. Since 2017 the funds raised at this event are going towards speed reduction measures that will make the streets safer for all age groups.
The Wye Moves Working Group is developing draft highways projects and consulting on them. The aims is to to make Wye a safer place to be, and more attractive to move around, whether on foot, cycling or driving. The projects will be costed and form part of the Wye Highways Improvement Plan (HIP) and provide evidence for the walkable village policy in the Wye Neighbourhood Plan.
The Wye Revives Working Group is focussed on the purchase and reuse of the former Wye Methodist Church as a community hub in the centre of Wye.
The Wye Celebrates Working Group organised the beacon lighing and street party events for the Queen's Platinum Jubilee celebrations in June 2022. This working group has dissolved.
The Coronation Working Group is organising the May Fair and picnic in June 2023.
The Annual Parish Council Meeting (APCM) is normally held during May. The APCM is the first of the four statutory meetings of the financial year and the first agenda item is the election of a chair for the year. The APCM also decides on the membership of committees and elects a vice-chair. During the year ad hoc committees may be appointed for a specific task, or to deal with a new matter e.g. the Coronation.
Annual Parish Meeting
The Annual Parish Meeting (APM) is a separate statutory public meeting. The purpose of the APM is to give the Parish Council, and other local organisations an opportunity to give verbal and written reports to local residents and answer questions. The APM provides an open forum in which registered electors of the parish can raise and discuss matters of local interest or concern.
Although the APM is not a meeting of the Parish Council, it is the responsibility of the Parish Council to organise and publicise the event and pay for hall hire and refreshments. The APM must take place between 1st March and the 1st June (inclusive).
Appointments to external bodies
The Parish Council also appoints members to serve as its representatives on outside bodies, such as the Kent Association of Local Councils, and Wye Village Design Group, and trustees to serve on the Wye Almshouse Charity, Childrens' Playing Field Charity, Lady Joanna Thornhill Trust and the Wye Village Hall and Recreation Ground Charity.
The Parish Council is an active member of the Kent Association of Local Councils, (KALC) which is a not for profit membership organisation that provides councillors and clerks with training, development and advice on technical and legal matters. KALC links Wye to the National Association of Local Councils (NALC). This national body represents the interests of approximately 9,800 town and parish councils across England and exists to influence government policy and inform legislation.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic the council, committee and working group meetings were normally held in either the Small Village Hall, or Wye Methodist Church, depending on availability. If neither of these accessible rooms was available then the Latin School was used. Since March 2020 all in-person and hybrid meetings take place in the Parish Council's office as this room is well ventilated and COVID-19 secure.