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KINGS HILL: New leaders shake up troubled parish council

Friday 30th July 2021

IT IS all change at Kings Hill Parish Council following a recent vote of no confidence in long-time chair Sarah Barker.

During an extraordinary general meeting of the beleaguered parish council on June 28, former leader Sarah Barker was asked to stand down on the basis that her style of management was not conducive with the running of a council.

Controversy has raged for many months over the state of parish finances and the management of the Kings Hill Sports Park, a community sport and leisure complex operated by the parish council.

Cllr Shakira Falzon-Thomas told the meeting she was saddened by the lack of leadership since she became a councillor in October 2020.

She believed a new regime was vital, with a transparent chair who could lead the council out of its present difficulty.

Cllr Tony Petty was elected the new chair by a majority vote, and Cllr Falzon-Thomas was voted new deputy-chair following the resignation of former deputy, Chris Finlay.

Another change saw parish clerk Julie Miller replaced by Stephen Nash, recommended by Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council (TMBC) as an experienced clerk and ‘trouble-shooter’.

Mr. Nash will be contracted on a full-time basis until matters are under control, expected to take about three months, then employed part-time as per the council’s needs.

Two committees, the Finance and Human Resources Committee and the Amenities Committee have been dissolved and rolled into full council.

The troubled sports centre and the proposed management agreement with tmactive, the charitable deliverer of sports and leisure facilities, is now in the hands of lawyers following administrative deficiencies.

There is much to do for the new regime. So much, in fact, that three parish council meetings were scheduled for July.