For the first time in a number of years, a mid-year meeting on the Cinque Ports’ Confederation Standing Joint Committee took place in Winchelsea on the afternoon of 20th November 2019

Standing Joint Committee November 2019

The reason for this extra meeting was that a number of good ideas came up under AOB at the May meeting. These could not be fully discussed, because there had been no opportunity for preparation for the focus of that meeting, in any case, was on changing the Speakership and doing AGM type things. This this additional meeting therefore provide the opportunity to take forward a number of issues.

The meeting approved the appointment of Rob Cowan as Joint Solicitor in succession to Ian Russell with effect from 1st April 2020. Ian will continue as Seneschal and Registrar. The post requires a trained solicitor and Rob has that qualification and works for Hastings Borough Council. It was also agreed that 20th Century Confederation Archives would be moved from Hastings and be stored at the Kent History and Library Centre at Maidstone, along with earlier material. Following a visit by the Speaker and Seneschal, the storage environment, availability of care and access was considered to be appropriate, although some Towns do feel that a more local solution would have been better.

There was also a discussion of the following resolution in respect of climate change: “The Confederation recognises that we are facing a climate and ecological emergency and encourages all members to commit resources and align policies to address this setting a target date of carbon neutrality from their activities and monitoring progress annually.” This had been proposed by Hythe and was seen as an important and relevant statement to be made at this time. The plan is to monitor progress annually.

Finally, there was discussion as to whether or not former limbs should be permitted to join the Confederation. Potentially, there are 23 of these, such as the better known Brightlingsea and Broadstairs and, because it has absorbed the lesser known town of Grenge (originally a limb of Hastings) potentially, Gillingham. While any member organisation needs new blood, there are a number of practical issues here and it was decided that the status quo should pertain, but the matter, possibly, of some sort of associate membership should be studied in more detail.

John Rodley
Mayor of Winchelsea
Speaker of the Cinque Ports 2019-20