Parish Council meeting
These notes of the parish council meetings are prepared by the editor of the newsletter from the draft minutes and so may contain information that is corrected later at the next month's meeting.
Those attending the February meeting were Norman Cawston (Chairman), Tim Ing (vice-chairman), Mike Craven-Romain, Adrian Joel, Carol Marshall, Gerald Norton, Kerry Talbot, Liz Taylor and Denise Ziman along with John Baskerville (County Councillor), Mike Read (Clerk) and one member of the public.
The minutes of the January meeting were approved and there were no matters arising.
Village Hall. The Lottery ‘Awards for All’ grant application submitted by the village hall had been turned down. At a meeting with Laura Apps-Green of Breckland Council attended by Adrian Joel, Mike Bartlett, representatives of the Luncheon Club and Mike Read, she explained that the refusal had been partly due to the parish council’s involvement in the application. This opinion was reinforced by a letter received by Mike Bartlett from “Awards for All” confirming this situation.
County Councillor’s report. John Baskerville said that the Council Tax increase is likely to be 2.9%. The Puddledock end of Fen Street may be shut for about 10 days to facilitate road works when drainage work is undertaken. The Park & Ride fares are being revised.
Children’s Play Area. Kerry Talbot reported that the East Coast Truckers’ Charity has pledged a donation of £554 for the purchase of some equipment for the enlarged playground. Mike Craven-Romain and Kerry Talbot met with Lucinda Leonard from Norfolk Rural Communities Council about further funding opportunities. Lucinda was able to provide a further list of funders and some useful information on funding coming online during March.
The Community Spaces grant application has been completed and sent off.
Lesley Coates has organised the licence and Spring Grand Draw tickets. Thanks were expressed to Womack Building Supplies Limited, Executive Leisure and members of Bucks Just Play for sponsoring the draw. The tickets are on sale at various village outlets and by door-to-door sales.
The draw will be on Saturday 4 April in the Ox & Plough at 1pm. The main prizes (1st, 2nd and 3rd) are £100, £50 and £25. Other prizes include vouchers for a meal at The Gamekeeper, treatment at the Clinic on the Green, two tickets to Funtime Factory plus many more.
The next meeting of the working party will be Wednesday 4 March to follow the Breckland Council decision on funding due to be considered on Tuesday 24 February.
The Norfolk Rural Communities Council is running a course for weekly play area inspections and course fee is £10 per person. The Parish Council agreed unanimously to finance two people from the working party to attend.
Settlement Boundary Review. The second stage of site specifics consists of three further sites and the consultation period goes up to Monday 30 March. Placement of details will be made in the village newsletter and on their blog (see earlier post for map showing sites). This will give people about six weeks to make any comments.
Recreation area behind the Village Hall. The planning application is now under consideration and the statutory period for consultation expires on Thursday 26 March. The Parish Council has returned a “no objection” response on its own application.
The Green. The Green Rights Proprietors have raised a query with Mott MacDonald about the promised dropped kerb that has not yet been installed. They still await a positive reply. Information on when the remaining work will be carried out is necessary before the construction of the footpath can proceed.
Consideration was given to the possible letting of the Green to the Parish Council. John Baskerville reported that in answer to a survey (which had a 68% response) 78% of the village who voted wanted the Parish Council to manage the Green. A proposal to approach the Green Rights Proprietors was made and put to the vote. The proposal was carried (9 in favour and 1 against).
A further proposal was made that no up-front payment would be made to the Green Rights Proprietors in respect of the proposed letting by the Parish Council. This was carried unanimously.
It was also proposed that a joint meeting be set up afterwards with a specific group from the Parish Council if the Green Rights Proprietors agree to grant the letting. This too was carried unanimously.
Adrian Joel commented that the Proprietors could and should invest in the Green. Mike Read, as current Chairman of the Green Rights Proprietors, pointed out that, even with the benefit of a grant from Breckland Council, over £4,000 had been invested by the Proprietors in the Rod Alley pond improvements. This money constituted most of the Proprietors’ savings.
Tim Ing, as the Parish Council’s representative on the Green Rights Proprietors, will present concrete proposals at the Proprietors’ AGM on Tuesday 24 February.
From the floor, Mike Bartlett referred to his letter suggesting that the Parish Council might consider organising a fund-raising appeal to local residents to help finance the initial costs involved if the Parish Council does take on the letting of the Green. The chairman pointed out that he had made a proposal of setting aside a sum of £1,000 to get the ball rolling but the Parish Council voted not to go to the full extent of his proposal for a precept of £17,000 and instead elected for £15,000.
Planning applications. Old Buckenham Parish Council. Land adjacent to Old Buckenham Village Hall. Change of use from agricultural to playing field and creation of car park.
For reasons that are obvious the Parish Council raised no objections.
Planning decisions by Breckland. Mr and Mrs J Germany, Thistledome, Crown Road. Replacement of conservatory. Permission given at Breckland
District Councillor’s report. Adrian Joel said that Breckland’s share of the Council Tax will increase by 3.35%. A Band D property will be charged at £64.05 (an increase of £2.07 per year). Breckland have also agreed a charter for a Cleaner, Safer and Greener District, working with other partners.
Additional Site Specific proposals as part of the Local Development Plan will be consulted on from the middle of February for a six week period.
Breckland residents will be able to vote for their favourite independent store. There will be a prize for the best village shop.
Councillors’ reports. Denise Ziman reported on the Allotment to Former Highways Surveyor’s Charity. The Parish Council is now in dialogue with the Charity Commission regarding the 2008 return and changing the payment arrangements. When the matter has been resolved Joan Jenkins, secretary to the general Eleemosynary Charity, will be consulted.
Vandalism had occurred (principally outside the post office) on the evening of Friday 30 January. There is a possibility that some students from the High School were involved and the head teacher, in conjunction with the police, is looking into this and no doubt the Parish Council will receive a report.
Work at Stone Cottage, Fen Street, appears to be proceeding in spite of a planning permission refusal for part of the redevelopment. The clerk was asked to make enquiries.
The matter concerning grant funding for the village hall is not at an end. A suggestion was made by Gerald Norton that a leaflet be sent out to solicit the villagers’ support for the kitchen improvements.
Tim Ing made the comment that a member of the public had suggested that the report of parish council meetings that is published in the village newsletter could be worded a little more sensitively. It didn’t seem to portray how the parish councillors are performing and failed to tell the parishioners how the people they had voted for are dealing with progressing projects and day-to-day problems. It comes across that a lot of responsibilities are falling on the shoulders of the clerk. It needs to reflect how both parties need to support each other and that the councillors accept their share of the workload. The terminology used in the minutes is of the utmost importance. It needs a subtle change of emphasis to avoid any misunderstandings as to how the public perceives the decisions that the parish council makes.
It appears that the Pilgrim pig processors’ lorries are in breach of the 7.5 tonne limit weight restriction on commercial vehicles. However, it is the understanding of the parish council that Pilgrim has an exemption certificate. This will need to be looked into.
Clerk’s report. One parishioner has requested consideration as a co-opted parish councillor. The closing date for applications was Wednesday 11 February. A decision has to be made as to whether the Parish Council needs a new member at present. The Parish Council was awaiting any further applications. The question of appointing a new member was discussed and it was proposed to go ahead (9 voted in favour with 1 against).
The clerk’s position as Chairman of the Green Rights Proprietors was discussed. He was asked to leave the room and a short discussion ensued. The Parish Council decided that they would not hold Mike Read to his undertaking not to stand for re-election as the Green Rights Proprietors' chairman on the understanding that, if re-elected, the matter would be reviewed before the Proprietors’ 2010 AGM.
Trevor Crook is drawing up plans of the second footpath on the Green for submission to three contractors.
The Hall is booked for a Flexi-bus public meeting on Wednesday 25 February at 7.30pm. Help is requested in providing light refreshments for those attending.
Highways. The Parish Council has had an undertaking from the County Council Highways that the lay-bys outside the village shop will be improved when the weather gets warmer. Another Highways inspection is called for.
Correspondence. The council considered Mike Bartlett’s letter to Mott MacDonald concerning the controversy over the footpaths on the Green.
A change of Green Rights has been notified to the Parish Council. Johannes Lindenmayer has sold two rights to Mrs Gulcheher Phillips and one to Matthew Phillips.
The Parish Council has received a reply from the Attleborough Town Clerk about the state of the Banham Poultry site in Attleborough. Because of financial constraints she does not feel that any action will be taken at this time.
The next meeting of the Breckland Town and Parish Council Forum is scheduled for Thursday 19 March at Dereham.
The next meeting of Old Buckenham Parish Council will be at 7.30pm on Thursday 5 March.