Parish Council in March
With the next parish council meeting on Thursday 1 April, there is just time to read about their discussions in March. Then you can decide whether to go along to the meeting and see what has progressed.
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 amended later at the next month's meeting.
If you wish to read the full, unedited minutes, then they are posted on the notice board outside the village shop prior to the next parish council meeting.
Four members of the public were present and apologies for absence were received from Adrian Joel.
The minutes of the February Parish Council meeting were signed as a true and accurate record of the meeting.
Matters arising from the minutes. Norman Cawston said he had visited the resident in Hargham Road regarding the stones and she undertook to keep on top of the problem.
Planning applications. Peacehaven, 29 Fen Street. Change of use of land to paddock for horses and erection of stable. No objections from the Parish Council, this was agreed unanimously. Old Crown Gate Bakery. Replacement of old conservatory with a new one. No objections from the Parish Council, this was agreed unanimously.
Planning decisions received from Breckland. 12 Hargham Road. Demolish shed and erect detached two-storey dwelling with double garage. This application had previously been suspended but now the application being progressed.
Hunters House, Crown Road. Side extension to existing dwelling and new garage. Planning permission given.
Firfields, Fen Street. Replace old Acorn building with two-bedroom holiday let. Permission granted.
Village website. The Parish Clerk informed meeting that he had spoken to Ron Brewer about the matter and Mr Brewer said it would require someone who could keep the website information up to date. Stephen Thorley agreed to do the job and the Parish Clerk will inform Ron Brewer on the matter.
Village Emergency Plan. Trevor Crook said that he had circulated the plan to all councillors and he was awaiting feedback on a couple of the points. It was hoped that it would be ready for the April meeting and the Parish Clerk will arrange for it to be on the agenda.
Trell & Co. The Parish Clerk informed meeting that he had received documented proof from Terry Cracknell which showed an error by the court in processing his claim and that no delay was caused by Mr Cracknell. The Clerk informed the meeting of the advice he had received on the matter and that the solution was for Parish Council to accept responsibility. Norman Cawston proposed that the Parish Council accept financial responsibility for the amount of £2019.41 for the extra drainage work carried out on the footpath across the Green. This was seconded by Tim Ing and the motion was carried with 7 for and 1 against.
Approval of accounts payable. The items approved included £2019.41 to Trell & Co for drainage work to Green, £13,395.00 to Playdale Ltd for play equipment, £1000 to Old Buckenham Village Hall towards the kitchen refurbishment costs and £167.50 to Breckland Council for a planning application on behalf of Old Buckenham Players.
Parish Councillors’ reports. Stephen Thorley raised the matter of funding. Lucinda Leonard had been circulating details of the funding available but some was at very short notice. Grants from Breckland up to a maximum of £1,000 were available but only until Monday 8 March and other grants of up to £20,000 were available. He suggested someone should be responsible for coordinating all fund raising activities. He also had a copy of an LDF report showing growth of housing stock and job creations for the Attleborough area. He will circulate the report to all councillors.
Liz Taylor said the Recreation Area working party had not been able to meet recently. She has two quotes for grass cutting and would get another. She also asked for the councillors’ views on having a football pitch marked out on the ground. No decision was made on this. Kerry Talbot said she had toured the village with Richard Deller of NCC Highways department and the Parish Clerk showing him the pothole damage throughout the village. Mr Deller would look into the lay by and hopefully repair the holes but at the moment priority was being given to A roads and then B roads in the county. There were also budget restrictions that may apply. Kerry Talbot raised the matter of Scouts doing the litter picking on the Green and the fact that syringes had been found. The Parish Clerk gave advice that the work should stop immediately and a full risk assessment should be carried out by the Parish Council on the matter. The Parish Clerk would write to the Green Rights Proprietors about this. Norman Cawston will go and inspect the Green to see what he finds.
Kerry Talbot said progress had been made at the Play Area, the turf was now laid and seeding and rolling will soon take place depending on weather. They are currently reviewing all grants so that they can apply for the first instalments. The group has been asked to do presentations to delegates of groups starting out on the road of applying for grants. Gerald Norton said there had been a Village Hall meeting and that the official opening of the kitchen extension would take place on Friday 19 March and that Christopher Fraser MP would open it. Also that archive films were being shown on Saturday 14 March at a cost of £5 and refreshments would be provided.
Clerk’s report. The Clerk said he had received correspondence from Ron Brewer stressing his disappointment at the Parish Council had missed out on the chance to have a Community Speedwatch team in the Village. Trevor Crook informed the meeting that the Parish Council had made the application and had followed it up with numerous phone calls to Norfolk Police on the matter. Unfortunately the person who was handling the matter was transferred to other duties and somehow the application was overlooked. The Parish Clerk to write to Ron Brewer on the matter.
Highways. Gerald Norton raised the matter of flooding in Abbey Road because of a blocked culvert. The Clerk is to contact Highways. It was also reported that a blocked drain just past the bus shelter in Abbey Road needed looking at, the Parish Clerk is to report it to Anglia Water.
The Green. Tim Ing said that the Green Rights Proprietors AGM had been held and that no chairman had been elected. Rosemary West would continue as treasurer and secretary and Colin Phillips would be vice-chairman. He informed the meeting that bushes and bulbs are not allowed on the Green but bat boxes could be placed there. The money the council had received last year from the county village competition would be used to purchase them. He also informed the meeting that the Parish Council are to place four benches on the Green. Also the Probation Service have done a great job in tidying up the Green and this would be ongoing. It was suggested that all trimmings and leaves be left on the Green and used as a bonfire and a village get-together for the occasion. A tractor run is having a stop-over on the Green over the Easter weekend. Tim Ing also said he had informed the Green Rights Proprietors that the Parish Council were willing to accept the responsibility of maintaining the shop lay-by surface if Norfolk County Council do not repair it. It had been agreed by the Green Rights Proprietors that Mr Davey will continue to have the hay for next year in recognition of the good job he has done.
Standing order review. The Clerk informed the meeting that a review of Council’s standing orders was needed as the existing ones were based on a 2002 model. Since then there had been changes in legislation and practices that needed updating. He recommended that a working party be set up and he would obtain a model set of standing orders in the meantime for councillors to look at. It was suggested that all councillors join the Working Party and review the standing orders in a single meeting. The matter is to be put on the June agenda.
Governance and accountability. The Parish Clerk said he had produced a set of financial regulations for the councillors and asked that over the next month they have a look at them and give him any feedback or suggested alterations. These were necessary as the Council have to sign the Annual Return to government auditors under the Governance and Accountability section of the return. The item is to be put on the April agenda for adoption.
Any other business. Tim Ing asked if the parish council would allow him to order the benches that had been agreed on at a previous council meeting. The council agreed to the four benches being ordered. Gerald Norton raised the matter of blocked toilets in the Village Hall and said it would cost approximately £1,000 to fix the problem. He asked if the Parish Council could make a donation if asked to by the Village Hall committee.
The next parish council meeting will be on Thursday 1 April in the Village Hall starting at 7.30pm.