Friday, 25 February 2011

Councillors' thoughts

February parish council meeting
The next meeting of Old Buckenham Parish Council will be on Thursday 3 March in the Village Hall starting at 7.30pm. So here is the blog editor's version of the February minutes so that you can be better informed if you should consider going along to the next meeting.
There were six members of the public at the February parish council meeting. Apologies for non attendance were received from Stephen Thorley.
The minutes of the Parish Council meeting in January were signed as a true and accurate record of the meeting.
Matters arising from the minutes. Adrian Joel said that under 'Doe Lane meeting notes' it said that 30 people attended the meeting. He stated that only 30 people were invited to attend the meeting. Tom Johnson commented on an article in the circulation folder showing the legal aspects of gritting pavements and asked for it be put in the next village newsletter. Adrian Joel asked if a volunteer had been found to cut the playground grass. Mike Craven-Romain replied that one had come forward and he was discussing the matter with him.
Allotments. It was agreed after consultation with the allotment holders that the allotment sizes would be reduced to conform to the one acre overall size of the plot. The landowner is also currently drawing up a lease with the Parish Council for the land. The allotment holders had asked for all copies of correspondence between the Parish Council and the landowner and after discussion it was agreed that this would not be made available. The Parish Clerk is to write to all allotment holders on the new size of the allotments and also to OBAS regarding the decision not to make available the correspondence between the land owner and the Parish Council. Breckland Council had awarded the Parish Council a grant of £1,000 for the allotments. The total cost of the fencing and water supply would be £1,919 plus £176 for fitting.
Amenity area. Adrian Joel said that he had obtained a copy of the original planning application for an amenity area opposite the village shop. He then recommended that a working party of four be set up consisting of two parish councillors and two members of the public. Adrian Joel and Gerald Norton agreed to join this working party. Tom Johnson raised the matter of the cost of the project and the Parish Clerk said it would have to be precepted for over the coming years starting in financial year 2012/13.
Planning applications. The Parish Clerk read out two letters objecting to the proposed erection of two dwellings in Harlingwood Lane. Carol Marshall raised some concerns over what she thought were inaccuracies in one of the letters and gave a detailed response to them. Derek Smalley also raised some points regarding access and that the application was outside the building envelope. Tim Ing also raised some concerns over the development. A vote was taken which resulted in four for the application and five against with one abstention. Adrian Joel said that Breckland do take into account the views of the Parish Council and he had asked that the original application be sent to committee for decision. This application would be heard by committee in mid-February and the Parish Council could send a representative to speak on it.
Alteration and extension to dwelling in St Andrews Close. No objections were raised, this being agreed with nine for and one abstention.
Breckland Councillor’s report. Adrian Joel informed the meeting that Breckland had agreed a balanced budget for 2011 and it will be recommended to full council on Thursday 24 February. There will be a zero increase in Breckland’s share of the council tax (the council tax will remain at £64.05 for a band D property). Also Old Buckenham Parish Council have been awarded a grant of £1,000 for the allotments to go towards the cost of fencing and water supply provision. The new Cotman houses in St Andrews Close are moving forward with the transfer of land from Breckland Council now close to completion. It is expected that Cotman Housing Association will apply for HCA funding for the scheme some time in the spring/summer. The National census will take place during 2011 and census forms will be sent in the post on Monday 7 March.
Chairman’s report. Norman Cawston said that he had attended a meeting with the Green Rights Proprietors and that Tim Ing would give a fuller report.
Parish Councillors’ reports. Adrian Joel raised the matter of the Doe Lane meeting notes of last August. The item is to be put on the March agenda. Adrian Joel also raised the matter of Quality Council status and asked for the clerk’s opinion on the matter. The clerk gave a detailed response with his final comment being that there was no real benefit for the Parish Council as a whole and they should wait for the Localisation Bill which promised to devolve certain powers to Parish Councils. Carol Marshall said she had a meeting with Peter Whear of the High School regarding the Recreation Area. The school had funding of approximately £20,000 (not the £100,000 that they had hoped for) and so had no plans for the outside projects to date. Carol Marshall said the Recreation Area working party would now go ahead with a multi-sports project. They will soon be meeting to agree on the groundwork required before installation of any equipment and they hoped to order equipment for a football area very soon. Johnathan Kemp said that they would have a launch date of Saturday 2 April for a football area with two goals with netting installed at a total cost of £411.50. The Parish Clerk advised the working party to carry out a full risk assessment on the project before the launch date. Johnathan Kemp said a long term plan was being drawn up to put together the other facilities for the recreation area and Carol Marshall would be putting forward some grant applications to go towards the funding and getting the required quotations for equipment. She would also obtain a copy of the lease from the village hall. Gerald Norton said that the Village Hall Committee had raised the matter of funding for the replacement of the stage lighting and that the Old Buckenham Players were hosting a performance on Friday 4 March to raise some funds. Derek Smalley said his first items had appeared in the village newsletter and he was pleased that a volunteer had come forward to cut the grass at the play area. He also said that he had attended a meeting of Attleborough Community Team with Mike Bartlett and it was a good meeting. Over three thousand signatures had been raised and 358 of them were from Old Buckenham residents following action by Terry Cracknell and Mike Bartlett. The Parish Clerk is to send a letter of thanks to both of them. Derek Smalley then raised the matter of establishing ‘No Cold Calling Areas’ within the village following a recent incident involving an elderly resident and two cold callers. The item is to be put on the March agenda. Tim Ing asked if the scouts were doing any litter picking on the Green at the present time. Mike Craven-Romain said they were not during the winter months. It was also reported that premises had burglaries committed during daytime hours in Old Buckenham and also that heating oil had been stolen. It was recommended that residents be more vigilant in these matters. Tom Johnson said a meeting will be held regarding the Attleborough Expansion Plan on Tuesday 1 March. He also raised the matter of a meeting at Breckland Council on Wednesday 2 March for people who wish to become Parish, District and/or County Councillors.
Parish Clerk’s report. The Clerk said that the grit bin for the schools had been delivered to them and both schools had paid their contribution towards the cost of the bin.
Highways. Tom Johnson said that in the circulation folder there was a map of the gritting routes for Old Buckenham and asked if we could get alterations and additions to them. The Parish Clerk said the Parish Council would have to make a submission to Norfolk County Council Highways to alter next year’s routes. He explained the difficulty of another Parish Council who for years had tried to get additional roads gritted but without success due to the limited resources of the County Council.
The Green. Tim Ing said that he had a recent meeting with Green Rights Proprietors (GRP) and they were not happy with the state of the Green. He had, with Norman Cawston, held discussions for the future maintenance of the Green and suggestions had been put forward. The GRP were going to check the status of the Green to see if grass cutting could take place before the hay making season. The Parish Council have been asked to put in writing proposals for the future maintenance of the Green before Tuesday 22 February so it can be discussed by the GRP at their meeting. Tom Johnson asked if a list of the current Green Rights Proprietors was available yet. Tim Ing said that the GRP was trying to be compile one. Thanks were given by the Parish Council to Tim Ing and Norman Cawston for their work on taking the whole matter of the Green forward. Carol Marshall said she now had a plan where bat boxes could be installed on the Green.

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