Parish Council in February
These notes of the parish council meetings are prepared by the editor of this blog from the draft minutes and so may contain information that is amended later at the next month's meeting.
Two councillors, Derek Smalley and Paul Boggia, had sent their apologies for not being able to attend the February meeting of Old Buckenham Parish Council. There were four members of the public present.
There was the usual public recess when the meeting was suspended for a short while to allow members of the public to ask questions.
Minutes of January meeting. These were signed as a true and accurate record of the meeting. Chairman Tim Ing thanked Kerry Talbot who had done the minutes in the absence of the Parish Clerk.
Matters arising from the minutes. The Parish Clerk said that under Chairman’s report it was stated that a rebate of £983.50 will be paid to the Council. The Clerk explained that this was not a rebate but, because of a new means of fixing precepts, Breckland Council has a smaller tax base from which the precept was allocated and in year 2013/14 it meant there was a shortfall in the precept of this amount. Central government was funding this shortfall and Breckland was paying it in the form of a grant to make up the precept shortfall.
BMX trail and car parking at recreation area. Jonathan Kemp said that three quotes had been received for the works and he then gave details of the ground works involved. This would increase car parking spaces by up to 17 cars. Carol Marshall has had a meeting with the young people in the village showing them what the track would look like. They were very enthusiastic about the project and would put forward ideas as to how the final layout could look. Councillors then asked questions relating to the project. Jonathan Kemp and Carol Marshall would liaise with the village hall on start dates for the project. The quotes received were for £5,610, £3,666 and £3,040 (all were plus VAT). Jonathan Kemp proposed that the quote of £3,040 be accepted as the person had done previous work in the village, this was seconded by Carol Marshall and agreed unanimously. Tim Ing thanked them both for their hard work on the project. The Parish Clerk is to send letters to the two unsuccessful firms who quoted.
Village Emergency Plan. It was proposed by Carol Marshall and seconded by Jonathan Kemp that the village emergency planned produced by Steve Milner be adopted, this was agreed unanimously.
Planning applications. None
Planning decisions received from Breckland. Crown House, Stacksford. Erection of front porch. Permission granted.
Alice Cottage, Ragmere Road. Convert integral garage into bedroom and bathroom and side extension to form car port. Permission granted.
Abbey Farm, Abbey, Road. Convert outbuilding to residential annexe. Permission granted.
43 Fen Street. Demolish existing rear storage room and erection of conservatory. Permission granted.
The Finches, Cake Street. Front and rear extensions, raise roof to create rooms in roof including Juliette balcony. Permission granted.
Chairman’s report. Tim Ing had received an email regarding overhanging trees on Hargham Road. He said that they were the responsibility of the landowners and the problem was not too severe at the present time. He then said the play area parking work was done and was proving successful. He had also been informed that the promised contributions to fund the work would now not be paid as they disagreed with how the work was done. School parking during the recent snowy weather had been a problem as the Village Hall car park was not accessible because of the snow. He also said that congestion at the school is growing as more people are dropping off children. Tim Ing said he had received comments regarding proposed street lights in the village and most of them were against the idea of having them. The matter will be discussed at the Annual Parish meeting being held on Wednesday 20 March at 7.30pm. He also reported that he had some words with farmers’ wives regarding farm traffic in Hargham Road and the damaged being caused to grass verges. The Shrublands planning application would be discussed at a public enquiry on Tuesday 12 March at Attleborough Town Hall, this matter is to be put on March agenda for full discussion.
District Councillor’s report. Adrian Joel said a licence had been given to move the great crested newts from St Andrews Close to the newly constructed ‘piles’ in the adjoining woods. This would enable Cotman Housing Association to start building the 14 new properties in early summer 2013. Breckland Council had a deficit a year ago of £3.5 million and they had to find this over the next five years. This deficiency had already been reduced to £2.6 million with efficiency savings and better use of their assets. Breckland had decided after their consultation programme to keep free parking in the five market towns. Breckland are proposing a council tax increase of £4.98 per year on Band D properties which would be the first increase in four years and would take a band D property to £69 per year. District Councils are getting together a scheme to save residents money on their gas and electricity bills. A ‘power switch’ scheme will be announced shortly and residents will be asked to register their interest and full details would be available later this month.
Parish Councillors’ reports. Steve Milner said that slow down speed signs have now been distributed and are appearing on wheelie bins in the village. John Frost said the church tower has been awarded a grant and it is hoped to start work in 2014. A bat survey had been carried out at the church and none were found, only some droppings. Another survey would be carried out later this year. Akis Chrisovelides has prepared a draft notice regarding the youth council and would be putting them up in the village and see what response there is. Adrian Joel said a resident has thanked the Parish Council for providing new grit bins. There were suggestions that another one was needed and he would raise the matter in November to see if any funds were available to get another one. Tom Johnson said he attended a Village Hall committee meeting and they raised the matter of flooding in the car park which they thought was Parish Council responsibility. Jonathan Kemp said the responsibility actually rested with the school. Norfolk County Council have said they will deal with problem. Tom Johnson said there was a quiz night at the village hall on Friday 15 March and hoped the Parish Council would enter a team. A public meeting at the Village Hall would be held on Saturday 2 March regarding the future of the Village Hall. They urgently need three new nominated trustees. There has been a lot of correspondence between the Charity Commission and the Village Hall regarding the existing committee and, if no new volunteers are forthcoming, then the hall could close and the Parish Council would have to take up Custodian Trustee status. Tom Johnson asked if Parish Council would attend the public meeting and support the existing committee. Wednesday 3 April would be the date for the AGM of the village hall and Wednesday 10 April would be the first committee meeting. Jonathan Kemp has applied for a grant of £20,000 for the recreation area from Norfolk Community Foundation and would be in the March round of applications.
Highways. Pot holes were reported in Abbey Road on the left approaching the school. Also in Grove Road and the junction of Hargham Road. More were reported in Hargham Road from number 46 down towards Fen Street. The footpath up to the shop in Hargham Road needs attention. John Frost reported another recent accident at the junction of Grove Road and Mill Road. The Parish Clerk is to contact Highways on these matters.
The Green. Sarah Dye said the AGM of the Green Right Proprietors would be held at the end of February. Tom Johnson said the duck house on the pond at the Gamekeeper needed repairs and Sarah Dye said it would be dealt with in near future. Akis Chrisovelides asked if the Green Right Proprietors had regular funding streams for the Green. Sarah Dye said that there was not and that the income received paid for the insurance but no extra money was available.
The next parish council meeting will be on Thursday 7 March in the Village Hall commencing at 7.30pm.