These notes have been written by the blog editor from the draft minutes and so may contain information that is changed at a later date.
There were six members of the public at the February meeting of Old Buckenham Parish Council. All parish councillors were present apart from Sarah Dye and Akis Chrisovelides who had sent their apologies. The meeting was suspended for a short while to allow members of public to ask questions.
Minutes of the January Parish Council meeting. The minutes were signed as a true and accurate record of the meeting.
Matters arising from the minutes. Adrian Joel raised the matter of the recently adopted Harassment and Bullying Policy. He said it showed a typing error of Necton Parish Council and it needed to be signed by all councillors who have a copy. He had also done some investigating and said no other parish councils had this policy. The Parish Clerk said just because he knew of no other council who had one did not mean that this Parish Council should not have one. It was recommended by ACAS that all employers should have one. Jonathan Kemp said the policy had been adopted by a majority of councillors and therefore the meeting should move on.
Old Buckenham High School. Aron Whiles, the new headmaster, wished to introduce himself having now been at the school for one term. The school had an OFSTED inspection in October and it was not as good as hoped but improvements are being made and early indications showed marked improvements since the inspection. Certain areas require more effort and these issues are being addressed. The school will always support the community. Steve Milner raised the question of the problems relating to traffic and parking at the school. He suggested the school and the village hall should get together to promote alternatives to people driving their children to school which could help alleviate the parking problems. Also raised was the access to the Junior School. Tim Ing thanked Aron Whiles for attending the meeting.
Future Precept meetings. Steve Milner said that at the last Precept meeting there was no provision for a public recess and referred to recent correspondence by a resident on the subject. Steve Milner thought not allowing public recess was undemocratic. Tim Ing said the Precept meeting could be emotive, especially when the awarding of grants was discussed. He said that residents can speak at any parish council meeting prior to the precept and raise the matter then. Tom Johnson said he agreed with Steve Milner and that a standing order should allow members of the public to speak at the precept meeting to question the whole precept. This view was also shared by Adrian Joel. John Frost said residents have the opportunity to raise precept matters at any parish council meeting. Steve Milner proposed allowing members of the public to speak at Precept meeting but they would be limited to three minutes per person. Also to allow parish councillors to ask members of the public for their views. This was seconded by Tom Johnson and voted on, with four for and five against, the motion was therefore defeated. Adrian Joel proposed moving the Precept meeting to November (from the present October) and that grant applications may be discussed at the October Parish Council meeting. This was agreed with eight for and one abstention.
Planning application. Vine Cottage, Fen Street. Erection of detached garage with office above. Single-storey rear extension to dwelling and erection of two-storey side extension. There were no objections from the parish council, this was agreed with seven for and two abstentions.
Planning decisions received from Breckland. Magnolia, Fen Street. Single-storey outbuilding to rear of property. Permission granted.
3 Mill Cottages, Mill Road. Erect timber framed first floor extension. Permission granted.
Chairman’s report. Tim Ing said he had attended a recent meeting with Norfolk County Council (NCC) regarding the new Chapel Road School where a number of suggestions were made to try to sort out potential traffic issues at the new school as well as the existing schools in the village. The next meeting will be in March and further public consultation will take place. In May it is anticipated that an artistic set of drawings for the project will be available. He then raised the matter of the Annual Parish Meeting which is being held on Wednesday 19 March and asked if councillors could start planning what reports they would give to enable residents to be informed of the activities that the Parish Council are currently doing. The Parish Clerk is to invite the NCC councillor and Tim Ing would try to get someone from the NCC education department to come and speak on the new school.
District Councillor’s report. Breckland Council agreed a final submission concerning ward boundaries at its meeting last September. The Local Government Boundary Commission published its draft recommendations concerning the new arrangements in January. These propose a council size of 49 councillors together with a proposed reduction in ward numbers from the existing 36 to a proposed 27. Old Buckenham’s ward is presently ‘The Buckenhams’ which includes both Old and New Buckenham. The Commission’s recommendation is to add Banham to the ward and it would become ‘The Buckenhams and Banham' ward. A further period of consultation will now take place until Thursday 17 April with final recommendations published by July 2014. Alternative proposals are now available for public viewing on theCommission’s website www.lgbce.org.uk. The government are proposing to move to Individual Elector Registration (IER) and this is scheduled for introduction in July 2014. Individuals will now be responsible for their own electoral registration rather than by household. Residents are encouraged to register. The New Buckenham cabinet broadband will be complete as phase 1 by the end of March. There are 460 properties connected to this new exchange cabinet. Once live it is expected that at least half of these properties will have access to superfast broadband (up to 24Mbps) and the majority of the remaining properties (because of varying distances from the cabinet) will have speeds of between two and twenty Mbps. Only twenty properties are too far from the cabinet that they will need to develop an alternative technology during 2016 to achieve access to basic broadband of at least 2Mbps.
Parish Councillors’ reports. Tom Johnson had attended a recent meeting of the Village Hall Management Committee who have agreed to have a year-long trial of broadband at an initial cost of £500 per year. Paul Boggia said he would want a zebra crossing near the school on the B1077 and would like the subject put on the March agenda. Derek Smalley had attended a SNAP meeting and informed the meeting that 20mph can be enforced on fixed signs but not on flashing signs. Old Buckenham has become a priority with Norfolk Police over the next three months so there will be extra police presence in the village to deal with parking, road crossing at school and the village is a second priority to deal with speeding in the village boundary. A resident had raised the matter of the knocked down posts outside the Ox & Plough and one bay of matting needs attention because of the recent bad weather. Carol Marshall said they would be getting a digger in as soon as the bad weather finishes to complete the BMX trail at the recreation area. They are also planning a garage sale for May/June. An electrician is updating the wiring systems at the Almhouses. Steve Milner says a Google calendar of events has been set up to publicise Old Buckenham events at firstname.lastname@example.org. He is still working on the school crossing situation and had completed another audit recently. Steve Milner also asked about the precept support grant. The Parish Clerk said that Breckland was having a further meeting later this month and would look at its previous decisions not to pay it. A resident had raised the problem of Serco emptying the dog bin in Raggs Lane. Adrian Joel said he and George Freeman MP had looked at the school crossing problems and suggested at looking at getting a proper crossing.
Parish Clerk’s report. The Parish Clerk informed the meeting that, due to recent changes in government rules, Parish Councils can now use online banking. He had inserted extra software and an encrypted security browser on the computer to make it as safe as possible. The Parish Council would now start to pay invoices by BAC transfer to reduce costs. The Parish Clerk also informed the meeting that he would be on holiday from Thursday 20 to Thursday 27 February.
Highways. Carol Marshall raised the question of the road sweeper vehicle leaving litter as it swept. Also the problem of tractors digging up grass verges outside houses. The meeting was informed that it was a private matter and the resident would have to identify the owner of the tractor and take the matter up with them. Road problems reported included water down Church Lane causing the road to flood and potholes in Hargham Road at the junction of the road going to The Grange, on the left hand bend just before Puddle Dock on Attleborough Road and in Sandy Lane and Wilby Road. The Parish Clerk to inform Highways.
The Green. The Old Buckenham Green Right Proprietors’ AGM is being held on Tuesday 25 February.
The next meeting of Old Buckenham Parish Council will be on Thursday March starting at 7.30pm in the Village Hall.