Parish Council meeting in July
These notes have been written by the blog editor from the draft minutes and so may contain information that is amended at a later date.
It was a well attended parish council meeting in July with fourteen members of public present along with Stephen Askew (Norfolk County Councillor) and all the parish councillors except Jonathan Kemp and Akis Chrisovelides who had sent their apologies.
During the public recess the items raised included Chapel Road School, parking on the Green by the play area, bikers at the Ox and Plough public house, the missing gate at the play area, Village Hall car parking and the parish council’s new grievance and disciplinary procedure (further details should be on this blog tomorrow).
Minutes of June Parish Council meeting. These were signed as a true and accurate record of the meeting.
Matters arising from the minutes. Adrian Joel raised the matter of the working party on Standing Orders. Steve Milner said this would be covered under the chairman’s report. Derek Smalley raised the matter of restricted deliveries to the new pig farm. Steve Milner and Terry Cracknell had met recently on the matter. Adrian Joel would keep a register of all complaints and any resident with a complaint should contact him via his email (email@example.com).
Chapel Road School. Adrian Joel stated that he was disgusted that NCC Highways was not at this meeting and had refused to attend the recent public meetings. Steve Milner reported that he had invited NCC to attend but they stated they were unable to attend the Parish Council meeting and he has asked NCC for a further meeting with residents but NCC had also refused this. Steve Milner reported he had replied to NCC in strong terms via email at their refusal to attend any meetings involving residents and the Parish Council. NCC said they would attend a small meeting with some parish councillors and two residents. The Norfolk County Councillor for Old Buckenham (Stephen Askew) informed the meeting that he had tried numerous times to contact Highways who do not reply to any of his letters or emails on the whole project. Adrian Joel suggested that a number of residents and parish councillors go and speak at future NCC Planning Committee meetings and voice their concerns over the application. Steve Milner said the junction of the access road to the school will enter on a B road with national speed limits which he believes is very dangerous, especially with coaches. Steve Milner is hoping to get some speed figures together to counter the findings of NCC. He wants the existing 30mph speed limit extended so that the entrance/exit is much safer. Steve Milner also said he has some specialist who would attempt to draw up information for the Parish Council to take forward to NCC. Tom Johnson asked why there had been no traffic census over an extended period by NCC to establish accurate vehicle levels and speeds. Sarah Dye asked if parking was still an issue with the new school. Various points on the whole scheme were raised by members of the public and it was agreed that the Parish Council would express serious concerns regarding traffic and safety issues along with a severe lack of communication by NCC Highways on matters already raised with them. Letters are to be sent to the Director of Highways and the Leader of NCC and advise them a group has been set up with an outside specialist to advise Parish Council on relevant issues.
Adoption of new financial regulations. Deferred to September meeting.
Adoption of new grievance and disciplinary procedures. Deferred to September meeting.
Planning applications received. 5 Fen Street. Erection of two-storey extension. No objections from Parish Council.
Planning decisions received from Breckland. Crown House, Stacksford. Demolish garage and erect two single-storey extensions. Permission granted.
Sunnyside Farm, Church Green. Proposed alternative conversion of outbuilding attic and extension to form annexe. Permission granted.
Approval of accounts payable. It was unanimously agreed that the invoices due for payment on the cheque list be paid. Adrian Joel raised matter of previously purchased voice-activated software. The Parish Clerk explained to the meeting that the software would not work in a sufficiently effective manner and he had stopped using it. The software had cost only £20 and it was worth trying for this small amount to try and improve efficiency with it.
Chairman’s report. Steve Milner said that the theft of gate from the play area had been reported to police but there was no sign of missing gate. Picket fencing would replace the gate. Adrian Joel said the gate should be replaced. Steve Milner replied that if the gate was replaced there was a strong chance it would be stolen again. Adrian Joel said the other gate needed some work done on it, along with some of the fencing. Steve Milner said that the fencing would be repaired by using screws instead of nails. It was also reported that surfaces on the play area were compacted and Steve Milner reported that this is also being looked at. Steve Milner then reported on the Standing Orders working party and only two areas need to be agreed. These would cover public recess at Precept meetings and the other would involve the creating of a human relations subcommittee which could delegate to a working party for the purpose of appraisals. Another meeting of the working party will be held to finalise these two areas. He then reported that the Village Hall Committee had set up a working party with some residents to solve current issues surrounding the use of the village hall car park. The Committee will be putting forward possible solutions. One idea suggested was turning part of the Recreation Area into parking spaces. This would need the consent of the Parish Council and the Parish Clerk informed the meeting that this may not be possible under the terms of the lease that the Parish Council has on the land. Tim Ing spoke out against the idea. Steve Milner sought the views of the parish councillors and a majority were in favour of looking into the suggestion further.
District Councillor’s report. Adrian Joel reported that the 14 new affordable houses in St Andrews Close are now available to bid for on “Breckland Key Select Scheme”. These houses are expected to be available for occupation at the end of August this year. A mix of one-, two- and three-bedroom rental properties for people with a local connection to the village are being provided by Cotman Housing Association. If local people have a connection to Old Buckenham and are in need of affordable housing they may be eligible for one of the properties. They must be registered on Breckland’s housing register to apply for one of the dwellings via the Breckland Key Select website. The properties are being advertised on this site from the first week of July. If local people are not registered then they should do so as soon as possible. To apply for registration visit www.brecklandhousing.co.uk. If anyone requires any information on the process then they should contact the Breckland Housing Team on 01362 656870. An audit of all open spaces in Breckland District was undertaken in 2007 and 2010. These audits examined areas of open space irrespective of ownership and included formal sports pitches, children’s play areas and informal or amenity areas of open space. All parishes will be asked to complete an update. Breckland are putting £950,000 in the partnership with NCC to bring faster broadband to more homes and businesses. Breckland Council are to offer training courses for parish councils, a leaflet giving details will be in the parish councillors’ circulation folder.
Parish Councillors’ reports. Tom Johnson raised the matter of potholes in the village and the Parish Clerk informed the meeting that NCC Highways are undertaking a countywide project on potholes. Paul Boggia raised the matter of grass cutting on the Green. Sarah Dye informed the meeting why it was cut in June. Derek Smalley had attended the Attleborough Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group meeting and said minutes from the meeting are in circulation folder and when other new minutes become available they will also be circulated to councillors. The Business Steering Group had put forward a lot of ideas and some may impact on Old Buckenham. Any near misses or accidents on the B1077 should be reported to Derek Smalley by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Adrian Joel asked when the rest of the Green is going to be cut as the existing cut areas look nice. John Frost reported that work on the tower of All Saints church will start in July. The windows that have been taken out for repair are more damaged than originally thought and the extra cost in repairs could be as high as £3,000. The stained glass windows will be put back by the winter of this year. Residents can visit the works where the repairs are being done and anyone interested in going should contact John Frost. Carol Marshall reported that the BMX track at the recreation area should be completed by the end of July. The garage sale scheduled for Sunday 21 September needs more volunteers to collect contributions.
Parish Clerk’s report. The Clerk read out an email from Kerry Talbot regarding the stolen gate and damaged fence at the play area. He would inform her of what action the Parish Council were taking in the matter. Sarah Dye is to look into possible grant stipulations.
Highways. A hedge on land at Hill Farm on Hargham Road is obscuring a crossroad sign. Footpaths at Rags Lane and Fen Street are overgrown. The little island at Manor Pond/Manor Corner is overgrown. The Parish Clerk is to speak to Highways on these matters.
The Green. Sarah Dye said the Green Right Proprietors had a recent meeting and she has sought their views on allowing parking on the Green. They would look at the recent application for the amenity site at the shop. They are carrying out a tree survey and some trees need attention. Posts outside the village shop which are rotten will be replaced. Grass cutting of Green was carried out and the grass used as animal fodder. There are no fences around any of the ponds but Rod Alley (Old Post Office Terrace) Pond, which has steep sides, has grab chains in case anyone falls in. All tree works recommended by NCC Highways have been carried out.
There is no parish council meeting in August. The next meeting of Old Buckenham Parish Council will be on Thursday 4 September at the Village Hall commencing at 7.30pm.