Saturday, 19 August 2017

Dash cam talk in Old Buckenham

Your footage can help with road safety
Old Buckenham was the venue for the first public presentation of a new online service launched by the police to tackle dangerous and careless driving on Norfolk’s roads. Members of the public can now upload footage of motoring offences captured by dash cameras via the Norfolk Police website. 

PC Christopher Wright, from the Roads Policing and Firearms Operations Unit, attended an event in the Village Hall organised by Old Buckenham Parish Council to explain how the scheme works and what people can do to help police tackle incidents of dangerous driving.
PC Wright explained that dash cam footage has already proved invaluable in many investigations into serious collisions but can also be used as evidence in cases of ‘anti-social’ driving. That could be reckless overtaking or tailgating – where vehicles are being driven dangerously close to the vehicle in front.
The new online form, on the Norfolk Constabulary website, aims to make it easier for members of the public with footage of traffic offences to send it to police so the matters can be dealt with.
Anyone with footage, who is willing to provide a statement, can complete an online form which asks for personal details and information about the incident they are reporting. The form is then sent to the Roads Policing and Firearms Operations Unit and further instructions are then provided on how to upload footage. The case is examined by an officer who will make a decision on what action, if any, is appropriate. This could be a prosecution, fixed penalty notice or warning letter.
Another benefit of fitting dash cams is that they provide what insurance companies describe as the ‘24/7 silent witness’. Footage can prove who was at fault in an accident and help crackdown on insurance fraud.
PC Wright emphasised the campaign is not about the public doing the police’s job for them. He said “In recent years the number of dash cam submissions about dangerous and anti-social driving has increased and this new online service is about making that process easier. Last year there were 64 fatal road collisions in Norfolk and Suffolk and nearly 600 that led to serious injuries. Anything we can do to reduce this number is worthwhile. The dash cam scheme is another way of educating motorists and hopefully will promote careful and competent driving.”

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Barbecue in Old Buckenham

Chance to meet the builders
All the details are on the poster below. You can click on the image to make it bigger.

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Plans could affect Old Buckenham

A chance to comment
Old Buckenham residents invited to comment on Attleborough growth proposals.They can share their views on plans which outline how significant growth in Attleborough could be delivered.
Breckland Council has received an outline planning permission application from Attleborough Land Ltd (part of Ptarmigan Land Ltd) and various landowners to build up to 4,000 homes, a link road, and other infrastructure and community facilities on the previously identified Strategic Urban Extension (SUE) site, to the south west of the town.
As part of the planning scrutiny process, Breckland Council has launched a consultation, inviting local residents to review the proposals and submit their comments. The application will be considered by the council’s Planning Committee in due course.
The plans include proposals for:
• Up to 4,000 new homes
• Construction of a new link road between Buckenham Road and London Road
• Access roads and junctions onto the development
• A pedestrian footbridge across the railway line and other off-site highway improvements
• Two primary schools
• Shops
• Community buildings
• Sports pitches and public green and open spaces
To take part in the consultation, residents can review the comments and submit their views online by searching for 3PL/2017/0996/O at Alternatively, comments can be emailed to or submitted in writing to Robert Walker, Executive Director Place, Elizabeth House, Walpole Loke, Dereham, Norfolk, NR19 1EE. 
The consultation will close on Monday 11 September and make sure you quote 3PL/2017/0996/O when making your comments.

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Entering Old Buckenham Produce Show

Start producing now
How about taking part in the Old Buckenham Open Produce and Handicraft Show being held at the Village Hall, Old Buckenham on Sunday 10 September? Open to the public from 2.30pm. Presentation of prizes at 4pm.
Even better could you encourage more children to enter? It could be just the sort of thing to keep them occupied during the summer holidays.

The classes for children are:
48. A poem about a favourite toy, 8 lines.
49. A handmade birthday card.
50. Monster made from fruit and/or vegetables.
51. A building made from Lego.
52. Photograph of a tree or trees, no frame or mount.

Children's entries are free. Rules for exhibitors include that all exhibits should be brought to the Village Hall on the day of the show between 9.30am and 11am. Exhibits in the children's section must have been completed since the previous produce show.
The children's classes will be judged in two sections, ie 7 and under, and 8 to 11 years. Prizes and a trophy will be awarded to winners of each section in the children's classes with a ‘best in show’ award for the best children’s exhibit.

Friday, 11 August 2017

Thatching talk in Old Buckenham

Replacing the thatch on All Saints Church

Michael Aldred, a traditional reed thatcher, will be at All Saints Church on Saturday 16 September. There will be an initial general talk on" Thatching" for about half an hour, starting at 10am.

After a break for tea/coffee and biscuits, he will give a brief description of the deterioration of the thatch at All Saints Church followed by a question and answer session. The whole event is expected to last for about two hours.
Michael has carried out a detailed examination of thatch at All Saints and produced a written report for the Diocese and Heritage Lottery. An application has been made under "Listed Places of Worship" for financial support with grant funding. The total cost of the estimated repairs is £137,000.
This event is completely free of charge and a high attendance is essential to show to Heritage Lottery the support of the community to keep the church operating and in reasonable condition. Clergy and church warden will be in attendance.
Work on the thatch is essential to keep water out of the building. Please put the date in your diaries now and come along and add your support to the Raise the Roof campaign.

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Old Buckenham Parish Council minutes

July Parish Council meeting
These notes have been written by the newsletter editor and are based on the draft minutes so may contain information that is amended at a later date. A printed copy of the full draft minutes is displayed on the notice board on the wall of the village shop.
Those councillors present were Adrian Joel (Chairman), Susan Brown, Jon Hicks, Jonathan Kemp, Phil Little, Steve Milner, Andy Nicholls and Paul Phillips.
Also in attendance were Hilary Clutten (Parish Clerk), Chris Wright (Wymondham Police) and Martin Render (Community Heartbeat Trust) as well as seven members of the public.
Apologies for absence were accepted from Rona Boggia and Sarah Hornbrook.
Co-option of a parish councillor to fill a vacancy. Four residents of Old Buckenham had expressed an interest in becoming a parish councillor. Three attended the meeting. In turn, candidates Jean Bornett, Gemma Frost and Paul Phillips addressed the Parish Council with details about themselves including their interests in the village. There then followed a secret ballot in accordance with the resolution passed by the Parish Council in April this year. The Clerk counted up the votes and Paul Phillips was duly elected a Parish Councillor for Old Buckenham.
Minutes of June Council meeting. The draft minutes were approved as a true and accurate record of the meeting.
Matters arising from the minutes. Steve Milner distributed copies of a dog bin sign he had seen whilst on holiday; it was agreed to add the words ‘Thank You, Old Buckenham Parish Council’ to the sign. Council agreed to use the sign as amended for each bin.
Public participation in relation to agenda items only. Chris Wright from Wymondham talked about the Norfolk Constabulary Dash Cam Campaign whereby footage of dangerous driving or other crimes can be uploaded onto the Norfolk Constabulary website. A number of successful prosecutions have been achieved through this initiative. The organisation of a presentation about the campaign is recorded later in these minutes.
Martin Render from the Community Heartbeat Trust gave a talk about the installation of defibrillators in villages. As part and parcel of purchasing a defibrillator (top price model £2,000) the Trust would run a training seminar in the village and teach basic CPR. A quality defibrillator has a warranty of between eight and ten years. The maintenance costs of the defibrillator would be around £110 per annum including the replacement of the battery and pads. If the defibrillator was put in a telephone kiosk the Trust will provide the kiosk paint free of charge. Some buyers have received 100% funding from the National Lottery.
A resident reported that there was no sprinkler system in the new Chapel Green school. Jon Hicks and Adrian Joel said that this issue had been raised with Norfolk County Council but they had been told that the water pressure in the village was not good enough to supply sprinklers. Steve Milner will take this issue to the Chapel Green School Stakeholders and he has already written to the Head of the School. The Council agreed that the Clerk should write a letter to Chris Hey of Norfolk County Council with a view to getting it put in writing about the lack of water pressure. A resident reported that his poultry unit has to have a 24 hour water storage system so why not the school?

A resident raised the question of trying to get a doctor’s surgery in the village – this had been investigated by the Parish Council last year. The Clerk will look for the negative response from the Attleborough Surgeries.
A resident wanted people to recognise the work of John Fernihough on the Green, asked about its insurance (public liability), what happens if a dog bites someone and should the grass be cut in front of the barn past the Post Office? He also remarked that the entrance to the school is not wide enough and on a bend which makes it a dangerous road access. Steve Milner said that there were a lot of building materials lying around at the moment and once cleared the splays would be enlarged; also some hedgerow removed. It was agreed that when writing to Chris Hey about the sprinklers, the school entrance should also be mentioned.
Gemma Frost agreed to fill the Old Buckenham resident vacancy on the Green Management Working Party.
A resident offered her help as a trained First Responder. She also reported that the Play Area was dangerous, including the equipment, and that the grass is not cut often enough.
Planning applications. West View Farm, The Green. Rebuilding of front boundary wall at a listed building. Council agreed not enough detail in the application to make comments.
The Granary, Mill Road. Replacement of windows in a listed building. Agreed to support.
Barn adjacent to Stacksford House Farm. Variation of planning conditions. Agreed not qualified to comment on this.
Development plot, Harlingwood Lane. Discharge of planning conditions was noted.
Builders’ Yard, Hargham Road. Discharge of planning conditions was noted.
Planning decisions by Breckland. Gamekeeper Public House, The Green. Consent for new signage.
Development plot, Harlingwood Lane. Approval of reserved matters.
Other planning matters: Local List 2017 Consultation, Breckland District Council – agreed no comments.
Draft Guidelines for Recreational Provision in New Residential Developments Supplementary Planning Guidance (SPD), South Norfolk District Council – agreed no comments.
Gamekeeper Public House – CAMRA has accepted the Gamekeeper as a right to bid for Community Asset. The Parish Council will consider the local shop for the same at next meeting.
Financial matters. The Clerk had distributed her Financial Report to the councillors prior to the meeting. The completion of the purchase of the telephone kiosk has taken place; she has added this to the Council’s insurance policy with a replacement cost of £2,000. The sum of £5,000 has been received being a grant towards the new fencing for the Children’s Play Area and is included in the bank balance which at the end of June stood at £45,535.88.
The sum of £3,201.40 has been received from Norfolk County Council being the balance of the Parish Partnership Award 2016-17 for the work on the Village Hall car park. The Council agreed to pay an invoice from MW Surfacing for £3,841.28 for the Village Hall car park using the balance of the Parish Partnership Award received.
Chairman’s report. The Chairman welcomed Paul Phillips to the Parish Council and suggested that perhaps the unsuccessful candidates might like to join one of the Parish Council’s Working Parties.
District Councillor’s Report. The Emerging Local Plan is moving forward; it goes to Cabinet and then to Full Committee in July. It will then be published so that a further consultation can take place. The allocation of houses for Old Buckenham is 37. Of this number 20 have been identified already leaving 17 to find over the period of the Plan.
A new street sign, “The Green leading to Hargham Road”, has been put in position and further new signs may be forthcoming.
Parish Councillors’ reports. Susan Brown remarked on the parking issues when the Ox and Plough has its weekly gatherings. It was suggested that a sign could be put out on Tuesday evenings in the summer asking drivers to go down the road. Phil Little agreed to speak to Ben Devlin about parking issues. Steve Milner reported that he had updated the Old and Parish Council websites and people should let him know if they want anything put on these websites.
The Old Buckenham Church funding raising campaign “Raise the Roof” has started. Paul Phillips suggested that the Parish Council sponsor a larger event to make the village residents aware of the Norfolk Constabulary’s “Dash Cam” campaign – a Saturday in the large room at the Village Hall seems appropriate. He will liaise with the Police. Andy Nicholls thanked John Fernihough for his hard work on the Green and wondered if the Green would be cut again in August. Work will soon start on clearing Green Pond opposite the Post Office.
Old Buckenham Neighbourhood Plan. Andy Nicholls and Adrian Joel had met with Susan Heinrich of Breckland Council who had said that some of the key issues might be solved by the Breckland Local Plan so that a Neighbourhood Plan for Old Buckenham might not be necessary. It was suggested that Tim Bornett be asked to look at the next Breckland Local Plan consultation document once it was published.
Attleborough Neighbourhood Plan. This is coming to a close in its current form but a new guise is anticipated.
Road Safety Working Party. The local MP, George Freeman, will be having a meeting with the Road Safety Working Party.
Play Area. The state of the Children’s Play Area had been brought to the attention of the Parish Council through letters received from concerned parents/residents. The grass had been now been strimmed and needs to be kept neat and tidy during the school holidays. Jon Hicks said that he was willing to take over the grass cutting from Ben Devlin and he is arranging to have overhanging trees trimmed. The Play Area has been inspected by Jon Hicks twice in the last month. He has done various jobs and identified that the tractor and trailer are no longer fit for purpose. He and Phil Little have agreed to refurbish the tractor and trailer. The fencing will be done in July/August once the new railings arrive. Various parish councillors offered help in removing the old railings to save the expense of £500 that the supplier of the new railings would charge.
Recreation Area. The Village Hall Committee has reported that it believes the Recreation Area belongs to the Parish Council and not the Village Hall. This being the case the Parish Council wonders why it has been being charging rent to the Village Hall for the land all these years. Also NCC wants to upgrade the footpath that passes over the Recreation Area for the use of school children. It was generally agreed that NCC should pay for this work and agree to maintain it.
Chapel Green School. The topping out ceremony had been arranged for July.
Precept Working Party. This will meet during August.
Highways matters. The Clerk was asked to thank Highways for some work that had been carried out in the village and to report various dirty road signs – hopefully the Highways Rangers can deal with this particular issue.
Report on the Green. The Council agreed that the Green Management Working Party should spend up to £300 on identified tree works. Another tree was identified by a resident as needing work and the Chairman will inspect it. There was general consensus is that there is not much that can be done about dog mess on the Green as it is Common Land. The purchase of a bag dispenser was considered but no firm decision made.
Telephone box update. There was a proposal to advertise for a contractor to refurbish the telephone box now that the equipment has been removed. The Parish Council agreed that Steve Milner should put an item on Facebook.
Defibrillator. Steve Milner read out a statement from a retired local doctor asking the Parish Council to consider installing a defibrillator in an alternative location such as the Village Hall where it would be available to more people. A portable machine was also discussed for taking to village events but the First Responder present said that she had one. It was proposed and seconded that the Parish Council should purchase a defibrillator for a site at the Village Hall (subject to Village Hall approval) and the vote was carried by four votes to three with one abstention. The Clerk was asked to contact the Village Hall Committee.
Correspondence. This included an invitation to the Annual General Meeting of Community Action Norfolk and also a letter concerning the winding up of Norfolk Community Transport Association. The Parish Council agreed not to support the winding up of this important organisation.
Items for the next Parish Council meeting. These will include the defibrillator, Chapel Green School, the telephone box, community assets, the Green, the Children’s Play Area and the Recreation Area/upgrade to footpath.

The next Parish Council Meeting will be on Thursday 7 September starting at 7.30pm in the Village Hall.

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Old Buckenham parish councillors 2017

Contact list
Following some recent appointments, the Old Buckenham Parish Council is now complete and here is list of all their details should you wish or need to contact them.

Parish Clerk
Hilary Clutten, 35 Lavender Close, Attleborough. Norfolk NR17 2PZ
Telephone 01953 451078, email:

Parish Councillors
Adrian Joel (Chairman)
9 Hargham Road, Old Buckenham, NR17 1SL
01953 860663

Andy Nicholls (Vice-chairman)
The Joules, Crown Road, Old Buckenham, NR17 1SD
01953 861044

Rona Boggia
The Joules, Crown Road. Old Buckenham, NR17 1SD
01953 860915

Susan Brown
1 Old Post Office Terrace, Old Buckenham, NR17 1RD

Ben Devlin
Ox & Plough, The Green, Old Buckenham, NR17 1RN
07887 691722

Jon Hicks
2 Hargham Road, Old Buckenham, NR17 1SL
01953 861414

Sarah Hornbrook
2 Chapel Loke, Old Buckenham, NR17 1PY
01953 860022

Jonathan Kemp
44 Hargham Road, Old Buckenham, NR17 1PD
01953 860567

Phil Little
1 Forge Close, Old Buckenham, NR17 1RX
01953 861164

Steve Milner
Fig Tree Cottage, Stacksford, Old Buckenham, NR17 1PN
01953 860866

Paul Phillips
3 Forge Close, Old Buckenham, NR17 1RX
01953 860622

Monday, 7 August 2017

Even more details on Old Buckenham finds

Information from the secretary
Godfrey Pratt, secretary of the Norfolk Heritage Recovery Group (NHRC) has provided more details on the finds.
In the end there were 52 club members detecting, plus a special guest Wendy Howard who is the Anglian Secretary for the National Council for Metal Detecting (NCMD). Wendy commented very favourably on the organisation of the day's event, the quality of the finds, and the quality of Steve Milner's lunchtime burgers.
There were very many finds, which covered a timespan from Neolithic (a flint cutting blade), through Roman (three Roman broches and a coin), medieval, and many coins right up to a modern 20p piece. Of the coins, there were a dozen medieval silver pennies from the 12th and 13th centuries, and two very impressive Charles 1 shillings from the mid 1600s. 

Godfrey's personal best find was a Queen Anne silver sixpence (approximately 1705) which had been bent to form what is known as a Love Token: reputedly this was the origin of the nursery rhyme about the crooked man finding a crooked sixpence by a crooked stile.
During the afternoon Christine Arksey, whose husband used to farm the land brought along a Celtic bronze bracelet  which her husband found about thirty years ago on the same field as the one being detecting on now. This is quite an important and rare find, in excellent condition, and she very kindly agreed that it could be taken it on next monthly visit to the Finds Liaison Officer at the County Archaeologist's Office at Gressenhall where it will be accurately described, photographed and added to the national database at 

Very great thanks and appreciation are due to Tom Barron, without whose generous loan of two of his fields the event could not have taken place. As a result of the dig, NHRG will be writing out a cheque for £500 to the Raise The Roof appeal. If anyone else would like to help raise another £500 by offering some land for a day, please contact Godfrey Pratt (NHRG Treasurer) at

Sunday, 6 August 2017

Recovering the past in Old Buckenham

Fine for detecting
Norfolk Heritage Recovery Group (NHRG) held its metal-detecting dig today at Old Hall Farm in Harlingwood Lane, Old Buckenham. The weather was fine, over thirty members of the Group started their searches at 10am and were still at it well into the afternoon.

The finds were put on display so that members of the public could see what had been found. There were many coins, some musket balls, bells from farm animals, a medal and other items needing further investigation.

You can enlarge these images by just clicking on them
The items will get further examination at the NHRG monthly meeting tomorrow.
Afterwards, the finds will be taken to the Finds Liaison Officer at the County Archaeologist’s Office to be recorded on the national PAS (Portable Antiquities Scheme) database.
Any proceeds from this charity event will be donated to the Raise the Roof appeal for the re-thatching of All Saints Church in Old Buckenham. 

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Metal detecting in Old Buckenham

What will they find?
Norfolk Heritage Recovery Group (NHRG) will be holding a charity metal-detecting dig in Old Buckenham on Sunday 6 August. All proceeds from the event will be donated to the Raise the Roof appeal for the re-thatching of All Saints Church.
The dig will take place at Old Hall Farm in Harlingwood Lane. The fields to be metal-detected are situated between the site of Buckenham old castle on Abbey Road, and the new castle just outside New Buckenham. According to the NHRG treasurer, who lives in Old Buckenham, they are hopeful of recovering some interesting items of buried heritage from Old Buckenham’s distant past.
If anyone from the village is interested to see what’s discovered, there will be a display of finds at the Registration Point situated at Old Hall Farm buildings in Harlingwood Lane. The display will be available to view between 2pm and 4pm on the day of the dig and there will be someone from NHRG on hand to identify the finds and explain their significance. Afterwards, the finds will be taken to the Finds Liaison Officer at the County Archaeologist’s Office to be accurately identified and recorded on the national PAS (Portable Antiquities Scheme) database.
If anyone would like any further details, please contact Godfrey Pratt by email to

Monday, 31 July 2017

What to do in Old Buckenham

Diary dates for August

Tuesday 1   Coffee and chat, Church Rooms, 10.30am onwards

Wednesday 2   Women's Fellowship, Methodist Chapel, 2.30pm

Thursday 3   Flower Club trip to Hyde Hall, leave VH car park 8am

Friday 4   Visits from Mobile Library during morning

Sunday 6   Metal detecting finds at Old Hall Farm, 2pm to 4pm

Wednesday 9   Luncheon Club, Village Hall, 10am to 2pm

Saturday 12   Road safety talk, Village Hall, 10.30am

Sunday 13   OB windmill open, 2pm to 4.30pm

Monday 14   Whist drive, Church Rooms, 2pm

Wednesday 16   Songs of Praise, Methodist Chapel, 7.30pm

Sunday 19   Prize bingo, Church Rooms, 2pm

Wednesday 23   Luncheon Club coffee morning, Village Hall, 10.15am

Thursday 24   Women's Institute, Village Hall, 7.30pm

Saturday 26   Flower Festival, Methodist Chapel

Sunday 27   Flower Festival, Methodist Chapel

Sunday 27   Family Fun Day, OB Country Park

Monday 28   Flower Festival, Methodist Chapel

Sunday 30   Music in the Park, OB Country Park from 2pm

Saturday, 29 July 2017

Day one at Old Buckenham Airshow

Images at the airfield
The blog editor is the first to admit he is useless at photographing flying aircraft, particularly those flying rather fast. So here are some general and some alternative shots taken during today.
Remember you can go along and see it for yourself tomorrow, Sunday 30 July.

Old Buckenham's August newsletter

Another month, another newsletter
Copies of the August newsletter are now available, a few days before the end of July. One may have already popped through your letterbox. Otherwise pick one up from the village shop or All Saints church.

Friday, 28 July 2017

Play area reopens in Old Buckenham

Fencing completed, playing restarted

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Lots of cricket at Old Buckenham

If you go down in the woods today...

...there will be plenty of cricket to see (unless it's raining)

Tuesday 25 July – Club XI v Hadley Wood (touring side) Start 1.30pm

Wednesday 26 July – U19 v Gt Melton Start 6pm

Thursday 27 July – U15 v Garboldisham  Start 6pm

Friday 28 July – Club v Gt Witchingham 20/20 cup Start 6pm

Saturday 29 July – 2nd XI v Fakenham A

Sunday 30 July– Club v Eaton  Start 2pm

Monday 31 July – U17 v Diss  Start 6pm

Tuesday 1 August – U15 v Diss  SNCL Start 6pm

Wednesday 2 August – U19 v Rocklands Start 6pm

Thursday 3 August – Club XI v Rayleigh (touring side) Start 1.30pm

Saturday 5 August – 2nd XI v Acle A Start 1pm

Monday 7 August – U12 v Belhus Start 2pm 

Saturday 12 August – 1st XI v Acle Start 12.30pm

Sunday 13 August – Club v ????? Start 2pm – 200 year celebration

Monday 14 August – U13 v Gt Melton Start 6pm

Monday, 24 July 2017

Fencing at Old Buckenham

New surroundings
The play area gets an upgrade with new green metal fencing (and the gates will be yellow).

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Treasure Quest in Old Buckenham again

Visit to Flower Festival
Sophie Little arrived at All Saints Church late this morning following the clues on the BBC Radio Norfolk Treasure Quest programme. The clue envelope was on a Blood Bikers' machine parked outside, helping to give them some useful publicity as well as letting more people now about all the flower displays.

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Pictures of Old Buckenham flowers

Don't miss these displays
The real things look much better than these photographs.
So make sure you get along to All Saints, Old Buckenham, to see these flower arrangements in their full beauty. Breckland Flower and Garden Club are celebrating their thirty-fifth anniversary by depicting 'Treasures of the deep'.
Opening times are 12 noon to 5pm tomorrow (Sunday) and 10am to 4pm on Monday. Refreshments, bric-a-brac and plants for sale in the Church Rooms.
Here are just a few of the arrangements.

Friday, 21 July 2017

Working on Old Buckenham Flower Festival

What's inside?

Much has been going on in All Saints Church, Old Buckenham, over the last two days. Come along on Saturday, Sunday or Monday to see how the interior of the church has been transformed into a marine spectacular.
Entry free, more details on last Monday's post.

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Tea party in Old Buckenham

Back by public demand

Come along and enjoy those lovely homemade cakes, have a refreshing cup of tea or coffee, treat yourself to an ice cream - all to raise money for a very good cause.
Bring the children to celebrate the end of another school year of just come and talk to other people from Old Buckenham that you may have never seen before...

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Topping out in Old Buckenham

Up on the roof
Today was another milestone in the construction of Chapel Green School. Topping out is a traditional ceremony carried out once a new building has its roof on.
A select few were allowed on to a very windy roof where some sparkly water was poured and a 'tree' was planted. The tree was brought down to ground level again so that all the guests could see it, cover it and themselves in silvery sprinkles, and then settle into the Memorial Room at the Village Hall to see a video recording of the earlier events on the roof. Also to enjoy a drink and some lovely refreshments.
Here are a few photos to give an idea of what went on and also a slightly edited version of the main speech given by Terry Hickman Smith, Chair of Governors, Chapel Road School.

This is a most significant moment. Our new school has been a long time coming but now we have just been on the roof of this wonderful new building. The building process is now over halfway through and we are looking forward with great anticipation to the final move to Old Buckenham.
This point in our 30 year journey owes much to some very significant people. I will try to mention everyone who has been significant in the progress from ideas to reality.
Initially I would like to thank Robert Ashton, whose idea to look at the potential for this site followed by the initial negotiations, took the project from a desperate wish to the actual building.
Then a massive thank you to John Alston, who is sadly no longer with us, who donated the site, and then to Milo O’Sullivan who made that gift a reality.
There are then so many people who have had a greater or smaller, but significant role to date. The Government with their funding for a part of the project. The Local Authority who have worked so hard with us to make the new school the building it will be. Here we thank Chris Hey, Head of Place Planning and Organisation in Children’s Services, and Isabel Horner, a part of the same team. There are many others at County Hall who have played their part too as have our local councillors, Alec Byrne, Jo Mooney and Stephen Askew. Our local MP, George Freeman, has constantly been on our case.
Then there is the Design Team from NPS Property Consultants. There have been many different members of the team from the time the design first started but those who have so magnificently completed the project include Richard Pollard, the Head of Project Management and Andy Snape, their project Manager who runs the project on a day to day basis, James Montgomery, the Lead Architect, Carla Lurcock the person who has resolved all the architectural details, the Mechanical and Electrical Engineers led by David Buxton and worked at in detail by Ben Hallett and many others. The NPS team includes structural engineers, quantity surveyors, technicians and many, many more. The Furniture and Fittings team, with Emma Pank and Gary Underhill, have been an enormous part of how the building will work and have been of great help to us. John Ames, the archaeologist has also had an important part to play. Thank you to the whole team of players who have brought the building design to fruition.
More recently the building contractors have moved the construction process on with incredibly rapid and accurate speed. Morgan Sindall have been a revelation. With courteous efficiency they have taken the construction procedures to amazing heights – including completing part of the roof ready for today. Especial thanks today to John Stedman who is in overall charge of the building construction project, to Dan Rush, the calm and efficient site manager, Tom Grant and their team and to Helen Clements who liaises with us on behalf of Morgan Sindall. There are far too many people to name but what an efficient unit.
The school staff has had to carry on teaching in their incredible and wonderful way through all of this. They have had their hopes for a new school raised and dashed so many times over such a long time that they are finding it difficult to actually believe that it is happening. Today makes the dream an absolute reality. The staff have worked tirelessly with the pupils to ensure the best possible education for them in the difficult circumstances of a building totally unfit for purpose. Soon those difficulties will be behind them and new challenges will emerge. A massive thank you to all the staff, represented here today by Julie, Claire who set up today and many others. A big thank you to the pupils too, and their parents, who have come on this journey.
Our Governors, present and past, have been so supportive of the project and have helped, not only to move the project forward but have kept a watchful eye on the teaching and learning within the school and the well-being of staff and pupils. The Friends of Chapel Road School have really played their part too.
Also a thank you to the staff and pupils of Old Buckenham High school and the Primary school who have been a part of the planning for the move and who will play an important role in the future of education of all pupils in the schools over the coming years. The village community too has been wonderfully supportive since the site here was identified. We look forward to working with the whole community.
But most of all I wish to say a massive thank you to Karin Heap, our amazing head teacher, who has made this project possible by her determination, by cajoling, by arguing, by pleading, by pushing relentlessly, by talking to the right people (and sometimes the wrong ones), by never giving up and by bringing so many people with her by her enthusiasm and never, never-say-die attitude. Without Karin this project is unlikely to have even begun and through her attention to detail and continually pushing at the boundaries we have a school which will be a flagship for the education of children with complex needs for the foreseeable future. Thank you Karin.
The tree which marks this ceremony has been made by pupils from all three Old Buckenham schools, of which we are now a part. This tree symbolises the progress and the continuing growth of this building for us and for future generations. We look forward to being a part of the Old Buckenham wider community and appreciate your welcome to us.
We believe our association with the village, in all aspects, is of prime importance to the school and we look forward to many years of close association with you.