Saturday, 28 November 2020

What's flying in Old Buckenham

Bats of Old Buckenham
In July 2018 a bat survey was conducted in Old Buckenham. Three survey sites were chosen: Rod Alley pond, Ottomer pond and the Pound opposite the Almshouses. This was part of a wider British Trust of Ornithology study monitoring Norfolk’s bat populations since 2013. The Norfolk Bat Survey aims to improve our understanding of these elusive creatures and promote the conservation of the only freely flying mammals in existence. 

Passive acoustic monitoring equipment was used to detect the high frequency clicks emitted by bats (often beyond the frequency audible to the human ear), and the surveys provided interesting results. One night of recording was completed per site, with 1,514 sonograms (graphs representing the patterns of sound, unique to each bat species) recorded in total. These confirmed at least nine distinct species, representing half of the UK’s bat species. This included one western barbastelle bat (Barbastella barbastellus), classified as Near Threatened globally and Vulnerable to extinction within Europe with numbers decreasing according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.
The Ottomer pond survey showed 1,323 individual sonograms and conclusive evidence of eight bat species, just days before several diseased ash trees were removed. Many of these bat species depend on trees for roosting and feeding, so plans to plant additional trees on the village green will help these local populations. Fresh water in the village ponds and surrounding gardens and ditches, long grasses on the Green supporting insect populations (essential food sources for bats between spring to autumn), and plenty of tree cover all provide suitable habitat for these creatures to thrive in Old Buckenham. It will be interesting to repeat the surveys next year and see which species can be found. If you would be interested in taking part in a possible future survey then please contact Steve via his email address
Bat species detected in Old Buckenham on the nights of Wednesday 11, Thursday 12 and Friday 13 July 2018 were:
Western barbastelle (Barbastella barbastellus)
Brown long-eared (Plecotus auritus)
Common pipistrelle (Pipistrellus pipistrellus)
Daubenton’s (Myotis daubentonii)
Nathusius’ pipistrelle (Pipistrellus nathusii)
Natterer’s (Myotis nattereri)
Noctule (Nyctalus noctula)
Serotine (Eptesicus serotinus)
Soprano pipistrelle (Pipistrellus pygmaeus)

Monday, 23 November 2020

More trees on Old Buckenham Green

Now all planted
All of the trees provided by Norfolk Wildlife Trust have now been planted on the Green, courtesy of two socially-distanced couples who quietly got on with it.
There was no cost to the village as the 80 trees and protectors were supplied free of charge by Norfolk Wildlife Trust, the holes were dug by Charles Hastings (CH Mini Digger hire) for a knock down price of £50 and this sum was kindly sponsored by Paul Devlin and Ami Garnham.

The trees had been heeled in at a villager’s garden for nine months having been received in March 2020. The intention was to plant them almost immediately but with the lockdown it was decided to leave the planting until the autumn. It was probably good that things were delayed considering the dry spring weather. 
The planting had originally been planned to be a village event involving schoolchildren and giving publicity to the generosity of the Norfolk Woodland Trust but nothing similar could done in the current circumstances. Now we just need to watch them grow.

Friday, 20 November 2020

Old Buckenham Parish Council

Council meeting in November
These notes have been written from the draft minutes so may contain information that is amended at a later date.
Old Buckenham Parish Council met via Zoom on Thursday 5 November. Those present were councillors Steve Milner (Vice-Chair), Adrian Joel, Terry Cook, Andy Nicholls and Naomi Bailey. Also attending were Rachel Noyes (Clerk) and three members of the public. Jonn Hicks had sent his apologies while Mike Farrington and Ben Devlin were absent at the start of the meeting (Ben Devlin did join the meeting near the end).
The minutes of the meeting held on Thursday 1 October were approved (5 in favour). There were no matters arising from the minutes.
Financial matters. The Community Account balance now stood at £38,215.68.
Payments of £960.26 were approved (5 in favour) including accounting fees, newsletter paper, clerk’s salary and expenses, village handyman and community car payments. £600 was also paid for emergency tree work on the Green. The Charity Account Annual Return has been submitted.
Correspondence. A Parish Council Facebook page has been set up. It has been well received and has already been used to notify the council of a maintenance issue in the village. It has been suggested to put a profile in the village newsletter every month of individual councillors. A request for a bench in memory of Bill Wardman has been received from his daughter. Currently looking at suitable locations and bench designs.
Several questions have been received about proposed weather radar. No planning application has yet been received.
Steve Askew has informed the Clerk that the Highways Ranger scheme is still operational and that the parish council can email requests for any work that needs doing. George Freeman, our MP, has written asking for opinions on Covid-19 response and planning reforms. All councillors are to email their opinions to the clerk and these will be collated into a single response.
Action Plan update. The village handyman due to complete several maintenance tasks.
Village Green Working Party. The Green has been cut.
Road Safety. Several councillors raised concerns about the number of lorries using the minor roads and exceeding weight limits following temporary closure of B1077. Farm vehicles have also been stopping on roads for loading without any warning signs. Clerk to contact councillor Stephen Askew.
Play Area. Still open during lockdown. Playdale were booked to attend but will now not come out during lockdown. Toddler area bin is not being emptied as company don’t have key. The clerk to chase up.
Recreation Area. Lines on football pitch not painted yet. Andy Nicholls to chase up.
Councillors’ reports. Terry Cook said that the Village Hall has closed again during lockdown. Adrian Joel reported that the bin in the village hall car park needs emptying again and Andy Nicholls said it would be good to know the pub’s plans so that the village can support them.
County Broadband cabinet location. County Broadband is looking to place a cabinet on the corner of the Green with Mill Road and have asked for parish council feedback. Councillors could not see any problems with the location. Rachel Noyes to inform the Green Working Group.
Covid-19 update and preparedness for winter. Terri Hammond joined the Zoom meeting and provided an update on the village group of volunteers.
Previous volunteers have been contacted and most are happy to reprise the roles in helping those in the community that are isolating or shielding. A message has been put in village newsletter aiming to get the message out that help is available if you need it. Main job is prescription runs and they are in communication with the doctors’ surgeries for this. Breckland Council are in contact. Adrian Joel also highlighted that the community car is available.
There was concern about people feeling lonely and if there was anything that could be done to help support them. Terri explained that they have been told by Breckland to look out for those struggling and they will referred to the correct support. Thanks to Old Buckenham 2000 Trust who are, once again, helping the volunteers with the finances before reclaiming from the residents.
Parish Paths. Articles in the Village Newsletter have been well received and have led to some useful feedback already from both walkers and landowners. One common issue is unclear/missing signs. New signs are needed from the roads and also along the footpaths. This would incur a small partial cost to the Parish Council. It was proposed that the Parish Council should commit (in principle) to improving signage and footpaths in the Parish and this was approved (5 in favour).
Chapel Green MUGA. Chapel Green School are unable to provide money for the access to the MUGA as it is pupil money and so has to be spent on the children. The main issue is providing access to the MUGA while ensuring security of the school. Initial quotes for an access gate from the village hall car park were very high. There is no lighting of the MUGA which would severely limit its use in the evenings, particularly in the winter months. Can the high costs be justified if it can only be used on the weekend? The Parish Council has previously looked at getting its own MUGA (possibly on the Recreation ground). A feasibility study would give clearer understanding of the situation. Andy Nicholls to investigate a quote for a MUGA.
Planning. All planning applications are available for viewing on the Breckland District Council planning portal ( Parish Councillors have been asked by the chairman to view the new applications in advance of the meeting. 
New planning applications. 59 Fen Street. Single Storey Side and Rear Extensions, conversion of Garage to provide additional Accommodation, Front Porch and Render to existing External Walls (3PL/2020/1092/HOU). No objections. This application was supported (5 in favour).
Land between Willow Cottage and Priest Hill Cottage, Fen Street. Technical Details Consent for erection of one dwelling and garage. Permission in Principle reference 3PL/2019/1258/PIP (3PL/2020/1076/TDC). No objections. This application was supported (5 in favour).
Land to rear of development plot between Willow Cottage and Fen Street. Change of use of agricultural land to garden (3PL/2020/1075/F). A large garden extension proposed. A resident questioned the depth of the ecological study. Old pipeline runs underneath proposed extension but is no longer in use. Proposed extension would surround neighbouring property. The council voted to oppose the application (4 in favour, 1 against).but would comment to Planning that they could probably support if a smaller extension was proposed or there was a restriction on development on the area labelled on the plans as Paddock/Orchard.
Planning decisions by Breckland Council. The following application has now been considered and the application been approved.
Tall Trees, New Buckenham Road. Removal of the existing single-storey extension, new two-storey extension, replacement windows and new external cladding (3PL/2020/0979/HOU).
The following application been withdrawn. West View Farm, The Green. Convert the existing barn into one dwelling and to build two new dwellings with a new access to service the three dwellings. (3PL/2020/0326/F and 3PL/2020/0327/LB).
(Ben Devlin joined the meeting)
Items for next agenda. Precept applications.
The next Parish Council meeting will be held via Zoom on Thursday 3 December at 7.30pm. It was then agreed (6 in favour) to close the meeting to the Public and Press in order to discuss a personnel matter.

Thursday, 19 November 2020

Old Buckenham Village hall

Don’t forget the village hall

The Village Hall Management Committee is going to attempt to have their 2020 AGM on Wednesday 9 December at 7pm in the main hall. If you would like to attend you will need contact the secretary (Linder Foulger  via foulger.oaklodge@gmail) as they cannot exceed the numbers of people in the hall because of Covid-19 regulations that may be in force at the time. You never know, there might be a larger number of people at the AGM than usual.

At the present time there is very little income each month for the village hall. One way you can help is by bringing your newspapers and glass bottles to the banks in the car park. The containers have not been filling up as quickly as usual so please make a special effort to bring your paper and glass along to recycle it there whenever you can drop by while out on another journey in the village. Thank you, all the money raised is much appreciated by the hall committee.

You can also help the Village Hall by taking part in their Numbers Club. The cost is £1 per month (usually paid as £12 per year) and is collected by committee members. January 2021 is the start of their collection (COVID permitting of course). The prizes are £25 in June and two £25 prizes in December, as well as £20, £15 and £10 each month. All funds go to the village hall which is a charity. If anyone needs any more information they should contact the secretary by emailing her on foulger.oaklodge@gmail.


Saturday, 14 November 2020

 Thank you to all token collectors

The blog editor would like to thank all those in the village and the surrounding area who went to the effort of cutting out those Plant to Plate tokens from the EDP. We made sure that they ended up at Chapel Green School, all 8,658 of them. As a result they will be £1000 better off, a most welcome prize in these days when most other fund-raising activities cannot take place.
Sorry for all the nagging over the summer but it has paid off.

Thursday, 12 November 2020

Covering up Old Buckenham Mill

 Reaching the top

As part of the first stage of the windmill renovation, the scaffolding has just about reached its maximum height. Just asking to be photographed.

Wednesday, 11 November 2020

More remembering in Old Buckenham

 At 11am on 11 November 2020

Tyrone Power and just a few villagers held their two minute silence at the Memorial on the Green today.

Sunday, 8 November 2020

At Old Buckenham war memorial

 A village still remembers

The weather was calm and sunny regardless of what the weather forecasters had said. The message given on last Friday's post and on the Old Buckenham Facebook page had been read and several people did their daily walk to be by the war memorial by 11am. A short service was held, led by a lay team of members the All Saints congregation. The names of all those listed on the memorial were read out and wreaths laid. The scout leader who was going to lay their wreath woke on Saturday with a high temperature and is now in isolation along with the wreath and awaiting test results. The Scout wreath will be laid individually before Wednesday 11 November. (Latest news is that the scout leader's test result has come back negative so things are returning to normal in his household)

(just click on the images to enlarge them)

If you are visiting All Saints to see the lily displays you will also find a special arrangement inside the church using poppies and barbed wire and placed by the war memorial on the north wall.

Friday, 6 November 2020

Remembrance in Old Buckenham

Wreath laying

(After the 2019 service)

All Saints Church will be holding a short Service of Remembrance, with laying of wreaths, on Sunday morning at the War Memorial, starting at 10.50.  To stay within the current rules we are asked not to encourage people to attend. However should you find yourselves in the vicinity at that time and would like to stand and participate in the act of remembrance please do maintain social distancing. It is not possible to have the road closed during this service and in order to hear what is being said it will be necessary to stand on the same side of the The Green as the memorial.

Wednesday, 4 November 2020

Old Buckenham Lily Fund

History of the Lily Fund 

As it was not possible to have lilies at the service at Easter this year, people sponsored remembrance lilies to decorate the church on All Saints Sunday. 
The Lily Fund was started up in 2001. A few members of the congregation suggested it would be good if, at Easter, departed family members and friends were remembered by lilies in the church. This started up with 20 lilies, each costing £3 plus a donation if one wished. Money collected was specifically for adding to the church facilities, items that would not be possible under normal fund raising and all dedicated to the memory of the departed. This event has grown in quantity and monetary value except for this year because of Covid-19. However donations have, as usual, been from £5 to £100 and this year £1,600 was collected for 150 lilies, remembering mostly local people who lived in the village or some relatives who live some distance away. 
Over £27,000 has been raised over the last twenty years and the money spent on the following items: Memorial Book and bookcase, green altar frontal, silver chalice with fish motif, £1,000 towards path to burial ground, silver ciborium with fish motif, main notice board at gate, credence table and decanters, £3,333 for Church Restoration, white and red altar frontals, £300 towards Church path extension, £120 towards a replacement bible, £1095.60 to restoration window fund, red and green and white chasubles, nativity figures, thurible, boat, spoon and stand, book of Gospels, purple altar covering and chasuble, All Saint's Nativity Christmas cards, up-rated PA system, liglium (folding lectern) and help with Raise the Roof re-thatching fund.

The church is open from around 9am to 4pm each day and you are welcome to pop in and view the displays over the next couple of weeks.

Sunday, 1 November 2020

Special day for All Saints, Old Buckenham

 Bishop Graham makes his visit

A Service of Rededication following the rethatching of the Church roof took place today. Having been postponed earlier in the year, the service was rearranged for Sunday 1 November which is All Saints Day. The preacher and celebrant was the Bishop of Norwich the Rt Rev Graham Usher who based his sermon on the word 'roof' and its many occurrences in the Bible.

The church was decorated with 150 lilies, each one having been sponsored in memory of departed family members and friends (see previous post on Saturday 31 October). This Lily Fund started in 2001 and so far has raised over £27,000 which has been used to add to facilities that would not be possible under normal fund raising. This has included items such as improving pathways in the churchyard, new altar frontals and up-rating the PA system.

The Bishop arrives at 10am...

...and enters All Saints

The congregation awaits his sermon... 

... delivered from the pulpit

Sarah Dye sings one of her two solos during the service

Then it was outside to talk with various members of the congregation

A chance to talk to the Bishop...

... for several local families.

Although All Saints will not now be able to hold normal services during November you will still be able to enter the church for 'private prayer' and see the arrangements of the lilies over the next couple of weeks.

Saturday, 31 October 2020

Bishop coming to Old Buckenham

A special day
Sunday 1 November is All Saints Day and the
 Bishop of Norwich will be visiting All Saints Old Buckenham for the 10am Patronal Service to rededicate the Church following the restoration of the tower, stained glass windows and the new thatched roof.
The Church will be decorated with 150 lilies to remember loved ones who have died. This event was cancelled at Easter due to Covid-19. The flower displays in the Church can be seen anytime from 9am to 4pm during the following weeks.

Take several buckets of lilies...

...cut the stems to the right size for the arrangement... 

...tidy up the arrangements and the display of names being remembered...

...and put more displays on the window sills. 

Latest Old Buckenham newsletter

 More to read

The November village newsletter is being put through your letterboxes in the next few days. As well as the normal items like the notes on the Parish Council minutes and news of the village Hall, you can read about repairs starting on the village windmill and how a village school burnt to the ground many years ago.

Thursday, 29 October 2020

Old Buckenham's Eleemosynary charity

Allocation of Benefits 2020

A little later than in most years, the Trustees of the Old Buckenham United Eleemosynary Charities invite residents of Old Buckenham, in financial need, to apply for an annual grant of benefit. The need may be for a long-term situation or for a more temporary problem that has occurred only recently. There is no age restriction. However, as will be understood, the Trustees have a duty to ensure that the annual distribution of monies reflects the aim of the Charity to support the most deserving in our village.

The Trustees will review all requests received and will take into consideration any other benefits currently received by applicants. Application forms will be available in All Saints Church from the beginning of November. Fully completed forms should be returned to Mrs Jennifer Sallnow, Arianne, Attleborough Road, Old Buckenham, NR17 1RF (telephone 01953 860166). As was advised to beneficiaries last year, the Trustees ask that all previous beneficiaries complete an application form for consideration by the Trustees.

Last date for applications to be with Mrs Sallnow is Thursday 19 November.

Tuesday, 27 October 2020

Requesting Old Buckenham information

Six Villages newsletter 
The Six Villages Newsletter is hoping to produce a Christmas edition and would like input from individuals and groups in this village. If you are a local group, how have you been faring, are you intending to open again next year or have you reached the end of the road? If you are an individual or family how have you been spending your time since March? As it will be the festive season, however odd this year, would you like to send a message to anyone? Please contact Wendy, the editor, on by Saturday 7 November.

Saturday, 24 October 2020

Footpaths in Old Buckenham

Parish Paths (Public Rights of Way) 

A number of parishioners have enquired about the routes of Old Buckenham Parish Paths (Public Rights of Way). We are fortunate to have a number of varied and very attractive routes within our village and these are identified on the map linked to this article. If you would like to view the routes in more detail you can do so by going on-line and accessing the Norfolk Highways ‘Definitive and Interactive Map’. This is accessed via On the website you can view the definitive map / interactive map / and the reporting form relating to a problem on a Public Right of Way. To access our village when entering the webpage just zoom to Old Buckenham and then left click on the map and select ‘View Public Rights of Way Definitive Map’. If you would like to investigate taking in Paths within surrounding Parishes, you can do so on this interactive map by zooming in on our neighbouring Parishes – you will see from the map that routes within an individual parish have the name of that Parish on the route as well as a route number. If you would like to undertake longer walks within Norfolk on established trails they are marked on the website

The Parish Council would like to emphasise that they can only deal with enquiries relating the Parish Paths identified by name and number within Old Buckenham. They have had a number of general enquiries about Parish Paths that whilst parishioners have thought the Path is in the Parish, it is in fact in another. They can point you in the right direction to get your enquiry answered but have no jurisdiction for Paths in other Parishes.
Your help and support would be appreciated – the Parish Council has been liaising with the NCC Countryside Access Officer for South Norfolk in relation to signage of Parish Paths. They have discussed setting up a joint project to ensure the regulations relating to signposting Public Rights of Way are adhered to. For example, it is the responsibility of the Norfolk Highway Authority to signpost a Right of Way where it leaves a public road. Therefore, they would welcome any suggestions for signposting where a parishioner is aware this does not occur. Also, the Highway Authority may arrange for additional way marking on the route of a Path where there are changes of direction or more than one possible route of travel is available or where there is a possibility of being unsure of the route of the Path. In all these instances they would welcome recommendations from parishioners where way marking would be beneficial. If you could send suggestions – with exact location details and if possible, photographs – the Parish Council can then work in partnership with the Countryside Access Officer to establish clear and informative signage within the Parish (please email suggestions to the Parish Council at or write to the Parish Clerk at 6 Forge Close)

Saturday, 17 October 2020

Mill repairs

 Work has started

Wednesday morning

Friday, 16 October 2020

Timber available for free collection

Pick it up

There is (or was earlier today) a pile of sawn wood behind the bus shelter on the village Green. This is the result of some tree maintenance and the Parish Council are happy that is free to anyone who wants to collect it.  

Monday, 12 October 2020

Repairing Old Buckenham Mill

Work due to start

Mill back in 2007

Our historic grade II* listed mill is set to be reopened to the public thanks to support from Historic England and the Association for Industrial Archaeology. It is hoped that the major repair works starting this week are a first step towards rescuing the mill from Historic England’s Heritage at Risk Register. 
Repairs to the unique 202-year-old Old Buckenham Mill can now get underway after the Norfolk Windmills Trust successfully secured funding of £95,325 from Historic England, and £20,000 from the Association for Industrial Archaeology.
Old Buckenham Mill has been closed to the public since 2018 when a pre-existing bulge in the brickwork at the base of the mill started to worsen by showing signs of further cracking and movement
Previously owned by the Colman family, well known for the famous Colman’s mustard, and then by Prince Frederick Duleep Singh, the mill in later years fell into disrepair before finally being taken into the care of the Norfolk Windmills Trust.
Old Buckenham Mill is not only the largest diameter tower mill still surviving in the country but also features a unique mechanism to turn the large heavy cap and sails into the wind.
Work is about to start on erecting full-height scaffolding that will allow extensive repairs to the tower’s aging brickwork to start. The mill’s ground floor will also be removed and replaced with further repairs being made to floor beams, the cap and internal walls. The two grants will cover the majority of the £119,156 cost of the work with the remainder of the funding coming from the Friends of Old Buckenham Mill, who have been fundraising locally, and the Norfolk Windmills Trust.
Once the first phase of work is complete the mill can be reopened to the public by the active volunteer group while further funding is sought for the phase 2 works to the cap and running gear. After this work is done it is hoped that the mill may finally be removed from Historic England’s Heritage at Risk Register. The final phase will be to reinstate the stocks and sails.

Saturday, 10 October 2020

Latest from Old Buckenham Parish Council

Minutes of October meeting 

These notes have been written from the draft minutes so may contain information that is amended at a later date. 

Old Buckenham Parish Council met on Thursday 1 October at 7.30pm via Zoom. Those present were councillors Jonn Hicks (Chair), Steve Milner, Adrian Joel, Terry Cook, Andy Nicholls, Ben Devlin and Mike Farrington. Also in attendance were Rachel Noyes (Clerk), Ryan Kuhl (Open Reach) and four members of the public. Naomi Bailey was co-opted on to the Parish Council (7 in favour). 

The minutes of the meeting held on Thursday 3 September were approved (6 in favour, 2 abstain). There were no matters arising. Ben Devlin declared an interest in planning application 3PL/2020/1007/F which would be discussed later in the meeting. 

Financial report. The community account balance now stands at 38,884.08. The Precept of £10,192.50 has been received and is included in above balance.
Payments totalling £808.40 were approved (8 in favour).

Talk from Open Reach. Ryan Kuhl from Open Reach had kindly agreed to attend the meeting to highlight the Government’s Rural Gigabit Connectivity programme to encourage groups of residents and businesses to access funding towards the installation of FTTP (Fibre to the Property) and answer any questions. There is a list of 111 properties in Old Buckenham that have been identified as needing this service. Businesses can access vouchers up to £3500 of vouchers and each residential property can access £1500 of vouchers. Open Reach has been working with Better Broadband for Norfolk to help identify areas in need of help. Ryan highlighted that through this scheme, residents would continue to have more choice over their broadband provider and stay within a competitive market, whereas with other schemes, residents would be tied in to the one provider. When asked about expected speeds and prices, Ryan stated around 150mb/s at a cost of around £35 a month, for both new and existing customers. Ryan is happy to be contacted and answer anyone’s questions.
(Mike Farrington lost his internet connection at this point of the meeting and was unable to re-join!)

Planning applications and Breckland District Council’s decisions. (All planning applications are available for viewing on the Breckland District Council planning portal – - Parish Councillors have been asked by the chairman to view the new applications in advance of the meeting).

New planning applications. Rosedale, Fen Street. Prior approval for Change of use from light industrial (Class B1(c)) to a dwelling (Class C3). (The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015 (as amended) Schedule 2, Part 3, Class PA (3PN/2020/0044/UC). The application was supported (8 in favour).
Tall Trees, New Buckenham Road. Removal of the existing single-storey extension, new two-storey extension, replacement windows and new external cladding (3PL/2020/0979/HOU). The application was supported (8 in favour).
Old Buckenham Country Park, Doe Lane. 40 additional camping pitches and 40 additional touring caravan pitches. (3PL/2020/1007/F). Ben Devlin explained his desire to expand the business. He addressed concerns by some residents about lighting and noise. There is a noise plan in place and has been improved to include restrictions on cars on site at night and an evening patrol to ensure rules are followed. There are no plans to extend lighting. The Country Park follows NFU guidelines on safety and they are satisfied with all safety measures. The application was supported (7 in favour, 1 abstain).
Development site, Harlingwood Lane. Construction of a new dwelling house and detached garage (3PL/2020/1016/F). Change from initial application, now for one house instead of two. Concerns were again raised about the safety of the junction between Harlingwood Lane and Cake Street. The application was supported (8 in favour).
Land adjacent to Keele Cottage, The Green. Variation of Condition No 2 on Variation of condition 2 (approved plans and details 3PL/2015/0513/F) to allow substitution of these for as-built drawings to regularise the development (3PL/2020/1010/VAR). Several councillors were unhappy with some details of the build not matching the approved plans. It was highlighted that the original plan for 3-storey town houses had been rejected and that the developer had now turned the attic into a bedroom, with the addition of windows. None of this was on the original plan. Many councillors felt it was a matter of principle that it should reject any details which did not match approved plans. A proposal to object was approved (5 in favour, 2 abstain).

Planning decisions by Breckland Council. The following four applications have now been considered and the applications have been approved.
Land to west of 22 Fen Street. Technical details consent for erection of 4 dwellings, permission in principle reference 3PL/2019/1257/PIP (3PL/2020/0495/TDC).
5 Hargham Road. Erection of an outdoor oak wooden gazebo structure with pantile roof (3PL/2020/0585/HOU).
Orchard House, The Green. Demolition of existing garage and erection of single-storey games room (3PL/2020/0814/HOU).
Old Buckenham High School, Abbey Road. The construction of an Artificial Grass Pitch (AGP) with fencing and ancillary features at Old Buckenham High School (3PL/2020/0770/F).

Communications. Steve Milner has begun to draw up a Communications Plan which will soon be sent to councillors. Suggestions include creating a Facebook page for the Parish Council and a correspondence section on the agenda (to highlight contact via website/Facebook). Proposal to create a Parish Council Facebook page, which will be run by the Clerk, was approved (7 in favour). This will initially be used to inform of agendas, minutes, etc, but will be developed over the following months.

Policies. Jonn Hicks and Terry Cook had updated several Parish Council policies. Due to the volume of reading, councillors had received and read these policies in advance of the meeting. Steve Milner queried some minor points, which were left unchanged and the updated document was approved (6 in favour, 1 abstain).

Chairman’s Report. Paper for the village newsletter is to be ordered. Best price has been sourced and the RFO is to order.
The Met Office has been in contact regarding the possible radar tower. They had recently visited the village to illustrate the height of the tower using a cherry-picker. They have sent photographs of views from several locations around village. No application submitted but will expect to receive one soon.
The Precept Grant form is to be made available to village groups. Anyone interested should contact Parish Clerk.
Village Green Working Party. Large tree branch had fallen on the bus shelter during high winds. Thank you to the local tree surgeon for cutting back and making safe. Green will be cut this month.
Play Area. Are still waiting to hear from Playdale regarding date for visit to fix baby swings and complete inspection. Jonn Hicks and Naomi Bailey to chase up. Bins in the main area emptied. Bin in toddler area locked and unable to empty although Serco have been sent key by Jonn Hicks. Adrian Joel personally emptied it in the meantime.
Councillors’ reports. Adrian Joel reported that there had been a new tenant on allotments. It was agreed to maintain allotment rents for the next year, with a look to raise them next year. The Community Car has only two drivers at present. New drivers need to pass medical and CRB check but struggling to find location to complete medical. At present not half of the grant provided has been used. On Remembrance Sunday 8 November there will be a Church service in All Saints at 10am. Two minute silence at the War Memorial at 11am. Traffic diversion has been approved and the British Legion has recommended no door-to-door poppy collection this year and is requesting donations be made directly to the charity. Christmas tree to be ordered for installation on the Green. However, due to Covid-19, there will be no village celebration to turn on the lights.
Items for next agenda. These will include a Covid-19 update and preparedness for winter as well as school traffic.

The next Parish Council meeting will be held on Thursday 5 November at 7.30pm via Zoom. Any change of location to be confirmed nearer the time, subject to Government Guidelines.

Wednesday, 7 October 2020

(Old) Buckenham  Castle

This is a medieval silver penny, which was deliberately cut in two to make a half penny (ha’penny).  They were also cut pennies into four if required, to make fourthings (farthings).  This is a composite photo, so you can see both sides of the half coin side by side and the coin itself measures only 18mm along the cut edge. Specifically, it's a coin produced during the 'new coinage' commissioned by Henry lll in 1247.  It was found recently by our local metal detectorist Godfrey Pratt. These coins continued to be minted until Henry's death in 1272, so the coin in the photo can be dated to within this twenty-five year period.  If you look carefully you can see half the King's crown, half of his nose, one eye, his curly hair, and his mace.

The mid-thirteenth century was a turbulent period in English history, with frequent confrontations between the King and his supporters on the one hand, and the landholding Barons on the other.  The D'Albini family of Buckenam had been in Royal service at court since the time of William the Conqueror, and were staunch supporters of Henry lll.  Things came to a head in 1263 with the Second Barons Revolt, and in that year Buckenham Castle was besieged by an army under Henry De Hastyngs, one of the leading revolting barons.

Such were the defences of the castle that the siege failed.  Since the coin shown was found within besieging distance of the castle,  Godfrey is romantically inclined to think it was there at the time, in the purse of a besieging soldier before being accidentally dropped and lost from sight for over 750 years until he picked it up... 

Saturday, 3 October 2020

Old Buckenham helping the homeless

Each year the St Martin's charity welcome donations of food and financial gifts over the Harvest season which they can use to help their work with the homeless. This year is a little different with Covid causing restrictions on churches and community groups meeting. St Martins have still been receiving donations of food, which have been appreciated. When they asked their residents which items they find most useful, the answer was tinned and packet food, tea, coffee and sugar. Comments included "I cannot always afford to eat" and "People don’t always spend money wisely. Some people go hungry." St Martins support people to be as independent as possible, especially around budgeting for food and developing their cooking skills. 
If you would like to donate food items for the homeless you will find a box in the porch of All Saints church where you can leave your donations.

Wednesday, 30 September 2020

Old Buckenham allotments

Ten years ago
the Parish Council were approached by residents requesting allotments in Old Buckenham. The Parish Council didn't own any land in the Parish and they had to search for land to buy or lease. Following advertising and discussions with land owners for a suitable and sustainable site, the Parish Council was offered four sites and subsequently agreed a lease on an acre of land in Ragmere Road owned by Steven and Philip Frost.
The land owners were very helpful and ploughed the land ready for it to be used. With the help from parishioners and parish councillors, 14 plots were marked out for garden allotments and mains water standpipes were installed. The plots were each 20 metres by 10 metres with some being split into half plots of 10 metres by 10 metres.
The leases on the plots were taken up very quickly by residents with some of the original tenants still caring for their plots and enjoying the fruits (and vegetables) of their labour. During the start of the recent lockdown there was high demand for vacant plots and these too are now producing fresh fruit and vegetables.
The Parish Council currently have two full plots available and if any resident is interested in taking one on then please contact Rachel, the Parish Clerk, by email at or Adrian Joel at or by phoning him on 01953 860663.

Monday, 28 September 2020

Footpaths in Old Buckenham

The Parish Council would like to open the debate concerning Public Rights of Way in the parish. The history behind this initiative stems from a number of written and numerous verbal communications from parishioners to the Council. 

As a Parish we are extremely fortunate to have attractive and accessible Public Rights of Way. Whilst these have been utilised extensively over the years the volume of their usage has greatly increased since the Covid19 outbreak. This has resulted in numerous enquiries relating to exact locations and routes of the Public Rights of Way in the parish, the legal responsibilities of users, landowners and of various public bodies as well general issues relating to the usage of Public Rights of Way. The Parish Council are committed to make Public Rights of Way in our Parish easy and enjoyable to use for all people and our community (for example by groups/individuals such as walkers, cyclists, horse riders, etc). They would also like to promote increased community involvement with our Public Rights of Way. 

In discussion with a random sample of interested parishioners and within the Council members, it was thought as a first step in awareness-raising and usage of our natural facilities, would be to post an information article each month in the village blog and village newsletter an update on issues relating to Public Rights of Way. As from November 2020 we will be including, both in the Blog and in the Newsletter, a ‘Public Rights of Way Update Information Article’.
It must be stated from the outset that as a Parish Council we have no specific duties for Public Rights of Way (apart from where we are the landowner). However, we can choose to work in partnership with responsible bodies to improve their local paths. More will be explained about this area of activity in a future article.
In the meantime, if you have a question or enquiry relating to Public Rights of Way within the Parish of Old Buckenham please email or write to the Parish Clerk at 6 Forge Close.

Sunday, 20 September 2020

Busy selling in Old Buckenham

It's been a great day for a village yard sale today with over forty households having their unwanted goods on display for other people to buy. Spread out all over the village there was plenty of space for shoppers to keep socially distanced.

The event was initiated and organised by Steph Gipp who managed to raise £50 from the sale of maps showing the locations of the houses involved. She also received £30 from the Coleman family from a donation box on their stall. The £80 will be split between the village Brownie group and the village Beaver group that many of the village children attend. It's been a tough time for all charities but these groups have not been able to fund raise at all this year