Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Old Buckenham Annual Parish Meeting, part 2

More of the year's activities
Parish Councillors’ reports. Tom Johnson, who represents the Parish Council on the Village Hall Committee, said he thanked the existing committee members for their many years of service. They now need at least three new members for the Management Committee and their AGM will be held on Wednesday 3 April at the Village hall. Sarah Dye reported on the Play Area. As last year, the play area continues to be a well-used and much appreciated facility and is a real asset for the village – for our residents and others from further afield. Once again, sincere thanks to John Hicks for his commitment and work on maintaining the play area, mowing, strimming and repairing as the need arises. Also carrying out the safety checks and reports which are so important in ensuring the equipment and ground are a safe place to play. Vandalism continues to be an issue and the local police have been made aware of the situation. They have responded by making the play area a regular stop on their patrols. Villagers are urged to remain vigilant and report any disturbance or damage that they notice. Jonathan Kemp gave an update on the Recreation Area. The area is well used including the picnic tables and goal posts. Throughout the year funding sources have been sought and the project was awarded £2,000 by Breckland Council. An application for £20,000 is currently with the Norfolk Community Foundation and it is hoped that Breckland will give match funding. Seeking other funding opportunities will continue throughout the year. The BMX trail is currently being worked on with help from local youngsters and it hoped that it will be completed by Easter. Parking improvements have also been made at the project with extra parking spaces being made available in the village hall car park. The Parish Council, through Akis Chrisovelides, have tried and will continue to try to encourage young people to have a say in what goes on in our village, possibly through a Youth Council. With large-scale projects such as the development of the Recreational Area already in progress, it is vitally important to try to incorporate the views of the younger members of our community whereby they can influence village developments. Young people are invited to attend for an hour before the main Parish Council meeting and have their input in a non intimidating way. The Parish Council would welcome the opportunity to canvas their views, let them know the aspects that the Parish Council discuss and are responsible for and how it operates in relation to Breckland Council. Posters will be displayed at the High School and the local shop informing them of dates and times. Steve Milner spoke about Community Speedwatch and the successful Jubilee weekend with a number of very well attended events over the holiday period. A commemorative oak tree was planted and has been marked with a brass plaque. A concern regularly raised by parishioners is that of road safety, particularly the speed at which people are driving. A road safety group has been set up and the village has been lucky enough to become part of the Norfolk community speed watch scheme. Members of the group now perform speed monitoring sessions and have also arranged for ‘slow down’ posters for wheelie bins. It’s now down to the minority of drivers who exceed the speed limit to slow down. Derek Smalley gave details on planning applications. In the last year the Parish Council have dealt with 29 planning applications all except two have been ratified by Breckland. Derek Smalley also represents the Parish Council on the ACT (Attleborough Community Team) which comments on forward planning for the Attleborough Expansion Plan with special emphasis on the required infrastructure and the effects for Old Buckenham. Although now superseded by the Breckland New Local Plan, it should follow similar guidelines. Another of his responsibilities is being co-ordinator for the OB bulk oil scheme which is run by NRCC (Norfolk Rural Community Council) which, in conjunction with AF (Anglia Farmers), should be able to buy cheaper central heating oil in bulk. He also represents Old Buckenham on the Safer Neighbourhood Action Panel (SNAP) which is a police-lead initiative to clamp down on local problems such as vandalism, speeding, etc. Reported problems within the community are highlighted and hopefully police action is taken .This has lead to the ‘Slow down in our village’ bin stickers campaign, which can be seen on dustbins throughout the village on collection days. As 500 stickers were purchased and 400 sold on to other parish councils, this meant that the 100 for use in the village were free of charge. Approximately six welcome packs have been distributed during the current year to people moving into the village. The general opinion is they have proved useful, so if anyone has a new neighbour moving in please let a member of the parish council know so a pack can be got to them
John Frost reported that All Saints church had an inspection two years ago and repairs to the tower stonework and work to the stained glass windows needs to be carried out. Funding is being sought.
Village groups. The Old Buckenham 2000 Trust has had a bit of a mixed year with some ups and some downs. On the downside, four of the original Trustees stood down after 12 years of valued service. On the other hand, there were six new Trustees appointed at the AGM. This has brought some new ideas and renewed enthusiasm to ensure that the Trust continues to thrive and ultimately can offer further financial assistance to organisations and projects within the village. There were just two applications made for grants at the last round of funding, the High School and Pre School, and they were both successful in their bids. Fundraising over the past year has included the barbecue at the village fete, a barn dance at the airfield, a successful bonfire and firework display, the annual Sainsbury’s collection for the St Martins Housing Trust along with the much appreciated winter fuel donations from a number of village residents. Plans for this year so far are a Summer Party on Saturday 6 July at the village hall - this will include live music, a bar and a barbecue. Plans are being considered for a 'family walk' and 'cream teas' when the weather is a bit better, a barn dance in September and work is being done on a 'Village' calendar for 2014.Thanks go to all who have supported the Trust over the past year and it is looking forward to another successful year. The Trust’s AGM will be on Wednesday 22 May at 7.30pm in the Church Rooms for anyone who would like to attend.
Old Buckenham Community Car Scheme has, in the last 12 months, provided 794 journeys, seven less than in the previous year. Of these 176 were to the hospitals for consultations and treatment, 359 to doctors, dentists and opticians while visits to people in nursing homes and hospitals were 237 this year. Other medical requirements resulted in a further 22 trips. The recorded mileage was 12,761 miles - up 711 on last year. The parish share of the reimbursement cost to the drivers and for the administration of the scheme rose from £1208 to £1297. The number of residents who used the scheme during the last 12 months has fallen slightly from 56 to 50. Thanks are due to the volunteer drivers who give up their time willingly to help others and the village owes them a great debt. At present there are ten listed drivers on the scheme. Even allowing for illness and drivers not being free of other commitments, the community car scheme has been able to arrange transport to meet every request except two and these were met by relatives.
The majority of Allotment Holders, despite a challenging year with the weather, have stayed the course and most of the plots are now well established and productive. The allotments have helped people stay fitter, eat healthier, learn new skills and have created another diverse wildlife habitat in the village. Thanks must go to the Parish Council for their continued support, now is the time to look forward to welcoming new allotment holders to the vacant plots. No significant management issues have arisen this year although the recent flooding on Ragmere Road has, on a couple of occasions, blocked the field entrance and spilt over ditches onto the lowest-lying plots. Although this is not a responsibility of the allotment management, or directly the Parish Council, perhaps this could be raised with the authorities as a general issue for the village.
Details of exactly what is recycled by the Village Environment and Environment Group (VERG) were given and also details of other events being held during the coming year.
For the Old Buckenham Green Right Proprietors Sarah Dye gave a brief history of the Green going back to its inception in 1791 up to the present day. Income for the Green is very restricted and therefore there are no surplus funds available. Their desire is to keep the Green as a village asset for the benefit of the whole village.

(Just one more instalment to go)

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