Thursday, 14 January 2016

Old Buckenham Parish Council in January

Much to discuss at start of the year
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.
There were six members of the public at the January Parish Council meeting. Councillors Graham Hart, Carol Marshall and Ben Devlin, along with the clerk James Watling, had sent their apologies for being unable to attend.
Public recess. A resident from Fen Street raised concerns about the lack of information provided on December’s agenda in relation to the proposed planning applications on Fen Street and Hargham Road. Residents on Fen Street were unaware of the location of the proposed development and more detail would have been welcomed. Steve Milner said that the Parish Council were already aware of the concerns of the residents on Fen Street and that the presentation had been for information only. However, comments regarding the lack of detail provided on the agenda will be taken on board. It is hoped that the new Parish Council website will provide greater opportunity to provide additional information on agenda items. A second resident raised concerns about the 10mph signs that had recently been erected on Abbey Road, in particular whether these suggested that access may be taken from Abbey Road to the new Chapel Road School (CRS) site. Steve Milner had been to see the signs and was of the view that these were unrelated to the school development and instead alerted road users to the skid risk posed by the significant amount of mud on the road. However, the Parish Council will try to ascertain who was responsible for putting the signs up. The resident was concerned about HGVs using Abbey Road during construction of the CRS. The Parish Council will monitor this, and raise it with Norfolk County Council if this becomes a problem.
Minutes of December Parish Council meeting. It was agreed that the minutes were a true and accurate record of the meeting (5 votes in favour and 3 abstentions).
Matters arising from December minutes. Rona Boggia advised that an attempt has been made to cut the hedge on the junction of Harlingwood Lane. Steve Milner said that Gary Overland has not yet been able to visit to check this work. Several councillors said that the hedge still overhangs the fence line by a significant degree. Adrian Joel said that Playdale had been due to make repairs to the play area in December but this had not occurred. They were now due to carry out the work on Wednesday 20 January. No fencing quotes have yet been received from Graham Hart and Ben Devlin. Adrian Joel will ask the Parish Clerk to write to Playdale for a third quote for the fencing. A Working Party meeting is to be arranged to discuss the next steps. Breckland District Council will provide a grant of 50%, up to a maximum of £5000.
Grant to Primary School. Sarah Hornbrook advised that no further details have been received from the School. As and when details are provided, the item will be put back on the agenda.
Four Year Plan. Adrian Joel requested that all councillors provide a response by the next meeting, prioritising three or four items for immediate action.
Chapel Road School. Steve Milner said that a stakeholder meeting, due to be held on Thursday 14 January, had been cancelled because of ongoing issues with probate. A new meeting date is awaited. Adrian Joel requested that a public meeting is arranged, inviting Graham Bygrave, Stephen Askew and the chairman of the Childrens’ Services Committee, to discuss progress and the construction programme. Steve Milner felt it important to demonstrate the depth of feeling within the village, and suggested a petition would do this. Sarah Hornbrook queried what it is hoped to achieve in terms of highways/infrastructure improvements and suggested that a definitive ‘wish list’ is drawn up to aid discussions. Steve Milner proposed that a small group develops a short-term action plan, to include a petition. Rona Boggia suggested that an open meeting would achieve the same outcome. It was proposed and seconded that an open meeting is arranged and this was unanimously agreed. Rona Boggia further suggested that George Freeman MP is invited to this meeting.
Breckland District Council Local Plan. Adrian Joel provided an update on the progress of the Local Plan. The Preferred Directions document would be out for consultation from Monday 11 January for six weeks. Various consultation meetings are to be held, including one for Parish Councils on Monday 18 January. Adrian Joel and one other will attend. Adrian Joel further advised that the document suggests an allocation of no new homes for Old Buckenham. He suggested that the documents and plans should be made available to members of the public between 6pm and 7.30pm on Thursday 4 February prior to the Parish Council meeting scheduled for 7.30pm. The Parish Council will discuss their response to the consultation at the February meeting.
Grant Allocation working party. Steve Milner said that one member of the public has been approached (Roy Dickinson) and he is happy to be involved. Terry Cracknell, Rona Boggia and Steve Milner confirmed their willingness to serve on this working party and Terry Cracknell is to act as chairman.
Section 106 payment projects. Steve Milner advised that the village needs to have plans for recreation/play proposals thought out to benefit from section 106 money in advance of being approached by any potential developers. It was suggested that Carol Marshall be asked to look into what additional facilities the village would like.
Trade directory. Terry Cracknell has spoken with Chris DeBoos, who had produced the last version. Whilst he is unable to commit to producing an updated version, he would be happy to assist in setting it up. The costs for the previous version were approximately £1500 for printing 1800 copies. In the region of £4000 of advertising space was sold but it is becoming increasingly difficult to attract sponsors. It may be possible to produce a new version on a not-for-profit basis if it were sold for £1 a copy. Steve Milner suggested that the Parish Council approach either the Old Buckenham 2000 Trust or the Church to see if they would be prepared to take on this project.
Planning applications. The Pines, Manor Corner. Single storey rear extension. This application was supported (seven votes in favour and one abstention).
Shrublands. Adrian Joel confirmed that this application would go before Breckland’s planning committee on Monday 11 January. Steve Milner had registered to speak on behalf of the Parish Council, and Adrian Joel would also be speaking in his capacity as District Councillor. Steve Milner read out his suggested presentation which expressed the Parish Council’s concerns regarding highway safety and the lack of pedestrian/cycle access into the village. Mike Farrington supported Steve Milner’s comments in full, and confirmed that it is impossible to walk safely along the B1077 in this location. As a result, there is a lack of community in that part of the village. Sarah Hornbrook suggested that the presentation, whilst expressing the Parish Council’s opposition to the proposals, should also make suggestions for measures to be taken should the application be approved, in light of the fact that the application was being recommended for approval by Breckland’s officers. Steve Milner suggested that improvements to sustainable transport links should be requested, for instance the provision of a pedestrian/cycleway link to Fen Street.
Planning decisions received from Breckland. Doe Lane. Five holiday cabins. This application had been refused despite the Parish Council’s support.
Chairman’s report. Old Buckenham has achieved its aim of taking a photograph every day of 2015 demonstrating the Best of Old Buckenham and posting these images on the internet. The achievement has been well reported in the local press and the plan is to create twelve posters displaying the images. These would be framed and mounted in the village hall. An exhibition is planned for late January/early February. A planned stakeholder meeting on Chapel Road School was cancelled due to delays in resolving John Alston’s probate but a new date is expected in January. Old Buckenham are now in the rota for the use of a community SAM (Speed Awareness Message) sign and will have the sign for the next few weeks. The first session on Cake Street showed that many cars were slowing down when their speed was displayed but over half of the cars were exceeding the speed limit of 30mph and that 10% were driving at speeds in excess of 40mph. Mike Farrington volunteered to assist with the SAM sign rota. In relation to the Neighbourhood Plan Working Group, it was agreed that Jonathan Kemp would remain as chairman, with Sarah Hornbrook as vice-chairman to act in his absence. The group would be opened up further to members of the public. A meeting of the Working Group would be arranged shortly.
District Councillor’s report. The Breckland Local Plan: Preferred Directions and Site Specific Documents will be available from Monday 11 January for a six-week consultation period ending Monday 22 February. The document will be on the Breckland Council website or a hard copy can be seen via the Parish Council Clerk (01953 880110) or District Councillor Adrian Joel (01953 860663).There will be a public consultation event on Sunday 14 January in Attleborough Town Hall between 2pm and 7pm. There will be a briefing meeting for parish councils on Monday 18 January in Dereham at 5pm and a further meeting at 6.30pm for parish councils that are producing a neighbourhood plan or considering carrying one out. Comments should be forwarded to
The Breckland Medium Term Financial Plan for the next four years is predicting a balanced budget in future years with no reliance on government funding from 2019/20. The income will come from an increase in council tax of 2% per annum, growth in new assets such as the Local Assets Backed Vehicle Breckland Bridge Development at Thetford with a new hotel, cinema and five shops, building new housing in Milham and Attleborough ‘for Sale and Rent’. Breckland will also be looking to expand their existing assets and find other forms of income streams. The budget has been out for consultation during December and goes to full council at the end of February.
Breckland Council is making a series of one-off grants available to thank the army of volunteers who give up their spare time to make the district a nicer place to live. A national campaign, called Clean for the Queen, is currently underway to encourage people to help tidy up their bit of Britain ahead of the Queen’s 90th birthday in the Spring. To encourage existing and new volunteers to get involved in tidy-up projects locally, Breckland has launched its new grant scheme to coincide with the national initiative. People from the district who give up their time to help make their town or village a little neater and tidier will be able to apply for a grant from Breckland, worth up to £200, to hold a barbecue, party, or celebration event to celebrate the Queen’s birthday. To qualify for the one-off grant funding, applicants will need to demonstrate that they have completed a litter-pick, tidy-up, weeding session or improvement work at a community area or building – such as removing graffiti. The scheme is open to all constituted community groups with a bank account, such as parish councils, sports clubs, and social groups. Successful applicants will be provided grant funding which they can use to meet the costs of entertainment, equipment hire, venue hire, decorations or food and drink at a celebration event for the volunteers and their friends, family and neighbours. Funding applications must be submitted to Breckland Council by Monday 1 February, with successful bidders due to be notified by Monday 15 February. Applicants need to carry out their community clean-up event during February and before Monday 21 March. Celebration events should be held between Thursday 21 and Sunday 24 April, the weekend of the Queen’s birthday. Full details, criteria, and applications forms can be accessed at
Parish Councillors' reports. Tom Johnson reported that the road improvements to St Andrews’ Close had still not been carried out. Adrian Joel advised that he had received email correspondence from Cotman and that work was due to start on Monday 18 January. He further suggested that the Parish Council should write to Cotman directly. Tom Johnson also raised concerns about the amount of mud on the road and flooding issues within the village and suggested that the Parish Council draw attention to the fact that ditches aren’t being dredged. The Parish Clerk to contact the relevant responsible authority.
Highways. Adrian Joel advised that a number of road markings need to be re-marked. The Parish Clerk will be asked to write to Gary Overland to request that this work is carried out in the Spring. Tom Johnson raised concerns about the fact that the verges are being eroded, causing drivers to drive in the middle of the road. Terry Cracknell queried whether a full half of the village hall car park had been resurfaced. Steve Milner confirmed that the area was slightly less than half but that funds were being raised to do the remainder. In addition to the Parish Partnership grant, a fund-raising event has been arranged for Saturday 23 April. Adrian Joel raised concerns about the mature tree positioned at the junction of Crown Road/Church Road and the B1077. This tree is obstructing visibility and there have been a number of accidents in this location as a result. Steve Milner advised that he had spoken to the Green Right Proprietors about this tree but it is unlikely to be removed as it is a good specimen. Adrian Joel hoped that the Parish Council would support any request for its removal but this support was not forthcoming
The Green. Steve Milner reported that an offer had been made by the owner of the Green (Terry Cracknell) to transfer his interest in the Green to the Parish Council. However, the ownership is disputed. After some discussion, it was agreed that the offer will be reviewed and discussed at the next Parish Council meeting. Mike Farrington expressed thanks on behalf of the Parish Council to Terry Cracknell for the generous offer.
Public recess. A resident expressed the view that the provision of a footway on Crown Road had not been discussed with residents of Crown Road and should not be included within any potential section 106 projects. In relation to the Recreation Area, a suggestion was made that the Parish Council asked a committee member of the New Buckenham Football team to join the Recreation Area Working Party. Changing facilities are likely to be required if the Recreation Area is to be used seriously by any teams and this should be prioritised as a project. Steve Milner will pass these recommendations on to Carol Marshall. The same resident also spoke about Chapel Road School and expressed the view that an open meeting could act as a kick-off for a petition. Attendance at such a meeting would be dependent on good publicity from the Parish Council. The resident felt that a ‘wish-list’ of improvements was not appropriate as the desire is to see existing problems solved. The role of the stakeholder group was queried and Steve Milner advised that this is a group set up to bring together all interested parties and that he attends as the Parish Council representative.
A second resident spoke in relation to the proposals for some development on Fen Street, discussed at December’s meeting, and asked whether any feedback had been provided by the Parish Council and whether this was in the public domain. Steve Milner confirmed that he had corresponded with the developer’s agent on a number of occasions. The resident also queried whether planning permission had been granted for Chapel Road School. Steve Milner confirmed that it had but advised that a number of changes may be required as a result of value engineering. The Parish Council has not seen details of any such amendments.

The next meeting of Old Buckenham Parish Council was confirmed as Thursday 4 February. The Parish Council meeting will begin at 7.30pm but the hall will be open from 6pm to enable residents to view Breckland Council’s Preferred Directions consultation documents.

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