Parish Council April meeting
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.
The meeting was held on Thursday 7 April in Old Buckenham village hall at 7.30pm.
All parish councillors attended apart from Terry Cracknell, Mike Farrington and Ben Devlin who had sent their apologies. Six members of the public were also present.
Public Recess. A resident raised the matter of the ditch outside the Junior School and she said she went to the school who informed her that they would clear it. It was also suggested that the Community Payback Scheme might do it. A resident thanked the Clerk for putting his five points from previous meeting in the March minutes. He also thanked the Chairman for his responses to the five points raised at a previous meeting in an email that he received on Monday 4 April. The resident asked if this was the response of the whole Parish Council and would they be included in the minutes of the April meeting. He suggested the answers that he was given in the email were not correct. Steve Milner responded on the matter. The resident said he would respond at the May meeting if the opinions were in the April minutes. A resident raised the matter of the grant given to the Village Hall which was subsequently returned to Parish Council. Steve Milner responded on the matter. The resident said that village hall finances are not good and they will regret the decision as the accounts show that the village hall has a low level of reserves. Steve Milner again responded stating that the grant was given for a particular project but costs had escalated and they could not have afforded to do the project. The grant therefore had to be returned to the Parish Council.
Minutes of March Parish Council meeting. With an amendment to include Rona Boggia’s apologies for not being able to attend, the minutes were signed as a true and accurate record of the meeting. There were no matters arising from the minutes.
Planning applications. Old Field Barn, Abbey Road. Erection of steel-framed agricultural storage barn. There were no objections from the parish council, agreed with 7 for and 1 abstention.
Peacehaven, 29 Fen Street. Static caravan. It was proposed and seconded to refuse as outside settlement boundary and therefore contrary to the Local Plan.
Willow Farmhouse, The Green. Demolish lean-to and erect single and two storey rear extension. Demolish garage and erect new, internal alterations. Proposed and seconded to approve but Cart House must be tied to main house. This was agreed with 7 for and 1 abstention.
Whitelands Farm, Stacksford. Change of use of land for horses and timber stable block. There were no objections from the parish council, this was agreed with 6 for and 2 abstentions.
Acer House, The Green. Erection of single and two storey extensions. There were no objections from the parish council. This was agreed with 7 for and 1 abstention.
Planning Decisions received from Breckland. Orchard House, Hargham Road. Conversion of barn to dwelling and erection of two garages. Approved.
25 Oaklands. Single storey front and rear extensions. Enlarge front dormer and replace flat roofs to pitched. Approved.
The Clown’s House, Church Lane. Single storey rear extension. Approved.
Child Protection Policy. Steve Milner read out some modifications under photography to the policy and with these amendments it was proposed and seconded that the policy be adopted, this was agreed unanimously.
Parish maintenance tasks. The Parish Clerk read out an email from Terry Cracknell on the subject. Graham Hart said he would cut the grass on the play area for no labour costs, just costs for the materials used. The village website will include a maintenance page. Graham Hart suggested a working party for entrances to the village, Jonathan Kemp to chair the working party. (Graham Hart left the meeting).
Accounts payable and budget analysis. Jonathan Kemp raised the matter of the Grant Working Party which will be drafting policies for the allocation of future grants.
Chairman’s report. Steve Milner reported the success of two 50/50 Partnership Grant applications for the Village Hall car park resurfacing and for the crossing at the B1077 and Abbey Road junction. Steve Milner then said that the SAM2 sign had been used both in Hargham Road and Abbey Road and there was still a high level of speeding in the village.
District Councillor’s report. Adrian Joel reported that William Nunn had been appointed the new leader of Breckland Council. A new Breckland website has been launched. The Government has announced the formation of an Eastern Powerhouse in East Anglia with nearly £1 billion of funding over the next ten years. Breckland Council have agreed in principle to join up with Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire. There would be an elected mayor for the region and make financial decisions alongside 23 other councils in the region. Breckland have £310,000 for Sports and Play Area funding. The funding has come from developers over the years and Old Buckenham have already had a grant for maintenance of the play area. The grants will be managed for Breckland Council by Norfolk Community Foundation with applications for grants needed by Friday 13 May. Details are on www.norfolkfoundation.com/funds/breckland-outdoor-sport-and-play-fund.
Parish Councillors’ reports. Tom Johnson had attended a SNAP meeting in March and said that motor cycle police would carry out speed checks in the area if requested. He had attended the Attleborough Neighbourhood Plan meeting and the chairman has resigned for health reasons. He also attended the Village Hall AGM and they are not making much money. The solar panels on the Village Hall roof generated £2,000 income last year. He also asked if some protection could be erected around the two BT telecommunications boxes in Cake Street to prevent them being damaged again by car accidents. Rona Boggia attended a meeting in March of theAttleborough Development Plan. There will be 4,000 extra houses on top of the 1,200 already agreed. She has concerns over construction traffic as the Link Road will only be built in line with house construction phases and therefore some traffic may come through Old Buckenham. Adrian Joel suggested the Link Road should be built first before any housing construction is started. Following the recent breakfast meeting, the Chapel Green School working party held a meeting and discussed traffic levels and agreed to carry out a traffic level survey between 8am and 9am and also in the afternoon when children leave the school. They will also look at other safety measures. Rona Boggia suggested that the Parish Council pay for the hall hire for the breakfast meeting. An item to be put on the May agenda. An email from Norfolk County councillor Steve Askew regarding Chapel Green School was read out. Sarah Hornbrook said the Neighbourhood Plan Working Party had met. The Clerk from Cringleford Parish Council attended the meeting and her experiences in creating a Neighbourhood Plan were very useful. A survey to all Old Buckenham residents over 16 years of age will be sent out in early May. The Working Party needs more volunteers and more assistance from the Clerk will be required to help in the administration required from the working party. Adrian Joel said Breckland had appointed a full time Neighbourhood Plan Officer and she will attend meetings. He will arrange for her to attend an Old Buckenham meeting. Adrian Joel asked if the Parish Council was doing anything to celebrate the Queen’s 90th birthday. Steve Milner asked parish councillors for suggestions and an item will be put on the May agenda. Adrian Joel also raised the matter of a commemoration of the 100 year anniversary of the Battle of The Somme. Adrian Joel suggested replacing the toy bank in village hall car park with a clothing bank. Carol Marshall said take-up of the village garage sale has been slow and an item will be put on the village Facebook page to get more involvement.
Parish Clerk’s Report. The Clerk read out the following statement. “I would just like to clarify a few facts regarding the meeting between myself, Cllr Cracknell and Chairman. This was not a sub-committee meeting as no agenda or summons was issued, nor was it a steering group or working party as these can only be set up by a full Parish Council meeting and therefore no minutes are required from such meeting. It was a private and confidential informal meeting to resolve issues between myself and Cllr Cracknell and a brief set of confidential notes were issued to all parties following the meeting. Both Cllr Joel and Cllr Farrington were there only as observers as they are members of the Personnel Sub Committee. It is my belief that in any working relationship there are two important elements, trust and respect by both parties. Where any of these important elements are compromised or abused then it makes it almost impossible for such a relationship to continue. I found it very disappointing that notes from a meeting that was clearly stated as private and confidential are circulated without the consent of all parties. Without this consent the action taken by Cllr Cracknell in circulating those notes in my opinion breaches Standing Order 11 (b) and I shall be referring the matter to The Standards Board for consideration. It is for these reasons alone that I tendered my resignation as Parish Clerk. I shall continue to carry out my duties until May 31st to allow reasonable time so a suitable replacement may be found and also to compile the end of year accounts for the May Parish Council Meeting.” The Clerk also read out part of an email from a resident regarding the local school becoming an Academy. It was decided by the Parish Council that this was not a matter for Parish Councils as it was a National Government Policy. The Clerk is to write to the resident on the matter.
Highways. The Clerk read out an email from Highways regarding all the work recently carried out by them in the village in response to previous Parish Council notifications. Councillors reported that warning posts with reflectors have gone at the top of Crown Road outside Crown Farmhouse. Also Raggs Lane footpath has a fallen tree blocking the footpath. Sarah Hornbrook suggested getting school children to design road safety posters.
The Green. Steve Milner said that the Parish Council may take over precepting for maintenance on the Green once it becomes a charitable Trust. A resident asked if a tree survey had been carried out on the Green and was informed that one was being carried out.
Public recess. A resident raised the matter of the Neighbourhood Plan survey as to exactly who would get one. Sarah Hornbrook said every resident over the age of 16 would receive one. A resident said he had spoken to BT regarding a refund for the recent event which disconnected broadband and telephone services in the village. A resident raised the matter of legal fees in sorting out the Recreation Area lease and suggested finding a suitably qualified person who would be willing to advise the Parish Council on the Green. A resident raised the matter of the resignation of Parish Clerk and thanked him for his services over the years and was sad to see him go as he had been an excellent clerk for the Council and had kept them on the straight and narrow. He advised against the Council trying to get a replacement on the cheap as the job had become more complex and needed someone with lots of experience.
The AGM and next meeting of Old Buckenham Parish Council will be on Thursday 5 May in the Church Rooms commencing at 7.30pm.