Parish Council in July
The following notes have been written by the blog editor from the draft minutes and so may contain information that is amended at a later date.
Apologies for not attending had been received from Ben Devlin, Graham Hart and Jonathan Kemp.
Co-option of a parish councillor. The Council agreed to co-opt a councillor by means of a secret ballot to fill the vacancy. The result was six votes in favour of co-opting Andy Nicholls and one vote in favour of Roy Dickinson. Andy Nicholls was thereby co-opted to the Council and signed his Letter of Acceptance of Office which was witnessed by the Clerk.
Minutes of the June Council meeting. Following one minor amendment, the amended minutes were signed as a true and accurate record of the June meeting.
Matters arising from the minutes. The chairman referred to the item about taking stock of what the Council is doing. He distributed a list of project suggestions to each councillor that had been put forward in November 2015 and asked that each councillor complete the form indicating whether an item should be a short-term, medium-term or long-term goal of the Council. Councillors were asked to bring the completed forms to the next meeting. The chair man also referred to the email that had been received from Tim Newton (Norfolk CC, Education) in response to a letter from the Clerk to the Chair of Governors of Old Buckenham Community Primary School. It appears that the Parish Council had been overlooked in the Academy consultations. Steve Milner reported that he had read out the Clerk’s recent report on VAT to the latest meeting of the Village Hall Committee and this had helped resolve a long running VAT issue between the Village Hall and the Parish Council. Three quotations had been received for the resurfacing of the Village Hall car park of which the cheapest was just over £11,300, half of which will be paid by Norfolk County Council. As the Village Hall Committee has sufficient funds to go ahead with the work without a loan from the Parish Council the Committee has decided to proceed with the work immediately. Andy Nicholls has joined the Neighbourhood Plan Working Party and a resident, Lucy Womack, has joined the Road Safety Working Party.
Public participation for items on the agenda. Various items were discussed including the planning application for the Asparagus Field site in Cake Street – fresh NCC Highways comments have been placed on the District Council website. The applicant for the planning application for Southview, Fen Street, spoke comprehensively about the personal circumstances which were behind his application. Road safety issues for the school pupils from the village were raised, also the role of the Clerk and the authorisation of the Parish Council minutes. The question of houses being built on Fen Street was brought up as the road is narrow and does not support two-way traffic while there is increasing traffic conflict at the junction with Hargham Road and increasing use of the road by ever larger agricultural machinery.
Declarations of interests not already recorded in the current Members’ Register of Interests. Steve Milner declared an interest as an elected member of the Village Hall Committee, Old Buckenham Parish Council were a Green Right holder and Adrian Joel as a personal friend of Philip Potter regarding the Asparagus Field planning application.
Planning. Sarah Hornbrook took the councillors through the planning applications and planning consents received.
Asparagus Field, Cake Street - the Parish Council has not so far been re-consulted on this application despite the fresh Highways (NCC) comments recently added to the Breckland website.
The Driftway hedgerow removal application – there was insufficient information for the Parish Council to be able to comment.
Southview, Fen Street - there was a lengthy discussion about this planning application during which Sarah Hornbrook reported that six letters had been received from residents of the village concerning issues surrounding increased traffic including problems for pedestrians and dog walkers. She also reported that Highways (NCC) have objected to the application on traffic grounds. The applicant was asked if he had done anything to address the highway issues but replied that he had only just been made aware of the comments and would be seeing his architect to discuss them. Sarah Hornbrook recommended that the Parish Council support the objections of the Highways Department and vote against the application. On a show of hands there were five abstentions, one councillor voted in favour of the planning application and two councillors voted against it.
Brome Close, Crown Road - the Council voted in favour of this planning application for an extension including a garage. Steve Milner asked for it to be noted in the planning response that a drainage ditch runs underneath the proposed site of the new garage.
Acer House, The Green - the original planning application for this property had been refused by Breckland District Council because of the scale of the extension whilst the Parish Council had supported it. The size of the extension has been reduced in the new application and Council agreed to support the new application with one abstention.
5 Barber’s Yard - one of the applicants for this property was councillor Carol Marshall. She answered some questions relating to the application and then left the meeting whilst the remaining councillors discussed their response. The Parish Council agreed to support this application with one abstention.
Sarah Hornbrook reported that there have been two recent amendments to the applications for the new Chapel Green School, full details are not yet available. The first amendment relates to changes to some of the external details of the building. Steve Milner said that he would confirm the construction start date and where the construction compound is to be sited. The signage for construction traffic was mentioned so that the traffic approached along Attleborough Road. Terry Cracknell asked if an enquiry could be made about the excavated top soil from the site as some of this could be used within the village, Steve Milner agreed to check this too. The Council agreed that it was unable to comment on this amendment as insufficient information is available at present. The second amendment related to landscaping around the site - the infilling of gaps in the existing hedge and the Parish Council noted this information.
Asparagus Field, Cake Street - the Council agreed to vote again on this application following the fresh Highways comments. There were seven votes in favour of the application and one abstention.
It was reported that the next Local Plan Meeting would be in Attleborough on Friday 22 July between 9am and 1.30pm. Steve Milner and the Adrian Joel confirmed that they would be attending the meeting and possibly also Sarah Hornbrook and Terry Cracknell.
Planning decisions received from Breckland District Council. Planning permission for Carlstead, 62 Fen Street, to carry out internal and external changes.
Planning Permission for Canem Cave Cottage, 62A Fen Street, to demolish garage and erect single storey extension.
Listed Building Consent for Puddled Cottage, Puddledock, for demolition of porch and erection of new porch.
Planning Permission for The Clown’s House, Church Lane, for erection of red brick wall with oak gate and installation of velux roof window.
Planning Permission for Primrose Barn, Fen Road, for erection of detached garden room and front porch.
Norfolk County Councillor's report. The chairman reported that he had had an email from Stephen Askew (Norfolk County Councillor) giving his apologies for not attending this meeting and had advised that he was going to talk to the landowner about a path to the new school.
Breckland District Councillor's report. Breckland District Council is one of four councils in Norfolk that have not agreed to move forward with the Government’s Devolution Scheme for East Anglia. The Devolution would include a joint elected Mayor for Norfolk and Suffolk who would be responsible for allocating the money from central government down to the new region thus adding another level of local government which would ads an additional cost to the council taxpayer. Norfolk County Council now intends to carry out a telephone consultation. It has been reported that there has been a rise in racism, xenophobia and hate crimes since the EU Referendum took place resulting in William Nunn, Leader of Breckland, making a statement about this at the Council Meeting in June and asking that residents report any incidents of this nature. Steve Milner reported that the contract for Chapel Green School had been awarded to Morgan Sindall, work is due to start in August and will take about one year to complete. Carol Marshall will follow up on the regular grass cutting of the Recreation Area and get a quotation. There have been various problems in the Play Area, some of which have been reported on Facebook. Sarah Hornbrook reported on problems with the pond on Manor Corner such as weeds and grass and wondered if the Parish Council can exert some pressure on the Green Right Proprietors. Andy Nicholls said that he would like to be involved in producing a new trade directory for the village. He also thanked the Council for co-opting him. Tom Johnson reported on the latest meeting of the Attleborough Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group during which a lot of time had been spent on talking about the recently published Attleborough Neighbourhood Plan document. He had managed to get a hard copy of this for the Council’s records and a copy is also available on the internet. There will be viewing days for the public on Saturday 13 and Sunday 14 August. Tom Johnson had attended the recent Village Hall Committee meeting on Wednesday during which the committee had accepted a quotation for resurfacing the car park and that the next film show is on Saturday 30 July when ‘Bridge of Spies’ will be shown. Rona Boggia reported that the Attleborough Development Partnership wants to appoint an independent chair and is working towards this. Terry Cracknell had distributed copies of the draft grant application form. In the guidance notes to the form it states that the grant will be paid in two instalments (in line with the payment of the Precept); the Council agreed that the grant should be paid in one instalment in April. Terry Cracknell also reported that it would cost about £1,200 to print a village Trades Directory as well as a lot of work although it might be possible to cover the cost of printing by selling advertising in the directory. Terry Cracknell reported on how the weed could be removed from Manor Pond and that the Green Right Proprietors are trying to do something about it. The Chair reported that the Green Right Proprietors are to discuss the idea of setting up a charity at their next meeting which will be in July. Adrian Joel also reported that he would go to the meeting if Ben Devlin was unable to attend. The height of the grass on the Green was also mentioned. Tom Johnson pointed out an item in the latest edition of the Norfolk Magazine about the Parish Partnerships Scheme. Sarah Hornbrook reported that there had been a good response to the Village Survey with at least 25% of residents completing the survey document, probably more as many people returned one per house. The information on the survey responses will now be collated by the Clerk from which it will be possible to write a future vision for the village. The next work of the group is to approach businesses and other community groups. It may be necessary to apply for grants for some of the suggestions. The draw for the Village Survey prize was made at the start of the Parish Council meeting and the prize was won by Toby Le Coq. Sarah Hornbrook thanked the donator of the prize. Some of the issues identified in the Village Survey may be common to other Parish Council Working Groups so there will be a need for co-ordination. There may be the possibility to liaise with other councils including New Buckenham Parish Council as it is now developing its own Neighbourhood Plan. However, because of various differences in the two villages it might be more useful to liaise with Attleborough Town Council. Rona Boggia reported on a meeting of the Road Safety Working Party had taken place in June and they had welcomed village resident Lucy Womack as a new member of the Working Party. Two members of the group had been to see the Headteacher of the High School; he was very supportive of what the group was trying to achieve. The Headteacher of the Primary School is equally supportive. A joint initiative of the Old Buckenham schools and the Parish Council would likely carry more weight in relation to current road safety issues. There is the possibility of a drop off point for the schools or pay and display with a path to the schools for children. The next step is to organise an open meeting in the village one Saturday morning and invite the local MP, Stephen Askew (NCC Councillor) and a representative of Highways Department (NCC). The Working Party also wants to involve the Old Buckenham Neighbourhood Plan Group in this meeting. On the whole the majority of the group is not in favour of the proposed road crossing as they feel that it is not good value for money. Another member of the Working Party, Steve Milner, had consulted David Law of Norfolk Constabulary on the proposed position of the road crossing and he distributed the report to the Council and is keen to proceed with the crossing. A proposal was made that the current plan for the road crossing should be put on hold until other ideas had been explored that might be presented at the proposed open meeting. This proposal was seconded and carried with seven votes in favour of not progressing the crossing at the present time and one vote against. The Clerk was asked to advise the Green Right Proprietors that the road crossing was not going ahead at the present time. Tom Johnson suggested that the installation of a mini roundabout be looked as; an idea he had seen working effectively in Brighton. Play Area Group: the Chair reported that this group had met on Monday and had agreed to have green metal railings. There are to be three gates painted in a different colour; the existing wooden double gates are to be retained. The next step is to measure up and obtain quotes so that grants can be applied for as the cost may be in the region of £11,000 to£12,000. Steve Milner reported that the Cycling Festival Group had not met since the last Council meeting. The Chair reported that some of the allotments have been very wet and this has led to at least one tenant losing his crops and several tenants wishing to give up their allotments next October. A local farmer has advised the Chair that he is going to dig out some of the ditches.
Request to support cost of Village Hall car park. As the financial aspect of this request has now been resolved by the Village Hall Committee there was no discussion on this item.
Future maintenance of the war memorial. The person who cuts part of the Green is prepared to include the grass cutting around the war memorial and the Council agreed that this additional cost could be invoiced by Ben Devlin.
Request for New Community Car co-ordinator. Mike Craven-Romain tendered his resignation as from the end of June as he is leaving the village. The vacancy has been advertised on several occasions but with no success. Facebook has been tried and Sarah Hornbrook said that she would try advertising on Facebook again. The Clerk suggested putting an item of news in the Attleborough Mercury.
Use of community and social media by the Parish Council. Steve Milner will report on this at the next Council Meeting.
Bollards. Gary Overland (NCC Highways) had advised the Chair that the highway cannot be obstructed by bollards.
Public participation for agenda items. A resident was not persuaded that Norfolk County Council would financially support road safety improvements in the village as it is always saying that it has no money – a joint initiative is called for.
Next meeting. The Clerk was asked compile the agenda items from those discussed at this meeting and councillors were asked to advise the Clerk of any other items for the next agenda.
There is no Parish Council meeting in August so the next meeting of Old Buckenham Parish Council will be held in Old Buckenham Village Hall on Thursday 1 September starting at 7.30pm.