February Parish Council
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 2 February. Councillors Adrian Joel (Chairman), Terry Cracknell, Ben Devlin, Tom Johnson, Steve Milner and Andy Nicholls were present along with the parish clerk Hilary Clutten. There were apologies for non attendance from Rona Boggia, Sarah Hornbrook and Jonathan Kemp.
Minutes of the January Parish Council Meeting. These were agreed as a true and accurate record of the January meeting.
Matters arising from these minutes. The metal village sign needs sandblasting and then repainting – a quote is to be obtained for the work. An item had been put in the Village Newsletter about the dog mess on the Green. There has been a problem about installing a broadband box on Hargham Road as it was not possible to obtain a wayleave to get an electricity supply. It might be possible to connect it to an electricity pole in a different position. The purchase of the telephone kiosk is in hand. BT need to carry out a consultation exercise before removing the telephone service, then the purchase of the kiosk can be completed. The litter bin purchased by the Clerk has been delivered to the shop and installed.
Public participation on agenda items. It was reported that the road sign on the corner of Abbey Road is in a disgusting state and part of the sign is missing; Clerk will report this to the Highways Department. The Parish Council was urged to be cautious about erecting a mirror as they can be dangerous to road users. The Parish Council was urged to show it appreciation for everything that Ron Brewer does in the village at the Annual Parish Meeting next month. A lady living at Ragmere will be 100 years old in March, the Clerk will arrange for the Parish Council to send hera card.
The Green. A report was given by John Fernihough and Sarah Dye of the first meeting of the Green Management Working Party. A potential lease has been thrashed out which if acceptable to the Parish Council will be presented to the Green Rights Proprietors at their AGM in February and to the Annual Parish Meeting in mid-March. It is a tight timetable to ensure that work can start on the Green to remove the mole hills so that the grass can be cut. More work may need to be done on mole eradication later this year and next year as the problem is prolific at the moment. Three ponds need to be cleaned eventually and potholes filled in which in the course of time will improve the look of the area. There are three dog bins at present but they are not in satisfactory places and possibly four more may be required; the next Green Management Working Party Meeting will discuss locations and cost.
It would be good to have some publicity for the Annual Parish Meeting, such as posters put around the Green. Steve Milner agreed to look into doing this. Also publicity would be useful on the village noticeboard, the Parish Council website, perhaps a press release, an entry on Facebook and the village blog, leaflets in the Ox and Plough and at the next film presentation in the Village Hall. Possibly also a leaflet within the Six Villages Newsletter. Steve Milner will seek volunteers to help him with distributing publicity material.
The public liability insurance for the Green will be covered by the Council’s current insurance so no additional premium will be necessary. The parish councillors were then offered the opportunity to make their own comments on the suggested lease arrangements. Comments ranged from it being immoral to ask people in Old Buckenham to pay for what are effectively the financial responsibilities of the Green Right Proprietors to something has to be done to improve matters as it has gone on too long but to keep in mind getting value for money. The Village Survey responses on the Green last year are indicative of what the residents think about the current situation.
A vote was then taken on whether or not to accept the terms of the draft lease document drawn up by the Green Management Working Party. The Council resolved to accept the terms of the draft lease and it will now be presented to the Green Right Proprietors for agreement at their AGM in February.
Planning applications. Oak Lodge, Fen Street. Single storey extension – the Parish Council had no objections to this application.
The Parish Council had just received pre-application details of a plan to convert an old agricultural building into a residence in Doe Lane – the Parish Council had no issues with this prior application.
Planning decisions received from Breckland Council. Land off Fen Road. Planning refusal for three detached dwellings and garages.
5 Hargham Road. Planning permission for extension to dwelling.
Old Buckenham Airfield, Planning permission for temporary office space.
Whitehands Farm, Stacksford. Planning permission for variation of condition.
9 Old Yard. Planning permission for static caravan as temporary accommodation (retrospective).
Financial matters. The Clerk had circulated a financial report prior to the meeting.
The Clerk had carried out the annual update of the Parish Council’s Risk Assessment and had distributed it before the meeting and the Council resolved to adopt the revised Risk Assessment. The Clerk explained the problems that she had had with getting monthly payslips and had offered to take over the PAYE calculating and reporting for a fee of £10 per month which represents a saving of £5 per month compared to the current external contractor. The Council agreed that the Clerk should take over the PAYE calculating and reporting from April 2017 at a cost of £10 per month. The Information Commissioner’s annual fees would in future be paid by direct debit
Chairman’s report. The Chairman will be away for the next Parish Council meeting and it may be necessary to appoint a chairman for the meeting if the Vice-chair is not present. The tenure of the present Chair will come to an end in May 2017 and a new Chair will have to be appointed.
Breckland Council would be holding a Local Plan Working Party meeting in February and members of the public and parish councillors were invited to attend and make their contributions. The recommendation being put forward for Old Buckenham is that the two additional sites are not suitable, but the proposal to allocate 50 houses without the sites being specified is still on the table. This leaves the village with a great deal of uncertainty and despite several ‘calls for sites’ being made, no suitable land has been offered. The Chair will be asking the Local Plan Working Party to revise the Old Buckenham housing figure downwards.
Attleborough Town Council Highways meeting. Tom Johnson and Terry Cracknell reported that there had recently been a meeting in the Council Chamber in Attleborough Town Hall where about 150 people had attended in a room that would only comfortably seat 80. Another meeting will be called to summarise the views of Breckland Council and Highways Department to improve the Attleborough road network and associated traffic issues.
Attleborough Neighbourhood Plan. Terry Cracknell reported that the plan was in its final stages and it should soon be possible to move forward.
Parish Councillors’ reports. Andy Nicholls reported that the Gamekeeper public house was shown as being under offer to rent on the Enterprise Inns website. The Clerk was asked to contact the local Highways Engineer to thanks him for his recent assistance with highway matters and to report a blocked drain on Crown Road/Ragmere Road as well as outside Down Combe on Attleborough Road. Andy Nicholls also reported that he had a nasty experience on the road whilst walking his dogs as a driver was not paying due care and attention to the road. The community policeman, Andrew London, had been called out and given an excellent service. The Clerk was asked to thank him.The road near Councillor Nicholl’s development site in Harlingwood Lane will be closed for a while for highway improvements to be carried out and it is hoped that any upheaval will be kept to a minimum. Terry Cracknell reported that he had visited the resident on Harlingwood Lane with the local Highways Engineer about the hedge. The house owner has cut back his trees but there is still two feet overhanging the area designated as ‘highway’. The banking by the edge of the road is prone to crumbling and Highways offered to arrange some edging and will also do some road markings. Terry Cracknell reported on the most recent Village Hall Management meeting where a risk assessment has been carried out and fifty-six permits been issued for parking at the Village Hall. The Village Hall is hoping to have further work carried out on the car park using the balance of the Parish Partnership’s Award for 2016/17. The Clerk said that this would need to be paid for by the end of the current financial year and will liaise with the Village Hall Committee.
Terry Cracknell would still like the Parish Council to consider appointing an ‘odd job man’ to do village jobs. Ben Devlin offered to chase up the fence quotation for the Play Area – the Chair said that he would let him have a copy of the quotation. Steve Milner reported that the village would have the SAM sign for the next few weeks but it is not suitable for use on single track roads. Concern about speeding on Doe Lane was raised and Steve Milner reported that he has an app on his mobile phone to measure road speeds which provides good data.
Terry Cracknell reported that litter is being thrown out of vehicles between Attleborough and Old Buckenham, and that asbestos is also being dumped.
Steve Milner has completed the Parish Partnerships grant application. The next film to be shown at the Village Hall will be “A Street Cat Named Bob”.
Road Safety Working Party. The Chair reported that Norfolk County Council has replied to the letter sent by George Foreman MP and that he will be arranging for the Parish Council to get a copy of this response. The Council resolved to amend the description of a ”Traffic Survey” mentioned in the minutes of the November 2016 meeting to “Road Safety Survey” and to pay the invoice received from the contractor for £3256.
Play Area Working Party.The Council resolved to allocate up to £5,000 on the new fencing for the Play Area from the Council’s Play Area reserves. At the beginning of the meeting the Clerk had been handed cheques totalling £800 from Lesley Coates being donations from residents of Old Buckenham and fundraising carried out at the summer fete – this sum to be added to the Play Area reserves. Some steering wheels for the tractor were also provided.
Almshouses Charity. Nomination of a Parish Council trustee for next four years is necessary but as the current appointed trustee was not present it was agreed to leave the item until the next meeting.
Highways matters. The Clerk is awaiting further details about verge cutting from the Highways Department. The subject of roadside mirrors is to be discussed at the next meeting.
Update on Chapel Green School. The Clerk is to contact Rona Boggia on her return to the village to organise a meeting with Norfolk County Council regarding the road crossing. It was also agreed to invite local resident Tim Bornett to the meeting. The School Governors have met with Norfolk County Council but Old Buckenham Parish Council was not invited to the meeting.
Items for the next meeting. These are expected to include the Green, highway verges, Chapel Green School, Doe Lane speed limit, the Annual Parish Meeting, the PC-appointed Trustee to the Almshouses Charity, the Play Area, the Recreation Area and Highways matters.
The next meeting of Old Buckenham Parish Council will be on Thursday 2 March in the Village Hall at 7.30pm.
The Annual Parish Meeting to take place on Friday 17 March in Old Buckenham Village Hall starting at 7.30pm.