Wednesday, 26 December 2018

Latest Parish Council minutes from Old Buckenham

Lengthy minutes for December
These notes have been written by the blog editor from the draft minutes and may contain information that is amended at a later date.
Old Buckenham Parish Council met on Thursday 6 December. Those present were councillors Jon Hicks (Vice-chairman and in the chair), Gemma Frost, Adrian Joel, Debbie Callaghan, Andy Nichols and Ben Devlin. Also attending were Kerry Talbot taking minutes in absence of a Clerk, Donna Oakley and three members of the public. Apologies for absence had been received from Steve Milner.
It was agreed to approve Jon Hicks as Chair and Gemma Frost as Vice Chair. The minutes of the meeting held on Thursday 1 November 2018 were approved.
Matters arising from November minutes. Adrian Joel advised that the highways’ issues regarding the chevrons and signs were now resolved.
Responsible Financial Officer. It was agreed to approve the appointment of Donna Oakley as the Responsible Financial Officer (RFO). The fee to be £200 per month with exception of one month at £250. Andy Nichols asked if Donna Oakley would agree to a yearly rolling contract with a three month notice period for both parties to provide continuity for the council. Donna Oakley agreed to prepare a contract for the council including a notice period for the council to consider.
Co-option of new councillor. It was agreed to approve Donna Oakley as a councillor. Jon Hicks advised that an RFO is also able to be a councillor, there is no conflict of interest but that there will be certain financial matters where they will need to abstain.
Bank accounts. Jon Hicks advised that he has started process of removing two previous signatories and adding Jon Hicks and Adrian Joel. It was agreed to add Donna Oakley and Gemma Frost. The account has also been changed so every cheque issued needs two signatures. Jon Hicks has also requested VISA capability on the account.
Public participation relating to agenda items. A parishioner wished to thank all councillors and their associates for what has been an extremely difficult year. The first quarter of 2019 will determine the success of the council and the hope that, by working together, objectives will be met to demonstrate progress is being made. The local community are taking an interest in the Green and need to be encouraged to attend meetings. They would like to see more young people involved with the council. Jon Hicks responded that the change in format for the meetings has gone well and the council intends to continue in this vein, keeping the agenda short and allowing public to be involved throughout the meeting. If discussions get out of hand then the council will review. Debbie Callaghan suggested the council considers a strategy in the New Year to make meetings more of a social event. Ben Devlin suggested allowing five minutes at end of meetings for the public to state their views. Jon Hicks suggested a continuation of meetings with parish council and the village hall management. Jon Hicks also suggested that he would like the Village Green Working Party to be invited to participate. Jon Hicks would also like to hold a public meeting with all three groups in attendance to give the local community the opportunity to share their views and allow the three groups to engage with them. A parishioner warned the council that using on-line banking for transfers with two signatories required can sometimes be difficult. The Village Green Working Party (VGWP) has been in contact with Oliver Lee Landscape Partnership who are keen to work with the council to develop a strategy for the Green. A parishioner asked if the council would still like Oliver Lee to attend a council meeting and this was agreed. There would be crossover with the Neighbourhood Plan and Oliver Lee could inform on the wider context of the village such as materials, how planting takes place and where. Part of the Neighbourhood Plan is to see how the Green would look in the future. This could include the war memorial and any other areas of the village so any improvements or enhancements take place through a plan rather than rushing ahead. The parishioner also asked if the new payment approval process for the VGWP had been formally agreed by the Council. Adrian Joel advised that this would be discussed at the precept meeting on Thursday 13 December and suggested the VGWP put together an idea of how much would be needed and send this for inclusion at the precept meeting. Andy Nichols agreed that VGWP should produce a budget plan. Parishioner advised that the main contractor for the Green has agreed to continue for 2019 at the same cost. Councillors agreed that it was important that VGWP budget did not include items such as bench repair. Andy Nichols felt it was important to negotiate a longer term lease, eg ten years with five year break clauses for both parties. A parishioner would like to see the lease extended as without a long term plan any work undertaken could be seen as a benefit to private organisations and could in the future prevent NWT and UEA from getting involved.
Jon Hicks said that the pedestrian crossing is being pursued but he has no updates. Parishioners told the council that they had attended a Norfolk Wildlife Trust workshop on ponds and this covered how to engage with wildlife, all notes of this meeting will be sent through to Jon Hicks. It was said that grants were available but the Green would need to be re-registered as a common.
Declarations of interests not already recorded. Donna Oakley declared an interest in financial matters and Ben Devlin gave a change of address.
Financial matters. The available balance on Wednesday 5 December 2018 was £41,469.58 and the Premium account balance on Thursday 1 November was £2,876.06.
Income received included Precept £20,160.57, transitional grant £246, allotment rents £165, Green donations £2,850, loan repayment from Village Hall £500 and Community car payment £900It was agreed that Donna Oakley should attend a training course as the newly appointed RFO. Invoice for supply and installation of the Christmas Tree on the Green had been received and Donna Oakley to pay as already approved at previous council meeting.
Planning applications and Breckland District Council’s decisions. Parish councillors have been asked by the chairman to view the new applications in advance of the meeting. All planning applications are available for viewing on the Breckland District Council planning portal -
New planning applications. Walnut Shade, Cake Street. Conversion of part ground floor to form annex, new first floor accommodation above existing footprint (including increased ridge height), attached new garage and replacement conservatory.(3PL/2018/1375/HOU).This was not supported by the parish council as it was considered out of character of the street scene.
Planning decisions by Breckland Council. Shrublands Farmhouse. Two-storey rear extension and erection of three-bay cart lodge with room over. (3PL/2018/1072/HOU). Approved.
Discussions were undertaken regarding the need to debate planning applications at the council meetings. All councillors were asked to ensure that they checked the portal prior to the meeting to make themselves aware of any potential issues. To ensure smooth and efficient running of the meeting, some councillors felt that discussions should only take place if an objection needed to be raised. Andy Nichols disagreed and felt that all applications should be debated. Both Adrian Joel and Andy Nichols felt that the council should comment to Breckland either way as the council are part of the consultation process. Ben Devlin felt all applications should be discussed, debated and voted on by the council.
Parish notice board. Jon Hicks said that the notice board had fallen off the wall outside the village shop. It was not economical to repair and that he would make good the wall. A parishioner generously said that half of the community notice board near the shop could be used as parish council space. Council agreed that sharing the notice board could encourage more people to read community and council notices. An additional set of keys would be obtained with the Council to pay any cost. The parishioner agreed to add any items to the notice board in the meantime.
Allotments. Adrian Joel provided a schedule showing payments to date. He would contact any non-payers with a view to all payments being made by end of January 2019 and advising that if no payment is received the allotment will be forfeit and the occupier asked to remove any belongings. Debbie Callaghan asked the cost of plots - £40 per year or £20 for half an allotment.
Village Green Working Party. Gemma Frost asked for the council to approve the payment plan and limits in respect of individual payments, suggested maximum £300 spend per item without council approval with an overall budget of £1000. Jon Hicks explained situation for benefit of councillors not at previous meetings. Ben Devlin asked why £1000 and so this will be discussed at the precept meeting. Andy Nichols said that there had been a number of very positive comments on the Green, one which stated they had lived in the village for eight years and it was the best they had ever seen it.
District Councillor’s report. Breckland councillors have discussed the Council's proposed budget for 2019-20 and future financial strategies. If the plans are adopted next year, this would include significant investments in local communities over the coming twelve months but also a small rise in council tax. Breckland Council is currently predicting a balanced budget through until 2022-23 and that the council is putting in place financial plans to safeguard local services ahead of 'unprecedented levels of change' in national funding, which are expected from 2020-21. The Inspectorate amendments to the Breckland Local Plan Pre-Publication Document has now been received and presented to the full Council. One of the major concerns of the parish council and residents was the unallocated allocation of 17 properties in Old Buckenham. The Inspectorate amended document has retained the 17 properties with these expected to come forward over plan period of 2016-2036. Breckland will be carrying out a consultation for a six week period early in 2019.
Chairman’s report. Jon Hicks advised that the defibrillator had been purchased and an electrician needs to be engaged to install it on an outside wall of the village hall. Cost was under budget (£1400 plus VAT) so the remaining budget to be used to purchase a further defibrillator for the Church Rooms. The cost included a three-year maintenance contract with yearly inspections. Jon Hicks said no training was required, the user dials 999 and they will give code to access the equipment and guidance on how to turn it on. The equipment itself guides the user. Once installation has taken place Jon Hicks will make contact with the NHS to register the device on the 999 register. Adrian Joel and Andy Nichols passed on their thanks to Jon Hicks for his assistance in this matter.
Chapel Green School. Jon Hicks said that the meeting with the school took place and discussion centred around the footpath and the MUGA. The school were allocated money for maintenance and, as the areas around the school itself are not ready to be cut, they intend to appoint a maintenance team in January 2019. The footpath along the side is not a council or village responsibility - if the area needs cutting, individuals need to contact the school. The school is keen for the village and organisations to use the MUGA on the condition that access is via a gateway from the village hall car park. Groups will be given their own key code to access the MUGA. Chapel Green has asked that area is kept tidy and any equipment used is put away in the shed and, if able to, the organisations using the site to give a donation to the Friends of the School. Fencing is likely to cost in the region of £5000 with a handrail with steps to the MUGA. The school are asking Morgan Sindall for a quote and the Parish Council will source another quote for comparison. It is likely that the MUGA will be available during Spring/Summer months after 4pm and at weekends providing there are no events on at the school. Andy Nichols raised the issue of lighting. Lighting is a future consideration depending on how much use is seen during Spring/Summer. If the MUGA is well used the situation will be reviewed. If installed, the lights will be controlled from a payment box and timed so that when the last group leaves, the lights switch off. Andy Nichols stated that this was a perfect opportunity to engage with young people in the village who wished to use the facility and asked if this could be placed on the agenda for next meeting.
Village Hall. Jon Hicks asked for a volunteer to attend the Village Hall meetings as he was now Chair and he would not able to attend. Debbie Callaghan agreed to undertake the role and Jon Hicks will email all details. All committees to be reviewed at the next meeting.
Road Safety. Jon Hicks reported on behalf of Steve Milner. SAM sign grant application has been submitted and Steve Milner has met with the Highway engineer regarding the four installation sites. Speedwatch has been limited due to weather. However, the police have spent some time in Cake Street. They stopped 26 people for speeding, nine of whom were residents in Old Buckenham. Adrian Joel advised that the signs in Banham had memory sticks. The system for Old Buckenham will record data and direct it to the police.
Councillors’ reports. Debbie Callaghan advised that work will restart on the Neighbourhood Plan during the Christmas period and she will make contact with Andy Nichols and Steve Milner in the second week of January to make further progress. Debbie Callaghan had received an email from another village also starting the process who were not sure it was right for them but would like to join Old Buckenham for discussions. Jon Hicks felt this was a good idea for other parishes to open discussions to support each other through the process. Adrian Joel advised that the Breckland Neighbourhood Plan Officer is available to help. Debbie Callaghan said she would like to have a plan complete within six months. Adrian Joel also asked if the 2019 meeting venue had been booked including the Annual Parish Meeting. Jon Hicks confirmed that these had been booked.
Jon Hicks advised that he had received two quotes for removal of stumps from the Green. One contractor quoted £500 + VAT and another £240 + VAT. Gemma Frost asked if the stumps needed to be removed. Jon Hicks said that they were willow and if not removed they would re-grow and were very close to the play area fencing. Broadland Tree Services would be appointed to undertake the work.
Debbie Callaghan asked if council could engage contractors for a year with a rate card for varying work around the Green. Could ask three companies to quote for a twelve month period so that three quotes do not have to be sought each time work needs doing. Gemma Frost will raise at the VGWP meeting. Ben Devlin asked if the council could ensure that all work undertaken is completed ‘cradle to grave’. Andy Nichols said that the stump removal work could not be undertaken by the contractors who did the other work on the Green and therefore the council had to complete piece meal. A parishioner stated that council should seek to engage with the local community at every opportunity and if contractors are engaged for a twelve month period we may lose the opportunity. Jon Hicks used Ottomer Pond as an example of work undertaken by different people as there were volunteers and contractors used. Financial constraints need to be taken into consideration. Andy Nichols suggested a scope of works undertaken for each task.
Jon Hicks and Steve Milner attended a meeting at the former Penwood Chicken Company as LGC Waste are moving into the premises. They intend to set up their operation to buy all shredded waste plastic from Norfolk/Suffolk. They have five other sites in the UK. A total of eleven trucks per day will bring in waste and reload with product going out. The plastic is crushed into pellets and used in power stations to reduce the use of fossil fuels. Proposed site operation would be Monday to Friday, 7am to 5pm, with ten employees on site. Plastic is sourced from within a ten mile radius. The company has purchased the site and as it will be producing green energy it is not likely to be refused planning permission. There will be no vehicles based at the site and the licence will be restricted to eleven vehicles with strict access rules so that no vehicles will use Abbey Road. There will be financial penalties if not followed and Jon Hicks said that vehicles will be fitted with tracking technology. Andy Nichols asked that the council takes due diligence and asks for a list of contractors/sub contractors so the situation can be policed. Debbie Callaghan asked if there was any restriction on the number of vehicles. Jon Hicks said that their contract is with three power stations and there is no further capacity for trucks to exceed eleven. Need to check where the lorries will park up if they cannot access the site. Adrian Joel asked if we had a contact with Carlton Rode parish council as this would come under their jurisdiction and felt this will have more impact on Spooner Row.
Phone box. Colin Brown has agreed to undertake work on the phone box by Rod Alley Pond in the Spring, pressure washing and then painting. Councillors were asked to consider uses for the phone box for discussion at next meeting.
Projects finished. Defibrillator to be installed before Christmas. Jon Hicks to contact the Village Hall committee to arrange access for the electricians and to let them know where it will be located. Steve Milner has agreed to cut back growth alongside driveway down to the school but work not yet completed.
Items for the next agenda. These would include review of action log, uses for phone box, review of committees and working parties, the war memorial, lighting in the MUGA, planning tick list and an Oliver Lee presentation. Andy Nichols has offered apologies for not being able to attend the next meeting.

The next Parish Council meeting will be held on Thursday 3 January 2019 at 7.30pm in Old Buckenham Village Hall.

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