Wednesday, 16 October 2019

Flower Club meeting in Old Buckenham

Colourful demonstration
Members and guests at the October meeting of the Breckland Flower and Garden Club enjoyed a flower arranging demonstration with the title ‘Top Hat and Tales’. It was presented by Adele Kent from Hethersett, who is the NAFAS Area Chairman for judges, demonstrators, teachers and speakers, and who kindly came out of retirement to demonstrate.
The designs where all linked to various hats and events including a top hat at the end. A superb selection of flowers and colours were used with some lovely containers and accessories. The flower arrangements were all raffled.
The monthly competition was for ‘The end of the rainbow’ and the winner of the Barbara Fisher trophy was Alyson Vivian. The table show for brightly-coloured cut stems from the border was won by Christine Hewson.
The afternoon finished with refreshments and there was time to visit the well-stocked sales table and a plant stall.
Next month the meeting will a flower demonstration by Grania Newton on Thursday 14 November starting at 2pm in Old Buckenham Village Hall. All visitors welcome. Further details can be found on the Breckland Flower and Garden Club Facebook page or by phoning 01953 454528.

Monday, 14 October 2019

Cover up in Old Buckenham

Protection from the winter weather
Scaffolding is going up around All Saints Church, Old Buckenham, to allow the thatchers to continue their work throughout the winter. Soon a roof will go over the top of the existing roof.
(Better photos will be taken if the sun should come out)

Sunday, 13 October 2019

Shopping in Old Buckenham

Change of hours

From tomorrow, Monday 14 October, the opening hours at the village shop will be changing.
They will now be open from 8am to 6pm on Monday through to Saturday and from 9am to 12 noon on Sundays.

Friday, 11 October 2019

Old Buckenham Parish Council

October's discussions

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.
Old Buckenham Parish Council met on Thursday 3 October in the Village Hall. Those present were councillors Jonn Hicks (Chair), Steve Milner, Adrian Joel, Mike Farrington, Trevor Cook, Gemma Frost and Ben Devlin. Also attending were Rachel Noyes (Clerk) and 14 members of the public. Andy Nicholls had sent apologies for not being able to attend and Donna Oakley has resigned as a councillor but will continue to work as Responsible Financial Officer (RFO).
The minutes of the meeting held on Thursday 5 September were approved (7 in favour). It was reported that county councillor Stephen Askew is chasing up some small improvements/repair work resulting from the pedestrian crossing roadworks. It was noted that Ben Devlin had a planning application on the agenda.
Public participation relating to agenda items. Discussion on a potential DEFRA application by the Green Working Party and the latest news of County Broadband Limited were discussed later in the meeting). Chapel Green School are planning their summer fete on Saturday 27 June next year. Please avoid that date for any village fete. A parishioner queried what does the new term “Permission in Principle” (PIP) on some planning applications mean? Adrian Joel explained that it is very similar to Outline Planning and can only be granted for minor housing-led development.
Financial report. Community account balance is £49,949.43. Income received was £10,634.99 (the second Precept Payment).
Payments approved totalled £3,792.83 and included£763.44 on the phone box refurbishment and £2220 on further defibrillators. These payments were approved (7 in favour).
Planning applications. College Park Caravan Park, Doe Lane. Retrospective planning application for change of use from agricultural land to leisure use (3PL/2019/0958/F).
Ben Devlin has had the site for three years. Application being completed now due to development of the site and business. Ben Devlin said that the application started a while ago but a Breckland officer who was helping left, which delayed the process. Number of caravan sites has increased from 5 to 20 due to demand. Highways concern was about visibility of the entrance have been addressed and they are coming to re-assess.
Supported by the Parish Council (6 in favour, 1 abstain).
Downmoor Farm House, Banham Road. Change of use of free-standing wooden building previously used as financial services, (change of ownership) (3PL/2019/1020/CU). External business is now going to be run from the property. Supported by the Parish Council (6 in favour, 1 abstain).
Land to the north-west of 29 Fen Street. Erection of one detached dwelling (3PL/2019/1165/PIP). Applicant explained that they were planning to build a house for their son as he can’t afford housing locally and that it has its own separate driveway. Some councillors felt it was good to infill these small spaces in the village rather than spread further out. All felt it was important to support local people trying to stay and live in Old Buckenham. Supported by the Parish Council (7 in favour)
Land to the west of 49 Hargham Road. Permission in principle for erection of four detached dwellings (3PL/2019/1164/PIP).
Application has been submitted and withdrawn previously. Adrian Joel explained a few key points that were important to consider: the houses would overshadow properties opposite due to their size and higher elevation, it is on a particularly narrow part of Hargham Road and they would be unable to put a footpath in place. Other councillors agreed that a footpath was important to safely connect the properties to the village and encourage more walking. It was also felt by some that the large properties proposed would be unaffordable to local people. A proposal to approve was not supported (2 in favour, 4 against, 1 abstain).
Planning decisions by Breckland Council. Site at Harlingwood Lane. Construction of two new dwelling houses and garages (3PL/2019/0333/F).
Post Office, The Green. The installation of three steelground power-operated roller shutter doors (3PL/2019/0550/F).
These two applications have now been considered and the applications have been approved.
Roughlands Farm, Grove Road. Change of use of agricultural building to dwelling (permitted development), Town and Country Planning ( General Permitted Development) Order 2015 Schedule 2, Part 3 Class Q (3PN/2019/0042/UC). The above application has now been considered and the application has been refused.
Coffee traders. A local mobile coffee shop had enquired about selling coffee to parents on the school run by setting up in the VH car park. They explained that they have a 5* Hygiene Certificate and they have enquired about the necessary licenses from Breckland Council but were told that if they had permission to be on site, they did not need one. They already sell at several locations locally. The Parish Council explained that they don’t own the car park and so they would need to get in contact with the Village Hall Management Committee. There were concerns by some residents that it could cause problems as people crossed the road/queued along the road therefore more children around the car park for longer. It could also cause problems with the flow of cars and people coming in/out of the car park.
Community allotment. A local resident had contacted the Parish Council about setting a community allotment. They wanted to check if this was possible in theory, before writing a full business plan. They explained that they wanted to work with a wide range of people including the elderly, those with mental health problems, etc. The benefits of gardening and working outside have been well documented recently and they wanted to help pass on those benefits to the local community. The Parish Council thought it was a great idea and were very positive about setting it up and therefore offered the allotments free of charge. The Parish Council just highlighted the need for the relevant checks for working with potentially vulnerable people and that working with the village schools could be an idea too. The resident will now write up a full business plan for the project and return it to the Parish Council for full approval once completed.
Ponds. Jon Hicks explained that an officer from Natural England had commented on the large number of fish living in Rod Alley Pond. This could be limiting the growth of the fish and also reducing the amount of oxygen available (and could have been a contributing factor to the problems experienced during last summer’s heatwave). Jon Hicks proposed removing some of the fish and re-locating them to Ottomer Pond and also to Old Buckenham Country Park. He has been advised that the end of October is the best time to do this as the water is the best temperature to kill all the bacteria. Two quotes have come in at £325 and £335. This action was approved (7 in favour).
Manor Pond now appears completely dead with no wildlife. This is due to the pond weed overgrowing the surface. It has been treated several times in attempt to kill the weed but this hasn’t worked. Steve Milner explained that the problem lies with water running into the pond will be carrying too many nutrients which then causes the quick growth of the weed. Gemma Frost will take the issue to the Green Working Party for them to get an expert opinion on a possible solution.
County Broadband Limited. Jonn Hicks had been asked about whether the Parish Council would support County Broadband. He explained that the Parish Council could not endorse any company. A parishioner explained that he felt there were a lot of misunderstandings by residents in Facebook discussions, etc, and that other Parish Council’s had supported the company and now benefit from faster broadband. A second parishioner, who works within IT also encouraged the Parish Council to think of it as investing in the infrastructure of the village as the current technology and equipment is dated and has a limit to what it can achieve. A representative from County Broadband was invited to the meeting by a parishioner. He explained that while there had been a lot of postal advertising, there would a little more to promote another meeting on Tuesday 15 October in the Village Hall. He also explained that they have the funding secured for the work but just need people to sign up before they can start. When asked about the number of residents that had signed up, he explained that it was currently around 14% but need 30% in order to start in March as planned. Clarification was needed about whether the areas of Puddledock and Stacksford were included in their plans. The issue of customer service was raised by Trevor Crook who had not had any calls returned which he felt was poor. The County Broadband representative apologised and was going to raise the issue with the team. The Parish Council agreed that while they cannot endorse any company they would encourage people to do their research and find out information through attending meetings, etc, about the potential benefits.
Policies. Old Buckenham Parish Council policies need reviewing and ensuring that they are up to date. Adrian Joel explained that he has been previously informed that National Association of Local Council’s policies are good and could be used as a basis for ours. Rachel Noyes is to research this.
Chairman’s report. A suitable laptop has been found for use by the Parish Council Clerk. Will also need to also buy bag, Microsoft Office software and security. Total cost of £949 was approved (7 in favour). This will be purchased once Barclays finalise bank account changes. Paper will soon be needed for the village newsletter. The newsletter editor is to purchase and the Parish Council will reimburse him. Work on the phone box has started, just waiting for good weather for second coat of paint. Two defibrillators have been ordered.
Village Green Working Party. The Parish Council was informed that the Green Working Party were investigating the possibility of DEFRA managing an area(s) of the Green. There would be an initial cost of £1100 + VAT to get the land surveyed and £500 to £600 a year after that. Depending on the scheme that they sign up to, there is the possibility of receiving £1500 to £2000 a year from DEFRA. Gemma Frost explained that she felt the conditions were a little vague about what we can/can’t do with the Green and that it was a large initial outlay of money with no guarantee of receiving a grant. Jonn Hicks agreed and explained that when he approached 100 households in the village, only 1 was in favour of letting DEFRA manage it. The main issue residents had was that it would go back to the condition it was several years ago in which it was left to grow very long making it difficult to use. He also explained that he was told that the Parish Council could only receive between £300 to £1500 a year from DEFRA. The Parish Council has spent a lot of money recently on the Green and does not want to see that money and effort go to waste. It was proposed not to go ahead with this (5 in favour of not going ahead (2 abstaining due to wanting more information).
Road Safety. The SAM 2 equipment has not arrived yet. Issues to raise with Highways included a Give Way sign down on Grove Road/Mill Road and increased traffic observed by residents on Grove Road and Ragmere Road.
Play Area. Path in the play area is falling apart. Quote received for £1740 (including VAT) to remove footpath and area around the roundabout and lay a new path. Bins are to be replaced, bearings on roundabout replaced and the chicken toy to be moved further away from fence. Playground will be closed the week before half term (from Monday 14 October). Quote finally received from Playdale to repair rope bridge at £3000. Quote for a new wooden bridge was £550. The Parish Council agreed to have a new bridge installed (7 in favour). ROSPA advise removing chippings from below climbing frame, replace with a new membrane and cover with sand. Jonn Hicks to get another quote.
Councillors’ reports. The Clerk wrote to gentleman who owns the beehives in the allotments to clarify their location and the state of plot. Adrian Joel received a phone call to inform him that he has permission to place beehives in field next to allotments (Adrian Joel to confirm) and that he will tidy some of his rubbish from his plot but some needed.
Terry Cook reported that the Village Hall Management Committee meeting discussed precept. Paper bank will not be collected by the same company any more, need to find a new one. Thanks to the Parish Council for organising the clear up around the Village Hall.
Steve Milner said that Gamekeeper has been put on the market for £420,000, although no inventory of what’s included. He had a viewing and noted that upstairs layout doesn’t work currently, unclear about what land is included, flat roof at back appears in poor state, evidence of infestations, great kitchen space but don’t know what’s included in the price. Still struggling to get people involved and drive it forward. The resident leading the group has backed out and money hasn’t even been discussed yet. Therefore, the group have decided to not proceed with any purchase of the Gamekeeper. The Clerk is to inform Breckland Council.
Points raised by Ben Devlin included a damaged tree by the High School, a footpath is to be placed between Old Buckenham Country Park and Ragmere Road (by the allotments) which will allow easier access to the village, and parking problem on the Green again as the track between the Clinic and the schools is being used as a “rat run”. Bollards could be investigated.
Items for next agenda. These would include the Neighbourhood Plan (three councillors are attending a course in October), May Bank Holiday (VE Day celebration plans), the Action Log, update on the Met Office proposal and activities on the Green.

The next Parish Council meeting will be held on Thursday 7 November at 7.30pm at Old Buckenham Village Hall.

Thursday, 10 October 2019

Busy September for Old Buckenham WI

Many meetings for Women's Institute
Produce show in village hall
September was a busy month for Old Buckenham WI with organising the Produce Show and three meetings. 
The first meeting was the annual get together with New Costessey WI which this year took place at New Costessey. Then came the Guiltcross group meeting when six local WIs meet in Old Buckenham Village Hall. The speaker this time was Jenny Gibbs on her life in rural Turkey. Dressed in traditional Turkish costume she explained how at the age of 50 she determined to live in Turkey after falling in love with it on a cruise holiday. Arriving with no plans she managed to find accommodation in a small guest house and started working in the kitchen of a nearby restaurant. She married the chef and Mustafa came with her to the meeting. A wonderful storytelling full of interesting stories.
The speaker for Old Buckenham's own meeting was Gerry Foster on sheep dog training. After 25 years working in the electronics industry Gerry was taking a neighbour out for a drive when they saw a sign for a sheep dog trial and decided to see what it was about. It turned out to be a life changing experience. She told her husband they were moving, took redundancy and realised her ambition of working with dogs and sheep. She does contract shepherding all over the country and is also a judge at trials all over the UK and worldwide.
Gerry detailed how dogs are trained to work with sheep. It takes patience and perseverance, the bond between dog and handler is vital and Gerry explained the various words and whistles used. With the help of diagrams she explained the trials as seen on TV in One Man and his Dog. The first trial was in 1892 between Scottish and Welsh shepherds determined to prove whose dogs were best. The trials are governed by the International Sheep Dog Society. There are open trials throughout the summer and every four years there is a world trial involving 22 countries which is being held at Castle Howard in 2020. This was a fascinating talk peppered with anecdotes. The only disappointment was that Gerry was unable to bring dogs with her as they had had three exhausting days trialling.
Arrangements were made for the monthly walk and for transport to the Broderers Guild at Norwich Cathedral and to Hotter's shoe shop. Members were asked to bring a plate of savoury food to next month's Birthday Party.
The next meeting is the Annual Meeting on Thursday 28 November at 7.30pm in Old Buckenham Village Hall.

Sunday, 6 October 2019

Quizzing in Old Buckenham

How did you do in the quiz?
Last night saw the annual village quiz with fifteen teams of six battling it out in the village hall. The blog editor was there helping his team from the Attleborough Writers' Group to not quite come last.
Here are a few photos and the result sheets so you can re-live the evening and see how your team did.
A hall full of people, some eating and some waiting for their food
Enjoying the wonderful fish and chips...
...cooked right outside the main doors of the village hall 
Susan Hunter collects the trophy on behalf of the winning Women's Institute team
Teams and their scores
Scores for all the nine rounds, click on the image to enlarge it

Friday, 4 October 2019

Inside All Saints, Old Buckenham

The beauty of scaffolding
As preparatory work starts on the re-thatching of All Saints Church, a protective structure has been built inside the church. The church will now be closed to the public until February 2020.

Tuesday, 1 October 2019

Another Old Buckenham village newsletter

Copies now spread around

Behind this cover you will find details of when the next Open Gardens will be, winners in September's Produce Show, news from the WI, the Flower Club and the Village Hall, details of the last Parish Council meeting and lots more.
Remember that All Saints Church is closed for the next few months while the re-thatching work goes on. If you normally picked up copies there then why not try the village shop where extra copies have been left.

Saturday, 28 September 2019

What to do in Old Buckenham

Diary dates for October

Tuesday 1    Coffee and Chat, Church Rooms, 10.30am onwards

Wednesday 2    Luncheon Club, Village Hall, 10am to 2pm

Thursday 3    Parish Council, Village Hall, 7.30pm

Saturday 5    Village Quiz, Village Hall, 7pm

Monday 7    Monday Mardle, Church Rooms, 2.15pm to 4.15pm

Wednesday 9    Chapel Friendship Group, Methodist Church, 2.30pm

Thursday 10    Breckland Flower and Garden Club, 2pm

Thursday 10    Social and Wine Circle, Church Rooms, 7.30pm

Saturday 12    Clear up in All Saints churchyard from 10am

Saturday 12    Bring and buy sale, Church Rooms, 2pm to 4pm

Wednesday 16    Luncheon Club, Village Hall, 10am to 2pm

Wednesday 16    Songs of praise, Methodist Chapel, 7.30pm

Monday 21    Monday Mardle, Church Rooms, 2.15pm to 4.15pm

Thursday 21    Women's Institute birthday party

Friday 25    Visits from Mobile Library during morning

Saturday 26    Conservation skills day, Church Rooms, 10.30am to 3.30pm

Wednesday 30    Luncheon Club, Village Hall, 10am to 2pm

Thursday 31    Halloween Cafe, Chapel Green School

Thursday, 26 September 2019

Flowers and Gardening in Old Buckenham

Flower and Garden Club
At September's meeting, prior to introducing their guest speaker, members of Breckland Flower and Garden Club had an informal talk from Simon Pain, Breast Cancer Consultant Surgeon at the NNUH. This was a rescheduled visit from March’s AGM when the club presented a cheque for £8,000 to the Breast Cancer Charity at the hospital. Simon thanked the club and gave an insight into the plans moving forward for the future of the Breast Cancer Care Unit, explaining the new Boudicca Charity providing a one stop clinic for patients alleviating the worrying waiting time from diagnosis to treatment.
Next it was time to introduce Sarah Hammond with her talk “Peonies”. Sarah presented her talk with a slide show of delightful peonies. She told members a little bit about herself and how she had married a farmer whose mother had a passion for peonies which she too became enchanted with, now having a successful business growing and supplying seasonal Norfolk flowers for all occasions (
Sarah kindly judged the competition and table arrangements, Alison Vivian was this month’s winner. The afternoon concluded with refreshments and the raffles.
The Club’s next meeting is in Old Buckenham Village Hall on Thursday 10 October at 2pm with Adele Kent and her demonstration entitled “Top Hat and Tails”. The competition is “Rainbow End” with the Barbara Fisher Trophy for best modern design.
The Club is planning a Charity Ploughman’s Lunch in Bunwell Village Hall on Wednesday 30 October from 12 noon to 2pm. Admission is £7 per person and if you wish to go along, please see below for contact details. All proceeds will be going to the Norfolk Accident Rescue Services (NARS) which is the charity the Club is supporting this year.
For more details regarding any of the above, including membership/visiting the club, please contact Christine Hewson on 01953 454528 or Sally Westrup on 01953 788712.

Sunday, 22 September 2019

To Old Buckenham and beyond

Peddling around the churches
On Saturday 14 September at 9am Roger Peacock set off from All Saints Church, Old Buckenham, on his bike with the target of visiting as many of Norfolk's churches as possible before 5pm. This annual charity ride for the Norfolk Churches Trust has gone on for many years but this year seemed a good time to join in as they have just arranged a substantial contribution towards the re-thatching of All Saints Church.
The weather was spectacular. Clear blue sky, hardly a puff of wind and comfortably warm temperatures made for a cyclist's dream. Norfolk is blessed with both a wealth of historic churches (650 of them) and a fabulous network of tiny country lanes to travel between them. Roger had struggled for a few days trying to plan a route and was extremely grateful when the revered newsletter/blog editor passed on his routing experience which he found invaluable (including his tip for the church with the best food!).
The variety of church buildings is breathtaking, from the ancient Norman round-towered sites such as Gissing to the brand new modernism of St Henry Morse Catholic Church in Diss, from the simple Baptist Chapels to the most ornate Angel Roofed classicism of the 15th century.
His ride took him on a loop via Eccles and Quidenham to the south and then a long stretch up to Hethel in the north before setting off back down to Diss where the churches are thankfully closer together. In the end he managed 38 visits and thanks to the very generous sponsors should have raised around £500 for the Churches Trust.
The real heroes of the day however, were the lovely volunteer tellers who waited patiently in the churches to greet intrepid visitors with a smile, a drink of squash and a custard cream. Some were there in the tiniest of backroad hamlets from 9 till 5, only receiving a handful of visits but they quietly got on with their Catherine Cooksons with no complaints.
Roger said he had a thoroughly enjoyable day and by the time he returned to Old Buckenham village he'd consumed 62 miles (and 38 custard creams).

Saturday, 21 September 2019

Old Buckenham parish council minutes

What was discussed in September
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.
Old Buckenham Parish Council met on Thursday 5 September in the Village Hall.
Those present were councillors Jonn Hicks (Chair), Steve Milner, Adrian Joel, Andy Nicholls, Terry Cook and Gemma Frost. Also attending were Rachel Noyes (Clerk) and four members of the public. Apologies for absence had been received from Donna Oakley and Mike Farrington with Ben Devlin expected to arrive late. The minutes of the parish council meeting held on Thursday 1 August were approved (5 in favour, 1 abstain). Matters arising from those minutes were that no new information had been received from County Broadband regarding numbers signed up. A lot of villages locally have been approached yet the company can only work on three at a time.
Public participation. A member of the public requested to know what the Green Committee had spent £5,300 on during the last financial year. It was explained that any spending is stated in the Green Committee monthly minutes but that the chairman would request a list at next the Green Committee meeting for the parishioner.
Thanks were given to Dave Keable for a day’s work tidying the village playground.
Financial matters. The present Community account balance is £40,156.18. Payments approved totalled £825.54 (six in favour) and included £97.45 to the community car drivers and £90 for cutting the grass in the recreation area. The cost of the concrete bases for seats around Ottomer pond (£546) was paid from the Charity account.
Planning applications and Breckland District Council’s decisions.
(All planning applications are available for viewing on the Breckland District Council planning portal – - Parish Councillors have been asked by the chairman to view the new applications in advance of the meeting).
New planning applications. 4 Hargham Close, First floor side flat roof extension and later amendment for pitched roof (3PL/2019/0739/HOU). This application was supported by the parish council (6 in favour).
Roughlands Farm, Grove Road. Change of use of agricultural building to dwelling (permitted development) (3PN/2019/0042/UC). Andy Nicholls explained that the parish council had previously voted against the application and should have tried to show some consistency. It has been re-submitted using another example as evidence for their application. As the application fell within development, it was felt that the parish council views would not be influential. This application was supported by the parish council (4 in favour, 1 against, 2 abstain).
(Ben Devlin arrived)
Planning decisions by Breckland Council. Slade Lane Farm, Slade Lane. Proposed 6m extension to general purpose agricultural building (3PL/2019/0778/F). The above application has now been considered and the application has been approved
Site at Harlingwood Lane. Construction of two new dwelling houses and garages (3PL/2019/0333/F). This had been referred to the Planning Committee but the parish council were informed by Adrian Joel and Andy Nichols that this application had just been approved. While it was initially down for refusal, they had previously approved a site on Harlingwood Lane despite Highways objecting and so therefore approved this application too. It went through by eight votes to two. Councillor Stephen Askew spoke for the application (and was therefore not allowed to vote) and no one spoke against the application. This is now two more houses off the village quota of 17.
Allotments. The parishioner who has informed the parish council of planned charity work at the allotments was unable to attend at last minute. They will attend next month to clarify. Gemma Frost said that the beehive that was previously applied for has been placed on the field behind the allotments and that the allotment appears to be used as a bit of a dumping ground. The Clerk to write a letter requesting improved care of plot.
Adrian Joel raised the issue of allotment fees for the next year. Currently £40 a year for residents, £50 for non residents (with half plot fees of £20/£25). A proposal to keep fees the same was approved (7 in favour) as raising prices will deter people instead of encourage and already quite expensive. Need to highlight and advertise allotments to get more people in.
Precept Grants. The Precept meeting will be on Thursday 5 December and completed application forms need to be with the Parish Clerk by Thursday 21 November.
Gamekeeper update. Steve Milner said the forms had been accepted by Breckland Council. Had a meeting with J Glen and currently trying to arrange meeting with all parishioners interested in helping. Also had meetings with Redgrave and Garboldisham pubs and been using Pubs in the Hub charity for advice. Financially, currently investigating possible option of ½ charity, ½ Limited company and looking at tax efficiency. Will be in contact soon with Ei to arrange a visit.
Highways. New crossing of B1077 has officially opened. Generally positively received by parishioners, particularly those with young children. There was concern by some about people having to cross Hargham Road to reach the crossing but initial observations don’t show it to be a problem. While it is not perfect, it’s a big improvement. Thanks to Terry Cracknell, Rona Boggia, Trevor Crook, Lucy Womack, Mike Bartlett, Tom Mcabe, Stephen Askew and George Freeman MP for all their time and effort. Thanks in particular to Stephen Askew for all his time and energy in getting a safe crossing to the village. The Clerk is to write a letter of thanks. Issues highlighted included one street light reflecting off the pond into a nearby house. Highways aware and due to alter the angle. Some of the footpath leading towards the War Memorial has not been completed very well. Again, Highways aware and are due to come out and improve. A member of the public explained that during his conversations with villagers, the feedback was very positive and that the parish council had done what they can to try and prevent any possible accidents for children crossing that road. Another parishioner was disappointed to see such rudeness and negativity on a Facebook post about the crossing and felt that people had forgotten that it was needed to help get children to/from school safely. Also highlighted that the visual impact of a traffic light crossing seemed to be causing cars to drive slower generally through the village.
The SAM2 sign (mobile electronic speed display) is due in 4 to 6 weeks. Still waiting to hear back from D Jacklin of Highways to agree locations. Suggested locations are Abbey Road, Attleborough Road as you enter village, Hargham Road and Cake Street. Jonn Hicks offered to have it placed at the end of his garden as well. Locations will be changed weekly and two batteries will allow continuous monitoring. It will log data of all cars, which can be used to notify police if needs be.
A resident has been asked politely if they could cut back their garden hedge which is overgrown and reducing visibility on an already dangerous corner. The resident was uncooperative and therefore the Parish Clerk will write a letter. If that is ignored, then Highways will have to be notified.
Chairman’s report. Two extra defibrillators have previously been approved by the Parish Council. They will be ordered this month. One to be placed on the Church Rooms, opposite the playground. Second will hopefully be placed by the Methodist Church on Hargham Road but need to liaise about exact location. Andy Nicholls highlighted that there is also now a defibrillator at the cricket ground.
Poppy collectors are required for parts of the village and volunteers should contact the chairman Jonn Hicks.
Playdale have suggested replacing the rope bridge in the Play Area with a wooden one as it is safer for smaller children. Waiting to hear back about the estimated cost. The path is all broken up and the first quote requested was dismissed as too small a job for the company. The Village Handyman to liaise with Jonn Hicks about re-paving the path and replacing bins. Highways are aware of missing drain cover, yet still not replaced it. This will be chased up. The bark chippings are proving difficult to maintain and the surrounding wood is rotting away. Investigating alternatives such as sand or mesh and longer grass.
Grass in the Recreation Area has just been cut again. Cars parking in Village Hall car park are hitting the fences and therefore causing them to become unstable. The Village Handyman to repair and improve stability and also cut back vegetation growing on to the path leading to Primary School.
Councillors’ reports. Ben Devlin said that cars are parking and rubbish being dumped by Prince Harry Wood, just before St Andrews Close. Cars are starting to cause a lot of damage to grass, which will get worse as winter weather approaches. The clerk to write letter to Breckland Council (as they are owners of the land) highlighting the problem and requesting preventative measures. She will also write a letter to Cotman Housing requesting their residents do not leave litter in the wooded area. Ben Devlin also mentioned a Macmillan Coffee Morning at the Country Park on Friday 27 September.
Steve Milner reported that the stream that travels through Stacksford is being blocked up. This is likely to lead to flooding over the winter months. The clerk is to contact East Harling Internal Drainage Board about clearing it up.
Gemma Frost said there would be a village litter pick on Sunday 22 September.
Adrian Joel mentioned that the Remembrance Day Sunday Service will take place at the War Memorial this year as All Saints Church will be closed for work on its roof. He suggested that work to repair and paint the railings surrounding the War Memorial be delayed till after this Service in order to prevent the area looking a mess.
Items for next agenda. These would include a new parish council laptop, policies/standing orders and the Neighbourhood Plan.

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

Sunday, 15 September 2019

Next door to Old Buckenham

A day in New Buckenham
How many people do you recognise in this record of a typical day in New Buckenham, just about the time that the blog editor moved up to Norfolk?
Just click on this link:

Village sign in Old Buckenham

History of local village signs

The speaker at the August meeting of Old Buckenham WI was Michael Weatherstone. He had been a policeman and later a trainer for professional drivers whilst working for the Advanced Driving School but his hobby was Norfolk's village signs. Having acquired copies of three books on signs written by two ladies in the 1970s containing a limited selection of signs, he decided he would visit as many Norfolk signs as possible. Over 15 months and driving about 5,000 miles he claims to be one of very few people to have visited every village and hamlet in Norfolk. The result was a well-illustrated book of over 400 signs published in 2014 and called 'Norfolk, a History Through its Village Signs'. Several members bought a copy. Many signs were designed and made by Harry Carter, a nephew of Howard Carter of Tutankhamen fame. They take many different forms and are made of a wide variety of materials, traditional things such as wood, metal or slate but the Diss sign is made of fibreglass. It shows a Diss farthing as well as King John and John Skelton, tutor to Henry VIII. About half of Norfolk's signs were instigated by Women’s Institutes as was the one in Old Buckenham. Showing a selection of pictures, Michael explained his experiences and some of the history behind the signs. The oldest survivor is at Wolferton dating from 1912 that shows Fenir the wolf from Norse legend. However many are of more recent date and many have been restored or remade over the years. 
Arrangements were made for the forthcoming village Produce Show, for a visit to Norwich Cathedral's Broderers Guild and a tour of the Hotter shoe shop in Norwich.
The next meeting is on Thursday 24 October which is Old Buckenham Women's Institute’s 52nd birthday party.

Thursday, 12 September 2019

Old Buckenham Produce Show

Results and pictures

Class 1 Preserves    Jane Burrows

Class 2 Cookery    Holly Thomas

Class 3 Eggs      Debbie Thomas

Class 4 Flowers    John Frost

Class 5 Pot Plants    John Frost

Class 6 Children, 7 and under    Harriet Soddy and Eleanor Feakes

                               8 to 11    Thomas Hills

Best entry 
in children's classes    Eleanor Feakes for her Lego model of an ice cream van 

Class 7 Handicrafts    Betty Stacey

Class 8 Art    Pat Dickinson

Class 9 Vegetables and Fruit    Roy Dickinson

Overall Winner    John Frost

Concentrating on judging
Children's entries
Awaiting prize giving
Jonn, parish council chairman, presents John, overall winner, with trophy

Saturday, 7 September 2019

Old Buckenham Produce Show

Visit it on Sunday afternoon

Come along to the village hall tomorrow at 2.30pm to see how well your entries have done (if you have entered some exhibits) or to see what else has been entered and who has won all the prizes.
You can also enjoy nice homemade cake with your cup of tea and buy some of the prizewinning produce when the auction takes place.
See you there.

Thursday, 5 September 2019

Digging in Old Buckenham

The detectorists are back
Not the BBC4 comedy show, these are the REAL detectorists from Norfolk Heritage Recovery Group who arrange metal detecting digs at locations across Norfolk every weekend to raise money for good causes. On Saturday 28 September, they’ll be in Old Buckenham, raising money for Raise the Roof. The money is raised by the NHRG members paying a fee to attend the digs, with all of the proceeds being donated to good causes. This will be the fourth such dig in Old Buckenham, with the three previous digs raising £1,400 for Raise the Roof.

The dig will take place on fields owned by Tom Baron of Old Hall Farm, Harlingwood Lane, who has kindly given permission for the event to take place on his land. Previous digs have discovered several significant items from Old Buckenham’s dim and distant past including two Roman brooches, a few Roman coins, a nicely decorated Anglo Saxon strap-end and over twenty medieval hammered silver coins. These included a 13th century Scottish penny of Alexander, a Queen Elizabeth I sixpence dated 1574 , a 16th century Venetian soldino and two very well preserved Charles l silver shillings. A fair amount of artefacts associated with weaponry have also been found, including several Civil War period musket balls, a gunpowder measure, a dagger chape and a pistol handle.
Finds will be on display during the day in the registration tent, located about half a mile past Old Hall Farm on the right hand side. It’s probably best to wait until the afternoon, to give time for the detectorists to do their stuff, and there will be someone on hand to help with identification and explanation of what’s on show.
As with all NHRG digs, they are only open to club members but if you have an interest in metal detecting please come along and have a chat. And if you are a landowner willing to donate the use of a field for another fundraising dig - whether for Raise the Roof or any other charity - please contact the NHRG chairman Godfrey Pratt who lives in Old Buckenham. Contact details are or by phone 07761 726343.

Wednesday, 4 September 2019

Trying the crossing in Old Buckenham

Safer way to cross the B1077
After several years of discussions, agreements and finally construction, the new button-operated Puffin crossing is now operational beside the village Green for all to use. The aim was to get the work done during the school holidays and it was completed in time for the first day back after the summer break.
A collection of county, district and parish councillors met this afternoon for a short photo shoot and a chance to see the school children and their parents making full use of the new facility.
It was not quite the iconic Beatles crossing Abbey Road but the officials had to cross over themselves to provide images for the local press.

Yes the camera does lie, the lights are not that bright

Tuesday, 3 September 2019

Seats on Old Buckenham Green

Ready for a sit down
There are three concrete bases around Ottomer Pond awaiting seats to be positioned there.

These  have been organised by the Parish Council as there are memorial benches waiting to be installed.
The Parish Council has recently issued guidelines for the placing of memorial benches on the Green. The guidelines say:
We appreciate the kind offers to purchase benches in memory of friends or family members which provide welcome seating around the Green. However the Parish Council need to exercise control to prevent the proliferation of lots of different styles of bench in locations which may not be practical. We also need to ensure benches are properly maintained in an attractive and safe condition.
· Benches must be good quality and may be made of wood or wood-effect recycled plastic/composite material. Memorial plaques should be made of brass or silver metal.
· Donors should submit details of the proposed bench (dimensions; materials; plaque size and wording of inscription and a picture) to the Parish Council for approval.
· The Parish Council will suggest or approve possible locations (in consultation with the Green Right Proprietors and Lord of the Manor).
· Benches must be sited on a concrete pad and fixed in place.
· All costs of the bench and siting must be met by the donor.
· After installation, ownership and maintenance will become the responsibility of the Parish Council, who will insure against any public liability.
· The Parish Council reserve the right to repair or remove the bench, should it be irreparably damaged or rotten, at their discretion. The original donor may, of course, repair or replace the bench at their cost should they wish.

Sunday, 1 September 2019

Active September in Old Buckenham

 Diary dates for September  
 Monday 2            Monday Mardle, Church Rooms, 2.15m to 4.15pm
Tuesday 3             Coffee and Chat, Church Rooms, 10.30am onwards
Wednesday 4 Luncheon Club, Village Hall, 10am to 2pm
Thursday 6           Parish Council, Village Hall, 7.30pm
Sunday 8           Village Produce Show, Village Hall, 2.30pm
Wednesday 11 Chapel Friendship Group, Methodist Church, 2.30pm
Thursday 12         Breckland Flower and Garden Club, 2pm
Thursday 12         Social and Wine Circle, Church Rooms, 7.30pm
Saturday 14         Norfolk Churches cycle ride
Monday 16          All Saints Church closes for re-thatching work
Monday 16           Monday Mardle, Church Rooms, 2.15m to 4.15pm
Wednesday 18 Luncheon Club outing  
Wednesday 21   Songs of praise, Methodist Chapel, 7.30pm
Sunday 22         Harvest Festival, Methodist Chapel, 10.45am
Sunday  22           Litter pick, Village Green, meet by Ottomer Pond, 11am
Monday 23         Auction of harvest gifts, Methodist Church, 7pm
Thursday 26        Women's Institute, Village Hall, 7.30pm
Friday 27             Visits from Mobile Library during morning
Saturday 28        Metal detectorists at Old Hall Farm
Saturday 28     Bingo, Church Rooms, 2pm

Saturday, 31 August 2019

Old Buckenham pedestrian crossing

Ready to be switched on
The builders' compound and the equipment has gone has gone, just leaving some flattened grass. Grass seed has been liberally sprinkled over the disturbed ground.
The new posts have been wired up and the lights fitted. Covers are draped over the lights.
All looks ready to be in operation for when school restarts at the beginning of next week.

Old Buckenham September newsletter

What can you learn from this month's issue?
There is information on the re-thatching of All Saints Church, the infamous village Produce Show, the possible future for the Gamekeeper and the metal detectorists next visit.
Read it all carefully.

Wednesday, 28 August 2019

Gamekeeper in Old Buckenham

Can you help with a rescue?
The owners of the Gamekeeper are intending to sell. The Gamekeeper pub is registered as a community asset and the parish council registered an interest to buy.  Villagers are trying to set up a team to create a community pub/restaurant.  There is a lot of work to do some of which will need people with specialist  skills such as having an accountant on the team.  These specialist positions will need to be voluntary as there is no cash at this stage.  Unfortunately, despite initial enthusiasm, it has not been able to get a team together at present. Therefore  one more request is being made to ask for volunteers, particularly accountants, builders, food and drink specialists, etc.  If there is not any response it would mean that there is insufficient appetite in the village for this purchase.  So if you are interested in being a part of a group to progress this exciting opportunity for our village please urgently express your interest by contacting Steve Milner via

Tuesday, 27 August 2019

Old Buckenham's new white lines

Road markings for the new crossing
White lines have now been painted on the B1077.

Monday, 26 August 2019

Old Buckenham parish council

Notes of August minutes
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.
Old Buckenham Parish Council met on Thursday 1 August in the Village Hall. Those present were councillors Jonn Hicks (Chair), Steve Milner, Adrian Joel, Andy Nicholls and Mike Farrington as well as Rachel Noyes (Clerk), Stephen Askew (County and District councillor) and 13 members of the public.
Apologies for absence had been received from councillors Donna Oakley, Gemma Frost, Terry Cook and Ben Devlin. The minutes of the meeting held on Thursday 4 July were approved (5 in favour).
Matters arising from those minutes. Adrian Joel is to meet with George Freeman MP on Friday 2 August about the proposed weather radar.
Public participation relating to agenda items. An enquiry had been made about the use of metal detectors around the roadworks area that has been dug up (after work is finished for the day). Bus shelter stop has been suspended but no replacement announced. Rachel Noyes will look at information and enquire. County Broadband deadline is by Friday 6 September for those interested in signing up. District councillor Stephen Askew said the local plan has been delayed but hopefully will be signed off by the end of the year. There has been some confusion during the road works on the B1077 including some lorry drivers but it was felt this was generally their own fault as the works had been clearly signed.
Financial matters. The community account balance was £41,073.98. Total payments of £712.90 were approved including £240 to power wash both the play area and the phone box and £106.65 to the community car drivers.
Planning applications. (All planning applications are available for viewing on the Breckland District Council planning portal
and parish councillors have been asked by the chairman to view the new applications in advance of the meeting.)
New planning applications. Slade Lane Farm, Slade Lane. Proposed 6m extension to general purpose agricultural building (3PL/2019/0778/F). This application was supported by the parish council (5 in favour).
Planning decisions by Breckland Council. Southview, Fen Street. Erection of single storey front extension to create sun room, hall and wc (3PL/2019/0661/HOU).
Eastview, Cake Street. Conversion of existing detached bungalow to 2 number 3-bedroom semi-detached houses, incorporating ground floor side and rear extensions with new roof to accommodate new first floors (3PL/2019/0540/F).
Both the two above applications have now been considered by Breckland and have been approved.
The Gamekeeper. Adrian Joel informed about an open meeting held to discuss possibilities around the Gamekeeper pub. Breckland Council have been contacted for a clearer definition of a ‘Community Group’. There was a need to inform Breckland Council by Sunday 4 August about possible interest (and therefore prevent it going on the open market). If there is an interest, the PC or a community group would have until Tuesday 24 December to find funding. While the only current group (under their definitions) is the Parish Council, a community group could still form in that time and make the purchase, according to Breckland Council. By triggering the full moratorium period, there is no commitment to purchase.
A parishioner was keen to investigate the possibility of purchasing it. He explained the disadvantages of triggering the full moratorium period would be delaying outside investment in the pub/village. The advantages would be that it would provide time for those interested to investigate the building/business fully and establish if it was worthwhile purchasing and how best to run it (ie run it themselves, hire someone in, change style, etc). Several parishioners supported trigging the moratorium period. They explained that as the parish council had shown interest in listing as a community asset previously, then they should give the community time to investigate it fully now. Some councillors expressed a clear desire for the parish council not to fund the purchase but to be there to simply help any community groups and to facilitate any possible purchase.
Steve Milner put forward a proposal and Adrian Joel requested a named vote on the topic. The proposal to trigger the full moratorium period was approved (4 councillors in favour with Adrian Joel voting against).
Allotments. An allotment holder has written to the Parish Council enquiring about the possibility of running a gardening programme to help those less fortunate (ie suffering from depression, Alzheimer sufferers, etc). Everyone felt this was a very good idea and could help a lot of people. However Jonn Hicks explained that there may be some slight problem if they are planning on running a business from it (as it said a business plan was to be written) and making money. The parishioner will be invited to the next meeting where clarification and further information can be provided. A parishioner suggested looking at Norfolk Community Foundation for extra support.
Action Log. Councillor Gemma Frost was absent and so this item will be discussed at the next meeting.
Chairman’s report. The Village Green Working Party had received two quotes for installing concrete bench bases for seats by Ottomer pond. Locations have been chosen so that all face towards the pond. Some memorial benches in village have not been well maintained. New guidelines on the placing of benches have been drawn up and these were approved (5 in favour).
Roadworks for the crossing had started. Still waiting to hear from D Jacklin (Highways) to approve sites for the electronic speed sign. Thank you to councillor Stephen Askew for all his hard work to get the crossing on the B1077.
Play Area. This would be closed on Sunday 11 August for maintenance and repairs. Thanks were due to all of those that cleared weeds recently.
Councillors’ reports. Andy Nicholls said the village handyman unable to sand-blast the phone box but was happy to paint it if needed. Jonn Hicks explained that he has a volunteer from the village to paint it. Steve Milner talked about the County Broadband meeting held in the Village Hall recently about providing fibre broadband to properties. Requires 179 people to sign up to get it started. The Parish Council is not endorsing the company but simply explaining what was said. Adrian Joel said thanks were due to Martin Hodgson and Dave Tranmer for a new duck house by Ottomer Pond. Also that the Ox and Plough have donated £50 to the Raise the Roof fund.
Neighbourhood Plan. Presently looking at project plans for other villages. The clerk is to enquire about costs, etc, for a private company to complete a neighbourhood plan for the village.
Items for next agenda. These would include spending money on the play area and the Neighbourhood Plan.
The next Parish Council meeting will be held on Thursday 5 September at 7.30pm at Old Buckenham Village Hall.

Apologies, a note from the clerk. In June’s parish council meeting, it was explained that a councillor witnessed a van bearing the company name Culling Scrap Metal Ltd disposing of their waste in to the village waste bins. Since then, discussions with the van driver have said that the van is no longer registered to the company and the waste was general daily rubbish and so was nothing to do with the company.

Sunday, 25 August 2019

Old Buckenham displays musicals

Flower Festival at the Methodist Church
If you visit the Methodist Church in Hargham Road today from 1pm or tomorrow from  10am you can see many flower arrangements depicting famous musicals. You can have a go at the quizzes, enjoy the refreshments and even have a go at doing an arrangement yourself.
The event closes at 4pm on each day.
Here are some photos of the colourful arrangements, go and see them all for yourselves.

(click on the images to see them at a larger scale)

Tuesday, 20 August 2019

Happening on Old Buckenham Green

Today's activities
The village handyman is installing the concrete bases for new seats that will be positioned around Ottomer pond.

The closure of the B1077 is due to start again tomorrow and the signs are ready in position.
Thankfully the spelling has been corrected and we have become Old Buckenham again.

Work continues on the new pedestrian crossing. The poles for the lamp posts are being installed as well as the pathways to the spot where you will be walking across the B1077.