Thursday, 11 July 2019

Fund raising in Old Buckenham

Evening garden party
Last Saturday was time for the annual garden party at the home of Barbara and John Frost. Despite the damp weather and numerous other events being on at the same time, The evening event raised over £960 for All Saints Church.

The man dispensing the drinks

Where are the tombola customers?

Wish the sun would shine

Waiting for your lucky ticket to be drawn in the big raffle

Wednesday, 10 July 2019

Cutting Old Buckenham Green

It's been a big job
Some of the largest and heaviest vehicles that have ever been seen on Old Buckenham Green have been hard at work today cutting down the grass. They have also been removing the mowings (which are being taken away to a nearby anaerobic digester to be turned into a methane-rich gas that can be used as a bio-fuel and a digestate, which is a source of nutrients that can be used as a fertiliser). Removing the mowings will also reduce the fertility of the Green and this will be beneficial for the growth of wild flowers in future.
Three big machines were involved, one to cut down the grass, one to pick it all up and another to cart it away.


Because of the size of these vehicles they could not reach all of the more congested areas and it will be necessary to return and cut those with something a bit smaller.

Tuesday, 9 July 2019

Visitors to the Old Buckenham blog

Over 2000 posts
The blog editor has just noticed that there have been 2008 posts since this blog began in December 2008. The total number of visitors (if you can believe the counting software) is 116,174 with 84% being from the UK and 7% from the USA. No other country reaches 1% and 22 countries, including Afghanistan, have only provided one visitor since the blog started over ten years ago.

Saturday, 6 July 2019

New bus timetable for Old Buckenham

Same times, just a new number
This morning a new timetable was fitted into the case fixed to the bus shelter. There are still only two buses to Norwich in the morning and three buses back in the afternoon. Nothing on Saturday or Sunday. But it's now a number 5.

Old Buckenham weather radar consultation

Notes on the public meeting 
A public meeting regarding a planning application for a new East Anglia weather radar was held at Old Buckenham on Friday 28 June 2019. Here is a summary, produced by the Met Office, of the questions raised by those attending the meeting.
A weather radar in East Anglia would reduce risk to property and life by improving flood and weather warnings throughout the region and will aid the efficient planning and use of water resources in the region.
A radar network review recommended the addition of a radar in East Anglia to improve network coverage, providing better more detailed observations of rainfall further east than currently possible. This would address a deficiency in coverage and improve the lead-time of warnings for significant weather and flooding, such as the ‘Beast from the East’.
It would particularly help meteorologists deal more confidently with Easterly and North-easterly snow situations that impact East Anglia, as well as summer convective storms, and slow-moving weather systems.
A new radar at this site would also benefit the wider UK. Data obtained from the radar will be integrated into weather prediction models and provide increased resilience for the wider network.
The Met Office, Environment Agency and Anglian Water were pleased to be able to speak to around 60 members of the public, over the course of the day, to answer questions and explain more about the proposed radar.

The questions raised at the public meeting are outlined below.
Why this site? Building a radar at this site would involve the re-development of an existing brownfield site owned by Anglian Water, rather than a green field site.
A thorough investigation of possible sites across the region considered the benefits, likely costs, impact on the local environment and community and associated risks for each location.
This is the only one of the potential sites that would provide 1km resolution coverage over the whole of Norfolk, right up to the coastline. This is the finest level of detail possible, much like a large scale map. This site also offered the most cost-effective option to the UK taxpayer.
What would the visual impact of the radar be? The radar radome would be visible above the tops of trees as it needs to exceed the tree line to be able to collect observations without interference.
A metal lattice tower would be built at the site. This will have a white radome on top (this is a dome that covers the radar) and will reach to a total height of just over 27m or 89ft. There will be a small communications cabin at the base of the staircase, and access stairs forming part of the tower structure. This compares to the Old Buckenham windmill which is 54ft (without the sails) and The Big Tower Tacolneston Transmitter, which is 147m, 482ft.
The project team understands that local residents have concerns about how the tower would change the view. We have now commissioned a visual impact assessment to better understand this, and the report will suggest available options to reduce the visual impact if applicable, eg planting of trees as screening.
Will it be the same height as the chicken farm chimney? The nearby chimney (located off Old Buckenham Road to the east of the proposed radar) is 27.5m high, according to records from the local planning authority (planning ref 2008/0816). This is approximately the same height as is proposed for the radar.
Will there be any noise? Will I be able to hear it? Radars do make some sound. Whether they can be heard depends on wind conditions and distance. We have conducted an acoustic assessment to ensure likely levels are at a minimum above existing background noise such as the sound of leaves rustling and bird song.
Will it have any effect on health? Weather radars do not present a risk to the public, biological habitats or species. The Met Office contracted Public Health England (PHE) to carry out an assessment of exposure to electromagnetic fields from weather radar to fulfil its duty of care under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. This survey was undertaken at Ingham radar. The proposed radar would be built using the same technology.
The results of this survey concluded that there are no hazards associated with exposure to microwave signals from the Met Office weather radar at the Ingham site.
Will the radar be manned? The radar does not require people to operate it. There will just be occasional visits by engineers for routine or reactive maintenance.
Will there be construction traffic? Yes, there will be construction traffic. When we start construction at the site (which will take approximately 2 weeks) there will be an increase in traffic because we will be having deliveries such as portable toilets, site welfare, fencing to make the safe site before we start work, although these will be one off deliveries. When we are ready to start work, one of the first work activities will be to clear the site so again a number of vehicles will be required to carry out this work and remove all waste material. It is proposed to manufacture the tower off site enabling the tower to be delivered in a number of pieces and then put together on site, likewise the comms building will come via a single delivery as it is pre-fabricated. There will be a number of vehicles needed for the duration of the project, these will be mainly vans/cars for contractors/engineers and electricians.
What route would construction traffic take through the village? Any routes for the construction traffic and working hours will be confirmed as part of the planning process. We understand that the Parish Council may have a preferred construction traffic route, so that traffic going directly through the village centre is avoided.
Will there be lights on the radar and will they be on all night? There would be lights on the radar that can be switched on for rare cases of maintenance during low light conditions. There may also be a low intensity red aircraft warning light on the top of the radar. Whether this light is needed and, if so, needs to remain on all night, will be confirmed as part of the planning process.
Could the tower be made smaller? The radar would need to reach above the surrounding trees, which grow to around 20m in height, as it needs to be able to take measurements without interference. It also needs to exceed the height of the crane used by Anglian Water on the site adjacent to the proposed site. We are revisiting this aspect of the proposal to see if there is anything else we can do to reduce the height of the tower, whilst still receiving clear observations.
Will people be accessing the site at weekends or at night time? Weekend or night time visits are highly unlikely, apart from in an emergency. An emergency might include the radar needing immediate servicing or repair in the event of approaching severe weather.
Can the radome be made any smaller? The radome cannot be made any smaller than planned, with a diameter of 5m. It needs to be this size to fit the radar inside.
How would the tower be protected from lightning? The tower will have its own lightning conductor.
How will the Met Office communicate about the plans going forward? We will make sure that the Parish Council is kept informed of any changes or developments. They will be able to update the community through the parish council meetings and minutes.
Is this just the start of a wider Met Office development? No, the Met Office has no intention of developing the site further. The site belongs to Anglian Water and the Met Office would be leasing the land for the radar.
How will the site be secured? Will there be anti-clamber features or anti-vandal paint? The structure will be fenced and access to the stairs will be bolted.
Could we paint the tower a different colour? The project team would be open to discussing painting the tower a different colour if it was thought that it would lessen the visual impact of the structure. This would involve some additional expense.
Which were the other short-listed sites? Sixteen potential sites were assessed. These were Marham, Wattisham, Lakenheath, Honington, Mildenhall, Neatishead, Old Buckenham, Stoke Ferry, High Ash Hill, Brandon High Lodge, Riddlesworth,  Soham (water tower), Newmarket (Warren Hill), Newmarket (Long Hill), Saxham Hall and Sparhamhill.
Why are there no other suitable Anglia Water sites? In total we looked at nine Anglian Water sites in the region. The site at Old Buckenham would provide 1km resolution coverage over the whole of Norfolk, right up to the coastline. This is the finest level of detail possible. This site offers the best balance between the benefits of the specific site and anticipated costs and risks. All further Anglian Water sites were either unsuitable, had no spare land available or were already earmarked for other uses.
Are there other industrial areas we could use to site the radar? We have worked extensively with other landowners to identify possible sites where we could site a radar. We must be confident of how the land is likely to be used for the next 25 years, or for the life of the radar. If we used an industrial site, we would need assurances from multiple owners as to how they intend to use the site in the future. We would also risk a greater certainty of conflicting development, which could affect the effectiveness of the radar.
Would the Met Office be willing to house a mobile phone transmitter on the radar tower? This is not something the Met Office has been actively pursuing and we have not been approached by a mobile provider. As the land is owned by Anglian Water, it would need to be approved by them.
Will the radar affect TV, radio or wi-fi? No, the weather radar operates within a narrow frequency band, which is reserved for weather radars by OFCOM. TV, radio, wifi, etc. All operate in areas of the electromagnetic spectrum, reserved specifically for them and are in a different area of the spectrum from the weather radars.
Will this affect the airfield? We have talked directly with the airfield management, and are now working with a specialist consulting firm to understand the technical details around the concerns raised by the airfield.
What are the benefits to us? There are several local benefits:
Short-term local forecasts for precipitation will be greatly improved in the area.
The forecasting of snow coming in from across the North Sea will be much more accurate.
The forecasting of high-impact summer storms for the region will be much more accurate.
Valuable information about lightning and wind shear will improve local aviation forecasts that will aid pilots when landing and taking off in the region.
The radar is designed to provide continuous, real-time information.
The Environment Agency will be able to use the data to help predict and issue flood warnings, to help reduce the risk to property and life.
The Met Office will be able to use the data collected to help predict and issue weather warnings, to help reduce the risk to property and life.
Anglian Water will be able to use the data to help maintain balance in the sewage system, ultimately helping to prevent outflow into the ocean and protecting bathing water quality.
Anglian Water will be able to use the information to inform agricultural businesses about the best times to plant, harvest or apply treatments to land.
Flood planners can use the information gathered for managing future risk.
Information from the radar will be used in numerical weather prediction models to help inform longer term forecasts.
Why now? The Met Office, with the support of funding from the Environment Agency, has recently completed a project to upgrade all the radars throughout the UK. Our focus is now on adding additional radars where coverage needs to be improved. This will help us to increase the lead-times of warnings for significant weather and flooding events.
When will it be built if planning permission is given? Current plans are for work to start in early 2020.
How long will it take to build? Building works, including groundworks and installation of the radar, will take approximately six months.
Will the land be made good after the building work? The Met Office is committed to sustainable development and any flora removed during the building work will be replaced or replanted.
Is it true that, if the radar gets built, the Met Office will be able to veto all further planning applications in the area? The Planning Direction for England gives the Met Office a right to be consulted on planning applications based on maps we submit to local planning authorities outlining when and where we wish to be consulted. However, the Met Office cannot just veto applications. There are provisions where, in the worst case, if a planning authority was going to approve an application against the advice of the Met Office, a Direction under Section 77 of the Town & Country Planning Act could be considered which would effectively request that the application is ‘called in’ for determination by the Secretary of State rather than the planning authority.
Met Office have never used these provisions and our preference is to maintain contact throughout the planning process and to work with a developer to ensure that any concerns can be addressed and overcome where possible. In this instance, a map will be prepared based on the height of the radar, surrounding topography and distance from the radar tower to identify heights of structures that may be of concern, and as such where we would wish to be consulted if a planning application fell within the identified zones.
However, Met Office are primarily concerned with tall structures such as wind turbines which are at greater risk of causing interference to the radar. Structures below the level of the radar are unlikely to be of concern. As such, more domestic style planning applications are rarely a cause for concern.
What happens if Anglian Water sell the site? Anglian Water has confirmed that it has a long-term commitment to this site. However, should the site ever be sold, provisions are being agreed to ensure the radar can continue to occupy and operate from the site.
Is the Met Office offering any ‘benefits in kind’ to the local community? The Met Office has long experience and a great reputation for engaging with schools and colleges on STEM activities. We would be delighted to work with the young people of Old Buckenham and the surrounding area in a similar way. As the radar would be financed by public money, we cannot offer to fund local amenities (eg by providing a children’s playground) in the same way that a private developer might.
Why didn’t I get a leaflet telling me about the meeting? We paid for a distribution of leaflets to the following postcodes NR16 1, NR16 2, NR17 1, NR17 2. We understand that some people did not receive a leaflet and are following this up with the distributors. We would welcome any information from individuals who did not receive a leaflet, so that we can follow this up.

Contact details and further information. For more information or specific queries, please contact

Friday, 5 July 2019

Old Buckenham school fete

Enjoyable fund raiser
Chapel Green School are delighted to have raised over £1500 at their fete on Saturday 29 June. Here are a few photos taken on the day showing some of the activity including a visiting dinosaur,  equipment to measure the steadiness of your hand and drawing the tickets for prizes in a huge raffle.

Tuesday, 2 July 2019

Old Buckenham Weather Radar

A view from the Airfield
Matt Wilkins, the Aerodrome Manager at Old Buckenham Airfield, wishes to point out their views on the proposed weather radar installation.
The proposal as drawn would penetrate the protected area around the airfield’s main runway. This would therefore be a breach of the Air Navigation Order. The Civil Aviation Authority would become involved and take the necessary action to block the application.
Even if the Met Office's plans are changed to lower the radar sufficiently so that it is not a technical breach, they have been made aware, in no uncertain terms, that the Airfield will object on a raft of other technical grounds, all based on Statute and the latest National Planning Policy Framework.
The Airfield have not stated that they have no issue with the frequencies that are put out. What they have said is that they would need specialist and detailed advice. They have also pointed out that they transmit to aircraft at very long distance with potential effect on their machinery.
They have pointed out that an unlit structure of height is a bad idea and that on basic grounds of safety there would at least need to be a red light at the top of the structure. Perhaps most importantly the Airfield have made abundantly clear that, in a county of precisely three Air Traffic Zones, "sticking a golf ball on a very tall stick in the middle of one of them" is idiotic.

A similar installation elsewhere in the country
Everyone needs to also be aware of one point. If this project is built then the Met Office will automatically become a statutory consultee for all applications and have immediate right of veto. In other words if someone in the village wants to do anything requiring planning permission they would have to seek the approval of the Met Office as well as the usual list of consultees. Equally anyone putting anything up under Permitted Development which interferes with this radar in any way will risk being at the thick end of an injunction. This is a major factor for consideration; doing anything in the surrounding area could become a lot harder, including any necessary home improvements, modest extensions, etc. 
The Airfield do make clear that they are not going to object on aesthetic grounds. They have been approached by several villagers about it, some of whom say they will have their views ruined, shadows cast and a host of problems. The Airfield can only object on aeronautical grounds and will do so. Their objections will identify the various points of law and planning policy that affect them. Their advice to anyone who will also object is to this do so stipulating the piece of law that you think will be impinged upon. Simply saying that it’ll be a grotesque eyesore won’t be enough; pointing to a relevant chapter of the Town and Country Planning Act, however, has decidedly more impact.

Monday, 1 July 2019

The latest Old Buckenham newsletter

What to look out for
This edition has a lot of important news for you including the minutes of the Parish Council's AGM and news of future events.

You can now read the Old Buckenham newsletter online via the Old Buckenham Facebook page. 
Please take a look at the details posted on  Facebook on 28 June and then spare a moment to comment and let us know whether this is useful - do you want to have future editions published on this Facebook group?

Sunday, 30 June 2019

What to do in Old Buckenham

Diary dates for July 

Monday 1           Monday Mardle, Church Rooms, 2.15pm to 4.15pm

Tuesday 2           Coffee and Chat, Church Rooms, 10.30am onwards

Wednesday 3      Chapel Friendship Group, Methodist Chapel, 2.30pm

Thursday 4         Parish Council, Village Hall, 7.30pm

Friday 5               Visits from Mobile Library during morning

Saturday 6          Litter pick on the Green, meet by Ottomer pond, 10am

Saturday 6          Evening Garden Party, 1 Mill Lane, 6pm

Sunday 7           High School Garden Party, 80th anniversary, 1pm to 4pm

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

Thursday 11       Breckland Flower and Garden Club, Besthorpe Hall, 2pm

Thursday 11       Social and Wine Circle, al fresco at 1 Mill Road, 7.30pm

Monday 15         Monday Mardle, Church Rooms, 2.15pm to 4.15pm

Wednesday 17   Songs of praise, Methodist Chapel, 7.30pm

Saturday 20        WI Progressive Supper from 6pm

Wednesday 24   Luncheon Club, Village Hall, 10am to 2pm

Thursday 25       Women's Institute, Village Hall, 7.30pm

Saturday 27        Old Buckenham Airshow

 Sunday 28         Old Buckenham Airshow

Saturday, 29 June 2019

Official opening of Old Buckenham school

Special day for Chapel Green School
About eighteen months since it took its first pupils, Chapel Green School had a formal opening by George Freeman MP. The blog editor was there on Friday 28 June to take a few photographs of the occasion. 
Just click on the individual pictures to see them at a larger size.

Guests begin to arrive

The musicians and singers from the High School and the Primary School get ready

Time to start the proceedings

Awards for the school from the RICS

The headteacher gives her speech 

George Freeman talks too

Ribbon cutting

Then the plaque is unveiled

The Primary School choir entertains with a song

The pupils dance for the audience

The permanent reminder

The Play Mound was also officially opened

The Play Mound had a special cake

The cake cutting ceremony

There was a piece for everyone

Thursday, 27 June 2019

Working parties in Old Buckenham

Who looks after what
Old Buckenham Parish Council has several working parties to deal with particular areas of life in the village. The current list of members of these working parties is:

Personnel Committee: Steve Milner, Ben Devlin, Gemma Frost.

Play Area Working Party: Donna Oakley, Adrian Joel, Steve Milner, Jonn Hicks, Kerry Talbot (resident).

Recreation Area Working Party: Jonn Hicks, Andy Nicholls.

Road Safety Working Party: Steve Milner, Gemma Frost, Andy Nicholls, Mike Bartlett (resident), Trevor Crooke (resident), Lucy Womack (resident)

SNAP: Steve Milner.

Attleborough Development Partnership: Adrian Joel.

Old Buckenham Village Hall: Jonn Hicks.

Allotments: Adrian Joel, Gemma Frost. 

Parish Council website: Steve Milner, Rachel Noyes. 

Old Buckenham Green Rights: Andy Nicholls.

Almshouses Trust: Ben Devlin.

Village Green Management Working Party: Gemma Frost, Andy Nicholls, Sarah Dye (Green Right Proprietor), Allison Frank (Green Right Proprietor), Terry Cracknell (Lord of the Manor), John Fernihough (resident), Adrian Joel (resident).

Eleemonosynary Trust: Jonn Hicks.

Contact details for the parish councillors can be found on page 16 of the village newsletter

Sunday, 23 June 2019

Old Buckenham Parish Meeting

Our village meeting
The Old Buckenham Annual Parish Meeting was held on Friday 31 May in the Village Hall.
Those present were councillors Jonn Hicks (Chair), Steve Milner, Donna Oakley, Adrian Joel and Ben Devlin. Also in attendance were Rachel Noyes (Clerk), District and County Councillor Stephen Askew, Sue Heinrich (Breckland Council Neighbourhood Planning Co-ordinator) and Sarah Dye (Green Working Party) as well as 16 members of the public.
Jonn Hicks welcomed everyone to the meeting and apologised for Andy Nicholls’ absence.
The minutes of the Annual Parish meeting in April 2018 cannot be found, they were taken by a stand-in Clerk and no one has been able to find any copies of minutes. As a result there could be no matters arising from the minutes.

Neighbourhood Plan. Sue Heinrich, Breckland Council Neighbourhood Planning Co-ordinator gave a presentation. She manages the Neighbourhood Planning in Breckland but has previously worked in both private and public sector. Sue explained that the Planning System covers development and use of land using a large Guidance Policy, with the aim of achieving sustainable development. The assumption is in favour unless there are significant reasons why not. Breckland Council has a Local Plan and Local Authorities can produce their own. A Neighbourhood Plan can be completed by the PC if they wish to have one. A summary of her talk will be published separately on this blog  at a later date.
Chairman’s report. Jonn Hicks opened up his report to the public asking “what do you want as a village?” When asked what the Council are doing to encourage new members, he explained that it is difficult to get new members due to the time commitment around work and families but that also a lot of people are put off due to the abuse and confrontation received. The councillors, their families and the clerk have all been on the receiving end to various degrees. Gemma Frost explained that she had previously resigned due to the constant and persistent abuse and harassment she received from a few individuals. An ex-councillor in the public explained he resigned due to frustration at lack of progress. Ben Devlin highlighted the positives that the Parish Council had achieved in the last year. The Green looks great, Rod Alley Pond and Ottomer Ponds have both received a lot of needed attention. A parishioner who had only recently moved to the village said that she thought the Parish Council were doing a great job and they had a very good impression of the Parish Council and its members. The chairman explained that in the past, the Parish Council had been a bit closed off to the public. Since becoming Chairman, he has opened up meetings more to the public to allow greater participation and discussion, an Action Log is used to keep track of work and allows accountability for failure to complete work. This has resulted in greater progress in the last year. Parishioners are encouraged to get involved and join the Parish Council and help spread the load, as people need to remember that the councillors are all volunteers who have jobs and families too. It is very easy to get co-opted on to the Council. Unfortunately it is only a minority that are causing issues for the councillors. Some people felt that most of the village don’t know what is happening or about the Parish Council involvement in improvements. Jonn Hicks explained that the minutes are published in the village newsletter every month by Ron Brewer, are posted on the Old Buckenham blog and the Parish Council website. Key events are also published on the village Facebook group. In the past, there has been great village spirit at big events organised by the Parish Council: the street party for the Golden Jubilee and a cycling event with Diss Cycle Club. But when organised again, they failed to get enough interest. Several parishioners explained that the village needed something to stir interest – 10k event? A parishioner explained that Old Buckenham is loved and highly thought of by people in the village and those living outside of it too but that it's only a few people who cause issues. If the Council can keep their enthusiasm for the village strong, it will spread to all the parishioners. The chairman explained he had been tempted to walk out due to the recent stresses for him and his family. Gemma Frost explained that while she is a very enthusiastic person who is always keen to get involved and help, the problems she faced recently had driven it out of her causing her to resign. It was suggested that the Parish Council should stop responding to those individuals and simply get on with the good work they are doing ie “cease and desist” and if they continue to cause issues then maybe seek legal advice.
Adrian Joel. Adrian Joel has stepped down as District Councillor after 24 years. On behalf of Old Buckenham residents and councillors, the chairman presented Adrian with a bottle of whiskey as a thank you for his many years of hard work in the post. Adrian Joel thanked everyone for their kind words. He had many good and bad times as a District Councillor but is particularly proud of his recent achievement at getting new homes for local residents/workers/families in the village.
District and County Councillor’s report. As a resident of Old Buckenham for many years, Stephen Askew was sad to hear about the problems faced by the Parish Council, including the low numbers of parishioners that regularly attend meetings. The Green, which used to be cut for hay, is now looking great. As a District and County Councillor, he has also received some abuse emails but just have to ignore them as you can’t please everyone.
Since Adrian Joel retired, he was happy to be back as District Councillor again. One focus has been to improve broadband in the area. Very pleasing to see it improving (slowly) and that its just down to BT to complete the work. Steve Milner added that only one exchange box was planned for Old Buckenham and that now it is up to eight, including Stacksford. Stephen Askew added that the website Better Broadband is a good source for advice on internet speeds.
Village Green. The Parish Council has a lease to manage the Green. Originally it was set at five years but has been proposed to extend it to 20 years in order to encourage long term investment. It also helps with funding and grant applications. The lease has already been signed by the Green Right Proprietors and the Lord of the Manor and now just requires a Parish Council signature. A parishioner added that Manor Pond is overgrown with algae and weeds. These are going to be dealt with but the treatment requires the correct temperature and water level. The slope into the pond will also be graded to allow easier access for wildlife. Sarah Dye explained that they have been advised not to include donated plants to the ponds due to the risk of contamination, etc. Another parishioner thanked everyone in the community who contributes to the management and upkeep of the Green, including the man who cuts the grass by St Andrews Close. However he objected to the extension of the lease as he felt that it was unfair for the parishioners who might struggle financially to support Green maintenance. A proposal was passed on to the Parish Council in which he suggested the Green be purchased by the Parish Council. The chairman explained that he would not sign the Lease Extension now and would add it to the next Parish Council meeting agenda.
Other items raised. Steve Milner wanted to highlight recent road safety news. There is an active group on Cake Street who monitor the speed of vehicles entering the village. Some 15% to 20% of the cars monitored were speeding. A grant of £1600 has been awarded to help purchase an electronic sign to display drivers’ speeds and which are proven to reduce speeds. Four locations have been selected so far: Abbey Road, Cake Street, Hargham Road and the B1077 approaching from Attleborough. A parishioners highlighted an issue with a car being driven excessively fast in front of the Ox and Plough on several occasions who has been reported to police. Steve Milner explained that if this occurs regularly, then collect date/time information and then the police can attend to try and catch them. They cannot act simply on the public’s word but must witness it themselves. The police attend and monitor on Cake Street due to the Speedwatch team’s initial work in monitoring speeds. Recently 23 people were caught speeding outside the Chapel on Hargham Road, some of which were village residents. When asked if there was any way to monitor the size of vehicles using a road, Jonn Hicks explained that the police won’t do anything as it is Trading Standards which have placed the weight restriction on Hargham Road but are not enforcing it. The only thing the public can do is take a photo of the lorry/company and the registration only. “No Construction Traffic” signs are to be asked for Hargham Road and Abbey Road when the Attleborough SUE work begins.

Tuesday, 18 June 2019

Old Buckenham Parish Council

Report on the June meeting
These notes have been written by the blog editor from the draft minutes and so may contain information that is amended at a later date.
Old Buckenham Parish Council met on Thursday 6 June in the Village Hall. Those present were councillors Jonn Hicks (Chair), Steve Milner, Donna Oakley, Adrian Joel, Andy Nicholls and Gemma Frost. Also in attendance were Rachel Noyes (Parish Clerk) and Jim Trice (Met Office) as well as seven members of the public. Apologies for absence received from Ben Devlin. The minutes of the meeting held on Thursday 9 May were approved with an amendment that a property would count towards the quota despite being outside of the village boundary. Gemma Frost is still a Parish Councillor as the Notice of Vacancy has been cancelled by Breckland and therefore she does not need to be co-opted back in.
Presentation concerning proposed new weather radar. Jim Trice from the Met Office attended the meeting regarding the building of a new weather radar in the village.  A report on his presentation was posted on this blog on Sunday 16 June.
Public participation. A parishioner asked if using boards on the Green might be a way of boosting numbers of the public attending parish council meetings. While there is the noticeboard at the shop, not everyone attends the shop or reads the board. Steve Milner will look at possible equipment to use. Another parishioner explained that, after proposing an alternative to leasing the Green at the Annual Parish Meeting, there has only been six days to ask for general views and so they requested that the lease extension was not signed at this meeting to allow more time to collect parishioners’ views.
Green management and signing of lease. The chairman explained that he had requested that the village survey be completed again and could use those results to judge whether to sign a lease extension. He had also calculated that the Green had cost each household in the village 9.3p per week last year (although it was pointed out that not all households pay Council Tax). Several councillors felt that there had been so much discussion in the past about signing the original Green lease that the extension should be signed now and that discussing having a lease at all would be starting the process all over again. They also felt the Parish Council needed security for spending money on the Green in the long term. It was proposed that the Green Lease Extension be signed at the meeting and this was agreed (5 in favour, 1 abstained).
Joint meeting with village hall management committee. This was arranged for Monday 24 June at 7.30pm at the Village Hall Memorial Room. 

Declarations of interest. Andy Nicholls needs to complete a new declaration of interest form due to new business.
Financial matters. Balance in the community account was £45,262.14 and balance in premium account was £2,878.92. Letters of thanks had been received from the Village Hall management committee and the Monday Mardle for their precept grants. Payments approved totalled £1,590.95.
It was questioned why the parish council is paying £385 to lease the recreation area from the Village Hall, plus maintenance costs, when it is not used by anyone. The original lease will be consulted to see if there is a get out clause. The Village Hall could then use it how they wish, maybe extending the car park for which they could receive an income from school parking permits. Andy Nicholls highlighted that planning regulations would need to be consulted for any change of use.
Income received was £250 from the Ox and Plough and £500 from the Green Rights Proprietors.
The Asset register had been updated to include an Eco bar trailer for transporting mower to playground, etc, to cut grass and a strimmer and lawnmower added. The Asset register was approved (5 in favour, 1 abstain). Donna Oakley and Adrian Joel will take the audit form to the Internal Auditor and, once signed, it will be sent to the External Auditor. This must be received by Monday 1 July, otherwise there are financial penalties.
Jonn Hicks wished to thank Donna Oakley for the excellent work tidying up the financial records of the Parish Council over the last year.
Planning applications. Crown Lane Cottage, Crown Road. First floor extension to existing single-storey annex and storage/workshop building (3PL/2019/0508/HOU). The dwelling will be quite far back from the road and is being built for son to live in.  This was supported by the council (6 in favour).
9 The Old Yard, Hargham Road. Erection of office building with first floor two-bed residential accommodation - revised elevations from previous application (3PL/2019/0539/F). Will roughly be in place of original dwelling but with slightly lower elevation. Applying for moving some windows and a new balcony. This was supported by the council (6 in favour).
Poplar Farm, Fen Road. Demolish existing agricultural building and construct new residential dwelling (3PL/2019/0287/F). Amendment with additional contamination information and with Highways and tree information provided. This had been discussed last meeting Application was not supported (5 in favour of not supporting, 1 abstaining).
Eastview, Cake Street. Conversion of existing detached bungalow to two 3-bedroom semi detached houses, incorporating ground floor side and rear extensions with new roof to accommodate new first floors (3PL/2019/0540/F). Left, right and back extensions are within permitted development. Raising elevation requires planning application. Entrance to plot being moved further away from the difficult corner on Cake Street. Developers are flexible about keeping/closing original entrance but in dialogue with Highways about it. Expected Highways will require it closed. A turning circle will be within the land to allow cars to turn and exit properties forwards and not reverse onto road. In a 30mph zone, 43m of vision is required from the entrance. By moving entrance, they will have 45m. The properties are still a good distance from the boundaries and will be a greater distance than some are currently nearby. House is increasing in size by 85%.This application was supported by the council on the conditions it meets Highways requirements, particularly regarding the new entrance to the plot (6 in favour).
Planning decisions by Breckland Council. Land to the north of Fen Street. Erection of four detached dwellings (3PL/2019/0231/O). This has now been considered and the application has been approved.
Orchard House, Loss Wroo, Hargham Road. Demolish existing extensions and conservatory, erection of two-storey extension on south elevation, erection of boundary fences and entrance gates (3PL/2019/0445/HOU). This application has been considered and has been approved.
Items for Highway Rangers. Old Hall Farm Cottage corner on junction of Cake St/Harlingwood Lane: Hedge requires cutting back to the telegraph posts, Crown Rd/Grove Rd: hedge requires cutting back ,ditch alongside Cake Street, Hargham Road: 30mph sign with red paint on it needs cleaning and clear pathways around the green from overgrowing grass, etc.
Chairman’s Report. Wedding near the Ox and Plough recently was for a local couple. For any future weddings/events requiring a marquee on the Green, the Parish Council needs to be consulted and a fee paid for additional use of the Green. There are to be no cars on the Green. Only bikes for Two Wheel Tuesday are allowed. Lots of edges around the Green need strimming/tidying. The Village Handyman to have a day’s work tidying up around benches, war memorial, etc. However the Ox and Plough are responsible for maintenance around the parking bays.
Members of Working Parties. These were assigned.

Personnel Committee: Steve Milner, Ben Devlin, Gemma Frost. 
Play Area Working Party: Donna Oakley, Adrian Joel, Steve Milner, Jonn Hicks, Kerry Talbot (R). 
Recreation Area Working Party: Jonn Hicks, Andy Nicholls.
Road Safety Working Party: Steve Milner, Gemma Frost, Andy Nicholls, Mike Bartlett (resident), Trevor Crooke (resident), Lucy Womack (resident)
SNAP: Steve Milner.
Attleborough Development Partnership: Adrian Joel.
Old Buckenham Village Hall: Jonn Hicks.
Allotments: Adrian Joel, Gemma Frost.
OBPC website: Steve Milner, Rachel Noyes.
Old Buckenham Green Rights: Andy Nicholls.
Almshouses Trust: Ben Devlin.
Village Green Management Working Party: Gemma Frost, Andy Nicholls, Sarah Dye (OBGRP), Allison Frank (OBGRP), Terry Cracknell (Lord of Manor), John Fernihough (resident), Adrian Joel.
Eleemosynary Trust: Jonn Hicks.
Village Green Working Party. It was agreed to spend remaining grant money on bench bases around Ottomer Pond (6 in favour). The Ox and Plough have raised money for a bench for Alec Byrne. They need to consult with the Green Working Group about this.
Road Safety. Grant received of £1650 for an electronic speed display sign. In addition to a large donation, now have approximately £4000. Going to speak to Breckland about locations for sign.
Play Area. Playdale coming out to inspect and give a quote for a new bridge as other bridge parts showing signs of wear. Jonn Hicks and others will be relaying the path in the play area, sorting bases for the bins and replacing wood around chippings. Last inspection was in October and it is completed once a year.
Councillors’ reports. Steve Milner reported that the Scouts have offered to clean the memorial. Donna Oakley said a van with the name “Culling Metal Scrap Dealers of Norwich” on it was seen emptying their rubbish into our bins. Couldn’t get vehicle registration or a photo but need to write a letter to them. Andy Nicholls felt there was a need to debate the proposed weather radar tower which could have a strong impact on the village visually. as well as nearby villagers. The chairman suggested waiting till the public have a chance to learn about it at the planned Public Consultation and then discussing it at the next Parish Council meeting when residents can attend and give their views. Steve Milner highlighted that that is what the planning system is for and when they submit their application, we could give Parish Council views then. The public event will be advertised with posters and Facebook posts in additional to the planned leaflet drop to ensure as many residents are informed as possible.
Allotments. There had been a request for two beehives at the allotments and the council approved this (5 for, 1 abstain). Allotment number 8 needs maintenance as it is not currently being worked on and weeds spreading to other allotments. Adrian Joel will speak to resident.
Items for next agenda. These would include the Action Log and the proposed weather radar.

The next Parish Council meeting will be held on Thursday 4 July at 7.30pm in Old Buckenham Village Hall.

Sunday, 16 June 2019

More on Old Buckenham weather radar

Details given at June parish council meeting
Jim Trice from the Met Office attended the meeting regarding the building of a new weather radar in the village. This is a summary of his presentation.
The proposed location is part of the Anglian Water site on Abbey Road. It is a brownfield site that will need clearing before the radar could be built. The area required is approximately 20 metres by 10 metres and would consist of a tower and a cabin for housing the transmitter and communications equipment.
The site was chosen out of 15 initial possibilities. A shortlist was created by comparing cost, radar coverage and project risks. Old Buckenham was chosen due to best coverage all the way to the coast and was at a higher elevation above sea level than some of the other sites.
The radar tower would be 22 metres tall and the radome 5 metres in diameter. In the dome is a rotating dish which transmits a pulse of energy and detects the interaction with precipitation. Towers are normally located at the top of hills but due to the flat topography of the area, a taller tower is required to ensure the radar is above most landforms and trees (including future growth).
The radar is needed because of limited coverage and accuracy of the rainfall intensity in East Anglia and will help improve weather forecasting, warnings of flooding and improved forecasts of snowfall. Additionally, it will improve forecasting for a much wider area and provide Anglian Water with data for more efficient use of water resources and sewerage systems.
As announced in a previous post on this blog (Wednesday 6 June) a 'drop-in' event is planned for the local public on Friday 28 June from 2pm to 8pm at the Village Hall. Poster boards will help illustrate the scale of tower. A leaflet drop is being organised to advertise the event.
Comments from those at the parish council meeting were that New Buckenham and Carlton Rode would need to be contacted as it is close to the parish borders and will be visible to them. When asked about the Airfield’s views, Jim Trice explained that while they did not have a problem with the frequency involved with the radar, they did have an issue with the height and had also requested that a light be located at the top of the structure.
There would be no additional benefit to the village as it would require specialist contractors to build and operate. The parish council chairman said that there should not be any construction traffic through the village and down Abbey Road.
When asked about any possible noise or health risks, Jim Trice said that there are strict guidelines about what noise levels are acceptable and they are confident that they would stay within those limits as the radar rotates quite slowly. Public Health England had monitored a similar weather radar at Ingham and published a report showing that there were no health risks.
A parishioner asked how the radar would improve the use of water resources and sewerage systems. It was explained that Anglian Water would be able to use the data collected to have more accurate estimates of rainfall and therefore adjust the systems accordingly.
A planning application should be submitted in the next couple of months with the hope of starting work at the beginning of 2020. Construction should take about six months and the radar and its current technology are expected to last for around 20 to 25 years.

Saturday, 15 June 2019

Regrowing in Old Buckenham

Nature takes back control
Just nine months ago Ottomer pond looked like this:

Yesterday the scene had changed considerably. Nature is a great healer.

Sunday, 9 June 2019

Great day for a run in Old Buckenham

How the morning went by
The blog editor was out and about with his camera today trying to record some of the more unusual images of the 10k race that took place to raise money towards repairs to the Old Buckenham windmill.
Here is a sort of essay of captioned pictures to try to capture the successful and cheerful time that was had by all. It is expected that the event will have raised around £3000.

People queuing to get into the village hall...
...just to sign on and get their paperwork.
Then to find somewhere to fill in their details... triplicate?
Waiting for the start...
...while the mobile tv equipment is delicately adjusted.
The wheelchair entrant starts off first...
...while everyone else gets ready for the 'off''.
The race begins...
...with nearly 300 others taking it slightly slower.
Time to get the bottles of water out... the runners started to return.
All the runners were cheered home...
... including a first time runner amazed at what he had achieved.
Then a relaxing walk back to the village hall...
... to queue for homemade cakes.
Some of the many helpers enjoyed some cake too...
...while the winning runners collected their medals.
Overall a great day out that the village should be proud of. It is intended to have another run in 2020 so make sure you are part of it.
You can click on the individual images to see them at a larger size.