Friday, 28 November 2008

What's on next month

Diary dates for December

Monday 1 Monday Mardle, Church Rooms, 2.15pm to 4.15pm
Tuesday 2 Coffee and chat, Church Rooms, 10.30am to 12 noon
Wednesday 3 Women's Fellowship, Methodist Chapel, 2.30pm
Thursday 4 Women's Institute, Christmas Lunch, The Stag
Thursday 4 Parish Council, Village Hall, 7.30pm
Friday 5 Crib Drive, Village Hall, 7.30pm
Sunday 7 The Big Square Draw, Church Rooms, 3pm
Sunday 7 Wargames club, Village Hall, 2.30pm to 6pm
Monday 8 Whist drive, Church Rooms, 2pm
Tuesday 9 Ladies Fellowship, Church Rooms, 2pm
Wednesday 10 Luncheon Club Village Hall, 10am to 2pm
Thursday 11 Breckland Flower and Garden Club, Village Hall, 10.30am
Thursday 11 Social and Wine Circle party, Church Rooms, 7.45pm
Friday 12 Netgamers computer games, Village Hall, 7pm to 9pm
Sunday 14 Christingle afternoon, Church Rooms, 3pm
Monday 15 Monday Mardle, Church Rooms, 2.15pm to 4.15pm
Wednesday 17 Request Songs of Praise, Methodist Chapel, 7.30pm
Friday 19 Mobile Police Station by Village Shop, 9am to 10.30am
Sunday 21 Wargames club, Village Hall, 2.30pm to 6pm
Wednesday 24 Crib Service, All Saints Church, 3pm
Wednesday 24 Candlelit Carol Service, All Saints Church, 7pm

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Picking the winners

The Big Square Draw
The Christmas draw at the village shop has been going very well with many hundreds of squares having been bought. When this item was posted around 800 squares had been sold and, as all the money spent on buying the squares will be returned in prizes, the picking of the winners should be an exciting event.
The Church Rooms have been hired for the occasion and the public are invited to come along and help pick out the winning squares. Father Christmas will be there to pick out the first prize (a £100 hamper) and there are further hampers, cases of wine, boxes of chocolates, boxes of crackers, etc, all to be won that afternoon.
So why not come along at 3pm on Sunday 7 December and enjoy some refreshments and nibbles during the draw. It is understood that Father Christmas will have some sweets for the children too.
It is not too late to take part as squares (£1 each) will be on sale at the village shop right up until Saturday 6 December. It would be great to have prizes worth over £1000 to distribute around to people who are users of the village shop.

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

The first big step

£10,000 towards the refurbishment of the children's play area

There will soon be changes expected at the play area in the village, following the successful fundraising efforts of the Bucks Just Play project (working party for Old Buckenham Parish Council). With a total target of £61,000 for both the toddler and junior play areas, it seemed to be a mammoth task but with their own funds of £5,000 provided by the Parish Council, they have now attracted a grant from WREN of £10,000. A cheque was presented on Wednesday 19 November at the play area by Sarah Gosling, WREN Project Manager, to members of the Bucks Just Play group and Old Buckenham Parish Council.
Kerry Talbot of Bucks Just Play says the WREN award is a fantastic start to their grant funding and together with local support they have raised a grand total of £17,500 since June this year. The support for this project within the village has been amazing and very much appreciated. There is still a long way to go but the working party are confident that they can deliver the new play area chosen by the village people.
Funding for the project is still being sourced and applied for, with hopes that the junior area can be started early in 2009.
Sarah Gosling, Project Manager for WREN, came along to present the cheque. WREN support a number of play equipment projects and this particular one aims to provide much-improved facilities for a wide age range. WREN, based in Bridgham, administer the Landfill Community Fund scheme for the Waste Recycling Group.

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Wide-ranging Green views

More on that Green meeting
A record of the meeting was made by Alison Frank and the following description is based on these notes. There were three members of the Green Right Proprietors, Colin Phillips, Rosemary West and Mike Read, at the front to deal with the queries. There was also a table at the side with relevant papers about the history of the Green and Howard Marshall had displayed some leaflets and boards about the biodiversity of the Green.
More than 60 people attended and listened to a short introduction by Colin Phillips (Vice-chairman) on behalf of Old Buckenham Green Right Proprietors (GRP). He said he had called the meeting in response to letters in the Old Buckenham newsletter, particularly the recent one from Chris Talbot, and various discussions amongst groups in the village. Colin read out a letter from Chris Talbot who was unable to attend the meeting.
Colin Phillips reiterated that the meeting was to air ideas, much as Mulbarton has done, so that residents have some idea of any proposed plan for the future management as “we can’t leave the Green as it is”.
Colin opened the meeting to questions and comments. These included a compliment to him personally for his work on the improvements to Rod Alley Row pond, some of which Colin had arranged and some completed himself.
Adrian Joel asked Colin to explain what the GRP rights are. Colin gave a potted history starting from the 39 people around the Green who were given one acre each in perpetuity by the king. One right was later given for the War Memorial site.
The following discussion included: could the Parish Council buy the Green (no) and how rights were passed on or sold, the number of people holding green rights who were living in the village now and how many of them were present at this meeting.
Nick Gilford asked for clarification of grass cutting times and how the trees were managed on the Green. Rosemary West (GRP Secretary and Treasurer) explained ‘estovers’? which meant that tree right owners had responsibility for trees coming down which must be removed and replaced. Other questions on this topic concerned what trees can be planted where and is there a restriction on the numbers.
Mike Read (Chairman of GRP) defined the proprietors having “joint and several responsibility for the maintenance of the Green”. Mike pointed out that there are geographical demarcations of the Green. It was felt lopping needed to be carried out on some trees and Mike told the meeting that all the trees were surveyed every three years. This is instigated for insurance purposes with the help of Ross Guyton, a tree surgeon, and is due again this autumn. Mike also outlined the difficulties with the electricity company concerning the proximity of trees to their wires and the differences of opinion between the tree rights holders and Breckland Council’s Tree Conservation Officer.
Ron Brewer made a plea for mixed areas on the Green, some cut, some not and said that the cutting of paths through the long grass was much appreciated by walkers this summer. It was felt that cutting and leaving the grass was messy. Rosemary West explained the restrictions imposed by DEFRA meant that the Green could not be cut before the end of July and after the end of September. Geoff Scott said John Askew used to cut it twice a year in the past. Julian Goodey, who has lived here for 54 years, stated that the grass was “in a disgusting state” which drew applause from the audience. Mike Read noted that it was Mr Davey’s last year of his contract this year. There is a proposal being drafted from the Parish Council to the GRP about their management of the grass next year. This will be discussed at the GRP’s AGM in February 2009. Mike was asked who is responsible for administering the grass cutting and replied that the Green is a conservation area set up by ancient government, not a 21st century one. A lot of seemingly sensible regulations are not enforceable, like parking in the areas near the village shop.
The subject of a footpath across the Green was raised by Adrian Joel (District Councillor) who is finding out whether planning permission is required. Mike Bartlett hoped it wouldn’?t be turned down by Breckland like the proposed amenity area opposite the shop. Colin Phillips pointed out that if done legally the VAT can be claimed back, if we just got on and did it we wouldn’t be able to do this.
Mike Read then gave reasons for the football posts being taken down and not replaced.
Howard Marshall, villager and conservation film maker, spoke passionately about diversity being important and that dwindling hay meadows needed to be defended. The discussion then ranged around the length of the grass, flowering times, the existence of a football pitch in the last decade and Chris Davey’s problems with vandalism of hay bales left on the Green in the past.
Colin Phillips said the suggestion had been put to him that allotments could be allocated on the Pound area near the Almshouses. Doug Baker asked that more seats be put on the Green. Peter Martin offered to cut the Green at no cost when Mike Read outlined the potentially exorbitant cost of cutting the Green because of its size (compared to the few areas cut in Quidenham by Norfolk County Services). Mike Bartlett praised Terry Cracknell as well as Mike Read for working hard for the village and asked that they continue to do so – together.
A positive newcomer to the village, Heather Pfeiffer, asked about young people’?s involvement with the Green. She commented that it was good they sat outside the shop and some walked to school. Mike Read gave some background about offering the triangle of land outside the High School to make vehicular access easier but he never received a reply from the Education Department.
Doug Baker asked why the GRP don’t tell people what they are doing so, to help this, why not have regular open meetings to explain things. Dennis Baggs asked if the GRP has been approached by the local authority to take over the Green. Colin Phillips replied that he had written a constitution for the GRP some time ago to stop this ever happening. Mike Read recounted the yearly story of Colin proposing at the GRP’s AGM that ‘All Green Rights are offered to the Parish Council’. This drew applause and some cheers from the audience!
It was requested that footpaths be cut every year across the Green. If the Fete happens again next year then the surface around the stalls needs to be improved.
Attention turned to income and expenditure. Mike Read stated that the money ‘won’ from the Forge Close case was used for improving Rod Alley Row pond and its surroundings. Wayleaves (rents) bring in some regular money so GRP is solvent – just. Some money was spent on an industrial strimmer. Ron Brewer asked if the GRP income and expenditure could be made public. This was declined but some ‘facts’ could be extracted for use in the newsletter after GRP discussion. Tim Ing’s role as Parish Council representative on the GRP involved what could, or could not, be disclosed.
Ron Brewer also asked for a date to be fixed for the next public meeting with the GRP. Mike declined to fix a date at present but promised it would be discussed by the GRP at their meeting in November.
The meeting finished at approximately 9pm with the opportunity for some people to stay for tea and biscuits and further informal discussions with those involved with looking after the Green.

Monday, 24 November 2008

Latest parish council meeting

Old Buckenham Parish Council
These notes of the parish council meetings are prepared by the editor of the newsletter from the draft minutes and so may contain information that is corrected later at the next month's meeting.
There were three members of the public at the November meeting of the parish council as well as the county councillor John Baskerville. Apologies for absence were received from Gerald Norton, Liz Taylor and Trevor Crook.
Matters arising from the minutes. The Clerk has received a satisfactory reply from Breckland Council enforcement concerning two local unoccupied houses, this reply was circulated to all parish councillors. He subsequently has been in contact with the owners of the Hill House Farm explaining that it was the responsibility of the parish council to report on seemingly unoccupied properties.
The latest estimate for the work required at the village hall is £27,500 plus VAT. The clerk is still awaiting written confirmation from HM Revenue and Customs on the VAT reclaim situation.
County Councillor’s report. John Baskerville explained possible effects of the County Council having money tied up in Icelandic banks. The Council is expecting to get this money back but there will be a loss of interest. There are no real cash flow problems.
The Clerk was instructed to write, on behalf of the parish council, to the County Council to protest at any reduction of the budgets for both public transport and road maintenance.
The ‘safe route to school’ pathway was proceeding well.
Children’s Play Area. Kerry Talbot reported the current financial status and other information on the project. The working party will take a break and then resume in the New Year.
The sum of £206 was raised from a local raffle thanks to Lesley Coates and Julie Taylor. More money has been raised. A Christmas shopping fundraiser in conjunction with Old Buckenham Pre-school was being held in November.
Grant applications to Breckland Council and the Norfolk Community Foundation are being sent off in November.
The working party has personally paid for and organised “T” shirts for all working party members displaying their logo. These will be used at all fund-raising and other publicity events.
Settlement Boundary Review. The Clerk has been notified by Andrea Long, Environmental Planning Manager, that there will be further consultation concerning site specific policies and proposals in the development plan document early in 2009. This plan goes forward to 2026.
Recreation area behind the Village Hall. No agreement to lease has yet been received by the parish council although it is understood that the village hall management has received theirs. Youth involvement should be pursued in ongoing plans.
Planning applications. Mr and Mrs Mason, Willow House, Mill Road. Erection of domestic swimming pool building over existing pool. No objections from parish council.
Mr & Mrs A Medley, Ottomer Cottage, The Green. Proposed single storey dwelling (resubmission). No objections from parish council.
Stephen Thorley, College Barn, Cake Street. Proposed rear extension. No objections from parish council.
Stephen Brown, Shardalows Farm, Fen Street. Conversion of agricultural barn, etc, to provide residential accommodation. No objections from parish council but a 106 restriction needs to be applied so that it cannot be sold off as a separate entity.
Planning decisions by Breckland. Dr J Crawford, Sunnyside Cottage. Replacement windows. Passed.
The Gamekeeper Public House. Repainting exterior wall (retrospective). Passed.
B M Developers, Stone Cottage, Fen Street. Construction of a two- bedroom cottage. Permission refused.
J A Askew and Partners, Scales Farm. Change of usage to dwelling. Passed.
Financial. The Clerk circulated details of how the setting of the precept for 2009/10 impacts on local householders as far as their contribution to Breckland Council is concerned.
District Councillor’s report. Adrian Joel said that nominations for the Pride in Breckland awards are being invited. He also said that the Cotman Housing planning application is about to be submitted.
Councillors’ reports. Trevor Crook said one tree has been allocated to the parish council by Ross Guyton. Its position is to be allocated.
Tim Ing mentioned several matters. Large lorries over 7.5 tonne are abusing the weight restriction on Hargham Road. He also feels that a village map is needed and that County Council Highways should be asked to resurface the shop lay-by. The Clerk will include this when he sees the Highways inspector.
A suggestion was made for traffic lights to operate at school times on the B1077. The views of the “lollipop lady” will be sought and the matter put to Norfolk Highways and the police, depending on her response.
Clerk’s report. The editor of the village newsletter had asked for an up-to-date list of parish councillors, their contact details and specific areas of responsibilities on the council.
The parish council members decided that any announcement should make it clear that, in everyone’s interest, initial enquiries from parishioners should be addressed to the parish clerk who is obliged to make known all his contact details. In this way he will be able to direct issues, where appropriate, to the relevant councillor.
Indemnity insurance for individual councillors will probably need to be investigated when the recreation area starts to be equipped. In the meantime the Clerk has established with Zurich insurance that the existing public liability insurance is adequate provided normal safety checks are properly carried out. This applies specifically to the children’s playground at the moment.
An inspection is now waiting scheduling with the County Council Highways. There is a new Highways inspector at the County Council and the Clerk will meet him and Adrian Sewell in the next couple of weeks. The recent flooding in Cake Street is currently being investigated by the appropriate authorities. The Clerk passed round the plans for the Church Lane drainage scheme. Work is due to start in the first week of December.
Resignation of councillor. Becca Frank has tendered her resignation. Gerry Norton has informed the Clerk that he will take over the responsibility for representing the parish council at village hall management meetings.
The appointment of a new councillor is to be investigated by the Clerk with the Breckland returning officer’s department.
The next meeting of Old Buckenham parish council will be at 7.30pm on Thursday 4 December.

Sunday, 23 November 2008

More snow

Four hours later. More snow and the sun has been shining.

It's been snowing

Scene on the Green mid-morning today

Friday, 21 November 2008

Four to become three

Bottles and paper make money
Contributors are reminded there is no longer any need to separate different coloured glass going into the village hall bottle banks since all are mixed up in collection. Once the contract on four banks runs out at the end of the financial year it is planned to reduce to three containers to save on annual rental (£82.68 per bank). The collection charge is £13.40 per tonne. These charges are deducted from the recycling credits; there is no payment for the material.
The village gets a better deal for paper since the contract is direct with Aylesford Newsprint which does not pay for material but does not charge for collection either, so the village hall gets the recycling credit in full.
Income from recycling has become an important contributor to the maintenance of the village hall, so please continue to bring paper and glass (especially those of you who are regular users of the car park, often for non village hall activities).

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Fund raising

November Market makes money
Many thanks to all who supported the November Market held on Saturday 15 November. A total of £470 was raised for Church funds.

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Butterflies at Flower Club

Breckland Flower and Garden Club
David Boulton attended November's meeting and a gave an illustrated talk on butterflies and insects. His beautifully presented slide show, accompanied by music, showed some of the thousands of butterflies, moths and insects that can be found in East Anglia.
The competition was 'Misty Nights' – the New Hands class was won by Norma Howes and Old Hands by Sally Westrup. Norma was also awarded the Joan Barry Trophy for best use of garden plant material.
December's meeting will be held on Thursday 11 December at Old Buckenham Village Hall commencing at 10.30am; please bring a table covering, secateurs and scissors for the teach-in to make a door ring. Although everything else for the ring will be provided please note there will be a small charge (£6). Please bring a plate of food for lunch at 12.30pm which will be followed by Chrystal Dyball's demonstration 'Christmas is coming'. There will also be a Christmas gift stall - please price gifts and indicate contents if wrapped.
The competition will be for a 'Table Decoration for Boxing Day'. Cups will be awarded to the best exhibit in both classes.
Why not visit the Club's stall at the Medieval Market being held in the cloisters of Norwich Cathedral on Saturday 13 December?

Monday, 17 November 2008

Our Eleemosynary Charity

Twenty-five years as trustee
The Eleemosynary Charities' longest serving trustee was thanked for his contribution of long service, wise counsel and knowledge of the community at the trustees' meeting on Tuesday 11 November. Bill Wardman was appointed as a co-opted trustee, to replace Peter Bloom, in 1983 and was not joined by any of the current trustees until Colin Arksey took over from John Askew in 1985.
The Charities operate under a scheme drawn up in 1914 which put together four charities for the relief of poverty in the village, dating from 1565, 1622, and two from the Enclosure Act for the village in 1791. They have ten trustees, two ex officio (the Vicar of the Parish and the Lord of the Manor), six appointed by the parish council but not necessarily councillors, and two co-opted by the trustees. The current chairman is Colin Arksey.

Saturday, 15 November 2008

Good things are brewing

Wagtail's winner

Our local village brewery is going from strength to strength. The Wagtail Brewery, which prides itself on its use of local ingredients, has won a first prize for its 'English Ale' at the recent Norwich Beer Festival in the class for Olds, Stouts and Porters.

The current beer of the season is 'Jumping Jericho', a strong ale brewed especially for the festive period and you should be able to pick up a bottle at the village shop.

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Money from poppies

Thank you to collectors

John and Christine Fernihough have just finished counting the poppy money from Old Buckenham. They are pleased to report that the village contributed a total of £882.52.
They would like to thank all of the collectors for their efforts and support of this worthy cause.

Monday, 10 November 2008

No longer can do

Recyling cans at village hall
The Village Hall committee have regretfully announced that there will no longer be facilities for recycling cans at the village hall as from the beginning of December. The can bank has been withdrawn because the operator was going to charge the Village Hall Committee £15 each time it was emptied, and the money received from the cans does not cover this, thus making it not viable to continue.

It is always a pity when a method of recycling becomes unavailable but please keep putting your tin cans into your black bins instead.

Saturday, 8 November 2008

Looking after our Green

Lively Green meeting
Such was the interest in Friday evening’s meeting about the village Green that the crib players needed to move into the smaller Memorial Room at the village hall. This made room for the sixty or so villagers who came along to have their say to sit down in the larger main hall.
An official record of the meeting was made and should be available for readers later but here are some personal thoughts and observations from the newsletter editor.
The present vice-chairman of the Old Buckenham Green Rights Proprietors (OBGRP) has done plenty of research on the ‘ownership’ of the Green and started the meeting by going through this and explaining the position of the OBGRP when it comes to looking after the Green.
Originally 39 people with houses around the Green were given the right to keep their animals on the Green (1792?). These Green Rights have since been handed down through families or sold and many Green Rights holders no longer live in the village. Very few of the present holders (there now appear to be 38 green rights, several people owning more than one) were at the meeting.
Some people also have responsibility for the trees on specific areas of the Green meaning that they should keep existing trees in good condition, replace dead ones and have to give permission for new trees to be planted within their area of responsibility.
Views on how the Green should be managed in future were expressed at the meeting and ranged widely from regularly-cut parkland to wild hay meadow. Most seemed in agreement that the cutting for hay this year had not been a success leaving the Green looking a mess [see photo with this item which was taken in November with cut hay still laying on the ground]. It is understood that the contract for the hay cutting comes up for renewal in 2009.
Other matters that were raised included car parking on some areas, the need for regular cutting of the natural footpaths across the Green, differences of view between the District Council’s tree officer and those having responsibility for particular trees, and even the possibility of having allotments on the Green itself.
With the Green being part of the village Conservation Area, there appeared to be many restrictions on what can be done. But there was a general feeling that the possibility of the Parish Council taking a positive interest in the management of the Green should be properly explored.
The AGM of the OBGRP would be in February 2009 and a follow up meeting for all those in the village was requested in the hope that some positive progress and decisions were made at this AGM.

Local winners

Crib and Numbers Club
The crib winners for November were Joyce Goodey, Doris Monkhouse, Jill Emms, Ed McAnulty, Muriel Large and Olive Fuller.
The November Numbers club draw took place during the tea interval at the crib evening and the winners were:
£10 each to Val Parish and the late Pauline Walker with the £5 prizes to Val Rix, Lesley Evison, Barbara Gilmour, Joyce Goodey, Edna Hall and Ed McAnulty.
Numbers club members are reminded that the subscriptions for 2009 will be due in January. Please contact Jill Emms if you would like to join the numbers club.

Monday, 3 November 2008

Our village sign

History of the village sign
The village sign was re-installed in September this year. Here is some background to the history and design of the sign (based on information provided by the current Women’s Institute).

The original Old Buckenham village sign was unveiled on 23rd June 1979 by the then WI County Chairman, Jill Scott, in the presence of local WI officers and members and Audrey Juby (the then WI County Secretary). The sign was made by wood carver Steve Eggleton of Banham.
The creation and erection of a sign had been chosen by the village Women’s Institute as its charity of the year. Three different designs were put on display at different functions so that villagers could look at them and offer their comments.
To achieve their goal, the members set themselves the task of raising £600 - a considerable sum in those days for only a small institute. However, they accumulated £580 thanks to members’ hard work and generous supporters who had given donations. Permission was given by Breckland District Council for the sign to be placed on the village green between an oak and the jubilee tree and was mounted on a brick plinth given by Reg Sturman, a builder who lived in the village.

The deer on the sign represent the derivation of the name Buckenham (from the number of bucks which abounded in its Great Park).
The three figures on the top of the sign represent the local blacksmith (whose house was on the Green), a monk from Buckenham Priory and a cricketer. Cricket is important to the village because in 1911 a Lionel Robinson bought Old Buckenham Hall and was responsible for the famous cricket ground, soil for the foundation of which was brought from Australia. The village became famous for one day in 1921 when the Australian team, captained by Armstrong, played a match on this ground against an All-England XI captained by A C McLaren. The England team included Chapman, Fender, Hobbs, Jupp and White. Jack Hobbs always said that he played his finest innings in that match at Old Buckenham.
The main part of the village sign shows the local miller. There were several windmills in the village. The only existing mill in the village today is the one in Mill Road built in 1819. At one time this was owned by J & J Colman of Carrow Road, Norwich. It has undergone extensive renovation by the NorfolkWindmill Trust and had sails put in position in the 1990s. It is said to have the widest tower in the country at 23 feet across.
The coats of arms on the village sign belong to William d’Albini (later Earl of Chichester and Earl of Arundel). His estates included Attleborough, Wymondham, Snetsham and Kenninghall and he had to perform the service of 'Butler' at coronations in return for his vast estates. This office is held by the Dukes of Norfolk today as Earls of Arundel, as they are the present legal descendants of the d'Albinis.

If you have a chance to look carefully at the actual real sign (rather than just a photograph) you will find that there are subtle differences between the pictorial panels on one side to those on the other.