Friday, 20 April 2018

Old Buckenham Parish Council in April

Latest 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.  The full minutes are available to read in the notice board outside the village shop.
The meeting of the Old Buckenham Parish Council was held on Thursday 5 April in the Village Hall. The councillors present were Adrian Joel (Chairman), Ben Devlin, Gemma Frost, Jon Hicks, Phil Little, Andy Nichols and Steve Milner along with Andy Emms (temporary Parish Clerk) and thirteen members of the public.
The chairman said that Tom Johnson had passed away since the last meeting. Tom was a parish councillor for a number of years. He represented the council on the Village Hall committee and made a big contribution to health and safety issues. The Parish Council then observed a moments silence in memory of Tom Johnson.
Co-option of parish councillor. The chairman said that only one application had been received and this was from Lauren Wiseman. It was unfortunate that she was unable to attend the meeting and would need to make the formal declaration of acceptance of office in due course. It was resolved, unanimously, to co-opt Lauren Wiseman as parish councillor. Minutes of March meeting. These were approved.
Public participation relating to agenda items. A parishioner said that he was attending to support his planning application for Homestead, The Green. Approval had already been given for the erection of a dwelling which would be sited towards the rear of the property and this ‘reserved matters’ application related to the final design.
A parishioner who lived in Barbers Yard commented on how well organised the Two Wheel Tuesday event was. It was run efficiently and safely and although he was one of the closest residents to the Ox and Plough pub and the site of the event, he had no issues about it. Another parishioner said she was concerned about the Two Wheel Tuesday event. As a nearby resident she had not been asked if she was happy about it or not and she queried the benefit it brought to the village. She said there was noise pollution and fumes and the event this week had not been marshalled. She said that there was a danger to people and pets on the highway and queried if there was public liability insurance in place. A further parishioner welcomed the fact that Two Wheel Tuesday was carrying on this year. He said he was pleased to see the Green being used and appreciated by so many people. Regarding public participation at meetings, he believed that there should be provision for the public to raise any matters of concern and not be limited to commenting only on items that were on the agenda. A parishioner said he believed that Two Wheel Tuesday was a massive asset to the village. He queried whether the police had been contacted regarding the event and if they were happy with the way it was organised.
The Landlord of the Ox and Plough said that he had public liability insurance which covered Two Wheel Tuesday and would be happy for anyone to see details of it. He said that the latest event had been cancelled due to the Green being waterlogged although some bikers did turn up who had not been aware that it had been cancelled. There were five stewards in attendance so it was not correct to suggest that it had not been marshalled.
A parishioner said that he did not believe that his concerns regarding the requirement for dogs to be under control on the Green and the legality of the signs on the bins had been adequately addressed. The Chairman said he would respond under his report later in the meeting.
Declarations of interests. The temporary Parish Clerk said that Ben Devlin had declared a ‘Disclosable Pecuniary Interest’ in Two Wheel Tuesday which was a substantive item on the agenda for this meeting. As the host of the event, only he could provide information to the council on some of the detailed arrangements in place and he had therefore submitted a request (under paragraph 13 (d)-(h) of the Parish Council Standing Orders) to take part in discussion on this item and anytime it is discussed in the future within the next four years. The application met the required criteria and had therefore been granted.
New Parish Clerk and councillor vacancies. The chairman said that there were still three vacancies for parish councillors. The statutory notices would be advertised again. If any members of the public were interested in applying they could contact him if they required more information. Phil Little said interviews for the position of parish clerk had been held and a formal offer would be made shortly.
Planning applications. Firfields, Fen Street. Certificate of lawfulness re proposed extension.The council resolved, unanimously, not to submit a view.
Homestead, The Green. Erection of dwelling and garage (reserved matters). The council resolved, with six voting in favour and one abstention, to support the application.
East View, Attleborough Road. Extension to garden store. The council resolved, with five voting in favour and two abstentions, to support the application.
Dairy Barn, Cake Street. Internal alterations These applications had already been approved by Breckland District Council.
Whitehands Farm, Stacksford. Variation of condition two of previous planning approvals to allow parking of additional vehicle. The council resolved, with five voting in favour and two abstentions, to support the application.
Peacehaven, 29 Fen Street. Extension to existing property to form snug/dining room. The council resolved, with six voting in favour and one abstention, to support the application.
Financial matters. The current account balance is £33,529.45 and the premium account balance is £2,873.20. The sum of £500 had been received from the Green Right Holders in respect of a wayleave.
The Buckenham Pre-School and Nursery had informed the council that its proposed “adoption” by the primary school had been delayed and asked if the grant application to purchase a farm play set, which had been refused, could be reconsidered. Councillors commented that the intention to change status remained and resolved, unanimously, not to reconsider the grant application.
Payments approved included £84 for grit blasting the village sign and £29.95 for the annual charge for the parish council’s website. The precept grants totalling £2301.57 had now been paid to New Buckenham Junior FC, Senior citizens Christmas party, Old Buckenham WI, Fete Committee, the Monday Mardle Group and Old Buckenham Cricket Club.
The Chairman said that as the council currently did not have a permanent parish clerk, support was needed to prepare the year end accounts and resolved, unanimously, to appoint Donna Oakley, Gemini Accounting Services to check and complete the year end accounts.
The council agreed a fee of £500, payable in two instalments of £250, for the Ox and Plough for benches and the use of the designated area on the Green.
Chairman’s report. The chairman thanked Andy Nichols for carrying out his role as Vice- Chairman and chairing the March meeting. Although she was not in attendance, he formally welcomed Lauren Wiseman to the parish council and hoped that she enjoys her time as a councillor.
On the matter of dogs, the parish council has considered and discussed the matter of dogs being on leads and under control whilst on the Green and has provided further bins around the Green for dog waste. On each of these bins there is a sign, as used by the National Trust, requesting that owners clean up after their dogs and keep on them on leads. This is purely an advisory or a request as the council have no intention of trying to police this, in the same manner that many public spaces and open access areas request it but are unable to police it. Furthermore, there is a legal requirement for owners to have their dogs under control in any area, not just on the Green, and this puts any liability squarely with the dog owner should any incident occur. This being the case, the council are happy that these arrangements have been adequate and therefore as far as it reasonably practicable, legally acceptable.
District Councillor’s report. The chairman said that Breckland District Council had agreed to invest over £1million in providing new temporary accommodation to help meet the needs of those who experience homelessness in the district to ensure families are kept together. During the heavy snow in February/March, Breckland officers ensured that there were no rough sleepers in the street or in the forest. To mark the centenary of the WW1 armistice, Breckland District Council had set up a fund to support local organisations and communities who wish to stage events and develop projects that explore, share and conserve the heritage of the Great War in the district. Up to £500 was available for projects that could include documenting the war through film/audio recordings, collecting personal stories or memories of those affected by the war, staging exhibitions, organising talks, etc.
Village Green Management Committee. A summary report of action completed and proposed had been circulated. The chairman said that the village sign, which had been removed for restoration, should be back in two months. He had also received a request from David Power to remove and repair the seat sited near the Gamekeeper pub, which his family had donated in memory of their mother. Permission was given for this.
Road Safety. Steve Milner said that the issue of large vehicles, including tractors, had been raised at the last meeting. He said that verges were being eroded and the tractor/trailer combinations, in particular, sounded loud and menacing. However, he had found that they were usually within the speed limit. The Speedwatch would commence again soon and the three sites authorised for this were Cake Street, on the Green by the war memorial and in Hargham Road. Jon Hicks said that large HGV vehicles were ignoring the weight limit on Hargham Road. He had reported this to the police with photographic evidence but they said it was an enforcement matter for Norfolk County Council. Andy Nichols suggested that this was a matter that should be referred to County Councillor Stephen Askew for action. In reply to a question, Steve Milner said that Norfolk County Council’s report following the highways study regarding a crossing on the B1077 was expected to be published in the near future.
Play Area. Jon Hicks said he had inspected the play area and there were no issues requiring expenditure. He would paint the tractor soon and the toddler area would need to be closed whilst this was carried out. He said that his employer, Richard Johnston Logistics, was willing to sponsor planter boxes for the fencing and he would discuss with the Pre-school if they would like to help with the planting and looking after the plants as a school project. Councillors welcomed this proposal.
Recreation Area. The chairman said that the public footpath was being surfaced and the fencing repaired by Chapel Green School. Also the fencing by the roadway would be repaired by Norfolk County Council. The fencing at the front had been damaged. Jon Hicks said that timber worth £1000 had been donated by Browns of Tibenham to build a shelter and some of this could be used to repair the front fence once a decision had been made where the new gate would be sited. The grass would be cut by the contractor as per the previous year.
Councillors’ reports. Steve Milner said that together with the chairman he had attended the burial of the time capsule at Chapel Green School. He had raised the issue of lighting with the site manager who had indicated they were having technical issues with some of the lighting control systems. Phil Little said that lighting in the corridors of the new school were often left on at night and the Village Hall lights were also left on. It was reported that the High School lighting was also an issue and Jon Hicks said he would raise this with the High School when he next attended a school council meeting. He added that the High School was preparing designs for painting the inside of the bus shelter and a shortlist of three would be agreed which would be presented to the parish council. Steve Milner referred to the increasing number of queries that were being submitted via the website. Councillors considered that this should be discussed at the next meeting.
Two Wheel Tuesday. Ben Devlin said that he had been surprised to see that this was on the agenda as he wasn’t sure what there was for the parish council to discuss. Two Wheel Tuesday had been running for several years already and had become an established event not only with bikers but with many parishioners who attended every week to enjoy it. Mediation meetings had been held with the police and concerned residents and the police had indicated that they supported the event and were happy with how it was organised. Regarding noise, the police had indicated that the bikes were road legal so any noise from them was not an enforcement issue. He confirmed that appropriate public liability insurance was in place. The area of the Green used was maintained to a higher level than the rest of the Green, it provided income for the upkeep of the Green and the event was vital for the continued viability of the Ox and Plough pub. Andy Nichols suggested that the parish council request to receive a copy of the public liability insurance and it was agreed.
Fireworks and bonfire. The temporary parish clerk said that the council had given permission, in principle, for a fireworks display on the recreation area subject to receiving details regarding organisational/safety issues from the OB2000 Trust. Ben Devlin had suggested that consideration could also be given to having a free event on the Green instead if costs could be underwritten and sponsorship found. It was agreed to ask Ben Devlin to discuss these proposals in detail with the OB2000 Trust and report back to the next meeting.
Grievance and disciplinary procedure. It was resolved, unanimously, to adopt the new Grievance and Disciplinary procedure, as circulated to councillors in advance of the meeting.
Storage of parish records. It was noted that the more recent parish records would be stored by the chairman and the new parish clerk while the older records will be archived with Norfolk County Council.
Highways. Councillors discussed the problems with potholes generally but particularly at Grove Road/Mill Road and the flooding at Cake Street and Ragmere Road. Steve Milner said he would raise these issues with County Councillor Stephen Askew. The chairman said he had reported the missing road name sign at Abbey Road and the damaged sign for Leys Lane to Norfolk County Council.
Agenda items for the next meeting. No further items were suggested apart from those identified earlier in the meeting, ie fireworks display and the council website. 

The next meeting will be the AGM to be held on Thursday 3 May commencing at 7.30pm at the village hall.

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