Friday, 17 May 2019

Latest parish council meeting

Discussions in May
These notes have been written by the blog editor from the draft minutes and so may contain information that is amended at a later date.
Old Buckenham Parish Council met on Thursday 5 May at 7.30pm in the Village Hall, Old Buckenham. Those present were councillors Jonn Hicks (Chair) Steve Milner, Donna Oakley, Adrian Joel and Ben Devlin as well as Rachel Noyes (Clerk), two members of the public and District and County councillor Stephen Askew. Ben Devlin was co-opted in as a councillor (4 in favour,) Jonn Hicks re-elected as Chairman (4 in favour), Steve Milner elected as Vice Chairman (4 in favour) and Declaration of Acceptance signed by all present.
Apologies for absence had been received from Andy Nicholls and Gemma Frost who has resigned as a councillor.
Minutes of April meeting. These were approved.
Matters arising from these minutes. Should have read 17 houses to be built (rather than 12).
Public participation. One parishioner requested that someone from the parish council attends village hall management meetings. Jonn Hicks will attend if no one else does. The key fob box for Village Hall was moved slightly because of the installation of the defibrillator.
A further parishioner discussed Fen Street planning application (3PL/2019/0231/O). They felt that by moving garages to the side of the houses, it increased the urbanisation of the countryside. They wanted to highlight that Highway had concerns about the application but that Breckland were recommending approval despite the safety issues raised. As these were also issues that the Parish Council had highlighted to Breckland Council, would the Parish Council change their view and support of the application? Another parishioner also discussed the Fen Street application (3PL/2019/0231/O). Apart from purchasing more land, which was not possible, there is little that can be done. A clear passing place will be created.
Stephen Askew, the recently elected District Councillor, said he would provide an update on the Puffin crossing at the Annual Parish Meeting on Friday 31 May). Church Street is proving difficult to sort but still working on it. Funding for Public Partnership is delayed but hopefully should be decided soon. Adrian Joel had been asked by a member of the public about the move of Banham Poultry to Bunn’s Bank and therefore asked if Old Buckenham Parish Council would be consulted. Jonn Hicks explained that it had already been approved but they had applied for an extension. Also newer technology should mean there would be no smell emitted.
Financial matters. Balance in the community account was £47,623.64 and balance in the premium account £2,878.92. Income received included allotment rent of £100, £450 from Breckland Council for community car scheme and £70 in donations for wood.
Payments to be approved totalled £5,603.53 and included Norris & Fisher (insurance renewal) of £560.39, agreed grants of £2,759.98, £95.85 to community car drivers, £600 to JD Tree Services and £540 to Broadland Tree Services for the Christmas tree on the Green.
Planning applications. (All planning applications are available for viewing on the Breckland District Council planning portal Parish councillors have been asked by the chairman to view the new applications in advance of the meeting).
Poplar Farm, Fen Road. Demolish existing agricultural building and construct new residential dwelling (3PL/2019/0287/F). Concerns were raised about the single land access to the site accommodating construction lorries. It was also highlighted that it is outside the village boundary (but within the Parish) and therefore would not count towards the 17 houses quota. (in favour 1, against 3, abstain 1).
Site at Harlingwood Lane. Construction of two new dwelling houses and garages (3PL/2019/0333/F). Previous applications have been refused due to concerns from Highways. In particular, the junction to turn out of Harlingwood Lane is dangerous. There is also a pond on site as it was used to drain water away from a neighbouring field, but drainage has been factored in to the plans. Ben Devlin felt that it was important to use these pockets of land in the village in order to limit the spread outwards with large developments. (4 against, 1 abstain).
Hunters House, access roads in and around Old Buckenham Hall. Construction of two new dwelling houses and garages. Redesign conservatory to a garden room (amended design) (3PL/2019/0385/HOU). Lots of extensions have already been done on house. They are re-doing an existing extension. (in favour 5).
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). Previous application approved by Council but then withdrawn. This is a new application with addition of fences and gates. (in favour 5)
Land to the rear of Church Farmhouse, The Green. Outline consent for the erection of a single detached dwelling and garage (3PL/2019/0466/O). Will be a shared driveway with a 1½ storey house. Some residents concerned by traffic and being overlooked. Jonn Hicks explained that using the planning checklist for guidance, there was not anything to object to. This was outline consent only and designs with windows, etc, would come later on. A member of the public highlighted that there was a row of tall trees at the back of the front property in which were not on the drawings which would prevent it being overlooked. (in favour 5 as long as the trees are kept).
Land to the north of Fen Street. Erection of four detached dwellings (3PL/2019/0231/O). Application has been adapted. Forward garages removed. Original application was supported by the parish council as long as conditions regarding traffic safety and utilities were met. Adrian Joel felt that, as these conditions have not been addressed, the parish council could not support it. Steve Milner also expressed disappointment that Breckland had not shown any positive engagement to find solutions to the issues raised (eg working with Sustrans for ideas for cyclists) and highlighted that there was no safe way in/out of Fen Street as all junctions were difficult. Ben Devlin again highlighted the need to use the pockets of land available in the village and questioned whether four houses would make much difference to the existing traffic. He felt that construction and speed limits/cycle paths in the village were separate issues. (in favour 3, against 2).
Planning decisions by Breckland Council. Manor Corner, The Green. Two-storey side extension and internal alterations (3PL/2019/0083/HOU). This application has now been considered and the application has been refused.
College Barn, Cake Street. Variation of condition number 2 on 3PL/2017/0927/F as the roof height has been increased by 500mm as the existing headroom was too low once insulation has been introduced (3PL/2019/0282/VAR). The above application has now been considered and the application has been approved.
Playground posts. The wooden posts around the children’s play area have been removed. As previously agreed, the council will not be paying for the installation of the posts. The £55 payment towards the reflectors has been returned and asked to be donated to Raise the Roof Fund. NCC Highways has asked the parishioner to restore the verge to its original state. Jonn Hicks and the parishioner who installed the posts have had a discussion. Both parties agreed that they had had a conversation previously in which Jonn Hicks had said to send the paid invoice to the parish council for discussion over possible part/full payment. However this was unlikely due to the work not being authorised previously by the parish council. It was questioned why the paid invoice was addressed to the parish council when they had not requested the work. Many parishioners and councillors felt the posts were a good idea and were disappointed to see Highways object to them and request their removal. It was particularly felt that Highways are quick to object to issues but slow or reluctant to improve things for villagers’ safety. It was suggested that D Jacklin from Highways was invited to walk around the village with councillors in order to highlight the many issues (speed limits, potholes, etc).
Green lease. The Green Working Party were keen to extend the lease as they were pleased with how it has gone over last few years. The documentation has not yet been passed on to parish council for consultation. Once it is received, the parish council will look at the details and discuss.
Chairman’s report. In the week before the current meeting Gemma Frost (and later the Clerk) received a phone call from a parishioner who was rude and hung up on her. It was this abuse and pressurising from several parishioners that was a contributing factor to Gemma Frost resigning from the council. Several councillors and even their family members have had verbal abuse aimed at them in recent months. Parishioners need to remember that everyone volunteers their time for the villages’ benefit and no one has the right to be rude and abusive to the councillors or their families. The parish council are happy to listen to concerns and help where possible as long as they are spoken to in a polite and respectful manner. The Clerk should be the first form of contact and it is worth remembering that decisions are made by the whole Council and not individuals.
Play Area. Thanks to Jonn Hicks for cutting the grass around the play area. Also praise from several councillors on how much their families enjoy using it.
Recreation Area. Adrian Joel explained that Andy Nicholls has spoken to Stuart Barker about cutting the grass in future. The next cut will wait until drier weather and also once the water from the leak from Chapel Green School has drained. A corner has been marked off for bee orchids to grow.
Councillors’ reports. A parishioner has spoken to Steve Milner about the 40mph zone on Cake Street. Highways have been contacted about speed limits in the village but are not interested in changes. Ben Devlin requested a budget of £3,000 to repair and update the phone box (quotes have been approximately £5,000). Budget approved subject to getting written quotes prior to work. Will hopefully progress this month. Also will be cutting the grass for the Ox and Plough ready for Two Wheel Tuesday so will try and cut the Village Hall grass too. Adrian Joel had received a request for an allotment from someone who lives outside of Old Buckenham. Usually £50 rent but as there is only six months left, it is reduced to £25. A parishioner has complained that the stones on Hargham Road are difficult to walk on and untidy. The phone mast is progressing, currently waiting for companies to install electricity to the site and then erect the mast.
Items for next agenda. These are expected to include the phone box, Parish Council working parties and the Neighbourhood Plan.

The next Parish Council meeting will be held on Thursday 6 June at 7.30pm in Old Buckenham Village Hall.

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