Wednesday, 30 December 2020

Yet another Old Buckenham newsletter

Ready for the New Year

It's been sighted around the village already with still a day or two of 2020 left. You can learn more about the previous owners of Old Buckenham Hall, a pen picture of our parish clerk, how the village hall has been coping and the Met Office replies to some queries on a proposed weather radar. Enjoy reading the words and making yourself aware of all those local advertisers who could be most useful throughout 2021.

Sunday, 27 December 2020

What didn't happen in Old Buckenham

How things suddenly changed

This diary of events was in the  April 2020 Old Buckenham Village Newsletter. How near will we to being back to a 'near normal' by this April? Your comments welcomed...

Wednesday, 23 December 2020

Christmas Eve in Old Buckenham

 Come along to All Saints 
"He is still coming" and the interior of the church is now decorated with crib scenes, candles and holly. The door will be open all day tomorrow, Christmas Eve, for private prayer and quiet reflection. Then between 5pm and 7pm some of us will be spending some time in the candlelit church. We would love individuals and family groups to come along during that time to visit the Christmas crib and share a moment of quiet with them. There will be Christmas music playing, occasional readings and opportunities to pray for loved ones who may not be able to join in this year. Revd Lorraine Summers from Kenninghall will be their for a short time and will give a brief Christmas message on the theme “God is with us, one with us” at about 7pm.
Please remember to bring and wear a mask as well as being mindful of others when social distancing.

Sunday, 20 December 2020

Using Old Buckenham footpaths

 Walking the Parish footpaths

Why not take advantage of the beautiful walks we have within our Parish? This outline map has the Parish boundary marked in yellow. The public roads are indicated in grey and in cerise each of the footpaths are indicated (and each one has Village number). Also marked in a thinner cerise colour are the footpaths as they extend into our neighbouring parishes. 

Set yourself a New Year resolution to walk each of the Parish Paths at least once in 2021. Enjoy the exercise and wonderful countryside. It would be wonderful to have a log of the walks and their changing characteristics during the seasons and any advice and tips to other walkers that could be published on the blog or in the village newsletter. 

Monday, 14 December 2020

Old Buckenham newsletter for January

 One week to copy date

The editor of both the village newsletter and this blog will be working over the Christmas period to try to ensure the first newsletter of 2021 is available on time. If you have anything to contribute, please send it on as soon as possible, by next Sunday at the latest.

Thank you

Saturday, 12 December 2020

Old Buckenham Parish Council minutes

Plenty to discuss in December
The following notes were written by the editor of the village blog from the draft minutes and so may contain information that is amended at a later date.
Old Buckenham Parish Council met on Thursday 3 December via Zoom. Those present were councillors Jonn Hicks (Chair), Adrian Joel, Terry Cook, Andy Nicholls, Naomi Bailey and Ben Devlin. Also in attendance were Rachel Noyes (Clerk), Norfolk and Breckland councillor Steve Askew along with Jim Trice and Richard Bennet from the Met Office as well as three members of the public. Steve Milner and Mike Farrington had sent their apologies and Ben Devlin expected to be a few minutes late arriving.
The the minutes of the meeting held on Thursday 5 November were approved (4 in favour, 1 abstain). Matters arising from these minutes included problems with rubbish being left in the Village Hall car park and around the village as a whole. The village hall bin had been kindly emptied by Terry Cook but this is an issue will arise again as no one will agree to empty it regularly. Naomi Bailey will ask if school caretakers are able to help. It may necessary to remove bin if no one can be found to empty it. Terry Cook suggested signs put up in thevillage hall car park but it was felt that most of the rubbish appears at night from people coming in to the village and parking up and so would likely not care. Many councillors noted that rubbish was a general problem on local roads although around the Green it was much better. They will look at this issue in more depth at future meetings to see how to make the village cleaner. 
(Ben Devlin arrived)
Declarations of interests. Terry Cook has a conflict of interest with Friends of Chapel Green Precept Grant application and Ben Delvin has conflict of interest with two planning applications. Both councillors will abstain from the appropriate votes.
Financial matters. Community account balance is now £35,064.66 and allotment rents received were £80.
Payments were approved totalling £1,159.75 (5 in favour).
Correspondence. The Clerk had been contacted about flooding on Fen Street. This was after particularly heavy rainfall and lots of the village had surface water. Councillors will monitor to see how regularly it occurs. There were also comments about a ditch at Puddledock being blocked causing flooding on to the road. Steve Askew will get Highways to investigate.
Action Plan update. Notebook computer for the SAM sign ordered and received. The Handyman had been contacted and will fix notice board by the shop, make notice boards for the phone box and install a new notice board by the playground. This will hopefully be completed in December. In January, he will fix the fence around the Recreation Area.
Village Green Working Party. New trees have been planted around the village Green at the agreed locations. Unfortunately unable to get residents involved in this activity due to lockdown.
Road Safety. SAM sign moved to other location. Will also need to download data on to new notebook computer.
Play Area. Playdale were unable to come out during lockdown. They have been in contact and they have a huge backlog of work but the village is now apparently high on their list. The bin in toddler area currently locked and so not emptied. Jonn Hicks will unlock it for future collections.
Recreation Area. Unfortunately lines for football pitch have not been painted. Ben Devlin has a line marker and will mark it out in the spring as it is too wet now. Cutting the grass in this area has cost a lot of money this year so Jonn Hicks is investigating whether it might be better to buy a ride-on lawn mower. Ben Devlin said he has a ride-on lawnmower that could be used.
Councillors’ reports. Naomi Bailey said that there was lots of concern by residents and parents of school children about speeding in the village. While initial concern was around school time, this is happening any time of day. Other issues include cars blocking the flow of traffic on Abbey Road, families having to cross in front of High School and the fact a child was hit by a car earlier this year (no serious injuries she believes). The staggered drop offs at the Primary have helped a little but not significantly. Crossing in front of the High School was seen by a major problem by all councillors and wondered if the new crossing on the B1077 had encouraged more walkers and therefore made more families cross at this location. The blind bend, no set crossing point, a school driveway and a track used for parking and ‘cut through’ meant it was extremely dangerous to cross especially with small children. Possible solutions of reducing the speed limit, a small crossing, traffic calming measures or a lollipop person were all raised. Steve Askew will start investigating any possibilities with Highways. Parish Council to discuss in greater depth at the February meeting.
Adrian Joel reported that the Christmas tree on the Green was to be set up on the following Saturday morning. Unfortunately no big switch on this year because of current restrictions. Ben Devlin said that a resident had been in contact offering to donate some posts for helping to mark out footpaths. He will liaise with Terry Cook on this.
Steve Askew promised to look into various issues raised at the evening’s meeting. He had been asked about Phase 4 of March Field Way houses. Initially planned to complete in Janury 2021 but this has now been pushed back to July 2021. Will comprise of nine houses: six affordable rent and three shared ownership and will be made up of one, two and three bedroom properties. Will hopefully be for local people in same way that previous phases were. He had just received notice that solar farm application between Old Buckenham and Bunns Bank is likely to be submitted in the next week or two. He also said that he had been putting news updates on the village Facebook page which is hopefully helpful to people.
Possible weather radar tower. Jim Trice and Richard Bennett (Met Office) attended the Zoom meeting. Their original application was approximately a year ago but was withdrawn in March following feedback, especially that from Old Buckenham Airfield. The original height of the Tower would have breached an important safety layer of airspace that is linked to the airfield by three metres. New application will be for the same site but will reduce height of Tower by four metres. This lower height is possible because originally the radar had to reach above a crane that is frequently used by Anglian Water at this site, as well as trees and the local topography. Anglian Water have agreed to lower the height of the crane, which in turn means the tower can also be reduced in height. The Airfield kindly suggested a corner of airfield as an alternative location. This was investigated but as the airfield sits at a lower level, the tower would have had to be taller, not shorter. A cherry picker was used to demonstrate the possible heights at the two locations. Matt Wilkins (Airfield Manager) and the Met Office agreed that this site was unsuitable and discounted. The residents who live next to the site are concerned about the visual impact and the Met Office are open to discussing screening solutions that they would be happy with. The new planning application will hopefully be submitted in January.
Councillors and the public were then invited to ask any questions they might have.
1) There are already 15 operational radar towers, are any of them close to housing?
The majority are normally on hill tops, however some are fairly near residents.
2) Why wasn’t a site with higher elevation chosen?
Sixteen sites were considered. Old Buckenham had the lowest impact on the population, yet provided the greatest benefit in the information gained.
3) Is the radiation emitted from the radar safe?
There will be a low level of microwave radiation emitted which is safe and has no effects. The application will include a statement from Public Health England stating this.
4) Nine of the sites currently used are Anglian Water sites. Why is this?
While the majority are Anglian Water sites, the others are Ministry of Defence, Environment Agency and also private land. The life expectancy of a Weather Radar Tower is 25years and it can be difficult to find somewhere that is willing to commit to that length of time. Also, they have a similar interest in understanding rainfall amounts and therefore water management.
5) Is this Radar needed? Do we not have enough coverage already?
Lots of the UK is covered but there is a lack of data for East Anglia (and some other locations) and this tower would help provide that.
6) The option of screening the Tower was mentioned. If the tower is 25m tall, what could be used to screen something that tall? The main impact on the residents nearby will be the effect of light on to their property.
A shadowing analysis showed that the tower would not limit the light into the residence itself and would only create a partial shadow on the driveway. Will include the analysis in the new application. No decisions have been made on screening as would need to consult with the owners of the property as it would be on their land. There used to be a hedge there historically, so replacing that is one option.
(The following three questions came from the owners of Waterworks House as they were unable to join the meeting)
8) Why was a visual impact study not completed of our property? No pictures were taken from our property to illustrate the impact.
A visual impact study was completed. Someone came to visit the property.
9) Pictures were provided by us of the cherry picker yet we received no confirmation of receipt. Why have we not been contacted for such a long time?
Representatives contacted them today and will keep them informed. The pictures could not be used unfortunately due to issues with the location that the pictures being taken from.
10) Will the public be informed of the application process?
As with any planning application, Breckland Council will contact neighbouring properties. The Parish Council will be kept up-to-date and there is a website dedicated to this project which will contain all information gathered. The Village Newsletter will also be contacted and kept informed.
11) Has anyone ever successfully appealed against a Radar Tower?
Not aware of any such circumstance.
12) Does the Radar create any noise?
Radars are not noisy as they move so slowly. The Anglian Water site also has strict decibel limits that they will have to be within.
13) Are the Met Office aware of rare bats nearby? Would the Radar Tower affect them?
An ecological survey was completed but they were not informed of any rare bats in the area. Will investigate.
14) Why was the original application withdrawn?
The Planning Officer advised that the application was withdrawn due to Airfield objections and safety issues. Matt Wilkins (Airfield Manager) informed that the Airfield is a licensed consultee. The new proposed height will miss this safety surface height and therefore the airfield doesn’t have any official objections.
15) Carleton Rode residents are probably more affected visually than Old Buckenham residents. Have they been informed?
Old contact details resulted in information being missed during the initial application. Correct contact details have now been used and they are talking to the Parish Council there. There was a leaflet drop of the Carleton Rode area previously as well.
16) Would the Met Office pay for the screening?
Once agreed with the property owners and discussed with the Planning Officer then yes, they would pay for the screening.
The Village Newsletter editor requested that as there will be a lot of interest in the application from residents, he asked that people read all the information provided in the new application rather than relying on rumours.
Precept grants. 1st Old Buckenham Brownies, £500 (towards a project costing £750). Councillors were happy to see traditional activities such as Brownies were still going strong and were happy to support activities which support and develop core values in children. Propose to give the full £750 for project (approved, 6 in favour).
Robert Cocks Almshouses Trust, £500 to £1000 (towards new heating systems costing £6000 per unit). These are old properties which require expensive updating. One unit is in urgent need of a new heating system, while others will last a little longer. Propose to donate £500 and then in January look to see what is available from the Charity Account for a possible further donation (approved, 6 in favour).
Old Buckenham Cricket Club, £1404 (towards new mobile cricket cage net). One of village’s main sporting facilities for young people. It is very popular and provided excellent support to the village during summer. Propose to donate £700, half the cost, towards the new net (approved, 4 in favour, 1 abstain) (Ben Devlin briefly lost internet connection and so did not vote).
Village Hall, £325 towards new chairs. Propose to donate the full £325 (approved, 6 in favour).
Friends of Chapel Green School, £300 towards new gardening equipment. Propose to donate the full £300 (approved, 5 in favour, 1 abstain).
Precept. This will be discussed at the next meeting with Donna Oakley (the Responsible Finance Officer) attending.
Planning. To consider planning applications and to receive Breckland District Council’s decisions made on any planning applications received before the meeting. (All planning applications are available for viewing on the Breckland District Council planning portal Parish Councillors have been asked by the chairman to view the new applications in advance of the meeting.
New planning applications. Rear of 41 Hargham Road. Detached Single Storey New Residential Dwelling and construction of two bay cart lodge (3PL/2020/1217/O). Councillors felt it was unnecessary over-development of a narrow site. Not all information had been in application and was still due to be submitted. Proposed to object (5 in favour, 1 abstain).
Land at Roughlands Farm, Grove Road. Erection of a new single storey dwelling (3PL/2020/1250/F). This is the third application for this location. In order to show consistency, councillors felt they could not support it. Proposed to object (5 in favour, 1 abstain)
Acer House, The Green. Single Storey Side Extension (3PL/2020/1248/HOU). The Parish Council could see no objections to the application. Proposed to support (5 in favour, 1 abstain).
Development Plot at Poplar Farm, Fen Road. Demolition of existing building (with extant permission to convert to a dwelling) and the erection of New Single Dwelling and Cartlodge, and Change of Use of Agricultural Land to Domestic Curtilage (Revised Scheme 3PL/2020/1009/F). The Parish Council could see no objections to the application. Proposed to support (6 in favour).
Rosedale, Fen Street. Change of use from existing Storage/Industrial unit to Residential Dwelling (3PL/2020/1332/F). Councillors were concerned that this was another proposed development on Fen Street which had seen a lot of new homes built recently. The village has also already surpassed its quota. However the existing building will contribute some traffic to the roads already and so converting into residential should not change the volume of traffic much in the long term. Propose to support (3 in favour, 3 abstain).
29 Fen Street. Erection of one dwelling (Technical Details Consent following the grant of Permission in Principle 3PL/2019/1405/PIP (3PL/2020/1339/F). The Parish Council could see no reasons for objection. Proposed to support (5 in favour, 1 abstain).
'The Barn', High London Farm, New Buckenham Road. Outline planning application for the conversion of an agricultural barn to a single dwelling (3PL/2020/1356/O). This is an old barn that will soon fall in to disrepair. Development is required in order to preserve the property. Proposed to support (6 in favour).
Land to rear of development plot between Willow Cottage and Fen Street. Change of use of agricultural land to garden (3PL/2020/1075/F). Revised plans - smaller garden extension. Was discussed last month and objected to because of the size of proposed garden and it would surround a neighbouring property and suggested they decrease its size. The garden extension has now been revised to a smaller size. Proposed to support (4 in favour, 2 abstain).
Planning Decisions by Breckland Council. The following two applications have now been considered and the applications have been approved.
59 Fen Street. Single Storey Side and Rear Extensions, Conversion of Garage to Provide Additional Accommodation, Front Porch and Render to Existing External Walls (3PL/2020/1092/HOU).
Land adjacent to Keele Cottage, The Green. Variation of Condition No 2 on 3PL/2015/0513/F (approved plans and details) to allow substitution of these for as-built drawings to regularise the development (3PL/2020/1010/VAR).
Items for next agenda. Precept

The next Parish Council meeting will be held on Thursday 7 January 2021 at 7.30pm via Zoom.

Wednesday, 9 December 2020

Old Buckenham still helping the homeless

Supporting St Martins

You may not have been able to do your usual activities to support the St Martins charity but you can still contribute. As in previous years the Church Rooms will be open on Christmas Eve for donations of non-perishable foods. These will later be transported to St Martins in Norwich to help in their support of the homeless. 

You can also help from the comfort of your armchair. The 2021 Norfolk Wildlife calendars that they have produced are now on sale for £5 each, plus postage and packing. All the pictures were taken by David Cullingford. David was homeless and received support from St Martins at their learning and development centre ‘Under 1 Roof’. The pictures showcase Norfolk wildlife at its best. There is also a range of Christmas cards to purchase online. Just go to

Sunday, 6 December 2020

Christmas eve in Old Buckenham

 Christmas Eve at All Saints Church

In this exceptional year of 2020, which has seen so many changes to our way of life, All Saints have had to make changes to the way they worship, and their plans for Christmas Eve are no exception. The PCC are very conscious that Covid-19 is still with us and they are required to follow Government and Diocesan Guidelines to limit the spread of the virus. They know too that members of our community share our concern to maintain social distancing and follow the guidelines.

Bearing all this in mind, on Thursday 24 December, as well as the church being open all day for private prayer, between 5pm and 7.30pm members of the congregation will be spending some time in the candlelit church. They would love individuals and family groups to come along during that time to visit the Christmas crib and share a moment of quiet with them. There will be Christmas music playing, occasional readings and opportunities to pray for loved ones who may not be able to join in this year.  Revd Lorraine Summers from Kenninghall will be their for a short time and will give a brief Christmas message on the theme “God is with us, one with us” at about 7pm.

As in previous years, All Saints Church will be supporting St Martins Housing Trust in their work with the homeless in Norfolk and there will be an opportunity to contribute to this vital work available.  Please try to find a few moments to come along – bearing in mind the 'hands, face, space' advice from the NHS adults are asked to wear face coverings and to move through the church in one direction – from the porch door to exit via the north door. If you can’t make it during Christmas Eve please remember the church will remain open for private prayer and their Christmas Crib will be there throughout the Christmas period.

Thursday, 3 December 2020

Old Buckenham Mill undercover

All wrapped up

 Behind these screens, work is going on repairing the mill and making the structure safe.

Wednesday, 2 December 2020

Old Buckenham picture query

 Do you know where this was taken?

The blog editor has received this photograph that is believed may have been taken in the early 1900s. The slim gentleman in the very middle of the photograph, wearing a bowler hat, is the great grandfather of the lady enquiring about George Jackson who lived in Old Buckenham at that time. 

She is trying to find out where exactly, and possibly when, this photograph was taken. Could it possibly have been Old Buckenham Hall or may there have been somewhere else that it could have been taken?

Any help you can offer would be gratefully received. Please email the blog editor at and he will pass the information on. Thank you.

Tuesday, 1 December 2020

Another Old Buckenham newsletter

 Village newsletter for December

Latest news on the village hall, the local footpaths, pot-boilers, bats, tree planting on the Green, history of Old Buckenham Hall and the deliberations of the parish council. All inside a cover showing all the cover designs of 2020. If you haven't had a copy through your letter box yet, it should be delivered soon.