Tuesday, 2 March 2021

Old Buckenham planned power cut

 Support for the powerless

As UK Power Networks needed to upgrade the electricity network in part of Old Buckenham, the houses in Cake Street were without electricity from 9am until 3pm today while the engineers were diverting the overhead/underground electricity cables in the March Field Way area.

The blog editor was visited in person to check that he was coping OK and later in the morning he received a phone call saying that the Power Network support vehicle was parked in a garden along the road should any help be needed. So of course he and his trusty camera had to visit. The support available ranged from a hot coffee, tea or chocolate, a pack of biscuits, the opportunity to charge up your phone, use a WiFi point, microwave a meal and even to take away a self heating meal that could be ready to eat in ten minutes.

Thank you to Kate who was manning the vehicle. It was so pleasing to see the support that was available to those who may well have needed that extra little help while they had no power for some six hours.

Monday, 1 March 2021

Old Buckenham newsletter for March

Less words than normal

It's now out being distributed and looks like this.

 This issue contains the minutes of the latest parish council meeting, a pen-picture of the parish council's vice chairman and the regular message to residents from Tim.

Sunday, 28 February 2021

Old Buckenham windmill emerging

 Spring awakening

Having spent the winter undercover, the newly-painted cap of the mill can now be seen peeping out as the scaffolding is being taken down.

Friday, 26 February 2021

Growing at Old Buckenham Country Park

Old Buckenham Gardening Retreat 
There is an organic community garden for the people of Old Buckenham taking shape within the Old Buckenham Country Park in Doe Lane. It will be focusing on using the power of gardening to help with mental health, combating isolation and learning new skills. Clare, Jane and family have been working away to get things ready for the forthcoming growing season. They have been helped by donations from various people - the ground has been ploughed, a fence erected, bark chippings delivered and now a large load of spent mushroom compost. The blog editor visited yesterday to see how they were getting on.

In future the garden aims to be open for courses, education and needs volunteers. They are looking for people wanting to get involved and grow with them.  You'll find Old Buckenham Gardening Retreat on Facebook or you can just walk up there and have a look.

Friday, 12 February 2021

Old Buckenham parish council minutes

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.

Old Buckenham Parish Council met on Thursday 4 February 2021 at 7:30pm via Zoom. Those present were councillors Jonn Hicks (Chair), Steve Milner, Adrian Joel, Terry Cook, Andy Nicholls, Naomi Bailey and Ben Devlin. Also attending were Rachel Noyes (Clerk), County and Breckland councillor Steve Askew as well as five members of the public. Mike Farrington had sent his apologies for not being able to attend.

The minutes of the meeting held on Thursday 7 January 2021 were approved (7 in favour) with correction of the spelling of March Field Way. There were no matters arising from these minutes.

Declarations of interests not already recorded in the current Members’ Register of Interests. Jonn Hicks announced he will be changing his current employment.

Financial Report. The current Community Account balance is £33,004.23 including £80 allotment rent payments.

Payments of £625.42 were approved (7 in favour) which included £121.95 to community car drivers and £72 for training with the National Association of Local Councils.

Public participation relating to agenda items only. The public were able to comment during individual agenda items.

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 – www.breckland.gov.uk/article/2933/Search-Planning-Applications.) Parish councillors have been asked by the chairman to view the new applications in advance of the meeting.

New planning applications. West View Farm, The Green. Convert the existing barn into one dwelling to include the demolition of adjoining existing hen house and erection of side extension and the creation of a new access (3PL/2020/1500/F and 3PL/2020/1501/LB). There was some concern about the ability for vehicles to turn in/out of the property on a small access road. Propose to support was approved (7 in favour).

Part of Anglian Water Drilling Unit site Abbey Road. Erection of a 24.46m high radar tower and associated comms cabin (portakabin) (3PL/2021/0091/F).

Councillors observed several issues with the application and associated reports:

* There was very little mention or consideration of the rare bat species in the area and how they might be affected by the radar.

* Many of the nearest residents had not been consulted directly despite claims that a full consultation had taken place.

* There was not a thorough visual impact assessment from the neighbouring property or any definitive suggestions of how the structure could be screened from sight.

* Some of the neighbouring parishes have yet again not been consulted despite Old Buckenham highlighting it during the original application.

In addition to these issues, the application has only been classed as a ‘Minor’ application, rather than a ‘Major’ one and has been given to a junior Planning Officer, rather than a more senior one.

County Councillor Steve Askew has requested that the application be taken to the Chairman’s Panel so that he may request it to be taken before the Planning Committee.

Neighbouring residents have raised the issue with CPRE and Natural England themselves and are awaiting responses. A proposal to object was approved (7 in favour).

The parish council is to consult with Natural England for help and advice in the effect on the rare bat species and to possibly place a Holding Objection. The parish council will also request that the Planning Officer undertake a site visit in order to give them a greater understanding of the impact on the nearest residents.

Oak House, 64 Fen Street. Construction of Swimming Pool and erection of Pool Building including gym, changing room and lounge area (3PL/2021/0102/HOU). There were no objections and proposal to accept was approved (7 in favour).

Planning decisions by Breckland Council. The following applications have now been considered and the applications have been approved. 29 Fen Street. Erection of one dwelling (Technical Details Consent following the grant of Permission in Principle 3PL/2019/1405/PIP)(3PL/2020/1339/TDC).

Rosedale, Fen Street. Change of use from existing Storage/Industrial unit to Residential Dwelling (3PL/2020/1332/F).

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).

Scales Farm, Road From Stacksford Lane to Hargham Road. Erection of new two-storey office building and demolition of external store (3PL/2020/1341/F).

The following application has now been considered and the application has been refused. Land at Roughlands Farm, Grove Road. Erection of a new single storey dwelling (3PL/2020/1250/F).

Options for Community Involvement Fund from PACE Solar Farm. Andy Nichols has spoken to PACE regarding the possibility of a Community Involvement Fund should the Solar Farm be approved. PACE confirmed that they were happy to contribute to such a fund in principle, although there was no amount decided. This could be used for community projects which highlight/educate about greener energy. Councillors felt it would be important to consider involving the schools but also ensuring it would benefit residents of all ages in the village. Any projects would also need to consider ongoing maintenance costs in the future.

New camera for Village Hall. Ben Devlin had obtained a quote for the installation of a new camera and security system at the Village Hall. Work came to a total £1328.00 (+VAT). Propose to accept quote, provided the Village Hall agree, and install the new system. There is the option of a monthly subscription for maintenance at £10/month, which would need to be paid for by the Village Hall. Terry Cook to update the Village Hall management committee.

Chairman’s Report. Village Handyman has had to move home earlier than expected. Noticeboards should be repaired this month by an alternative workman.

Clerk’s Report. Thanks to those for the reporting and warning about a missing manhole cover. It was replaced the next day. Still trying to find suitable location for new dog bin on Harlingwood Lane. Have been asked about previous plan to move and re-home some fish from Rod Alley Pond. Ben Devlin is still hoping to complete this soon during the cooler weather. Requiring a suitable location for a memorial bench for Bill Wardman. Jonn Hicks suggested outside the village shop and the clerk to consult with the shop owners. Reports of tractors driving aggressively through the village and possibly speeding. Jonn Hicks is to contact local farms to request drivers are more considerate when driving through villages.

Village Green Working Party (VGWP). No report as group not able to meet currently.

Road Safety. Both the normal SAM sign and the mobile SAM sign will be repositioned soon.

Recreation Area. There are no restrictions on replacing the damaged fencing with a hedgerow. Natural England is to be consulted for advice on the best species to encourage a range of wildlife habitats. They are hoping to visit during next month to advise.

Councillors’ reports. County Councillor Steve Askew said that road maintenance issues highlighted last month have been completed - pot holes filled in on Fen Street, Attleborough Road pot hole filled in and missing manhole cover replaced. Councillors highlighted some new issues that have arisen including a drain that has possibly collapsed on Cake Street and is causing flooding, flood water on Hargham road that is not draining away and may need to have drains jet cleaned as well as-drains on track (up from Primary School to the Clinic) and on Attleborough Road that may be blocked/collapsed and need investigating. Andy Nicholls said a resident had kindly cleared leaves off the path along Cake Street alongside Prince Harry’s Wood as they were so slippery. Need to ensure these are cleared regularly during autumn and winter months as could cause nasty accidents.

The next Parish Council meeting will be held via Zoom on Thursday 4 March 2021 starting at 7.30pm. 

Tuesday, 9 February 2021

Not in Old Buckenham

New choice for local meals

Those who used to enjoy meals at The Kitchen on the English Whisky site at Roudham may be interested that it now has new owners. OakVilla cannot open the restaurant fully at the moment but are doing order and collect meals each weekend.

Saturday, 6 February 2021

Sponsoring Old Buckenham village newsletter

Your name and message on page 1

 If you are interested in 'sponsoring' an issue of the Old Buckenham newsletter, it is a nominal cost of £10. The next dates available are June, August and September this year but should you have a special occasion that you wish to celebrate before then you may be able to share a month with someone else.

Just contact the newsletter sending an email to obnewspostbox@aol.com and the editor will come back to you.

Thank you.

Wednesday, 3 February 2021

Bigger pond in Old Buckenham

 Changes to Ottomer pond

The recent rather damp weather means that Ottomer pond is now rather full of water and the edges have moved outwards to a considerable amount. We now have an island in the pond. It is also possible to sit on one of the seats to admire the view and paddle your feet in the water at the same time. Also the ducks can swim straight into their house.

Here is some photographic evidence.

Friday, 29 January 2021

Old Buckenham February newsletter

 More local information

The February 2021 newsletter has now been printed and copies are being distributed around to all the houses in the village.

There is an item on the re-thatching of All Saints Church, information on the proposed large solar park within the Old Buckenham parish and the revised plans for a weather radar along Abbey Road as well as the life history of Reg Sturman who died in January aged 95 having lived all this time in Old Buckenham. Read it carefully to keep up-to-date on the village news.

Wednesday, 27 January 2021

Old Buckenham weather radar details

Examine the plans

The planning application for the weather radar can now be seen on the Breckland Council webpage. 

ProposalErection of a 24.46m high radar tower and associated comms cabin (portakabin).
LocationPart of Anglian Water Drilling Unit site Abbey Road, Old Buckenham,  NR17 1PZ

This will be discussed at the next Parish Council meeting on Thursday 4 February and there is plenty of background information to read beforehand. You may also wish to make your own comments direct to the planning officer.

Friday, 22 January 2021

Old Buckenham weather measurements

Proposed weather radar

The Met Office have been in contact with the Old Buckenham parish council to say they have completed the remaining preparation work on their plans for the erection of a reduced-height weather radar at the Anglian Water site on Abbey Road. They intend to submit a planning application to the District Council by the end of January.  They would encourage a thorough reading of the planning information pack that will be made available on the planning portal.  This will contain all the relevant assessments and surveys.

The Met Office do not anticipate communicating directly with the parish council or any other of the stakeholders during the formal planning process period. Any feedback and concerns should be directed to the planning department at Breckland Council through the normal planning process. They would like to remind everyone that there is a dedicated project website containing a wide range of further information, including answers to frequently asked questions that they have encountered during this and other radar developments. These should hopefully answer many of the question that the parish councillors or residents may have.   

They will also be writing directly to Mr and Mrs Riches at Waterworks House, the neighbouring parish councils and Old Buckenham Airfield to make them aware of the forthcoming submission. 

The Met Office thank Old Buckenham parish council for helping them to engage with the local community and surrounding area. They hope that they have been able to reassure the majority of residents about many of their concerns and remain committed to working towards solutions, where possible, that help alleviate the impacts of the construction or operation of the radar. 

Saturday, 16 January 2021

Old Buckenham Parish Council

January Parish Council meeting

These notes have been written by the blog editor from the draft minutes so may contain information that is amended at a later date.

Old Buckenham Parish Council met, via Zoom, on Thursday 7 January. Those present were councillors Jonn Hicks (Chair), Steve Milner, Adrian Joel, Terry Cook, Andy Nicholls, Naomi Bailey and Ben Devlin. Also in attendance were Rachel Noyes (Clerk), County and Breckland councillor Steve Askew, Harman Sand and Rob Shaw from PACE and two members of the public. Apologies had been received from Mike Farrington.

The minutes of the meeting held on Thursday 3 December 2020 were approved (7 in favour). Matters arising from those minutes included thanks to councillor Steve Askew for his swift action on reports raised last month. Discussions with Highways regarding road safety outside the school have resulted in submission of an application for a grant to help with these issues. Also the Village Hall Management Committee have kindly agreed to empty the Recreation Area bin, for a small donation.

Financial Report. The Community account balance now stands at £34,660.96. Payments of £1,627.68 were approved (7 in favour). These included £450 for the rent of the allotment site and £115.40 to the various community car drivers.

Solar Farm presentation by Pathfinder Clean Energy (PACE). There will soon be an application for a Solar Farm in the Parish, located between Puddledock and Bunn’s Bank. Harman Sand and Rob Shaw from PACE took part in the meeting via Zoom to give more details. The site will have the potential to provide the needs of 7,500 homes and could play a part in the Governments zero carbon emissions target. Many factors were considered during the planning stage.

* It will be set away from Bunn’s Bank, due to its historic status and also from the scheduled monument.

* It will be well screened to minimise visibility, including the small sub station.

* Liaised with Old Buckenham Airfield to ensure no glare would affect pilots.

* Areas at risk of flooding have been avoided.

* No loss of agricultural land as sheep will be able to graze below the panels, which also manages the growth of the grass.

* It will provide an increase in biodiversity to the area, with a 47% increase in hedgerows and therefore nearly 300% increase in habitats.

The application is likely to be submitted in January and will include a large number of specialist surveys. The average lifespan of a solar farm is 40 to 55 years. This one is proposed for 55 years. Once installed, maintenance should not cause too much disruption as one panel can be removed at a time with ease. An existing footpath will be kept and a new footpath will join up to it. This path will be given ample space and set safely within the field. PACE were asked about a Community Involvement Fund and were very open to working with the Parish Council on possible options for the village. Councillors also highlighted the need to ensure all construction traffic was directed through Attleborough, rather than through the village.

Precept. The councillors added £2000 to the Contingency Fund for village maintenance meaning that the Total Precept to apply for would be £22,310. This is slightly higher than in previous years due to larger total of grants approved and it was felt this was down to current Covid restrictions. There had been an over-spend on Green maintenance and the Play Area in the last year. The total of £22,310 was approved (6 in favour, 1 against).

Clerk’s report. The clerk had been contacted by several people regarding flooding in the village recently, particularly due to the heavy rainfall on Wednesday 23 and Thursday 24 December. Cake Street and Fen Street were the two main areas highlighted. Councillor Steve Askew will contact NCC Highways regarding possible solutions.

Chairman’s report. Terry Cook and Jonn Hicks had to clear up large amount of glass dumped in the village hall car park. The Parish Council will look into the possibility of upgrading the Village Hall security camera system with a new one as this could benefit the whole village, not just the Village Hall. The Clerk is to contact the Village Hall and Ben Devlin will investigate new camera options and costs.

Recreation Area. Fence has been inspected by councillors and appears to quite rotten in places. They will investigate replacing with a hedge rather than fencing. This will create increase in habitats, improve drainage and possibly be cheaper.

Councillors’ reports. County and Breckland councillor Steve Askew said that he had been asked about the flooding at Puddledock. The landowner has been contacted and will clear the blocked ditch. Potholes in Fen Street are particularly bad and he has chased their repair several times as they were dangerous to cyclists and cars. In the flooding just before Christmas, Cake Street was overwhelmed so he will contact Highways and look in to possible solutions. Building was still continuing in March Field Way so hopefully the site is still on track for a July finish. Adrian Joel wished to thanks the volunteers who came out to help install the Christmas tree on the Green. Will need to look at purchasing new bulbs for next Christmas. Thanks again to Dave Tranmer at the Ox and Plough for supplying the electricity. The track from the schools to the Clinic is in poor state with large potholes and a blocked drain on it caused flooding to a nearby property. The clerk to contact Highways regarding both issues. The playground bin is now unlocked but needs emptying. The clerk to chase up.

Planning. All planning applications are available for viewing on the Breckland District Council planning portal – www.breckland.gov.uk/article/2933/Search-Planning-Applications. Parish Councillors have been asked by the chairman to view the new applications in advance of the meeting

New planning applications. Land off Banham Road. Erection of a single agricultural building and new vehicular access (3PL/2020/1334/F). Many Councillors felt it was a dangerous road and an increase in traffic on there could cause problems. A proposal to support this application was lost (1 in favour, 4 against, 2 abstain).

Scales Farm, Road from Stacksford Lane to Hargham Road. Erection of new two-storey office building and demolition of external store (3PL/2020/1341/F). This would be built on existing footprint. Councillors felt it was important to support the development of local businesses. Proposal to support was approved (7 in favour).

Double Banks Farm, Old Buckenham Road, Carleton Rode, NR16 1NH. Change of use of existing waste processing/composting facility including in-vessel composting to an HCI (Household, Commercial and Industrial) waste processing and recycling facility to produce RDF (Refuse Derived Fuel) and SRF (Solid Recovered Fuel) grade material (FUL/2019/0010). Have been contacted previously but there have been updates to traffic proposal. Previously supported but concern over traffic to/from plant. Jonn Hicks informed that the Operator’s License would not allow the lorries to travel through Old Buckenham but they would have to go via Spooner Row. Proposal to support was approved (7 in favour).

(Ben Devlin lost internet connection at this point)

Land at Chalk Lane, Snetterton. The construction of an agricultural feed mill (Use Class B2) with ancillary offices and welfare facilities, creation of a new vehicular access and associated infrastructure including silos; engineering; landscaping; and ground works - this is an Environmental Impact Assessment. Additional plans, site selection documentation, job details, view point photographs and flood risk and drainage assessment (3PL/2020/0780/F). Jonn Hicks abstained from discussion and vote due to professional conflict. The councillors could not see this causing any problems for Old Buckenham. As site is near the A11, all traffic should enter straight from there. Proposal to support was approved (5 in favour, 1 abstain).

Land adjacent to Beckwood, Stacksford. Erection of Dwelling and Garage (3PL/2020/1464/F). Breckland have previously rejected this and also later on appeal. There was concern from some councillors that the utilities would struggle to cope. The building would take place on an old filled-in quarry. Propose to support was approved on the condition that all environmental protection suggestions are followed (4 in favour, 2 abstain).

Planning decisions by Breckland Council. The following applications have now been considered and the applications have been approved.

Development Site, Harlingwood Lane. Construction of a new dwelling house and detached garage (3PL/2020/1016/F).

Land to rear of development plot between Willow Cottage and Fen Street. Change of use of agricultural land to garden (3PL/2020/1075/F)

Land between Willow Cottage and Priest Hill Cottage Fen Street. Technical Details Consent for erection of one dwelling and garage (Permission in Principle reference 3PL/2019/1258/PIP (3PL/2020/1076/TDC).

Acer House, The Green. Single Storey Side Extension (3PL/2020/1248/HOU).

Old Buckenham Country Park, Doe Lane. Forty additional camping pitches and forty additional touring caravan pitches (3PL/2020/1007/F).

The following application has now been considered and the application has been refused. Rear of 41 Hargham Road. Detached Single Storey New Residential Dwelling and construction and two-bay cart lodge (3PL/2020/1217/O).

Items for next agenda. Subjects will include a possible hedge at Recreation area, Village Hall security cameras and suggestions for using any Community Involvement Fund benefits as a result of the potential solar farm.

The next Parish Council meeting will be held, via Zoom, on Thursday 4 February at 7.30pm. 

Thursday, 14 January 2021

Services in Old Buckenham

 Meeting at All Saints Church

Although All Saints Church has not been organising formal 9.30am services at the church, those who wanted to meet have been joining an informal gathering on Sunday mornings and the monthly 8am Communion Service has still happened.  However, a letter has been received from the Bishop of Norwich. Bishop Graham has explained that whilst worship with a congregation present is still permitted, he feels it is necessary to change this.  He says " I would now strongly encourage all incumbents, churchwardens and PCCs not to have physically present worship (except funerals and urgent marriages) in the next few weeks. The risks are now too great, even with all of the precautions that we have so painstakingly put in place."
The Churchwardens and the PCC agree and will follow his lead and move back to online gatherings only.
The good news is that the church door is left open so that All Saints is available to all who may need it as a place for private prayer and reflection.

Monday, 4 January 2021

Miles for Old Buckenham Mill

 A Virtual Fitness Challenge

The Friends of Old Buckenham Windmill are looking for people to sign up to walking or running 500, 1000 or 2000 miles (or indeed any distance that represents a personal challenge for you) in 2021, with a sponsorship target of at least £100 per participant, towards the restoration of our mill. It's not about speed or being an elite athlete - anybody can take part at their own pace and commit to exercise throughout 2021.

The Friends are now able to accept formal registrations - you can do this by joining the new Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/obmillmiles2021 or for anybody not on Facebook, you can email contact@oldbuckenhamwindmill.org.uk

 In the group, you will find trackers to download and you can share progress and encouragement with other participants. This is a private group for participants only. The organisers are working on the best way to accept sponsorship and donations, to make use of gift aid wherever possible and will advise once this is ready. Please get walking or running in the mean time!

Saturday, 2 January 2021

Church services in Old Buckenham

You can still pop in

For information of villagers, the Church of England has advised that services can continue under Tier 4 at the discretion of the local incumbent. The Parochial Church Council at Old Buckenham have decided that they cannot take the risks of meeting all the rules and so have decided that for the time being no services will take place at All Saints. The Church will however remain open during the week. If anyone would like to meet up at 9.30am on a Sunday for a very informal prayer meeting or readings they are most welcome. There is no guarantee who will turn up and if anyone does it will be up to them to decided who will lead the session.