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 – 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. 

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