Saturday, 27 March 2021

Plant sale in Old Buckenham

Pop in for a pop up potted plant sale

Go along to the Old Buckenham Gardening Retreat over this Easter weekend to buy some organically-grown plants. Available on Saturday 3 April between 10am to noon and on Sunday 4 April from 2pm to 4pm at the Gardening Retreat in the Country Park along Doe Lane.

Plants available include:

•broad beans
•spring/summer cabbage
•kohl rabi
•onion sets
•globe artichoke
•herbs: parsley, mint, coriander and basil
There will be more as the season progresses and the weather warms up
All funds will go back into the running of the project where they aim to support wellbeing through gardening and reconnecting with nature. The plants are all grown organically which is not only better for us, it will hugely support the insects, birds and animals too.

Thursday, 25 March 2021

Restoring Old Buckenham Mill

Windmill repair work now uncovered

Repaired brickwork, replaced windows and sparkling white paint now on view for all to see.

Thursday, 18 March 2021

Old Buckenham Parish Council minutes

 Notes on March council meeting

These notes were 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 4 March at 7:30pm. Those present were councillors Jonn Hicks (Chair), Steve Milner, Adrian Joel, Terry Cook, Andy Nicholls, Naomi Bailey and Ben Devlin. Also present were Rachel Noyes (Clerk), County and District councillor Steve Askew as well as four members of the public. Mike Farrington again sent his apologies as he was unable to get a good computer signal to the Zoom site.

The minutes of the previous meeting held on Thursday 4 February were approved (7 in favour). There were no corrections or matters arising.

Financial matters. The Community account balance currently stood at £32,448.81.

Payments totalling £1,319.75 were approved (7 in favour). The Brownies had enquired about receiving their approved Precept Grant early due to difficulty in paying insurance despite being unable to open to the public. It was agreed to pay the £750 now as a loan, which would then be repaid from the Grant in April.

The Grant application form is to be updated for future applications to clearly explain that Grants will be paid out in April, once money is received from Breckland Council, as there have been several queries recently.

Public Participation relating to agenda items. A member of the public requested that the Parish Council log an objection to the appeal (3PL/2020/0578/O Appeal). While you can only object with new information, the member of the public highlighted there was potentially new information that hadn’t been released. They also showed concern that the appeal stated that the Old Buckenham housing target of 17 was a minimum target and so should not be used as a reason to reject it.

A member of the public highlighted that the posts around Manor Pond had been hit by a car and needed replacing. The clerk to inform Highways.

Parish Partnership Scheme. In December the parish council quickly applied for funds from the Parish Partnership Scheme (PPS) to contribute towards traffic safety measures for Abbey Road. While a decision has not yet been made on the application, councillor Steve Askew met with Highways to discuss potential ideas that would make it safer for pedestrians needing to cross in front of the High School in order to reach the Primary School. Firstly, two “wig wags” (speed flashing signs) could be placed on the road with one located before the bend for traffic coming in to the village along Abbey Road and the other on the approach to the schools from the traffic lights. Secondly, it was thought that a suggested crossing point should be installed as it could prevent people crossing near the corner and be easier for drivers to predict where people were likely to cross. Because of the number of roads/turnings at this location, it was difficult to find an obvious crossing point but it was suggested that pedestrians could cross on to the turning island before crossing the road. This would not be a set crossing but a suggested route through the use of dropped kerbs and a rough path on the edge of the island. This would also prevent people crossing in front of the High School gates. In total, this would cost approx. £10,000 and if the PPS application is successful, the parish council would only be expected to pay half. Steve Askew would also look at supporting the scheme with a donation from his Personal Budget. A proposal to support the suggestions made and start the planning process was approved (7 in favour). The parish council wished to thank Steve Askew for his help in instigating the process, meeting with Highways and helping to make our village safer. The clerk is to liaise with councillor Askew.

Additionally, there has been regular contact with Highways regarding work. Several dangerous potholes have been filled and a ditch on Fen Street cleared. The condition of Hargham Rodd in general will also be raised.

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. Land off Banham Road. Erection of a single agricultural building and new vehicular access. Access amended and sited further south (3PL/2020/1334/F). This had been rejected previously and there was a need for consistency. A proposal to object was approved (7 in favour).

Development Site, Hargham Road. Erection of four dwellings and garages- technical details consent following application 3PL/2020/0117/PIP (3PL/2021/0210/TDC). (Ben Devlin was required to abstain from discussion due to conflict of interest)

The PIP application was approved by Breckland despite Parish Council objection. All councillors agreed that the footpath connecting new properties to the village is vital for safety and the construction process needs to be well managed to avoid problems. Proposal to approve application was ageed (6 in favour, 1 abstain) on the condition that the footpath is built and signed off before first occupancy and that a Construction Management Plan, which includes wheel washers and no parking on road, is in place.

Land off Attleborough Road, NR17 1QB. Ground-mounted solar photovoltaic (PV) farm along with continued agricultural use, ancillary infrastructure and security fencing, landscaping provision, ecological enhancements and associated works (3PL/2021/0236/F). Councillors felt it was a detailed and considerate application but would emphasise the importance of construction and maintenance traffic going through Attleborough to the A11 and not through Old Buckenham. Proposal to support was approved (7 in favour).

22 Oaklands. Proposed garage extension to rear to provide workshop area (3PL/2021/0271/HOU). Councillors could see no problems to the application. Proposal to support was approved (7 in favour).

The Gamekeeper Public House, The Green. Replacement of structurally damaged roof timbers (including removal, storage and reuse of roof tiles) and associated repair works where necessary (3PL/2021/0272/LB). Councillors understood the need for the work in order to preserve the building for any future use. Proposal to support was approved (7 in favour).

Roughlands Farm, Grove Road. Prior Approval for Change of use of Agricultural Building to a Dwelling (permitted development). The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015 (as amended) Schedule 2, Part 3, Class Q (3PN/2021/0013/UC). Councillors have previously objected to several applications on this site but they have been withdrawn before decisions. A proposal to object was approved (7 in favour).

Appeal against Breckland Council decision. An appeal has been made to the Secretary of State against the decision of Breckland Council to refuse planning permission on the application for five residential dwellings on land west of Attleborough Road (3PL/2020/0578/O Appeal). The Parish Council’s original comments against the application have been forwarded on to the Inspector. While a resident had questioned if there was new information about the application, the Parish Council felt that there was nothing they could add to their original comment, based on the information that was available to them.

The Chairman Jonn Hicks explained his frustration that residents will get very vocal about planning applications which directly affect them or if they are highlighted on social media. There have been a lot of opinions about this particular application but very little interest in other applications in the village which have the potential to have a far greater impact on our community. Jonn encouraged everyone to stay up to date on local planning applications (either through the Breckland Planning website or through Parish Council meetings) and also to state their opinions to Breckland Council directly. The more voices the better.

Track repair (village shop to phone box). Residents had been in contact to highlight the large, permanent puddles that were on the track during winter. It is a track which receives a large footfall as it leads to the crossing/schools from the shop. As the water is unable to drain away, there is a lot of muddy standing water during winter months. It also creates problems for residents living beside the track, as they have a large volume of mud outside their front doors. It was highlighted by several councillors that the majority of damage is done by the cars of the residents that live there. If it was just a footpath, then there would not be the same level of stones pushed off. Jonn Hicks questioned if it was fair to ask all villagers to pay for repairing a track which is being damaged by a few residents accessing their homes. A proposal to investigate cost-effective solutions and ask residents that live off the track to make a donation towards its repair was approved (7 in favour).

Clerk’s report. A dog bin application for Harlingwood Lane has been rejected. Thanks are due to Phil Little for fixing a new backing to the village noticeboard. He will also make noticeboards for the phone box but is struggling to get hold of decent hardwood at the moment. The village hall committee were happy with proposed new camera system and Terry Cook is liaising to arrange installation. Speaking to Playdale to arrange new swings and an inspection of the play area. They have only just started opening up again. Our MP George Freeman has written to Breckland Council against the proposed Weather Radar.

A memorial bench for Bill Wardman will be placed outside the Almshouses (exact position to be decided). Family have sent proposed design. Some councillors would have preferred that it was made of recycled materials instead of oak but the family have offered to take responsibility of maintenance. The Parish Council will pay for the concrete base, family will pay for installation. A proposal to agree design and general location was approved (7 in favour).

Village Green Working Party. The Working Party had emailed some questions for discussion/approval. Will the Ox and Plough and the Gamekeeper be charged rent this year? The Ox and Plough was not charged last year due to pandemic and so will be charged this year. Price has not changed for a long time, therefore will go up to £550 this year and will rise each year in line with inflation. The council doesn’t know who owns the Gamekeeper or what their plans are yet so will hold off charging until owners have been contacted.

Will the Parish Council approve £1000 charge for cutting the Green again this year? Councillors were under the impression that there were to be three cuts throughout the year but there has only been two in recent years. The Clerk to request detailed quote for full discussion next month. Public Liability Certificate is also needed for anyone who works on the Green.

Road Safety. Bluetooth now working and Steve Milner has managed to download data from last couple of days from the equipment in Cake Street. He was pleased to see majority were at 30mph but speeds up to 51mph were recorded. A new battery needed for mobile SAM sign on Crown Road.

Councillors’ reports. Adrian Joel asked what would the price of hedging for the Recreation Area be? Jonn Hicks explained that he will be calculating required amounts this month. Will we be able to hold Annual Village Meeting in the Village Hall in May? Jonn Hicks explained that restrictions will not be lifted by then to allow public meetings so it will have to be postponed. The AGM date will also have to be considered. Andy Nicholls sad he had someone who can help cut the grass in the Recreation ground. Jonn Hicks explained he has a volunteer who is willing to do this and Ben Devlin offered his ride-on-lawnmower that can be used.

Items for next agenda. These would include the cutting of the Green and recruitment of a potential new councillor

The next Parish Council meeting will be held, via Zoom, on Thursday 1 April starting at 7.30pm.

Saturday, 13 March 2021

Old Buckenham Gardening Retreat

 Get involved

Old Buckenham Gardening Retreat would like to welcome everyone from the village to their new Community Garden at Old Buckenham Country Park in Doe Lane. It’s situated directly in front of the cafe on the hill.

In the future it will be offering a wide variety of garden-based courses for all age groups. The garden will also be open Thursdays to Sundays (times yet to be announced) for people to volunteer or to simply relax and unwind.

Over the coming months there will be organic and sustainable vegetable plants for sale to raise funds for the project. These are currently being grown off site until they get a polytunnel at The Retreat.

The organisers are currently looking for materials to build a shed or shelter for The Retreat. This will ensure the garden can be available to everyone in all weathers.

If you want to know more or can help in any way please contact Jessica via the 'Old Buckenham Gardening Retreat' Facebook page or email

Sunday, 7 March 2021

See more of Old Buckenham Mill

Like a striptease

More of the mill is now visible as the scaffolding is taken down including the repaired brickwork and the window frames.

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.