Saturday, 15 May 2021

Old Buckenham Parish Council

May Parish Council minutes 

The following notes were written by the newsletter editor from the draft minutes so may contain information that is amended at a later date.

A meeting of the Old Buckenham Parish Council was held on Thursday 6 May at 7.30pm via Zoom. Those present were councillors Jonn Hicks, Steve Milner, Adrian Joel, Terry Cook, Andy Nicholls and Naomi Bailey. Also attending were Rachel Noyes (Clerk), District and County councillor Steve Askew and three members of the public.

A minute’s silence was held in memory of ex-Parish Councillor Terry Cracknell who recently passed away.

Election of Chair and Vice Chair. Jonn Hicks was elected as Chair (5 in favour, 1 abstain) and Steve Milner elected Vice Chair (5 in favour, 1 abstain).

Apologies for absence. Mike Farington had sent his apologies. Ben Devlin was absent.

Minutes. The minutes of the meeting held on Thursday 1 April were approved (4 in favour, 1 abstain). Steve Milner lost internet connection and was unable to vote. There were no matters arising.

Financial matters. The bank balance now stands at £40,191.69 (this includes monies received from Breckland District Council of £11,155 and a VAT claim of £1,095.99).

Payments of £1162.70 were approved (5 in favour) including £554.32 for insurance and £165.55 to community car drivers.

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. Coal Storage Yard, Road from Stacksford Lane to Hargham Road. Outline Planning Application for 5no Dwellings (3PL/2021/0500/O). Councillors highlighted that the proposed plot is situated on a single track road with difficult and dangerous junctions at either end. It is also outside the settlement boundary and has the potential to result in the loss of a large amount of hedgerow. The proposed dwellings are mainly bungalows and would provide greater variety to the demographic of properties being built in the village. The main concern was that of road safety and how increasing the number of vehicles on this road could potentially result in an increase in accidents. Highways have not yet submitted their comments but councillors were keen to see their opinion and whether any improvements would be suggested in order to make junctions safer. A proposal to ask for an extension in order to see Highways comments and any potential improvements was approved (5 in favour).

Land at Poplar Farm, Fen Road. Permission in Principle for a New Self Build Single Storey Residential dwelling for a disabled person (Town and Country Planning Act 1990 Town and Country Planning (Permission in Principle) (Amendment) Order 2017).(3PL/2021/0544/PIP). Previous applications have been rejected by both Old Buckenham Parish Council and Breckland District Council. It is on a narrow single track lane and is situated on a corner. A proposal to object on the grounds of road safety was approved (5 in favour).

Westward, The Green. To convert Clay Lump Barn to residential dwelling (3PL/2021/0570/F). Councillors had no objections with the proposed plans. A proposal to support was approved (4 in favour, 1 abstain) on the condition that guidance on historic buildings is adhered to.

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

22 Oaklands. Proposed garage extension to rear to provide workshop area (3PL/2021/0271/HOU).

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).

Downmore Farm House, Banham Road. Creation of first floor addition to existing single-storey annexe which is part of main dwelling (3PL/2021/0327/HOU).

The following applications have now been considered and the applications have been refused. 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).

Part of Anglian Water Drilling Unit site, Abbey Road. Erection of a 24.46m high radar tower and associated comms cabin (3PL/2021/0091/F). Thanks are due to Councillor Steve Askew, Andy Nicholls and resident Alison Gilmore who spoke at Breckland Planning Committee regarding the Radar Tower application. The facts were supported with passion and from the heart from everyone. The Parish Council agreed that it was also a great example of a community making a stand and working together, from the residents up to the local MP.

Working Parties. The members were decided.

Personnel Committee: Steve Milner, Ben Devlin, Mike Farrington

Play Area Working Party: Jonn Hicks, Naomi Bailey, Kerry Talbot (resident).

Recreation Area Working Party: Jonn Hicks, Andy Nicholls.

SNAP: Steve Milner.

Old Buckenham Village Hall: Terry Cook.

Allotments: Adrian Joel.

OBPC website: Steve Milner, Rachel Noyes.

Old Buckenham Green Rights: Andy Nicholls.

Almshouses Trust: Ben Devlin.

Village Green Working Party: Andy Nicholls, Adrian Joel, Sarah Dye (Green Right Proprietor), Allison Frank (Green Right Proprietor), Lord of the Manor, John Fernihough (resident).

Eleemonosynary Trust: Jonn Hicks.

Neighbourhood Plan: Steve Milner, Ben Devlin, John Hicks, Adrian Joel, Mike Farrington, Terry Cook, Andy Nicholls, Naomi Bailey.

Public Rights of Way (PROW): Steve Milner, Terry Cook.

School Liaison Officer: Naomi Bailey.

Tree work on Green. Green Working Party members met with the Breckland Tree Officer to conduct a survey of all trees on the Green and any potential work required. Report was submitted to the Parish Council asking what work the Parish Council wanted them to do. Councillors struggled to make a decision as there were no detailed quotes comparing the price of completing all work now versus spread out over a time period. The Parish Council also wanted a clear proposal, detailing what work was to be completed and when. The Parish Council were also aware that they have spent a significant amount of money in the last few years on tree maintenance and wanted to understand how much of the Green Working Party budget remained. The Clerk is to request detailed quotes and proposals from Green Working Party and a balance sheet update for their 5 year budget plan. A proposal to set aside £1000 in the budget for the Parish Council to use for emergency tree work was approved (5 in favour).

Playground. The playground tractor is in a poor state of repair and, despite being repaired many times, now needs replacing. Quote from Playdale for new tractor and tunnel trailer is £5,205 + VAT. This includes delivery, removal and disposal of rubbish and installation. Grants may be available but it could take a long time to get and tractor needs replacing urgently as it could cause potential failure of an Inspection. Proposal to order the tractor and enquire about delaying inspection until after tractor is replaced was approved (4 in favour, 1 abstain).

Due to the high maintenance costs of the playground, the Parish Council have decided to look at fundraising ideas for the replacement of the tractor and any future maintenance. Naomi Bailey suggested the idea of a scarecrow trail around the village, which villagers could pay to enter and to sell maps, with a prize for the winner. Suggestion was made of having an Olympics theme and holding between Friday 23 July and Sunday 8 August (during Olympics). Naomi Bailey agreed to organise.

Clerk’s report. A resident had contacted PC with concerns regarding traffic on Hargham Road during SUE construction. The Clerk has emailed Breckland for confirmation that road will not be used and they have replied that a Traffic Management Plan is currently being drawn up for Phase 1 for approval and which the Parish Council will be consulted on.

Green Working Party (GWP). The GWP have sent a report providing summary of the current situation with the Green and annual maintenance. This report is reproduced at the end of these notes.

Road Safety. The SAM sign has been moved to Attleborough Road. Steve Milner is still having IT issues when analysing the recorded data but working on it. He will look at setting up the Community Speed Watch groups soon.

Play Area. All playground bins to be emptied by Serco. There was some confusion about how many they were supposed to empty but this is now clarified. The toddler swings have been replaced and some concrete ground down after being notified by resident as a potential trip hazard.

Recreation Area. The existing wooden fence to be removed so that it is safe. Donation of 300 laurel plants offered from Besthorpe Garden Centre. Looking to plant them in September.

Councillors’ reports. Steve Askew said that work to improve crossing by the school entrances was on track for work to be completed during summer holidays. Pot holes filled in on Grove Road and Mill Road to Hargham Road, one may have been missed but he will chase up.

Andy Nicholls thought that the Parish Council should highlight the work involved and success of preventing the Weather Radar tower from being built in the village. Rachel Noyes is to write an article for inclusion in the village newsletter.

Items for next agenda. These would include the Annual Governance and Accountability Return (AGAR) forms.

The next Parish Council meeting will be held on Thursday 3 June starting at 7.30pm in Old Buckenham Village Hall. Information regarding attendance in a Covid-safe manner is to follow.


The village Green and the Green Working Party (GWP).

The Green covers a total of 42 acres, seven being woodland and 39 rough grassland, ponds and tracks. It is leased by the Parish Council for about 25 years from The Lord of the Manor and the Green Rights Proprietors. In accordance with the provisions of the lease the committee comprises two Green Rights Proprietors, representative of the Lord of the Manor, two members of the Parish Council and two parishioners.

The only income from the Green is about £500 from wayleaves (for electricity poles), £550 payment from Ox and Plough for Green usage, and a further payment (amount to be agreed) from The Gamekeeper for usage of the forecourt of the business. At present this totals just over £1000 a year.

The GWP has an allocation of £3000 per year from the Parish Council to spend on maintenance such a mowing and tree work, with any proposed spending over £200 to be agreed by the Parish Council.

The Green is mown twice yearly and the grass under the trees annually. The grass has no value, due to the poor quality, weed burden, etc and contamination with soil from the multiple mole hills. There is also some rubbish contamination. The cut grass is left to dry out, due to the cost of removing and disposing of it, as it is valueless.

Every year the GWP look at the environmental issues. There are those who do not want the Green mown at all, some want it mown once, in July, and others who would like to see it mown monthly. The GWP take a pragmatic view and normally mow it twice a year. This year they are to leave a large central part of the main Green unmown until the autumn (mown once to encourage wild flower growth, etc) but will undertake to mow footpaths through the long grass for the community to use. The cost of the mowing will be £1000, covered by the Green income, as mentioned earlier.

Tree management has been an expensive item but the GWG seem to be on top of it now, no trees blew over in this winter’s gales. The Group have just completed a tree survey, with the Breckland Council Tree Officer, to identify any trees at risk and will now propose a management plan for the next few years. Eighty “new” trees were planted last autumn at no cost to the Parish Council.

All the paths and ponds that fall within the Green are in reasonable order, no spending envisaged. Because of the pandemic the Group has not had a meeting since last August but the management continues at a distance. The organised village litter picks to remove rubbish, etc, from the Green have been difficult at the present time.

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