Monday, 28 June 2021

Old Buckenham almshouses

 Assist the Almshouses

Do you have a little time to spare? Would you like to volunteer for a new role within Old Buckenham? The Robert Cocks Almshouse charity is looking for new trustees to help manage their almshouses on the village Green. Experience with building maintenance would be beneficial, although not essential, as would an understanding of financial planning and/or the needs of our older population.  A willingness to help other people is the most important quality they are looking for in a Trustee. 

The Robert Cocks Almshouses Charity consists of 10 homes in a Grade 2 listed building, founded in 1860. It provides accommodation for the residents, who need to be over 55 years, with a strong connection to Old Buckenham and can demonstrate a need for assistance. Working with a board of fellow trustees, the role would particularly suit someone from the local area who is able to attend a minimum of four meetings a year. Pre-Covid, meetings are normally held at 7.45pm on Tuesdays. To apply please send a brief application letter, with details of any relevant experience or interests, by email, in confidence to the Chair, Canon Steve Wright, at

Monday, 14 June 2021

Latest from Old Buckenham Parish Council

Parish Council minutes for June

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

Old Buckenham Parish Council met on Thursday 3 June in Old Buckenham Village Hall. Those present were councillors Jonn Hicks (Chair), Steve Milner, Adrian Joel, Terry Cook, Naomi Bailey and Mike Farrington. Also attending were Rachel Noyes (Clerk), Donna Oakley (RFO) and two members of the public. Apologies for absence were received from Andy Nicholls and Ben Devlin. Steve Milner was late in arriving.

The minutes of the meeting held on Thursday 6 May were approved (4 in favour, 1 abstain). Arising from these minutes Adrian Joel raised the issue that while Working Parties were updated last month, some councillors were lacking in commitment to their roles. Terry Cook highlighted that a lack of structure and nominated chairperson for each Working Party is the major contributor to the problem so the subject should be discussed in depth next month.

(SM arrived)

Financial matters. The Community account balance presently stands at £36,730.69.

Payments of £4,352.47 were approved (6 in favour) including to Playdale (tractor deposit of £3,123.33), community car drivers £24.75 and Brent Hibbert (bench plinth) £396.

Donna Oakley proposed that a bonus payment of £250 be paid to Rachel Noyes for her hard work over the last year. This was approved (6 in favour).

Annual Governance and Accountability Return (AGAR). Donna Oakley provided a breakdown of the Parish Council finances for the last year. She highlighted that the Parish Council had spent less than expected and that there was significant spending on the Green (a full breakdown of Green expenses will be supplied soon). In February next year, the Parish Council will need to look at and assess the depreciation of assets. Donna Oakley was thanked for all her hard work and a proposal to accept the AGAR finances and to send for auditing was approved (6 in favour).

Public participation relating to agenda items. A proposed new property (planning application 3PL/2021/0781/F will be accessed via the existing driveway which has the gate set back slightly to allow for greater visibility for drivers. Property will be used for the couple as they get older. There was once a previous property on the land but exact location not known.

Breckland Councillor Steve Askew has been helping to raise the issue with Breckland Council concerning litter in Prince Harry’s Wood but little is being done (Breckland Council own the land on which the woods are located). The Parish Council will try and help resolve the issue.

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. Laurel Tree Centre, The Green. Change of use of consultation osteopath clinic with 1 bedroom flat to one residential dwelling (3PL/2021/0634/F). No objections. A proposal to support was approved (6 in favour).

45 Fen Street. The removal of the existing conservatory to the rear of the dwelling with a new single-storey extension and a new two-storey extension to the front of the dwelling (3PL/2021/0681/HOU). A proposal to support was approved (6 in favour).

Oak Lodge, 2 Fen Street. Proposed Single Storey Rear Extension (3PL/2021/0709/HOU). There are two windows on the plan which will overlook a neighbouring property. One is a bathroom and the second is a bedroom. Neighbouring properties should not be overlooked and lack of privacy is a valid reason for objection. Proposal to support on the condition that the issues of the windows is resolved was approved (6 in favour).

Hunters House Access Roads in and around Old Buckenham Hall. Erection of a 5m x 3.5m wood cabin within the front garden for use as a small dog grooming business (3PL/2021/0721/F). The property is accessed via a Right of Access on neighbour’s property. Proposal to support was approved (5 in favour, 1 abstain).

Coal Storage Yard. Road from Stacksford Lane to Hargham Road. Outline Planning Application for 5 no. Dwellings (3PL/2021/0500/O). Breckland Council granted an extension to the Parish Council to allow time for Highways to submit their viewpoint. However this has not occurred. All Councillors felt strongly that this was a dangerous, narrow road with blind junctions either side of the proposed site. It is also outside the Village Boundary and the housing quota has already been met. A proposal to object was approved (6 in favour).

Snetterton Farm, Banham Road. Erection of bungalow and garage including workshop/store (3PL/2021/0781/F). While the property is located off a narrow road, the property would be accessed via an existing driveway, which has good visibility. Proposal to support was approved (6 in favour).

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

The New Agricultural Barn, Land adjacent to The Roughlands Farm, Grove Road. Variation of Condition nos 2 and 3 on 3PL/2020/1334/F ( Erection of a single agricultural building and new vehicular access (3PL/2021/0429/VAR).

Standing Orders Review. There are no proposed changes. Proposal to accept was approved (6 in favour)

Phone box noticeboards. Thanks to Phil Little for installation of new noticeboards in the phone box by Rod Alley Row. It will be used as an ‘information hub’ about the Parish Council, the Green and the village in general. Ideas for what could go on these boards included Parish Council to display agendas/minutes, maps of local walks for visitors, information about plants/trees that can be found on the Green and possible activity sheet for children. Also spare copies of Village Newsletter to be displayed. Naomi Bailey will collate information and display. The noticeboards will not be used to display advertisements for local businesses. The Village shop and Newsletter already provide advertising space and the Parish Council do not wish to take revenue away from them.

Website. The Parish Council website could do with updating. The present councillors lack the skills to make it as good as it could be. They will start by looking to see if there is anybody in the village with the necessary skills and willing to help by sending out a request via Facebook and Village Newsletter. Could also look at creating a logo/header for the Parish Council to provide some consistency across their many platforms of communication.

Chairman’s report. Jonn Hicks will suggest the date of Friday 13 September for joint Village Hall and Parish Council meeting. Volunteers will cut the grass around the benches/signs soon. Thanks are due to Martin from the Ox and Plough for cutting the playground grass while the chairman is unable to do it. There will be no Parish Council meeting in August. The clerk is away and will be unable to minute the meeting.

Green Working Party (GWP). The Green will be cut once wildflowers have gone to seed. In order to try and find a balance between encouraging nature yet usable for the public, an area in the middle of the Green will be left uncut. Footpaths will continue to be cut in this area and around the Green when needed. The GWP will be meeting on Wednesday 16 June. The plinth for Bill Wardman’s memorial bench has been completed near the Almshouses. The clerk is to liaise with Bill’s family about the installation of the bench.

Play Area. Playdale have been in contact regarding installation of the new tractor. It will take place during week starting Monday 12 July and should take one day (exact date to be provided closer to time). The Church Rooms have kindly agreed to allow use of their toilets and outside tap which will eliminate need for portaloo to be provided. Container on the original quote will not be needed, thereby reducing total cost by £422. Phil Little will remove old tractor the week before. Playground will need to be closed to the public during these works. Rope and connectors (including some spares) to be ordered for climbing rope.

Recreation Area. Recreation ground needs cutting and fence removing. Jonn Hicks to arrange.

Councillors’ reports. District and County councillor Steve Askew had been in contact via email. Blocked drains between Scales Farm and Hargham Road have been booked for clearing. Pot holes on Fen Street (near Fen Road junction) and B1077 (between Doe Lane and Ragmere Road) have been booked in too. Further points to be raised with Steve Askew included pot holes on St Andrews Close, pot holes in the Danbrigg area and traffic speeds in Quiet Lanes.

Terry Cook said he will attend a meeting on Friday 18 June between Village Hall, NCC Highways, Steve Askew and Primary School representatives regarding the road leading to the Primary School and Village Hall. They are hoping to resolve the issue about payment for repairs to the road.

Naomi Bailey is starting to get entries for the Scarecrow Trail which will include all the village including Stacksford. Steve Milner is looking at setting up a Gorilla Poetry event. This will involve poetry around the village for people to visit and discuss.

Items for next agenda. Will include Working Parties/participation and the Queen’s Platinum Anniversary in 2022.

The next Parish Council meeting to be held on Thursday 1 July at 7.30pm in Old Buckenham Village Hall. 

Saturday, 5 June 2021

Old Buckenham parish council in masks.

 Requirement to meet in person

Parish and Town councils now have to meet together in person rather than via Zoom or any other similar system. This is the scene in the village hall last Thursday when the June meeting took place - socially distant, window and doors open and with all members wearing their face coverings.

Wednesday, 2 June 2021

Old Buckenham cyclists' adventure

 Cycling across England

Hugh and Francis Darrah finished their own customised version of the Way of the Roses at Runswick Bay, just north of Whitby on Monday 24 May. They had started from Morcambe the previous Friday in heavy rain which eased after a couple of hours. The rest of the 145 miles was a mixture of overcast and sunshine with either a gentle crosswind or a favourable tail wind. 

Leaving Lancashire quite quickly they passed through the Yorkshire Dales and descended into the Vale of York from Brimham Rocks, passing through the grounds of Fountains Abbey before a quick excursion around Ripon. A brief climb in the Howardian Hills took them through Ampleforth and onto Pickering before a glorious south to north crossing of the North York Moors brought them to the coast at Runswick Bay. They finished at the bank top before walking down the 1 in 4 road that leads to the sea. 

Lydia Darrah had supported them all the way with lunch stops and they all met together in b&bs or pubs for the overnight stops. They have admitted walking up a few of the steeper hills but their Norfolk training paid off and they made it without feeling completely exhausted and are looking forward to another challenge on their bikes.