Monday, 18 October 2021

Latest on Old Buckenham Parish Council

 Parish Council meeting in October

The following notes of the meeting have been written by the village newsletter editor from the draft minutes so may contain information that is amended at a later date.

Old Buckenham Parish Council meeting was held on Thursday 7 October in Old Buckenham Village Hall. Those present were councillors Steve Milner (Chair), Adrian Joel, Naomi Bailey, Doug Irons and Mike Farrington as well as Rachel Noyes (Clerk), Elizabeth Burrows from Attcare and six members of the public. Councillors Terry Cook and Andy Nicholls had sent their apologies.

Minutes of the meeting held on Thursday 2 September. Minutes approved (4 in favour, 1 abstain) with addition that comments from a member of the public supporting the Ox and Plough were read out. They highlighted the fact that the Bikes on the Green event was supported by many in the community.

Matters arising from these minutes. The chairman had spoken to a workman regarding the Recreation Ground fencing. There are enough posts to make the two end fences safe (next to the car park and Chapel Green School road). Intend to leave side next to the Primary School open as there is already a hedgerow on other side of footpath. This was approved (5 in favour).

He has spoken to press regarding the Radar Tower appeal. Commissioned bat survey received which states there are many species of bats in the area (several of which are endangered). As bats can be affected by radar, it provides a strong ecological argument against the Radar Tower. No notification yet from Breckland Council of the Appeal, only a message from the Met Office of their intentions. The Solar Farm was well received at Planning Committee but will need to speak in detail regarding the Grant for the Parish.

The Clerk said the footpath in front of the schools was being well used by pedestrians and seems to be effective in controlling where people are crossing. Also benefiting drivers who know where pedestrians will be crossing. Poles for flashing speeds signs (wigwags) are installed. There is a small delay on the actual signs but should be installed soon. Abbey Road near the Anglian Water site will be closed from Monday 25 to Wednesday 27 October. The handrail is now installed next to ramp for the bench outside the Almshouses. The Bus Shelter has been covered in graffiti again. Culprits are unknown but Naomi Bailey has offered to liaise with the High School about this issue as students are one of the main users of the bus stop. Graffiti has been painted over but the bus shelter needs re-paint anyway so looking for volunteers to do this.

Mike Farrington reported that a permissive path in the village has been closed. Terry Cook of the Footpaths Working Party was absent so discussion to be postponed until next month.

Naomi Bailey said the Playground had been inspected in the last month and had passed. The report said safety items were mostly low/very low risk from wear and tear, with a few moderate risk items that need addressing. Many can be solved by local tradesmen so she will go through the report and prioritise work required and costings. Also looking at any longer term solutions that would be more cost effective. 

News from Adrian Joel included that he will speak to the vicar and arrange road closure for Remembrance Sunday. The Clerk to arrange wreaths and it is hoped that as many Councillors as possible will attend. It had been suggested that the War Memorial might need cleaning. The Clerk researched this subject and the War Memorials Trust advise cleaning only when truly necessary as over cleaning can cause damage to the stone. A Christmas tree has been ordered and the lights have been repaired and improved. Switch on event will be on Sunday 12 December at 4pm. Ox and Plough are going to organise an event with a band and has also kindly offered to pay for the electricity for tree. Naomi Bailey to create a poster for the event.

Financial matters. The Community account balance now stands at £24,150.05. Payments for approval (5 in favour), which totalled £1,811.24, included the cost of the annual audit, the new handrail, paper for the village newsletter during 2022, grass cutting and strimming as well as payments to the community car drivers. The charity annual return has been filed.

Public Participation relating to agenda items. The need for a Neighbourhood Plan (NP) was first raised six years ago yet there has still been no action on it. The village needs to decide what they want included and get things moving. Steve Milner explained that it requires a lot of time and people to commit to and complete a Neighbourhood Plan. The Parish Council are looking to use New Buckenham’s Neighbourhood Plan as a template (nearly complete and approved after over four years of work). The Parish Council is there to help support the Neighbourhood Plan group but it is actually a community project that requires residents to lead and participate. First step is to get a group formed and Doug Irons is to research the structure and organisation required of a Neighbourhood Plan group.

AttCare Presentation by Elizabeth Burrows. Attcare is a charity that was set up as part of the Attleborough Neighbourhood Plan in order to find out what health and social care provisions are available and required for Attleborough and surrounding villages. Attleborough’s Health Practice is already very over-stretched due to a huge growth in population in the area without improvements to the infrastructure or services. Many services are now being held elsewhere, such as Wymondham and Norwich. A survey of the services available and what was required was completed six years ago and found significant gaps but this information is now out of date. The Government is going to provide five major towns in Norfolk funding to improve Health and Social Care and Attleborough is hoping to be selected. Attcare is acting as a facilitator by highlighting the needs and requirements of the town and neighbouring villages in order to improve its chances of selection for the funding. In order to do this, a new research survey is required. The survey is completed by UEA and has been split in to two halves. The first half has been completed and has established the facts around the current health and social care situation in Attleborough. Attcare is £3,500 short of its target to commission the second half of the report which will look at recommendations for improvements. All Parishes that use Attleborough health services are being asked if they can contribute towards this cost, with many donating. Steve Milner enquired about whether developers have donated and it was explained that they are contributing through ‘section 106’ funding. Attcare wishes to address many health and social care services including minor injuries, palliative care, mental health care, training to help increase staff numbers and supported living.

Councillors felt that these services are important to many residents of Old Buckenham and Attcare should be supported in its work to make significant improvements. Proposal to donate £500 was approved (5 in favour).

New planning applications received before the meeting. Old Hall, Harlingwood Lane. Replacement dwelling (3PL/2021/1251/F). Looking to tear down a 16th century building and replace it. There is extensive damage to the current property. Not a listed building but classed as ‘non designation heritage asset of significant local interest’. Councillors felt they would rather see restoration of current property rather than demolition. Propose to object was approved (5 in favour).

Hargham Road. Residential Development – 12 units (3PL/2021/1274/F). A member of the public made the following observations: This application will affect the whole village. It is outside the village settlement boundary and Old Buckenham has met its housing target, therefore there is no requirement for these properties. There is also the risk that it will set a precedent for further development in the area. It is set on a narrow road, which would possibly need widening. However, there are 10 large oak trees along that road which should be protected. Additionally, there are dangerous junctions in both directions. The design of the properties would cause significant light pollution which would affect neighbouring properties and local wildlife. Councillors were in agreement with these points and felt that the application would have a detrimental impact on the character and appearance of the area. Adrian Joel highlighted that it also goes against many policies of Breckland’s Local Plan (GEN 02, COM 01 and TR02). Majority of comments on the Planning Portal are against the development. Breckland Councillor Steve Askew is unable to raise it to the Planning Committee. Anglian Water have also stated that they do not have the capacity to process the waste from these houses. Proposal to object was approved (5 in favour).

Crumb Cottage, Cake Street. First storey extension over existing single storey element and internal reconfiguration (3PL/2021/1290/HOU). No objections. Proposal to support was approved (5 in favour).

Twitchers Cottage, Stacksford. Retention of a mobile home which is used as an annex for a member of the family (3PL/2021/1333/F). Has been there for many years but need to renew it every 10 years. Proposal to support was approved (5 in favour).

26 Oaklands. Proposed Single Storey Front Extension (3PL/2021/1348/HOU). No objections. Unable to tell if it would project further forward than neighbouring properties. Proposal to support approved (5 in favour).

Old Buckenham Water Treatment Works, Abbey Road. Construction of a pump store at Old Buckenham Water Treatment Works (3PL/2021/1354/F). This is for the sewage works. No objections. Proposal to support approved (5 in favour).

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

42 Fen Street. Single storey side and rear extensions (3PL/2021/0947/HOU).

The Barn, High London Farm, New Buckenham Road. Outline planning application for the conversion of an agricultural barn to a single dwelling (3PL/2020/1356/O).

Hunters House, access roads in and around Old Buckenham Hall. Erection of a 5m by 3.5m wood cabin within the front garden for use as a small dog grooming business (3PL/2021/0721/F).

Church Farmhouse, The Green. Proposed Single storey, Kitchen, Wetroom and Utility Room extensions and re-positioning of oil tank to front garden with screening (3PL/2021/1089/HOU).

The following application has now been considered and the application has been refused. Rear of 41 Hargham Road. Erection of single storey dwelling and two bay cart lodge (self build) (3PL/2021/0830/O).

The following application has been withdrawn. Caldcleugh, Cake Street. New Access to the Highway and Garage/Outbuilding (3PL/2021/1216/HOU).

Precept Grants launch. Councillors felt that the Precept Grants are important for the community and local groups. Proposal to continue Precept Grants approved (5 in favour). The Clerk is to update and advertise their availability. Application forms available from the Clerk. Deadline for receiving completed applications is Saturday 20 November.

Welcome Pack. This has been updated with all relevant information. The Clerk to advertise its availability and will need neighbours to notify her when and where it is required.

Allotment rents. Current allotment annual rent prices for Old Buckenham residents are £40 for a plot (40 metres by 20 metres) and £20 for half a plot. People outside the village pay £50 or £25. Twelve of the plots are currently being used. Proposal to maintain allotment rents as the same for 2021/22 was approved (5 in favour). If anyone is interested in renting an allotment, please contact the Clerk.

Wildflowers on the Green. The Green Working Party would like to trial growing some wildflowers on the Green in a 50 metre by 40 metre test area which will need clearing and preparing. A wildflower seed mix of native British flowers has been ordered to be sown in late March/early April 2022. Councillors asked for clarification of the area and how the area will be cordoned off and protected. Doug Irons also wanted to see a copy of report from the Wildlife Trust with its recommendations. Steve Milner to liaise with Green Working Party for further information.

Public footpaths. A Permissive Path near Puddledock has been rescinded. It was the only safe way for Puddledock residents to access village on foot without walking on dangerous roads, as well as being a popular walking route. There is confusion from many residents about the reason behind the change. Councillors clarified that this was a permissive path and not a Public Right of Way (PRoW) which meant the landowner gave permission for residents to walk on the land and so they are in their right to also stop that access. Terry Cook has good knowledge on the subject and will re-address public footpaths in the Parish at next month’s Parish Council meeting.

Working Parties Projects. This updated list of Working Parties members was agreed.

Personnel Committee: Adrian Joel, Mike Farrington, Terry Cook

Play Area Working Party: Naomi Bailey, Kerry Talbot (resident), Doug Irons

Recreation Area Working Party: Andy Nicholls, Steve Milner

SNAP: Steve Milner

Old Buckenham Village Hall: Terry Cook

Allotments: Adrian Joel

Parish Council website: Steve Milner, Rachel Noyes.

Old Buckenham Green Rights: Andy Nicholls

Almshouses Trust: Mike Farrington

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: Steve Milner

Neighbourhood Plan: Steve Milner, Adrian Joel, Mike Farrington, Terry Cook, Andy Nicholls, Naomi Bailey, Doug Irons

Public Rights of Way (PRoW): Steve Milner, Terry Cook, Mike Farrington

School Liaison Officer: Naomi Bailey

Play area. Naomi Bailey to review the latest inspection report and price up any maintenance work required.

Items for next agenda. These will include the wild flower trial on the Green and current public footpaths in the village.

The next Parish Council meeting will be held on Thursday 4 November starting at 7.30pm in Old Buckenham Village Hall.

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