Sunday, 19 December 2021

Parish Council in Old Buckenham

 Parish council in December 

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 on Thursday 2 December in Old Buckenham Village Hall. Those present were councillors Steve Milner (Chair), Adrian Joel, Naomi Bailey, Doug Irons, Mike Farrington and Terry Cook. An apology for non attendance had been received from Andy Nicholls. Also present were Rachel Noyes (Clerk), County and Breckland councillor Steve Askew as well as three members of the public. The minutes of the meeting held in November were approved (6 in favour). 

Declarations of interests. Naomi Bailey is a member of Families Association of Old Buckenham Primary School and Nursery and Terry Cook is a Governor of Chapel Green School. Both groups have submitted Precept Grant applications to be considered later in the meeting.

Financial matters. The Community account balance now stands at £33,294.30 including an allotment rent of £40. Payments for approval were a total of £809.99 which included rent for use of the village hall, handyman fees and payment of £212.85 to the community car drivers. These were aall approved for payment (6 in favour).

Reports from councillors. Steve Milner said that a Solar Park Community Grant (from PACE) would work out at £36,000 over a 10 year period (£3,600 a year). Several good ideas suggested by councillors included a cycle path and a project at the Windmill. There are plans in the Attleborough SUE to create a cycle route up to Bunn’s Bank. Could use some of the Grant funds to improve path from Bunn’s Bank to Old Buckenham which would allow a safe walking/cycle route into Attleborough from Old Buckenham. The existing footpath could be developed into a bridal way (which allows both cyclists and walkers). An initial quote to surface the 1.8km is between £23,000 and £36,000. Work at the Windmill could be the building of a small heritage centre (with solar panels) to show development of the village from its use of wind energy through to modern day solar energy. This could be useful for the schools and bring visitors to the village. The Windmills Trust would have to be contacted. A further suggestion was the installation of electric car charging points at central village locations, such as shop or village hall. Village Hall Committee are positive about the initial suggestion. The council chairman is to write an initial proposal for PACE.

Councillors had also visited a presentation of the Attleborough SUE at Attleborough Town Hall on Tuesday 30 November. The main issues that were raised by Steve Milner and Adrian Joel were healthcare provision, cycle ways and public transport. It is confirmed that they are building a health centre as part of the development on the corner of Bunn’s Bank but with no timescales yet. There will be a cycle network from the centre of Attleborough to the outskirts of the development. Public transport from Old Buckenham to Attleborough is very poor and Steve Milner suggested to developers that they extend from Bunn’s Bank in to Old Buckenham. Steve has contact details for the Head of Planning and will raise these issues. Land from Old Buckenham will now be part of attenuation pond for new houses development.

A joint Village Hall and Parish Council meeting had taken place. The sum of £1500 owed to Parish Council is currently being paid over a period of time but the Village Hall would like to pay it off in one lump sum to make them debt free. The joint letter with Parish Council distributed in the newsletter was effective as they have gained two new people on Village Hall committee. The Village Hall Committee praised the work of the Parents Group who monitor parking at the Village Hall during school start/finish times. They were also very appreciative for the CCTV that Parish Council funded earlier in the year which has stopped anti-social behaviour in the car park at night. Village Hall are also happy with the Parish Council suggestion for the Recreation Ground fencing, which will hopefully be completed in the New Year.

The Clerk had contacted Highways regarding the speed limit on Fen Street. She was informed that it is an expensive process but there is a Road Safety Community Fund that will be used in Breckland in 2024 for speed limit reviews. Fen Street has been added to the list for consideration for this funding. A wayleave payment of £500 (for the telegraph poles on the Green) has been received from the Green Working Party. More work was scheduled for Church Lane at the beginning of December for two days. A Tree Preservation Order has been served on ten oak trees on Hargham Road around the paddock and current building site.

Concerns were raised that more people may want newsletters, such as those living just outside village. This can be solved by increasing number of copies printed or encouraging residents to pass on copies. Newsletter editor confirmed that they are now printing more copies (to cope with increase in number of residents) and there should still be enough. Could ask residents asked to pass on their copies, once they have read them, by leaving at central village locations such as shop’s new seating area, the pubs, etc.

Naomi Bailey said connectors had been re-fixed on the climbing net in the play area and have found two more connectors that are loose. Working with the Clerk to make list of small parts to order. Also concerned that the Handyman still isn’t strimming around the fencing. The Police have responded about anti social behaviour in bus shelter and will monitor the situation. A recent delivery to the Hargham Road building site caused severe delays to morning school traffic and buses. No unloading should occur on road. There is no footpath yet and no one allowed to live in the first house until footpath is completed. Steve Milner to talk to the developer about this.

Terry Cook reported back that the Village Hall are very positive about growing relationship with Parish Council. They have the researched the technicality of trustees. No members of Village Hall committee are covered by Corporate Public Liability. To overcome this, there needs to be up to three trustees for the Village Hall. As the Parish Council is covered by Personal and Public Liability, this could provide the necessary cover to Village Hall committee members if the Parish Council became a trustee. Village Hall Committee would like to know if Parish Council would become a management trustee of the Village Hall? Steve Milner questioned if you can be a custodial trustee and a management trustee. The Clerk to contact Richard Crawley (Clerk to the Village Hall) and Graham Dye (Treasurer to the Village Hall) about Trustee of Village Hall status.

Doug Irons has continued Neighbourhood Plan research and spoken to NALC for advice. Susan Heinrich at Breckland has a designated area already. Question over whether any money has already been spent as could affect future grants/funding available. Adrian Joel confirmed no money spent on Neighbourhood Plan so far and offered to help with Neighbourhood Plan research and initial stages.

Mike Farrington has attended meeting of Almshouses Trust. They are also having questions and queries about trustees liability and are researching further. Adrian Joel said the Christmas tree has been delivered. The official tree lights switch on would be occurring on Sunday 12 December.

Public participation relating to agenda items. Prince Harry’s Wood was discussed. Many possible options for the area. It could be a lot of work for the Parish Council but could also be developed in to a useful area.

New planning applications. Canem Cave Cottage, 62A Fen Street. Side and Rear extensions and detached garden room (3PL/2021/1482/HOU). Have existing outside buildings. Fen Street residents might be upset about more disruption but no reasons for objection. Proposal to support approved (6 in favour).

Coal Storage Yard Road from Stacksford Lane to Hargham Road. Outline permission for 3 no. Dwellings (3PL/2021/1564/O). Comments made on previous application still stand for this new application: it is outside the village boundary and Grove Road is too dangerous to add more houses and cars to. Highways have not commented on this application yet but said on previous application (for 5 houses) that they would support 3 houses here. Land Contamination Officer stands by comments on previous application, but these are not visible. Lots of official statements are very vague and don’t give clear concrete answers. Proposal to object approved (6 in favour).

Planning decisions by Breckland Council. The following applications have now been considered and the applications have been approved. 26 Oaklands. Proposed Single Storey Front Extension to create Annexe Accommodation (3PL/2021/1348/HOU).

The following applications have now been considered and the applications have been withdrawn. Old Buckenham Country Park, Doe Lane. Erection of Rural workers dwelling including sustainable technologies (3PL/2021/1024/F).

Rosedale, Fen Street. Demolish existing industrial/storage unit and erection of one two-storey house (3PL/2021/1070/F).

Prince Harry’s Wood. County Councillor Steve Askew explained he was contacted about ongoing fly tipping in Prince Harry’s Wood and tried to get it cleared up via Serco with limited success. Questions were then raised about future plans for the area. The wood belongs to Breckland Council but they had little knowledge about the wood and the fact that they owned it. Councillor Askew had spoken to a cabinet member about their future plans and they are happy to transfer it to the Parish at no charge. If the Parish Council is not interested in ownership, they will continue to monitor trees every few years and keep it tidy. A member of Breckland Council is happy to attend a future Parish Council meeting to help explain things in more detail. Many factors for consideration in the decision including maintenance costs and future use of the area. Residents that live near the wood highlighted that some trees would need cutting back or removing. Previously there was evidence of great crested newts in the area, so could be used to support wildlife. Councillor Askew highlighted that if owned by residents then it may lead to parishioners taking more pride and ownership, which may reduce fly tipping, although some occurs through drivers passing through. Decisions on its use for the community can only be made if Parish Council takes it over. Parish Council expressed interest in speaking to Breckland representative in order to gather all necessary information. Councillor Askew will coordinate with Parish Council Clerk and Breckland Council.

Puddledock Corner. A fatal car accident had occurred at Puddledock Corner a few days before this parish council meeting. Mike Farrington lives on this corner and explained that there are frequent accidents, some of which have already resulted in life-changing injuries. Majority of accidents are cars approaching from Attleborough, although occasionally some in opposite direction too. A lot of assumptions are made about the drivers and their speeds but the reality is that experienced drivers also lose control on this bend. A meeting has been organised between the residents of Puddledock for Friday 3 December to look at what could be causing problems and suggestions of possible improvements. They would then like to organise meeting with Parish Council, NCC Highways and Breckland Council. Steve Askew explained that the number of documented accidents will likely to be low as majority of drivers are able to drive off after skidding. This means that there is no written evidence of high numbers of accidents, which doesn’t help support the argument for changes. He will contact the local Highways Engineer about a possible meeting and begin initial discussions. He will keep the Clerk and Mike Farington informed.

Precept Grant Applications. Old Buckenham Cricket Club - £852. Detailed breakdown provided which shows grant is for equipment and staff training. Councillors felt the club was popular with the children of the village and should be supported as it continues to grow. Proposal to support approved (6 in favour).

Robert Cocks Almshouses Trust - £500 to £1000. Grant to be used towards installing new heating systems in the Almhouses. Councillors understood the expense of such a project and also its importance. Propose to give £500 initially and another £500 for next system if needed later in the year. Approved (6 in favour).

Monday Mardle - £100. Used towards running costs and hiring of premises. Also to subsidise occasional trips out. Councillors agreed that it is an important group that helps bring individuals together. Proposal to support approved (6 in favour).

Old Buckenham Village Hall - £703. To help fix various maintenance issues raised during recent health and safety report. Councillors agreed that the Village Hall was an important part of the village that supported many groups across a range of ages and wanted to help support its improvement. Proposal to support approved (6 in favour).

Fawns - £651. Grant to be used for rent of premises and to subsidise specialist activity sessions for the children. Councillors felt that with a large number of young families in the village, the group was important for helping the children and their parents in socialising and developing skills. Proposal to support approved (6 in favour).

Friends of Chapel Green School - £300. Grant to be put towards Fusion Enterprise Scheme to help students prepare meals for the community which will help develop pupils’ confidence, independence and skills before leaving school. Proposal to support approved (5 in favour, 1 abstain).

Families of Old Buckenham Primary School and Nursery - £5000.Grant applied for improving outside areas including play equipment, early years outdoor area and school pond. Councillors felt that the application was for areas of teaching and learning which should be provided by the school and the Sapientia Education Trust. While Councillors understood that schools need support, this would result in ‘double funding’ as teaching and learning at schools are already funded. Propose to defer decision until next meeting in order for application to be reassessed This was approved (5 in favour, 1 abstain).

Use of the Green policy. Steve Milner, Terry Cook and Doug Irons met to draft a policy for the use of the Green by individuals, businesses, events, etc. Thanks to John Fernihough (Green Working Party) for providing a lot of technical background information. Councillors felt the Policy was written in a concise and clear manner which set a parameter and then required six sets of information for each request. Terry Cook explained that some details are already set in the contract of the lease of the Green. Proposal to approve the Policy was agreed (4 in favour, 2 abstain) subject to the condition that any issues raised are passed on by the end of the week.

Plaque location. Commemorative plaque had been received for the community spirit and resilience shown during the Pandemic. Propose to put the plaque near the village shop on a temporary basis due to high footfall there before moving to side of Church Rooms for a permanent setting. The Clerk to consult Church Rooms for approval. Approved (6 in favour).

Allotments Working Party. Adrian Joel has stepped down from Allotments Working Party. Steve Milner offered to take on the role.

Playground quote. Rachel Noyes, Naomi Bailey and Doug Irons have compiled a list of minor parts required for small maintenance issues raised during September inspection by Playdale. Parts and delivery would cost £241.83 (including VAT). Would then require a day’s work by builder to fix various issues at £170. Also the roundabout is increasingly difficult to push and requires Playdale to attend and fix new bearings. Parts, delivery and installation costed at £1,768.74 (including VAT).The VAT will be reclaimed on both quotes at a later date. Proposal to approve both quotes was approved (6 in favour).

Village Shop parking sign. This item deferred until next meeting due to time limitations.

Queen’s Jubilee village meeting. This item deferred until next meeting due to time limitations.

Items for next agenda. These will include Precept payments and the Green Lease renewal/changes.

The date of next Parish Council meeting is Thursday 6 January 2022. It will start at 7.30pm in Old Buckenham Village Hall.


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