The meeting took place in the Sports Pavilion with 7 members of the public present and John Labouchere in the Chair.
Apologies were received from Eva Marsh and Sue Brockhurst.
Declarations of interest – Peter Wade-Martins declared an interest with one of the planning applications.
Caroline Payne congratulated the Parish Council on finally finishing the purchase of the Village Green negotiations and offered her help if there were to be official opening events or similar, she also said that she was involved with the Diamond Jubilee Celebrations and it was intended to have a street party and she hoped that the Parish Council would look on it in a favorable way, especially when it came to financial help. Anne Ketteringham reiterated the thoughts and Peter Wade-Martins said that there would be a fundraising campaign and that it would be reported later on in the meeting.
Meg White asked if the Green was to be called the Village Green? John Labouchere asked that Elmham News ask for name suggestions to be contributed.
Peter Howells said that he was pleased that the matter of the hedge was now resolved and that the hedge was under control but then complained that criticism (in the DFT and Elmham News) of the state of the Bridleway across his land was detrimental to his business and reputation and that if it reporting on this continued he would take legal action. Peter Braybrook said that at the moment the bridleway was unwalkable with parts of it more reminiscent of the Somme than Norfolk. The Chairman reminded Mr. Howells that if he kept it usable and unobstructed then there would be no need to bring up the subject and the answer lay with him, he also said that there was more on the item in the agenda.
The minutes of the previous meeting were accepted and passed unanimously.
Provisional dates for training have been received in March. There is a need to notify the sites to be monitored beforehand in order that a risk assessment can be carried out.
Village Green – The grant application to Breckland is in progress, fundraising via Elmham News and others will be started shortly. The balance of the funding will be in the form of an application to the Public Works Loan Board (£60k) over a 50-year loan period (repayments of £2850 per year – capital and interest). Fundraising could go on for a number of years if necessary. The PWLB will let the Parish Council know its decision 10-14 days after submission. There will be additional costs of some £1800 for surveyor's fees etc. The actual date of transfer is unknown at this stage.
The Council's insurers have insisted that anyone doing the work on the meadows must have the appropriate chainsaw certificates and also £5million Public Liability cover. It was reported that Dereck Shoesmith had withdrawn his quote and that whoever was to do the work must start soon before the bird nesting season starts.
There is a need to ensure that the track is reinstated after the building work finishes.
The best quote received was for £840 for fencing (£1680 including kissing gate, tree guards etc.). A tree planting session was to be organised on 4th March with the training beginning at 9:00am – 10-12 people was a good number, please bring a spade! It had proved cheaper to not move the deer fence but instead provide deer guards for the trees.
Bridleway to Broom Green
At this point it should be mentioned that as the agenda item was announced Peter Howells (who was directly involved) got up and walked out of the meeting before any discussion could take place.
A verbal response has been received from the County Council indicating that they are seeking permission to take action against Mr. Howells regarding the state of the bridleway and the problems at times with access. Peter Wade-Martins showed photographs taken recently of the padlocked gate and pointed out that it should not be locked at all as it is a bridleway, he also read out the Norfolk County Council definition of what constituted an obstruction to a path or bridleway.
Prince William Wood
A complaint had been received from a resident in Orchard Close about the parking of a coach in the Close. The driver has been told to park in the layby on Back Lane and walk through the wood.
The Clerk reported that the money had been received from the Insurance Company for the damaged lamp. It was restated that the Parish Council took the decision a number of years ago to not insure street lights but a quote had been obtained in case the current council wished to change this – the cost to insure the lights for 12 months would add an additional £1400 to the Council's insurance premium – it was proposed not to insure the lights and everyone was in favor.
The door to the phone box at the top of the hill is in a poor state and will not close properly. It was proposed that as the door is hardwood that it is left until the Spring when the weather would be more suited to the job.
The Highway Rangers are coming again and a call was made for any items that required attention.
There is still no Bus timetable in place.
The County Council's Highways Department is going to raise the sign to the Chapel in order to improve visibility for the Village Sign.
PCSO Charli Stone sent in a written report covering the last two months.
December – Calls to the Police, 3 in total (1xRTC, 1xSuspicious Circumstances – Rubbish thrown into ally believed to be drug wraps turned out to be child's toy, 1x burglary – see crime figures)
Crime Figures for December – 1x Burglary other than a dwelling, 2 people have been caught for this and have been dealt with by the courts.
January – Calls to the Police, 2 in total (1x Theft, this is reported in Crime Figures for month, 1x Suspicious Circumstances – call made about a parked van, officers located van which turned out to be trader and all was in order)
Crime Figures for January – Theft from a motor vehicle, a light beacon was taken from the vehicle, there are no offenders at this time.
The AGM was held on 18th January and there were no change in officers, a successful year was reported and they are actively looking to use and let out the building for functions.
Pavilion and Playing Field
It was reported that it had been a quiet month generally. People have again been leaving bottles in front of the bottle bank instead of walking round and putting them in the other side of the unit. The banks have now been emptied and it is to be investigated whether the recyclers for bottles and cans would deal directly with the Parish Council instead of the current indirect route. An application has been made to hire the Pavilion for an election in November, there were no objections and the hire was agreed.
The Community Planning Action Group is going well with subgroups formed to look at Facilities and Amenities, Local Government, Clubs and Societies, Evening Classes, Footpaths and Open Spaces, Traffic Management, Allotments, Sustainable Energy, Broadband and Mobile Phone Reception. There will be a public meeting on 28th February at 7:00pm in the Institute with a report from each group and general discussion to follow.
Station Yard Development
It was felt that with all the delays that it was better not to take the matter further at this point in time.
Precept and Budget
Martin Philips said that 42 people had indicated a possible interest in an allotment when the Parish Plan was published, however there were still 3 empty allotments available and he would consider letting them outside the Parish if no one came forward.
Severe Weather Arrangements
There has been some response to the enquiry for names but it still needs more feedback so if anyone knows anyone who may be at risk, please let Peter Braybrook know.
Breckland – possible charges for car parking
An acknowledgement has been received to the Council's expression of dismay at the possible proposed changes.
Breckland Housing Report
After investigation the 300 people on the waiting list came down to 32. The current empty housing stock could provide 5 properties that were affordable for 27 of the applicants and it was felt that the original figures quoted were very misleading and could in no way be used to base future decisions on for any parish council.
Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment
The outline plan showed 2 areas, which were not in agreement with the Local Development Framework. Enquiries found that it was a theoretical exercise and did not over ride the LDF.
There was a slight revision to show the PWLB repayment and Fundraising appeal estimate – the budget was accepted.
The 1st meeting had been held and an organizing committee had been elected.
The intention so far (dependent on funding) is for 1. – Street Party, 2. – A keepsake for all 0-12 year olds, 3. – Legacy, this is intended to be a time capsule (with School, Guides, Cubs etc. contributing), where it would be situated is still open to discussion. Donations to the sum of £250 + printing from Elmham News, £300 from the School House Charity, possibly £500 from both Breckland and Norfolk County Council and £500 has been budgeted by the Parish Council. A provisional budget of £2200 has been estimated - £900 street party, 1050 keepsakes and £250 time capsule. Lumiere Rouge has been booked to play on the day.
The accounts were approved with no dissent. A letter had been received from NORSE regarding the renewal of their contract and the council agreed to renew this for another 3 years.
Mr. D. Nobbs, Home Pastures, Heath Road, North Elmham
Convert barn to residential, rear extension/link to farm house, erect detached garage/store, ground source heat pump
Garrod Partnership Ltd, Old Bakery Building, Eastgate Street, North Elmham
Conversion of building to form 2 no. 3 bed houses
Mr. J. Pennels, The Willows, 57 Eastgate Street, North Elmham
Hallway and porch extension and first floor extension above kitchen/part dining room
There were new training course available for any interested Councilors.
A letter had been received from Breckland stating that there was money available for projects for play equipment and outdoor sorts activity provided we had a plan for such. Mark Tasker mentioned the possibility of Trim Trails. The development has to have been started before the council can apply for the funding it would seem.
Peter Braybrook mentioned that the Council would need an official Safeguarding Child Protection Policy and it was suggested that the Parish Council adopt the County Council one. Jimmy Brown said that one dog bin had been moved to make it more accessible to wheelchair and buggy users and that the others would be looked at. The Clerk gave a Big Red Bus update; the 29th February and the 7th March are available with a 6-week extension if needed available. The visit of the bus was to be announced in Elmham News and all the notice boards in the village.
The next meeting will be 7th March at 7:30 in the Sports Pavilion.