The monthly Parish Council meeting took place at 8:00pm immediately following the Annual Parish Meeting, present were 15 members of the public and the County and District Councilor Bill Borrett.
The first item on the agenda was the election of a Chairman for the year and as John Labouchere was standing down, Peter Wade-Martins was proposed ,seconded and passed unanimously.
For the position of Vice Chairman, Martin Phillips agreed to stand again and this was passed unanimously.
There were no apologies but an email of resignation had been received from Merryn Walters, which meant that there were now 3 vacancies on the Council, but there have been expressions of interest from 4 people and co-option will take place at the next meeting.
The minutes of the previous meeting were approved.
There is a problem getting a sufficient number of people together all at the same time, even though a number of dates have been offered it is proving difficult to get the required number of 6 people at the same time in order to run a course and it would help to achieve this if there were more volunteers.
Safe Route to School
There was a meeting yesterday with the County at the site of the proposed build out on Holt Road and the proposals will be going for public consultation. The main concern is that the scheme will take some width from the Surgery entrance but this may not be an issue. There were some preferences for a raised build out and yellow lines but a raised scheme could well give other problems. A vote was held and the majority of members were in favor of a flat scheme with yellow lines round into Cathedral Drive.
Peter Wade-Martins listed the grant applications that are in progress at the moment. With regard to charity status it was proposed to set up the North Elmham Diamond Jubilee Green Charity to help raise funds to buy, develop and maintain the Green. Solicitors do not see any problems with the Charity Commission and it should be possible to get it done fairly quickly once the Declaration of Trust is done. All members were in favor of setting up the Charity in this form and it was suggested that fundraising needs driving forward and to this end Meg White, Caroline Payne and Martin Phillips agreed to take on the task. Meg White asked if there were any parameters that would not be allowed but there were no objections to any ideas.
English Heritage had had a contractor in to spray the Japanese Knotweed.
The new kissing gate is to be modified to make it more wheelchair friendly and the original gate is also to be looked at to make easier access. Bob Fletcher wondered if it was good policy to be spending money on modifying the gates when wheelchairs would have difficulty in getting to them down Church Lane.
Bridleway on disused Railway Line
With all the unknowns surrounding the claims of Peter Howell, the County Footpaths Officer was to be asked if he could attend a meeting with the Council armed with maps and details to answer once and for all the problems of whether or not it is a bridleway across his land. A formal letter of request is to be made and Bill Borrett asked to be copied in on it.
Prince William Wood
The School is getting 50 trees in the autumn and asked if there was space to plant them available. It was proposed that a decision be left until later in the year when the ownership of the green would have (hopefully) been fully established.
There were a couple of issues that have been reported.
The entrance to the allotments needs sorting and the County Engineers are to be consulted.
The new phone box door is in place but there is need of refurbishment when the weather improves.
Konnect say they cannot afford to replace the timetable holder (even though it is only the clear cover that is required) – Normal Lowe to progress.
Mr. Wilmott asked if it was possible to have the pathment lowered at Heath Road to accommodate mobility scooter crossing and also clear some of the excess vegetation – the matter is to be raised with NCC and the Highway Rangers.
Norfolk Minerals and Waste
The next phase has just been announce but there is nothing directly affecting north Elmham.
Pavilion and Playing Field
The Cricket Club has been told that they will be paying a £5 contribution per tile for any tiles broken during matches. The Football season has almost finished and there is some remedial work required on the pitch. The Annual inspection of the children’s play area is due shortly and the bottle banks are getting well used. Consultation is in progress with the Tennis Club regarding rent and the Bowls Club are also to be approached as their electricity is provided from the Pavilion. John Labouchere to look at providing a separate electricity meter for the Bowls Club and the Clerk to look at the rents for both.
Planning Application (brought forward as Bill Borrett had to leave for another meeting)
The PC discussed the application for the proposed 40 caravan site at Billingford Lakes and Bill Borrett explained that as it was a major application it would have to be referred to the main Breckland Planning Meeting for a decision in July. There was feeling both for and against the proposal with Jimmy brown pointing out that trade would increased at the village pubs and between 4=10 jobs would be created. It was proposed that a sub group be formed to look at the plans in detail and also to consult with the Parish Councils of both Billingford and Worthing and Hoe. It was agreed that the sub group results should be communicated to Bill Borrett.
There was no main report only a brief report to say that the speed traps had so far been very effective and a number of people have been fined already. The traps will continue and along with other measures should improve road safety in the village.
The Big Red Bus
Provisional dates have been agreed of 17th & 24th May as a trial and if it is successful the rest of the dates will then be agreed.
Sustainable Energy Group
The report has now been prepared and copies will be available to view for anyone who is interested in the results. The main report will also be available to download from http://www.northelmhamvillage.org.uk. It was stressed that it is important for the groups momentum to be maintained if the benefits are to be achieved.
Station Yard Development
A response has been received from Mr Winter stating that whilst he agrees that the gates are narrow and do pose a problem for some pedestrians, the County are not able to do anything as the gates and railings are not part of the highway as they are owned by the Mid Norfolk Railway. It was agreed that the Parish Council need to be talking to MNR and to ask if they would be willing to help in this matter.
Queen’s Diamond Jubilee
Permission has still not been received from Norfolk Property Services regarding the planting of the time capsule. The event is now in principle fully funded and details of road closures will be going up shortly, the requisite insurance for the event has also now been obtained.
There is a project underway to restore milestones in Norfolk and the Parish should have 3 within its boundary although the one at Spong Hill appears to be missing and the Broom Green milestone has some damage. The agreement is for renovation of the stones at a cost of £60 each (a equal contribution matched by NCC). A sum of £120 was agreed to be set aside for this.
Planning applications and determinations
B Todd, Elmham Road, Billingford – Proposed caravan and visitor centre, maintenance building and camping pods
R Lain, 64 Orchard Close, North Elmham – Single storey extension to dwelling to accommodate new kitchen and increased area to sitting room/lounge
C Bidewell, Yarrow Bridge – Replacement of existing private river bridge (revised design)
Planning permission granted.
Subscription to Norfolk Playing Fields Association has not been taken up for a while, Jimmy Brown to investigate value to the parish.
Letter received from Mid Norfolk Railway reminding people that the Track bed was not a public footpath (reference Station to Dereham stretch of line).
An anxious letter had been received from the Royal British Legion who were concerned as to the future of the Institute, a reply was sent saying nothing had been decided at the moment.
The Tennis Club put in a request for permission to erect a screen to protect from both sun and wind; this would be fitted to the existing fence. There were no objections in principle but it would be subject to a sight of the full details.
Insurance documentation for the New Year has been received.
The PCSO has offered to attend the Village Fete and the offer was accepted.
Norman Lowe said that there was still a problem with dog fouling especially in Orchard Close that needed attention.
Date of next meeting – Wednesday 6th June 2012 at 7:30pm.