North Elmham Parish Council Annual Meeting – Tuesday 1st May 2012
The Annual Parish Meeting was held with 18 parishioners and the County and District Councillor, Bill Borrett, present and John Labouchere chaired the meeting. There were no apologies received and the meeting started at 7:00pm.
Minutes of last years meeting were distributed to those present and were accepted unanimously.
Martin Phillips explained that the accounts were in a different form this year in order to help the parish better understand them and also to mirror the headings in the Budget and thus make it easier to see running expenditure. Peter Wade-Martins offered thanks to Martin Phillips for the work he had put in getting the accounts into an understandable form, the accounts were proposed and seconded and passed unanimously.
The Church and Town Lands Charity Account
A small increase in the balance for the year was noted and an explanation given as to how money was distributed. Norman Clarke asked a question as to exactly what criteria were used to select the parishioners to distribute money to. The answer was to the poor and needy although no real explanation was given as to how this was decided. The current Trustees are all-new to the position and inherited the current position although they are current looking at revising the way it is distributed. There was considerable discussion and some of the points made were: one of the houses where money was to be given had 2 cars in the drive, another was on holiday in the Canary Islands, some handed the money back saying they did not need it although most of the recipients indicated on the form they were left that they would like to carry on receiving it. There had been different criteria tried in the past, Simon Thompson explained that originally it was just kept for pensioners and was then changed to widows and orphans, then to the poor and needy. Amounts had varied from many small donations to fewer larger donations at different times but no firm guide had ever been set.
After much discussion it was agreed that the method of dealing with the charity was to be very carefully looked at by the new trustees and consideration should be given to issues like fuel poverty in addition – the main thing though was to ensure that it went primarily to people who really needed it.
North Elmham United Charities
A brief explanation of the accounts was given and a small increase in the balance carried forward was noted.
School House Charity
A verbal report was given giving the income and Expenditure for the year and noting that the closing balance for the year was slightly less than the opening. The Trustees thanked Jeanette Fletcher for her past work and also thanked Bev King for preparing the Accounts.
Endowment Lands Charity
A brief report was given on what was done in the year again noting an increase in the balance carried forward for the year.
John Labouchere read out his Chairman's Report for the year summing up the highs, lows and achievements of the Parish Council during the previous 12 months, especially with regard to different land dealings – The full report is available at http://www.northelmhamvillage.org.uk
Report of the County and District councilor Bill Borrett
Bill Borrett started by apologizing for not attending as many meetings as he would have liked and went on to detail some of the things he does at County and District level that have an impact in the Parish including the Fair Fares project, Rural Broadband initiative, the Small Schools project, the purchase of the Village Green, the opening of Dereham recycling Centre and the Military Covenant set up to provide support and help between the military and local people. He also said that there might be a new fund for small scale village recycling announced shortly.
Peter Wade-Martins thanked Bill Borrett on behalf of the Parish for all the assistance he had given in the purchase of the Village Green.
Norman Clarke asked about the Peter Howell bridleway and why, contrary to the information given by Mr. Howell, all of the published information and signs definitely indicated that it still was a bridleway. Peter Wade-Martins explained that the best way would be to try and get the County Footpaths Office to attend a future meeting along with any maps and definitive statements and to try and get the matter settled once and for all. Simon Thompson then gave some history to the problem and explained that the Mid Norfolk Railway did downgrade the Bridleway to a footpath but only for the stretch where it ran along the railway line on the quite reasonable grounds that horses and trains don't go well together – however, from the gate onto Mr. Howell's land it is still a bridleway all the way to Broom Green and that what Mr. Howell is doing is legal to the letter of the law if not necessarily the spirit.
The Meeting finished at 7:56pm.