Parish Council Meeting 1st August 2012

Posted in Parish Council Report

The meeting took place in the Sports Pavilion with 5 members of the public present and 'peter Wade-Martins in the Chair.

Apologies were received from Norman Lowe and Bill Borrett.

Public Participation

Ann Ketteringham said she was anxious about the future of the Village Green as the word development in the Trust's title implied that it may be built on rather than kept as Public Open Space. Martin Philips assured her however that the word development did not appear in the name of the Trust, and also that the Trust had been set up to support the purchase and continuance of the Green as an Open Space for the village.

Eileen Bent raised concern about dog fouling on the old railway line (especially when it had been bagged and then just dumped instead of being taken to a disposal area) and asked for Parish Council support for dog bins at the level crossing end of the line and also at Yarrow Crossing – the council said they could not provide direct action as it was not their land but they would support the request and write to the Railway Company asking them to consider the matter.

New Code of Conduct for Members

This had been distributed to members for their consideration and after a short discussion was accepted with one abstention.

Parish Council Member Training

A suggestion was made that the trainer attend North Elmham rather than members attend elsewhere and possible dates from the following were suggested as choices 20th Sept, 10th or 24th October.

There were no Declarations of Interest

Minutes of the previous Meeting were approved

Matters Arising

Community Speedwatch

There has only been one session so far (in Station Road) which was held in the idle of the morning when traffic was light but it still resulted in one positive. Future sessions will probable be held at times when speeding is more prevalent (going to and coming from work) and the next session will probably target the hill from the Church to the School.

Safe Route to School

It was pointed out that there would be a need to look at the Safe Route to School if Eastgate Street is considered as a one-way system, as evidence shows that one-way systems increase traffic speeds due to the decrease in obstruction.

Land Management

Village Green

Gift Aid has now been finalized and anyone who has made a donation since 25th May can now fill in a form to retrospectively claim the Gift Aid due. A notice to this effect is to be placed in Elmham News. The Breckland grant of £20k was confirmed, as was the Norfolk Community Foundation grant of £5k. The Geoffrey Watling Trust application for £20k has been lodged and a decision is awaited. Lottery funding forms have been received and are being looked through. The Draft Contract from Norfolk Property Services is still awaited although an Invoice for 12 months lease payment has also been received and returned with a request that it be reissued on a pro rata base on completion of the purchase.

Cathedral Ruins

An inspection report was presented and most of the items mentioned will be taken up with English Heritage at the upcoming inspection especially the state of the conglomerate in the walls which they have not so far done, and also the problem of the Japanese Knotweed to try and establish who is responsible for treating it and at what frequency.

Cathedral Meadows

The kissing gates are being kept clear and accessible.

Broom Green

Weed and reeds appear to be spreading in the water and an eye is to be kept on it.

Millennium Wood

There is a need to get quotes for hedge cutting in the wood.

Bridleway on Disused Railway Line

At a meeting with David Mills (the County Footpaths Officer) it was agreed that he would apply for a 28 notice to have the padlock and chain remover from the gate on Mr Howell's land, however action could not be taken over the deep mud as there was no precedent to base the action on. A set of briefing notes was also issued to members (see www.northelmhamvillage.org.uk or www.norfolk.gov.uk) listing the way that Public Rights of Way are now organized, the responsibilities of he Public and landowners and how to report issues as and when they arise.

Streetlights

Light 19 needs a complete overhaul and it was agreed to proceed. The cost of replacing the damaged light on Holt Road is £1578 and the driver's insurance company has accepted responsibility and will be dealing with the matter. A request has been received for foliage trimming to be performed around light 41 and the cost passed on.

Highway Matters

Work is to be undertaken by the allotment entrance – foliage is to be trimmed and a 30mph circle is to be painted on the road at the start of the speed limit to try and make the allotment entrance safer. There is a need for quotes to remove the hedge by the allotment entrance. Arrangements have also been made to trim foliage up past the church. The road narrowing by the Surgery has not yet reached the Engineers so nothing further is known at this stage. The dropped kerb in Eastgate Street by the bus stop for Orchard Close that was requested was not thought necessary as there actually 2 within 10 yards of the bus stop.

Pavilion and Playing Field

The moles are back and active and the football club is working on the problem. There are 2 holes appeared in the wall to the Park and 3 quotes are needed for repair before they get worse. The Harras fencing that disappeared has now reappeared after it's short holiday!. The swing seats have now been replaced with the new ones. Regarding the negotiations with the Tennis and Bowls Clubs, the Tennis Club have accepted the terms and have been invoiced, the Bowls Club have had a letter stating the terms that the Parish Council will proceed on.

Restoration of Norfolk Milestones

The restoration has been completed and they are looking good.

Grants for Recreational Facilities

There is a need to obtain an outline scheme from the organisers before the quotation stage is reached in order to ensure that the scheme meets with the needs of the Council. The current proposal is for a child area and a separate outdoor gym area for adults similar to that at Gt Massingham.

Sale of Parish Pits

There has been a problem tracing the original documentation relating to the original transfers, however with reference to the date, the transfers should be registered at the Land Registry (this may be why documentation is not readily available).

Loss of possible legal footpath on Railway Line

A remarkable letter has been received from Breckland Council in response to the Parish Council's request for information on the matter stating that when the land was transferred to the current Railway Company there was a Covenant attached requiring them to maintain a permissive footpath and bridleway all the way from the buffers at Elmham Station through to Broom Green although there was a proviso that the path could be suspended at the time when a train was actually passing if the line was extended. There was also reference to the original transfers made and the parish Council awaits with interest the full documentation in order that the full impact of this can be ascertained.

Annual Parish Meeting

It was proposed and accepted that for the May 2013 meeting, the Parish Council meet as normal on the 1st Wednesday and the Annual Parish Meeting will take place on the 2nd Wednesday of May.

Councilors' Responsibilities

The revised list of responsibilities was accepted.

Parish Council Minutes on Website

The matter has been sorted and the Clerk will provide official copy to be posted shortly after the minutes are accepted.

Reserves Policy

A document was presented by Martin Phillips outlining a reserves policy (necessary for some grant applications), John Labouchere suggested that it may be better for a fixe percentage of the precept be retained each year however Marin Phillips and the meeting agreed to keep with the accurate method that had been provided for the time being.

Finances

A report detailing the fiscal position for the first 3 months of the current year was presented which showed that the annual spend to date was slightly ahead the average at 30% (as against the 3 month 25%) but this would vary throughout the year with the need of the seasons. The figures were accepted by the meeting and it was agreed that they were a great improvement on previous methods.

Payment by Parish and Community Councils

A document had been received for the Association of Norfolk Councils suggesting possible amendments to the way that authorization is performed at the moment. These were as a result of the original intention to phase out cheques which now appears to have gone away and also the fact that the actual wording of the way things were defined appeared to imply that things like Electronic BACs Direct Debit Transfers were not actually legal as they had never been allowed for in legislation. The document went on to ask councils what the feeling was on the different proposed methods. Kevin Webb (the Council Clerk) suggested that from a security point of view the council should stick with a 2 signature policy on cheques but also that wording be tightened up to allow for the secure implementation of electronic methods (preferably using a 2 signature model if possible).

Accounts for Payment

Whilst looking through this item it was suggested that an assets register for equipment be started so that the whereabouts of all items is known, the meeting was in agreement and one is to be started.

Planning

There were no applications or determinations this month.

Correspondence

Crime Figures

During the month there had been 2 incidences of theft from Motor Vehicles and one item classified as "other".

A press release had been received from Norfolk County Council giving details of winners of funding from the Norfolk Community Foundation including the £5000 to North Elmham toward the purchase of the Village Green.

Announcements

The highway rangers were due shortly and would start on their list of things to be done.

Peter Braybrook reported that the Jubilee Celebrations accounts had been audited and out of a £2460 turnover had ended up with a small surplus, which would be donated to the Village Green Fund

John Labouchere reported that a container was still parked in the garden of 64 Station Road and work still appeared to be taking place there and the matter needed looking into as there had been no permission received for the development.

Matters for the next agenda

Dog Fouling

Bridport House

Date of the next meeting is the 5th September 2012