The monthly Parish Council meeting took place at 7:30pm in the Sport's Pavilion with Peter Wad-Martins in the Chair and Bill Borrett, PCSO Stone with colleague and 3 members of the public in attendance.
Bill Borrett announced a new Community Construction Fund of £3.5m from Norfolk County Council, to be formally announced on 10th September – projects need not be match funded but must be construction related. It was agreed to set up a small working party to look at schemes and report back to the next meeting.
Also announced by Bill Borrett was the request from NCC for more new foster parents to get in touch with the County Council.
Janet Woodhouse raised the issue that during the recent Elmham Festival, she could not help but notice how scruffy and untidy parts of the village were looking with weeds growing out of paths and walls and asked if anything could be done to remedy it. It was said that Highways and the Highways Rangers could do some, but that traffic lights would be needed for some of the working in order to ensure safety, it was also remarked that removal of weeds from walls could be detrimental to the lime mortar and extreme care must be taken. The next issue raised by Mrs Woodhouse was that of the Parish Pump sites and asked if they could be reinstated. The pump at the Kings Head had been discussed
before but new prices were to be obtained to repair the pump head and this could be included in next years budget. Regarding the other site by the Park entrance, the pump casting was broken and is in one of Mr Don's outbuildings although Mr Tasker had looked at the cost of replacing with a replica. The last issue raised by Mrs Woodhouse was regarding the village photographic archive and the fact that it was slowly deteriorating with time and it should be digitized and stored on disk for future generations. The council agreed and said that costs need investigating and a grant application to cover the cost of the work needs applying for.
Barry Chapman asked about the container parked at 64 Station Road (as mentioned at last months meeting) and what had happened with the matter as it was his container and Breckland were happy with it being where it was and used for storage, provided that it was not there for more than 2 years (it had been there since sometime in April). The Parish Council were satisfied with the answer and pointed out that they had to check out requests from the public. Mr Chapman, however, was unhappy not apparently with the Parish Council but with the fact that it had been reported in Elmham News and the DFT, even though it was pointed out to him that the report was a public service that just reported what happened at the meeting for those who could not attend – nothing more and nothing less – it most certainly did not check with everyone mentioned as to whether the mention should be included, as this would take away the neutrality of the report and lead to complaints that items had indeed been left out.
PCSO Stone apologized for her recent non attendance and reported the previous 3 months crime figures as well as asking anyone with a large vehicle that was fitted with a catalytic converter to get in touch with Dereham Police station in order to get information on having the converter marked, as there had been a definite increase in the theft of these components. The theft of lead from the Church roof was thought to be an amateur job due to the way it was removed and that with the Smart Water marking there was a possibility of it's being found.
An apology for absence was received from Peter Braybrook and the previous minutes were accepted.
A training session has been organized for 7:00pm, 24th October for all members.
There has been a session at the top of the village and one by the level crossing and a number of motorists have been reported. There is still a need for more volunteers for the scheme.
Progress with NORSE is slow at the moment but there appear to be 2 employees in the village. There has been £2000 in private donations so far and apparently there is to be another £700, which was raised by a recent motor scooter rally bases at the Railway.
Meeting with Mr Baker of English Heritage found that the Japanese Knotweed had got worse even with the spraying. EH have been asked to deal with the falling stonework and have set aside £5000 to start repair work within the next month. The rear fence to the North is to be looked at to replace although there is no monetary provision for this at the moment. There are a lot of thistles that need taking out but it is probably best left until Spring to deal with this. EH were very happy with the way the site was maintained and with the current balance of mowing. A long armed flail is to be looked at for cutting the steep banks. The woodwork to Cathedral Meadows is to be replaced. A new draft agreement gas been received and should shortly be ready for signing.
Bridleway on disused railway line
There has been a delay in getting the footpath team at NCC to deal with the matter and Bill Borrett offered to chase the matter with the County. The cattle have now been removed. Because of the request to widen the gates at the crossing the Railway Company are going to close the footpath from the buffers to the crossing.
Prices for cutting are to be obtained in the autumn when the leaves are off the trees and hedges.
Holt Road by the Institute does not appear to be working, as is also the case with the 3 by the Post Office (Including the new one). There was also a problem with a couple of lights in Eastgate Street and there was discussion about how the foliage surrounding lights was to be treated and what was the actual responsibility of the different parties involved. A worrying report had been received regarding the state of the lighting stock stating that there were 45 lights that are now classified as obsolete and also that all streetlights should be electrically tested and certified every 5 years. The suggestion was to implement a 5-year rolling program of replacement (9/year for 5 years) but the matter does need looking at urgently as the potential cost is large.
Foliage trimming is still waiting for quotes; a decision should be made next month. Highway Rangers have been round and widened paths for buggies etc. and are aware of need for traffic lights to work around Bridport House. Norman Lowe again raised the matter of the dropped kerb in Eastgate Street by Orchard Close, however the majority view was to leave the decision as decided at the previous meeting.
Pavilion and Playing Field
Quotes have not yet been received for the work on the wall however the problem is is no worse at the moment. There are problems with the skateboard ramp and a quote is to be obtained for 3 new 8'x4' boards to replace the existing damaged ones. The Cricket Club have had a successful year and should be playing in Norfolk League Division 5 next year and asked for agreement in principle to their providing nets, a hard wicket area and sight screens. There were no objections and the Clerk (Kevin Webb) offered his help to the club if needed (in his capacity as Secretary of Fakenham CC) in getting prices etc. The moles have returned and Jimmy Brown suggested bringing back the organizing into the PC so that costs could be apportioned to both the Cricket and Football Clubs. The play safety report has been done and it was also reported that the bottle bank had been part emptied but was full again within 3 weeks! A strong request was made that material not pertinent to the recycling facilities at the Pavilion be taken to the new waste site in Dereham – not just dumped at the playing field. The Bowls Club has been asked for a contribution to costs by letter and has refused. They are to be written back to pointing out that the charge is for ground rent for facilities that are exclusively for their use and not available to anyone else in the village, and as such it is only fair that they be treated in exactly the same way as the Tennis Club with regard to charging.
Station Yard Development
The Railway Company have no money for widening the gate at the moment and it was suggested that an application be made to the new NCC fund (for building projects) if the Railway Company approved the idea.
Sale of Parish Pits
They are not registered land as was hoped, but a tenancy agreement has now been found relating to one of them. Norfolk Records Office has been contacted and has said that personal visit would be necessary for someone to go through the archives. Breckland Council however has also stated that it is former Highway Surveyors Land and they can find no record of it's being transferred to the PC. Peter Wade-Martins said minutes show that the land was transferred and he would look in the Records Office as he was going there shortly. The matter may need to go to law to Reconstitute Title.
Loss of Possible Legal Footpath
The Parish Council is still awaiting a reply from either Mr Parfitt or the Railway Company on this matter.
Jimmy Brown either has possession of a number of items or knows of their whereabouts.
Matters seem to have improved but there is still a need for additional bins – one at County School Station (needs Railway Company approval) and one at Worthing Turn (this would need NCC Highways approval)
The Parish Council cannot force anyone to maintain their property, only to do work on parts impinging public areas (footpaths etc.). In the case of Bridport House it is not sure who exactly owns the property but attempts are being made to find out. The Rangers will cut the hedges (when they have the traffic lights organized)
Accounts for payment
These were agreed with one exception
Mr. and Mrs. R. Scott, Podshole, North Elmham
Demolition of substandard dwelling and erection of 4 bed one storey dwelling and detached garage
There was no objection
Mr. D. Dewing, 2 Common Green Cottage, The Common, Gateley
Erection of detached garage and new pair of 5 bar timber gates
There was no comment as this was a matter for Gately.
Mr. and Mrs. C. Chapman, 64 Station Road, North Elmham
Loft conversion with velux windows and single storey side extension with new triple port garage
There was no objection to the revised plans
Mr. B. Todd, Elmham Road, Billingford
Erection of general purpose building in connection with agricultural/fishing uses
(Town and Country Planning Order 1995 application)
Proposed that individuals who had an interest write but that the Parish Council take the matter no further – this was passed with 2 abstentions.
Peter Rivett Co, Heath Farm, North Elmham
Installation of a two micro scale wind turbines
Planning permission refused
External Auditors have been appointed for 5 years
Jimmy Brown said he was disappointed with the time taken this month to get the minutes and agenda through and it was requested that the minutes be available 10 days before the next meeting and the agenda a week before.
Date of Next Meeting – 3rd October 2012 7:30pm in the Pavilion