The meeting too place in the Pavilion with Peter Wade-Martins in the chair and 8 members of the public present. Apologies were received from County and District Councillor Bill Borrett.
Participation started with representation from a group of 5 people from Broom Green with Harvey Goldstein as their spokesman raising the matter of the state of the track and noting that with the current high water table it had deteriorated significantly and asking what the Parish Council could do to help with the matter. Peter Wade-Martins responded by saying that although the Parish Council looked after the Pond at the Green, the track was maintained by Tom Cook and that as the council were to see him about the pond outfall, they would raise the matter on behalf of the residents. Peter Howell was next to speak, raising yet again the matter of the footpath and saying that the footpath officer was satisfied and the cattle would be off in a fortnight. He then went on to say that he did not want to hear the Parish Council raising the matter again, he accused Peter Wade-Matins of running a personal vendetta against him and then also accused John Labouchere of being totally wrong and saying that he should be ashamed of himself for attending the Breckland Planning Meeting that discussed and rejected Basil Todd's application at Billingford, arguing that it was nothing to do with the Parish Council and that Basil Todd should be free to do what he wanted without interference. Peter Wade-Martins asked him a number of times to withdraw the slur on John Labouchere
but he just ignored the question in his usual manner and refused to either withdraw it or apologise. In the space of about a minute Mr Howell succeeded in annoying just about everyone in the room with his utterings. A typically bravura Peter Howell performance demonstrating how to get peoples backs up. He then also inferred that the North Elmham Charities had reduced their distribution of monies to the needy this year, although he himself had given potatoes and onions to about 4 families (hardly worthy of a Nobel Prize!), Martin Phillips assured him that the Charities had distributed around the same monetary value as last year although it had been better targeted at the needy than previous years.
Agenda items for next meeting
Members were reminded that there are 2 meetings next month, May 1st being the Parish Council Meeting and May 8th the Annual Parish Meeting where full accounts would be presented for all the Charities etc. The Accounts will be place on the village website at least a week before the meeting to give everyone a chance to look through them and will give full details of the Charities and the way they operate in order to give much greater transparency than has happened before. It was pointed out to Mr Howell that this should help overcome his concern on this matter.
There have been no new volunteers as yet and there were only two sessions run last month due to the low temperatures in both of which there were no offenders.
Safe Route to School
The members were pleased with the work that has been done on the Green to improve the drainage and it was thought that it could be improved more by extending the drain by about another 25 metres. A quote is to be obtained for this to be done. There was some discussion as to the possibility of maintain a supply of gravel to repair potholes in the path but eventually it was decided to ask Highways to look into the matter.
Land Management Matters
Another £5000 grant has been received which will help towards paying off the loan.
English Heritage is going to replace the North fence. Some work has been done on the ruins although nothing has been done with the retaining walls, John Labouchere was worried by the area of the tower and English Heritage are to be asked to look at the area. The knotweed will probably need spraying again as the weather warms up.
Tom Cook is to be contacted by John Labouchere regarding the pond outfall and also to request him to attend a meeting with the residents to try and solve some of the problems of the track.
A meeting is to be organized to arrange the tidying up. Pater Wade-Martins suggested that a Community Snowdrop planting could be organized for next year with each person/family choosing their own particular area. It was suggested that this is the middle of March next year with planting in the green.
Bridleway on disuse railway line
The mud at the moment is totally unacceptable and the issue is to be proceeded with in conjunction with Norfolk County Council.
Norfolk County Council have come up with an initiative to change conventional lighting with LED lights and it is possible that they may fund up to 75% of the installation cost. Energy use would be considerably less, as would maintenance costs. It would leave a shortfall of 25% that would need funding (about £14500), on loan this would cost about £2000 per year on repayments but energy saving alone would recoup this and the budgeted costs for replacement and renewal of the existing stock would save some extra £4800 per year over 5 years. There is a need for consultation as to which light should be left on at night and which should be switched off at midnight. The costs include the replacement of old concrete posts with new metal ones. The adoption of the scheme was proposed and seconded and passed unanimously.
Bob Fletcher said that advance roadwork notices had been placed in Elmham News, also that the work in Eastgate Street would be left until after the Bank Holiday so as not to interfere with the Festival.
The Spring Fayre was well attended and raised a good amount of money.
Pavilion and Playing Field
Grass cutting has started and the chain link fence has been replaced. Jimmy Brown asked if a price had been set for the Cricket Club for the new season. The Clerk said that for last season the Club was charged on the basis of each day of use and this would continue for this season. Pavilion lettings are going well and the Market have agreed to pay in advance for each 4 week period.
Station Yard Development
Mr Todd is happy to have the work done and a plan from the Land Registry confirmed that the area in question was his and so work can commence immediately.
Sale of Parish Pits
Breckland confirmed that they only had paperwork on one of the sites and they would proceed with the request if the Council wished. It was suggested that Ward Gethin Archer be approached to deal with the matter in the same way as they are dealing with some of the Charity Lands (subject to cost).
Loss of possible legal bridleway
Jenny Borgnis and the Clerk are to write to Breckland regarding aspects of this matter
The new bin has not arrived yet (due for delivery 11th April)
Sub Committee for New Community Hall Project
Informal advice is to be sought from the planners regarding possible sites before any definite proposals are undertaken.
North Elmham Archive Group
The Group is now constituted and is preparing a lottery grant application bid and they requested a letter of support form the Parish Council – this was forthcoming.
Land Registry Charges on Village Green
Regarding the application for Village Green status, there is a need to check records to see exactly how long the land has been used for that purpose.
Additional Salt Bins
Locations have been agreed and the bins ordered.
Visits have been made to schools, Guides etc and a piece was in the Elmham News regarding this. The response from parents has been encouraging but as yet there has not been much feed back from the youngsters. It needs follow up visits to try and identify those who are interested.
John Labouchere reported on the Breckland Planning Meeting regarding Basil Todd's application at Billingford. The application was refused and enforcement action is being taken to remove the building that was erected without consent.
Mr & Mrs Whitwood, 24 Wensum Drive, North Elmham
Porch at front of property
Mr & Mrs S Sinclair, 8 Brookside, North Elmham
Proposed single storey extension to rear
Planning Permission granted
A letter is to be sent from Breckland to every household from pointing out that the recent Council Tax bills were incorrect and that they would be adjusted downwards and payments would reflect this.
Parish Councillors responsibilities
The new list was accepted after small adjustments and photographs of each Councillor are to be place on the village website to enable parishioners to recognise their Councillors.
Peter Braybrook raised the matter of deer running into the road and asked if more signs would help but it was decided that this would be impractical.
Date of next meeting
The next Parish Council meeting will be on 1st May at 7:30pm in the Pavilion with the Annual Parish Meeting taking place a week later on the 8th May also at 7:30 in the Pavilion.