North Elmham Parish Council Meeting, March 5th 2014

Posted in Parish Council Report

12 members of the public were present with Peter Wade-Martins in the chair.

Public Participation

Meg White explained that the web site volunteer was now working elsewhere and was unable to help, but there were still other possibilities. Janet Woodhouse announced that the memorial for the Mosquito crash was progressing well and representatives of different bodies will be present on the day of the service and dedication (27th April) as well as representatives of the families who are coming from New Zealand and France.
Norman Clarke had completed his survey of "Dark Areas" of street lighting and will give details later in the meeting.
The British Legion explained that they wanted their Memorial seat at the left hand entrance to Cathedral Drive and requested the PC to officially ask Highways for permission. The dog bin will be relocated at no cost

(it was suggested just around the corner in Cathedral Drive). The PC agreed to support the Legion and the seat will be in place for a dedication on Monday 4th August.
Diane Lavender complained about dog fouling in the area between Cathedral Drive and the School and Derek Shoesmith also mentioned that dogs were uncontrolled on the Green. Peter Wade-Martins agreed to seek legal advice regarding keeping dogs on leads whilst on the Green.
Anthea and Granville Mark came to address the meeting because, their proposed housing scheme was outside the normal development area of the village and without village support, the proposal would be rejected. It was explained that the scheme as proposed would include a car park for 40 cars for village use as well as a footbridge to the school and a footpath to Millennium Wood. It was agreed that the scheme should be encouraged.
Peter Howell asked about developing some of his land for housing and asked if the PC would like to see a scheme. PW-M explained that as the area was outside the development boundary it also would need village support before the planners would even look at it. He also asked if County Highways had been notified that the work on the Bridleway had been completed and stressed that this notification must be given
The minutes of the previous meeting were accepted.

Broom Green

The flooding on the road has been cleared and the impossibility of a 30mph area has been explained.Land Management Matters

Village Green

It is doubtful if Highways will do any more work to improve the path unless the flooding gets worse. The elm tree (donated by English Heritage) has been planted and needs a guard around it. A letter had been received regarding the removal of branches from an oak tree on the boundary.PW-M explained that four more trees were potentially involved and it would be better to get a price for all of the work to be done at one time but it needs establishing what work needs doing and also whether the Breckland tree officer would approve.

Cathedral Ruins

Ann Keeble reported that the contractors were due to clear the site and finish the work before the end of the month. A date was still awaited for a structural engineer to visit the site to inspect the high section of the wall.
Cathedral Meadows
The entitlements are being bought from Dennis Fish and grazing rights are due to be let to him pending legal approval.
Millennium Wood
The steel post reinforcements to support the wooden supports should be ready shortly and volunteers would be needed to help clear around the existing posts.

Street Lights

The survey has shown that the lighting does not conform to national regulations and there are many dark areas in the village. It was suggested that a 5-year plan was needed to address the problem. It was also noted that the new lighting causes a lot less light pollution than the old lighting.
Highway Matters
The request for larger warning signs at the buildout has been rejected because the area is in a 20mph zone. Debbie Warner reported that the pavement was working well and people felt much safer. However the School was still worried about speed of traffic down the hill and wondered if there was a way to slow that traffic down. The Surgery was complaining that their access had been restricted. Double yellow were suggested for the area on Holt Road before the surgery (opp Cathedral Drive) and this will be investigated.
Pavilion and Playing Field
The repairs to the skateboard park will be carried out shortly. The Monday Market has restarted and mole catching is progressing. Linda Smith was worried that things were gong on around the skate park that should not be and it was agreed to keep an eye on the potential problem. The Tennis Club asked for permission to relay slabs and concrete, which would require lorry access across the outfield. It was agreed that it was impossible at the moment as the ground was too wet and lorries would do far too much damage. They were asked to speak with Jimmy Brown who would report back at the next meeting.

Dog Fouling

The new bins were now in place.

Youth Council

The street sign cleaning initiative still needed Highways approval..

Village Green Application

Registration of the Green has now been received.

Community Defibrillator

Community First Responders were needed and it had been found that there are actually 2 already in the village but more were still needed to ensure a good safe coverage.

Play Area and Car Park proposals

The loan repayment of £10k has been made leaving an outstanding loan balance of £26,069. The car park proposals were outlined by Peter Braybrook but in the light of the scheme outlined in Public Participation , for a car park close to the school at Brookside Farm, it was agreed to defer a decision for the moment –However if the planners said no, then the proposals would be as outlined.

Financial Position, Budget & Precept

A letter had now been received from Breckland saying that the PC would be given the same amount as last year. Thanks were given to Roger Atterwill at Swanton Morley for chasing this and getting the correct outcome.

Station Yard Development

Breckland had turned down the planning application for the development on both highways and access grounds.

Maintenance of public benches

This is waiting for better weather.

Section 106 Agreement funding

A Scheme was being prepared to use some of the funds available.

Snowdrop Sunday

This is going ahead on 16th March but help will be needed on the preceding day to help lift plants in readiness.

Public Meeting 24th January

Jim Heffernan reported that a third quote for equipment was still pending.

T T Jones Maintenance Contract

It was unanimously agreed that this contract for street lighting maintenance should be cancelled with immediate effect. The new lights need almost no maintenance.

Planning Applications and Determinations

The Brookside Farm proposal: an opportunity to see a formal proposal was welcomed.
R S Don and Partners – Repairs to restore Ice House on the Park approved.
Nationwide & Mortgage Express – New site entrance
Barns adjacent to Old Hall Farm – APPLICATION WITHDRAWN
Mr & Mrs J Ellen – Proposed Garden room and extension
29 Station Road, North Elmham
Permission granted
Mr M O'Donnell – Garden room at side of property, garage at rear
Perk House, Brisley Road, North Elmham
Permission granted
Mr K Pratt – 2 bay oak frame and softwood 2 bay garages
Oak Lodge, Great Heath Road, North Elmham
Permission granted

Crime report for month – 1x Criminal damage, 2x Theft other
Electricity prices, unit rate has increased by 5.3% and night rate by 4%. It was suggested that a brokerage to find a cheaper deal be contacted and this was agreed.

Agenda Items for next meeting

  • Play equipment proposals
  • Skate Park area

Date of Next Meeting: 7th April at 7:30pm in the Pavilion.
Peter Wade-Martins left the meeting at this point as he had declared an interest in the next item; a report of the Community Hall working group and Jennie Borgnis took over and gave the report.

Report of the Community Hall Working Group

The reasons for the establishment of the group were given and it was emphasised that the ethos of the original Memorial hall be carried forward in the new proposals.

The group identified 3 possible sites (an additional one at County School was considered unsuitable due to distance from the village for a new hall) and moving the cricket field to a safer location (balls regularly go outside of the ground in its present location,
The 3 sites were:

The current playing field – an attractive option because the PC already owns it. However, in order to have sufficient room on the field to accommodate a new hall, a car park and all the current sporting facilities, we would have needed to acquire some of the land belonging to Elmham Park. This would have entailed the demolition of the old flint wall at the western end of the field. The Don family did not give permission to proceed so this option had to be rejected.

Brookside Farm
The owners were approached, and they were receptive to the idea of selling the land to the PC. However, there is insufficient space to accommodate a hall and a car park. The land is not sufficiently flat for a cricket ground. On that basis, they rejected the use of that land as a realistic option.
This left the third option - King's Head Meadow. This field belongs to Peter Wade Martins. This field was the planners' preferred option, partly because of the good vehicular access it provides off Back Lane.

Provisional plans were obtained from the architect and these were discussed with Peter Wade-Martins. This was necessary because the PC wanted to get an indication from the planners as to what might be approved before they spent any money. Some adjustments were made to the provisional plans, and they were submitted to Breckland's planners for their initial consideration. The PC has now been told that any planning application for the project is likely to be favourably received.

The great advantage of King's Head Meadow is that it is sufficiently large to accommodate a new hall and car park as well as a new cricket ground, with a large enough hitting circle for the cricket balls not to present a danger to surrounding residences.
There are a number of possible funding sources available including selling for development, the current Institute and the Eastgate Centre. The Trustees of both are being consulted.
It was stressed that members of the Working Group were extremely grateful to Peter Wade -Martins for his generosity in proposing to gift the field to the PC in the form of a Trust. This is a not inconsiderable gesture, bearing in mind how much the field is potentially worth and it is hoped that everyone will join in expressing gratitude to Peter for his unselfish gesture.