This is an independent report written by the Dereham Times Correspondent, Mike Wyatt. The official minutes are issued by the Clerk, Kevin Webb after they have been approved at the following meeting. They can be seen in the Post Office and will soon be back on the website at www.northelmhamvillage.org.uk.
There were 6 members of the public present and Peter Wade-Martins took the chair.
Peter Wade-Martins apologised to those present and explained that the heaters would be fixed by the next meeting. Meg White said that the search for a volunteer to maintain the North Elmham Village website had finally been successful and that it was currently in the process of being updated. Mike Wyatt explained that it could not be done overnight and that it was hoped to put the current month's magazine on the server within the next few days. The backlog, however would take a few months to get updated.
Janet Woodhouse hoped that all members of the council would be at the Mosquito Memorial Dedication Ceremony on 27th April (3:00pm at the Church) and then went on to say that Dr Catherine Hills, Director of the Spong Hill dig would be giving a talk about it on 10th June at 6:30pm in the School where everyone was welcome.
Eileen Bent asked about the proposed surface to the car park on the Green and it was thought that a material like EcoBlock (a plastic structure that allows the grass to grow through would be in keeping with the surroundings).
John Labouchere, Bill Borrett
Declaration of Interest – Peter Wade-Martins declared an interest regarding the new proposed Community Hall.
The previous minutes were accepted.
Land Management Matters
The guard around the new elm tree on the green has now been installed and there was discussion as to whether the wooden posts were needed as well.
The tree survey has been completed and as far as is known, no work needs to be done but the full report has not yet been delivered. In the interim however, Breckland have imposed tree preservation orders on the 4 affected trees and now any work would need the permission of the Tree Preservation Officer at Breckland.
Ann Keeble announced that the site has been cleared and the compound area has been re grassed, although she was not certain that all of the work had been completed and it would need checking. Bob Fletcher said that masonry nails had been left protruding from the brickwork and could be dangerous so he removed them.
The grazing agreement has been issued and the hedges have been cut.
Bob Fletcher said that grass cutting had started here as well as other places.
The snowdrops have been planted and Peter Wade-Martins suggested making it an annual event; he then went on to thank the volunteers who dug up the bulbs (Ann Keeble, Bob Fletcher and Jimmy Brown) as he had omitted to mention their help in his article in Elmham News.
Bridleway on disused railway line
The County Highways Department has no record of being notified by the Howell's that the work had been completed and thus they have not inspected it. Jimmy Brown said that it was passable now when it was dry.
Prince William Wood
The clearance work in the wood has not yet been finished.
Norman Clarke said that if all of the infilling of the main "Dark Areas" was done with street lights, it would cost in the order of £20k. The worst areas were by Memorial Hall, 44 Holt Rd, Ash Court and Larch Grove and it was suggested that Holt Rd be prioritized. Chelsea Cottages has now had its cable secured and the contract with TT Jones has been cancelled – their letter of acknowledgment gave a list of lamps and suppliers. Utility Advice Bureau had confirmed that eON was our cheapest supplier.
The request for yellow lines on Holt Road (opposite Cathedral Drive) has been passed onto James Winter who will deal with it when he returns from holiday. A final design of the seat to be placed by the British Legion is awaited along with moving of current dog bin.
Sign to Village Facilities
It was reported that Sue Ball is keen on producing a map of village facilities and walks.
Pavilion & Playing Field
Jimmy Brown reported that the skateboard park will be done within the next week and grass cutting has started.
The Cricket Club has complained about the state of the outfield and a vibrating roller has been obtained and the work will be done next Monday. The Cricket Club also asked about the possibility of placing advertising boards for sponsors but permission was only given for during match times. Use of the Pavilion had also been requested for Thursday evening net practices and it was suggested that a charge of £10 per evening be levied. The general charges for facilities hire are to be looked at for all uses.
Sale of Parish Pits
Martin Phillips announced that the Land Registry is about to issue all of the relevant paperwork. Expressions of interest in the purchase of the areas have also been received.
It was agreed after discussion to look into the possibility of Dog Control Orders as mentioned by Norman Clarke, in order to try and combat the problem of faeces and off lead dogs. All members were asked to look at the relevant paperwork and decide at the next meeting. Jennie Borgnis stood up for the many dog owners in the parish, pointing out that it appeared to be a minority of owners who were giving all dog owners a bad reputation and that if draconian legislation were tried then the Parish Council would probably find itself with a riot on its hands. It was agreed that legislation for the issues of the Green and pavements in general were entirely different issues and should be looked at individually.
The Youth Café is not now going to clean road signs in the village and are to suggest an alternative idea later in the year.
The documents for the Village Green Charity have all now been signed and will be registered shortly with the Charity Commissioners.
An ad for new responders has been placed in Elmham News but there have been no replies as yet.
Play Area and Car Park Proposals
The area designated for Car Parking is on hold at the moment pending the progress of the proposed housing development off Holt Road presented at the previous months meeting.
Maintenance of Benches
The work has now commenced now that the weather has improved and will be implemented over the next few months.
Community Hall Working Group
There was not much to report at the moment. It was said that a plan of action and funding requirements is agreed in order to minimize duplication of effort. Having been told that Breckland were not now funding startup grants, it appears that the original information given was incorrect but there is an equivalent grant to apply for.
Play Area Proposals
3 quotes were presented for provision of play equipment and it was agreed that the middle value quote from NGF Play Ltd of £39,648 represented the best value in terms of equipment quality and company experience. A question was asked as to the guarantee on the timber and it has a 15-year guarantee on all timbers (this was common on all quotes). Jimmy Brown raised a question as to whether the old swings etc could be reused and it was explained that if they were, then they would have to face current Health and Safety legislation (which they would not pass, although they were entitled to continue under the old rules so long as they were at the old site). Quotes had been received for fencing the area (2 from the equipment providers and one from a specialist fencing contractor) and the specialist contractor was considerably cheaper. It was agreed to obtain more quotes from fencing specialists for the next meeting to consider. A notional budget was being put in place for the car parking area in order that grant applications could be prepared. It was agreed that a final decision could not be made on this until more was known regarding the proposed development at Holt Road however a budget was needed so as not to stall the grant application process. Total fundraising for car park, equipment and fences etc needs to aim at about £70k to complete all of the work.
Public behaviour near the skateboard park
Jimmy Brown has been unable to contact the complainant and as no problem had been seen by anyone else, it was agreed to defer this matter until more information was available although it was pointed out that if the behaviour was as alleged then it would be a matter for the Police and not the Parish Council to solve.
Accounts and Payments
These were all agreed
Planning Applications and Determinations
Lady Laura Jamieson, Yarrow House, Bintree
Demolish loggia, internal alterations, remove section of wall and erect single story extension
Passed with no comment
Mr G C Redwood, Granary Buildings, Eastgate Street, North Elmham
Change of use from warehouse/light industrial to 2 new residential units
No objections other than a query from Bob Fletcher as to whether it would affect the entrance to Broadland Lifting Services and access for lorries.
Mr & Mrs A Challis, Eastgate Street, North Elmham
Conversion of redundant storage unit to dwelling
Mr & Mrs W Goff, Gt Wood Cottage, Elmham Road, North Elmham
Demolish existing house and erect replacement dwelling
Crime statistics – for the previous month there was only one recorded (other) and there was also a request from the police to come and discuss unlicensed music events.
Jim Heffernan said that the recent Cubs, Brownies and Guides Spring Fair event at the Eastgate Centre raised £400. Jimmy Brown asked if the Cricket Club could put their League Trophy in the Pavilion's display case and this was agreed.
Date of next meeting
The next Parish Council meeting will be on 7th May at 7:30pm in the Pavilion and the Annual Parish Meeting will be on the following Wednesday 14th May, also in the Pavilion at 7:30pm.