There were 4 members of the public present and Martin Phillips chaired the meeting.
Eileen Bent was worried about the number of very large HGVs using Holt Road and said that they were destroying the grass verges in the area beyond the Pound and asked if anything could be done to limit them. Martin Phillips said that some of the vehicles were definitely above the weight limit for Guist Bridge but Jimmy Brown added that some of the drivers were just following satnav and ignoring the signage whilst others were local traffic and quite legally entitled to be there.
Apologies were received from Peter Braybrook.
The Minutes of the previous meeting were accepted.
The loaned system has brought down speeds noticeably and the grant application to purchase our own is now in.
Land Management Matters
David Ward of Natural England has been in touch with English Heritage with regard to the areas of scrub and was doubtful that the Parish would get funding to do all the work and proposed an alternative with the Parish doing some of the clearing (provided that the earthworks were not disturbed), he also suggested dealing with the rabbit problem with ferrets. Bob Fletcher said that someone (or many) using the Meadows to walk their dog has been dropping the poo bags just by the gate to the Ruins and not taking then to the bin provided in the Car Park and wondered why people could be bothered to pick up the mess but then not dispose of it correctly.
John Labouchere had meeting with Tom Cook and others regarding the New Zealand Pygmy Weed and it was agreed that it was becoming a real problem as it is starting to get into the watercourse. The main treatment of burial on site is not feasible at this site unfortunately leaving only a modified Glyphosate treatment. Tom Cook is happy to spray the weed 2-3 times in the year using this method.
A thank you was given to Fred and Di Weatherill for all the clearing work that thay are doing in the wood, it has made a real difference. The moles are becoming a real problem here as well as the Meadows and Ruins and investigation is proceeding to find someone to control them.
Bridleway on disused railway line
There is still no sign of an electric fence to protect the bridleway at the moment.
The problems with lights 54 & 68 have been resolved and the new light in Larch Grove is awaiting installation by T T Jones. The LED lighting has saved the Parish some 80% of its street lighting electricity bill (a saving of c £3000 pa) and a vote of thanks was given to Norman Clarke for the work he did on getting the scheme through.
The hole that appeared in Eastgate Street was temporarily filled within 2 hours and will be permanently done soon. There has been a request for 2 posts outside the Surgery (where the one was knocked down) in order to be more effective. Roadworks on Brisley Road will close the road on the 16, 17 & 18 of February from the Kings Head up to Ramsley Farm. A question was raised about the 30mph speed limit in Eastgate Street and asking if it could be reduced, it was pointed out that this matter has been raised may times before with the Highways Department who comment that the road should be self limiting due to parking, road width etc.
East gate Centre
At the AGM all of the Trustees were reelected, choice of the Parish Council Trustees will be left until after the upcoming election.
Pavilion and Playing Field
The bottle banks are still being used and emptied. Breckland have been contacted about the kickwall but no reply has been received yet. The car park surface needs treating and methods of dealing with it are to be looked at. Jim Heffernan raised a point about rolling the cricket outfield and Jimmy Brown said he was prepared to do it if the PC covered the cost of the roller hire.
Sale of Parish Pits
One of the contracts has been signed and the other should also be done shortly.
There are currently 8 dog bins in the Parish but some of them will need replacing during the year.
Community Hall Working Group
Colin Smith reported that the group had had an informal meeting to discuss the way forward and it was felt that a meeting with Mr. & Mrs Wade-Martins was necessary and that an independent Charitable Trust be set up with a Parish Council representative as one of the Trustees along with the Eastgate Centre, the Institute and possibly the Wade-Martins. Jim Heffernan pointed out that the Cricket Club should also be represented as a Trustee. A possibility to look at was to only build the new Hall in phase 1 of the project however it was decided to leave any further decisions until after the upcoming elections to allow whoever was appointed to have a full 4-year run at the project. Tom Fitzallan Howard said that a meeting with the Wade-Martins was essential in order to convince them of the serious nature of the group, it was also felt that the Parish Council should not directly run the new Hall and it would be better administered by the Trustees in the same way as the Institute currently is. Mentioned also was the worry of where the sheep would go and that sports development could possible be in phase 2. It was emphasized that the Trustees should be entirely separate from the Working Group who would administer the actual development of the project.
There was good news – Norfolk Playing Fields have given £5000 on top of the £1500 already agreed toward the project. A bespoke design of equipment is being looked at (main frame to have echoes of the old wooden Cathedral). Jimmy Brown suggested that the fenced area make plenty of allowance for future development of the area.
There has been good support from both within the village and from outside to help combat the theft of the previous month.
Steps from the Institute to the Burial Ground
The application has been mad for the grant and a decision is expected shortly. Work on the wall has commenced but progress has been slow because of the weather.
A couple of volunteers have come forward so fat and more would be welcomed.
Notice and Information Boards
The old maps have not been found and Colin Smith explained how the previous ones were compiled with the help of a load student from the UEA. There is a disk available that may still be readable and it is hoped that that this could provide a starting point to draw new up to date maps.
Another Snowdrop Sunday planting was suggested but it was thought that it would be better to wait for a year in order that last years planting should have sufficient time to develop before any more were planted as this would help avoid disturbance to the bulbs already in the ground.
Accounts for Payment
These were all accepted.
Planning Application and Determinations
There were none at all this month.
Crime Statistics – there was 1 classed as other and 1 case of criminal damage.
It was agreed that a 4 year contract with NORSE be drawn up.
Nomination packs for the election should be available for the next meeting.
The next meeting will be on 4th March 2015.