A report by our Dereham Times Correspondent, Jane Smith.
The monthly Parish council meeting took place in the Pavilion with Caroline Payne in the Chair.
County/District Councillor Bill Borrett was in attendance together with seven parishioners. In public participation time, the householder of Number 23 Eastgate Street asked why the Highways Department had not been approached as promised concerning the provision of hard surfacing to the area opposite his house which was used for car parking by himself and his neighbours, the surface of which was now in an extremely bad state. Councillor Fletcher said that the problem had been discussed with Jason Glasspool from the Highways Department several months ago and the Chairman confirmed that this had been minuted, together with the reply from Highways that they could not fund hard surfacing of the area at the present time. The Parish Council had considered taking this on themselves, but any work would have to meet County Council specifications for which the cost was prohibitive. Councillor Wade-Martins wondered if, because of the proximity of the area to the Eastgate Centre which often needed extra parking space, some lottery funding could possibly be available. This will be investigated.
Mrs. Linda Richmond reported that the questionnaire for the Parish Plan had been completed and circulated to relevant organisations for checking. The recruiting of volunteers to distribute the questionnaire to every household would begin soon.
Mrs. Richmond on behalf of other residents, asked Councillor Bill Borrett to comment on the situation at Thompson's Yard following problems with the developers, as reported in the Eastern Daily Press, and wondered if a representative should attend the upcoming meeting. Mr. Borrett said that he did not feel that there was any need for concern at the moment; the matter was going back before the committee with officers recommending that councillors vote against the plans this time round.
COMMUNITY SPEED WATCH:
The PCSO had produced some photocopies of the Speed Watch booklet but as not all Councillors had received one, a full discussion could not take place. Councillor Groom said that he had found several debatable points in it, and the matter was deferred until the next meeting when all would have had a chance to read the booklet.
SAFE ROUTE TO SCHOOL:
The Chairman felt that things had gone very quiet on this matter, and the Clerk was asked to write to Graham Bygrave requesting an update.
LAND MANAGEMENT MATTERS:
Village Green - The Chairman thanked Mr. Borrett for negotiating changes to the Draft Lease, one clause having been removed and another amended. Mr. Borrett said he did not think he could move County Council any further on this matter.
It was agreed that a meeting should be asked for with a representative of NCC to discuss the Parish council's proposal to purchase the Green and Mr. Borrett said he would be happy to sit in on any such meeting.
Footpath to Broom Green - This had been officially inspected and the matter of its impassable state was being referred to solicitors.
A letter of appreciation had been sent to Konectbus thanking them for their good service in the bad weather. Mention was made of the proliferation of pot holes in the village, many due to the bad weather. Councillor Fletcher will be meeting Jason Glasspool from the Highways Department who will walk the village and make note of problem areas. A complaint has been made about the amount of gravel deposited on the footpath near Eastgate House as a result of cars exiting from the parking area. The Council felt that it was the tenants responsibility to regularly remove this and that the Highways Department should request this to be done.
PAVILION AND PLAYING FIELD:
There had again been minor damage to pavilion windows, but repair work would be deferred unless their condition became worse.
Discussion took place regarding the best material to be used for a new sign. Photographs of examples in metal from other villages were examined and it was suggested that the proposed design should be shown to metal workers/blacksmiths to ascertain the feasibility of production. A sub committee was formed to approach craftsmen and discuss costing. Book tokens will be presented to those children from Elmham School whose entries were chosen as the top four designs in the competition.
Mr. Mark Tasker will be asked to submit his proposals with his Parish Plan questionnaire.
MAINS SEWER PROBLEM:
Problems being experienced in Orchard Close caused by back up from the mains sewer will be reported to Anglian Water. An inspection chamber on the Village Green is becoming a hazard and will also be reported.
PARISH PLAN QUESTIONNAIRE:
The draft copy had been circulated for comments from the Parish Council. Some small amendments and additions were requested which were noted by members of the planning group present at the meeting. Thanks were expressed to them for their hard work in the preparation of the questionnaire.
A request had been received from Mrs. Janet Woodhouse for the Parish Council to lend copies of past minutes to assist in the preparation of a Village History in conjunction with Elmham Festival. The Clerk will investigate where and what is available.