Having been elected as Chairman last May I realised I had a "hard act" to follow, although I had served my apprenticeship as vice chairman for nine years!
At the same time as Colin stepped down from the Chair, our Clerk John Lee also tendered his resignation and left the Parish Council in July last year. Kevin Webb was duly appointed and welcomed as new Clerk, which meant that the Parish Council had two "newbie's" at the helm!
It has been a challenging and also rewarding year and the Parish Council has continued to work for the benefit of the community.
The application for mineral extraction in North Elmham has been a big issue and our very pro-active committee have worked tirelessly to put together a good case against this proposal and we were very pleased to learn that Norfolk County Council had rejected Min 21 as being a suitable site for gravel extraction. The final report on suitable sites should be circulated at the end of June.
The renewal of the lease on the village green has also caused controversy, but I am pleased to say that Norfolk County Council has agreed to revisions as proposed by the Parish Council and is on the table for signature this evening.
The Parish Council has begun negotiations with Norfolk County Council with a view to purchasing the village green in order to protect this open space for future generations and also to protect our safe route to school. We have also met with representatives of NCC and have been assured that a sum of £5000 has been included in their budget to secure other areas of the safe route to school.
We as a Parish Council are fully aware of the concerns of residents regarding speeding in the village and if volunteers from the parish come forward, it may be possible to set up a community speed watch team in the foreseeable future.
The Parish Council has also been working with the North Elmham Planning Group and through the questionnaire which will be delivered to all households, everyone can have their say. The outcome of this will help shape the future of North Elmham. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the NEPG for all their hard work in compiling the questionnaire.
The Local Development Framework consultation process is nearing the end and North Elmham will become a Service Centre, retaining services without development outside brown field sites.
Part of the Parish Councils remit is to plan for the future of the village and we welcome all parishioners to Parish Council meetings to express their views or to approach Councillors individually, your opinion matters.
I would like to conclude by thanking my fellow Councillors and Clerk for their support during the past year and I would especially like to thank those Councillors who have been able to work "hands on" for the Parish. I would also like to thank our employees and contractors and last but not least thanks to Jane Smith our news correspondent who attends our meetings regularly and reports in the local newspaper and village magazine. Caroline Payne