The monthly meeting took place in the Sports Pavilion on 7th September with Colin Groom in the Chair and 18 members of the public present along with PCSO Stone.
Unusually for public participation the Chairman instructed the Clerk to read out a letter from Tracey Padget regarding the incident on the Village Green that ended with the death of a dog, complaining about the way that the matter was dealt with in both the DFT report and Elmham News. The letter further went on to question the integrity of a Parish Councilor and also the impartiality of the DFT correspondent and Elmham News by not reporting their concerns at the last meeting. After a lot of discussion and PCSO Stone confirming that there was no reason for Police involvement over the death of the dog, Peter Wade-Martins said that the matter was not something that the Parish Council should even be considering discussing, as it was not a Parish Council matter. John Labouchere pointed out that Elmham News was entirely independent of the Parish Council and Mark Tasker said that the Council should be encouraging Freedom of the Press instead of trying to control what was written. Although the Chairman Colin Groom was firmly of the opinion that he wanted it dealt with by the Council, the meeting was also firmly of the opinion that it was nothing to do with them and they should not be spending time on it. Mike Wyatt then stated that the reports in question were written for the DFT and were nothing to do with Elmham News as such, merely being provided as a courtesy.
Caroline Payne raised the issue of her disappointment about the Safe Route to School and how the matter seemed to be back to the position that it was two years ago. She also stated that she had been approached by someone who thought that the Village Green was not a Safe Route to School because of the problem of dog fouling in the area. A suggestion had been made to designate an area for dog walkers but it was accepted that this would be difficult to police. It was pointed out that it is people's duty to report any incidents of dog owners not clearing up after their animals so that the matter can be taken further. An approach to the Breckland Dog Warden to address a future meeting and try to find a way to control the problem was agreed.
Mr. Peter Howell reported that his planning application for three bungalows plus two further plots for sale was going ahead.
A question was raised regarding solar panels on roofs in Eastgate Street and whether the Parish Council had any particular guidelines – the answer given was they would use the same guidelines as Breckland, as the PC had none of their own. Merryn Walters then said that she had been dealing with this recently and that even within the Conservation Area there is no need for permission so long as the installation is in proportion to the roof.
The previous minutes were accepted
PCSO Stone reported that there had been 12 calls to the police during the month, x2 Anti Social behavior, x3 Highway disruption, x2 found property, x2 suspicious circumstances (one was someone seen being photographed topless in the Cathedral Ruins), x1 RTC and x2 Thefts – one of a dog, the other of electric fence posts. The two thefts were the only additions to the crime figures.
The training for the volunteers should start in about a month's time.
Village Green – Fly tipping is again taking place and Peter Wade-Martins volunteered to see the fly tipper to try and resolve the issue, however PCSO Stone suggested that it would be more effective to report the issue to Environmental Health and let them deal with the matter as they were used to dealing with these issues.
Cathedral Ruins – English Heritage were pleased at their recent inspection but they did raise some concerns regarding the loose flints and they are looking at ways of repair. A request has been received for an area for grass composting on the site and there was no objection to this. A request for another sign saying no cycling in the ruins was suggested and would probably be placed at the entrance. Mark Tasker has not yet managed to make contact with the correct person at the School yet but should within the next few days.Street Lights
It was reported that 11 lights need attention, they are a mixture of totally out or overgrown. The sites will be reported onward for action.
A volunteer for painting the Pump at the Kings Head has come forward.
The existing phone box needs looking after and Peter Braybrook volunteered to take this on as well as the new one when it is fully transferred.
The grant application has apparently been approved although the finance has not been received yet.
Norfolk Minerals and Waste LDF
Peter Braybrook gave an update from NCC as to the current state and timeline for future action was progressing. It is now apparently called the Norfolk Core Strategy. He also had conversation with NCC regarding the new planning framework proposed by the Government to see if the Council needs to comment on it. It was agreed that the Planning sub group would detail their thoughts and bring them to the next meeting as the online submissions had to be in by 17 October. John Labouchere said that Breckland will stick to the LDF until told otherwise but Appeals Inspectors have already been instructed to act as though the Act is in place (a worrying development reported by the National Trust at the start of the week).
Pavilion and Playing Field
Jimmy Brown reported that all has been quiet on the vandal front during the last month. The Football Club has provided new curtains and a fridge for the Pavilion and would like to put up a sign to welcome players to North Elmham Football Club. They had also asked about constructing dugouts on the half way line and also about floodlights for winter training. A question was asked regarding the grant made to the Tennis Club and was it on the basis of use as a multi purpose venue, it was confirmed that it was and that the Tennis Club be approached. There was also the possibility discussed of lights at the Pavilion end if the Tennis Club area was not possible. It was agreed to let the Football Club construct the dugouts provided that it was first checked whether planning permission was required or not. With regard to the sign it was suggested that there should be a single new sign for the clubs that use the ground with the cost shared between them. Floodlights were agreed and the Tennis Club would be approached. The new vacuum cleaner and shower curtains had been obtained and were now in use.
New Village Sign
This is looking very impressive and the metalwork should be complete by the end of the week but it will then need to be sent away for galvanizing. The suggested date for unveiling is Saturday October 22nd at 2:30pm
There was a meeting on the 5th and six reports had been returned. A public meeting has been organized for 28th October at the Institute to discuss the findings.
The last posts have been installed and the new rails will be put in place shortly.
Station Yard Development
Peter Wade-Martins reported that the Clerk's letter and the response from Breckland had been circulated – they appear to have dodged the issue and Paul Jackson's letter is thoroughly unsatisfactory. It was felt that the matter should be escalated to the independent Standards Officer and the meeting agreed that this was to be done.
1. Mrs C Bidewell, Yarrow Bridge, North ElmhamPermission granted – replacement of existing bridge
2. Mr H Goldstein, Well Cottage and The Cottage, Broom Green, North ElmhamPermission granted – refurbishment, extension and internal remodel
3. Mr and Mrs N Hubbard, 34 Cathedral Drive, North ElmhamPermission granted – removal of sun lounge/conservatory and erection of rear extension
4. Mr J Sowinski, Phoenix Cottage, Church Lane, North ElmhamPermission granted – single storey extension and minor internal alterations
5. Mr C MacEwan, 78 Holt Rd, North ElmhamPermission granted – single storey extension
6. Mr P Thurgill, 25 Eastgate Street, North ElmhamPermission refused – erection of two storey rear extension with single storey garden room
The Clerk reported that there was a Street Party Toolkit available and this would be passed to the appropriate person.
It was reported that the Tour of Britain Road Closures would be between 1:50-2:30 (approximately as it is weather dependent)
A copy of a letter to George Freeman MP had been received from National Express stating that the 496 Service was very much depended upon by concessionary users and that it would be a great loss if it was scrapped and that it needs all the support that it can get. The clerk is to reply to both National Express and George Freeman expressing the Parish's support for the continuation of the service.
There will be a public meeting on 28th October organized by the Parish Plan Action Group. There was also a request for all contact details and emails for all groups, clubs and societies.
Colin Groom and Bob Fletcher gave their apologies for the next meeting and Colin Groom also said that the Vice Chairman, John Labouchere would take charge of the next meeting and hopefully he (Colin Groom) would step down from the Chairman's position as agreed as of the November meeting.
The next meeting is the 5th October at 7:30pm in the Pavilion.