Minutes of Annual Parish Meeting, 20 April 2011

Present Mr Robin Godber (Chairman – Parish Council) presiding. Councillors, Clerk and 41 Parishioners attended

  1. Minutes

The Minutes of the Meeting held on the 20th April 2010, which had been circulated, were approved & signed.

  1. CLAXTON – CHAIRMAN’S REPORT

It has been a busy year for the Parish Council, particularly over the last few months. At the Annual Parish Meeting in 2010 the draft Parish Plan, which had been distributed to all households in the village, was discussed at length and the meeting gave approval to produce the final Parish Plan. Although slow to get started residents have begun to take up some of the suggestions and the forthcoming year should see a number of new initiatives unfolding, including:

The allotments.   An agreement has been reached between the Claxton Manor Estate and the Claxton Parish Pits Trust (who originally operated the allotments on behalf of the Alhusen family) to operate the area of the original allotments behind the Warren.   The area has been fenced off, water laid on and the ground is currently being prepared, with the generous assistance of John Heathcote.   Three residents have already taken up allotment space but there is room for at least two more as and when the call arises.

Village website.   It is felt that communication within the village would be greatly improved with the introduction of a website.   Despite full use of the various noticeboards throughout the village, and several house to house distributions, an up and running website would be more appropriate in this modern age. At least 2 residents have been identified as willing to run this and it is hoped to report further during the next few months.

Other items on the Parish Plan under discussion are the erection of a Village Sign and action to improve Broadband reception in the village. Other matters dealt with by the Council are pressure on Norfolk County Council to ensure that the Bergh Apton recycling centre does not close in 2012 when the planning runs out in September of that year.

In November a planning application was received for a 40 bed dementia unit at Claxton House.   While recognising the need for such facilities it was felt by the majority of residents who came forward that this was totally in the wrong location.   Of particular concern was the access, all roads leading to the site being single track.   Due to the level of concern a joint meeting with Thurton and Ashby Parish Councils was set up to meet the planning and highways officers at which over 50 people attended.   There was no doubt as to the strength of feeling against this application.   9 residents from Claxton, including councillors and those residents most affected, attended the planning meeting in March but despite strong representation against, it was approved – only two members of the Planning Committee voted against.

Another planning application causing concern for residents, particularly those in Church Lane, is a renewed application for Staines Barns. The council has constantly urged South Norfolk Council to do something about this derelict site, but even with all the problems involved they are still recommending approval.

The Parish Council year ends with the election of a new Council and several new members will be taking up the role of Parish Councillor next month – I wish them well.  I would like to conclude by thanking all my colleagues on the Council for their support and input over the past four years and also to Brian Ansell, our Clerk, for much needed advice and assistance.

Paul Wright proposed a Vote of Thanks to Robin Godber who was standing down from both the Chair and from the Parish Council, for his work and commitment to the Village, Parishioners, the Church and Parish Council.

5  District Councillors Report
Derek Blake presented a “Term” report covering the activities of South Norfolk Council and himself over the past 4 years.  The outlook was positive following the review and restructuring of the Council and its activities at the commencement of the 4-year term. Council tax has been frozen which is welcomed by many whose incomes have also been frozen or declined.

Consultation on the Local Development Framework continues with Site Specific Allocations to follow.  SNDC remains No.1 in the Country for the provision of affordable housing with building standards higher than most commercial developments.

6  County Councillors Report
Adrian Gunson commenced his Report with a look back at the issues covered over the past year.

Council Tax was frozen; A11 dualling completion by 2015; the Loddon to Rockland Bus has been withdrawn as it was consistently under used; surface dressing was proposed for Church Lane and Claxton corner and Consultation had commenced on the flood alleviation works proposed for the riverbank between Langley & Hardley Dykes in 2012.

7 Claxton Pit Trust
The Chairman – Roland Kaye had sent a Report covering the developments over the past year. The main assets covered by the Trust were 3 The Warren (which had received much needed remedial works during the past year), and Ducan’s Marsh ,which had been reviewed and progress identified for future investments. Funding for a Village Sign might also be considered by the Trust.

The Hon Treasurer (Chris Dix) tabled the Accounts.

8   Village Hall & Social Club
The Chairman – Linda Clitheroe – had sent a brief report noting that the Village Hall Committee had a quiet year with grants hard to obtain particularly as it is hoped to improve the toilets. The Social Club had a successful year with a range of activities although not always well supported.

9 The Church
Paul Carter reported that the Church was in good condition both structurally and spiritually.  He praised the volunteers who had laboured in the Churchyard & the Conservation Area.  He also thanked the Parish Council for their Grant which had funded works in the Churchyard over the past year.

10  Community Policing Report
The Clerk read the Report received from Norfolk Constabulary which indicated another “quiet year” for crime.

11 Parishioners’ Questions
Staines Barnes – Planning permission had been given to retrieve the Barns.
Bergh Apton Recycling centre – Still under threat of closure – Council to review.  Telephone Box – Still working.

PRESENTATION
The meeting had been preceded by an Illustrated Talk by Mr Christopher Ejubo from The Energy Saving Trust on “Alternative Technologies” such as Solar- both Thermal and Photovoltaics, Wind turbines, Air & Ground Source Heat pumps, Biomass and wood burning stoves. A Question & Answer session followed which was welcomed by Parishioners who were clearly interested in this topic.
Meeting closed at 21-55 hrs

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