Minutes of Parish Council Meeting, 19 September 2012

In attendance: Mrs Pat Clare (Chair, presiding), Mr Paul Wright, Mrs Mary Button and Mr David Hamblin (Councillors), Mr Mike Balmer (Clerk).  Also attending: 14 Parishioners, Mr Adrian Gunson (County Councillor) and Mr Derek Blake (District Councillor).

12.54 Approved absences – none.

12.55 Declarations of interest – none.

12.56 The minutes of the previous meeting held on 25 July 2012, which had been circulated, were approved and signed.

12.57 The draft new Standing Orders, including Freedom of Information, Disciplinary and Grievance and Complaints Policies, which had been circulated to Councillors in advance, were agreed and formally adopted. Mike Balmer confirmed they would now be made available on the website.

12.58 Parishioner Questions
One parishioner asked why part of the Warren had been left uncut, particularly since it meant a lack of visibility when leaving at the northern end. Another asked if the high ground on the Warren nearest the post-box could be reduced as it was very difficult to see traffic approaching from the direction of Rockland. Mike Balmer said he would explain the grass-cutting during agenda item 12.65 below. With regard to visibility at the Mill Lane end, he agreed to see whether there was anything that could done, short of getting equipment in to lower the level!

12.59 County Councillor’s Report
Surface Dressing. All work previously mentioned had been carried out, including Rockland, New IUnn Hill, Hellington Corner and Thurton.
The Norfolk Trails people had had the Wherryman’s Way cut down to the River Yare. The path at Rockland Staithe is still uneven.
Claxton is on the list for a speed monitor (VAS) which is due before Christmas.
At the last meeting flooding at Grey Gables in Ashby was mentioned. He had spoken again with the engineer whose view was that an additional layer of tarmac would solve the problem, though this was obviously not a high priority at the moment.
The Household Waste site at Bergh Apton now has permanent permission to operate.
The move of Hobart School to Academy status is progressing, with Parishes, parents and the public generally in favour, though there are the inevitable opposing voices.
Norfolk County Council has launched its Community Construction Fund for building projects, eg improving indoor or outdoor facilities, including play areas, access for disabled etc, but this has to be construction work, not purchase of equipment.
Norfolk CC have also appointed BT as their preferred partner in the project to bring better broadband to Norfolk. Improvements will be delivered in the next 3 years. This will create around 1,300 new jobs over 10 years. NCC and the government have each contributed £15m with BT putting in £9m. 89% of Norfolk should have 24mps speeds by 2015 with the rest enjoying at least 2mps.

12.60 District Councillor’s Report
Derek Blake contrasted Norfolk CC’s aims with South Korea, where 100mps is the norm. The UK is currently 28th in the world in broadband services.
The place-making guide has now reached its final draft, which is going to cabinet on 24 September. He left 2 DVDs with the Clerk, one of which will be circulated to Councillors.
The new planning policies are going through. The final draft will go out for consultation in November and within 12-18 months it will be in force.
There is a Board meeting of the Greater Norwich Partnership the next day, to discuss government grants for infrastructure for 20 cities, with Norwich being omitted from the list. They plan to appeal this.
South Norfolk Council is re-organising and not backfilling vacancies. As a result there is vacant office space in Long Stratton, which SNDC are trying to fill with other public bodies.
Finances at SNDC are in robust condition, with substantial reserves.

12.61 Thinking Fuel
The Council approved the proposal to join Norfolk RCC’s “Thinking Fuel” Scheme, following a very well-received presentation immediately before the Council meeting. Mike Balmer would take on the co-ordinator role, and would complete and despatch the signed constitution and completed membership application.

12.62 Planning
1 Staines Barns (2011/1645) and 2 Staines Barns (2011/1781) – both applications were approved on 6 June with conditions. As of 10 September South Norfolk Council were still awaiting the amended site plan in regard to the extent of the adopted highway, which is required before planning permission can be issued.

The Council has advised the agent that if they don’t hear from him by 1 October the matter will be returned to the Planning Committee for reconsideration. The Chair had spoken with the Planning Officer and now understood that the agent would be given a further three months to comply. Derek Blake, who is on the Planning Committee, felt that the Planning Officer had overstepped his authority and undertook to investigate urgently.

Household Waste Recycling Centre at Bergh Apton. Permanent approval was granted on 27 July.

12.63 Finance
a) The bank balance at 13 September was £1,863.56. Budget and Bank statements had been circulated to Councillors separately.
b) Receipts – there had been a refund of £20 under the Clerks’ Bursary Scheme for the Clerk’s training.
c) Grants – none.
d) Payments
Cheque No Payee Description Amount
100222 Mazars External Audit fees for 2011-12 Accounts £ 60.00
100223 M A Balmer Salary (Aug-Sep) and Admin (Jul-Aug) £ 280.20
100224 HM Revenue and Customs PAYE for Mike Balmer May-Sep 2012 £ 142.60
100225 Norfolk RCC Membership of “Thinking Fuel” Scheme £ 15.00

Pat Clare proposed that the schedule should be approved, and this was seconded by Paul Wright.

12.64 Parish Plan Update
The Clerk had updated the table, circulated copies to Councillors and made copies available to Parishioners. There were no comments on the update, and this will be on all future agendas as a standard item.

12.65 Clerk’s Report
The Clerk reported that he had spoken with BT about the Phone box on the Warren. It is now in their rationalisation programme but it will be several weeks before it can be removed. It cannot be passed on to individuals. NorSE have now started to cut the whole of the Warren, and because they missed two cuts they have agreed to cut the Village Hall grass for the rest of 2012. A decision is needed for 2013, and the Council agreed to consider this at the November meeting, but asked the Clerk to endeavour to get 2 further quotes to consider at that meeting. The Hedge at the Warren will be cut by Anglian Water by mid-October. Working with Adrian Gunson, he had also tracked down those in Norfolk CC responsible for trails and as a result the Wherryman’s Way between Mill Lane and Rockland Staithe has now been cut. The Clerk was asked to obtain a quote from the tree surgeon who had inspected trees at the Warren and the Village Hall, for taking both diseased trees down, and removing the smaller saplings on the Warren planted by a previous tree warden.

12.66 Correspondence
The Clerk tabled a list of correspondence which had been e-mailed or circulated to Councillors or received prior to the meeting. Items included:

• NALC – Declaration of acceptance of office forms
• Norfolk RCC Newsletter August 2012
• WEEE Electrical Re-use & Recycling event, 30 August
• NALC Norfolk Link August 2012
• CPRE Protect our Paths
• Greater Norwich Development Partnership Community Infrastructure Levy
• Letter from Richard Bacon MP about Big Lottery Fund Village SOS Scheme
• Better Broadband for Norfolk
• Society of Local Council Clerks National Conference
• Parish Crime Statistics August 2012
• South Norfolk Council Commencement of Site Specific Allocations & policies consultation
• Suffolk Preservation Society’s annual conference 2012
• Norfolk Playing Fields Association newsletter
• Audit Commission on new external auditing fees
• Clerks and Councils Direct – September 2012

12.67 Items for next Agenda
Staines Barns, Parish Plan, grass cutting at Village Hall, tree dismantling and removal.

12.68 Date of next meeting is Wednesday 7 November, at 7.30pm.

12.69 The following dates for 2013 (all Wednesdays) had been previously agreed:

16 January, 20 March, 15 May, 17 July, 18 September and 20 November 2013, with the Annual Parish Meeting on Wednesday 17 April 2013.

The meeting closed at 2106.

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