Minutes of Parish Council Meeting, 20 March 2013

In attendance:  Mrs Pat Clare (Chair, presiding), Mr Paul Wright, Mrs Mary Button and Mr David Hamblin (Councillors), Mr Mike Balmer (Clerk).  Also attending:  9 Parishioners.  Absent:  Mr Adrian Gunson (County Councillor), Mr Derek Blake (District Councillor).

13.19  Approved absences – none.

13.20  Declarations of interest – none.

13.21  The minutes of the previous meeting on 9 January 2013 , which had been circulated, were approved and signed.

13.22  Parishioner Questions

John Garrod raised two issues.  Firstly the rat problem along Church Lane and secondly recent missed brown bin collections.  On the second point he had telephoned South Norfolk Council but they had not been very helpful.  Several parishioners supported the increasing rat problem, caused because they feed on the maize on the southern side of Church Lane and spill over into Church Lane and the adjoining properties.  It was agreed that the Clerk should contact South Norfolk Council on both issues, by separate letters.  John Garrod additionally drew attention to the number of potholes on Church Lane, particularly at the corner where Burtons Farm and Apple Acre were, and at the top next to Grey Gables.  The Clerk was asked to pass this on to Adrian Gunson to take up with the road engineers.  John Ford asked about the Village Sign and Pat Clare explained that a small amount of further work would be done on the sign before it was officially “opened”.

13.23  District Councillor’s Report

Derek Blake was absent so there was no report from Long Stratton.

13.24  County Councillor’s Report

Adrian Gunson had apologised for not being able to attend and had given the Clerk a note of items worth recording, as follows:

  • He is in regular discussion with Highways about flooding at the bottom of Peascod Lane.
  • Remedial work on ineffective surface dressing at New Inn Hill would be carried out in the spring.  Similarly on the stretch of road between Langley School and Chedgrave.
  • They are winning the battle with the Environment Agency over repairs to the south bank of the River Chet, with agreement to repair and maintain the bank going forward.
  • There’s a big battle over the footpath at Rockland Staithe with vehicles gaining access to the house along the Staithe damaging previous repair work to the path.
  • He is in touch with the engineer over flooding outside Grey Gables on the Claxton/Ashby border, and knows about the letter to Mr Yallop.
  • Hobart School became an academy in February.
  • Green Pastures garden centre has an application in for coffee shop and restaurant facilities and Adrian has been pressing for the speed limit on the A146 by Hellington Corner to be dropped to 50mph, as there have been several accidents caused by excessive speed from both directions, with traffic from the side roads not having a good view of oncoming vehicles.

13.25  Byway and footpath issues

Pat Clare reminded the meeting that there had previously been complaints about the poor state of Peascod Lane and Slad Lane in particular, owing to the poor weather and frequent use by farm vehicles.  She and David Hamblin had met the owner of Claxton Manor in February and he had since replied.  It had been a very constructive meeting, and Pat read out his reply verbatim, as follows:

Dear Pat,
Thank you and David Hamblin for taking the time to come and see me yesterday. I thought the meeting was very useful and constructive.
The wet weather we have experienced since April, and it has been the wettest ten month period ever recorded in Norfolk, has caused a number of problems in the countryside and unfortunately Peascod Lane hasn’t been immune to this.
In order to limit the damage to the surface of Peascod I have asked that all non-essential farm traffic use other routes where possible. This will certainly help but please be aware that there will still be occasions when we need to use that lane for access.
As soon as the weather and our farming activities allow, we will do our best to get the surface of Peascod back into a decent state. Any attempts to do so at the moment will create additional damage.
I hope this helps.
Kind regards,
John Heathcote

The Council looked forward to the weather improving and the repairs being carried out.  The Clerk also noted that a request for a review of historical routes would be discussed at the Parish Council meeting in July.

13.26  Village Hall issues

The Chair reminded the meeting that the Parish Council had assumed responsibility for maintaining the Village Hall grounds and drew attention to the Declaration of Trust establishing the conditions of use of the Village Hall, which includes the requirement for there to be an Annual General Meeting each year (in April or as soon as practicable thereafter).  The last AGM had been in October 2011 and the Clerk was asked to remind the Committee of their obligations under the Declaration of Trust.

13.27  Planning

1 Staines Barns (2011/1645) and 2 Staines Barns (2011/1781) – the Clerk recalled that construction had to commence by 11 April 2013 or permission would expire.  One parishioner confirmed that he had been contracted by the agent to start work the following week, ie before the deadline.

BA/2013/0035/FUL has been received from the Broads Authority covering flood defence work from Carleton Beck to Langley Staithe (outside the Parish).  Councillors had been consulted as the deadline for responses was well before this meeting.  No objections were expressed.

13.28  Finance

a) The bank balance at 20 March was £1,832.32.  Budget and bank statements had been circulated separately.
b) Receipts – none.
c) Grants – none.
d) Payments

Cheque No Payee Description

Amount

100232 Claxton Village Hall Hire of Hall 2012-13 £   84.00
100233 South Norfolk Council Dog bin contract (28 Jan-31 Mar 2013) £   12.32
100234 M A Balmer Salary (Feb-Mar) and Admin (Jan-Mar)

£   323.01

100235 HMRC PAYE for Clerk (Jan-Mar)

£   114.20

100236 Norfolk ALC Annual Subscription 2013-14

£   90.39

100237 Norfolk RCC Membership 2013-14

£   15.00

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

13.29  Mini Recycling Agreement with South Norfolk Council

The proposal to sign an agreement with SNC to benefit financially from the collection and removal of waste glass from the Village Hall site was discussed.  Currently the Parish Council stands to receive a minimum of £100 a year, which could rise depending on the amount collected.  SNC will forward a formal agreement in the coming weeks, and the Council authorised the Clerk to sign this on their behalf.  The Clerk noted that – until 2009 – SNC had regularly paid £250 a year, but this had lapsed for some unknown reason.

13.30  Parish Plan 2010-2015 Update

The Clerk had circulated the updated Plan to Councillors and Villagers, drawing attention to the changes since January.  Pat Clare noted that it also called for Contingency Plans against flooding and agreed that the Council should take any opportunity to consult with SNC and others on how to take this forward.

13.31  Clerk’s Report

The Clerk reported that he had signed a three-year contract with Norse for grounds maintenance at the Village Hall, to tie it into the existing contract for the Warren which lasts till 2015.  He had also confirmed with South Norfolk Council that we wish them to empty the dogbin at the Village Hall on an ongoing basis.  They have been doing so since the end of January and have now billed us a small amount for this financial year.  He had attended a meeting at SNC about the Green Deal following which he had walked the village putting leaflets through every door with a letterbox.  He had also confirmed his attendance at the next Parish Clerk Consultation at SNC on 20 June.  Council Tax bills for 2013-14 have now arrived, showing South Norfolk Council have accepted our requested precept for 2013-14 (£3,999 including Benefit grant).  And he had been in touch with the Highways department about blocked drains on The Street.

13.32  Correspondence

The Clerk tabled a list of correspondence which had been e-mailed/circulated to Councillors or received prior to the meeting.

13.33  Speaker for the Annual Parish Meeting on 17 April

The Chair confirmed that they had arranged for a talk by Norfolk Museum Services about the historical environment in and around Claxton.  Details would be advertised nearer the time.

13.34  Items for next Agenda

None.

13.35  Date of next meeting is Wednesday 15 May immediately after the Annual Parish Meeting which starts at 7.30pm.

The meeting closed at 2030.

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