Minutes of Parish Council Meeting, 10 July 2013

In attendance:  Mrs Pat Clare (Chair, presiding), Mr Paul Wright and Mrs Mary Button (Councillors), Mr Mike Balmer (Clerk), Mr Adrian Gunson (County Councillor).  Apologies:  Mr David Hamblin (Councillor).  Absent:  Mr Derek Blake (District Councillor). Also attending:  6 Parishioners.

13.48  Approved absences – David Hamblin had been called away urgently at the last minute and the remaining Councillors agreed this was unavoidable.

13.49  Declarations of interest – none.

13.50  The minutes of the previous regular meeting on 15 May 2013 and of the extraordinary meeting on 29 May, which had been circulated, were approved and signed.

13.51  County Councillor’s Report

Adrian Gunson reported as follows:

  • May Gurney have completely resurfaced the roads in Loddon.  The traffic lights currently in place are because a wall of the Coop was unsupported and needs proper shoring up.
  • Remedial work on ineffective surface dressing at New Inn Hill and on the stretch of road between Langley School and Chedgrave has not yet happened.
  • He is still battling for a 40MPH speed limit at Hellington Corner, and Green Pastures’ planning application for an extensio is set to be approved soon.
  • Hobart School were recently rated by Ofsted as Good (previously outstanding).
  • There has been discussion about accident rates on the A146.  Statistics show most incidents happening south of Loddon.
  • There are still fears that the roads maintenance budget, an easy target, will be the first to be reduced should any further cuts be passed on to the County Council.
  • The County Engineers have agreed to dig a ditch alongside Grey Gables on Church Lane on the Claxton/Ashby border.  Councillors confirmed this had already been done, but that its effectiveness would have to await the next heavy rains.

13.52  District Councillor’s Report

Derek Blake’s continuing absence due to ill health meant there was no report from Long Stratton.  It is hoped he will be well enough to attend on 18 September.

13.53  Parishioner Questions

There were none.

13.54  Request for a review of historical rights of way in Claxton

Alan Ives had not been able to be present to speak to his proposal, copies of which were circulated to all attendees.  There was no distinguishable support for his proposal, though it was noted by parishioners that Alan had already carried out a lot of research and there was no reason why he should not continue.  If he wished to return to the issue at a subsequent meeting, he needed only to ask the Clerk to add the item to the agenda and be present to promote it.

13.55  Request for a letter to Richard Bacon MP about improving broadband coverage

Robin Sword, who had asked for this to be discussed, was unable to attend.  The item coincided with the earlier presentation on Broadband by Norfolk County Council, who had made it clear that Mr Bacon was fully seized of the need to secure funds for improvements throughout rural Norfolk.  There were no views from the floor and the Council agreed that no further action was needed.

13.56  Request for the provision of playground facilities on the Warren green

Paul Hill explained that his children had regularly played on the diseased maple which had been cut down last year for safety reasons and wondered whether it was possible for playground facilities to be established on the green for the children in the village.  There was a good discussion, with everyone present supporting the provision, but doubts being expressed about their being located on the green, partly for safety fears and partly because a better location would be on the Village Hall grounds.  There was good parking, it was away from the road and would also enhance the attractiveness of the Hall to potential hirers, eg for weddings and other such celebrations.  Mike Balmer thought that there was a greater chance of securing some form of grants to help fund it, and it was agreed that a small working party should form to take work forward.  The question of insurance would also have to be considered.

13.57  Flood Prevention Planning

There was general agreement that Claxton was at some (low) risk of flooding and that a Contingency Plan would be worthwhile.  Mike Balmer had already copied off guidance from South Norfolk Council’s website, and agreed to write a first draft of a Plan for future consideration, based on that and other guidance available.  He would also see what other neighbouring villages have in place, so as to avoid unnecessary work, but cautioned that this might take time.  One parishioner suggested that Claxton work together with Carleton St Peter and Rockland St Mary.  This would also be considered.

13.58  Possible need/wish for expanded recycling facilities

There was a general discussion about recycling, local and nearby facilities, differences between Councils as to what could (and could not) be recycled.  There was no consensus on the way forward however.  Adrian Gunson agreed to check with the County Council whether there should be differences between authorities.  The Clerk would ask his Rockland counterpart for their experience with their footwear and clothing bank.  A further discussion would be held in September.

13.59  Speeding at Claxton Corner

This generated many views.  It was suggested that most drivers entering the corner at excessive speeds were local residents who knew the road.  A suggestion to extend the 30MPH limit from the New Inn all the way to Claxton was problematic, with Adrian Gunson stating that this route ran through open countryside and this ran contrary to guidelines and practice.  The County Council would not erect mirrors, partly because they are easily vandalised and moved.  Private citizens could do so on their own land however.  Adrian Gunson undertook to get the County Engineers to look at the dividing line in the middle of the road, which was not supposed to have been replaced, and to consider the width of the hedges pushing out into the corner from the dwelling which owned that land.

13.60  Planning

The Clerk confirmed that there had been no new applications since May.  Comments on the current applications are as follows:

Land north of Hall View, Church Lane (2013/0795) request to convert stable block into residential dwelling.  SNC await a response from the Environment Agency following production of a Flood Risk Assessment.  We await further developments.

Staines Barns (2013/0796, 0797, 0798 and 0799) – SNC told us on 4 July that the applications have not yet been determined due to the high pressure of casework being experienced currently, but will be determined as soon as possible.  They now have the response from NCC’s Highways Department.

13.61  Finance

a) The bank balance at 10 July is £2,383.49.  Budget and bank statements have been circulated separately.

b) Receipts – none.

c) Grants – none.

d) Payments

Cheque No Payee Description

Amount

100246 M A Balmer Salary (Jun-Jul) and Admin (May-Jul)

£ 332.62

100247 Norfolk Playing Fields Association Membership renewal 2013-2014

£ 20.00

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

13.62  Update on Parish Plan 2010-2015

There were no substantive updates, and the only changes were that Additional Recycling and Flood Planning were being discussed at this meeting.

13.63  Clerk’s Report

The Clerk reported that, as instructed at the Extraordinary meeting he had provided comments on all the above planning applications.  He had attended the latest Clerk Consultation meeting at South Norfolk Council on 20 June and a Norfolk ALC “Cafe Cluster” on 25 June.  He had noticed that Norse had missed a cut of the grass at the Warren and the Village Hall, and had persuaded them to give us a credit for £69.50.  He will continue to monitor their performance.  The last cuts were on 17 June.  He had also chased South Norfolk Council as dog bin emptying has not been as regular as agreed.

South Norfolk Council have also been in touch about bulk oil buying schemes and he has given them details of “Thinking Fuel” as they are considering setting up their own.  He has signed the mini recycling agreement on behalf of the Parish Council and we should shortly be getting the £100 payment.  He has also provided the Highway Rangers with a list of jobs to do this week.  They were last here on 8 May.  Lastly he had tried out the mobile gym which has started in Loddon each Friday from 1000-1330, and recommends it.

13.64  Correspondence

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

13.65  Items for next Agenda

Updates on Recycling and Flood Planning.

13.66  Date of next meeting is Wednesday 18 September at 7.30pm.

The meeting closed at 2125.

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