Minutes of Parish Council Meeting, 20 November 2013

In attendance:  Mrs Pat Clare (Chair, presiding), Mr Paul Wright, Mrs Mary Button and Mr David Hamblin (Councillors), Mr Mike Balmer (Clerk) and Mr Adrian Gunson (County Councillor).  Apologies:  None.  Absent:  Mr Derek Blake (District Councillor).  Also attending:  7 Parishioners.

13.85  Approved absences – there were none.

13.86  Declarations of interest – none.

13.87  The minutes of the previous meeting on 18 September 2013 were approved and signed.

13.88  Parishioner Questions

Having read Adrian Gunson’s recent newsletter John Ford wanted to record that his concern at the last meeting was to control any further development along Church Lane.  John Garrod hoped that when the signpost on Claxton Corner was eventually repaired the style would remain in keeping with the signpost itself.

13.89  District Councillor’s Report

Derek Blake being unaccountably absent there was no report from Long Stratton.

13.90  County Councillor’s Report

Adrian Gunson reported as follows:

  • Work on the Northern Distributor Road was expected to begin in Spring 2015.
  • Apprenticeships in Norfolk had proved  quite successful with 124 posts established by District Councils and local business, 188 by the County Council and a further 126 through the joint County Council/Norse operation.
  • The issue of drainage outside Grey Gables on the Claxton/Ashby border continued with a further engineer visit.  There was no significant flooding there during October and it was likely that the ditch which had been cleared out was allowing quicker drain away.  There was no justification for more costly and extensive works given the minor character of this road.
  • There was a low-level study taking place on speed limits on the Trowse bypass.
  • He had arranged the return of the VAS on New Inn Hill and hoped it would get to Claxton as well.
  • The engineer had checked the condition of the signpost at Claxton Corner on 12 November.  3 replacement finger arms have been ordered but as the lettering is still in place this is a low priority.
  • The signpost at Lambs Court was part of the Wherryman’s Way access, so should be handled by Norfolk Trails, though there was a dispute as to who was actually responsible, which he would endeavour to sort out.
  • There was bad news on Better Broadband, in that Claxton will be in Phase 9 in the second half of 2015.  We can expect a non-fibre optic solution meaning speeds of between 2-12Mps, somewhat less than the Superfast Broadband available to some 83% of the country.

13.91  Update on Playground Facilities

Pat Clare said that, as the agreed site for the new playground was on Claxton Manor land used by the Village Hall, she was waiting for an agreement to be signed with the Manor to allow this to proceed.  She still needed help to take this project forward, not least from those who had pressed for it as recently as the Council meeting last July.  The Clerk confirmed he had added a note to the website.

13.92  Flood Prevention Contingency Planning

Copies of the Flood Prevention Guidance had been hand-delivered to every home in the village.  It was agreed that the Guidance would be reviewed annually.

13.93  Duplicate Telegraph Poles

Roland Kaye, who had asked for this to be discussed, was unavoidably absent.  There was a short discussion, the conclusion of which was that until they reached Claxton there was no action to be taken.

13.94  Peascod Lane – condition

The resident who had asked for this to be discussed had not attended the meeting.  The general consensus among Councillors and villagers alike was that Peascod Lane was 100% better than a year ago and did not need any further work at this time.  The Claxton Manor Farm Manager confirmed he would keep an eye on it and any questions should come to him direct.  One area of Home Piece had been badly cut up but the vehicle used was no longer active in that area.

13.95  Rats on Church Lane

There was a lengthy discussion about the prevalence of rats along Church Lane, coming from Claxton Manor land.  The Manor gamekeeper explained he was prevented by law from putting down poison unless invited to do so by householders, on their own land.  The Manor was using all legal methods to resolve the issue and would be using smoke and terriers when the season ended in 2 months’ time.

13.96  Planning

The application for land north of Hall View, Church Lane (2013/0795), a retrospective request to convert a stable block into a residential dwelling, had been refused by SNC’s Planning Committee.

Applications for non-material amendments to the approved applications for 1, 2 and 3 Staines Barns were all approved on 1 November.  Paul Wright commented that approvals seemed to cover more changes than in the applications.

13.97  Finance

a) The bank balance at 20 November was £3,587.82.  Budget and bank statements had been circulated separately.
b) Receipts – £100 from South Norfolk Council for operation of bottle banks on 18 September.
c) Grants – none.
d) Payments

Cheque No  Payee                                         Description                                            Amount
100250       Norfolk Rural Community Council  “Thinking Fuel” membership 2013-14       £20.00
100251       M A Balmer                                 Salary (Oct-Nov) and Admin (Sep-Nov)    £316.59
100252       Norse Commercial Services          Grass-cutting Warren 2nd payment          £141.85
100253       Norse Commercial Services          Grass-cutting Village Hall 2nd payment     £150.33
100254       HM Revenue and Customs            PAYE for Clerk Oct-Nov 2013                   £57.80

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

13.98  Funding Issues.  The Clerk explained that South Norfolk Council had still not decided whether to make a further grant available to Councils as part of the changes to Council Tax Benefit, as had happened in 2013-14.  If they did not, the Parish Council would have to decide whether it could live with a shortfall of around £250 for the year or whether to seek a rise in the Precept which, to reach previous funding levels, would be in the order of 6.6%.  He was attending a meeting at SNC the following week at which this would be discussed but it was possible that the decision would not be taken until nearer the end of the year, meaning the Parish Council would have to agree its budget, without much time for consideration, at its 15 January meeting.  The Clerk simply wanted to flag up that a difficult decision was potentially looming.

13.99  Update on Parish Plan 2010-2015

The Clerk had updated the Plan and introduced a traffic-light system (Green – complete, Yellow – ongoing, Red – no progress or likelihood of any) to make it easier to understand progress.  He had also added a note to the effect that there was no real likelihood of ever getting mains drainage or gas into Claxton.

13.100  Clerk’s Report

  • He had delivered Flood Contingency Guidance to every house in the village, along with a flyer about the Mobile Gym.
  • The Community Gym expects to launch in early April and in the meantime the facilities are being provided by the Mobile Gym.
  • He is in the process of asking Kevin Parker for an assessment of trees in the Village Hall car park.
  • He wrote to thank John Heathcote on 23 September.
  • And he fed in comments about Staines Barns to South Norfolk Council

13.101  Correspondence

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

13.102  Items for next Agenda

Peascod Lane and Rats.

13.103  Date of next meeting is Wednesday 15 January 2014 at 7.30pm.

The meeting closed at 2047.

 

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