Minutes of Parish Council Meeting, 15 January 2014

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:  Mr Derek Blake (District Councillor).  Also attending:  4 Parishioners.

14.01  Approved absences – there were none.

14.02  Declarations of interest – none.

14.03  The minutes of the previous meeting on 20 November 2013 were approved and signed.

14.04  Damage to pavement outside “Sharlyn”
Mary Button brought up damage to the pavement outside “Sharlyn”, and the Farm Manager explained that tractors working in the Claxton Manor fields next to the Village Hall had too tight a turning circle to enter and leave without encroaching on the pavement, which had been damaged as a result (along with part of “Sharlyn”s boundary hedge).  Adrian Gunson was asked to take this up with the highways engineers with a view to having it repaired.

14.05  County Councillor’s Report
Adrian Gunson reported as follows:

  • Claxton would not receive a fibre-optic solution but would be guaranteed between 2-12Mps speed from 2015 onwards.  There was a discussion about the location of telephone distribution cabinets and how that would affect villages in the area.
  • The VAS speed monitor on New Inn Hill had moved on but it was hoped to return to Claxton sometime in 2014.  He asked if the Parish Council had been contacted about sharing the purchase of a VAS with neighbouring villages, and the Clerk explained that this had been considered by the Councillors but rejected as unaffordable.
  • There was no news on the Church Lane/Claxton Corner signpost, and a dispute about who was responsible for replacing the Public Footpath sign at Lambs Court.  He was chasing.
  • The Northern Distributor Road project had been out to public consultation and a decision would be made in 2015.  Meanwhile the road hub at Postwick had been through a public enquiry and approved by the County Council.
  • He was expecting the Trowse Bypass to be resurfaced this summer.

14.06  District Councillor’s Report
Derek Blake was absent as he was chairing Bergh Apton’s Parish Council meeting, but he had asked the Clerk to emphasise his commitment to Claxton, despite his absence for much of 2013 through ill-health.

14.07  Parishioner Questions
Peter Lancaster asked why the village could not have VAS at both ends of the village, and it was explained that these are not permitted in areas which are not lit.

14.08  Update on Playground Facilities
Pat Clare said she had reached agreement with Claxton Manor Farms over the use of the land behind the Village Hall for playground facilities.  Julia Kaye had offered to help take the project forward, but no villagers with young children had offered to help, and without a contribution from some of those who would benefit directly, this was unlikely to move forward as hoped.  The Clerk confirmed he advertised this on the village website but did not know who in the village checked it.

14.09  Council Standing Orders and Policies
Councillors had considered whether any changes were needed to the Standing Orders and Policies agreed in September 2012 and revised in 2013 but were content that they were still valid.  The Clerk will add a note that they were reviewed in January 2014, otherwise no further action is required.

14.10  Condition of Peascod Lane
There had been no further complaints and Councillors’ views were that it was in good condition.  No further action required.

14.11  Rats on Church Lane
John Garrod reported that the rat problem was as great as any time in the past.  From early February Claxton Manor Estate will be making changes to the fields, though will keep the feeders until the rats have been dealt with.  They will tackle the hedgerows with terriers, and carry out a systematic clearance of the fields at the same time.  Further from the road they will use shotguns and gas.  Given that the gas they will use (phosphoxin – sic) is dangerous to domestic animals as well, they will keep the use away from the edges of fields, though will also post warning notices.  Peter Lancaster agreed to send the Clerk a link to the gas, so he could also advertise this on the website and noticeboards.

14.12  Parochial Church Council request for a churchyard maintenance grant
The Council considered a letter from Paul Carter asking for financial assistance in maintaining St Andrew’s church grounds.  Given that a budget element of £300 had been built into the 2013-14 budget this was approved.

14.13  Planning
There had been no new applications or related developments since the last meeting.

14.14  Finance
a) The bank balance at 15 January was £2,901.25.  Budget and bank statements had been circulated separately.
b) Receipts – none.
c) Grants – none.
d) Payments
Cheque No    Payee                      Description                                              Amount
100255         M A Balmer              Salary (Dec-Jan) and Admin (Nov-Jan)      £ 290.19
100256         Claxton PCC             Grant for churchyard maintenance            £ 300.00

Pat Clare proposed that the above schedule should be approved for payment, with Paul Wright seconding.

14.15  Funding Issues
South Norfolk Council had informed the Clerk that it would provide a grant of £162 in 2014-15 towards Council expenditure, and asked for the Council’s formal Precept application to be sent to them by 20 January.  The Councillors considered a range of options.  They were keen that, should the level of grant in 2015 reduce or disappear, the Council should not face too large a shortfall in income, and therefore agreed unanimously that the Council should bid for a Precept of £3,837 which, with the £162 grant, would bring the same amount which the Council had received in the current financial year (3,999).  The appropriate form was completed and signed by the Clerk and the Chair, and will be returned to SNC electronically the next day.

14.16  Update on the Parish Plan
The Clerk had updated the Parish Plan, copies of which were circulated to all present.

14.17  Clerk’s Report
The Clerk said that it had been very quiet since the last meeting and there was nothing to report.

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

14.19  Items for next Agenda
Update on Rats on Church Lane.

14.20  Date of next meeting is Wednesday 19 March 2014 at 7.30pm.

The meeting closed at 2029.

 

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