Minutes of Parish Council Meeting, 14 January 2015

In attendance: Mrs Pat Clare (Chair, presiding), Mr Paul Wright and Mrs Mary Button (Councillors) and Mr Mike Balmer (Clerk). Also attending: 5 Parishioners. Apologies: Mr David Hamblin (Councillors). Absent: Mr Adrian Gunson (County Councillor) and Mr Derek Blake (District Councillor).

15.01 Approved absences – Councillor David Hamblin.

15.02 Declarations of interest – None.

15.03 The minutes of the previous meeting on 19 November 2014 were approved and signed.

15.04 Parishioner Questions
John Garrod reported that since Christmas there were rats again on Church Lane, coming over from the fields through his garden. He hoped that the Manor would consider a shooting party. Councillor Paul Wright offered to speak with the Manor Gamekeeper as he was in touch with him on other matters. This was agreed.

Roland Kaye raised the increased levels of soil in the middle of Church Lane which was spilling off the kerbs due to erosion, possibly from rats, and the carelessness of drivers, particularly those in large vehicles, when cutting corners and drifting off the road surface.  The Clerk was asked to contact the County Councillor to draw this to his attention again.

15.05 County Councillor’s Report
Adrian Gunson was absent, thus no report.

15.06 District Councillor’s Report
Derek Blake was absent, thus no report.

15.07 Flooding at Marsh Barn
The Clerk reported that he had written twice to the County Council, Environment Agency and Internal Drainage Board, copied to Richard Bacon MP and other interested parties, to ask for a joint visit to Marsh Barn, in order to assess liability for flood damage from Hellington Beck as well as responsibilities going forward.  The Flood and Water Management Team at the County Council had been helpful, visiting once, and had undertaken to arrange a joint visit to the site after the owners returned from holiday on 21 January.  The Chair of the Parish Council has been involved, attending the first meeting, and will attend the joint meeting as well.  Hopefully there will be further progress to report to the Parish Council in March.

Roland Kaye commented that one problem was the culvert under the road at Marsh Barn which was blocked, as was evident from the different water levels at either side of the road.  He had always thought the construction of a holding lake behind the “Gull” public house would solve a lot of the problems of water coming across from Poringland.

15.08 Anglian Water Donation – choice of beneficiaries
The Clerk confirmed that Anglian Water would be making a £1,000 donation to/through the Parish Council for “a local charity or community project” in the parish. The Councillors had been asked for views on what/who should benefit. Several ideas had been proposed, including road signs, a new village noticeboard, and a defibrillator for the village. The Clerk had also received a call from a villager asking if “Loose Ends” could benefit from this windfall. Given that only 4 of the 20 members of “Loose Ends” lived in Claxton the Parish Council concluded that “Loose Ends” did not qualify as “a community project” in the parish (Anglian Water’s words) as 80% of its members were not from Claxton. The Council agreed to seek further ideas and come to a decision at the March meeting.

15.09 Village Allotments
The Parish Council had received the Permissive Access Agreement from the owners of the strip of land which provided vehicle access to the allotments site. The Council agreed that the Chair should sign this for the Council, witnessed by the Clerk. This was done.

15.10 Planning Matters
There have been two new applications since the last meeting.  One to South Norfolk for an extension at the Old Meeting House (2014/2423).  This is under consideration, but there is no decision date yet.  There was also a Broads Authority application (BA/2014/0397/FUL) for a new storage facility at Claxton Manor with a target determination date of 29 January.

15.11 Finance
a) The bank balance at 14 January is £3,205.55. Budget and bank statements have been circulated separately.
b) Receipts – none.
c) Grants – none.
d) Payments
Cheque No    Payee                                    Description                                          Amount
100281  Norfolk Rural Community Council    Thinking Fuel Lifetime membership         £60.00
100282  M A Balmer                                   Salary (Dec-Jan) and Admin (Nov-Jan)  £335.95

Pat Clare explained that all planned expenditure had been seen by Councillors in advance, so nothing was unexpected. Paul Wright seconded.

15.12 Update on the Parish Plan
The Clerk confirmed that there had been no changes to the Parish Plan since the last meeting. A copy was available for perusal.

15.13 Update on Playground Facilities
Pat Clare reported that she had received one expression of interest in joining a working party from within the village, following receipt of the recent newsletter. She had also spoken with the Manor about their offer to remove the large trees at the back of the Village Hall, where the new playground would be situated.

15.14 2015-16 Budget Discussion
The Clerk had been asked to provide the Parish Council with a range of options to consider, and after discussion the Parish Council agreed to request a Precept of £3,831 which, together with the Grant of £168, would make £3,999, the same figure as provided for 2014-15. As there was one less countable household in the village (the tax base) going forward, this would mean an increase of 0.9% in the Parish Council’s share of the Council Tax bill, which translated into 39p extra for a Band D house going up to 78p for the only Band H house (the Manor). The Chair and Clerk both signed the Precept Application and the Clerk will despatch this to South Norfolk Council.

15.15 Clerk’s Report
Since the last meeting the Clerk had investigated alternative, cheaper means of improving traffic signage, but so far without success, confirmed the Parish Council’s support for Richard Bacon’s ‘Community Right to Reduce Speed’ initiative, drafted a letter (and follow-up) to County Council, Environment Agency, Internal Drainage Board and others about flooding at Marsh Barn, and helped keep up the pressure for an investigation. He had also printed and distributed the Village Newsletter and chased Anglian Water again to finish the tidying up of the hedge on the Warren round their water treatment plant. In addition he had attended the Clerks’ Consultation at South Norfolk Council and briefed the Council on arrangements for 2015-16 Precept, attended a website training course courtesy of Norfolk Association of Local Councils, and amended the Allotments page on the website to reflect current availability.

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

15.17 Items for next Agenda
Rats, Anglian Water’s donation, Marsh Barn flooding and a replacement for the 2010-2015 Parish Plan.

15.18 Date of next meeting
The next meeting will be on Wednesday 18 March 2015 at 7.30pm in the Village Hall.

15.19 Other dates for 2015 meetings
The dates are: 13 May (APM and Annual Meeting), 15 July, 16 September and 18 November 2015.

The meeting closed at 2030.

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