Minutes of Parish Council Meeting, 16 September 2015

In attendance: Mrs Pat Clare (Chair, presiding), Mrs Mary Button and Mr David Hamblin (Councillors) and Mr Mike Balmer (Clerk). Absent: Mr Paul Wright. Also attending: 10 Parishioners. District and County Councillor seats vacant.

15.79 Approved absences – Mr Paul Wright through ill-health. The Chair also announced that Mr Wright had resigned his seat on the Parish Council with immediate effect, in writing to the Clerk. On behalf of the Parish Council she offered thanks and appreciation for the significant contribution he had made to the Parish since his first election in 2003 and wished him well.

15.80 Declarations of interest – None.

15.81 The minutes of the previous meeting on 22 July 2015 were approved and signed.

15.82 Statements from Prospective Councillors – two parishioners had responded to the advertised vacancy caused by only 4 nominations being received at the May Elections. Given that Mr Paul Wright’s resignation had created another immediate vacancy, both candidates were accepted onto the Parish Council. Mr Richard White and Mr Jason Cantrill signed their Declarations of Acceptance of Office, witnessed by the Proper Officer (the Clerk), who also asked them to complete Declaration of Interest Forms and return them to him as soon as possible. Councillors White and Cantrill them joined the other Councillors.

15.83 Parishioner Questions
Roland Kaye noted that hedges on one side of Church Lane had not been cut for a while and the overgrowth was reducing visibility around corners to a dangerous degree. Peter Lancaster confirmed that these hedges were on Claxton Manor’s list of those needing cutting before the winter, and agreed that the Clerk should keep in touch about progress. Julia Kaye asked about the litter pick which had featured in an earlier agenda but not been discussed in her absence from the meeting. The Clerk explained that South Norfolk’s initiative had taken place earlier in the year, and agreed to consult them over the loan of picking sticks, failing which the Parish Council might consider acquiring some but this could not be approved until the next meeting as it was not on the current agenda. John Garrod commented that brown bins had not been emptied that day, possibly because road works made it awkward for the vehicle to get up the top of Church Lane. It was agreed that he would speak with South Norfolk Council the next day and let the Clerk know if he had no joy.

15.84 District and County Councillor Reports
Both positions would be filled following By-Elections on Thursday 24 September, and the Clerk would contact both new Councillors to inform them of the dates of future meetings.

15.85 Revisions to the Council’s Standing Orders
The Clerk had carried out his periodic review of the Standing Orders and circulated them to the Councillors in advance of the meeting. There being no comments, the new texts were agreed, and the Clerk will ensure the new version appears on the website.

15.86 Proposal for a Village Broadband Hub – Update by Clerk
The Clerk had been in touch with the service providers (Broadband Wherever) and had recently paid for initial hardware and installation, to be refunded to him (see paragraph 15.89 below). The monthly rental of £24.95 would be paid by direct debit over the next 24 months, bringing the total cost to £996.80, just short of the sum of £1,000 donated by Anglian Water. Of that sum, some £166.13 of VAT should be reclaimable over the next three financial years. A date for installation would be agreed, and the Clerk offered to assume the role of Hub Administrator, with responsibility for monitoring usage to oversee use of the agreed limit of 10GB per month, and providing reports on the project to the Council at periodic intervals.

15.87 Fly-tipping at Staines Barns
There had been several complaints from residents about the amount of building and other waste piled up outside the construction site at Staines Barns, which potentially represented a health hazard as well as an eyesore. The Chair had spoken with South Norfolk Council who had visited the site that day to take photos. An assurance had been received that the waste would be cleared away by the end of the current week. The site would be checked at the weekend and the District Council contacted again if this had not happened. There was discussion over assurances going forward, but no decision was made on future actions.

15.88 Planning Matters
The Application for a side extension and upstairs dormers at 4 the Warren (2015/1585) had been approved in August and the application for a change of use of Durrant’s Barn (2015/1604) had been refused earlier in September.

15.89 Finance
a) The bank balance at 16 September was £3,860.93. Budget and bank statements had been circulated separately.
b) Receipts – none.
c) Grants – none.
d) Payments
Cheque No     Payee             Description                                                                   Amount
100300       M A Balmer        Salary (Aug-Sep) and Admin (Jul-Sep)                           £ 330.11
100301       HMRC                Clerk’s PAYE for second quarter of 2015-16                    £ 127.60
100302       Mazars LLP         Fee for additional work on 2014-15 external audit          £   30.00
100303       M A Balmer        Refund of costs of Satellite Broadband installation           £ 398.00

Pat Clare proposed approval and David Hamblin seconded.

15.90 Update on the Parish Plan
There were no changes since the last meeting and the Clerk had a copy which anyone present could consult. He reminded the meeting that it had earlier been agreed to roll the Plan forward rather than produce a completely new one.

15.91 Update on Playground Facilities
No change since the last meeting.

15.92 Clerk’s Report
The Clerk reported that he had successfully chased the County Council to cut parts of the Wherryman’s Way, namely the track from Mill Lane to the River, and from the River to the New Inn (in Rockland St Mary) as part of their obligation to keep Norfolk Trails clear even when budget cuts meant other tracks remained uncut. He had carried out all necessary publicity and advertising for the By-Elections on 24 September. He had challenged South Norfolk Council on the publication of comments by members of the public after the expiry of the deadline for each application, and had been told that Councils and others could seek extensions if the timing was not quite convenient (eg when there was no Parish Council meeting before the deadline). He had drafted Claxton’s contributions to the new Transparency Code and published them on the website, and, as reported earlier, had taken forward the establishment of a Satellite Broadband Hub in the Village Hall

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

15.94 Items for next Agenda
Potential flooding and its effect on Peascod and Church Lane.

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

The meeting closed at 2015.

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