Minutes of Parish Council Meeting, 16 March 2016

In attendance: Mrs Pat Clare (Chair, presiding), Mrs Mary Button and Mr Richard White (Councillors) and Mr Mike Balmer (Clerk).  7 Parishioners.  County Councillor Barry Stone and District Councillor Jaan Larner.

16.18 Approved absences – Mr David Hamblin, Mr Jason Cantrill.

16.19 Declarations of interest – None.

16.20 The minutes of the previous meeting on 13 January 2016 were approved and signed.

16.21 County Councillor Report
Barry Stone has been sending monthly reports which the Clerk circulates and posts on the website.  He was aware of the new plans for the 85 bus service and understood a further revision had been proposed.  The Recycling Centres would all cut back their summer hours by one hour, closing at 5pm instead of 6pm, rather than having to close any.  On recycling, there was now an acceptance that liquid paint could be disposed of in black bins if enough solids (eg sand) were added to completely solidify the contents, the plans for devolution in the East announced in the budget earlier in the day were, in his view, an exciting opportunity with lots of funding coming to the East (£75m for 3 years then £30m for another 30 years).

16.22 District Councillor Report
Jaan Larner was attending his first meeting since his election in September because of family issues and introduced himself as a solicitor with a practice in Stoke Holy Cross.  He hoped to get more involved in the coming months.

16.23 Parishioner Questions
A parishioner questioned the view of the Environment Agency in January that dredging Hellington Beck would not prevent flooding as there was around 18″ of silt lying on top of the gravel bed which needed to be removed.  After discussion the Clerk was asked to refer the paperwork to the County Councillor.  Another asked about progress in reducing the speed limit at Hellington corner, which had become a very dangerous place to either cross or enter the A146 because of excessive speeds from traffic in both directions.  Barry Stone explained that this sat with the District Council who had to serve an enforcement order on Green Pastures for money they had committed to spending on having this changed.  One parishioner thought it unfair to penalise Green Pastures when the problem had been around for years.  The Clerk undertook to forward the recent e-mails to both Councillors.  Regarding the housing development behind the new surgery in Loddon, Barry Stone confirmed that South Norfolk Council were pushing ahead with the first action being the creation of a much-needed roundabout at the junction of George Lane and the A146.  Building would only commence once that was in place.

16.24 Changes to Bus 85 schedules
The Clerk explained that this subsidised service was being modified by the County Council. Earlier suggestions had been met with local opposition and the latest proposal was for a service from Rockland through Claxton to Loddon and back, linking up with the X2 into Norwich. Barry Stone encouraged continuing contact with the project officer. It was really only those who used the bus regularly who knew what would work and they needed to keep responding (none were present).

16.25 Meeting at South Norfolk Council about the Norfolk Association of Local Councils
The Chair had attended this meeting on 26 February where concern was raised about the management of NALC given the recent resignation of 2 of its 3 Directors. A record had been received and circulated to Councillors. Richard Bacon MP had been present and had spoken positively about devolution to the “Eastern Powerhouse”.

16.26 New External Audit arrangements
The Clerk explained the changes which were taking place.  All Councils now had the choice of remaining with the central system or going it alone.  His view was that going it alone risked incurring extra costs and as a small Council the likelihood was staying in the central scheme would cost less and possibly nothing going forward.  The Council agreed and approved the decision to opt-in.  The Clerk confirmed that no action would be necessary as only those opting out had to do so formally.

16.25 Petition on Giving Parish Councils the Right to Appeal Planning Decisions
The Clerk explained that while many Councils doubted the petition would be adopted, it made sense to seek more authority over local planning decisions.  The Council agreed and approved the Clerk signing on behalf of Claxton.

16.26 Request for a financial contribution towards the reshingling of the parking area across from St Andrew’s Church
The Clerk had circulated a letter from the owners of The Old School House.  He noted that the County Council Highways Department had confirmed they owned this land but were not minded to repair what was not a priority strip of land.  The Church had already made a small contribution.  After discussion the Council agreed that it would be inappropriate to spend funds on areas outside their responsibility.  The Clerk will inform the owners.

16.27 Planning Matters
There had been no new applications.  The one outstanding application (2015/2802) had been refused in late January.

16.28 Finance
a) The bank balance at 16 March was £3,467.34.  Budget and bank statements had been circulated separately.
b) Receipts – none.
c) Grants – none.
d) Payments
The Clerk apologised for not adding the request from the PCC to the payment schedule. The Council confirmed that as an item in the budget it would be approved but it would have to wait to the next meeting. The Clerk also said that NALC had not yet sent in its renewal request and SNC’s dog bin emptying invoice had not arrived. All 3 payments will therefore be considered in May.

Cheque No
Membership 2016-17
£ 20.00
PAYE for Clerk Q4/15-16 (Dec 2015-Mar 2016)
£ 127.60
Claxton Village Hall
Hall hire for 2015-16
£ 96.00
Community Action Norfolk
Subscription 2016-17
£ 20.00
M A Balmer
Salary (Feb-Mar) and Admin (Jan-Mar)
£ 298.01
Jason Cantrill
Mileage claim for Councillor training course
£ 32.40
Richard White
Mileage claim for Councillor training course
£ 32.40

Pat Clare proposed approval and Richard White seconded.

16.29 Clerk’s Report
The Clerk reported that he had submitted the request for the 2016-17 Precept to SNC, had organised a training course for Richard White, chased the Environment Agency re dredging of Hellington Beck and circulated their reply, approached the County Councillor re speed limits at Hellington Corner, informed all bidders of the results of the grass cutting tender and signed the contract with Norse, drafted and sent a new broadband letter to Richard Bacon MP, chased and circulated a reply, and approached the County Councillor re proposed changes to the 85 bus service.

16.30 Correspondence
The Clerk tabled a list of correspondence previously circulated to Councillors or received prior to the meeting.

16.31 Items for next Agenda
Litter-picking equipment and the state of the footpath on the back path from the Church to Home Piece where electrical connection work was being undertaken for Staines Barns.

16.32 Date of next meeting
The next meeting will be on Wednesday 18 May, preceded by the Annual Parish Meeting. One parishioner asked whether there would be a speaker and the Chair said they were open to suggestions.  The parishioners were reminded that this was their meeting not the Council’s and they could include anything they wished.  The subsequent meeting would elect a Parish Council Chair and appoint various representatives to village bodies.

The meeting closed at 2025.

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