Minutes of Parish Council Meeting, 14 September 2016

Meeting held on Wednesday 14 September 2016 in Claxton Village Hall at 7.30pm.

In attendance:  Councillor Pat Clare (Chair, presiding), Councillor Mary Button, Councillor David Hamblin and Councillor Jason Cantrill (Councillors) and Mr Mike Balmer (Clerk).  Absent: Councillor Richard White.  Also attending:  13 Parishioners.  No County or District Councillor present.

16.64 Approved absences – none.

16.65 Declarations of Interest  There were none.

16.66 Minutes of the meeting held on 20 July 2016
The minutes of the above meeting, which had been circulated beforehand and placed on the notice board and website, were approved and signed.

16.67 Parishioners’ Questions
The Council was asked whether they thought the £1,000 grant from Anglian Water had been well spent (on a satellite broadband hub), and reminded the Council that two other options – a vehicle-activated speed (VAS) monitor and a village defibrillator – had been discounted.  Other parishioners voiced their concerns about traffic speed through the village, including some vehicles owned by people living in the village.  The Clerk was asked to update the meeting on the VAS monitor.  He had been in touch with the Clerk at Rockland St Mary (RSM) Parish Council as they were planning to bid to South Norfolk Council for funds to purchase one in 2017-18.  These devices cost around £3,000 and it was difficult to imagine a small Council like Claxton being able to afford one on its own.  So the proposal was a cost-share and a VAS-share arrangement.  Depending on the proportion each village paid, they would have the use of the monitor for that proportion of each year.  The Clerk undertook to check with RSM where matters stood.

Another parishioner asked about the post-box at Claxton Corner which had recently been taken away to replace the post, and not been returned.  As that was in RSM Claxton PC had no responsibility to chase this but the Clerk will also ask the RSM Clerk if she knows anything about it.

16.68 Linda Clitheroe
The Chairman paid tribute to Linda Clitheroe, a former long-term Claxton resident, who had passed away earlier in the summer.  Linda had made a significant contribution to village life, having for many years been a Parish Councillor and latterly Chairman, Chair of the Village Hall and a very successful fund-raiser.  Her passing was a significant loss.

16.69   Broadband in Claxton
The Parish Council was updated on the latest news from the Better Broadband for Norfolk (BBfN) programme that Claxton had been included in the next rollout of superfast broadband beginning in mid-2018.  Since the last meeting there had been two approaches to provide a better service.  The first was from B4RNorfolk (Broadband for Rural Norfolk) who had offered to present to the parish on their proposals for a bespoke local fibre-optic network.  In addition BT had advertised their Community Fibre Partnerships which required matched funding from communities for a similar service.  Some Councillors questioned whether BT should be allowed to make more money given that they had to date failed to deliver such services under the national rollout. Nevertheless the Council felt it worth giving both organizations the opportunity to present, but wished them to do so back-to-back at the same event, with BT starting, to be held sometime in October or November (but not during a Parish Council meeting).  The Clerk was not sure whether BT would be interested in such an arrangement but undertook to contact both organizations and set out the proposal.  He would need to track down the large folder sent by BT which had been in circulation for several weeks.

16.70   Revised Bus services – 85, 85A and 86
Since the launch of the new service by Our Bus in late August there had been mixed experiences and several issues.  The Parish Council opened the floor for comments.  One of the main issues was the unreliability of connections in Loddon.  If the minibus from RSM ran late it often missed the X22 in Loddon meaning a further delay of 30 minutes in journeys to Norwich.  The Clerk had driven the route and had only just reached Loddon within the 12-minute window on the older timetable (now reduced to 10 minutes) without factoring in any stops to pick up or drop off passengers.  This suggested the timetable was unreasonably tight.  Some villagers now simply drove to RSM, parked on The Street during the day and caught the bus direct into Norwich.  In addition there was now no weekend service meaning anyone without a car was stuck in Claxton over the whole weekend.  The Clerk wondered whether one tweak to the timetable allowing a drop at The White Horse junction in Chedgrave would allow passengers to cross the road with time to spare before the X22 came past would improve things.

One parishioner explained that the statistics on which the removal of the old service was based were flawed.  While concessionary passengers had been permitted to board the bus in Claxton at 0929, they could not swipe their bus passes until the bus reached RSM because of the 0930 threshold, and therefore no concessionary use of the bus from Claxton was ever recorded.  The discussion concluded with a number of parishioners querying how the Our Bus service – which often had just one passenger between Claxton and Loddon – was economically viable and less expensive than restoring the old service which simply diverted down to Claxton from Surlingham Lane, and then returned and went on to Norwich.  After due consideration the Council asked the Clerk to construct a letter to the County Councillor, copied to the responsible officer in County Hall, asking for a further review and consideration of a reversal of the changes.  The Clerk will clear his letter with the Council before dispatch.

16.71   Parish Council meetings in 2017
The proposed dates for Parish Council meetings in 2017 were accepted except for the March meeting which would now be on 29 March.  The full list of dates is now: 18 January, 29 March, 17 May (APM and Annual PC Meeting), 12 July, 13 September and 15 November.  The Chairman said she would be away for the November meeting but the Vice-Chairman could take that meeting in her absence.

16.72 Planning Matters
The Clerk was asked to confirm with South Norfolk Council that their earlier support for the application at Durrants Barn (2015/2802) was still valid and would be taken into account during the peal by the applicants.  The Clerk has since confirmed that this is the case and that all representations made at the time will be forwarded to the Planning Inspectorate.

16.73 Finance
A detailed financial statement had been made available to Councillors and parishioners alike, and Councillors had seen the complete list of proposed payments well in advance, so there were no surprises.

a) The bank balance at 14 September was £2,932.53. The latest Financial Report had been circulated separately in advance.
b) Receipts – Contributions from District Councillor (£200) and Village Hall (£230) towards the acquisition of a projector and screen.
c) Grants – none.
d) Payments
Cheque    Payee                                     Amount     Description
100332    M A Balmer                         £ 254.60    Salary (£193.50) Aug-Sep 2016 &
IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIAdmin (£61.10) Jul-Sep 2016
100333    HM Revenue & Customs  £193.80     PAYE for Clerk Q2 (Jun-Sep 2016 inclusive)

On a proposal from Pat Clare, seconded by David Hamblin, the schedule was approved for payment, and cheques signed.

16.74   Report from Clerk
The Clerk reported that he had written to the developer of Staines Barns following the previous meeting, had received a reply and cleared and despatched a further response.  No further replies had been received.  He had contacted Highways on a range of issues (potholes, sand, uncut verges and blocked drains) and had provided new bus timetables to one parishioner who did not have internet access.

16.75 Correspondence
The Clerk tabled a short list of correspondence which had been circulated to Councillors or received prior to the meeting.  Items included:

  • NPFA summer newsletter
  • NDR updates
  • Norfolk ALC Newsletters
  • Community Action Norfolk “Signpost” magazine for Summer 2016
  • Clerks and Councils Direct August and September 2016

16.76   Items for next Agenda
Buses – an update.

Date of next meeting – Wednesday 16 November 2016 at 7.30pm.

The meeting closed at 2028.

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