Meeting held on Wednesday 15 November 2017 in Claxton Village Hall at 7.30pm
In attendance: Councillor Pat Clare (Chair, presiding), Councillor David Hamblin, Councillor Mary Button, Councillor Jason Cantrill and Councillor Sarah Kennedy, and Mr Mike Balmer (Clerk). Also attending: 5 Parishioners. District Councillor and County Councillor both absent.
17.78 Approved absences – there were none.
17.79 Declarations of Interest – there were none.
17.80 Minutes of the meeting held on 13 September 2017
The minutes of the above meeting, which had been circulated beforehand and placed on the notice board and website, were approved and signed.
17.81 District Councillor
The Clerk had not heard from Jaan Larner and there was no report.
17.82 County Councillor
The Clerk had not heard from Barry Stone though he had provided his November report as usual. The Clerk said he would report on recent contacts over highways issues during the agenda item later in the meeting.
17.83 Parishioners’ Questions
One parishioner reported an acquaintance in Rockland St Mary expressing concern about the overgrown bushes at the humpback bridge to Carleton St Peter being a traffic visibility hazard. Subsequent discussion questioned whether there was any undergrowth at what was in any case a problematic crossing without room for two vehicles to pass each other. The Clerk would check the overgrowth question and report back.
A parishioner asked about the status of the plans to plant around the village sign, using the £200 litter-picking windfall for that purpose. The Chair confirmed this was still the intention though no progress had yet been made. There was discussion about the late notification of the closure of Church Lane to repair a burst water main, given that the issue had first been reported a year earlier. The Chair of the Village Hall asked for – and received – permission to plant a hedge along the line of the wooden fencing to the left side of the Hall, so long as it was far enough from the fence to allow any necessary repairs or maintenance by the owners.
The Council was asked whether it had taken any action on the request to work jointly with Rockland St Mary PC to have a preservation area created along Hellington Beck. The Clerk confirmed he had asked the RSM Clerk to consult her Council and that a reply had been received that they saw no issue and were not prepared to take action. NOTE: The Clerk misreported his contact with the Rockland Clerk in March 2017. His colleague reported at the time that RSM Councillors had discussed this area of land as it was included in the “call for sites” submitted for planning permission together with another one in Rockland. It is an agenda item for the foreseeable future and had been discussed with the District Councillor who informed them that the process of going through the various parcels of land submitted would take some time. He emphasised that even if these parcels of land have been submitted they have not been subject to any analysis and no decisions made on their suitability. The initial process is to sift through the sites of those areas that had been included in the local plan. That means that if a site is outside the current adopted boundaries it is unlikely to go forward to the next stage of the process.
The Chair also noted that financial responsibility for the planned new roundabout where George Lane in Loddon met the A146 was firmly with the developer. It was thought this would result in further delays.
Councillor Hamblin was running with this and had left a message with East of England Ambulance Trust on 10 September, and they referred him to Norfolk Ambulance Trust. He left a message on 16 September but has not had a reply. His intention is to see what RSM have and also speak to Lorraine Cason, Robert Ellis’ daughter who is a paramedic, and then report back. Costs ranged from £900 to £2,000. Councillor Hamblin will report on progress to the next meeting. One parishioner stressed that training was paramount, and it was suggested that as part of this project the Pits Trust be asked whether they would be prepared to fund CPR training in the Hall for volunteers.
17.85 Succession Plan for the Parish Clerk
The Clerk had provided the basis of a Job Description after the last meeting. The Councillors agreed that ideally management of the village website should remain part of the Clerk’s job and that the Job Description should be accepted and advertised across a range of media.
17.86 Claxton Corner traffic issues
The Clerk had been in touch with the County Councillor over the expected visit to Claxton Corner by the new Head of Highways (Gary Overland) and Barry Stone was chasing. At the same time he had agreed in principle to fund additional road signs asking drivers to take care through the village, and the Clerk had identified a supplier whose prices were roughly 25% of the original quotes from the County Council. The Clerk had asked whether the uprights holding the current 30MPH signs could be replaced before new signs were added to them, as all 8 posts were deteriorating badly and had all been marked for replacement at some stage. Barry Stone agreed and would chase this too.
17.87 2018-19 Budget and Precept
The Clerk ran through the process by which the Parish Council would agree in January the sum it would request from South Norfolk Council for the Precept for the next financial year. In the meantime SNC would advise whether they were making any grants available under the Council Tax Benefit Scheme, as the sums involved had reduced down to almost nothing over the past 3-4 years. The Clerk would give the Councillors a range of options to choose from, and they were also at liberty to choose something completely different on 17 January 2018.
17.88 Meetings in 2018
The Clerk’s proposed schedule was accepted. Meetings will be on Wednesdays 17 January, 14 March, 16 May (APM and Annual PC Meeting), 11 July, 12 September and 14 November 2018.
17.89 Commemorative Tree for Linda Clitheroe
The Council discussed options and the Chair will also check with the Woodland Trust about the availability of a free tree. Attempts will be made to dig or grind out the stump from the old Jubilee tree, to make that area flatter.
17.90 Battle’s Over – A Nation’s Tribute 11 November 2018
The Clerk reminded the meeting that the Council had agreed to participate in the commemoration in a year’s time of the end of WW1, which included the lighting of a beacon. Planning is not required until much nearer the time but if the Council is to obtain a purpose-built gas-fired beacon from the organisers it would need to place an order by the end of August 2018. The Chair said she would make some enquiries of local producers and report back. It was however agreed that the correct location for any such celebration would be the Village Hall, and an event such as was staged for the Golden Jubilee would be appropriate.
There had been no new applications since the last meeting. The Application for a change of use at Marsh Barn (2017/1740) had been approved with conditions.
A detailed financial statement and the complete list of proposed payments had been made available to Councillors (in advance) and to parishioners at the meeting, so there should be no surprises.
a) The bank balance at 15 November is £5,270.49. The Budget/Financial Report and Payments Schedule had both been circulated to Councillors in advance.
b) Receipts – £515.83 from the Transparency Fund, £2,038.50 from South Norfolk, the second half of this year’s Precept and £100 from South Norfolk for our bottlebanks.
c) Grants – none.
The schedule was approved for payment, and cheques signed by Pat Clare and David Hamblin.
17.93 Clerk’s Report
The Clerk reported that he had worked with SNC to get the Bottle bank agreement signed and the money paid, headed off Saffron Housing who had planned to survey the whole village on affordable housing, received the funding for the new IT equipment and purchased it, contacted the County Councillor over traffic issues in para 17.86 above, helped resolve an alleged misuse of asbestos in the village and drafted and delivered the latest newsletter to every house in the village.
The Clerk tabled a list of correspondence which had been e-mailed or circulated to Councillors or received prior to the meeting. Items included:
- Norfolk ALC Newsletters
- Community Action Norfolk’s June/July newsletters
- NDR updates
- Clerks and Councils direct August and September 2017
17.95 Items for next Agenda
Updates on a defibrillator, traffic at Claxton Corner and tree planting.
Date of next meeting – Wednesday 17 January 2018.
The meeting closed at 8.35pm.