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Annual Parish Meeting Reports – 25 April 2017

BRESSINGHAM & DISTRICT LADIES CLUB report from Sharon Cole, Chairman

This year the club can boast to having 39 members. Meetings are held on the 3rd Monday in the month and we hold 10 meeting per year at Bressingham village Hall.

April we have our AGM, which in 2016 we marked by having a Quiz & Fun Night.
I took over the role as Chairman in April 2016, since taking over we have continued to enjoy a wide variety of interesting speakers. Starting in May, with Jason Salisbury, with his talk on Suffolk Farmhouse Cheese. 

In June we opened our doors to non-members who were treated to an evening with the Actress Helen Frazer, who gave us her life story in Music & Chat. July we again opened our club night to non-members, to hear Celia Stevens give her riveting story of Women Drivers at Le mans. (Can still smell the oil & exhaust fumes). In July we enjoyed a Day trip to Sandringham Flower Show. We had a 4-seater coach, which gave us the chance to welcome partners and guests. There was no meeting in August. September we were lucky to have one of our members Sharon Phillips, who skilfully instructed us on how to ice our Christmas Cakes, plus make sugar Crafted Flowers and people. We got to try the cakes too, which were wonderful! October Barry Norman, gave us a talk on his vast knowledge of Bee Keeping and was kind enough to bring along some of his Honey and other products to sell. November we opened our doors to non-member, who were treated to an evening with Rachel Duffield, who became Queen Elizabeth 1 for a nigh, giving us the chance to see and understand the Tudor Period, and customs through Queen Elizabet’s garments and fabric. At the December meeting we celebrated by offering our members Mince Pies and Mulled Wine, which was provided by ladies on the committee. We also welcomed Colin Hopper and his World of Optical Illusion.

December 5th – we enjoyed our annual Christmas Dinner at Brome Grange for the 2nd year – we like to include partners so we were a merry party of 42. Because of weather conditions we don’t have a January meeting. At the  February meeting we had a change in the programme, as our speaker Ben Potterton, was called away by royal appointment. Thankfully our March Speaker, Pip Wrigh, was happy to swap dates and gave his talk on the Rev John, the Suffolk Gipsy.

In March we saw Ben Potterton’s return, with his talk on Sri Lanka and more.
April 1st 2017 we held the Ladies Club Annual Birthday Buffet Supper at the Village Hall. Membersand& partners were asked to bring a dish of their choice. Members and guests were welcomed with a complimentary glass of wine. It’s a chance for members to relax with fantastic food, great company, along with a couple of quiz’s just to get the party started.  This year we were a party of 31.

April 24th 2017 Is our AGM. Members get the chance to look at the accounts, plus hear about the new Programme for 2017-2018, copies of which are handed out at the May meeting. It’s also a chance welcome new committee members, plus say goodbye to those stepping down. We also welcome Heather Havers and her talk on the Way with Flowers.

Membership has increased over the year, so I’m pleased to say that yearly subscriptions will remain the same at £20. Club nights are very well attended, which hopefully means that we have the right balance of good speakers. May I say thank you to all our members for making it another successful year!


Council of the Year: South Norfolk can be proud that our Council reached the last six of 380 Councils in the LGC Council of the year awards. Sadly we were not successful in winning but that should not deflect from the achievement of getting to the final.

Parish Review: The Parish Review started on 20th March, and whilst there are about 5 reasons to undertake a Parish Review including changing the name of a parish, the two main opportunities are to square-off boundaries that no longer make sense, perhaps because of new house building or roads AND/OR whether it makes sense to ask parishes to join up with each other.

With over half the precept going on running costs in the smaller parishes, it might make sense that rural villages should seek to club together with a total number of about 1000 electors – perhaps on the footprint of the village school catchment.

District Council Boundary Review: The Boundary Commission issued its final guidance on 22nd March and subject to Parliamentary Approval, their recommendations will result in 26 wards in South Norfolk with 46 Councillors. There will be more multi-member wards including some in the Waveney Valley, which has traditionally been single member territory. It means that it’s most likely that the 2019 elections will be fought on these new boundaries.

The Police and Crime Commissioner’s Policing Plan: Lorne Green has been attending meetings with charities, the prison and all parts of the criminal justice system. He has visited South Norfolk to explain his thinking around the Police & Crime Plan and some of the detail will be revealed after the election but what can be said is that he is bringing a much more thoughtful approach to policing than his predecessor recognising that crime is rapidly changing and policing needs to change with it if we are to stay ahead of the crims. Two examples: He has enabled two new rings of APNR number plate cameras in Norfolk: One at the County Boundary, the other around Norwich. But rather than configure them to ‘ping’ every car without an MOT or tax disc, they have pre-loaded the system with a smaller number of vehicles used by organised criminals. It’s intelligence-led and intelligent.

He tells us that this has been responsible for catching the thieves who steal lead off church roofs and major-league drug barons, many of whom are intimidating elderly people into leaving their homes and then setting up a cannabis factory inside. We had such a case in Bergh Apton last week.

Secondly, there is a move to consolidate the cottage industry way in which complex IT frauds are investigated into two hubs – one near Norwich, the other near Swaffham. Clustering the police with the specialist technical skills together should drive-out efficiencies that save money and make us all safer by reflecting the change in IT-related crimes.

Trials of GPS in Refuse vehicles: Trials of GPS tracking on the refuse and street cleansing vehicles have been progressing with pleasing results. Sending the closest vehicle to a fly-tip or missed bin not only allows it to be collected quicker but it’s cheaper too. With 44 vehicles in the fleet, there will be an up-front cost, which we should recoup. And by recording the path vehicles take, we’ll now have better evidence to demonstrate what time the bin lorry visited if there is a missed bin complaint. 2-way messaging between the office and crews will also help communications too.

Play Areas: We have a dilemma for new developments. Do we continue to say we’ll take on the responsibility for play areas, footway lighting and bin stores after, say 10 years if they give us £x,000 up front? Or not. Should these discretionary things be the collective responsibility of tenants on an ongoing basis or the Councils? Nowadays having ‘management companies’ is much more commonplace on developments and there are provisions for the householders to take control of these vehicles. On this basis, there’s an incentive for the residents to keep play areas up to scratch themselves. On the other hand, the logical conclusion of this is that play areas could set-up so that people from across the road would be excluded. It’s not straight forward and this is something we will want to return to in discussion with planners and developers to flush out all the issues and identify potential unexpected consequences.

Advertising trailers: A new initiative is underway to remove advertising trailers from highway verges which constitute a driving hazard and an eyesore to motorists. In conjunction with the County Council these trailers will be removed if possible but we have to make sure we are on a sound legal footing first. Various option have are being looked into and progress is being made.

Housing distribution in the next local plan: New housing development isn’t always popular but with youngsters spending either 7 x salary to buy a home or committing over half their income to rent one, there is a moral case to build more homes. The main question is where and how many? Some of the issues the Council will be consulting on over the coming months will be:

  • To allocate homes of a variety of type, size & tenure that give choice to the market supplied by a wide variety of suppliers in locations that support the economy
  • To grow an economy that is right for Greater Norwich and South Norfolk in particular 
  • To provide infrastructure to connect new and existing homes with employment and social opportunities
  • To make allocations that are deliverable – and to establish intervening mechanisms to step in to achieve delivery if the market is unable to
  • To insist on quality designs & layouts that enhance quality of life
  • A plan that is respectful of the natural environment and the need to make best use of resources
  • That meets the needs and enhance the wellbeing of all people, regardless of need, age or ability
  • That considers the cultural, education and training needs of residents to enable them to exploit the opportunities presented by a plan that works for them
  • How many homes in villages? 10-20; 20-40; 40-60; 60-100. Which villages? What about the villages that have already taken development in the last plan period.

THE VILLAGE HALL DRAMA GROUP report from Brenda Webb

The Drama Group has had another very good year.

Firstly was the Murder Mystery in April. This is always done with a supper and a very popular event it has turned out to be. The profit from this event was over £500.

Secondly we performed a play called “Check Out Girls” in October. We had great support from Tesco supermarket with prizes and the opportunity to take pictures at the store with our “check out Girls” These pictures were later used in the Programme. We performed over two nights and with the bar profit made an overall profit of £645.

Thirdly was our annual Pantomime: “Jack and the Beanstalk”, this was written by a group member who Directed, Choreographed and acted in the panto. She, the cast and various community volunteers put great effort into the rehearsals and the three performances, both back stage and front of house. Hence a super profit of £1400.

We would like to thank our local councillor Barry Stone for his donation towards our new sound effect equipment. This was very much appreciated by ourselves and noted by audience members who were at the play and the Pantomime.

We have had a lot of new younger members this year which is lovely. These youngsters we hope will go on to be leading ladies and men in the future.
The group is almost 30 years old now and has improved greatly over this time. We hope to carry on for a lot more years entertaining the community and beyond.
The profit going to the village hall for 2016/2017 is just over £2500. We thank everyone who continues to come and support us throughout the year. Our next production is 1st and 2nd of September. This is a comedy containing strong language and an adult theme. 

FOOTPATHS & SPEED CAMERAS report from Karl Traynier

Firstly I  wish to thank all the Parish Council members and Mike especially, for all their help and support this year with the Parish Coundil and its organising.

FOOTPATHS: South Norfolk council replaced some of the footpaths signs that had needed it, I am keeping up with patrols and am pleased that parishioners have contacted me with any problems encountered, I have tried to get these resolved asap but as other things take priority with SNDC waiting for action is usual, but the response when taken has been very good and I thank SNDC for this. Some complaints received have been a waste of time being that a fallen branch can easily be moved aside.

TRAFFIC and SPEEDING CARS:  The first report on this revealed some worrying results being that in Fersfield some 9490 vehicles came though the village from the Kenninghall direction to the church and of those, 8066 broke the 30mph speed limit with some fool doing 80mph and others 70mph, 60mph, 50mph, and 40mph. The average speed was 35mph and the county traffic monitoring have been made aware of these statistics and are looking at an appropriate response, more news to follow. I am awaiting analysis of the Common Road data at the moment being that we developed a hitch in the software, news on that to follow,

VILLAGE SECURITY:  We had a number of burglaries in Fersfield this last and I stress that all villagers look to making their homes and property as secure as possibl, they can contact the local beat officers for advice. If anybody does see anything suspicious please contact the Police at once, take any vehicle numbers you can and make and model of any vehicles

We have had a busy and difficult year with planning applications coming in and some of a very contentious nature, and I want to say again, we in the Parish Council can only give an opinion on applications and do not have any powers to make decisions on applications. Some folks still do not understand that if they have a comment on any planning application they should direct it to SNDC or NCC. I am looking forward to an even busier year and hope that any one wishing to join the Parish Council will come forward and contact the Secretary or any standing council member.

ELIZABETH BARKER CHARITY report from Diana Burroughes

During the past year we have had two meetings mainly to discuss the renting of the land to Blooms. It was decided to put this in the hands of Durrrants at Diss as the existing lease ends in October 2017. At our meeting held on 20th April we realised that we had not really heard from them for some time. As a result we contacted them again and hope to have a new lease in place soon for the next five years. It will now be let to Jason Bloom / BNL.

In various accounts:-

School/educational account £897.70
Church account £1,044.00
Combined account £2,782.88

Diana asked the meeting if when the church produced a guide for children some of the cost could be met by this charity. This was agreed.