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Annual Parish Meeting Reports – 23rd April 2019


The last twelve months has been challenging for our allotment holders , a wet spring in 2018 followed by the hottest and driest summer for over forty years made difficult growing conditions particularly when most of us  rely on water gathered from our shed and greenhouse roofs. However if you had looked at our plots in September you would have seen plentiful fruit and vegetable crops of the very highest standard ,a testament to the skills of our plot holders.
In November 2017 we welcomed new committee members and in March we elected a new treasurer Julie who has had to work very hard to bring our accounts up to an excellent and very acceptable `standard. We now have a very clear picture of our income and expenditure allowing us to budget for regular expenditure as well as new purchases as and when required. Additional funds have been generated with three local fund raising events over the summer. However following a careful review of all our costs and income we agreed at our AGM to increase plot  rents to cover our ever increasing running costs.
All our 28 plots have been filled throughout the year and as we start the new year (April 2019) there have been a few plots available as members leave bmarch ut all the vacant plots have now been re-let before the new season has started.
Our major expenditure has been a large metal container which we are currently painting and renovating before it becomes our maintenance shed. This coming year we have plans to purchase new equipment as our old machinery reaches the end of its useful life.
With the need to pay increasing attention to health and safety issues highlighted by the Parish Council and to ensure we have a clear set of rules we have rewritten our plot holders agreement and introduced our first risk assessment with the aim of ensuring the safety of everyone using the allotments.
For the second year we had a major burglary at the site with a number of sheds broken into and damaged. Our total losses amounted to over a £1,000, costs that our plot holders can ill afford.  Further protective steps are being taken following discussions with the local police.

During the last twelve months our small team of enthusiastic plot holders have spent much of their own time maintaining the site. Apart from the very limited use of contractors we carry out all our own maintenance including regular grass and hedge cutting , clearing ditches and erecting bays for manure , bark chippings etc for free use by the plot holders. One great thing to come out of this year is that our driveway has been resurfaced and very kindly paid for by the Parish Council which is very much appreciated by all plot holders.
Thanks also go to Pat Mendham, Jeremy  Greens workers for ditching and hedges,
Garrod construction who provide the best driveway we have had so far and to the Parish Council for all the support and help they have given us this year.
Finally we say thank you to all our plot holders who have helped to make our allotments a real success.

AFTERNOON CLUB report from Reg Brock

The Afternoon Club has had another successful year. Members have enjoyed a wide range of activities, catering for all needs. Our regular monthly meetings have been mainly about crafting and board games, all interspersed with much friendly chat. The mini quiz remains popular as the multiple choice format ensures everyone has an answer for each question. Occasionally we have a guest speaker to add a little variety to the proceedings.
Our most popular outside activity is still going out for lunch which we aim to do every other month. The combination of food, drink and conversation strikes an accord with all and there is never a hurry to go home. Instead of having an in house Christmas Party, we took off to Diss Golf Club to be served a wonderful lunch with no washing up to do after.
Another popular event was our annual coach trip, this time to Southwold and then Aldeburgh where we enjoyed delicious fish and chips. The big charity event of the year was to support East Anglian Air Ambulance and Diss First Responders in response to their life saving work. The Big Raffle was a great success with many excellent prizes. Combined with the Fete, we were able to raise more than a thousand pounds to each worthy cause.
We have lost and gained members, so remain stable. Our most recent recruits have all come from outside the parish which we welcome, but it seems a shame we cannot attract more local custom.

BRESSINGHAM VILLAGE HALL report from Claire Porter

Over the past year, there have been continuing maintenance works to keep the building in good working repair. All toilets have been redecorated, new basins have been fitted in the ladies toilets and the small chair storage room has been stripped and is presently being replastered. In the recreation ground the slide mound has been regularly cut to keep back nettles.
The major water leak has been fixed and we are happy to report that thanks to the efforts of our Treasurer, a rebate was finally obtained from the water company.
Our main fundraiser, the panto, was a great success and fully booked on all three nights. We also have good regular bookings and a selection of lively local groups.
We would like to thank the communities of Bressingham and Fersfield, and of course the Parish Council for their continued support.


Bryan Claybrook took over the website management from Margaret Harris (Ardchattan Solutions) on 1st March 2019.  Administration of the site has continued in a similar theme with no major changes to the layout having been made so far.  The site continues to display a good variety of content about the locale.  As is to be expected, most of the information relates directly to events, people and places in the parish but some content is presented that comes from the wider area and will be of interest to residents.  The website remains and important source of information for matters relating to local government, community initiatives and projects. Overall, offers an engaging insight into a lively and integrated community and stands up well in comparision against websites from other communities in the surrounding area.


The analytics show that the site has had a steadily increasing number of visitors over the last 12 months. 
The majority of traffic is generated from addresses shown to have originated in the United States.  Interestingly, the Russian Federation generates the second greatest number of hits with the UK coming third.  Most visits are to the home page and last 30 seconds on average.

47% of all the visitors appear to be new to the site with a corresponding 53%  being returners.

Since March 2019 most of the content has continued to come from the small group of regular contributors (Parish Council, churches, Ladies Club etc) but contributions have been received from others too.

From a search perspective, entering the term ‘Bressingham’ into both Google and Bing does not list the website on the first page of either search engine.  The term ‘Fersfield’ brings the website up at number three in the rankings.  ‘Bressingham Fersfield’ puts the website at the top of the list in both search engines.

In terms of development for the coming year, methods for improving the search rankings could be looked into although of course, search rankings for a community website cannot be considered as important as they would be for say, a global commercial entity.  The site could also arguably benefit from being moved to a content management platform (such as WordPress) in order to improve the openness of access thus prompting more engagement through posting of visitor content such as comments and pictures.

ST ANDREW’S CHURCH, FERSFIELD report from Richard Hewitt and Jan Sumpter 1. Fabric

1.1.  We are making progress through the items on the building fabric report we commissioned with our architect earlier.  The chancel south wall has been repaired and  the rainwater issues dealt with there and in the south porch.  We are now about to erect the scaffolding for the remedial work and lime-washing of the chancel interior.  Coupled with this, we are placing the organ on a movable platform – with a smaller platform for the blower – in order to give greater flexibility for chancel use.  Choir stalls will be removed for this work, and we are seeking approval from the Archdeacon to replace these with chairs.
1.2.  The organ, moved for the present work and placed on a platform, will shortly require some restoration.  We are fortunate that much of it remains in tune and in good condition.  We will need to continue our fundraising, and will deal with items in 1.3. simultaneously.
1.3.  The South Chapel, nave and tower area.  Our next focus will be the south chapel, and positioning of the effigy of Sir Robert.  Remedial work and lime-washing will be needed, and some window areas appear to need attention.  The nave area will be a large undertaking, but perhaps the main structural component will be the tower, which at present is out-of-bounds.

2. Services

2.1.  Routine services continue on Sunday mornings: the second (Morning/Family Service) and fourth  Holy Communion) Sundays of the month.  Numbers are not high, with a possible majority of people preferring the family-centred services.
2.2. ‘Festival’ type services are routinely well attended, as for the last 12 months – Harvest, Christmas Carol Service with ‘Discord’ (packed out!) and the Easter morning family service.

3. Community

We provide the only public meeting place in the village.  Organisations such as Bressingham and Fersfield Parish Council and the Bressingham & Fersfield Allotment Association meet here.  Many services, particularly a festival, include refreshments and community gathering opportunity.  The Harvest Festival consistes of a thanksgiving service with a full meal served in church to follow.  This is very popular.  Robert Max, principal ‘cellist of the London Chamber Orchestra, recently gave a wonderful recital of Bach’s ‘cello suites.  We have just held a successful Easter Saturday ‘Event’ in and around the church – there were an egg hunt, an adults’  treasure hunt/church history quiz, bacon ‘butties’, cake stall and amusements.  A large community participation – our main aim – helped raise 0ver £700 towards our restoration funds.

Finally, a big ‘thank-you’ to all our friends and community, which include Mervyn for the provision of our toilets and Ian & Sue for their care of the ‘cemetery end’ of the churchyard.  We are grateful to the Parish Council for their financial support towards maintenance of the churchyard. We are also very fortunate to be able to combine with St. John’s for ‘Open Garden’ and ‘Question Time’ events – which are much appreciated by us all.


We have not had any formal meetings this year and no money has been spent.

In various accounts:-

Parish Account £991.62 (up by £44.25)
Church account £1,018.72 (up by 4p)
Combined account ££,364,44 (up by £340.00)

The Parish account has interest pain into it from investments in Bonds and the church account is just interest. The combined account is the rent from two small pieces of land.

Gerry Canfer and I do meet from time to time and make sure the accounts are up to date.


This is very short, as more full details are available throughout the year in the Community Connections Section of the PC Website.  Principal events this last year have included:
The Centenary of the 1918 Armistice;
Grant for the relaying of the allotment entrance drive;
Maintenance of our highways;
Consideration of planning advice for SNDC;
Provision of signs and bins in the 2 A1066 laybys;
Attempting to understand and disseminate GNLP information.
Continuing to attempt a satisfactory outcome concerning heavy lorry traffic through our villages – particularly that concerning ‘chicken-lorries’ from the Kenninghall direction.

Thanks to everyone for their support as I step down from PC Chair.


2018/19 was a funny old year and one that I will want to forget in many ways. It started with me having to surrender my driving licence owing to a small seizure I had in January, this resulted in over six months unable to drive. As a consequence, I had to suspend attendance at Parish Council meetings, and I would like to thank you all for your kind thoughts and forbearance.
In May 2018 my wife Margaret was installed as Chairman of Norfolk County Council and as her consort I have been expected to accompany her to numerous functions both in Norfolk and other counties. This has further hampered my ability to attend Parish Councils on a regular basis and will continue until she is replaced on 7th May this year.
In July 2018 I was appointed Chairman of the Business and Property Committee at Norfolk County Council and this has also been fairly time consuming although very rewarding. We are increasingly having to re-evaluate the buildings and property we own to ensure that if we need the buildings, what goes on inside them either works at capacity providing services or creates income to subsidise other services. Income generation has become essential in order to maintain our essential services including the sale of properties no longer required. I also have responsibility for the nearly 17,000 acres of County Farms which also need to generate more income for the council.
At South Norfolk we have appointed a new Manging Director and Senior Management Team which I know you have already been informed about. Things are settling down well and all staff at both South Norfolk and Broadland are now wearing new ID Badges bearing the combined branding and all communications also use this new logo.
Hopefully you will have seen some the recent literature we have delivered which highlight many of the achievements of South Norfolk District Council, which we as councillors can be very proud of. We endeavour to make sure all residents have the best services possible in difficult economic times and this is our promise to you going forward into a new municipal year.
Preparations are well underway for District Elections on May 2nd and you will be aware that I am not a candidate this time around. I have enjoyed my time as you district councillor and have been very happy to have helped local communities with grants and support whenever I have been asked.
Once again, many thanks for your understanding and forbearance at my inability to attend your Parish Councils on a regular basis this last year although it has not prevented me from being fully accessible via email or phone to help with any problems or queries you may have had.
Best wishes for the future.

THE VILLAGE HALL DRAMA GROUP report from Brenda Webb

The Drama Group’s had another good year. Starting with the Murder Mystery Supper in April when we made a profit of £487.00. Our next event was a dance sequence at the summer event in July for the East Anglian Air Ambulance and Diss First Responders. This was a joint venture with The Afternoon Club and the Village Hall. It was an exceptionally hot day and we raised just over £2000 to split between these two worthy causes. We were next involved in the Armistice Day celebrations where we performed some songs and helped with the memorabilia.

Onto our main Drama Event of the year.
The Pantomime. This year it was “Mother Goose” We had a brilliant cast and they all learned their lines in record time (a first for our group). We sold out on the Thursday and Saturday nights and only had 6 spare tickets for Friday. Hence a resounding profit of £1871.00    Just amazing.

We have now “reformed” the group and by doing this we have a lot more younger members taking over the reins. Hence this is my last report but I am still on the committee and in order to grow and attract younger people we are having checks on some volunteers and a First Aider to enable things to go forward. We have already exceeded last year’s figures and that is without having done a play. There are lots of interesting things in the pipeline so watch this space.

The next major event will be a comedy at the end of September. The rehearsals will start in the next couple of weeks. Then into Pantomime casting and rehearsals for next year.

We would like to thank the Parish Council and our local Councillors for their continued advice and support over the last few years.

FOOTPATHS & SPEED CAMERAS report from Karl Traynier

Footpaths. have to report that more posts had / have been knocked down ,on hall road Fersfield  2 are damaged ,highways rangers notified ,hope to report that they are fixed shortly, if not by mid April then I have some spare and will replace myself. One problem of a broken bridge was reported by a neighbouring parish walker. this was successfully fixed after contacting a local farm.
Speed cameras.. results from school road show that there are a few still going to fast around the school leaving times.. vehicles coming from Fersfield into Bressingham tend to slow down ,, Common road figures showed that there area few cars going just above the limit of 30 ,and the odd one going 40 mph or more  in the early hours,, but common road shows that the camera is working effectively on that stretch… Fersfield still has the major number of speeding vehicles even during dark it registers 50mph or more. day figures show speeds on entering the village from Kenninghall still breaking the limit to 60 mph and above . all figures shared with Norfolk Police speed awareness team.


Please may I first introduce myself as the Headteacher of Bressingham Primary School. I have been involved with the school over many years and involved in different events within the village. Unfortunately, I am unable to attend your meeting; please accept my apologies.

Below is a report from the school for your meeting:

The school has had a busy year. A new headteacher, Mrs Dawn Gudde, has been appointed, and, after an inspection from OFSTED, the school received a continued judgement of good.

The school has been involved in different events in the village this year. These have included Harvest and Christmas services at the Church and commemoration of the 100th anniversary of Remembrance Day, with a service at the War Memorial. A wreath and crosses were placed to remember those who served in the wars.

 Also, groups of children have visited the village shop and made a separate visit to post letters to Father Christmas at the post box there. Bressingham Steam Museum was visited by our youngest children and our older children will have been seen cycling round the village, when training to use their bicycles on the road.
We look forward to another year involved in the community.


Compared with the last few years this has been a quiet year for the village church. The builders at last handed the church back to the PCC and the new work was blessed by the Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Rev Graham James in May 2018. A large congregation of well over 100 attended the service. We also had a Flower Festival over the weekend so the church looked beautiful for this event. We now have an alarm system on the church roof which goes through on the telephone. The clock was serviced and thanks to the builders we were able to have the face cleaned on the outside.

We had two very successful concerts in the church, one sponsored by Alison and Leslie Dunbell which was given by the South Norfolk Youth Symphonic Band and a second concert organised by Nancy Grey Davies and Hilary Hadingham featuring various singers and instrumentalists. The profit from both of these was divided between the general PCC fund and the Friends of Bressingham Church. The Friends held a very successful Afternoon Tea as the AGM in September which was very well attended and people were invited to view the new Vestry Window which had been given by the Friends and dedicated to Brenda Oates.

Another lovely addition to the church was a new wooden notice board which was made at cost by a local retired rector, the Rev’d John Curtis and paid for with a grant of almost £200 by the village charity via the Parish Council. This, and the grant that the Parish Council so generously give us each year is very much appreciated. The notice board was dedicated to the late Elizabeth Handy and the service was attended by members of her family after which we all went to the 1066 at The Chequers for coffee and a chat. The church also benefited with almost £800 from the Open Gardens Weekend.

Although I would like to say the work on the church has now been completed it is a matter of ‘here we go again’. Urgent work is still required on the north roof and the vestry and this year Linda Holly with the help of the two churchwardens, Hilary Hadingham and myself hope to start to submit another bid for funds.

We managed to pay our Parish Share and all our other commitments mainly due to the three events we had none of which will happen this year. Therefore we will have to be very careful this year.