BRESSINGAHAM and FERSFIELD ALLOTMENT ASSOCIATION report by Michelle Lanchester
Welcome to the Bressingham & Fersfield Allotment Association Annual Report 2019/20 for the Parish Council .
Membership – even though we have had a few plot holders leaving they have been replaced by new people and we have had a near 100% occupancy rate enabling us to keep most allotments fully cultivated.
Growing season – even though we had a mixed summer of weather I think most of us had a good growing season and fruit crops in particular did very well.
Maintenance – we have spent considerable time maintaining hedges, ditches , driveway and footpaths helped considerably by Orwell housing association who have agreed to maintain the hedges and trees bordering the Pipers Piece housing.
Tenancy agreement with the Parish Council – a significant amount of time has been spent this year negotiating a new agreement with our landlords. We are pleased to report that a new 5 year Agreement (with a further 5 year extension) has now been agreed and is due to be signed by both parties once the present COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.
Finances – with our new treasurer in place we have regular and accurate monthly accounts that allow us to very effectively manage our limited finances to the benefit of our plot holders and the overall maintenance of the allotment site as well as progress our various projects. A copy of our accounts is attached.
New fence and hedge project – after applying to a range of companies and charities we finally succeeded in obtaining over £2,000 of funding from South Norfolk Council for our new hedge and fence (along the 120 metres of our southern boundary) and community garden . Using our own labour the fence has now been erected and over 350 young mixed native trees planted and now being maintained. The Community garden to follow this summer with raised beds and sensory planting planned by the end of 2020. Thank you James Easter at South Norfolk for your help in guiding us through the paperwork , your help is very much appreciated.
National Allotment Association – we have now rejoined and they have been very helpful providing legal assistance and also helping us to obtain preferential terms for both plot holder public liability and allotment site public liability insurance.
Supplier discounts – we have teamed up with four local suppliers to obtain discounts on posts, fencing and various other products and we hope to extend this further to plants next year.
Projects for 2020- 2021 – our main projects over the coming 12 months are as follows although it should be noted that CORVID-19 may affect our ability to progress/complete these projects
whole of the allotment site tidied up, rubbish removed
consolidate plot amalgamation changes allowing us to reduce path maintenance and site management
Progress Container roof and fit out
Agree and implement site security with the Parish Council
Progress Community Plot sorted
CORVID-19 – detailed instructions have been issued to all plotholders in support of the government guidelines and these are fully supported by all plot holders allowing us to ensure the allotments have remained fully open . We remain ready to amend our instructions should government advice change.
Michelle Lanchester , Chair of Bressingham & Fersfield Allotment Association April 2020
BRESSINGHAM and FERSFIELD PARISH COUNCIL report by Amanada McMurray
Bressingham and Fersfield Parish Council
Highlights of the Parish Council’s work in the last year, to April 2020:
• Agreed, with the Bressingham and Fersfield Allotment Association, a lease and tenancy for management of the Parish Allotments, lasting up to 10 years.
o Clarified the responsibility that we give to the Allotment Association to manage the Allotments on our behalf.
o Peppercorn rent.
o Improvement to site security agreed.
o Named Parish Councillor, John Kemp, to act as point of contact between the Association and Parish Council.
• Started planning our local “Community Links” scheme, as part of the District scheme.
o John Kemp leads the campaign and plan to counter loneliness in the community.
o Mike Wakefield leads the other parts of the scheme.
o The Community Information event was postponed until the Village Hall reopens and isolation measures are relaxed.
• Supported a determined, and successful, community effort to bring hyperfast Broadband to our community.
o County Broadband confirmed that our installation will begin in 2020, although timescale is likely to be revised because of the UK’s general restrictions on working.
o The Village Hall and local churches will receive free broadband installation and services.
• Emergency Plan established, describing how we can support Parishioners needing urgent help.
o Karl Traynier drove the development of our plan, when COVID19-related isolation measures were announced.
o We recruited a number of volunteers willing to help local people in various ways in an emergency.
o Karl continues to lead and coordinate the emergency response.
• Collected and began to analyse traffic data collected from across the Parish in a week-long traffic census.
o A professional traffic survey company was contracted to collect data on traffic type and movement at 9 sites in the Parish.
o The results showed that the majority of road use was law-abiding over the survey period. However it also provided data supporting issues raised previously by Parish Councillors and Parishioners.
• Completed investigations into traffic, road and footpath issues raised by Parishioners and reported by Parish Councillors.
o Following a complaint by a member of the public, we demanded information about support of the “Quiet Lanes” in the Parish. Norfolk County Council has told us that the scheme was not a success and is not supported any more. The matter is closed now.
o We evaluated two proposed road schemes for their suitability for an application for co-funding under Norfolk County Council’s “Parish Partnership Scheme”. We concluded that neither scheme solved the needs that we had identified and so neither was pursued.
o Parish Councillors continue to lobby Norfolk County Council about defects in roads and signage which they are responsible for maintaining. A notable success was that the overgrown undergrowth and trees blocking visibility at the junction between the A1066 and School Road Bressingham has been cut down. We urge Parishioners to report problems that they see to Norfolk County Council, using their online complaints portal. Meanwhile, we continue to raise these issues in parallel.
o Led by Richard Hewitt, we presented a detailed complaint to our County and District Councillors about HGVs using weight restricted roads illegally in Fersfield and using single track lanes to do so, when a suitable and unrestricted route was available. Signs have been put up in neighbouring villages directing the vehicles in question to an approved route. We continue to monitor the situation.
• We publicise Parish Council meetings on our new Twitter feed as well as on the Community website and local facebook groups.
We told you, in June 2019, that we would investigate and tell you about the feasibility of:
• Improvements to roads and footpaths;
o For Pedestrians;
o For communities.
• Reduction in breaches of speed limits and other road/traffic laws;
• Improving utilities and infrastructure;
• Faster broadband.
These topics were not new, by any means, but we recognised that they are raised regularly and are clearly important to the community for many different reasons.
Our approach, during the year, has been to identify issues or parts of problems that we are able to act on, then plan and implement a solution, whilst closing issues where we are unable to act.
The approach has been effective and I am satisfied that we have achieved our aim for the year.
Once movement, meeting and social restrictions are lifted, we will:
• Hold the Community Links Information Event and plan next steps depending on your feedback.
• Reflect on what we did to support you during the COVID19 pandemic, what we could have done differently and whether we could do better next time. Then implement new initiatives and continue to develop our Emergency Plan, taking into account the lessons we have learned.
• Begin development of a new community website to provide relevant and accurate information to our community, using up to date software tools and web design methods.
• Continue to ensure proper control of Parish Council funds and revise our processes to do so, as and when necessary.
It has been an honour to serve as Chairperson during the last year and a pleasure to work with our Parishioners as well as my fellow Parish Councillors to serve our community.
Thank you for your support, as well as your suggestions and criticisms. They are all welcome.