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Annual Parish Meeting – 20th April 2021

BRESSINGAHAM and FERSFIELD ALLOTMENT ASSOCIATION report by Michelle Lanchester

Welcome to the Bressingham & Fersfield Allotment Association Annual Report 2020/21 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Membership – even though we have had a few plot holders leaving they have been replaced by new people and we have had a 90% plus occupancy rate enabling us to keep most allotments fully cultivated.
Growing season – a mixed summer of weather but a  good growing season and fruit crops in particular did very well.
Maintenance – as usual we have spent considerable time maintaining hedges, ditches and our section of the driveway and footpaths. Responsibility for the driveway and associated ditch has now reverted to the Parish Council.
Site security – following discussions with the Parish Council they have agreed to fund gates at the top and bottom of the site plus post and rail funding along the drive and ‘horse’ field. We have installed the gates and will be doing the fencing over the coming months COVID permitting.
Tenancy agreement with the Parish Council – we are very pleased to have agreed with the Parish Council a new 5 year Agreement (with a further 5 year extension) and this was signed in July by both parties. This has been well received by plot holders and gives them the security to invest and develop their plots over the coming years.
Finances – as reported last year we now have accurate and regular monthly accounts that allow us to manage our limited funds effectively and after excluding future committed expenditure we had a balance of £516 which we will be utilising in the coming year.
New fence and hedge project – as we reported last year we obtained over £2,000 of funding from South Norfolk  (via James Easter) and planted a new 120 metre hedge and post and rail fence along our southern boundary . This year we have watered, weeded and fed this hedge which is now becoming established. The next stage of the project is the development of the Community garden which is now progressing well with an established orchard of mixed fruit and a complete plot of raised beds. Seeds have been purchased this winter for use on the Community plots this year. Obviously with COVID we have been unable to progress any community involvement in this garden although we do have at least one volunteer from the community to assist us in cultivation, fruit and vegetable picking and jam and pickle making.
National Allotment Association – we have again joined and are 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 again teamed up with four local suppliers to obtain discounts on posts, fencing and various other products and we hope to extend this further over the coming year.

Plot amalgamation – we have made good progress amalgamating adjacent single plots into new double plots reducing pathways and general maintenance.

Carpet removal – all plots are free of carpets and over 50% of our paths with plans to complete this year

Projects for 2020- 2021 – our main projects over the coming 12 months are as follows although it should be noted that COVID-19 may affect our ability to progress/complete these projects

  • whole of the allotment site tidied up, rubbish removed
  • Progress Container roof and fit out
  • Complete site security

 

COVID-19 – we have amended our guidelines to all plot holders as we have gone through the various COVID stages and we have had good support from plot holders. COVID restrictions have directly affected our plans for the container fit out, site security and development of the Community Plot. In addition we were unable to hold our AGM so all members received a detailed report on our activities over the year plus a set of accounts and a survey which indicated a high level of satisfaction with the operation of the allotments from the plot holders point of view.

Michelle Lanchester , Chair of Bressingham & Fersfield Allotment Association March 2021


Elizabeth Barker Charity Report

Elizabeth Barker Charity  £4,044.44.  This continues to grow slowly thanks to the two small pieces of land which are rented to Jason Bloom and Stephen Hubbard.  We have not paid out any money from the account for several years now.
– Elizabeth Barker Church account now stands at £1,018.72.
– Elizabeth Barker Parish Account now stands at £1,075.74.
These last two grow by an extremely small amount of interest and no money has been paid out for several years.


Footpaths Report by Karl Traynier
The footpaths in both Bressingham and Fersfield saw heavily increased use over the last year this was due in no part to lockdown, The footpaths where problems occurred were reported  this amounted to 2 ..Clearing BY myself included 3 visits .one for fly tipping of sacks of garden waste and 2 tree debris. One mayor problem was dog fouling , users are reminded it is on them to pick up their dogs mess and take it home to bin. 2 finger posts replaced due to removal by the post fairies taking them for whittling

Bressingham Village Hall Report – Claire Porter

The last year, including as it does, Covid restrictions, has been a difficult one for the hall and playing fields. Bookings have been non-existent, the user groups unable for the most part to use the hall, and income has obviously fallen dramatically from these sources.

However, on the plus front, as there has been more ‘free time’ by the members of the committee, maintenance to the playing fields was completed over the summer by a hardworking core group. Sanding, painting and replacement of damaged or aging equipment was carried out and we have received lovely comments from parents about how nice the play equipment looks now.

Sportsafe signed off the equipment as usual recently, apart from the hump slide for which new soil and mesh screening works are due to start shortly. This will hide the concrete blocks and bring the slide back to good condition. There are still plans for new equipment, as suggested by a local parent, and he is kindly looking into funding and quotes for such work for a future date.

Sadly, we have had a couple of instances of vandalism at the play area,the last where the bench table provided for seating had both seats smashed off. The wood was cut back and made safe and a new stronger bench should be in place by the weekend thanks to donation monies by a local resident in memory of a family member.

During the year it became apparent that works were now urgently needed to both the main roof and the front window. The requisite 3 quotes have therefore now been received and works will hopefully start later this year, in part thanks to some Covid funding received from South Norfolk Council. These works will ensure a watertight structure and  the
addition of insulation should help with future heating bills.

Last year we changed the user prices to bring them in line with other local halls. Unfortunately due to Covid and closure of the hall, this was postponed until now.

We look forward to more easing of restrictions so that we may attract bookings and community groups back to the hall, hoping of course the annual panto (always a main source of income) will also take place again.


Bressingham Church PCC by Diana Burroughes

Bressingham Church, as you might expect, was about £500.00 down on the year before. We continued to pay the insurance in full which is over £2,000.00 but not the Parish Share.  Water, electricity, service of fire extinguishers etc were paid.  However, with no church services to speak of and only one fund raising event we were not surprised to see we had made a loss.  This would have been considerably more had it not been for the generosity of the Parish Council for the grant of £500.00 to keep the burial ground tidy.  We also thank Kay and Reg Brock who raised almost £1,000.00 for the church by running the 59 Club and those who buy tickets. Our bread and butter income comes for the eight households who covenant money each month and without these we would be in a much worse position. Mervyn Lambert kindly opened his garden in July and this raised over £600.00 for the church and a similar amount for the Friends of the Church.

We still rely on volunteers, few as they are, and if anyone has time to help in any way Hilary Hadingham, my fellow churchwarden and I would be very pleased to hear from them.


BRESSINGHAM and FERSFIELD PARISH COUNCIL report by Amanda McMurray

Annual Report for the Year to April 2021


ACHIEVEMENTS

PROGRESS ON LIVE PROJECTS
Despite being restricted to meeting online, the Parish Council has made progress on campaigns that we had started in the previous year.
• Awarded the lease and tenancy for management of the Parish Allotments to Bressingham and Fersfield Allotment Association.
o We provided fencing and gates to be erected around the Allotment Area, when working restrictions allow.
• Completed a preliminary questionnaire which aimed to understand respondents opinions on roads considered to be problem areas by some. The questionnaire received a healthy response which was enough to allow us to progress to next steps. A detailed survey of the roads right across the Parish is underway, to identify problem areas and the reasons for them.
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE PARISH COUNCIL’S WORK IN THE YEAR TO APRIL 2021:
• Actions are in progress across the Parish, to reduce the risk of flooding, following the flooding that many of our Parishioners suffered in late 2020 and early 2021.
o Procured sandbags for those at locations that were flooded to help them to “be prepared”.
o Investigated the cause of the flooding at the junction of Common Road, Bressingham and our lane to the Allotment Area. The investigations are in progress and we will resolve the cause, once confirmed.
o Supported individuals in their approaches to Norfolk County Council and to persuade them to take action on drainage problems at their own properties.
o Identifying the location of ditches that may require maintenance (Mike Wakefield and Karl Traynier). SNDC will investigate which of these may have contributed to the flooding we suffered and how the risk of re-occurrence can be reduced or mitigated.
• Emergency support has been offered, received and welcomed throughout the year:
o Karl Traynier continues to lead and coordinate the emergency response, supported by local volunteers willing to help local people in various ways in an emergency.
o John Kemp has supported local people throughout the year by making regular phone calls to check on their well-being.
o We have given our support in principle to Karl’s proposal to establish a Local Resilience Scheme.


Whilst much of our work has focussed, necessarily, on providing consistent support during the Pandemic and in response to emergencies, we have progressed on community focussed initiatives as well:
• Volunteers have offered their services as Tree Wardens to the Community. We have welcomed the offer and are working out the details of the role.
• A Poll is open to assess local people’s views of whether to develop plans for a woodland area in Bressingham. The Poll is open until the end of April 2021 and we will
• Relaunch of the Community Website, consisting of moving it to a modern web publishing software and content management system and refreshing its current content.
o Development of the new site is being led by a subcommittee consisting of Mike Wakefield, Karl Traynier and Mark Wickenden.
SARS COV-2 “CASUALTIES”
• The “Community Links” scheme could not hold the events we had planned.
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 remains postponed until further notice.
• Installation of hyperfast Broadband that we had anticipated would have started if not been commissioned in 2020 has not begun. We await a meaningful update from the provider.

OUR ORGANISATION AND RESPONSIBILITIES
• Reviewed and refreshed our policies, including GDPR and Privacy, E-Security, Health and Safety, Risk Assessment and Volunteering.
• Co-opted Mark Wickenden to the Parish Council and, separately, accepted Dave Hodges’ resignation.
• Effected a seamless transition from face-to-face to web-based meetings. We continue to refine our web-based meetings process to ensure that we meet the governance requirements as well as making it as easy as possible for Parishioners to join us.


ACTIONS

We will:
• Draw conclusions from our roads survey and prepare to present them for your views in a Public Meeting.
• Continue planning for a woodland area, if public feedback is in favour.
• Continue to plan how best to support the Community in our resilience against forecast outside our control, in a way that is appropriate.
Once movement, meeting and social restrictions are lifted, we will:
• Revisit the plans for a 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. I was honoured to be appointed as Chairperson, for a second year and for the trust placed in me, particularly in what have been such difficult times for us all. It continues to be a pleasure to work with our Parishioners and with my fellow Parish Councillors to serve our community.
Thank you for your support, as well as your suggestions and criticisms. They are truly welcome.
Amanda Mcmurray
April 2021


Community Website Report

– Bryan Claybrook

The community website has had a relatively quite year in terms of content updates.  This is, of course due to lockdown having had a huge effect on the activity of clubs and events in the parish.  The majority of new content was provided by the parish council consisting of agendas, minutes, planning updates and notices.  Notices relating to lockdown from the churches and clubs were also prevalent through the lockdown periods.
Although the existing website presents its information in well-structured manner it is clear anyone who uses the internet regularly that the site’s design is now dated.  In addition, with the growth of mobile and tablet devices the existing site presents a barrier to accessibility due to its inability to respond to different screen sizes.  This makes accessing the site through a smaller screen a challenging experience.
Creation of the new site is underway and having been built on a contemporary content management platform (WordPress) it will offer a number of improvements over the existing site.  This will allow for an improved user experience which will hopefully increase traffic to the site, retain more users and increase the value of the website to the residents of the parish.
As well as allowing far greater ease of administration the new site will include features such as:

  • Improved menu-driven access
  • Diary displays for events and activities
  • Gallery access based on categories
  • Directory listings for local clubs, business and activities held in record format with listings based on categories
  • Weather displays
  • Location displays based on interactive maps
The WordPress platform on which the new site is based will provide a range of new opportunities – both functional and aesthetic.  This will give us a better chance of seeing through our own ideas for the site but also taking advantage of features and innovations that third-party developers have made available.
The bulk of the work remaining to be done on new site involves porting the existing content over.  It is currently envisaged that the site can be made live in May.



















Report to the Parish Council from Bressingham Primary School
Dear Parish Council,

Our school continues to thrive. We have approximately 130 children in six classes this year.

It has been a challenging year, with Covid19 and all the changes that has caused, but as a school we have stayed resilient and continued to help the children to achieve the best they can, alongside keeping happy and positive; wellbeing is so important.

One of the exciting developments due to Covid19 has been the different avenues of communication that have been developed with children, parents and carers. Teachers have recorded videos and uploaded these to YouTube, alongside providing live lessons via video call, to help children with their learning, when they haven’t been able to attend school. We have also had class sharing assemblies via video call.
One of our challenges is parking and we are working with children and parents around this, together with Governors having made contact with the Parish Council. We sincerely hope that there can be a solution to easing these difficulties.

Something that we have hugely missed this year is being able to continue with many community events. Our visit to the War Memorial, by Year 6, representing the school, was one of our few excursions; a video clip of the visit was shared with the other pupils in their bubbles, via video call, in our Remembrance assembly in school. We can’t wait until we can visit the shop, the Church and the Steam Museum again.
We very much hope that the next year will see a return to greater normality for us all.
With kindest regards,
Dawn Gudde
Headteacher

Report from District Coucillor James Easter
It has been a very unusual year for all of us with COVID lockdown and then flooding.
Flooding
No up dates from any organisations. Disappointing , as now the better weather is upon us it would have been an ideal opportunity to start repairs and clearing waterways. I will continue to follow up on anything I can find out and forward to you. News from SNC
What happened during the recent lockdown. I personally thought SNC have done really well and came forward to help businesses and families. Some data:-
85% of SNC staff are working remotely
Only 15% of staff working from the offices
Over 600 Zoom meetings 140 virtual committee meetings broadcast over You tube, 19500 views
44 Trained mental health advisors and First aiders
HELP HUB
20,104 calls from residents asking for help
5000 calls made to shielding residents
7 day a week working
4,373 individuals visited on enhanced contact tracing to support self-isolation
COMMUNITY
2,750 prescriptions collected
3,150 shopping trips done
560 households in food poverty fed
4,000 food parcels delivered
8 tons of food distributed to residents
HOUSING
73 residents provided with temporary accommodation
739 residents housed
781 people helped onto the housing register
1,694 people a month provided housing advice
BUSINESS
84 million in grants distributed to local businesses
10,000 businesses called and offered support
First Council to distribute 1 million to businesses forced to close
1 million of support distributed for every week of lockdown
PLANNING
4372 planning applications determined
30 virytual planning meetings held

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