Skip to content Skip to left sidebar Skip to footer

APM Reports

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Membership – even though we have had a few plot holders leaving they have been replaced by new people and we have had a 90% plus occupancy rate enabling us to keep most allotments fully cultivated.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

Annual Parish Reports May 2020

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
Annual Report
May 2020
ACHIEVEMENTS
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.
OUR APPROACH
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.
ACTIONS
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.
Amanda Mcmurray
Chairperson
May 2020

Annual Parish Meeting Reports – 23rd April 2019

BRESSINGAHAM and FERSFIELD ALLOTMENT ASSOCIATION report by Michelle Lanchester

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.


BRESSINGHAM & FERSFIELD COMMUNITY WEBSITE report from Bryan Claybrook

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, bressinghamandfersfield.org 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.

cid:image003.png@01D4F905.BA2CADF0

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.


ELIZABETH BARKER CHARITY REPORT by Diana Burroughes

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.


 
BRESSINGHAM and FERSFIELD PARISH COUNCIL report by Richard Hewitt

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.


Report from Barry Stone, DISTRICT COUNCILLOR FOR BRESSINGHAM & BURSTON

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.


BRESSINGHAM PRIMARY SCHOOL report by Dawn Gudde

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.


BRESSINGHAM CHURCH REPORT by Diana Burroughes

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.

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!

Report from Barry Stone, DISTRICT COUNCILLOR FOR BRESSINGHAM & BURSTON

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.

Annual Parish Meeting Reports – 19 April 2016

Bressingham and District Ladies Club – Jan Hewitt, Chairman

It is very good to report that our membership remains constant at 35. Sadly, we lost Pam Bowgett this year and Jan Delasalle has moved to France. It is great that we have two new members and we frequently welcome visitors to our meetings. Our club exists to bring people from our villages and surrounding area together; we would love to include some younger ladies in our membership.We have enjoyed a very varied and enjoyable programme during the last year. Rachel Duffield, in role as Marie Lloyd provided a brilliant musical evening. Paul and Jan Sumpter shared their experience of following the spectacular wildebeest migration in Tanzania and a donation was sent to the Nepal Earthquake appeal. Jenny Gibbs told us about her life in Turkey and in July we visited the wonderful Sea Mere gardens in Hingham – a designated SSSI.In August we revived the Garden party, held in the beautiful garden of Sharon and Dave Cole and it was an idyllic Summer’s day. The history of Buckingham Palace was explained at our September meeting and in October we welcomed actress, Helen Fraser who described her career and gave us a wonderful flavour of her work with so many famous actors. A cookery demonstration and a Regency Christmas with fascinating readings and poetry completed 2015. We also celebrated Christmas by dining together at the Brome Grange Hotel – a very well supported and enjoyable evening. Ian Carstairs gave us a brilliant, illustrated talk about the North Yorks Moors National Park and Lucy Redman enthused the keen gardeners amongst us with her knowledge of garden design and spring plants. The Annual Supper in April was a lovely evening of excellent food and lively quizzes.We have raised £150 to present to Annie Chapman at our AGM. Cancer Research is a cause very close to our hearts and we will hear about Annie’s work and the Pink Tractor Run.I would like to offer huge thanks to the committee who have all worked so hard throughout the year. Jean Brown is retiring from her roleWe are delighted that Sharon Cole is willing to be our Chairman for the coming year.

Afternoon Club Report – Reg Brock

The Afternoon Club was founded to create a friendly, informal setting accessible to all the Community by offering a wide range of games, crafts and other activities where everyone is brought together around tables over a chat, cuppa and cakes. Conceived in 2015 operating under the umbrella of the Village Hall, it has received strong support and backing from its members, the Village Hall Committee and the Parish Council. Our ‘hands on’ craft workshops have been an instant success and are always in demand.

Starting in February 2016, initially on a trial monthly basis, we have achieved a very good attendance of between 30 and 40 on each occasion. Despite its infancy, the club continues to evolve by encouraging full member participation, introducing change as well as new ideas where needed and reflecting the aspirations of its members – these are core principles we intend to adhere by to ensure the Club does not stagnate. After just three meetings, we have established an ongoing demand for this wide mix of activities and bonhomie. Financial viability is looking sustainable thanks to generous assistance from the Community with start up costs and good attendance figures.

We have many exciting developments for the future including outdoor  activities, social events and, at a later stage, fundraising for the benefit of worthwhile causes in the Parish. The introduction of these will take place in agreement with members and opportunities will be afforded for them to take an active part with specific responsibility.

Our thanks goes to everyone in the Community who have helped us, especially our band of loyal volunteers, without whom the running of the Club would just not be possible.Looking to the future, we will be consolidating our Club with a formalised Committee and constitution. The strong level of support means there is a good possibility of introducing a further meeting each month. We are also addressing ways of encouraging more men to come through the door for the first time, where we are sure they will enjoy the experience and atmosphere. We currently offer darts, cribbage, dominoes and table skittles as well as delicious home baked cakes, but none of these seem to offer appeal.


Bressingham Village Hall – Brad Roberts, Chair, Bressingham and Fersfield Village Hall Committee

First of all I just want to thank all the groups, organisations and the Parish Council for all their understanding and help during the repairs of the village hall that commenced last year due to the collapsing of the gable wall. The committee is now undertaking a yearly inspection by a professional to monitor the building and hopefully rectify anything that may come up before it becomes a serious problem.

The Village hall is running rather well at the moment with many groups and organisations utilising the hall. We had many events running throughout the year including the anniversary of the village hall committee, Flower show, quiz nights, Murder mystery (one of which is coming up Saturday) and our Yearly Pantomime.

As always we are happy to welcome any new potential committee members and again I would like to thank everyone for their support and hope to see many of you at all or some of our upcoming events this year. Thank you.


Bressingham and Fersfield Website – Margaret Harris

The website continues to be an excellent way of communicating all the news and events taking place in our community. It is updated:

  • as soon as we hear about things of interest or receive emails from people who are organising events
  • weekly with
    • The Team News for the parishes of Bressingham, Diss Fersfield, North and South Lopham, and Roydon
    • The Bressingham School Report
    • The Bi-monthly Cock Crow
    • The Six-monthly Diss Corn Exchange Entertainment Programme plus weekly features on films being shown.

Liz Handy does an excellent job at chasing people for information and recently Laura Gosman has been using her skills to interview members of the community and write these up for the website together with very interesting articles on being a disabled resident.

E-newsletters are sent out as and when we feel they would give a boost to a particular event or news item.  We continue to use Mailchimp, as it is a free online facility and the mailing list currently stands at 201. Anyone can easily unsubscribe from receiving these e-newsletters as there is a facility at the bottom of each e-newsletter sent.

In the past 12 months we have created dedicated menu options for Planning and Our Churches and removed the Market Place page as it wasn’t being utilised by the community. The Planning page is regularly updated with information sent through by Mike Mortimer, Parish Clerk.    

The Archive pages list items of news alphabetically and interviews with members of the community making them accessible at all times – they are accessed often by visitors to the site. Google Analytics shows in a past 30-day period we had:

  • 570 visits made to the website and the total number of pages viewed during these visits is 3,114
  • 44% are new visitors – 55% are returning visitors – it is good to see the returning visitor numbers increasing which indicates that people feel the site is a useful information source.
  • On average, site visitors spend over 2 mins on the website
  • Site visitors viewed the website via the following sources: 63% via desktop PC; 22% via tablet; 14% via mobile – the tablet and mobile viewings have increased since last year so at some time in the future when the figures are higher, consideration will have to be given to making the website fully responsive ie it automatically adjusts to fit whichever device it is being viewed on and reduces the amount of scrolling for visitors.  This can be a costly exercise and is not felt to be required at this moment in time.

Richard Hewitt, Chairman Parish Council

We have said goodbye to our previous chairman, Jan de la Salle, who with husband Tony has moved abroad for a while.  Jan did a fantastic job, and we thank her and put on record our gratitude to her. At the same time, I thank our Parish Council members, and our clerk, Mike Mortimer, for their continued hard work and dedication and for their efforts and achievements, much of which is behind the scenes.

Your Parish Council has comparatively few operational facilities over which it has statutory control, but we do liaise with and function closely with the District Council (Planning, etc.) and the County Council (Highways, etc.)  In her report last year, Jan de la Salle said there was disappointment with the condition of roads and verges, and signage and gritting, and that planning was a frustrating  process. There is more liaising and functioning with the two ‘big’ councils to be done!

2015-2016 has been busy, apart from the council’s change of personnel.  I think we operate in four identifiable areas: our own defined responsibilities (you will hear from the allotments association, for instance); those things for which we encourage those agencies and major councils who are responsible to do their best job;  our support for organisations and individuals within the parishes, like the village hall committee and our general concern for the health, wellbeing, life quality and happiness of our residents.

Some examples for this last year across the four areas include:  we monitor and support the Allotment Association, who have taken considerable and effective responsibility for their operation and facilities; we are involved in giving advice to SNDC for local planning – ongoing issues include the wedding venue and the future of ‘Chequers’ and issues affecting environmental quality like the bungalow plot near the Village Hall; we encourage local involvement such as verges, roads, potholes, re-instatement of our environment after such assaults as cable-laying and we seek positive moves like partnership with the County Council to improve the verges and access in key locations like the cemetery entrance in Fersfield and drainage on the A1066;  involvement with our two main charities; support for the Village Hall, the Open Gardens, ‘Anglia in Bloom’, the Queen’s 90th Birthday, and the innovative and much-admired Tuesday Afternoon Club.

Upcoming challenges include balancing the cohesion and individuality of our two villages, planning development for such things as our local pub, taking initiatives in localisation, preserving our treasured heritage – churches, trees, hedges, buildings, highways,( as ever!),  nurturing our community spirit and securing the best available budgets to cater for all sections and ages of the local population.

We thank the local community for the support, encouragement and resources you give us.

Report from Barry Stone, District Councillor for Bressingham & Burston

Since being elected last year I have been very busy but pleasurable time getting to know the area more thoroughly, meeting residents and business organisations, attending Parish Council meetings and parish functions. I have also responded to numerous queries and problems from individual residents, particularly planning issues.
Planning Issues: As a member of the Development Management Committee I have been involved in many South Norfolk planning applications, but more especially I have responded to numerous queries locally. I always listen to applicant’s issues and give my advice where applicable, but I cannot go against planning law. I have spoken in committee in support of local communities several times with varying degrees of success always taking into account the fact that the full committee has the final vote.
Members’ Ward Budget: During the year I have responded to several requests for funding from my Councillor Grant fund of £1000 and two organisations where successful in being awarded small sums of money. Once again this year we have an allocation of £1000 plus I have a £300 carry over, so any community organisation can apply via me for a small grant.
Pot Holes: These are an ongoing problem raised by many Parish Councils and for information we managed to secure a £1.5m fund in the County budget and government has just given another £1.6m to Norfolk for further work. Still not enough but we should be able to fix the worst.
Flooding: has been another frequent complaint and I have passed all reports to the relevant County Council officers for remedial work where possible
Schools: As a member of the County Council Children’s Services committee I have visited schools and undertaken training on new National Curriculum tests and assessment procedures for Key Stages 2 and 4 coming into operation in summer 2016. These new regulation are likely to have a profound impact on local children as they move towards a more attainment based structure and value added teacher assessment
Highways: I have dealt with numerous requests for major improvements such as reducing speeding, parking issues, road safety, roundabout and bus stop provision. In particular the provision of the roundabout on the A146 at the junction with George Lane and 50 mph restrictions on the A146 further up at the junction with Mill Road
Parish Partnership Scheme: This is administered by the County Council but has relevance to all Parish Councils so my apologies if it infringes on the County Councillors report.
Funding of £380,000 for 122 small scale highway projects across Norfolk was approved by councillors in March.
The money, from the county council’s Parish Partnership scheme, will be matched by Parish and town councils who were invited in June 2015 to put in bids for funding for schemes important to their local area. The most popular bids have been for vehicle activated signs, which has seen 44 applications for signs which in most cases are to remind drivers of their speed.  This year the Norfolk Safety Camera Partnership contributed £80,000 towards these bids, boosting the total available Parish Partnership funding to £380,000.  Other popular schemes are Trods with 24 bids put in for this simplified, lower-cost alternative to footways.  And helping to promote safety at schools will be part-time advisory 20mph.
I am pleased to report that the Parish Partnership Scheme will be once more be available this financial year although the amount has not yet been fixed or announced. My advice would be to get your bids in early for any projects you have.

Report by Beverley Spratt, Norfolk County Councillor, West Depwade

The building of the NDR has started and should be complete in two years and will help people to reach the Norfolk coast. Adult social services has a budget of £300 million and an extra £6 million from the rise in the Council Tax.

The new Norfolk County Council website should help to get pot holes repaired quicker and more efficiently.

Devolution is an ongoing situation. At the moment there seems to be a stumbling block with the Mayor issue but the government insists that without the mayor there will be no benefits from the devolution bill.It looks likely that all primary schools will be academies in due course including Forncett.


Bressingham Primary School – Gavin King, Head Teacher

Since last April there have been many positive changes and improvements in school. We enjoyed meeting parish councillors at the opening of our allotments and our new teaching room in the autumn term. Our gardening club is now established and preparing for the Bressingham Open Gardens event. Our new classroom is used every morning to teach a Year 2 class. In fact from September we will be able to split our Year 1/2 class into a Year 1 class and a Year 2 class. This will help us improve further.

This year we plan to extend this further by converting our large, hall cupboards into another teaching space. We will also be converting our toilets so that there is access from the hall and from the field. This will allow the building and grounds to be used more by the community, without the need to open the whole building. This will then allow us to continue to grow the numbers in our school and provide smaller class groups throughout. We currently have 105 pupils and seek to increase this to 140 over the coming years.

Our SATs results last year put us in the top 1000 schools in the country and were our best ever. Our external review by the Local Authority suggested that we might achieve outstanding at our next inspection.

This year school council have been working on improving our active play area on the field. This will be installed this summer to provide pull up bars, monkey bars and a rope tunnel. In addition we are seeking to improve our Early Years physical development provision outside. We are always on the lookout for reasonably priced handy folk who can help us with small DIY jobs around the school.

Over the year we have significantly improved our outside space by clearing and developing underused areas and by adding a land drain to the school field. This means that the field can be used for sports virtually all year round. We also added a bird hide so that the children can observe the nature area through binoculars during their play times.

Our friends group, FABs, has been very active and has raised about half of the money needed to convert our serving kitchen into a production kitchen. This will allow us to have food cooked on site and will provide facilities for the community and for school cooking lessons. A National Lottery bid is being prepared for the remainder of the money.

We carried out a major consultation with parents last term and the main action point from that will be that next year we will set up regular, established parent support sessions across all year groups covering topics such as ‘how to help your child in maths.’

After-school activities are flourishing. We have a breakfast club from 7.30am and after school clubs for all ages until 4.15pm. This half-term we have a total of 18 clubs covering a wide range of sporting and non-sporting activities. This, alongside our flexible start to the day, will hopefully ease some of the traffic problems all schools experience. We have also changed our sports coaching and now employ Norwich City Community Sports. They provide an excellent service and you may have spotted our cross-country runners running past the shop on a Monday evening.

We have developed good links with the church and the high school. Canon Billet and Dr Hunt attend regularly and lead assemblies alongside other shared activities. The school continues to work closely with schools in the Diss Cluster and with the Acorn Cooperative Learning Alliance. Within this group we have developed effective moderation of assessments as well as peer inspection of one another’s schools.
Also this year, we reorganised staffing to reduce the proportion of teaching assistants to children and increase the proportion of teachers to children. One member of staff left to become Head of School at an academy.

Our 100 memorable events  are now fully established within our curriculum and reported on annually to parents. Children enjoy school and attendance is very high, with mostly outstanding behaviour. This year we have introduced philosophy for children; we have used the Premier League Reading Stars programme to inspire boys to read more and we have established swimming in Key Stage 1. By the end of last term 70% of pupils in Key Stage 1 could swim 25 metres.We are always looking for ways to involve the school in the community more and community is one of the key drivers within our curriculum so any collaboration is always welcome.


The Village Hall Drama Group – report from Brenda Webb

We are still going in this our 30th year. We performed two Murder Mysteries last year with the usual very popular hot supper. Always a sell out. It is no different this year as we are doing another on the 23rd of this month.

The Pantomime “Robin Hood and his Band of Merry Persons” was again a success. We acquired some new members which was excellent, they had experience of ‘am dram’ which made life easy especially for the Directors. We had two directors as one had baby minding duties in London.

The cast really gave it their all which shows in the performances. One young member of the merry band “Silent but Deadly” was a real pleasure to watch.

Again the nett profit was very good £1400, including the advertising revenue. This goes back as always to the Village Hall.

We are soon starting rehearsal on a play which we hope to perform September or early October before we get back into the Panto mode.

So anyone wishing to tread the boards or if you know of anyone please contact me, you will find details on the Bressingham and Fersfield website – click here


Allotment Association – report from Michelle Lanchester

On the allotments this current year:

  • Pathways were mostly completed but still maintaining and will be ongoing.
  • Section of driveway by horse field gate was relaid with crushed concrete with thanks to the loaning of a digger from Mr Aves and digger driver Matt Perfitt.. Whilst the work was carried out we had at least 2 members on site all the time for health and safety reasons. Michelle, Chair, was present for both days aswell as other allotment holders including maintance team.
  • The base for the maintenance shed was laid ready as a summer project, which will contain 2 Ibc  tanks to supply  more rain water for allotment holders.
  • There are discussions in place to build  shelters around the allotment site to supply more free rainwater to allotment holders.
  • There is a grass cutting rota put in place with maintenance team to keep up to date  with cutting communal areas to prevent weed spread and general tidiness.
  • We have lost  a few plot holders due to illness and general lack of time, but we have been in discussion with keeping vacant allotments tidy as well as benefiting new plot holders to their plots.
  • A committee meeting is is to be held every 2 months to discuss issues and general maintenance.
  • Fundraising schemes are currently being discussed amongst the committee.
  • There has been a change in the committee with a new Vice Chair person, new Treasurer and Secretary.
  • Driveway from car park to the newly laid crushed concrete is due to be relaid.
  • Fundraising: we are holding a jumble sale/plant sale on 4 th June which will be held at  the village hall.
  • We currently have 3 allotments to rent – advertising has gone out via Facebook and we are currently looking into paper ads.
  • We currently were approached by the afternoon club who kindly gave us vegetable seeds to allotment holders.

We wish to thank Pat Mendham and Jeremy Green  for their kindness with hedge cutting/ ditch cutting.

We also like to thank Fersfield church for the usage of church for meetings/ AGM.

Tasks for 2016-2017 (April):

  • Maintenance shed
  • Cut hedges/ ditches
  • Driveway
  • Install gate

Tasks already completed from April 2015-2016:

  • Number plots
  • Bank which was agreed by Jan
  • Base for maintenance shed
  • Sort paths
  • Ditches/ hedges cut for the year