The Parish Council
Chair: Vic Cross
Vice Chair: Sue Nash
Clerk: Kevin Webb
Address for Parish Council correspondence:
1 Townshend Green West
Norfolk. NR21 8NQ
Tel: 01328 855046
Meetings are held each month on the 3rd Monday of the month. (no meeting in December)
County Councillor is Stuart Dark and our Borough Councillor is Tim Tilbrook
TO THE GREAT MASSINGHAM PARISH COUNCIL MAY 2018
I am pleased to present this year’s annual report and would again like to record my thanks to my fellow Parish Councillors for their support. Their regular attendance at meetings has enabled us to carry out our business successfully and reach satisfactory conclusions.
We have again benefitted from the advice and support afforded by both County Councillor Dark and Borough Councillor Tilbrook. They have attended most of the Parish Council meetings, Councillor Dark using part of his allocated annual allowance, helped with the Parish Council support, secure funding to enable the Highways Department to carry out much-needed improvements to the length of footway on Station Road between Mill Kane and Rudham Road. Councillor Tilbrook has kept us informed of matters relating to the Borough Council and has been very helpful on planning and housing matters.
Parish Councillor Andrew Bickerton decided to retire from the Parish Council during the year and I would like to record my thanks to Andrew for the work he has done on the council and also for the support he has given me over the years. Andrew continues to remain active particularly with Speed Watch and BioDiversity. He was the main motivator to provide the signing along Abbey Road to prevent vehicles parking on the footway.
Cuts in Government spending continue and we must remain vigilant to make sure that we are not overlooked or put to the back of the queue when it comes to accessing the services provided by other local authorities.
We have taken advantage of a partnership with Norfolk County Highways, where we provided two gated entrances to the village, with half the cost being met by the County Council. This coming year we hope to do the same in providing speed recognition signs in the village.
Unfortunately, the Village Hall was unsuccessful in it’s bid for lottery funding and is now preparing to approach other funders with a revamped but smaller plan, concentrating on the most important aspects of importance to the needs to the Hall. The Parish Council has again lent it’s support to the project and has pledged seventy-five thousand pounds from ring-fenced monies. We wish the Hall every success with its bid to continue providing the village with this increasingly important asset.
Further work has been carried out on Weasenham Road. Mr Brun kindly cleared the area near Malthouse pond, the area to be replanted later this year with grasses and indigenous species of trees. It is hoped that this will improve wildlife in the area by giving access to other wildlife areas via established corridors of hedgerows and meadows. Advice on this obtained from the Norfolk Wildlife Trust via the BioDiversity Group in the village. This is part of an ongoing quest to balance the needs of wildlife with the maintenance of our greens and ponds.
During this year we were made aware of a problem regarding house numbering and confusing Post Codes, resulting in an ambulance and other medical support experiencing difficulties in locating a property. We have opened discussions with the Borough Council to find a solution to the problem. It may be a contentious issue to resolve and will involve many properties. Discussions may be protracted and will at some stage require consultation with all those affected.
The village is indebted to the many voluntary organisations and groups working within the parish, far too many to mention for fear of missing anybody out. The Council has been able to assist some of these financially throughout the year, including the BioDiversity Group, Bowls Club, Community Cars and the Church. We have also funded the cost of the Youth club leader administered the running of the allotments and regulated the fishing in Scotsman’s Pit.
Add to those the several individuals that voluntarily pick up litter, empty litter bins, tidy and mow areas of the churchyard and raise funds for various charities, all are indications that we have a very good community in the village. Visitors to the Village often remark on the friendliness of local people and how pleasant it is to have complete strangers say hello or good morning.
Great Massingham has many assets, and the biggest of these are its inhabitants, who through there various clubs and organisations are, I think becoming increasingly inclusive and welcoming.
We now enter the last year of the Current Parish Council with elections to be held next May.
We have to deal with the challenges of new regulations regarding Data Protection and prepare ourselves for any other changes in legislation effecting local communities.
Within these and in all debates, we will not always be unanimous in our thoughts but I hope we can agree that if another’s opinion differs from ours it does not necessarily make it wrong.
Vic Cross, Chairman.
Financial Reports for the year ended 31st March 2018:
PARISH COUNCIL NEWS June & July Meetings
Main items to note are:
• Parish Councillor vacancy (see below)
• An application from the Dabbling Duck to build four additional bedrooms, a staff shower room and two new store rooms was discussed and generally supported but concern was expressed to the Borough Council regarding car parking problems that could result from the loss of spaces for the building. There are problems of congestion and cars parking on the pavements every day. In the past, staff members did not appear to use the parking facilities but, following a request, it has been noted that they have now started to do so.
• There is continuing concern over the pavement from Mill Road northwards. (Please see below.)
• It is hoped the Fishing Warden vacancy will be filled shortly.
Update From the Chair – Vic Cross
1.At its meeting on Monday 17th July the Parish Council co-opted Mrs Caroline Boyden to fill the Vacancy following a recent resignation. Caroline will already
be known to many of you through her involvement with the Historical Society, running the Great Massingham Website and more recently assisting on the bar
at the Social Club.
2.Good news concerning problem footpaths……The stretch of footpath between Mill Lane and the Rudham Road junction that has proved so problematic
over the past few years, is now closer to being resolved. Despite numerous complaints from the Parish Council, the Norfolk County Council Highways
Department budget constraints prevented the work being carried out.
However, newly elected County Councillor Stuart Dark looked into the matter on our behalf. To this end he has agreed to release £1000 from his limited
Annual budget. This funding, matched with a contribution of £1000 from the Parish Council and a further £500 from the Highways Department means that the work will now be done by the autumn.
The Parish Council, although not responsible for financing Highways works, enters into this agreement without prejudice and without setting a precedent for future occasions but in the interests of residents’ safety. We would wish to express our thanks to Councillor Dark for understanding that we had a problem and
coming up with a workable solution.
Next Meeting: 21st August
GREAT MASSINGHAM PARISH COUNCIL
ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
7.00pm – 7.24 pm, Monday 15th May 2017
Village Hall Great Massingham
Vic Cross (Chairman)
Kevin Webb (Clerk and minutes)
1 Declarations of Interest – None
2 Apologies for Absence – S. Nash
3 Confirmation of any part of the minutes that is exempt under the
Freedom of Information Act
4 Chairman’s Report
In presenting this year’s annual report I would first of all like to record my thanks to my fellow Parish councillors, their regular attendance at scheduled meetings has enabled Council business to run smoothly
We have also been well served by both our County Councillor and Borough Councillor, they have attended most meetings and have provided valuable help and advice and kept us informed of County and Borough activities.
I would like in particular to record our thanks to County Councillor John Dobson, who has retired after several years and did not seek re-election this time. Councillor Dobson has competently served the parish for many years and always displayed considerable interest in matters pertaining to Great Massingham. We wish him well and hope he has a long and happy retirement.
Cuts in Government spending are having an increasing effect on the level of service we receive from local councils and once again we have engaged in considerable correspondence to ensure we do not lose the services we are entitled to. Concern has been expressed about the state of some of the footways in the village, this has been reported to the Norfolk County Council highways department but has not resulted in any immediate plan to rectify or improve. Another area of concern brought to our attention is a problem of cars parked on footpaths, making it very difficult for pedestrians, especially infirm or disabled to access local services, again this has been reported with little likelihood of an early solution. Parishioners are asked to keep reporting any incidents so we can put further pressure on the relevant authorities.
This year we introduced the Mike Tilbury Award in memory of our late Borough Councillor and parishioner. The award is to recognise an individual’s outstanding voluntary contribution to Village life.
In considering nominees for the award the process illuminated the tremendous amount of voluntary activity by numerous individuals and groups that goes on all the time. Many thanks are due to so many that bring credit to the village.
The playpark promised in last year’s Annual Report has been completed, although a funding application was unsuccessful the Parish Council released its contribution of Fifty thousand pounds to fully fund the first stage of the plan, the second phase is now totally dependent on outside funding.
Detailed discussions have taken place with the Village Hall trustees regarding planned refurbishment of the Hall, and the Parish Council has pledged one hundred thousand pounds towards the project. We understand it will not be too long before their application for Lottery and other funding is submitted. The funds released by the Council are those that were ringfenced in earlier years for Village projects.
Following the work last year on the Malthouse pond on Weasenham Road, further work was carried out to the Pond outside Parsonage Farm on the same road, a complaint by a local resident highlighted a misunderstanding between the Parish and Borough Councils regarding Conservation areas and Tree preservation. This has been resolved and the work completed as planned.
This year has seen the passing of several established village inhabitants, changing forever the makeup of the community, they will be sadly missed. Newer inhabitants now play an increasing role in all activities and bring a fresh impetus to everyday life. There remains a considerable need to find ways to enable young families to remain in the Village. The price of properties coming on the market are usually way beyond their reach, a problem not helped by the number of holiday homes attaining high prices in our attractive village.
The further provision of affordable and social housing goes some way to encourage young couples, but the siting of areas for such schemes often meet with local opposition and have to be carefully considered. I am sure that knowing the nature of most residents it is not a problem that cannot be resolved.
The planning authority has the final say, but the parish can make comment and try to influence their decisions.
As a Village Great Massingham stands proud amongst its neighbours., and I am honoured to have served as its chairman and feel proud that our Village is free from so many of the social problems that blight numerous others.
Vic Cross, Chairman.
5 Election of Chairman
In accordance with standing orders, Mr. Cross, having served for two years, stood down from
the position of Chairman. There being no nominations, however, it was unanimously agreed to
suspend this part of standing orders. Proposed by Mr. Wingell and seconded by Mrs. Goold.
All in favour. Mr. Bickerton proposed Mr. Cross for the position of Chairman and this was
seconded by Mrs. Foster. All in favour.
Mrs. Nash who was absent from the meeting had previously indicated her agreement to serve
for a further period as Vice Chairman, should the need arise. There were no nominations. Mr.
Bickerton proposed Mrs. Nash for the position and this was seconded by Mr. Wingell. All in
7 Planning Sub-Committee
- Cross, O. Brun, S. Nash, G. Goold and M. Wingell. Agreed by all. (Mr. Hipkin asked to no longer be on this committee and his place was taken by Mr. Wingell).
8 Calthorpe Trust
- Brun and S. Nash. Agreed by all. Mr. Brun is to give a report of the trust’s activities later in the year.
9 Mallard Representative
- Foster. Agreed by all.
10 Youth Club
- Foster. Agreed by all
- Goold. Agreed by all.
12 Financial Report
The Clerk presented the Financial Report. It was agreed by all that the report be approved.
(Proposed by Mr. Hipkin and seconded by Mr. Bickerton)
Income for the year ended 31st March 2017 was £27,572 (£23,507) with expenditure of
£85,548 (£20,442) giving a deficit of £65,126. This resulted from a number of planned items
of expenditure, in line with the approved budget. The major payments were as follows:-
- New play equipment – £48.3K
- Grant to Bowls Club – £4.0K
- Grant to West Norfolk Community Transport – £2.7K
- Pond maintenance work – £4.2K
Total reserves as at 31st March, 2017 were £173,217 (£231,193)
The figures will be internally audited before being submitted to the external auditors.
There being no further business, the meeting closed at 7.24 p.m.
………………………………… (Chair of the meeting) …………………… (Date
PARISH COUNCIL AGM MAY 2016, SUMMARY OF CHAIRMAN’S REPORT
I thank my fellow Parish Councillors for all the support they have given me this year. Meetings have generally been well attended and we have continued to engage with both County and Borough Councils to ensure we receive the support and services we are due. Government spending cuts are having some effect on the level of service we receive. County Councillor John Dobson attends our meetings regularly and keeps us up to date with County Council activities and policies. He has given assistance to John and Yvonne Bridger to secure an improved bus service for the area. The Parish Council has made a financial commitment to support the scheme for the next three years. Mr Dobson is also currently setting up a working group to improve broadband facilities in the area.
The recent sad loss of Borough Councillor Mike Tilbury will be felt for a long time. I would like to pay tribute to Mike for the many years he has served this village both as a Councillor and as a parishioner; his carefully considered advice was always welcome and, through the years, he has promoted, protected and served the parish of Great Massingham to very good effect. Always willing to help individuals or groups, he avoided party political entanglements and told it as it was. He will be sorely missed. We have received comments and concerns from parishioners and have tried to resolve any issues in a fair and reasonable way.
A spate of vandalism on the allotments earlier in the year now seems to have abated. The allotments are generally well tended and in a tidy condition. A formal agreement between allotment holders and the Parish Council, clarifying the responsibilities of both, has been completed and is in place. New kerbing, to prevent vehicles overrunning the green, has been installed outside the Post Office using matched funding from both the County Council and Parish Council. The Parish Council has, for several years, been very supportive of providing affordable housing to help young people remain in the village. Land previously used for allotments was sold and affordable housing built. The Parish Council is very concerned that latest Government proposals to extend ‘right to buy’ could put this project in jeopardy and the Council is communicating with Henry Bellingham regarding the matter.
During the year the Council has ring-fenced funds, raised from the sale of land, to part fund village projects such as the refurbishment of both the Play Park and the Village Hall. Support continues to be given to groups within the parish including the Community Car Scheme, the Coronation Club, Inter Village games, Biodiversity Project and Youth Group. Two ponds have been dredged this year as the build up of silt was hindering drainage from the other ponds in the system.
We try to keep a balance between formally trimmed and tidy areas and areas that lend themselves to more diverse arrangements. We value the work done by volunteers to protect our wildlife areas and know how important this is for our village.
We are fortunate that there are groups and individuals of people prepared to give time and effort in supporting community projects and fundraising for charities. Our thanks go to them for helping to keep Great Massingham a very pleasant place to live.
Vic Cross, Chairman. May 2016
At the AGM – Mr. Cross and Mrs. Nash were re-elected as Chairman and Vice-Chairman.