Chairman’s Report to the Parish Council AGM in May 2019

I wish to record my thanks to my fellow Parish Councillors for their support, regular attendance at meetings and involvement between meetings this year which has enabled us to satisfactorily conclude our business and resolve many issues.

Thanks also to County Councillor Dark and Borough Councillor Tilbrook for their help and support and regular attendance. Mr Olaf Brun retired from the Parish Council during the year after many years’ service and again I wish to record my thanks. His wealth of experience and expertise and general contribution will be greatly missed.

We are still greatly affected by the knock-on effect of cuts in Government spending. It is frustrating for both parishioners who seek assistance and the Parish Council which wants to  resolve issues but does not have the powers, staff or finances to carry out the tasks.

We have a good working relationship with both the County and Borough Councils,

and the Highways Authority have agreed a series of works to improve the road edges and verges and some drainage around the greens.

This year saw the completion of a joint scheme between the Parish and County Councils to provide speed recognition signs to reduce speeding through the Village. This is administered by the village speed watch team, a dedicated team of volunteers who regularly monitor speeding in the village and provide information to the Police for their consideration, keeping the Parish Council updated. Thanks go to them for their efforts.

The Village is indebted to the many voluntary organisations in our parish. We have been able to give support to the Church, Bio Diversity Group, Community Cars and Youth Club. The Bio-diversity group continue to maintain and improve the area around the school pond on Weasenham Rd. The flowering of the wild flower meadow last summer, for example, was a joy to see. Thanks for their efforts and dedication.

The Christmas lights were in poor repair and were replaced with an improved system. With a maintenance plan in place, they should now last for many years to come.

The problems associated with overpopulation of ducks and geese continues. Villagers are urged not to feed them. Advice sought from many agencies, over the years, tells us that the ducks will regulate themselves in the absence of feeding. They will not starve and bread is considered bad for them. After taking advice, we are also attempting to regulate the numbers of geese. A laser light projected immediately in front of them at dawn or dusk upsets them and they will go and seek new areas. This has had a positive effect and this method does not harm the birds and will not be used on nesting birds or those with young goslings. It also does not have the same effect on other wildlife.

Dog fouling is still a problem. We again ask that the few who fail to clear up after their dog, please do and help to keep the village clean and safe. Several dog bins are provided.

After the disappointment of not receiving a lottery grant last year it is pleasing to note that the Village Hall Trustees have now secured funding for their project which is now well under way. The Seventy-five thousand pounds that we pledged last year has now been paid. Again, we wish the Hall every success with its aim to continue improving facilities and providing the village with this increasingly important asset.

At the start of a new electoral period we thank retiring councillors Liz Foster and Gillian Goold who are standing down. The Council will miss their input and thanks them for their dedication and service over the past years. We welcome new councillors Jon Cole, Peter James and David Speake. Although there were not enough candidates to hold an election this time, to know that enough are interested in serving the parish is comforting.

The Parish has changed over the years and will continue to change. It is a very nice place to live. Those who have lived here for many years know this and those that have recently moved here know this. It’s why they came and I am sure, if we keep with our tolerance and inclusiveness, the parish will continue to be a very nice place to live.        Vic Cross, Chairman.


CHAIRMANS REPORT

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.

May 2018