From the Clerk
GREAT MASSINGHAM PARISH COUNCIL
NOVEMBER PARISH COUNCIL MEETING
The November Parish Council meeting was once again held remotely via the Zoom platform, eight Parish Councillors joined the meeting along with Borough Councillor J Moriarty and two representatives from Great Massingham Community Car Scheme.
At our recent meeting the Parish Council agreed to increase the annual donation given to the Great Massingham Community Car Scheme from £300.00 to £500.00. The Scheme is very successful and worthwhile, and the Parish Councillors collectively agreed that the scheme continues to provide a vital service for many people within the village. If you wish to see how you can book a trip or how the scheme works then please visit their website for further information – www.massinghamcommunitycars.co.uk.
The Parish Council also approved costs for new waterfowl signage to be placed in both Scotsman’s Pit and along Weasenham Road. The signs are to be placed in the ponds in order to discourage people from feeding the waterfowl. Although many people enjoy feeding the ducks, the effects of this seemingly generous act can be harmful. Regular feeding can lead to increased number of ducks and overcrowding, spread of disease, pollution, poor nutrition, delayed migration and unnatural behaviour. We would therefore ask you, if you care about the waterfowl, to stop feeding them and allow them to return to their natural habitats.
The Parish Council have finalised planning for the Christmas Lighting in the village for December/January. Although the Christmas lighting will be installed and displayed as it is every year, there are no plans for an official ‘switch on’ event due to Covid-19.
Please note that there will be no Parish Council meeting in December. The next Parish Council meeting will be held remotely via Zoom on the 11th January 2021 at 7.30pm. At the January meeting the budget for the year 2021/22 will be reviewed and approved and the Precept Requirement for the same period will be set and confirmed.
Members of the public can still join the meetings. If you wish to do so, please contact the Clerk or obtain the access details from the relevant agenda in order to join the meeting. You will be able to join the meeting either by phone, computer or android/apple device. As always, there will still be an opportunity during the meeting for parishioners to speak.
OCTOBER PARISH COUNCIL MEETING
The October Parish Council meeting was once again held remotely via the Zoom platform, seven Parish Councillors joined the meeting along with Borough Councillor J Moriarty and three parishioners.
The Council discussed a number of issues in relation to the open spaces within the village.
The planned visit to the village by Grays Family Funfair Rides has now been cancelled and will hopefully be re-scheduled for next Spring once the weather has much improved.
David Bracey Play Safety Inspections has been asked to undertake the annual inspections of the both the Play Area and Outdoor Gym over the coming weeks. Playgrounds should be inspected annually by an independent specialist to ensure the long-term safety of the site, equipment and ancillary items. This will also meet legal and insurance responsibilities as well as complying with the requirements of EN1176 (the European Playground Standard).
The Parish Council have also began planning for the Christmas Lighting in the village for December/January. Although the Christmas lighting will be installed and displayed as it is every year, there are no plans for an official ‘switch on’ event due to Covid-19.
The Parish Council have been approached by the developer, Derek Hales Ltd, who will be undertaking the new development at the Summerwood Estate, Walcups Lane to ask for suggestions for a new street name for those properties that will not be on Walcups Lane. It has been suggested by the Council that consideration be given to ‘Mike Tilbury Close’ after the former long-standing Borough Councillor for Great Massingham.
Council Tax Support Scheme 2021/2022 Consultation
The Borough Council runs a scheme that provides help to people with the cost of their Council Tax bill if they’re on a low income. This scheme is called local Council Tax Support.
The Council Tax Support scheme only applies to working age people. There is a national Council Tax Support scheme for people who are pension age, and the rules are decided by central government.
Every year the Council Tax Support scheme is reviewed. The consultation for the Borough Council’s 2020/2021 Council Tax Support scheme is now open and can be found at www.west-norfolk.gov.uk/ctsconsultation
The Borough Council are keen to hear views on the scheme from as many residents as possible. Please have a look at the details and complete the questionnaire, and also let the BCKLWN have any comments you may have.
Full details of the Council Tax Support scheme are available on our website www.west-norfolk.gov.uk or you can contact me directly if you need any further information. Paper copies of the questionnaire are available on request.
The next Parish Council meeting will be held remotely via Zoom on the 9th November 2020 at 7.30 pm. Members of the public can still join the meetings. If you wish to do so, please contact the Clerk or obtain the access details from the relevant agenda in order to join the meeting. You will be able to join the meeting either by phone, computer or android/apple device. As always, there will still be an opportunity during the meeting for parishioners to speak.
AUGUST PARISH COUNCIL MEETING
The August Parish Council meeting was once again held remotely via the Zoom platform, six Parish Councillors joined the meeting along with two representatives from GMACCS and four parishioners.
From the 1st August, 2020, the Coronovirus Act was amended with regard to Parish Council meetings. It now says that the public notice of the time and place of meetings will have to include details of remote access for the public and press to be posted on the parish council’s website. This infers that the link to the meeting should be included on the agenda, rather than stating ‘contact the clerk for the link’.
New Parish Councillors
The Parish Council would like to welcome two new Parish Councillors – Alexis Brun and Kim Frazer – to the Council. Both were successfully co-opted on to the Council at the August meeting following receipt of five applications. We look forward to them joining us at the September meeting.
Each year the Parish Council’s Annual Governance and Accountability Return (AGAR) needs to be reviewed by an external auditor appointed by Smaller Authorities’ Audit Appointments Ltd, who is PKF Littlejohn Ltd The unaudited AGAR has been published on both the Parish Council website and the notice board. As it is yet to be reviewed by the appointed auditor, it is subject to change as a result of that review.
Any person interested has the right to inspect and make copies of the accounting records for the financial year to which the audit relates and all books, deeds, contracts, bills, vouchers, receipts and other documents relating to those records must be made available for inspection by any person interested. For the year ended 31 March 2020, these documents will be available on reasonable notice by application to: Miss Sarah Harvey (Clerk/RFO), Byanoak, Leicester Rd, South Creake, NR21 9PW, Tel: 01328 823391 or Email: email@example.com. The inspection period commenced on Tuesday 4th August, 2020 and will end on Tuesday 15th September, 2020.
The next Parish Council meeting will be held remotely via Zoom on the 14th September, 2020 at 7.30pm. Members of the public can still join the meetings. If you wish to do so, please contact the Clerk or obtain the access details from the relevant agenda in order to join the meeting. You will be able to join the meeting either by phone, computer or android/apple device. As always, there will still be an opportunity during the meeting for parishioners to speak. NOTE MEETING NOW 21ST OF SEPTEMBER
JULY PARISH COUNCIL MEETING
The July Parish Council meeting was once again held remotely via the Zoom platform, six Parish Councillors joined the meeting along with our Borough Councillor James Moriarty.
Following the further easing of lockdown restrictions on the 4th July the NALC (Norfolk Association of Local Councils) continues to strongly advise that local councils should continue to meet remotely. We have the power to hold public meetings remotely by using video until May 2021.Local councils have the duty to allow the public to observe council meetings without placing restrictions on the number attending, which many council meeting venues (if they are open) will not be able to accommodate in a safe way at this time.
Despite the Government allowing Play Areas to reopen from the 4th July, if this could be done safely the Parish Council has unfortunately concluded that they could not take sufficient steps to mitigate the risks, that the Play Area presents.
The play equipment is considered to be high touch therefore the virus could survive on hard surfaces for several days. As a Parish Council we are not able to prove that we can frequently monitor use of the play equipment to support social distancing, as well as regularly sanitise the play equipment throughout the day.
Therefore, the area remains closed for people’s safety.
This was not a decision the Parish Council wanted to take, and we will be keeping a close eye on government advice with the aim to reopen as soon as we consider it appropriate to do so. Until such time the play area remains closed.
Please respect this decision and the signs that are in place.
Parish Councillor Vacancies
The Borough Council has now confirmed that the Parish Council may proceed with co-option to fill the vacancy left by Mick Wingell, as reported last month.
There are now to Parish Councillor vacancies to be filled by co-option. Further information is available on both the notice board and Parish Council website if you are interested in joining the Parish Council. Co-option for both vacancies will take place at the 10th of August meeting and application forms should be returned to the Parish Clerk by 4th August. The Clerk’s contact details are firstname.lastname@example.org or 01328 823391.
The next Parish Council meeting will be held remotely via Zoom on the 10th August, 2020 at 7.30pm. Members of the public can still join the meetings, if you wish to do so, please contact the Clerk to receive the link to join the meeting. You will be able to join the meeting either by phone, computer or android/apple device. As always, there will still be an opportunity during the meeting for parishioners to speak.
GREAT MASSINGHAM PARISH COUNCIL
MARCH 2020 MEETING
Seven Councillors attended the March Parish Council meeting, along with our County Councillor S Dark and Borough Councillor J Moriarty.
Further discussion took place regarding undertaking a Neighbourhood Plan. It was noted that there had been some positive interest from parishioners following articles in The Mallard.
The Parish Council was given a presentation by Councillor J Cole on digital mapping software, Parish Online, which could greatly assist in producing a Neighbourhood Plan as well as other aspects of day to day tasks.
The War Memorial will be undergoing a clean in the next few weeks. Quotations were sought from three local companies specialising in cleaning and restoring architectural stonemasonry and AJ Restoration was awarded the contract.
After a recent surge in the number of molehills in the village centre several moles have now been trapped around the Post Office pond and they continue to be trapped around Scotsmans Pit.
Given that the ground may be uneven around the ponds, do be careful when out walking.
After obtaining consent from the BCKLWN, some work will be undertaken shortly to clean up new growth around the tree stumps around Scotmans Pit.
The next Parish Council meeting will take place on the 20th April 2020 at 7.30 pm in the Village Hall.
JANUARY 2020 MEETING
Following the December break, the full Council met on the 13th January, the first meeting of 2020. Unfortunately, County Councillor Stuart Dark and Borough Councillor James Moriarty were unable to attend due to other commitments.
As, is always the case in January, the Parish Council is required to agree the Precept requirement for the next financial year, 2020/21 by 31st January. Therefore, the annual Budget and Precept were considered by the Council and it was agreed to increase the Band D contribution by around 15p per week which will result in a new annual payment of £50.66. Donations were also agreed for organisations inside and outside of the village, including the Community Car Scheme and the Norfolk Citizens Advice Bureau.
It was noted that there had been a very good response from residents regarding the Christmas lights and thanks were expressed to all involved. Planning arrangements will be considered over the coming weeks/months for this year’s event, which the Parish Council has agreed to support.
Councillors also considered that the War Memorial was in a poor condition and in need of a good clean. Work to the War Memorial was last completed in 2014 for around £989, with the assistance of grants/donations. It was agreed that quotations should be sought in order for the work to be carried out later in the year.
Over the coming weeks, the Parish Council should also hear whether the bid made to the Parish Partnership Scheme has been successful. The County Council funding will contribute to half the cost to install village gateways along Castle Acre Road.
The next Parish Council meeting will take place on the 10th February 2020 at 7.30pm in the Village Hall.
GREAT MASSINGHAM PARISH COUNCIL NOVEMBER MEETING The last Parish Council meeting was held on the 18th November and although we had three absences, due to illness, the meeting was attended by our County Councillor, Stuart Dark and our Borough Councillor, James Moriarty. Looking ahead to the festive season, the Parish Council agreed to support the cost to install the cabling for the Christmas lighting. The ‘switch-on’ event is to take place on Saturday 14th December; further details regarding this have been published separately. In an article published in the December edition of ‘The Mallard’, the Parish Council has produced an article regarding the possibility of pursuing a ‘Neighbourhood Plan’. If you are concerned about development within the village in the coming years and would like to see Great Massingham have more influence over this, then please do read the article ‘The Future of our Village’ for further details about how you can get involved. Over the coming weeks, another post will be installed along Castle Acre Road to situate the SAM2 Speed Sign on a rotation basis – approval has recently been given by Norfolk County Council, Highways. The Parish Council will also be submitting a bid to the Parish Partnership Scheme to secure half the cost from the County Council to install village gateways along Castle Acre Road. An application will be submitted in early December and decisions will be made in April 2020. Please note that Parish Council meetings will now move to the second Monday of the month, starting from January, 2020. There will be no meeting in December. Both the annual budget and the precept requirement will be discussed and approved at the January meeting, The next Parish Council meeting will take place on the 13th January, 2020 at 7.30pm in the Village Hall.
GREAT MASSINGHAM PARISH COUNCIL OCTOBER MEETING After recently being appointed as the new Clerk/RFO to Great Massingham Parish Council I was very pleased to attend my first meeting on the 14th October, to meet all of the Councillors and gain an insight into the current issues being discussed on the agenda. During the last month, the external audit of the Council’s finances has been completed by PKF Littlejohn LLP who concluded that the Council had followed proper practices and relevant legislation, with no matters giving cause for concern. The external auditors report is available on the website and Village Hall notice board. The Council discussed a number of issues in relation to the open spaces within the village and agreed that the annual Play Area inspection should be carried out by David Bracey Play Safety Inspections, that the perimeter of the land behind the doctors surgery and adjacent to Charles Dewar Close should be cleared. Richard Fisher (Aboricultural Officer, BCKLWN), following a visit to the village, has authorised clearance of some small self-set saplings from around the pond in Weasenham Road and the damaged/ broken tree at Scotsmans Pit. Three Councillors had also attended a meeting with the Principal Planner and Local Development Framework Manager at the Borough Council offices to explore the process involved with completing a Neighbourhood Plan. More information regarding this will follow in another edition. Concerns were raised regarding a number of incidents where vehicles had been driving and parking against the flow of traffic along the one way system at School Road, as well as parking across the Give Way markings. The Police were to be notified of the instances in the hope they can assist with the offending drivers. The next Parish Council meeting will take place on the 18th November at 7.30pm in the Village Hall.