Stanhoe Parish Council
Minutes of Parish Council Meeting
Held on Thursday, 8th January 2015 at 7.00pm
in the village Reading Room
Clerk to the Council – , tel 01485 518409
Mr. T. Austin (TA)
Mrs. P. Austin (PA)
Mr. D. Bridge (DB)
Mrs. R. Brown (RB)
Mr. M. Roche (MR)
Mrs. P. Roche (PR)
Mr. J. Seedhouse (JS)
Nine members of public were present.
The chairman opened the meeting at 7.00pm by welcoming all councillors and members of the public and wishing everyone a happy New Year.
1. To consider apologies for absence
All members present.
2. To consider approval of the Minutes of the last meeting
Minutes were passed and signed by the Chairman.
3. To record declarations of interest in any item to be discussed
MR and PR declared an interest in Item 13 and stated they would leave the meeting before any discussion took place.
4. To adjourn the meeting to allow public participation
One member of the public had a list of items to which he asked the parish council to give consideration. The items were:
- the post box set into the wall opposite Brewers Cottage may require some attention to the surrounding mortar.
- some white lines on the highways in the area are in need of re-painting.
- County Council to be reminded that many pot holes required attention which should be possible since the Government had allocated extra funding to councils for this purpose.
- another letter should be sent to the district councillor regarding the untidy state of the field at the former scrap site on the corner of Fakenham/Bircham Roads.
- could something be done to prevent or discourage wide and heavy farm vehicles from eroding the edges of grass verges throughout the village?
- the installation of a kerb around base of the village cross to prevent vehicles from damaging the grass. The chairman pointed out that there had once been a kerb but it had been removed following an instruction from English Heritage.
- could a request be sent to BT to increase broadband speed in the area?
- now that the six turbines of Jack’s Lane wind farm had been erected, the parish council should vigorously oppose any suggestion to increase the number of turbines in future.
- is there the possibility of planting a bank of native trees which would eventually screen the turbines from parts of the village?
- there had been some mention in the press of the possibility of fracking taking place in Norfolk and the parish council should show great concern about this matter.
Following the parish council meeting of 13th November 2014 two members of the public present had received a letter from the parish council expressing concern at the number of cars parked on Docking Road outside their property. These residents had sent a written reply but had attended this evening to emphasise their disappointment at having received such a letter. They pointed out that there were no parking restrictions on Docking Road and their parked cars were parked in compliance with the law. They had lived in the property for two years and knew of no traffic incident in that time because of parked cars.
They felt that the letter they received had gone beyond the council’s remit and hoped that having explained their point of view the matter would now be concluded. The chairman stated that it was the duty of the council to investigate any concerns raised by village residents which had been brought to its attention. He agreed that no laws had been broken and thanked the residents for coming along to put forward their point of view. The matter would now be closed.
5. Village Inspection
A date was set for Thursday, 23rd April 2015 with councillors meeting at the village hall at 2.00pm.
6. Scrap Site – Fakenham/Bircham Roads
This had been discussed under Item 4 but it was agreed that another letter should be sent to Docking Parish Council, in whose area the scrap site fell, to ask them to speak to the owners about the state of the site.
7. Planning Matters
The clerk reported that an application for permitted development to a house in Station Road had been refused on the basis that it fell outside the range of permitted development.
The owners of Stanhoe Hall had appealed to the Borough against the refusal to allow retrospective permission for a bank of solar panels on their land. The parish council had originally objected and after some discussion it was agreed that no further comment needed to be sent to the Borough.
8. Stanhoe representative for the Jack’s Lane wind farm Community Benefit Fund committee
The chairman stated that, in his opinion, the representative should be a member of the parish council. He was already the representative for Stanhoe on the liaison group with RES, the energy company. After some discussion, it was proposed by DB that the chairman should also be the Stanhoe committee member for the Community Benefit Fund. This proposal was seconded by MR and JS and was unanimously agreed. Councillors expressed their sincere thanks to the chairman for all the work he did on their behalf.
9. Updates on the following:
- Wind Farm: All turbines now installed so a road closure will be in place soon to allow for clearance of all site construction equipment. The access lane will be re-instated to its original state by the energy company.
The Benefit Fund committee will be meeting in the near future. A number of villages would receive benefit but no amount had yet been set for Stanhoe. To date, suggestions for use of the fund in Stanhoe, included improvements to the village hall, the possibility of a ‘trod’ along Bircham Road and some tree planting to screen the turbines.
- Trees beside the pond: Following discussions at previous meetings, it has been established that none of the trees has a preservation order attached and there are no restrictions relating to what can be done to trees on Common Land. It is probably not possible for the parish council to pay for any pruning or removal but MR reported that the resident who initially raised the issue would be willing to pay costs.
- War Memorial Maintenance: The future maintenance of the War Memorial was considered and a separate cost item will be entered into the annual budget. The metal railing on one side of the Memorial had been knocked over slightly by a vehicle. TA had tried to rectify it but Mr. Punter would be asked if he could do more work on it.
- Plant trough at the village boundary: This requires a licence from the Highways Dept. which has been provisionally granted subject to them receiving dimensions of the intended trough and a photograph. These will be submitted in the near future.
10. Budget for 2015/16
A draft budget was circulated by the clerk with no increase on the precept of the current year’s figure of £6,500. In addition, there would be a £100 Central Government Council Tax Support Grant. Subject to the above mentioned war memorial maintenance being shown as a separate cost item, acceptance of the budget was proposed by RB, seconded by PA and unanimously agreed.
11. Financial Report and approval of payments
The clerk circulated Income and Expenditure reports, a Budget to date report and the most recent Bank Statements for the current financial year. No queries were raised. Payment was approved for the clerk’s salary and training course expense.
12. To receive items for the next Agenda
Items suggested for the Agenda of the next meeting scheduled for 12th March 2015 were as follows:
- Repairs to the shed adjacent to the village hall
- Wind Farm benefit fund
- Village inspection
- Potential new councillors
13. Planning suggestion at The Old Rectory, Church Lane
Having previously declared an interest in this item, MR and PR left the meeting before any discussion. MR and PR, the owners of The Old Rectory were investigating the possibility of building a new smaller house on the part of their land to the north of the existing house. The plan would be to move into the new house and then sell The Old Rectory with a new boundary line between the two properties. Stanhoe has been designated by the Borough as an area unsuitable for additional development and permission for new homes is usually on the basis of demolition of the old, however, councillors had no objection in principle to the building of a new additional property provided all the normal consultations took place upon submission of a planning application.
No other items were discussed and the meeting closed at 8. 50pm.