Stanhoe Parish Council

Minutes of Parish Council Meeting

Held on Thursday, 14th January 2016 at 7.00pm
in the village Reading Room

Clerk to the Council – , tel 01485 518409


Mr. T. Austin (TA)
Mr. D. Bridge (DB)
Miss R. Brown (RB)
Mr. M. Roche (MR)
Mr. A. Upton (AU)


Mr. D. Lord (DL)
Mrs. J. Lord (JL)

Four members of the public from the village of Sedgeford were present in connection with Item 6 on the Agenda.

1. To consider apologies for absence

Apologies were received and accepted from DL and JL.

2. To consider approval of the Minutes from the meeting of 12th November 2015

It was agreed that discussion of this item should be postponed until the end of the meeting.

3. To record declarations of interest from members in any item to be discussed

No declarations were made.

4. To adjourn meeting to allow for public participation

Representatives from Sedgeford, including local businessmen and a retired GP, thanked Councillors for the opportunity to speak in regard to Item 6 – ‘Proposed Poultry Farm at Sedgeford’. All were against the proposal which would provide only one job for a local person and absolutely no economic benefit to the area.

This would be a highly industrialised development of 4 sheds with a turnover of 1.2–1.5 million birds based on a 7-week cycle. The only developments of this kind currently in existence are in South Norfolk in the vicinity of the necessary abattoir used for processing the poultry.

The proposed sheds would be situated only one mile from the North West & North Norfolk ‘Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’ (AONB) and would be clearly seen from Peddars Way coastal path (only 800 metres away) and other nearby tourist sites.

The poultry sheds would cause a serious increase in HGV traffic on the narrow B1454 at the beginning and end of each cycle and also a potentially harmful level of pollution from dust particles and release of ammonia during weekly cleaning procedures. This would have a greater effect on the elderly and young and those with respiratory infections. HGV vehicles carrying live poultry would pass close by a number of primary schools.

The Sedgeford representatives felt that approval of this proposed development might set a precedent for future industrialisation of the area which would have disastrous effect on tourism and associated businesses which were of major financial importance in the area. They asked Stanhoe Parish Council to support them in objecting to the development when the planning application came to be considered. They thanked Councillors for allowing them to attend and for listening to their comments. They then left the meeting.

5. SNAP Report

AU had attended a recent SNP meeting at which only anti-social behaviour in Snettisham, Dersingham and Heacham had been discussed. There had been no discussion on any items which could affect Stanhoe.

6. Proposed poultry farm at Sedgeford

Following the presentation given at Item 4, it was agreed that the proposed development was inappropriate and would bring no economic benefit to an area which was heavily reliant on tourism. Objections would be sent to the Borough Planning Department in due course.

7. Items tabled by AU

a) AU had investigated the possibility of setting up a Federation of Parishes within the North West Norfolk area and had received favourable replies from many parishes. It was suggested that the Federation would comprise one representative from each parish and would meet on an annual basis to discuss matters involving Borough and County Councils. The combined efforts of the Federation would lend weight to any dealings with those Councils. The formal rules and administrative arrangements would be set up at the first Federation meeting.

b) AU reported that at Heacham recycling centre, assistants had refused help to an elderly person despite assurances having been given by County Council that help should be given when necessary. TA reported that objections to the closure of Docking recycling centre from 1st January 2016 were still being submitted to the County Council and there was hope that the closure might be reconsidered.

c) AU had written to both the Borough Council and County Council highlighting the lack of services to rural parishes despite residents paying council tax on the same basis as those in large towns where many services and amenities existed. He still awaits replies to his correspondence.

d) This topic would be postponed to the next meeting as AU had not brought the photographs showing the matter to be discussed.

8. Proposed closure of Heacham Fire Station

The proposed closure would be as a result of County Council budget cuts. In addition, the number of fire tenders in Fakenham and other surrounding depots would be reduced resulting in a potentially longer response time to a major incident. Some councillors had submitted objections to the County Council proposed budget reductions for 2016/17 but it was suggested that a letter be sent to the County Council specifically in relation to the proposed changes to the fire service.

9. Updates on the following:

a) Repairs to the shed adjacent to the village hall. This was the responsibility of the MEHM Trust and the Trust chairman had sent a reminder to the person due to do carry out the repairs.

b) Geese on the pond. All 4 geese were still on the pond but no recent problems had been reported. Two geese are due to be removed to another location.

c) Planning Matters. The owners of Field House, Church Lane had received permission for the erection of an additional dwelling on the site. The owners of The Old Rectory, Church Lane had received outline planning permission for the erection of a new dwelling on an adjoining piece of land owned by them. An extension due to be built on to Petersfield, Cross Lane is within permitted development guidelines and does not require planning permission.

10. Review of external Audit Arrangements

Due to the abolition of the Audit Commission, the National Association of Local Councils (NALC) had raised concerns about the potential increased burden of work and costs placed on local councils. NALC has successfully persuaded Government to allow them to set up a Local Authority Sector Led Body which will appoint auditors for local councils. Using the appointed auditors is the default arrangement but all councils are free to opt out and appoint their own auditors. Under the default arrangement, small councils such as Stanhoe, would not incur any audit fees but if alternative auditors were appointed all normal audit fees would have to be paid from individual precepts. After a brief discussion, AU proposed acceptance of the default arrangement. This was seconded by DB and unanimously agreed.

11. Precept & Budget for 2016/17

The clerk presented a draft Budget for 2016/17 based on the existing precept of £6,500. Due to a slight reduction in the number of qualifying properties in Stanhoe this figure would equate to a contribution of £52.42 per household at Band D, an increase of 75p. on 2015/16. The contribution would be adjusted up or down for other council tax bands. DB proposed acceptance of the draft Budget which was seconded by MR and unanimously agreed.

12. Financial Reports & approval of payments

Up to date income & expenditure accounts, budget report and bank statements were circulated by the clerk. No queries were raised. Approval was sought and agreed for the payment of the clerk’s salary for the months of November & December and for PAYE tax deducted from salaries to be paid over to HMRC.

13. To receive items for the next Agenda – meeting scheduled for 10th March 2016

The following items were suggested:

  • Updates on shed repairs and geese on the pond
  • Federation of Parishes
  • Hedges on Docking Road
  • Broadband provision

The clerk reminded councillors that Agenda items could be submitted up to one week before a scheduled meeting.

Item 2 – Consideration of previous Minutes

Some objections were raised to the wording of Item 4 of the Minutes from 12th November 2015 which referred to Item 8 d) of that meeting’s Agenda. It was considered that trees and hedges on Station Road were no longer a topic for parish council discussion and suggested that the Item 4 report should be curtailed at the sentence ending with the words ‘…. . clear of footpaths and highways. ’… on line 9 of the paragraph. The remainder of the paragraph should be deleted. This suggestion was agreed and the Minutes of 12th November 2015 were amended accordingly.

No other items were discussed and the meeting closed at 8.55pm.