Little Melton Parish Council

Little Melton Parish Council - Chair's Report 2010

1.       Elections

1.1.    I was re elected Chairman and Stewart Cable was re elected Vice-Chairman at the Annual Parish Council meeting on 12th May 2008

2.       PC Meetings

2.1.    I would like to thank all PC members for their hard work.   I would like to thank  District Councillors Gary Wheatley and Christopher Kemp  for their attendance and support.  I would especially like to thank the PC clerk Richard Sinclair and Vice Chair Stewart Cable for their commitment and service to the village.

3.       Planning and development

3.1.    The PC objected to plans to create a commercial area at Villa farm on the grounds that are more suitable locations exist at the  NRP, Longwater and Wymondham, where proper public transport can be provided.
The PC is closely monitoring proposals (put forward in March 2010) to develop 4000 houses at Hethersett

3.2.    Greater Norwich Development Partnership.  Little has happened in the past year, the GNDP plan may be finalized during 2010.  The current proposal is for 1000 houses in Hethersett, which will still increase the size of Hethersett by 40% and combined with new houses at Wymondham, Cringleford and Eaton is likely to have traffic consequences for LM.   This has led the PC to campaign for a Cycle Path.   The PC notes that there are still 1800 homes to be allocated to ‘smaller sites’ in the relatively small part of South Norfolk that is considered to be part of the Norwich Development Area –it is almost certain that some of these will be in LM.

3.3.    Cycle Path Campaign.  In order to mitigate the effect of increased commuter traffic from nearby housing development and in response to requests to make it safer for children to cycle to school, the PC is campaigning for better cycling facilities between the NRP, LM and Hethersett.   A publicity event in December was attended by MP Richard Bacon,  leader of NCC Daniel Cox and was covered on National Television and local radio and press.   The campaign is currently focussed on getting the cycle path into Travel Plans put forward by schools and other bodies.   A committee of 10 volunteers is working closely with all local schools.

3.4.    Local Government Reorganisation.   The PC  consider the Minister’s decision to ignore the expensive study conducted by the Boundary Committee and to create a unitary Norwich on the present city boundary to be a poor decision that will not lead to more efficient local government.

4.       Highways

4.1.    Mill Road Footway Extension. The metalled footway (north side of the highway) from Homefield and Ancarva to the corner of Mill Road adjacent to the playing field was completed in mid 2009 with the funding for this project coming from the Safer Journeys to Schools Initiative.   Problems with cars parking on the new pavement have largely been resolved.

4.2.    Flooding caused major problems on Mill Rd during February and the Chair has made many calls to officials at Highways and South Norfolk.   Emergency measures were taken and the flooding diminished.  SNC will be writing to owners of properties with relevant ditches and pipes and will  point out that they have  a duty to maintain a clear flow of water.  Highways will do a camera survey  to establish location of blockages in the pipe along GM road, once the pipe is dry.

5.       Village Amenities

5.1.    Village Hall.   The last pair of timber doors was replaced with UPVC doors.   The fire officer requested some repairs inside the hall and a revue of management procedures which has now been completed.

5.2.    Playing Field    The PC is pleased to see  Hethersett Athletic FC adult and youth teams making regular use of the pitch.   This will continue for the 2010/2011 season and a program of improvements is being considered.

5.3.    Children’s Play Area.  A third of the mats and the rope bridge have been replaced.   PC volunteers have conducted minor maintenance to deal with other matters raised by the annual inspection.

5.4.    Tennis court.  Continues to be well used and is a much appreciated local facility

5.5.    Dog Waste bins.  The three bins continue to be well used but some dog owners are leaving excrement in bags in hedges or not picking it up at all.

5.6.    BT Telephone. BT at first said that the box was going to be removed as it was only used seven times in the year, but nothing has happened and the box is now very dirty and has graffiti.   The PC has asked BT to either remove the box or to clean it regularly.  

5.7.    Bus Service.  The No 9 bus service continues to serve the village.

5.8.    Recycling.  A bottle bank and textile bank is located in the Village Inn car park.  Some problems have been caused by the dumping of other rubbish at the site.

5.9.    Litter Pick.   Around 10 volunteers have conducted a litter pick in March and September.

5.10.     Trees.   About £1500 was spent in December to make safe the trees in the Village Hall/Playing Field area.   The trees will now be inspected every three years.

5.11.     Pavements.  Letters requesting action have been derived to a small number of householders whose hedges are obstructing the footpath.   If no action is taken then South Norfolk can remedy the problem and recover costs from the householder.

6.       Community

6.1.    Vacancies exist for

6.1.1.  Local Community Emergency Co-Ordinator

6.1.2. representative on Hethersett & Meltons Road Safety Committee

6.1.3. Speedwatch scheme – Unfortunately, despite considerable local publicity, not a single volunteer has put his/her name forward to be trained to carry out speed monitoring within the community (ideally 4-6 volunteers are required from each parish)

6.2.    PCSO Timothy Philpott has reported few problems – an occasional theft from cars.

6.3.    LM School.  I have continued to attend the School Council in my capacity as PC chair and am impressed by the interest shown by the children in Village affairs.   Several of the children made inspired appearances on BBC Newsround as part of the Cycle Path campaign.

6.4.    The Chair and the Clerk have attended meetings of the South Norfolk Action Plan (SNAP) and the Norfolk Association of Local Councils.

7.       Communication

7.1.    Magazines  Monthly submissions are made to and included in the Good News Magazine, which serves the parishes of Hethersett, Little Melton and Great Melton, and Stewart Cable very kindly continues to edit and pull together the Parish Council’s quarterly magazine which is delivered to every house in our village – the next edition will be published for the beginning of April and cover the period through to June.

7.2.    Website.  The Chairman has kept the website up to date with PC meeting minutes.

8.       Noticeboards.  The PC is still awaiting information as to the future of the telephone kiosk near the crossroads. Should this be removed then the PC would replace and relocate the parish N/B from at the front of Sue Head’s property to where the telephone kiosk was. 

9.       Finanancial.

9.1.    Audit including internal verification.   As required the PC has undertaken regular internal verification checks on all of it’s financial transactions and the PC are very grateful to Duncan Frazer for undertaking this role and in addition the PC arranged for an independent Internal Audit to be undertaken by Sue Day.  The External Auditor found no problems with the audit of the PC’s Accounts.

9.2.    The Parish Council sought and has received a parish precept of £19767 for the financial year 2010/2011.  This is a substantial increase on the previous year and is mainly to provide for the long term maintenance of the car park, tennis court and play area.

9.3.    Churchyard Maintenance.  For 2009 the PC authorised and paid a grant in the sum of £1,480

9.4.    Risk Assessment.   The PC has begun to develop a more robust risk assessment to cover assets that the PC is responsible for.