At the beginning of October, 2006, a joint meeting of PARISH COUNCIL’S was held at Welney. The meeting was called by Welney Parish Council so that neighbouring Councils could form a united front on matters that were of concern to all, without having to worry about county boundaries. Representatives from Welney, Denver, Christchurch and Manea attended the meeting. Items discussed were Highway issues, Planning matters, Quality Parishes, Community, Transport etc., and everyone agreed that themeeting had been a great success. Councils agreed to consider all the points relating to their own councils and then communicate with each other so that a joint approach could be made on specific items. It was unanimously agreed to hold meetings on a six monthly bais and to invite other neighbouring councils to join the group. If there are any councils who would be interested in joining the venture, please contact Welney Parish Cler – Mrs.Pat Copeman on 01354 610226 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org A second meeting was held on 28th March and the main item for discussion was the flooding of the Wash Road. The following Notice has been circulated to all councils, and we would be delighted to hear from as many people as possible along the lines set out in the notice Welney Wash Road Flooding – Have Your Say The winter of 2006/2007 has seen a prolonged period of flooding on the A1101 Welney Wash Road, rendering it impassable to traffic for weeks on end as water depth levels on the road reached over 30 inches. Whilst we appreciate that the Ouse Washes are designed to hold floodwater from the Great Ouse catchment area, Welney Parish Council believe the problem has been exacerbated by the failure of the Environment Agency to adequately maintain the Great Ouse river system, thereby allowing a build-up of silt to raise overall bed levels in the Hundred Foot and Great Ouse Rivers, whilst huge silt banks have been allowed to form at various key points. This has drastically affected the EA’s ability to discharge water from the Ouse Washes, leaving Welney and surrounding villages to bear the brunt of the consequences. The situation has so far attracted media interest from local newspapers, television and radio, and has also been raised in the House of Commons by local MP Christopher Fraser. A meeting has since been held by Mr Fraser at which Borough, District and Parish Councillors, plus three senior Environment Agency Executives, were present, and it is now our intention to gather as much support as possible for our campaign to have the situation resolved to the satisfaction of local residents. Therefore, following consultation with adjoining Parish Councils, Welney PC is asking anyone from the surrounding area who has been inconvenienced by the 96-day road closure to put pen to paper and let us know how you were affected. All the letters received will be passed to the local MP. Points you may wish to raise include: a. The effect due to lost trade on local businesses b. The additional fuel costs to motorists forced to take lengthy diversions c. The additional CO2 emissions created by motorists having to make longer trips d. The burden on emergency services called to rescue motorists trapped in floodwater e. Why the silt in the rivers has been allowed to rise to such high levels f. Why there has been no recent study into the idea of raising the A1101 Wash Road g. Why small, rural communities are so often ignored by central government h. How the 96-day closure of an ‘A’ class road can be considered acceptable The above points are merely for guidance. Whether you are someone whose business has suffered; whose route to work is affected; whose children are affected regarding getting to school; or whether your life has been affected in other ways, please write and let us know. The louder our voice, the greater our chance of seeing this wholly unacceptable situation resolved. Thank you for your time. Pat Copeman (Mrs) Clerk to Welney Parish Council 1 Chestnut Avenue, Welney, Wisbech, Cambs PE14 9RG. Tel: 01354 610226 e-mail: email@example.com
REPORT OF THE MEETING OF LOCAL PARISH COUNCILS
HELD AT THE PARISH HALL, WELNEY
ON TUESDAY 23RD FEBRUARY, 2010 AT 7.30 P.M.
Present: 5 Representatives from Littleport Parish Council
5 Representatives from Manea Parish Council
2 Representatives from Christchurch Parish Council
5 Representatives from Upwell Parish Council
2 Representatives from Nordelph Parish Council
1 Representative from Downham West Parish Council
6 Councillors and the Clerk from Welney Parish Council.
1. Welcome The Vice Chairman of Welney Parish Council (Cllr.T.Bennett) welcomed everyone to the meeting and thanked them all for attending.
2. Reasons for Holding the Meeting Cllr.Bennett explained that the reasons for holding the meeting were so that adjoining councils could share experiences on all matters affecting Parish Council work and hopefully work together in order to solve issues of importance to all. without worrying about cross county boundaries. He confirmed that the meeting would be kept as informal as possible and that a report would be circulated to all parties in due course.
3. Highway Issues
a. Flooding of the A.1101 Wash Road at Welney Cllr.Bennett explained to the meeting that over the last two years Welney had been working closely with all the bodies concerned with flooding of the Wash Road, and that a meeting had been held approximately two weeks ago with Environment Agency, Highways from Norfolk and Cambridgeshire County Councils, Borough Councillors, Police, M.P. for South West Norfolk, and the conservative party parliamentary candidate, together with members of Welney Parish Council. The meeting was successful and from recent conversations it is obvious that Norfolk County Council are beginning to see that the way the road closure is operated at the present time is not practical. He then went on to explain how the system operates via a trigger level and this trigger level is the main point that is not satisfactory. Currently a series of pictures are being taken along the causeway to work out the water level on the road at its deepest points, and the possibility of building up the lowest points to make the road level more even is also being considered. A great deal of consideration and costing is being given to changing the signage when the road is flooded. Dot matrix signs possibly on the A10 at Littleport, Lotts Bridge crossroads etc. are being considered. These signs would be able to give more information about water levels on the road in centimetres and inches andwould give drivers the opportunity to find alternative routes based on the information supplied. The DM signs would be updated continually from a sensor situated under the bridge at Welney. It was felt by everyone present that signs which give more information and much earlier warning can only be a vast improvement.
The following questions were then asked :
- Has the third sluice at Welmore Lake had much effect on the flow off from the Washes? It was confirmed that the answer to this is yes, but of course flow off can only be maintained when the river and tide levels allow.
- Is it correct by law that the road has to be left closed for a certain number of days after the water has gone? Whilst not being aware of the legal situation. if any, the meeting was advised that the Environment Agency carefully monitor the levels and issue advice to open the road as soon as the water has left the road surface.
- Is consideration being given to raising the low points on the highway to stop water lying for more time than necessary? Yes this point is being considered and costed and hopefully will be carried out.
- Are Police still issuing fixed penalty fines for traffic entering the Wash Road when the closed signs are in place? Both Cambridgeshire and Norfolk have confirmed that they have no intentions of pursuing motorists who enter the Wash Road when the road is flooded. The only times they would consider issuing such notices is if the driver was putting his life, the life of another motorist or the lives of the rescue services in danger, or was causing a general nuisance by his actions.
Further Notes about the operation of the Ouse Washes and especially the impact on the A1101 road closures, will be circulated in due course.
b. General Traffic and Road Conditions.
a. Nordelph Parish Council advised the meeting that NCC Highways had commenced work on Silt Road at Nordelph replacing curbs etc., and that the work would be operated with traffic lights and last approximately 5 weeks.
b. The meeting was aware of the serious state of most of the roads in the area, with potholes etc. following the bad winter weather. The meeting agreed that if more salt was used in the bad weather, this would help to prevent water freezing when it entered cracks in the road thus forming the potholes. The gritting programme in Norfolk had appeared to be reasonably comprehensive, but Littleport Parish Council confirmed that only A roads in Cambridgeshire were being gritted.
c. Speeding Traffic – The question of Community Speed Watch was raised and Upwell Parish Council (Cllr.Humm) confirmed that as the CSW had been working for some time in Upwell, he would be only too pleased to assist anyone wishing to set up a scheme in their Parish. Cllr.Allen confirmed that he had recently taken on the job of setting up such a scheme in Welney, and both parties agreed to get together to push the scheme forward. Cllr.Humm gave brief details of how the scheme worked and the numbers of speeding motorists that had been recorded.
4. Planning Issues There was a general discussion regarding planning matters affecting all villages in both Cambridgeshire and Norfolk. Cllr.Bennett confirmed that at the present time Welney was only allowed infill development, and concern was expressed regarding the development at Tipps End, where land on the Cambridgeshire side of the road had been developed, but applications to develop land on the Norfolk side had been refused. This situation has now been altered following a change in Fenland District Council’s policy. The question of Site Specific recommendations was also discussed and whilst Upwell confirmed that they had put forward specific sites for consideration, Welney had opted out of doing so.
5. Rural Policing Discussion then took place regarding Neighbourhood Panels which are set up in certain parts of Cambridgeshire. Littleport Parish Council gave details of how the scheme operates and gave a contact at East Cambridgeshire District Council (Mr.Alan Williams) who would be able to assist with any enquiries. Details were also given of the Local Action Groups and Community Action Groups which had been set up in Norfolk and had been very successful in dealing with matters affecting the communities both in Downham Market itself and the surrounding villages.
6. Any Other Business
a. Illegal Hare Coursing – Cllr.Bennett asked the meeting if any other Parishes had been experiencing problems with illegal hare coursing. There was a problem within the Parish and the meeting was advised to let the Police know if any problems arise so that they can take immediate action. Cambridgeshire do have a dedicated team working to eradicate this problem.
b. Mains Sewage Installation – The meeting was advised that several residents of Welney had experienced severe problems with vibration to their properties since the installation of the sewage pipes for the new scheme. A formal complaint had been lodged against Anglian Water. Other parishes had not experienced such problems.
c. Community and Local Transport – A short discussion took place regarding rural bus services and train links etc. Manea Parish Council reported that they were trying to get the train company to provide a better service for trains to stop at Manea, rather than passengers having to travel to Littleport to catch the train to Cambridge. They confirmed that an area of land had been set aside for a car park, but at the present time there had been no further developments. Manea Parish Council asked if the Councils present would be prepared to send them a letter of support so that this could be passed to the train operator, and all present agreed.
d. Next Meeting – It was agreed that the next meeting would be held in approximately six months time and Manea Parish Council offered to host the evening. Suggested dates would be supplied in due course and then all Councils would be advised of the date and venue, and nearer the time of the meeting an Agenda could be provided.
There being no further business the Chair for the evening (Cllr.Bennett) thanked everyone for their attendance and their contributions and wished them a safe journey home. He declared the meeting closed at 9.05 p.m.
JOINT MEETING OF LOCAL PARISH COUNCILS
NOTES OF MEETING (HOSTED BY MANEA PARISH COUNCIL)
11 AUGUST 2010 – 7.00 pm
Present: (1) Councillors Archer, Mrs Desborough, Emery, Lockett and Risbridger plus Mr Jordan (Clerk) of Manea Parish Council;
(2) Councillor Sutton of Christchurch Parish Council;
(3) Councillor Brown of Littleport Parish Council;
(4) Councillor Pegg and Mrs Meyrick (Clerk) of Downham West Parish Council;
(5) Councillor Fox and Mrs Markwell (Clerk) of Downham Market Parish Council;
(6) Councillor Humm of Upwell Parish Council;
(7) Councillors Bennett and Brown of Welney Parish Council;
(8) Mrs Bodle, as an observer.
Apologies: (1) Councillors Buckton, Cole and Mrs Palmby of Manea Parish Council;
(2) Mr Cowell (Clerk) of Christchurch Parish Council;
(3) all members of Denver Parish Council;
(4) Mrs Clarke-Jones (Clerk) of Littleport Parish Council.
LC1/10 Welcome and introductions
Councillor Emery, the Chairman of Manea Parish Council, welcomed all attendees to the meeting and invited them to introduce themselves.
LC2/10 Notes of last meeting
The notes of the last meeting, hosted by Welney Parish Council on 23 February 2010 were agreed as an accurate record of the debate which took place.
LC3/10 Flooding at Welney Wash
Councillor Bennett of Welney Parish Council informed attendees of the latest position in relation to efforts to address the problems faced by the community on occasions when the A1101 Wash Road at Welney suffers from flooding.
Councillor Bennett stated that a meeting had taken place recently involving the Environment Agency and the Local Highway Authority; the meeting seemed very useful but the Parish Council has heard nothing from these agencies since that meeting. He informed attendees that the members of Welney Parish Council had taken a number of photographs showing the levels of the carriageway at various locations, for the purpose of assisting the deliberations of the statutory agencies in reaching a solution to the difficulties caused by the flooding of the A1101 at Welney.
Councillor Bennett stated that the Local Highway Authority accepts that the carriageway varies in level along its route and has given a commitment to seeking to deliver a solution to the problem. He stated also that the Local Highway Authority is looking to introduce an improved advance warning system when flooding occurs; this would operate in two stages – firstly, giving a warning but not closing the road; secondly, closure of the highway (possibly with the introduction of gates to prevent motorists crossing the flooded carriageway).
LC4/10 Effectiveness of liaison between Parish Councils and the District/Borough Councils
Attendees discussed their experiences in dealing with their respective Principal Authorities.
The members of Manea Parish Council expressed the view that their council suffers from a lack of support from Fenland District Council (FDC) generally; for example, FDC had allocated an officer from within its Corporate Management Team to act as liaison between FDC and Manea Parish Council but that officer, who had given a commitment to attend Parish Council meetings on a regular basis, had not made any contact with Manea Parish Council since attending its January 2010 meeting.
Councillor Sutton of Christchurch Parish Council expressed similar concerns regarding Fenland District Council, making the point that his council has waited eight weeks for a response from Fenland District Council and also that his council had, until very recently, been without a liaison officer from FDC. Councillor Sutton commented that the District and County Councillors who represent the Electoral Ward/Division which includes Christchurch attend Parish Council meetings on a regular basis. Councillor Archer, who is the District Ward Councillor for Manea as well as a member of the Parish Council, stated that the County Councillor who represents the Electoral Division which includes Manea had not been seen at a meeting of Manea Parish Council since January 2010.
Councillor Pegg of Downham West Parish Council informed attendees that it is necessary for Parish Councils within the Borough of Kings Lynn and West Norfolk to contact the Borough Council via the authority’s contact centre and that the Parish Council had made such contact on two occasions recently regarding a sewerage problem and received no subsequent response from officers on either occasion. Councillor Pegg mentioned further efforts undertaken to achieve a response and that no progress was made until contact was made by the Parish Council to the Chief Executive of the Borough Council of Kings Lynn and West Norfolk. Although the Chief Executive responded immediately to Downham West Parish Council, the promised contact from an officer of the Environmental Services Team is still awaited. It is understood that Swaffham Parish Council experiences similar difficulties in dealing with the contact centre at Breckland District Council.
Councillor Archer of Manea Parish Council made the point that Fenland District Councillors are encouraged to contact the district council via its Members’ Hotline, rather than making direct telephone contact with the relevant officers.
Councillor Pegg of Downham West Parish Council stated that the relevant Borough and County Councillors usually attend the meetings of his council. Councillor Fox of Downham Market Parish Council stated that the same situation applies at meetings of his council. In addition, his council has regular (every two months) liaison meetings with the Leader of Kings Lynn and West Norfolk Borough Council. Councillor Fox suggested that groups of local councils may wish to consider seeking to arrange joint liaison meetings with the Leader of their District/Borough Council.
Councillor Sutton of Christchurch Parish Council referred to the current three-tier working approach (led by Fenland District Council) to neighbourhood engagement across the district, expressing the opinion that the arrangements do not work. Councillor Archer of Manea Parish Council supported the views of Councillor Sutton and expressed the hope that the proposals for change to these arrangements – to a system similar to that which operates in East Cambridgeshire (as discussed at the last joint meeting of local councils) – would deliver a more effective means of community engagement.
Councillor Sutton queried how local councils would deliver against the “localism” agenda, e.g. making local planning decisions; Fenland District Council does not communicate effectively its expectations and plans.
LC5/10 Issues of mutual concern
Attendees discussed a number of issues of mutual concern, including:
Councillor Emery of Manea Parish Council referred to recent comments made by the Leader of Fenland District Council regarding a more flexible approach to development in rural areas but made the point that there had been no clarification as to what this means in reality to the Parish Council’s consideration, as a consultee, on planning applications submitted to the Local Planning Authority.
Councillor Sutton of Christchurch Parish Council informed attendees that his Parish Council is seeking “enabling” planning in the village which would allow residential development that could deliver, via “planning gain”, a new village hall.
Councillor Pegg of Downham West Parish Council stated that his council has a regular dialogue with the Planning Department at Breckland Borough Council.
All attendees felt that local councils should be given a greater say in the way that Section 106 (of the Town and Country Planning Act) monies are spent in the community.
Attendees discussed the difficulties experienced across the country where development companies go into liquidation or receivership and leave developments incomplete, without footways, carriageways and open spaces being provided to adoptable standard. It was felt that Local Planning Authorities should implement policies to prevent such situations.
(2) Parish Councils Insurance
Councillor Sutton of Christchurch Parish Council recommended that local councils consider using Suffolk ACRE as their insurers; he stated that by using this company, his council had reduced its insurance costs considerably.
(3) Election costs
Councillor Sutton of Christchurch Parish Council referred to the costs incurred recently by Manea Parish Council to fill the vacancy on the Parish Council, as detailed within the Parish Council’s minutes, of the order of £2,600 in total. He expressed the view that the cost seemed excessive.
Mr Jordan, Clerk to Manea Parish Council, explained the breakdown of the charge levied by Fenland District Council and made the point that the cost of a by-election is generally greater than all-out elections undertaken in association with the District Council elections (every four years), where costs are shared.
It was noted that in West Norfolk, the Borough Council meets all the costs of all-out elections (every four years) but requires local councils to meet the cost of Parish Council by-elections.
There was then a brief general discussion on election costs and processes etc.
(4) Street Lighting
Councillor Sutton of Christchurch Parish Council suggested that local councils could reduce their expenditure by using local contractors, rather than the District and County Councils, to install new street lights and to repair existing lights. Councillor Sutton mentioned the contractor used by his council and suggested that it may be worth other local councils considering approaching that company to install and maintain the Parish Council’s Street lights.
LC6/10 Processes for recruitment interviews of local council staff
Councillor Sutton of Christchurch Parish Council sought attendees’ views on the stance that should be taken in dealing with a request from a candidate for a vacancy for a post with a local council for a change of interview date/time in the event of circumstances preventing the candidate’s attendance at the date/time set by the local council; in this context, he mentioned the recent case where a candidate had asked Elm Parish Council to change the date of her interview for the vacant post of Clerk to enable her to attend a family funeral but the Parish Council Chairman had refused the request. Councillor Sutton stated that he was disgusted with the action of Elm Parish Council; compassion should have been shown to the applicant and, consequently, the request agreed.
Attendees felt that their councils would have acceded to such a request. The point was made, however, that local councils tend, generally, not to plan for such eventualities.
LC7/10 Speed Watch initiative
Councillor Humm of Welney Parish Council informed attendees that he would be happy to share, at the next meeting, his experiences of how the Speed Watch initiative is operating in parts of West Norfolk.
LC8/10 Next meeting
Attendees accepted the invitation from Upwell Parish Council to host the next meeting, to take place in approximately six months time.
It was agreed that one of the items for the agenda would be to consider the future size of the group of local councils to be invited to participate in future joint meetings.
Meeting finished at 8.35 pm
JOINT MEETING OF LOCAL PARISH COUNCILS
NOTES OF MEETING (HOSTED BY CHRISTCHURCH PARISH COUNCIL)
18 APRIL 2011 – 7.30 pm
Present: (1) Councillors Sutton, Poole and Russell plus Mr Cowell (Clerk) of Christchurch Parish Council;
(2) Councillor Marshall of Nordelph Parish Council;
(3) Councillors Goodger and Bennett of Welney Parish Council.
Apologies: (1) all members of Manea Parish Council (who had a meeting);
(2) all members of Downham West Parish Council (who had a meeting);
(3) all members of Littleport Parish Council (who had a meeting);
(4) Mrs Bliss of Christchurch Parish Council (unwell)
(5) Councillor Fox of Downham Council (unwell)
LC1/11 Welcome and introductions
Councillor Sutton, the Chairman of Christchurch Parish Council, welcomed all attendees to the meeting and invited them to introduce themselves.
LC2/11 Notes of last meeting
The notes of the last meeting, hosted by Manea Parish Council on 11 August 2010 were agreed as an accurate record of the debate which took place. Councillor Sutton summarised what was discussed for those who did not have a copy of the minutes.
It was confirmed that at least one council has benefitted from the report, by Christchurch councillors, about seeking cheaper Insurance.
Savings have also been made in having Street Light repairs done by other than the District Authority.
LC3/11 Christchurch and Welney Sewage Scheme
It was explained that the new scheme which serves much of the Christchurch and Welney Parishes but is actually in Upwell Parish has had lorries going in and out much more frequently than residents were informed would be the case. There is some concern that it is not working correctly.
Councillor Goodger informed the meeting that the Welney Council and the Middle Level Drainage Board have written to the Water Authority for an explanation but he confirmed that no waste is being pumped into the drainage system. Unofficially he has been told that the lorries are taking away waste to be treated elsewhere as it is too high in contaminates to be pumped into the drainage system as planned.
Some subsidence has been reported in Welney due to drying out of the land and it is felt that some houses have been damaged as the pipe work under the roads is causing more vibration. Campaigners have had surveys undertaken by engineers and are preparing a claim for compensation.
Christchurch councillors reported that the scheme has been of great benefit to the village reducing flooding at many properties.
LC4/11 Proposed Incinerator at Kings Lynn
Councillor Bennett summarised the referendum regarding the proposed incinerator where on a 60% turnout 93% voted against it but it still seems to be going ahead even with the opposition of the Borough Council to the scheme.
In the discussion that followed it was made clear that residents entitled to vote were directly provided with information related to the cons of the proposal and just given the location of the pro information. However it was of concern that Councils across the county border in Cambridgeshire, like Christchurch have not been consulted even though they are quite close to the proposed site.
LC3/11 Future of these meetings
Attendees discussed the purpose of the meeting and the changes that had been suggested by Upwell Parish Council. Attendees felt it was unfortunate so many could not attend the meeting as it had been hastily arranged and as a result clashed with a number of other meetings, however, it was felt that the meetings are a useful informal way of exchanging good ideas and information. It was also felt that the original purpose of this group of councils to meet was that they all bordered the wash near Welney and had a common issue and that it was still worthwhile for this group to continue to meet. If expansion of the concept was felt beneficial as suggested by Upwell Parish Council then other meetings with adjoining Councils with a different group of councils could be called.
It was also felt that invites to the District and Borough Councils would be a good idea.
Councillor Marshall agreed that Nordelph could host the next meeting on a Wednesday in late August or early September.
Update on Flooding at Welney Wash
Councillor Bennett reported that some signs have been moved to provide earlier warning.
Work is to be undertaken to patch up the road and bring it all to a similar level.
Research is being undertaken into the trigger points for road closure and a two phase system is being considered with a Warning Phase and then a Closure Phase.
Work has been undertaken to improve the ditches in the wash to improve drainage.
State of the road through Tipp’s End
Councillor Goodger explained that even though properties on one side of the road were in Norfolk and those on the other side are in Cambridgeshire the road in maintained by Norfolk Highways. It is not in very good condition with road edge slippage on the Cambridgeshire side of the road. It was suggested that Christchurch might wish to discuss the issue with their Highways contacts to see if they can either help with repairs or put pressure on Norfolk to do so.
Funding for Community Buildings
Both Welney and Nordelph are looking to improve community buildings and wanted to discuss funding options. Christchurch, who are also looking for funding but are further down the line suggested the following options:
- The Big Lottery Fund is just opening again
- Recycling Schemes such as WREN have funding schemes
- Fens Adventurer
- Housing Organisations often have Community Funds
- Putting a notice of fund raising intentions in the local newsletter can be successful
Councillor Marshall explained that a Rights of Way bridge over a dyke has fallen into the dyke and was unsure of who should/might help with its reinstatement.
It was stated that the local drainage board would not object to its reinstatement but did not have funds to help but Nordelph should go to the County Rights of Way officer and ask for them to reinstate as it was felt that they have a duty to do so.
Meeting finished at 9:05 pm
NOTES OF THE MEETING OF ADJOINING PARISH COUNCILS HOSTED BY WELNEY
MONDAY 13TH FEBRUARY, 2012 AT 7.30 p.m.
1. Open the Meeting
The Chairman of Welney Parish Council (Cllr.K.Goodger) opened the meeting and thanked everyone for attending.
In attendance were: 6 Representatives from Manea Parish Council
1 Representative from Downham West Parish Council
2 Representatives from Christchurch Parish Council
1 Representative from Nordelph Parish Council
1 Representative from Littleport Parish Council
1 Representative from Emneth Parish Council
4 Representatives from Welney Parish Council.
and Welney Parish Council Clerk.
2. Apologies for Absence
Apologies were received from the Chairman of Downham West Parish Council, the Clerk of Littleport Parish Council and a Councillors from Christchurch Parish Council.
3. Wash Road
Cllr.Bennett from Welney confirmed to the meeting the current state of affairs relating to the Wash Road. He explained the originally Highways were going to look at levelling the road in certain areas. The survey work had been carried out, but they had come back to say that the edges of the road could not be raised as this would leave a large puddle in the middle, which would be more dangerous. Welney have now written again confirming exactly what is required in the strongest terms, and are waiting to receive a reply. The Environment Agency had confirmed that they would consider altering the trigger levels at which they issue notice to Highways to consider closing the road, once the road levelling work is carried out. New signage is also being considered – two stage system – firstly the sign showing water on the road, secondly road is unsafe – formal closure. There was a discussion regarding the wording of the signs and also the fact that Dot Matrix signs would be more useful, but these had been ruled out at present due to the cost of installation etc. It was unanimously agreed that the current system of highway workers opening and closing the existing signs does not work because some of them are left open long after they should be closed, and it was agreed that local persons living on the spot could be made responsible for opening and shutting the signs close to them. Littleport confirmed that they may have someone who would be willing to open and close the sign in that area, and it was confirmed that if councils knew of such persons, then the name should be passed to Cllr.Bennett so that the matter could be taken further with Highways.
4 & 5 Local Development Framework and Planning Matters with particular reference to the Environment Agency Flood Plan.
There was an informative and lively discussion regarding the Local Development Frameworks for Fenland, East Cambs and West Norfolk. The Chairman explained that West Norfolk had requested details of sites for possible development, and although some had been submitted by individuals, none of them had been accepted for inclusion in the plan. Indeed some of the undeveloped areas within the village which were included in the old VDA had now been removed and negotiations were taking place to at least get these areas reinstated. It was confirmed to the meeting that Fenland District Council were operating a completely different scheme which gives much more flexibility. There were no red lines drawn on their parish maps to indicate VDA but all applications were dealt with on their own merits.
With regard to flooding it was confirmed to the meeting that some of the local Drainage boards are looking to join up with the Environment Agency in order to operative a more effective and regular clean up of the Rivers. There is also an Environment Scheme being looked at for the Ouse Washes and information relating to this should be made available very soon. If the whole of the area is designated a Zone 3 Flood Area, then this will have an extremely detrimental effect on properties as Insurance premiums will triple – if indeed insurance can be obtained at all.
6. Localism Bill
There was then a discussion regarding the Localism Bill and how it could impact on villages and communities and in general it was felt that it could be a good idea, but everyone would have to wait and see what develops from the various proposals.
7. Proposed Power and Recycling Centre at The Willows, King’s Lynn
West Norfolk Parishes had all been notified of the proposal to build this facility at King’s Lynn despite the fact that a very large proportion of the residents had voted against it and there was a lengthy discussion regarding the pros and cons of such a construction, traffic management, waste management etc. The meeting was also advised that Norfolk County Council have now signed the contract with Cory Wheelabrator (the developers) and even if it is not built, then the County Council will have to pay Cory.Wheelabrator £20,000,000.
8. Volunteer Services to County Councils for Highway Work including cutting rights of way
All Councils confirmed that similar schemes had been proposed in their parishes where the Parish Council could volunteer services for certain work, in order to cut costs for the County Councils. Manea confirmed that they had volunteered to keep some of the footpaths clear during bad weather in and around the village. They had received the appropriate training, the equipment and clothing, and three bins had been supplied by their County Council which would be kept filled for bad weather use.
Littleport have two cemetery employees (one full time, one part time) and they carry out footpath work in and around the village during bad weather.
There was a general discussion regarding footpaths and rights of way and cutting grass areas in and around the village.
9. Any Other Business
a. Councils compared notes regarding precept requirements for the coming year.
b. There was also a discussion regarding the payments requested for the upkeep of the Upwell Health Centre car park.
c. Littleport confirmed that they would be willing to host a future meeting and contact would be made with the Clerk in due course.
There being no further business the Chairman thanked everyone for attending and for a very useful and informative meeting, and declared it closed at 9.03 p.m
Notes from a meeting of Adjoining Parishes held in The Barn, Littleport on Monday 3rd September 2012 at 7.30pm
1. PRESENT: Councillor D Gardiner (Chairman LPC), Councillor T Bennett (Welney PC), Councillor T J Lee (LPC), Councillor G Norman (LPC), Councillor S Emery (Manea PC), Councillor M Buckton (Manea PC), Counicllor D I Ambrose Smith (LPC) Councillor F J W Brown (LPC), Councillor B Hayes (LPC), Councillor J Elliot (Welney PC) Councillor V Pratley (Welney PC) and Councillor F J Brown (LPC)
2. APOLOGIES: Councillor D Boyd (LPC, Councillor C Ambrose Smith (LPC) Councillor V Padgett (LPC), Councillor K Goodger (Welney PC Chairman), Councillor P Lester (Chairman Upwell PC) and Councillor M Harwood (Chairman Nordelph PC)
3. WASH ROAD (WELNEY PC)
Councillor Bennett reported matters had not progressed with improvements to the Wash road. The EA were supportive and little response from Norfolk County Council. They had agreed to carry out a road survey of the low spots with patching. This has not happened.
A better warning system for the Wash Road closures was needed such as a dot matrix system. The flood trigger points could be raised; these are generated by calculations on flow levels from Offard Darcy. The flood gates at Earith are automatic.
Poor maintenance of the water courses and rivers has led to silting and other problems The RSPB is making a push for improvements.
It was agreed to pose a question to the EA asking when the river was last desilted and what the programme for future/regular maintenance was.
Councillor Norman asked if others were aware of the camber on the Suspension Bridge.
4. RIGHTS OF WAY:
Norfolk CC has disbanded it s Rights of Way team transferring two members to Highways. It is understood they will only carry out maintenance of twice yearly cuts on way marked routes and not other rights of way.
Road inspections will be carried out every five years in the county. Councillor Bennett will be attending his first meeting of the Norfolk Access Forum shortly. Short term savings by not cutting the paths could be outweighed if they reintroduce the management of rights of way. Community pay back could do the work on a voluntary basis
5. NEW COMMUNITY BUILDING FUNDING:
Welney PC has obtained planning permission for a new community building and asked for possible funding sources.
The following sources were suggested: Sport England, National Lottery, WREN, Local Waste Management, and Rural Norfolk.
Need to tick as many boxes as possible following on from the Olympics – promote it as a sporting venue carpet bowls badminton etc. to bring in lottery funding. Some funders like to see facilities for both young and old. Decide how the building is to be run – Parish Council support – incorporate it into the Parish Plan.
6. RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN LOCAL COUNCILS & PRINCIPAL COUNCILS:
The question was raised by Manea looking for the view of others.
It was noted CPALC held meetings four times a year with the County Council and no district input.
Chatteris and Manea have a Neighbourhood forum but are not happy when it is Police led.
7. LOCALISM ACT 2011:
Issues are over egged and Parish Councils are not always able to deliver. With the phasing out of Section 106 the New Homes Bonus will be paid to District Councils and only a percentage of the Community infrastructure levy will be paid to parishes. Some local parish have little prospect of benefitting from this his funding.
8. PLANNING POLICIES:
Manea is producing a community plan. Updated plans can be a blue print for the future. Fibre optic Broadband should be included as a priority to aid businesses and the community.
Some local areas have to rely on dongles for their broadband.
Recommended that Village Plans are reviewed annually.