|Hoe and Worthing Parish Meeting
Draft Minutes of the AGM held on Wednesday, 15th October 2014.The chairman, Trevor Wood, opened the meeting by welcoming Chris Curtis, Breckland District Council’s Planning Enforcement Manager, who gave a very interesting outline of his role in the planning and development process:
The Enforcement Manager’s function is to investigate breeches of (or lack of) planning permission as part of development control. In legal terms, it is not actually an offence to do something without planning permission but becomes an offence if an enforcement notice is issued. Action is usually only taken if harm is taking place to the environment or building.
The 1990 Town and Country Planning Act is the main tool used in enforcement action. Complaints have to be received in writing and are then prioritised by level of harm caused. Complainant’s names are not disclosed unless ordered by a judge (which is very rare). Prioritised complaints are then followed up by a site visit within 10 days (sooner if urgent and will effect, for example, listed buildings or protected trees).
The substance of a complaint is a public document and the goal of the department is to soon have these documents automatically updated and electronically available to the public.
The Enforcement team also monitors major developments to ensure planning restrictions are followed.
They have the power of entry (but prefer to enter by agreement). They collect evidence and then seek advice from the planning officer. Action has to be deemed necessary in a democratic society (with reference to article 8 of the Human Rights Act). They can prosecute, have powers to take their own action or can enforce Court injunctions. All this can be very expensive and is public money so the much preferred course of action is to negotiate.
Trevor and all present, thanked Chris for his very informative talk and for giving up his time to attend the meeting.
Trevor Wood, Margaret Barrett, Celia Daniel, Bill Borrett, Josephine Lloyd, Dick Malt, Susan Malt, Ted Sansom, Val Knight, Jenni Thorneley, Senga Thomson, David Knight, Simon Brock, Jenny Tuckwell, John Tuckwell, Philip Barrett, Chris Danson, Danny Danson, Albert Stagles, Lynda Eaglesham, Adam Brown, Robert Richmond, Adrian Hodge, Susan Brock, Alan Hughes and Roger Thorneley.
Apologies where received from Ernie Lloyd, Phillip Strolger, Lynne Hodge and Richard and Angela Eglington.
The minutes of the previous meeting of 16th October 2013 were proposed by Susan Brock as a true record, seconded by Senga Thomson and unanimously agreed by the meeting.
3. Matters Arising
It was decided that these would be covered in the Chairman’s report.
4. Treasurer’s Report and Precept
The Treasurer, Margaret Barrett presented her report (copy attached).
Margaret highlighted that, because of the large income from the grant, the accountant’s auditing bill had risen dramatically. They also recommended that the accounts should maintain a reserve appropriate for our liabilities.
Once all cheques have cleared, the balance as of today will be £1911.37. The projected expenses include a guestimate of £130 for electricity, £325 for each of the churches and £50 each for the three charities. £91.20 was allowed for the unpaid disputed electricity bill. Once all these expenses are taken into account, this will leave a surplus of around £890.
Danny Danson pointed out that there could be further unknown income from the village hall hire but at the moment it was impossible to predict what that would be.
Roger Thornely thought that the balance was quite tight and so we should look at raising the precept.
Susan Brock asked whether we should look at some of the outgoings and questioned whether it was necessary to spend so much on the churches and charities. Should more of the money be made more available directly to the two communities?
John Tuckwell felt that the churches were an important part of the community.
It was noted that the local bottle bank added some income and this could now be at risk since glass can now be put into the black wheelie bin. Bill Borrett indicated that Breckland were still providing parishes with money for glass collected from bottle banks and had agreed to do that for at least the next six months. Trevor undertook to make everybody aware that they should continue to use the bottle bank at Corners.
Trevor said that he had received a request for £400 for funding the Worthing Village sign repair. If the meeting approved that and proposed the same grants as before that would leave a balance of £350 until the end of March.
Adrian Hodge explained that the sign is currently in storage waiting for a new replacement fibreglass backing relief to be made. A local firm has been found to make the part at cost for £800. Worthing village propose to fund raise £400 and requested that the precept financed the remaining £400.
John Tuckwell pointed out that this request was considerably less than the previous request at the last meeting so proposed that the parishes financed the £400. This was seconded by Margaret Barrett and voted 20 for and 1 against and so was carried.
There then followed considerable discussion about what level to set the Precept at if outgoings the same to the churches and charities as well as the additional £400 request and maintaining sufficient reserves for such expenses as insurance claims after Danny Danson had pointed out our existing policy included a £500 excess.
Adrian Hodge proposed that the grants made currently should remain the same for another year. This was seconded by Dick Malt and agreed by the meeting. The grants are made under the provisions of s.137 Local Government Act 1972.
A final 5.8% rise of £100 was proposed by Bill Borrett which was seconded by John Tuckwell. This was passed by a vote of 17 for and 6 against.
5. Chairman’s Report
The Parish Meeting Room is now up and running and available for hire. The Management Committee is also up and running. Trevor thanked Simon Brock very much for all his efforts in single handedly levelling and grassing down the outside area. Also thanks, to James Keith for supplying the top soil and grass seed. He also thanked Roger Thornely very much for his efforts in looking into and getting costings for establishing a boules court as part of the site refurbishment although it was subsequently decided by the management committee not to pursue that project.
It was suggested that it may be worth selling the snooker table that is now unused and taking up a lot of room. Dick Malt confirmed that that it was past its best and took a lot of time to set up. Trevor proposed that it was sold which was seconded by Margaret Barrett and the motion was carried.
Trevor reported that things are reasonably quiet on the planning front. The proposed planning application for the 180 acre site on the Billingford/Worthing border was refused. This was undoubtedly as a result of all the huge efforts put in by local people in opposing the development. Two appeals were heard at the site and quite incredibly not only were they both refused, but the decision was made in the fastest time known. It arrived just before the application hearing and forced Breckland to agree with the local opposition. Trevor said that a considerable amount of thanks is owed to George Freeman for his efforts in opposing the appeal. Roger Thornely particularly wished to thank Bill Borrett, Robert Richmond and Trevor for all their efforts.
Trevor informed the meeting that the Local Plan is proceeding well and a public consultation will open for 8 weeks from mid November. There will be open events and reports and Trevor would try and keep the parishes updated. If anyone has land that they think may be suitable for development, then they can put this forward via the Breckland website.
Trevor has been working on the problems with the post that has particularly affected some of the households in Hall Road, Hoe. The whole problem seems to have grown out of all proportion and has involved the suggestion of changing roads names. Trevor has been frustrated about the very slow progress at Breckland and has tried to get them to write to affected residents to update them but so far to no avail. He invited anybody with concerns to contact him.
6. Any Other Business
Trevor asked if there were any questions for the two councillors; Bill Borrett and Robert Richmond.
Dick Malt asked for an update on broadband improvement.
Bill Borrett stated that £1,000,000 had been provided by Breckland District Council to help kick start the whole project. Unfortunately the parishes are on the end of the line from the exchanges and so progress is likely to be slow. However broadband speeds should be increased significantly by the end of the next couple of years.
Roger Thornely asked if there is anything that can be done to prevent Basil Todd illegally using his barn for a party. Bill Borrett informed him that enforcement officers would not have the powers to do anything and that it was more of a police issue for unlawful gatherings.
Bill Borrett proposed a vote of thanks to all the hard work for the meeting carried out by Trevor Wood, Margaret Barrett and Simon Brock.
7. Date of the next meeting (AGM), as announced in the agenda document, is 13th May 2015.