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January 16, 2012

Nocton Parish Council Minutes - 06 December 2011

Minutes of the Meeting of Nocton Parish Council held on 6th December 2011

Chair: Councillor Kate Tyler
Vice-Chair: Councillor Ian Goldsworthy
Councillors: Neil Faulkner, Geoff Hall, David Rumbelow and MaryAnn Williams

In attendance:
Councillor Marianne Overton*
Councillors R. Kendrick and J. Money (NKDC)
Karen Bradford (Corporate Director - NKDC)*
David Welsh (English Heritage)*
PCSO Flannigan*
Doreen Green (Parish Clerk)
(* - present for part of the meeting only)

26 members of the public were also in attendance

1. Apologies for absence: Received from Councillor Peter Askew

2. Declaration of Prejudicial Interest in Accordance with the Ethical Code of Conduct: None declared.

3. Reports of Representatives

(a) Dog Warden

A written report from Michael Cummins had been lodged with the Clerk and would be circulated to councillors.

(b) Litter Collector

It was noted that a final time-sheet from Martin Sidney had been submitted to the Clerk.

(c) Police

PCSO Flannigan said that there had been only one reported crime since the last meeting, that of criminal damage to a building. He also took the opportunity to remind members of the public to take particular care to ensure that their homes were made secure over the Christmas and New Year period and not to leave Xmas presents in full view of windows.

(d) Village Hall Management Committee

Councillor Rumbelow said that there had been particular problems regarding the need to appoint a Designated Room Supervisor for the Social Club following the resignation of the former office-holder. This had resulted in the closure of the Club for four days.

(e) Parish Clerk

The Clerk reported that unfortunately, the traffic count through the village planned for the last week in November had been deferred because LCC considered that major road works elsewhere were likely to affect the situation and give a false measure of traffic volumes. It was hoped that the survey would now be carried out in early 2012 although concerns were expressed that the movement of lorries in particular will be far lower at this time.

Further to Minute No. 14(c) of the last meeting, the Clerk confirmed that a grant application for the provision of a Parish Council Notice Board and waste bin for The Green had been submitted to Councillor Overton.

It was noted that members of the Parish Council had met with representatives of the Village Hall Management Committee on 23rd November 2011 to consider a number of issues relating to the condition and management of the Village Hall (see Minute No. 15 below).

It was hoped that the changes to the street lighting in the village would be completed by the end of this week.

(f) CLAN

Councillor Faulkner summarized the decisions reached at the recent meeting of CLAN. In particular, it was noted that the "200 Club" had now been established with the first draw taking place in January 2012 and that the proposed submission of an application to "Village SOS" would no longer be made, with other options being considered.

4. Public Questions

It was noted that no prior notice of questions of the Parish Council had been received. However, the Chair allowed questions relating to (i) The Beck; (ii) overgrown trees along Wellhead Lane by the railway bridge and beyond towards the junction with the B1188; and (iii) the condition of the boundary wall between Manor House and the public footpath.

The Clerk and Vice-chair confirmed that they had each raised the matter of The Beck with NKDC and had been assured that funding had been secured to ensure that it would be subject to a full clean, etc in the near future. The Clerk had also spoken to LCC Highways' officers about the over-hanging trees on Wellhead Lane and they had agreed to investigate and carry out any necessary remedial work. Should it appear that some of the trees are not the responsibility of LCC, then the Clerk will raise the matter with the relevant owner(s). Finally, the Chair said that she would speak to the owners of the Manor House regarding the boundary wall.

5. Minutes

The minutes of the Parish Council Meeting held on 1st November 2011, having previously been circulated, were agreed as a correct record of the proceedings and signed by the Chair.

6. Nocton Village Archive

The Parish Council formally accepted the gift of Sheila Redshaw's extensive and comprehensive archive of Nocton and to the temporary storage of the documents (which were currently being catalogued by Councillor Geoff Hall) at the home of the Vice-chair.

Once more permanent arrangements could be made, it was agreed that the availability of the archive for research and other purposes would be publicised more widely (e.g. to local schools and the County's Archive Service and a system developed for maintaining the collection. At Mrs Redshaw's request, the Parish Council agreed that should it no longer be in a position to maintain and keep the collection of material, it be passed to the local County archive Service.

Finally, and on behalf of the entire village, the Parish Council placed on record its sincere appreciation of Mrs Redshaw's kind and extremely generous gift and asked that the Clerk write an appropriate letter of appreciation to her.

7. Gritting Plan

The details of LCC's recently published Gritting Plan for 2011/12 were noted, including the fact that there were to be no changes to previous arrangements as they affect Nocton

The Chair drew attention to the guidance in the Plan for clearing snow and ice. In particular, she emphasised that there was no law preventing members of the public from clearing snow and ice from pavements outside their property, pathways to their property or public spaces. It was unlikely that in the event of an accident that they would be sued, provided that they had been careful and used their common sense to make sure that the pavement or pathway was not made more dangerous than before clearing took place.

8. Planning Applications and Issues

It was noted that approval had been given to:

(a) application no. 11/0754/FUL for a Natural Burial Ground, Nocton Fen Lane involving change of use for burials, creation of car parks and improved access, gates and fencing;
(b) the removal of a silver birch tree at Halls Yard House;
(c) the variation of the previously granted planning permission no. 11/0916/FUL
for Plot 35 on Nocton Park Road.

9. Financial Matters

(a) Payments Made

Details of the payments made since the last meeting were noted.

(b) Revenue Budget 2011/12

The proposed Revenue Budget for 2011/12 as detailed in the Vice-chair's report was agreed.

10. Nocton Hall - Options Appraisal

The Parish Council received a detailed presentation from Ms Karen Bradford (Corporate Director - NKDC) and Mr David Welsh (English Heritage) on the initial conclusions of the recently completed Options Appraisal. In so doing, however, it was emphasised that the entire process was at a very early stage and that more formal discussions would be needed with English Heritage and the land-owner before any conclusions as to the best way forward could be reached.

A copy of Ms Bradford's presentation is attached as an Appendix to these Minutes.

In summary, six possible options for the future of the Hall and its adjoining grounds ("Pleasure Gardens)" had been identified with estimated costs as follows:

1. Retention as a Historic Ruin (£932,000)
2. Full Restoration (£0.848 million)
3. Retention of the Main House as a Ruin and a full restoration of the Service Wing (including the "pleasure gardens") (£2.355 million)
4. Partial Demolition - option discounted as not being practicable or suitable)
5. Partial Demolition with the retention of the Service Wing and Basement only (£1.946 million)
6. Full Demolition (£327,000)

It was noted that the officers' initial preference was for Option 3 although further work was required before the District Council could formally consider the matter and agree a way forward.

Members of the Parish Council made a number of comments on the presentation, mainly in connection with the number and nature of, and access to, the houses which would need to be provided on the former hospital site to meet the costs associated with options (2) and (3).

It was noted that the Parish Council would remain in close contact with NKDC as the situation developed, but in the meantime, Ms Bradford asked the Parish Council to let NKDC have its formal response to these initial options. (NOTE: To assist councillors in formulating their response, it has since been agreed to devote part of the Parish Council meeting on 3rd January 2012 for the purpose of hearing residents' views and preferences on the future of the Hall).

11. Report of Councillor Marianne Overton (LCC).

(a) The policy for speed limits was under review by the County Council and it was hoped that this would result in a greater degree of flexibility for roads such as the B1188 where there were particular difficulties.
(b) A meeting with Highways officers to consider the junction of Wellhead Lane and the B1188 was to take place on 13th December at 2.00 p.m. and interested parish councillors were invited to attend.
(c) Although some £50 million had been made available by the Government for the construction of the Eastern By-pass, a similar amount would need to be found by LCC.
(d) The County's Core Strategy on Housing was due to be published shortly.
(e) A further Work Experience Scheme involving Councillor Overton was due to start in March 2012 and she invited applications from interested students.

12. Report of District Councillors

Councillor Money reported that Nocton was amongst those areas where larger green recycling bins were being made available to residents. He was pleased to report that the recent strike action by local government employees had had little or no effect on the refuse collection service.

13. Reports of Parish Councillors

The Vice-chair drew attention to the condition of the grassed area outside Nocton School which had been badly damaged as a result of the recent building work. The Clerk confirmed that now the work had been completed, the necessary reinstatement work would be carried out.

Councillor Williams reported that she had contacted British Sugar regarding the possibility of the company funding the Christmas Tree lights.

Councillor Rumbelow asked if the Parish Council would send letters to the owners/occupiers of properties where their boundary hedges/trees were overhanging the footpath, etc. The Clerk agreed to liaise with the Vice-chair regarding the preparation of an appropriate letter.

14. Date of Future Meetings

It was noted that future meetings of the Parish Council would be held on 3rd January, 7th February, 6th March and 3rd April 2012.