DRAFT Minutes of Boughton Parish Council January 17th 2007 held in the church

Chair: Steve Saunders
Present: Paul Coulten (Parish Clerk and Treasurer) Councillors Mark Pogmore, Frank Reid, Steve Short, Pam Wakeling, Pam Watkinson

9 members of the public present in the church

1. No apologies
2. Minutes of the meeting from 25th October 2006 were read and agreed.

3. Matters Arising
Sewerage scheme:
The Clerk was asked if any news had been received re the commissioning date as several villagers were concerned. Nothing had been heard officially, but Frank Reid had been told it should be running from 1st February. Mark Pogmore commented on the amount of remedial work that was proving necessary. It was agreed that the Parish Clerk would contact Anglian Water to find out the current position of the scheme. He was also asked to investigate drainage problems in Stoke Road, and the request for a lateral at Hope House.

Pride of Norfolk:
No further news at the moment.

4. Chairman’s report:
Minutes of the extraordinary meeting held to discuss the trees on the Fen had been circulated. Two amendments were made, ( to add the names of Mr & Mrs Payne to those who had submitted written comments, and to correct the name of Mr Madgwick) and these minutes were accepted. As a result of the meeting the trees were to be taken out, and Malcolm Crook would be doing this shortly. Comments made re the amount of water currently on the Fen – the level was higher than it had been for some time.
The Chairman had nothing else to report.

5. Treasurer/ Parish Clerk:
a. Parish balances stand at £748 and £1667
b. There had been no planning applications since the last meeting.
c. The treasurer had prepared a budget for 2007/08

Expenditure (£)
Insurance 350.00
Mower fuel 120.00
Mower Service 50.00
RoSPA Inspection 70.00
Audit Commission 60.00
Churchyard (15 cuts) 570.00
Postage, Clerical 25.00

Precept 1095.00
English Nature 100.00
Gravel pit rental 50.00
1245.0 1245.00

Based on our tax base of 89, this equates to £12.30 for a Band D household. Contingencies, possible donations and fund raising not allowed for. NB (06/07) Wretton £23.88, Crimplesham £60.98, Wereham £18.21, Barton Bendish £39.33

Pam Watkinson stated that she was not happy with raising the precept, particularly for the upkeep of the churchyard, and that fundraising should be tried first. There is no fundraising event planned at the moment. The Chairman proposed the acceptance of the budget, seconded by Steve Short. The budget was agreed by a majority of 6-1, with Pam Watkinson voting against.

The Council accepted the request for £25 for postage charges incurred by the Parish Clerk.

6. Asset Register
This is required by the Audit Commission. The Clerk had prepared a list of assets owned by the Council:
a. Boughton Pond, surrounding Green Play Area and equipment: Beauchamp 4, two bay swing, springy, adventure trail, noticeboard, footpath sign
b. Strimmer
c. 2005 Sentinel Ride on Mower (on loan)
d. Gravel pit ( near Field Barn Farm)
e. Chalk pit ( whereabouts unknown)

A nominal value of £1 was assigned to the assets to comply with the rules. The Audit Commission had requested an explanation of why the reserves were more than double the precept. The Parish Clerk had replied that these were historic reserves and simply the result of good housekeeping in the past. A reserve of at least one year’s precept was required for contingencies, eg replacing the ride-on lawnmower if necessary. Frank Reid pointed out that the seats around the pond were in need of some repair, and it was agreed that he would do it together with Paul Coulten.

7. Hedging:
The council did not feel it was appropriate to send a letter of thanks to Albanwise farms for placing hedging right into the village. Some concerns were expressed about possible danger from the blocking of view on a dangerous bend.

8. Damage to the pond verge:
It was agreed that although some damage was being done by the school bus, it was safer for the children to be picked up at the current stop than elsewhere. More damage was done by refuse collectors.

9. The Fen:
a. Poplars: this had been covered in an earlier item
b. Beetpad: this referred to an area at the edge of the fen which rightly belonged to the parish. It had been used by the farmer but has since been reinstated. Ownership has been identified, and the parish would monitor the situation.
c. Scrub clearance on the fen: this had been arranged for Sunday 28th January starting at 9.30am from the fen. An email asking for confirmation of interest in helping had gone out to all those who had given their names to the Chairman. Some higher ground could be cleared in spite of flooding lower down.
d. Drain: Mark Pogmore had met with Martin Edmonds and Ian Levitt to inspect the drain. Work would be done in the spring to put in another gully just up from the current one in an endeavour to prevent the fen draining. Natural England may be monitoring the efforts of the county as they had put in funding. Further guidance on funding could be obtained by the Parish Council, such as from the RSPB.
e. Wood Drove: technically just outside the parish, but the Parish Clerk was concerned about the loss of an official footpath.

10. Minutes on CD/ Minute Books:
The minute books from 1894-2006 were being scanned and computerised by Kevin Fisher. This would enable the originals to be sent to the Norfolk Records Office. A vote of thanks was passed to Kevin Fisher, who also asked that Peter Agate be included as he was also working on the project.

11. Correspondence:
a. East of England development plan
b. Meeting of the CAB in Downham Market on 31st January
c. Norfolk Police re cut back in funds. Meeting to be held in Wymondham

12. Next meeting:
Date to be arranged.
It must be before the next elections which would take place on May 3rd. The Chairman would email BCKLWN for details of timetable, nominations etc. The AGM needs to be in May.
Pam Wakeling