DRAFT Minutes of Boughton Parish Council Wednesday October 25th 2006

Present: Steve Saunders (Chairman) Paul Coulten (Parish Clerk and Treasurer) Councillors Mark Pogmore, Frank Reid, Pam Watkinson, Pam Wakeling Also present Borough Councillor Trevor Manley 18 members of the public attended. (not sure of this number) Minutes of the meeting of 23 August 2006 were read, and amended in the paragraph re grass cutting. The amended version was accepted.

Matters Arising : The pond had been visited by a representative of the Environment Agency, and pronounced to be in good condition. Council workmen had cleared out drains at Cavenham Corner and Mill Hill Road, and there appeared to be significant improvement, but where there were no drains it was not possible to prevent flooding after heavy rain.

Treasurer’s Report: The Treasurer reported that balances of £1659 and £ 977 were held in two accounts, but a cheque for £114.56 needed to be deducted. This was payment for three cuts of the churchyard. Donations totalling £255 had been received so far from people in the village and thanks were noted.

Parish Clerk: No planning applications had been received, and there was no further news on the application to build behind Highfields.

Grass Cutting in the Churchyard: The churchwardens expressed satisfaction with the work carried out on the churchyard, which is in a better condition than it has been for some time. The chairman proposed that the contractor be employed for next year. Comment: There had been a volunteer who would do the work. Could the council commit the new council to be elected next year to payment via the precept? Reliance on volunteers had proved to be fragile, because of the problem with strimming round the graves, and using the precept to spread the responsibility across the whole village would be the best way. £534 for 14 cuts would work out at about £6 per household per annum on the precept. The total spending on necessities would need to be available to the Council when the precept was set. Councillor Manley could see no problem with discussing next year’s precept, which would give the funds to the new council to carry out the work. Proposed from the chair that the cost of cutting the churchyard grass be added to next year’s precept. Carried 4 votes for, with 2 abstentions.

Correspondence: 1. from Norfolk Rural Community Council asking us to draw up a Parish Plan 2. BTCV West Norfolk Project offering training, at a price 3. English Nature notifying us of the change of name to Natural England 4. West Norfolk Home Watch Road Show November 21st 5. Local Development Framework – core strategy - planning

Footpaths: The path from Cavenham Corner to Church Lane had been repaired by the Borough Council, with new chicanes and a gate. It was now in good condition, but was not suitable for wheelchairs. The Borough Council had been asked to provide a sign on the footpath from Mill Hill Road to Wereham as the path was not clear across the field. The mapboard showing village paths would be erected shortly, next to the village noticeboard on The Green.

Sewerage: The Clerk had received notice from Anglian Water that the system would be tested at the end of November, and that it was expected to begin individual connections from January 2007, after some upgrading work had been done at Stoke Ferry. Individual households would be notified.

Pride of Norfolk Awards: Kevin Fisher asked for the Parish Council’s support for Boughton to be entered into this scheme, which was concerned with community spirit. He was prepared to write the necessary submission. The Parish Council agreed to support the proposal.

Publication of Minutes: It was agreed that the draft minutes of Parish Council meetings could be published on the Group 4 News website.

Boughton Fen: Ian Levitt from Natural England, was welcomed at the meeting, and reported on the current situation. The fen had been in decline for some time. The primary cause was the failure of the drain installed by the Highways department, with further problems caused by the poplar trees which absorbed a large amount of water. The trees on one side of Oxborough Road had been removed by the landowner. It was agreed to consider the removal of the trees on Parish Council land over the course of the winter, after the repair of the drain. Contrary to popular opinion there had not been a significantly lower rate of rainfall over the last few months. Natural England, having recently been formed, had no available money for works on the fen. The proposed series of dipwells to study the workings of the fen had not been installed by the Environment Agency. It would be helpful if volunteers from the village could clear some of the scrub which was regrowing because of poor clearance measures in earlier years. Comment: Rev. Robin Blackall – the fen existed in a wider area, which also needed to be taken into account. A partnership with other bodies, eg drainage bodies was necessary, because the water was also extracted outside PC land. The responsibility lay with Natural England to maintain and restore the site. The trees could be replaced by another more suitable species. Michael Payne – no one was prepared to do anything until the completion of a hydrological survey. To do otherwise might do more harm than good. The poplar trees were sending out suckers, and one was showing signs of rot. Ian Levitt agreed to put pressure on the Environment Agency re the dipwells, A water management plan, produced 2-3 years ago, listed the necessary actions. It was agreed by the Parish Council to ask the whole village about the felling of the poplar trees, and the chairman would produce an explanatory leaflet about the problem. There would also be a working party on a date to be arranged to clear some of the overgrown areas. The meeting closed at 8pm