New from the Council (April 2013). Published in the Parishioner Magazine
Big Litter Pick. Spring? The Easter break? Good weather? At least we hope so. On Saturday 20th April Ditchingham is “doing its bit” by participating in the Big South Norfolk Litter Pick. By registering we have an opportunity to ‘win’ £250 to put towards our community, but that aside the real driver for this event is to improve local amenity. Please see the separate ‘advertisement’ in this magazine and the BIG posters located around the village; but in short we need you. We need about 30 volunteers. South Norfolk Council will provide hand-held litter pickers, hi-vis jackets, gloves and rubbish sacks so that volunteers can rid our local hedge rows and streets of litter. If you are interested in volunteering, either in picking litter or in general organisation, or simply want more information, please contact the Clerk John Smith on [email protected] or telephone: 01986 892235.
But please don’t just think ‘organised events.’ You will recall that last year we reminded residents that our focus should always be on general litter and tidiness in the streets, in the hedge-rows, and in garden (not big stuff, but general rubbish.) So if you see it, then please bin it! And also, as the weather warms up, if you have a hedge or verge that is ‘over-growing’ please think about foot path users and give it a trim or tidy too.
Highways and Footpaths. We all know that the winter weather will likely have taken its toll on roads and footpaths. Both Norfolk County Council and South Norfolk Council will be implementing planned maintenance programmes, but we can all help in respect of unplanned maintenance. If you are aware of a pothole, or other dangerous surface or kerb, through either winter weather or vehicle or other accident damage please report this to the Clerk (details as above). Alternatively, you can visit https://online.norfolk.gov.uk/highways/ and use the report form.
Grit Bins. On the theme of winter weather, the severity of the cold snap prompted some residents to write to the Council requesting that additional ‘grit bins’ are installed. Whilst acknowledging the potential benefit of more grit bins the Council has only limited resources and is unable to fund such requests directly. Ultimately the budget for these amenities is funded through the Precept, which is included in the Council tax and, whether for grit bins, or similar amenities,the Council evaluates such requests against its resources and budgets policy in order to prioritise demand on budget resources.
Strategic planning. What is that? Big words? Perhaps. That said, and noting the comments above, the Council, just like a domestic household must plan its activities and expenditure against its available resources. Last month you will have read that we set the precept (our income) necessary to maintain our budget for the new financial year (1st April 2013 – 31st March 2014). This budget is largely already committed on maintaining the status quo. Costs include the Clerk’s employment, grass cutting and maintenance in the recreation areas, burial grounds and other green spaces, and general administration expenses). Only a very small element is currently available for new projects; priorities for the coming year however will be discussed and agreed by our Finances and Resources Advisory Committee over the next few weeks.
Special Meeting. While the Council normally meets every second month, sometimes decisions must be made between scheduled meetings. This was the situation when, on 4th March the Council held a special meeting to confirm the location, funding and contractor for the Youth Shelter (stage 2 of the Dip project), and also confirmed the funding arrangements and contractor (subject to 3rd Party grant funding being agreed) for the Thwaite Road Play Area project. Full (draft) minutes available at the post office.
Advertising on the roundabouts. Some of you may have read an update in the EDP (8th March 2013) that Norfolk County Council’s attempt to install advertising boards on the county’s roundabouts has now been tested and met with refusal of planning permission by the County’s District Councils. This is consistent with your Parish Council’s policy.
The Council meets every two months – the next meeting is 20th May 19:30 in the Village Hall. It is your Council. Please come to the meetings; be part of the future.
Chair, Ditchingham Parish Council