Minutes of the meeting of the WICKHAM MARKET PARISH COUNCIL held on Monday 15 September 2008 at 7.30pm
PRESENT: Mr M Argent (Chairman), Mrs G Plater (Vice Chairman), Mrs P Bell, Miss P Johnson, Mr M Manning, Miss V Pizzey, Mr M Roseveare, Mr P Ridd, Mr C Tucker
Also present: Mrs C Aitchison (County Councillor) and Mr B Hall (District Councillor)
The Chairman introduced Mr Alan Biddle who had been appointed Clerk to the Parish Council from 1 September 2008. The Parish Council welcomed him to the role.
There were no declarations of interest.
5.1 Pill Box on Simons Cross - it was reported that progress was slow but an offer had been received to fit the door once it had been made.
5.2 Deben Court - there was no further information
5.3 Parish Council of the Year - the Parish Council was delighted to be informed that it had won the County's Parish Council of the Year 2008 title.
The Parish Council considered the proposals of the Boundary Committee to review the state of local government in Suffolk and introduce unitary authorities. The Council also had for its information letters from SUFFOLK TOGETHER, the Suffolk Preservation Society and a leaflet from Suffolk Coastal District Council.
The Parish Council felt that whilst there was a great deal of information about the various options and the implications for the council tax payer, it was still difficult to relate these implications to the day to day working of a rural parish.
However having discussed the matter it felt that the most sensible option for Suffolk was to have one unitary authority for the whole of Suffolk. This it felt was the option most likely to result in tangible cost savings and a greater degree of certainty on the part of the public about which authority was responsible for which service.
This option would also mean that small rural parishes would not lose out to larger towns within the District.
This option was agreed upon on the assumption that there would be area offices and committees and that parish councils would be given the opportunity of increasing their areas of responsibility if they so wished.
The Parish Council was unanimous in condemning the very short period for consultation on this issue.
It was agreed that a response to the Boundary Committee should be sent in the terms outlined above.
The Parish Council was advised of a letter from Suffolk Coastal District Council on the implementation of charges on the Wickham Market car parks.
The letter tried to answer some of the points made but the District Council did offer to designate 11 spaces in the Crafers car park as free for the first 30 minutes. The District Council had also offered to meet representatives of the Parish Council on 30 September 2008 to discuss the whole issue of charges.
The Parish Council felt that the letter was not helpful but it would accept the offer of a meeting on 30 September.
It wanted to see 30 minutes free waiting on the Hill car park instead of 15 minutes and the starting time for charges being set back until 9am.
It was agreed that the meeting should make it clear that any acceptance of the current situation is only a short term expedient. Evidence would continue to be obtained from the commercial sector in Wickham Market to see what effect charging was having on the trading situation. Further pressure would be brought to bear on the District Council if the evidence showed that these charges were strangling the economic well being of the village.
Apologies were received from the police representative for this meeting.
The Chairman reported a meeting of the Level 1 Community Engagement, part of Wickham Market Rural Safe Neighbourhood Team (SNT).
It appeared that in the future the Wickham Market SNT would merge with the Woodbridge/Melton SNT.
Mr Hoe reported further on this and felt that the idea of the new set up was to get dedicated officers who would remain with the SNT and not be moved to other duties. It might also lead to increased police cover on a village basis.
The Chairman went on to present the police report which included 3 crimes in the area in the last 2 months and gave information on alarms, theft from cars and gardens and the theft of heating oil. The report also gave information on stray dogs and various websites.
Mr Hoe could assist with the provision of alarms and the coding of bicycles which was currently taking place.
Members of the public were advised that at the moment it was not possible for the Parish Council to take over the administration of Wickham Market car parks. This would be a matter for careful consideration in the future.
Concern was expressed at the state of Marshalls Garage site and the Clerk was asked to write to Suffolk Coastal Services to see if they could tidy the site up.
Closed at 8.50pm
10. WICKHAM MARKET PARTNERSHIP REPORT
Mr Hall stated that the “bus” project was moving forward as money and sponsors for the project had been identified. It should arrive in Wickham Market in the next few weeks and negotiations were taking place with the Village Hall to have it sited in the vicinity.
Chris Abraham was looking at the possibility of using the Gospel Hall as a youth club.
11. SPORT AND LEISURE REPORT
The tennis courts would be officially opened on Saturday 27 September 2008 and the Green Gym was planting a hedge between the courts and the neighbouring properties.
There was no funding as yet for extending the basketball court but funding would be pursued. However no progress was likely in 2008.
12. PLANNING REPORT
It was reported that planning permission had been given for a swimming pool at the caravan site in Spring Lane.
Mr Hall encouraged all parish councillors to read the Draft Sustainable Community Strategy which was an important document and would affect the future of the village.
13. ALLOTMENT REPORT
The Clerk reported that he was preparing the letter to send out in late September requesting payment of allotment rents.
There were problems on the Glebe site of untended allotments, unclear boundaries and rubbish around the site. These were currently being dealt with by two parish councillors who had allotments on the site and who would work closely with the Clerk and Mr B Catchpole from the Simons Cross allotments to try and bring the site back into an acceptable condition. The Parish Council accepted that this would be a long term project.
14. CEMETERY REPORT
There was no progress on the work to be done to improve the turning circle at the cemetery but it should start by the end of the month.
The headstone survey had been carried out and headstones identified that were causing problems. Where possible the individuals responsible were being contacted, however in some cases this was likely to be impossible due to the amount of time that had passed since they were erected.
The barn owl boxes were with Mr Plater who was waiting to site them with the help of the Green Gym members.
15. HIGHWAY MATTERS
The speed sign on the Framlingham roundabout road was now working.
The Clerk reported that the County Council had indicated that they would install a pavement at the village end of Broad Road adjacent to the side of the underwear shop. It was hoped that this would not create any flooding problems.
Concern had been expressed by a resident that the number of HGV's through the village had increased. It was reported that Save Our Rural Roads had investigated the situation and could find no evidence of this or why it might have happened. The Parish Council agreed that this was a matter that should be monitored for the future.
16. FINANCIAL AND LEGAL MATTERS
There being no other business the meeting closed at 9.30pm