Report of the Parish Council Meeting held on 14 March 2017
Sadly we said goodbye to our Clerk, Steve Aldridge, who after nearly five years of sterling work for the Parish Council and residents of Nocton has decided that the open road on two wheels beckons him! He will be greatly missed. On behalf of Parish Councillors, the Chair presented Steve with two champagne flutes and bottle of bubbly!
Interviews have already taken place for his replacement and we hope to welcome our new Clerk, Ruth Keillar, at the next meeting.
No crimes for the previous month were reported although another incident with a dog was reported by Councillor Williams. Please ensure that details of all such incidents are given to the police. As Parish Councillors we have very little power to help and only by reporting these incidents to the proper authority can anything be done.
Village Keeper/Dog Warden
Colin is to be asked if he would walk the village trail early April 1st prior to the new trail being launched. All are invited to the Village Hall for 1.00 pm where our new MP Caroline Johnson and her family will be in attendance.
Nocton and Potterhanworth Neighbourhood Plan
Councillor Murray reported that there was a slight set back to going to referendum and finalising the Plan. The Examiner had decided to remove the entire policy regarding Nocton Hall and the former RAF Hospital and replacing it with something that appeared to weaken the community’s position on the future development of this site. Councillors are, however, due to meet with NKDC planning officers next week to understand better the implications of the Examiner’s decision so that we can agree the most appropriate way forward. This Plan is paramount in preventing unwanted development in our villages so it is necessary to make sure that it is made as robust as possible. All Councillors agree, however, that it is essential that the Plan be adopted as soon as possible.
Councillor Williams reported that the new Highways Division has a different system for reporting problems and contacting them. Although there are persons assigned to each region, it is no longer possible to contact them directly. Details of any problem, query or complaint should be telephoned or emailed to the service at which point it is allocated a ‘case’ number. Hopefully, a response will be received within a week but if not, another phone call or email quoting the reference number is required for an update.
Nocton Village Hall Redevelopment
The external elevations design was approved for the new hall and it was agreed to ask Simons to obtain planning permission on the Parish Council’s behalf.
The Sub Committee is to meet on Tuesday, 21 March at 6.00 pm to finalise the internal layout of the new building and Simons will then be asked to produce Plans on A3 so that they can be displayed in the village hall and on the Parish Council notice boards. A report on the final costings and means of financing the rebuilding, etc will be presented to the Parish Council in due course.
Nocton Hall Site – Asbestos
The site has finally been inspected and as expected some of the buildings have deteriorated exposing asbestos. The Parish Council has been advised by NKDC that arrangements are being made for its safe removal and we await confirmation that this has been done. In the meantime, the Parish Council would wish to repeat its previous warnings that this site is extremely dangerous and on no account should residents or others attempt to gain access.
A recent letter to residents around the Green has unfortunately been misunderstood. There was no intention to point fingers or cause upset, just to remind residents that the Green is owned by the village and shown some respect. The narrow access road means extra care and attention needs to be taken and that should damage occur then, if possible, it is put right by the “offender”. The Parish Council is seeking help from Highways on how best to warn contractors and visitors of the difficult nature of this access.
Nocton School Trees
A request by the school to have two Norwegian Spruce trees removed as recommended by the tree specialist at NKDC has been refused by LCC, which has suggested that the trees be retained and costly repairs be carried out to the footpath and raising of the Green and that the Parish Council identify contractors to undertake this work! The two trees in question were described as “weedy” by the NKDC Tree Officer and were probably old Christmas trees planted out many years ago. The School and Parish Council are to request clarification on why LCC made this decision against the wishes of both School and Parish.
Councillor Kania has offered to take over producing Nocton News in the event that our current volunteer, Karen, is unable to continue in the months to come.
Councillor Kania also asked that the Parish Council take part in the Christmas Tree display in the Church, when clubs/organisations and businesses are being asked to set up and decorate a small tree. This was agreed.
Dates of future meetings
Next Ordinary Parish Council meeting to be held on Tuesday, 11 April 2017 at 7.00 pm.
Annual Parish Meeting to be held on Thursday, 25th May 2017 at 7.00 pm, to be followed at 8.00 p.m. by the Parish Council’s Annual General Meeting. There would be the usual glass of wine and nibbles served during the Parish Meeting with the discussion centering on current issues and concerns within the village.
Unfortunately, County Councillor Marianne Overton arrived too late to take part in the formal part of the meeting but updated Councillors, amongst other things, on the recent changes to the boundaries which means that she will no longer be representing Nocton after the May elections. Peter Lundgren is the Independent standing in our area; those involved with the ‘Cows’ will remember his valuable input.
'Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.'
Councillor MaryAnn Williams