ANNUAL PARISH MEETING
Held in Jubilee Hall on 2nd April, 2012 at 7.00pm
REPORTS from VILLAGE ORGANISATIONS
Report for Litcham Annual Parish Meeting on 3rd March 2014
The past year has seen Litcham’s bells rung only infrequently, due to their generally poor condition and a lack of ringers within the village, although we do have occasional groups of visiting ringers. Ringers from other villages help out when required for special occasions such as weddings.
The bell restoration project is making slow progress, but the Bell Fund now stands at £3,779. In addition, the Friends of All Saints charity has earmarked £740 from its funds for the bell project. The total estimated cost of the work to be carried out is approximately £40,000 so there is a long way to go!
Litcham’s bells and tower are part of the heritage of the village and I would be happy to show them to anyone who is interested.
Report for Litcham Annual Parish Meeting on 3rd March 2014
Litcham Common Conservation Group was set up in January 2004 to assist with conservation work on the common. The group is relatively informal, with no written constitution or formal membership list, and uses the Litcham Common Management Committee bank account to hold funds. We are insured through The Conservation Volunteers (TCV), a national organisation for voluntary groups such as ours.
The group’s only income this year was a grant of £200 from Litcham Parish Council towards the cost of insurance, for which it is very grateful.
Volunteers meet on the second Saturday of each month and carry out a variety of tasks. Over the past year work done has included cutting and burning scrub and trees and clearing rubbish. The numbers attending tasks vary between anything from four up to twenty, and it is encouraging to have had some new recruits join us recently.
Individual members of the group carry out regular welfare checks on the ponies that graze the common, on a rota basis. They also help round up the ponies from time to time for inspection by a vet or farrier. In addition, a small group carried out reptile surveys last year.
Report for Litcham Annual Parish Meeting on 3rd March 2014
Litcham Common is a Local Nature Reserve and a County Wildlife Site. The Management Committee’s primary responsibility is to manage the site for wildlife, taking particular account of its importance as an area of lowland heathland. At present, funding is received from Natural England under a Higher Level Stewardship (HLS) agreement that is due to run until February 2022.
The Committee is made up of Neil Foster (who owns the freehold of the common), Mike Oldfield (representing Litcham Parish Council), John Jones, John Mitchell, Dave Wheal, Sarah Cureton and Tim Angell.
Following the installation of the cattle grids in 2012 we are pleased with the way in which the conservation grazing scheme is working. Our Dartmoor ponies remain healthy and in good condition although we have to continually educate the public not to pet or feed the animals. Initial issues with the drainage of the cattle grids and excessive noise have been dealt with by Norfolk County Council’s engineers.
Over the winter months a significant amount of tree felling has been carried out in accordance with our HLS agreement. Most of the felling work has been coordinated by Dave Willie of BTS, for which we are very grateful, as we are to all the volunteers who help out in various ways. Of particular note last year was a conservation task carried out by the staff and partners from the Dereham office of Larking Gowen (chartered accountants) as part of the celebrations of the firm’s 125th anniversary.
The Norfolk Wildlife Trust has continued to provide advice and help in connection with the management work on the common. In addition, a ‘baseline’ ecological survey was carried out last year; this will be repeated in two years’ time so that we will have evidence of the impact of the grazing scheme.
As previous winners of a CPRE Norfolk Award we were pleased to take part in CPRE Norfolk’s 80th anniversary celebrations in October and November 2013. We organised two guided walks, one of which was for participants from the Julian Support mental health charity and included a conservation task. In addition, local expert Dr Tony Leech led a ‘fungus foray’ which was very well attended and much enjoyed by all who took part.
In September 2013 we hosted a meeting of the Norfolk Heaths Forum, a group of individuals representing various conservation bodies that have an interest in preserving Norfolk’s heathland. Positive feedback was received about the ongoing management work on Litcham Common. Other groups have visited, or plan to visit, Litcham with a view to installing cattle grids on commons elsewhere in Norfolk and Suffolk, so we may have started a trend!
Last year we decided against using cattle to graze the common but there is a possibility that we will use cattle on a trial basis this year. Whether we proceed depends on how the vegetation grows this spring, but the likelihood is that a local farmer will put four animals on the common in June, initially for a trial period of a couple of months. In any event the grazing would only be seasonal over the summer, to ensure that there is enough vegetation remaining to feed the ponies over the winter months.
County Councillor for Necton and Launditch - Annual Report 2013/14
The election of Councillors for a new 4 year term took place in May 2013, since then there has been one bye election (in Thetford) where the UKIP Councillor had resigned; the Division was won by the Labour candidate. Last week (28th February) a Labour Councillor resigned from the Labour group and is to remain as an Independent. The current state of the parties at County Hall is now as follows:
Green Party 4
At the Council meeting immediately after the May election it was proposed that the Council investigate the possibility of moving from the strong leader and cabinet system of governance to a committee system. There are various models that can be adopted under the committee system and this has been discussed at length by the parties. An Extraordinary Council meeting will be held on the 28th April to debate the way forward.
The grant that central government distributes annually to all Councils has been reduced over the last 3 years and will be reduced further in future years; the previous administration made savings of £135m but there are still more savings required over the next 3 years and these amount to £189m. Government funding cuts of £91m and rising demand for vital services account for the shortfall. Despite this the Council agreed on 17th February to freeze Council Tax for this year and to restore £7.1m to the budget as a result of the “Putting People First” consultation which ended on the 12th December 2013. (£3.1m to consolidate the Safeguarding Children programme; £1m to delay changes to post 16 transport for a year; £3m to restore the well-being element of adult social care personal budgets).
The flood of December 5th 2013 caused by a tidal surge did some damage to private property and to some coastal flood defences, but the defences put in place since the 1953 prevented the devastation and the deaths seen in that year.
Norfolk has not suffered as much from the extremely wet January and February as other parts of the country and the very low temperatures experienced over the last 4 years have not been evident. Winter highway maintenance (ie gritting) has not been necessary to the same level as in previous years. Potholes have of course appeared as usual but not in the same quantity and consequently have been temporarily filled in short order. The highways maintenance budget has been cut by £1m for next year 2014/15 and it remains to be seen if there is sufficient funding in the budget to cope with another severe winter.
The “Better Broadband for Norfolk” contract managed by BT and funded by the County Council and central Government will enable the majority of Norfolk homes and businesses to enjoy better broadband speeds by installing “fibre to box” and other technologies. The Tittleshall exchange, which serves Litcham, is currently having fibre optic cables laid to the villages it serves and the Better Broadband website indicates that superfast broadband is “coming soon” although there is no definite date quoted for completion.
Breckland District Councillor for Launditch Ward
Annual Report 2013/14
The Boundary Commission was obliged to review the ward boundaries within Breckland because 2 of the current wards have too many voters. They also indicated that they would assess the number of councillors required to adequately represent the electorate and to provide sufficient members to run the committees. The Boundary Commission considered representations from Breckland and others and their proposals are currently out for consultation until the 14th April. It is proposed that Launditch ward is increased in size by the addition of the parishes of Fransham and Newton by Castle Acre. There is also a proposal to reduce the number of Breckland Councillors from 54 to 49.
Breckland has frozen Council Tax for this year despite a 25% reduction in the Rate Support Grant (RSG) handed down from central government. The shortfall in RSG, which we anticipate will fall every year, is being partly filled by New Homes Bonus and the retention of part of the Non Domestic Rates paid by businesses. Breckland has invested in a commercial property portfolio which has a gross yield of £2.5m, which is nearly equal to the amount of Council Tax collected. We face substantial budget deficits in 16/17 and 17/18 which will require further savings to be made.
The Breckland Local Development Framework (LDF) planning documents were adopted in 2009 and 2012, we are currently reviewing the LDF planning policies and site allocations to fall in to line with the guidance given in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) which was issued in early 2012. The first stage of the consultation on the new Local Plan will take place near the end of this year.
Breckland are obliged to have enough land identified to accommodate 5 years of house building at the annual rate of around 700 identified in the LDF (about 3500). We have at present about 2.8 years of housing land available which means that we are obliged to pass planning permissions which pass all our policies except that they are being proposed in a location which is not identified for growth in our plans. This situation will not be resolved for between 2 and 4 years.
The Breckland communities team have over £1m in the communities reserve which is used to give parishes and community organisations grants to create or enhance facilities in their area, the application process is simple and the decision process has been streamlined to enable quick decisions to be made.
Report for Litcham Annual Parish Meeting on 3rd March 2014
Our year began (2013-2014) unusually with a Snowdrop walk although the dreaded weather, cold and wet, and on the same day as Lexham Hall’s, proved difficult.
We prepared signs for the walk and cleared pathways. Luckily just as we were closing despondently as the rain and cold increased, two male American tourists appeared and following a description of Sir Edward Coke`s unwitting role in the founding of the American Constitution (i.e. based on his myths of the Magna Carta) and as Coke surmised were every Englishman’s right, the men found this fascinating and unknown to them, so donated 5 of our English pounds as they could see myself and staff needed a hairdryer!
We opened the Museum with the usual worries about staffing and a little later we found two new members Richard Timson and Christopher Hanson-Smith, gave us some additional support. This became much needed as two of our old stalwart members, Joyce and Tony Green, had to call it a day. Since then we have doubts about the return of Peter Stoner who may not continue?
I managed to produce a short history of Lime Kilns, for use at the entry to Sandringham flower show in July, by Ralph Nichols. Ralph’s theme based on the Museum’s Lime Kiln and won a silver cup for Litcham.
As we had spent quite a bit of our funds on various repairs and the usual end of term bash in 2012, we were lucky to have Diana Paterson still helping and now her prowess as a movie director came to the fore with an excellent DVD “Litcham – A Summer of Celebrations” ” which has really put our funds back in credit.
Collector of Militaria Memorabilia, Basil Steerman provided the Museum`s display at June`s Fete. A visit by the student archaeologists with a talk from me about Lime Kilns, boosted our funds more than usual. Then a visit from the Dereham Metal Detector Club gave us even more. They managed to find an ancient silver coin and a ring. The coin was dated to 14th century although what happened to it since is a mystery??
We have since employed a new gardener to help chop up trees fallen in the gales and it is possible our Lime Kiln will be open sometime this year. We are working on a request to bring back to Litcham an original Fire Engine used in the 1800s. It was given away long before Ron Shaw founded the Museum, but when we have a home for it, it is hoped it will be on display and not stuck in a corner at Gressenhall. Just to remind everyone we need help from New Members. S o even if you can only manage a couple of afternoons this year it would boost us tremendously.
Thanks that is my report.
David Sheppard Chairman, Litcham Historical Society 2014.
Chairman’s Report February 2014
During the year ending 30 Sept.2013 we donated a total of £7000 towards the cost of the restoration works currently taking place on the church building. The total cost of the work will be around £150k and involves urgent work to the Chancel Roof, drainage and guttering, vestry, masonry & timber repairs, and the tower. Whilst English Heritage has made a major grant towards the work, the contribution by the Friends is very much appreciated by the Church Parochial Council as it has helped to “unlock” other grants. So thank you for all your support, and coming to the fund raising events held last year – the Wine Tasting,Village Fete plant stall, and the Open Gardens day – which raised a total of £1882.
MEMBERSHIP: Membership numbers are running at a steady number year on year.
CLOCK: The clock has been running very well for the last 12 months, a service of the clock was done at the end of last year, at a cost of 226.40 plus VAT, and there is some work to be done to one of the dials in the next few weeks. (at a cost of £778 plus VAT) We should be able to get the VAT back (AW)
2013 WINE TASTING: This event is proving popular, raising approx. £1000 last year; another event will be run later this year.
2013 OPEN GARDENS: This event was a huge success, bringing people to the village, creating a community spirit and raising approx. £600.
UPCOMING FUNDRAISING EVENTS: Wine tasting £15 per ticket? May 17th 3.30pm – 6pm
Litcham open gardens to be considered again in 2015.
I would like to thank ALL the Friends for their continued support and look forward to seeing as many of them as possible in 2014.
Kerry Walpole, February 2014
A registered charity no: 1133085
Report for Litcham Annual Parish Meeting on 3rd March 2014
Crime in Litcham continues to remains at an almost negligible level. There has been no meetings of the Litcham co-ordinators this year. I continue to regularly post the latest information that the police send me about local crime trends on the Homewatch pages of the Litcham website where you will also find security advice and link to Norfolk Police help pages and a quite interesting crime map.
We receive regular news from the Dereham Homewatch Association and are classed as an ‘Active’ association. (although I would say that this year that statement is no particularly true!)
The Police’s National Street Level Crime map gives a total of 20 reported crimes in Litcham last year, 8 fewer than the year before. A majority of which were either Anti-social behaviour or criminal damage.
More seriously there were four reports of violent crime and one arson attack. There were no burglaries and just two reports of theft from a Vehicle.
Recently there has been a spate of opportunist thefts from shed and other outbuilding and yards. A simple padlock on a shed door or gate will often be enough to deter a criminal who is looking for easy pickings.
A full list of the thirteen local street co-ordinators is appended to this report, it is available from the Homewatch pages on the Litcham website or directly from me if you can not access to the internet.
John Relph, Litcham Homewatch Co-ordinator, 2nd April 2012
LITCHAM HOME WATCH coordinators
1. Rectory Meadow & Archers Farm - Mr. J. Relph (Litcham Area Co-ordinator) 700 813
2. Pound Lane, Back Street, Front St. & Lexham Rd. - Mr. R. J. Mitchell - 701 342
3. Butt Lane - Mrs. D. Collen - 701 401
4. Tittleshal Rd. & Back Lane - Mrs Claire Lawrence - 700 145
5. Mileham Rd. - Carol Hilton - 700 745
6. Manor Drive & Upper Church Street - Mr. S. Lynn - 701 377
7. Priory Area - Mr. & Mrs. A. Clarke - 701 720
8. Lower Church Street - Mr. M. Kiddle-Morris - 701 370
9. Dereham Road - Mr. J. Jones - 700 184
10. Oaklands Farm Area - Mr. D. C. Holland - 701 304
11. Wellingham Road - Mr. L. Raven - 701 958
12. Weasenham Road & Keppel Close - Mr. T. Walker - 701 592
13. Lexham Road West, Hall Farm House & Coronation Cottages - Mr. G. Blower - 701 748
Report for Litcham Annual Parish Meeting – 3rd March 2014
It is pleasing to report that Litcham Entertainment Group have recently performed another successful pantomime during the February half term 2014 and feedback has been positive. Performances were not fully sold out but hopefully there will be sufficient funds to enable the group to support local charities as they have done in the past.
Production of the pantomime was not without its challenges: By Christmas 2013, Judith Semmons and Mary Osborne; co-producers, questioned whether it would happen: there was little back stage support; no one to assist with the sound and lighting and limited scenery. The number of cast members was also low with very limited back up if someone was to fall ill. Thankfully, people appeared, and the group suddenly got the support that it needed. Particular thanks go to Joan Joyce who found a sound and lighting team; the very competent Roy Ivory and Joe Ivory, assisted by Karl Duke. Rob Harris provided some impressive stage props and lively sound effects with Brenda Kingsworth being creative in re-vamping the scenery available at the time. The tireless efforts of Sue and Roy Payne should also be commended; a steep learning curve for both of them, having not been involved in such activities before.
June Bevan also came to the group’s rescue by offering to serve refreshments with the assistance of others.
It was disappointing that a group primarily developed to give the teenagers in the village something to do, initially only attracted a handful of teenagers and only two teenagers ‘stayed the distance’. The group is not getting any younger and numbers are getting smaller: Its future is therefore in question and a post pantomime meeting is arranged for Thursday 20th March, for a social ‘get together’ but also to discuss where the group goes from here.
Away from the actual pantomime, LEGs did organise a coffee morning which was held on May 11th 2013. Thank you to those who came and supported it. Unfortunately, due to limited ‘manpower, LEGs were unable to be involved in the Litcham fete in June 2013.
Judith Semmons, March 2014
Chairman’s Report for academic year 2012/13
Last year saw major changes to the school with the joining of the primary and secondary phases to become an all through school. This brought questions regarding the running of the two separate PTA’s. After much discussion it was decided to be in the best interests of both phases to continue with separate sub committees for primary and secondary but under one umbrella of The Friends of Litcham School. To show continuity Litcham High School PTFA changed its name to Friends of Litcham School – Secondary Phase.
We have seen many benefits of working more closely with the Primary phase and have successfully rolled out the 100 Club and the Christmas raffle to both groups. We also now have joint Charity status and will hopefully increase joint events wherever possible. It remains our intention for all money raised to be returned to the phase of origin so parents can see the benefits of supporting their own Friends group.
We have raised money this year from raffles, discos, making tea and coffee and recycling. The amounts will be reported in the Treasures report to follow.
Our major fund raising events continue to be the lower school Discos and we were very pleased to be allowed to hold an extra disco in October to welcome the new students into year 7. On average a disco raises £500 for 3 hours work. A return I wish I could achieve in my working life.
Sadly recruiting staff to oversee the discos continues to be a problem but we are very grateful to the six members of staff who support the discos on a regular basis. If anybody doubts the quality of our young people I urge them to help at a school disco. It is a pleasure to see our polite, friendly and respectful students enjoy themselves. They are a credit to themselves and the school.
We ran the tea and tuck stall again this year at the village fete. Together with raising money I feel it is important to show support to village events. As a school in the middle of the village we do impose on local lives especially at the beginning and end of the day. A bit of goodwill goes a long way when you are trying to squeeze your car through the onslaught of parents dropping off and collecting children.
Bags 2 Schools continues to be a good fundraiser whilst encouraging parents to clear their cupboards. The support for this is exceptional considering we don’t have many parents coming into school. Advertising the collection is the key to its success together with the support of Billy, the Site Manager, who actually does most of the work for us
Staff Bids have been limited this year which has allowed us to replenish our Bank Accounts after last year’s major spending spree. We have supported the DT department, Learning Support, PALS and the refurbishment of the library which I am sure you all agree is a tremendous improvement and one I believe to be very welcomed by the students. It has even been reported that Yr10’s have been seen in the library voluntarily raising money whilst entertaining students together with catching parents who are already in school seems to be the key to our success but none of this would be possible without the continuing support of a few people. I must thank our Treasurers Cathy Berry and Tracy Mylum, who has given so much to the Friends, and regular committee members Donna Norton, Lisa Rodwell, Sharon Chandler and Julie Hockney. Without these people giving their time we would not be able to provide the extras to improve the students learning experiences.
On a personal note this is sadly my time to stand down from the Friends. After five years on the committee and standing as secretary and chair I have been involved in many areas of my son’s education I wouldn’t have otherwise seen. I have very special memories made within the school and I hope that it will achieve its full potential under the headship of Mr Adams.
I wish you all well in what I think will be a very exciting time for the school.
Presented to Litcham Parish Annual Meeting 3rd March 2014.
Our membership now stands at 16 having lost one member, Dr. David Baldwin in 2013. Branch meetings are held four times a year in the Tittleshall Village Hall on the first Wednesday of February, May, August and the Annual general Meeting in October/November. The average attendance at the meetings is only about six owing to the infirmity and the age of many of our members. The oldest member being Jack Mills who is now 101 and still living at home on his own. We will in the future
be looking at a possible merger with a larger branch, but in the meantime will endeavour to keep the branch going.
We continue to look for new members to join the branch and any one interested please contact the secretary or any member of the branch.
The current officers re-appointed at the Annual General Meeting are:
Dennis Wick, president
Doug Rork, chairman
Robin Roberson, treasurer,
Stephen Lynn, standard bearer
John Jones, secretary.
Poppy Appeal Organiser, Remains vacant.
We and still looking for a volunteer willing to take on the task of poppy appeal organiser. Unfortunately, not having a poppy appeal organiser and reduced number of collectors we were unable to make a house-to-house collection. We were still able to send £493.24 to the Norfolk County Poppy Appeal, owing to the generosity of local organisations.
We attended along with the Branch Standard, the Remembrance Day Services at All Saints Church, Litcham and at the American War Memorial in Beeston. Members also attended Remembrance Service at Tittle Church and the Tittleshall War Memorial.
We would like to record our thanks to former officers and members of the branch for past support.
John E Jones (Branch Secretary), March 2014
The Litcham Relief in Need Charity has had a good year in 2013-14, with everything running smoothly.
In the past year we distributed a portion of our annual income, which is derived from the rental of village allotments and agricultural land, as follows:
Š £500 to Litcham Health Centre to buy a spirometer, which helps to evaluate and monitor a broad range of lung diseases;
Š a grant to a local university student to help towards cost of study materials;
Š hedging, ditching, general maintenance and improvement of the allotments;
Š in addition, £500 is being held in readiness towards improvements to the Jubilee Hall should these be going ahead.
Trustees are always happy to consider applications for charitable relief, either from individual parishioners or village organisations.
With regard to the village allotments, all 30 plots are currently being gardened, and Trustees carry out an annual inspection each spring to check there are no problems.
The Trustees enjoy an excellent working relationship with our tenants and appreciate and admire the substantial progress that has been made in the regeneration of the allotments. We feel the allotments are now a credit to the village.
Elizabeth Christie, Chairman
Litcham Relief in Need Charity