16th April 2013
As you make have seen from published Minutes and the Church and Village magazine the Parish Council has had to raise it’s precept by a considerable amount for this year. The precept had been set at it’s previous level for five years.
The reason for the increase is because Breckland District Council will no longer fund the full cost of elections for Parish Councils when another election is held at the same time. The cost could be upward of £800 per election.
Changes to the Council Tax benefits have been implemented by the government. Some properties will pay less, the shortfall being picked up by others. A grant from central government has allayed some increase, however this grant may not be given next year leading to further increases next time.
Following bjections to the Parish Council accounts to the external auditors last year, and sadly again this year, the cost of processing these has had to be met by the Parish Council. The Objections on both occasions has been by the same parishioner. The cost last year was approximately £1,600 + VAT, a similar cost is expected this year for the adjudication.
On lighter note the Parish Council set up a sub-committee to organise the Diamond Jubilee celebrations. By all accounts it was a great day with a fantastic turn out. A DVD is in production thanks to John Relph and Diana Patterson. Jubilee mugs were purchased to give to all the children under eleven, unfortunately the Primary School were unable to help in the distribution, so apologies if any were missed out. There are still a few available.
The land opposite the Bull is now officially the ‘Village Green” owned by the Parish Council. The Parish Council Notice board has been erected with a village map. It is hoped that the posts on the green can be replaced with support from Solar Energy who have just built the solar farm north of the village.
The Parish Council has supported the setting up of a fuel syndicate. Co-ordinator Lyn Flowerdew expects to make four orders per year, contact is via litchamoil2012yahoo.co.uk.
We have also tried to establish a Community Car Scheme. Co-ordinator Cllr Liz Christie has got together the volunteers required together with Clerk Bryan Leigh the scheme will take off once the volunteers have been signed up.
We have coordinated with Breckland Council and Norfolk County Council in making sure roads and signage in Litcham are maintained and corrected when problems arise.
Planning applications included the usual extensions and improvements and small wind turbines required observations. However the application for the solar farm adjacent to Wellingham Heath was objected on the grounds of being an industrialised intrusion into a rural landscape. It was approved by Breckland Council.
Access to the graveyard via Druids lane is still a problem with the gate remaining locked. Norfolk County Council officers have visited the site and consultation letters were sent and replies sought. Archive research is ongoing; we await the outcome.
Donations this year were made to the Citizen’s Advice Bureau, Litcham Common Conservation Group and the British Legion.
And finally the Parish Council wishes all success and backing to Mr and Mrs Nichol who area attempting to construct a Norfolk garden based on the limekiln in Ron Shaw’s garden at this year’s Hampton Court Flower Show. Good support for this they hope could lead to ‘Litcham in Bloom” or ‘Litcham Open Gardens’ next year.
Thanks for everybody’s contribution this year and tonight attendance.
Chairman LITCHAM PARISH COUNCIL 2013