Cllrs. S. Dawson (chairman) D. Harrod.(cllr./flood warden) S. Johns, C. Large, M. Turville-Petre.
In attendance District Cllr. D. Young. And three members of the public.
The meeting was opened at 7.30pm
Apologies. Cllr. N. Cary. County Cllr. M. Baker, PCSO G. Bridges.
There were no Declarations of interest.
The Minutes of the meeting of 7th January 2014. were approved by the members present and signed by the chairman.
There were no matters arising from the minutes.
Dist Cllr. D. Young.
Coastal Issues Forum 4th February. Mr Hayman of the Environment Agency gave an update. It is hoped that funding for this area might be received from central government, though there are other areas that might be considered a greater priority. He referred to the difficulties of repairing the numerous breaches in the bank around Blakeney Freshes but hoped to be able to facilitate fresh water access to this area. He accepted that even if the natural repair to the breaches at Salthouse are maintained, the ridge will be lower than previously and so more liable to be overtopped. Monitoring continues. His initial reaction to consider financial help to residents of Cley and Salthouse to acquire flood boards or gates to protect their properties was fairly positive and he thought that such an expense could be affordable within their existing local budget.
The improvement to the Bellwin Scheme for flood compensation announced by Government is only likely to gain NNDC around £12,000. The details of further compensation are awaited. On the face of it, the willingness of the Environment Agency to fund flood gates and similar protection for houses in Cley and Salthouse, mentioned in this report earlier on, may be trumped by the Government's offer of up to £5,000 to households to add flood protection in the course of their repairs.
EA has agreed to spend £46,000 on temporary repairs to the footpath from Blakeney to Cley, to be completed by Easter.
The District Council is budgeting for a surplus of £533k in 2014/15, despite a reduction in spending power from the government's funding of 2.7% with a further reduction of 3.2% envisaged the year after. The District's share of Council Tax is to remain unchanged. The figures are helped by the cumulative effect of the New Homes Bonus and a larger share of retained Business Rates than had been anticipated. However, the need to spend money on repairs to the coast means that the General Reserve is forecast to fall to around £705k at 1 April 2015, compared to the recommended balance of £1.75m, unless Government compensates for the effects of the tidal surge.
A briefing meeting was held in early February on the council's involvement in Housing since the transfer of its housing stock to Victory Housing in February 2006. This transfer provided for the council to be paid sums in respect of transitional arrangements with regard to reclaim of VAT and in respect of sums received by Victory under existing tenants' Right to Buy. These payment streams produced £7.75m to 31 March 2013 but the flow will be much reduced in future. Up to 31 March 2016 the council has spent or committed on housing related programmes around £13.5m of its own resources. This figure includes the above £7.75m and £3.5m that is being made available to Housing Associations by way of loan. Of this £3.5m, over £1m comes from the payment streams that previously had been returned to Victory as grants: the remainder uses funds that have hitherto been deposited with banks and currently earn very little interest.
In recent years funding for new affordable homes from the Homes and Communities Agency has been significantly reduced, such that it is no longer possible to borrow the balance commercially in order to meet the cost. The gap is now being filled by the proceeds of commercial sales of Victory's older properties. When originally applying to HCA for funding, Victory planned to dispose of 100 older homes in order to build 145 new ones, though they now predict that they will be able to build 163. Victory's latest 10 year plan, from 2013 – 2023 envisages selling 300 homes to enable 1,000 new homes to be built. One result of this strategy is that while some older homes to be sold will inevitably be in villages, sites for new builds are likely to be concentrated in the larger towns. "Exception Schemes", providing affordable housing for local residents, would seem to be the only way to prevent the loss of affordable housing in villages.
Broadland Housing Association has made an offer to NCC for the purchase of the land at Market Street. It would be for the construction of 1 market and 3 or 4 affordable dwellings. NCC's reaction to the offer is awaited.
Following the elections to the European Parliament in May, a new system of electoral registration will come into being whereby each individual will need to register rather than by household as at present and their details (N I Number) verified against DWP's database. Most people currently on the electoral roll will be transferred automatically, but a proportion (10%?) will not be fully matched and they will be invited to re-register.
The Council Tax Bands from April this year were formally agreed at the last council meeting. NNDC's and NCC's precepts remain unchanged but the part relating to the Police and Crime Commissioner has increased by 1.97%. A referendum would have been required to support an increase over 2%. Government stated that no cap has been put on Town and Parish Councils this time but they are "prepared to apply referendum thresholds to larger town and parish councils from 2015 to 2016 onwards."
A copy of the Cash Book was circulated to Councillors showing an income of £6116.04 and an expenditure of £5841.90 for the current financial year.
Current holdings were;- Community account £3175.06
Playing Field account £3168.79
National Savings a/c £4528.51
Extension of Churchyard.
A letter from the PCC was read to the meeting.
Due to the small number of grave spaces left in the churchyard the graveyard is to be extended on to adjoining lans owned by the church. This will require a gaeway to be made in the boundary wall, which is of flint construction and Grade 1 listed. The cost for this work is likely to be between
£5,000 and £10,00. would the Parish Council make a donation to help with this cost?
It was proposed by Cllr. Turville-Petre that a donation of £600 should be given.
This was seconded by Cllr.Large and approved.
It was agreed to approve the request by Mrs. P Wincote for the placing of a memorial bench in memory of her parents at an agreed site in the village, Preferably on the village green but this was subject to the committee agreeing the exact position and design of the bench.
The Parish Council is still keen to go ahead with renovations and this will be discussed at the Annual Parish Meeting on May 13th. There has been no discussion with Mr. McKnespiey but he will be invited to the meeting to put his views.
The playing field has not been advertised in Link-Up.
It was noted that in the lease the Playing Field area has to be fenced. Cllr. Turville-Petre will investigate the alternative types of fencing available.
The Environment Agency are repairing the Cley/Blakeney footpath.
The gaps in the shingle bank at Salthouse are still being surveyed but the bank is continuing to re-establish itself. Shingle is to be cleared from Middle Cut next month.
The Environment Agency do not consider that the catchment drains need clearing but the Parish Council are to press for this work to be undertaken..
Dial-a-Bus. Could be extending its operations. More timetables are to be asked for and times to be published in Link-Up and other parish magazines.
Public Questions and matters for information.
Suggested that the parish council write to Stagecoach and NCC and get the winter timetables in place.
The Web Site is now active. It can be found at www.salthouseparishcouncil.org
Any corrections or additional information can be put in place by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
The next Parish Council meeting will be held on Tuesday 6th May 2014
The Annual Parish Meeting will be held on Tuesday 13th May 2014
There being no further business the chairman closed the meeting at 8.47pm