Parish Clerk’s Report for March/April 2017
by Wickhambrook Parish Clerk
More news from 2016
In December amongst my early Christmas cards was an envelope with a postmark ‘Buckingham Palace’, this was a letter sent on behalf of the Queen kindly written by Lady-in-Waiting to Her Majesty, Jennifer Gordon-Lennox. As well as thanking everyone for our letter and card it stated that the Queen had been overwhelmed by the response to her 90th birthday and was touched to learn about the event at Wickhambrook.
It went on to say that she had been pleased to hear we had favourable weather for the occasion, that it was kind of us to send the information about the funds for the East Anglian Air Ambulance and due to the enormous amount of good wishes it had not been possible to respond until now. A card was included with the letter and it is hoped that this can be framed and displayed alongside the photograph of the birthday gathering at the MSC hall.
The amount of the Tesco Groundworks grant has been announced and the Memorial Garden project will receive £8,000 funded by the sale of 5p carrier bags at the supermarket. The members of the Estates committee of the Parish Council are delighted and plans are now being made to incorporate an area for the scattering of ashes, another option for remembrance by individuals and families on the loss of a loved one. It is also hoped that the outside of the Chapel can be re-decorated which may be financially supported by the Parish Council. The cemetery is a lovely place and these additions and maintenance work will ensure it will remain so for many years ahead.
A very sensitive issue regarding the cemetery must unfortunately be raised which is the leaving of flowers and other memorabilia on the graves of loved ones. The cemetery guidelines request a vase situated within the base of any memorial but increasingly tributes are being placed on the graves themselves. The Estates committee wishes to request that the guidelines are adhered to which will enable the contractor to continue to maintain the cemetery to a high standard during the grass cutting season. The Estates committee appreciates that immediately following the loss of a loved one there may be the need to have an increased number of items on the grave but is sending a general message please regarding the longer standing graves.
Disappointment at an increase in dog fouling at the recreational field
The darker mornings and evenings has resulted in more incidences of dog fouling on the football pitches and surrounding areas. This is incredibly disappointing for the Parish Council which has made multiple efforts to allow dog owners to ‘bag and bin’ any dog fouling as easily as possible. There are signs in situ acting as reminders, two bag dispensers (regularly refilled) for the purpose of collecting the excrement and bins in all corners of the field to leave the used bags in. There is absolutely no reason or excuse not to adhere to the law and collect dog waste.
It is not only adult users who run the gauntlet of encountering dog fouling but children too for whom it is even more of a health hazard. Many little ones use the football pitch and it is completely unacceptable that the possibility of dog waste being on the field exists. All we can do is be vigilant and remind dog owners (the majority of whom are responsible and careful) to watch their pets at all times when in this area.
The Great British Spring Clean
Wickhambrook Parish Council has signed up to the Great British Spring Clean with the date set for the litter pick as Sunday 5 March at 11.30 a.m. to collect your kit from the pavilion at the side of the MSC hall please. The school will be contacted with the time and date and we hope to see many of the children with their parents or carers taking part in this worthwhile activity. This is an excellent opportunity to tidy the village prior to the start of the better weather when we are all out and about more.
A contribution from Julian Girling, The Tree Warden – a lay member of the Parish Council Estates Committee
‘Woodman spare that tree! Touch not a single bough!’ Thus wrote the poet George Pope Morris in 1830.
We are often told that trees are the lungs of the Earth, but apart from their benefits in absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen, they are, in the opinion of most people, some of nature’s most beautiful structures and in some species the oldest living organisms on the planet.
So was Mr Morris justified in admonishing the woodman? Yes and no. Preservation occasionally requires quite drastic action to ensure the health of the tree and its neighbours as well as removing anything that is hazardous to the public or to buildings.
For this reason I am tasked with monitoring each tree (which is tagged with a number and is the responsibility of the Parish Council Estates Committee) on some ten sites in the village.
Diseases such as bleeding canker and honeydew fungus as well as stressed limbs are monitored on a bi-monthly basis and reported to the committee. I am well supported by Cliff Reed of Acacia Tree Surgery who presents a detailed annual report. He has taught me a lot and taken me through a steep learning curve. I have still much to learn.
Yes, ‘spare that tree’ but often a ‘single bough’ or even the tree itself must be removed for the tree’s health and to prevent a public hazard.
Date of Annual Parish Meeting
An early reminder of 7.30 p.m. on Thursday 18 May. The Parish Council introduces the meeting but it is for the parishioners to contribute and please accept this article as an invitation to Wickhambrook clubs and societies to attend in person or send a written report to be presented at the meeting. We all need reminding of past achievements as well as aspirations for the months ahead and this is the opportunity to promote a subject or activity. A time limit of 5 minutes per report is in place so that the evening does not finish too late but, long or short, any report or high lighting of a topic by an individual, will be very welcome. The evening will also incorporate the presentation of the Alf Hicks Biscuit Barrel to this year’s chosen recipient, yet to be decided.
Reporting Highway faults online
No the photo is not the wrong way up but shows the 30 mph which has fallen/been knocked over on the side of the road between Coltsfoot Green and Meeting Green! Two eagle-eyed parishioners sent a photo independently and I was able to attach it to the Suffolk County Council online reporting facility. I am sure a photograph adds clarity and impact to any report and these can be uploaded using the reporting tool yourself or send it to me with an explanatory email and I will then action the form.
Precept Bid from Wickhambrook Parish Council explained
The Parish Council has submitted a bid for a precept totalling £31,863 as discussed and approved at the meeting on 19 January 2017. Although the bid states that the increase in the precept is 7% from last year the actual amount of the requested bid increase is £382. The percentage shown is due to the withdrawal of the Parish Revenue and Local Tax support grants (£1,800 for last year).
Recent Planning Applications
Recent planning applications considered by the Parish Council over the last six weeks.
DC/16/2409/VAR + Amended application Plot 2, Columbine Cottage, Nunnery Green. Revised scale and design. Objection to both
DC/16/2736/HH 14 Croft Close. Single storey rear extension. No objection
DC/17/0003/CLE Annexe Peacocks Farm, Farley Green. Use of bungalow as single dwelling. No objection
DC/16/2802/FUL Land adj Whitehouse, Church Road. Change of use from agricultural to equestrian. No objection
Decisions made by St Edmundsbury Council over the last eight weeks:
DC/16/2014/TE3 Removal of public payphone. Approved
DC/16/2421/VAR Plot 1, Columbine Cottage, Nunnery Green. Change in materials. Approved
DC/16/2275/HH Field View, Nunnery Green. Conservatory to side/rear elevation. Approved
DC/16/2280/HH 37 Boyden Close. Single storey side extension. Approved
DC/16/2499/FUL Mill Farm, Ashfield Green. Two storey building – vehicle storage and office space with change of use agricultural land to parking area. No objection
DC/16/2416/HH Easterwood Bungalow, Baxters Green. 3 bay garage and carport with room above. No objection
Parish Council Meetings
The date for the next meetings are Thursday 30 March and 27 April. The next Estates committee meeting will be held on Thursday 13 April. All meetings begin at 7.30 p.m. and are open for everyone to attend.
Wickhambrook Parish Council has just received the news that it has achieved a Foundation Award through the Local Council Award Scheme. More details of the award will follow in the next edition of the Scene but the letter of confirmation stated: “The Panel believes the award demonstrates that the council has a strong commitment to excellence in public service” – a reassurance for all parishioners of the quality of work the Parish Councillors produce.