Parish Clerk’s Report for September/October 2017
by Wickhambrook Parish Clerk
Lay Members of the Parish Council Estates Committee
Previous Clerk’s reports in The Scene have referred to the time given up, on a voluntary basis, by the eight Councillors that comprise Wickhambrook Parish Council. The Estates Committee is supported by four Lay Members who also freely give up their time. It is with this in mind that the committee wishes to thank Mr Ian Spencer, a resident of Attleton Green, who has recently resigned as a Lay Member due to work commitments. Ian has been a champion of that green, organising working parties to reclaim the margins around the pond and re-seed areas with the wild flower seed packs obtained by the Parish Council from the Kew Gardens initiative, sponsored by the National Lottery. He has also contributed to a previous edition of ‘The Scene’ describing the work undertaken at Attleton Green and has offered to continue to monitor and report to the Committee on all aspects of the green. Thank you and the Committee looks forward to hearing your reports in the future.
July ‘Lit Pic’
Continuing in ‘thank you’ mode – what can I say to thank the band of residents who regularly appear at the Parish Council organised Litter Picks? ‘Thank you’ simply doesn’t do it when the same folk attend each time with a willingness and cheer that is lovely to witness. This ‘thank you’ is more than the words on the page – what is achieved each time in the way of keeping our village free of rubbish in the hedgerows, pathways and public spaces must be obvious to all. The next Litter Pick will be organised for a November date, published as usual in ‘The Scene’ and on the website, please do attend if you are able to, not only to support the residents who regularly turn out but also to cover a wider area and keep more of the Parish litter free.
Youth Football Club
Wickhambrook Parish Council supports four different clubs using the ‘Six Acres’ as part of the recreational field. Recently the Parish Council voted not to increase the low ground rent for these clubs – Bowls, Tennis, Adult and Youth Football. Keeping the amount at the same level in order to support all the sports offered in Wickhambrook. The Bowls and Tennis Club pavilion has had to be recently removed due to water damage which has exposed the Youth Football Club container. This club has agreed to paint the container green to minimise the visual effect now it stands alone. The Parish Council is arranging for the hedge to be trimmed back before the painting can commence and we all look forward to the finished product which will be more in keeping with the surroundings. The Youth Football Club are also organising spraying of the two pitches as announced in ‘What’s On’ as follows:
“The Recreational Field will have the football pitches sprayed with weedkiller late August/early September. Hazard warning signs will be displayed while the spray is drying and the areas will be roped off.”
At this time of year the Parish Council receives many reports about overgrown hedges obstructing rights of way. If your garden or land borders a public footpath or byway would you please ensure you keep your hedge trimmed.
VAS Update – speeding in the village
Councillor Barton, as stated in previous editions, has responsibility for monitoring the Vehicle Activated Speeding signs in the village. The Parish Council is pleased to announce the acquisition of a new machine with a “SLOW DOWN” display that will be used in the priority site near the School. This will free up time for the current machine, shared with Lidgate Parish Council, and new sites have been investigated for poles to be located to support the machine on a rotational basis. The link road from Nunnery Green to the B1063 has had a survey of residents completed and the Parish Council has agreed the location, subject to support from Suffolk County Council Highways Department. Cemetery Road residents have recently been surveyed with replies yet to be analysed. Ashfield Green has already had a Police Camera Van in situ after data was sent through from the VAS when sited in this area. There are strict criteria in place for the siting of these machines from Suffolk Highways and so some requests from residents for different locations are not able to be met by the Parish Council but please be assured that all requests are fully investigated. The Parish Council acknowledges that speeding in the village is a high priority concern for the residents it represents and is fully committed to controlling this hazard. Prosecution for speeding is a very effective deterrent and this will only come about from the presence of a Police Camera Van monitoring speeding vehicles which in turn will only be allocated once data from the VAS machines has shown the necessity for attendance. The Parish Council is determined that it will not take a serious incident to control speeding in the village and hopes the actions it is taking on behalf of all residents will deter drivers from acting recklessly in Wickhambrook.
I don’t know how many of the readers of ‘The Scene’ remember the postman of about ten years, Colin Bird who then retired to sunny Spain, but he has contacted me recently and sent an article regarding his time serving on the Parish Council. I have in each edition emphasised the anti-social impacts of dog fouling as I honestly believe it is the most avoidable hazard. I am a dog owner and absolutely love walking around this village with my two dogs but appreciate how unacceptable it is to encounter dog waste. The article by the MSC Trustees in the previous ‘Scene’ was hard hitting as a necessity and the following is a lighter take on the subject from years gone by when it was acceptable for an owner to leave dog waste in certain areas which now it is not. Please read this in the spirit Colin wrote it – I found it both poignant and amusing and I hope you will too:
“The Hidden Perils of Strimming
The Princess and I are dog sitting for our vacationing neighbours at the moment.
Although we are presently owned by two cats that we rescued as tiny street ragamuffins a few years ago, we also love dogs and it makes a pleasant change to take the first walk of the day through the quiet neighbourhood at a relatively early hour. Armed with doodoo bags just in case, and a pocket full of biscuit treats (for being a good girl and pooping on waste ground and not the road . . . the dog not the Princess), it’s a pleasant experience.
But it amazes me to see the amount of dog excrement that is simply left on the pavements and walkways of the urbanisation.
The dog owners concerned believe that if nobody is watching, then leave it, because although during daylight hours doggy walkers can be seen assiduously attending to their pet’s bowel movements, it is obviously a different matter after dark.
These thoughts linked up conveniently with a message I saw on Facebook from an erstwhile friend in the village where we once lived. It was castigating dog owners who are allowing their animals to make regular deposits on the village recreation ground, and leaving them to be discovered by young kids and footballers.
The message was in the form of a cartoon fairy flying off with a bag of something unsavoury, and captioned: ‘There’s No Such Thing as the Dog Poo Fairy!’
It reminded me of a time when, as a member of the Parish Council, I had made it my responsibility to keep the three village greens mown during the summer and in addition the cemetery and churchyard.
There was something strangely relaxing about thrumming around on my shiny Kubota ride-on, pondering life’s mysteries.
At the entrance to the cemetery was a narrow strip of grass that, because of its slope could only be strimmed. This was fine unless the grass became overly long, which happened during our holidays away.
Let me tell you, in spite of the mirth it created in the village at the time, it is no fun to suddenly encounter a wet Richard the Third with a high speed rotating nylon cord.
To this day, there are those who still refer to me as ‘Freckles’!”
Recent Planning Applications
Recent planning applications considered by the Parish Council over the last six weeks.
DC17/0827/FUL Easterwood Bungalow, Baxters Green
Stables, manage, front wall, driveway, gates. No objection
DC/17/1234/HH 6 Wickham House Bungalows, Giffords Lane
Detached double cartlodge. No objections
DC/17/1239/HH Glebe House, Church Road
New garage. No objections
DC/17/1297/FUL The Hedges, Ashfield Green
1 dwelling plus detached garage following demolition of dwelling and garage. Access
alteration. No objections
DC/17/1243/HH Bramble Cottage, Wash Lane. First floor rear extension and single storey side
extension. No objections
Decisions made by St Edmundsbury Council over the last eight weeks.
DC/17/1083/HH Layham Place, Post Office Hill
Two storey and single storey extension, detached triple garage, new vehicular access,
replacement chimney. Approved
Dates of next meetings
The dates for the next two meetings on Thursdays are 28 September and 26 October. The next Estates committee meeting will be held on Thursday 12 October. All meetings begin at 7.30 p.m.