Surlingham Parish Council – Minutes of 20 October 2020 (Draft)


Minutes of the virtual meeting held on Tuesday 20 October 2020 at 7:30p.m

Attending: Councillors John Broom, Richard Atkins, Pat Scowen, Phil Reeve. Norfolk county and South Norfolk District Councillor Vic Thomson, Clerk Janet Rogers and one member of the public.

1 Welcome by the Chairman

2 Apologies and approval of absences – Dave Swinborne and Will Mack

3 Declarations of Interest – None

4 To approve as accurate the minutes of the meeting on 15 September 2020 – Agreed

5 Matters arising from the minutes of those minutes – None

6 Outstanding matters arising from the minutes of 21 July 2020 Item 6 positioning of the SAMs machine – Now in position on The Street. Clerk to notify Chair when it needs to be moved and data downloaded. Item 12 Removal of tree and dyke clearance – Unless there is a prolonged hard frost this work will be left until the Spring. Item 13 Disposal of old Parish Mower – Mr & Mrs Rix are currently storing the old mower, which is no longer needed by the Parish Council. Councillors agreed to write to Mr & Mrs Rix to ask if they wished either to take responsibility for it or have the Parish Council remove it.

The new mower has been purchased for use solely on land for which the Parish Council has responsibility.  Mowing will be carried out by person(s) authorised by the Parish Council through the Parish Clerk; this authorisation will be confirmed in writing and is necessary to ensure compliance with Health & Safety, Insurance and the council’s duty of care.

7 Respond to the resignation of Councillor Stiff – Councillor asked the clerk to reply on behalf of the council to thank Mr Stiff for his commitment and contribution to the Parish Council both in discussions and the work on the play park. Clerk reported SNDC had given the go ahead to advertise for co-option to fill the vacancy. It was agreed to ask for submissions with background information be submitted to the clerk. A virtual meeting will be arranged for 10 November 2020 for councillors to make a decision. The new councillor would then be able to join the next council meeting on the 17 November 2020.

8 Progress reports Councillors/Clerk – Clerk reported that the picnic bench had been delivered. Once installed this will complete the work on the playpark funded through the Surlingham Charities grant. The Clerk asked if the Councillors would like a letter of thanks and explanation of how the money was spent sent to Surlingham Charities – Agreed. Eastern Play Services had completed the Health and Safety check on the play park and several minor defects had been highlighted. Councillors asked to have time to consider the report and discuss at the next meeting. Orange Fox will be completing the annual Portable Appliance Testing at the hall on the 26th October 2020. SNDC asked for the annual report on CIL expenditure Clerk reported the £560.90 had not been spent.

9 Public Question Time not exceeding 15 minutes – It was reported that another tree had fallen at the Staithe and some reed clearance required. Councillor Atkins suggested volunteers could form a working party in the late winter or early Spring to deal with it. Councillor Reeve said several canoe owners had offered to help with this work. Chair asked that this be added to the next agenda.

10 To receive reports from the County and District Councillor – County and District Councillor Vic Thomson gave his reports which were circulated to councillors and posted on

11 Update Surlingham Footpath1 – Councillor Atkins reported on his conference call on 17 September 2020 with Lewis Treloar – Broads Authority, Lawrence Malyon NCC – Community and Environmental Services, and Vic Thomson SNDC.

Broads Authority have put forward a proposal to use sausage profiled “Rock Bundles” back filled with dredging to repair several Riverside Paths including Bramerton FP5 and Surlingham FP1. The solution provides good erosion protection whilst ensuring quick re-naturalisation.

A bid for CIL (Community Infrastructure Levy ) funding is being made. The initial response is positive with a decision expected in Dec 2020. If approved work is to commence by April 2021.

Actions points from the call were

1. BA to speak to Landowner re proposal – supported by landowner in theory, discussions ongoing.

2. Councillor Thomson to speak to SNDC Countryside Access Officer to ensure that they would support the plan and agree ongoing maintenance of the paths. – initial call was held with follow up planned 19-10-2020.

3. Next steps – CIL funding decision Dec 2020, Set-up and document agreements for the improvement works, access agreements and ongoing maintenance of the paths including Surlingham FP1

Councillor Atkins also asked for a letter from Bramerton Parish Council to Councillor Thomson concerning river pollution to be circulated to councillors. The quality of the water has deteriorated considerably mainly caused by overflow sewers discharging into the Yare and the Wensum in Norwich and the debris washing up along the river banks at Bramerton and Surlingham.

12 Village signage – Councillors initially confirmed the discussions from the previous meeting regarding the ‘No Cycling’ sign. The wording/size/colour was agreed. Moving on to the village signs. These are the yachts at either end of the parish one has been broken and they both need refreshing. Chair asked the clerk to contact NCC Highways to ask what the restrictions are around village signs before discussion goes any further.

13 Consider raising awareness of uneven highway, Bramerton Road – This matter has been dealt with. Rabbits burrowing into the bank had created a hump and caused damage to tyres. Councillor Atkins removed the earthworks. No animals were harmed.

14 Consider request to limit speed to 40mph on Surlingham Lane – The Clerk has already responded to this email on behalf of the council and councillors agreed that the issue of the Surlingham lane speed limit might be raised jointly by Surlingham and Rockland parish councils. Discussion ensued on speed limits within the village.  Far more people are walking on our roads since the start of the pandemic – for exercise as well as to take children to and from school.  Walkers from further afield also walk our roads and this too has increased. Within the village there are roads still covered by the national speed limit and this causes councillors’ concern. Chair asked that Councillor Scowen and the Clerk draw up a letter to send to NCC Highways to consider reviewing this.

15 Consider request for reduction in hourly rate for private hire of Parish Hall – Councillors agreed a temporary and variable discount for private hirers during the period of covid restriction which limit their usual numbers attending.  Current discount agreed as 20%. Background – The hall was closed from March to August, during that period the running costs of approximately £2k were paid by the council. Councils receive their income in the form of a precept currently £7639 which comes from the council tax paid by the residents. The precept covers the cost of running the parish. Income from the hall covers the running costs with any surplus forming the reserves. Surlingham’s reserve is held primarily for repairs to the parish hall. In August SNDC provided the council with a small business (covid-19 support) grant of £10k for the parish hall enabling the parish account to be reimbursed. Without knowing how long this crisis will last the council needs to be prudent with the remaining grant. Councillors would like to provide support while they can. However, with winter approaching and rising energy costs all expenditure needs to be closely monitored. It may be necessary to reduce the discount as necessary and revoke it if it becomes unsustainable.

16 Finance – a) Agree September Quarterly Statement – agreed b) Authorise Payments – Payments R Hardingham £105, J Rogers £568.30, Household expenses £15.15 Travel £5.40 Hall – Hand tissues £2.00, A Hardingham £100, Annual rent for play park £5, Ben Burgess £612, Earth Anchors Picnic Bench £723.60, Stationery £22.38

17 Correspondence: Number of emails processed 93. 47 circulated to councillors to 13 October 2020

18 To note items for inclusion on the next council agenda – Play Park H&S report, NCC response to Village sign and Speeding, Working party for Staithe, Budget/Precept 2021/22

19 To confirm the date of the next meeting 17 November 2020, meeting closed 9:30 p.m.

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