West Dereham Parish Council – October meeting

PRESENT (5 Councillors): – Pam Bullas (PB), Claire Cann (CC) – Chair, Lorraine Hunt (LH), Pam Walker (PW) Claire Williams (CW).
Clerk: Sarah Thorpe
9 members of the public were in attendance.
Papers presented to Councillors: (i) Financial Management Report (spreadsheet); (ii) Expenditure (for approval); (iii) Draft budget for 2017/18; (iv) Glazewing report.
The Chairman welcomed everyone present and opened the meeting.

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Letter From Councillor Lawson

Dear Editor
I noted with interest Mr. Lawrence’s comment in the October Pump regarding parish councils, and I wondered if it might be helpful for readers to know very briefly something of the history and operation of PCs.
Parish Councils are not like any other village organisation; they are local government, the first of three tiers (the others being District and County) and their conduct is prescribed by law in the same way that Parliament’s is, though obviously with rather different levels of responsibility.
Parish Councils were first legislated for in the 1894 Local Government Act, which formalised their duties, powers, and restrictions. Subsequent Acts over the past century have continued to define how they must, may, and must not operate, and a very few provisions still remain from the 1894 Act. However, the most recent legislation which today governs almost all aspects of parish council operation is contained in the Local Government Act 1972 and the Localism Act 2011.
Parish councillors are elected or co-opted to represent the views and wishes of their electorate, and similarly are restricted, by law, in their actions.
If readers are interested in knowing some of the quirks and oddities of parish council remits, I’d be more than happy to write further.
Yours sincerely
Judith Lawson
Parish Councillor, Stoke Ferry

November Gardening

November is the time for clearing the garden. If you are planning on having a bonfire check carefully before they are lit for sheltering and hibernating animals, such as hedgehogs, toads and frogs.
November can be quite a busy month in the garden. The first job to do is move anything remotely tender into a greenhouse. If you cannot move susceptible plants cover them with horticultural fleece and place a thick layer of dry mulch, such as straw, around the base of the plant to protect the roots from the cold. Another method to protect plants is to make a wire cage around the plant, fill this with straw completely covering the plant, and then wrap fleece around the cage. This method works particularly well for tree ferns and banana plants. Containers can become waterlogged if left on the ground so raise them where possible on feet, tiles or even bricks. Bubble wrap can be wrapped around pots to prevent container grown plants roots from freezing however never use bubble wrap around plants, as the plants will sweat.
Cut down herbaceous stems and clear the tatty remains of annuals, but do leave a little cover of the perennials that fade relatively elegantly (sedum, astilbes and grasses for example). They will provide winter interest as well as some much needed wildlife shelter – ladybirds especially appreciate winter quarters and will repay your hospitality by disposing of aphids in industrial quantities next year. Leaving sodden debris and fallen leaves around plants will only encourage pests and disease.
Now is also the perfect time to move plants which have either outgrown their allotted space, or were simply not right in the first place as they will be relatively dormant and there is still enough warmth in the soil to allow them to become established before the harsh weather sets in. Thorough soil preparation is essential so dig in plenty of composted manure or organic mater. When planting firm well (however do not over firm as this will drive out air from the soil and can be more damaging than loose planting) and mulch well. Newly planted trees, shrubs and hedges may require staking and protection from the elements with a temporary netting windbreak if the spot is exposed. November is the perfect month for planting bare root hedging and roses. Bare root plants should be planted as soon as possible before the roots dry out.
Plant tulip bulbs now – later than most bulbs, but a late planting may help reduce problems with the disease tulip fire. Use only healthy, undamaged, mould-free bulbs and plant at a depth of two or three times the bulb height. If you’ve not yet planted other spring flowering bulbs (Daffodils/ Crocus/ Snowdrops etc) or sown sweet pea seeds, then this too should be done asap.
Here are my other top tips for November:
• Prune rose bushes by half to prevent damage from wind rock
• Net Brassicas and Gooseberries to prevent damage from birds
• Clean slippery paths and driveways
• Prune apple trees
• Place grease bands around fruit trees to protect them from winter moths.
Whatever November brings I hope you are able to spend some time in your garden.
Rachel Sobiechowski BSc (Hons) P&R Garden Supplies, Fengate Drove, Brandon 01842 814800 www.p-rgardensupplies.co.uk