DRAFT MINUTES OF THE WEST DEREHAM PARISH COUNCIL MEETING
HELD AT WEST DEREHAM VILLAGE HALL AT 7.30 pm
ON THURSDAY 5 APRIL 2018
PRESENT (Five Councillors):- Pam Bullas (PB), Lorraine Hunt (LH) Chair of Meeting, Paula Kellingray (PK),
Pam Walker (PW) and Claire Williams (CW).
In attendance: Peter King, Parish Clerk, and 6 members of the public.
The Chairman welcomed everyone present to the Parish Council Meeting.
Special Item – Dan Downs, Head of Agriculture, Wissington Refinery, British Sugar (BS)
– Presentation and Question and Answer session.
1. LH welcomed Dan Downs (DD) to the meeting. DD introduced himself by noting that he currently works for the Agriculture Department at Wissington Refinery and has been employed by British Sugar for the past 30 years. DD Presented a series of slides on the overhead projector.
The refinery originally started processing sugar in 1925. DD showed several historical photographs of the Wissington site dating back to 1931. BS currently own approximately 100 acres of land around the refinery and also support a series of glasshouses where medicinal cannabis is grown, together with an area of land set aside for topsoil storage. DD described the relevance of different buildings on the site and their operations. The Wissington refinery is the largest sugar beet processing factory in the world. There used to be 30 sugar refineries in the UK, but now only 4 exist and £250m has been invested by BS in past 5 years into the remaining sites.
DD noted that 50% of the initial processing of sugar beet produces granulated sugar and the remaining residue is liquid that is then turned into sugar at a later date. A Chromatography unit at the back of the site creates other products from the extraction processes including Bi-ethanol and liquid CO2 that is sold to fizzy drink manufacturers. Wissington is the main distribution centre for bagged sugar in the UK.
DD commented that BS is trying to get the message over to the general public that sugar is produced in the UK and not just abroad. 45% of all sugar consumption is refined in the UK and Wissington produces 30% of that. Countries in the European Union can now sell as much sugar as they like and as a result the markets are changing. British Sugar, Including Silver Spoon is part of Associated British Foods, a large group of different companies that operate around the world. About 900 local growers, of approximately 3,500 nationwide, take their sugar beet to Wissington. BS is proud of their carbon footprint and that they do not produce a lot of waste, generally being just office and canteen waste. Smells from chimneys have reduced over the years due to Molasses now being extracted during the initial processing. All the other bi-products of sugar go towards making other products, such as animal feed of which 0.5m tons produced a year.
Last year, 9 million tons of sugar beet was harvested and delivered to BS’s 4 sites, a record crop and Wissington took close to 2.9 million tons producing approximately 0.5 million tons of sugar. This was grown over an area of 30,000 hectares. BS sells about 1 million of a total of 2 million tons of sugar consumed in the UK. The BS Workforce processing sugar beet is approximately 1400 in total with Wissington employing 335 permanent and 70 seasonal employees during the processing time. BS production supports 9,500 jobs all around the UK. The sugar beet yield has gone up over the years due to more efficient technology. The three main inputs into the processing at Wissington as fuel, in the form of gas, sugar beet and limestone brought in from Derbyshire by train and road. The site requires gas to generate its electricity, however the site then creates enough to sell it back into the national grid.
BS is committed to being a good neighbour and will try to work towards finding solutions to local problems and will consider providing financial support to local community projects. BS tries hard to be a responsible business and take Health and Safety very seriously. Sugar beet is 75% water and as a result of processing, BS actually puts more water back into the local river system than it takes out.
DD showed a plan of the pharmaceutical cannabis growing area where the Riverside glasshouse site had been developed and this covers an area of 18 hectares. The glasshouse used to grow 140 million tomatoes but now grows a medicinal cannabis plant on contract for GW Farmer. GW supply the plants and the growing instructions. BS supply the space, the labour and the process to a shredded dry material. The plants are grown under licence from the Home Office. DD noted that there have been recent attempts to break into the site, but the security is very good.
A Parishioner asked about the growing process about whether the plant is cut down or pulled out. DD confirmed that they are cut and the plants are not regrown.
DD commented that LED lights are used to provide warmth and control the plant growth, together with warm water that is produced and piped from the sugar factory.
A Parishioner asked whether the lighting programme was of 16 hours of light, 8 hours of dark. DD was unable to confirm this.
DD noted that when the plants get to a certain size and mass, they are allowed to die and dry out. These are then put through a shedder that removes the stalk and then a dryer to reduce the water content whereby the remaining leaves and flowers are then baled before leaving the site. DD added that the glasshouses have produced 160 tons of the plant material that goes towards producing the drug and that this provides medicines to treat 40,000 children around the world. DD encouraged the public to view a BS on-line video that shows the growing and production process.
A parishioner asked about the measures in place for the release of odours for this year. DD was unable to confirm the plans. Parish Councillors noted that following the inspection of scientific experts last August that their reports had been inconclusive as to identifying the source of the local smell that many parishioners had complained about. The Parishioner commented that it was the Borough Council of King’s Lynn and West Norfolk Environmental Health Department (BCKLWN-EHD) that should be contacted in the event of a pungent smell being detected. DD confirmed that as well as contacting BCKLWN-EHD, Josh Hoopes, Riverside Nursery Manager would be pleased to be contacted and will make local visits to speak to Parishioners if they are experiencing an airborne smell suspected of emanating from the cannabis nurseries. CW noted that BCKLWN-EHD had produced a form for Parishioners to complete and return to report any concerns. Another Parishioner commented that he had been on a visit to the site and he had had to leave the packing area due to a smell. DD noted that the processing area was enclosed.
A Parishioner requested information about the light levels shining out from the glasshouse area. DD commented that he would obtain details and advise the Parish Council.
A Parishioner raised a question about the road markings and behaviour of drivers leaving the Wissington site exit. DD said that he would address the issues.
DD stated that the Wissington site comes under the NCC and the Environment Agency regulatory authorities.
A Parishioner asked about the impact of the Sugar Tax. DD commented that BS sell sugar to the soft drinks market and sells a range of sugar-based products and therefore is unlikely to be affected. Some sugar is sold to some countries in the EU but a majority is in UK.
DD Invited local Parishioners to the Wissington Refinery site for a tour to see the sugar processing and suggested that October would be the best time. The Parish Clerk is to contact DD in October to arrange a visit to the Wissington Refinery.
LH thanked DD and the parishioners for attending.
Apologies for absence
Apologies were received from Councillor Claire Cann (CC) and Councillor Tom Foy (TF). No other apologies were received.
2. Declaration of Interest on agenda items
No declarations were made.
3. Use of social media, audio recording of meeting and invitation for public contributions
LH asked “Will anyone present be filming, recording, blogging, or tweeting during this meeting?” There was no response from the members of the public present. LH advised members of the public that if they wished to comment on any item, before a decision was made, they should raise their hand and they would be invited to speak.
4. Minutes of the Parish Council meeting held on 1 March 2018
LH confirmed all Councillors had seen the minutes of the Parish Council meeting held on 1 March 2018.
The councillors agreed that they were content and that the minutes should be signed as a true record. LH signed the minutes.
5. Matters Arising from the Minutes
6.2.1 Norfolk County Council Highways Department outstanding issues – The Parish Clerk confirmed that he had written to Freebridge Housing to determine ownership of the trackway to side of 10 Ryston Road and was waiting for a response. LH questioned whether the Parish Clerk had contacted Norfolk County Council Highways Department (NCC-HD) regarding a register of information mentioned by a Parishioner at the last Parish Council meeting. The Parish Clerk said that he had not but would question NCC-HD on the information held. The Parish Clerk confirmed that the property in question was 10 Ryston Road.
6.2.3 Norfolk Association of Local Councils (NALC) Membership Fees 2018/19 – The Parish Clerk reported that Norfolk Association of Local Councils (NALC) stated that they were ‘now charging £30.00 for the provision of the parish website over the coming year, which provides you with website hosting, website maintenance as well as your training and support’.
6.2.4 Allotment Holders annual payments – The Parish Clerk confirmed that all payments had been received.
6.2.6 Local Police Street Briefings – The Parish Clerk reported that he had not received any further information about the Briefings and wondered whether the Police had decided to resurrect their contact with the public at the Downham Market Safer Neighbourhood Action Panel (SNAP) in its place.
6.2.7 Speed Monitor, Station Road – The Parish Clerk reported that a position on Station Road had been identified to locate an additional speed monitor that would be at a cost of £89.00 plus VAT.
6.6 Glazewing Report, bomb scare – The Parish Clerk confirmed that he had written to both Fire and Rescue and Police services and was waiting for a response.
10.3 Disciplinary and Grievance Policy – The Parish Clerk noted that he had not as yet checked the two website links to see if they were still up to date.
13 Potholes – LH thanked PW for contacting Highways Department (NCC-HD) who promptly addressed a number of pothole problems in the The Row, Ryston Road.
It was noted that other Matters Arising items would be covered on the meeting agenda.
6.1 Chairman’s Report –
6.1.1 Work carried out for the Parish Council – LH expressed her thanks to Nick Drew of West Dereham Plant Hire for digging the holes for the trees in the green burial area within the cemetery, at no cost. LH also expressed her thanks to Neil Mason of Masson Seeley for making and installing a commemorative sign attached to the goalpost in the recreation ground, also at no cost. LH added that the Parish Council are very grateful to receive these gestures of goodwill as it helps the finances to be directed at other projects.
6.1.2 BCKLWN – Planning Department Session – LH reported that she attended with CC and the Parish Clerk a BCKLWN planning session on 6th March 2018 at the Town Hall in King’s Lynn that was held free of charge. LH noted the following key points:
a. The time in which Parish Councils have to give their views on planning applications is to be further reduced. This means in order to give Parishioners the opportunity to comment, it will almost certainly be necessary to call interim special planning Parish Council meetings.
b. There will be a form of outline planning permission where applicants are not required to give much in the way of detail. It is in the detail which so often produces challenges and objections and there could be a danger that once planners have agreed to something in principle, they will be reluctant to pull back on it.
LH noted that she felt the proposed changes re-enforced the aspiration to have a Neighbourhood Plan since this would give the West Dereham community direct power to have a say on where we would like new homes and what they should look like. LH added that West Dereham is a small parish with lots of going on, but hopefully it will be back on our agenda soon.
6.2 Parish Clerk’s Report –
6.2.1 HMRC – The Parish Clerk reported that he had not received any response to his enquiry to the HMRC regarding the unexpected receipt of £526.55 in January 2018, but that he would pursue the matter again.
6.2.2 Barclays Bank – The Parish Clerk reported on two items:
6.2.2 a. That after lengthy consultation with Barclays, he noted that he had been given assurance during a telephone call that he would now be the agreed point of contact to receive correspondence on behalf of the Parish Council.
6.2.3 b. That the Parish Councillors had applied for a debit card and that he had received telephone assurance that a card would be dispatched in the next few days.
6.2.4 The Parish Clerk noted that Barclays, quite correctly, would not confirm the current named Councillors who are signatories to the Parish Council bank payments. PB commented that she believed that there were currently only three of the existing councillors who were signatories and that this should be addressed and updated.
6.2.3 Temporary Road Closure – The Parish Clerk reported that he had received a notification from NCC of a temporary road closure on 17th April at the junction of Hilgay Road and Ryston Road that is due to last approximately 6 hours whilst work takes place to replace a 1410 metre section of overhead electrical cable. The Parish Clerk noted that the information provided was unclear whether it was a section of Ryston Road or Hilgay Road that would be affected and added that further details were on the Parish Council website. Parish Councillors reported that they had received notifications of closure sent to those living in Ryston Road and of the replacement of electricity poles in Church Road and Station Roads
6.2.4 Beacon – The Parish Clerk reported that he had written to the two local farmers who had objected to the siting of the beacon in the West Dereham Cemetery, but had not received any feedback from either of them.
6.2.5 Ground Maintenance – The Parish Clerk reported that he had held a meeting with the manager of Holly Landscapes to review the work being carried out in the Cemetery area.
6.3 Handyman’s Report –
The Parish Clerk provided Roy Poole (RP), the Handyman’s Report of work carried out during March 2018, noting the following actions:-
1. Speeding Monitor – Moved the Speed Monitor from Station Road to Hilgay Road. The Parish Clerk reported that whilst in Station Road, It appeared that one of the retaining padlocks had been vandalised and RP was required to use bolt cutters to remove and replace it with a new padlock. The Parish Clerk commented that RP had to replace the rechargeable battery, but noted that the speed monitor providers had quoted that the battery life was adjudged to be between 5 and 7 days before recharging was necessary. LH requested that if there is a repeat of the damage to the padlocks, to take photographic evidence and report the matter to the Police.
2. Green Burial area – Visited the Cemetery and planted out the 10 remaining flowering cherry trees
3. Remembrance Garden – Removed weeds from the border and garden edges and canes from bushes that no longer require their support.
4. Cemetery Chain Link – Brought to the attention of the Parish Clerk damage to the boundary chain link. The Parish Clerk noted that he had discussed this with the ground maintenance company who will take remedial action.
The Parish Clerk noted that he had requested RP to prioritise the painting of the metal surrounding railing to the Churchyard war memorial before tackling the village road bridges.
6.4 Police Report –
PK noted that she had not received any recent reports from the local Police but suggested that Parishioners should be careful of security concerning garden thefts relating to lawn mowers and shed break-ins.
6.5 Village Hall Report –
PK reported that the Easter holiday period had been very successful by hosting several events, including a family fun day that was well received. PK noted that the Village Hall is still operating at between one and two hall bookings per month from people living outside of the village. PK commented that the appeal placed in the Village Magazine for donations from Parishioners towards a replacement fridge had reached £200 for which the Village Hall Committee was very grateful. PW and CW expressed their thanks to PK for the considerable time and energy dedicated to the preparatory work and organisation of the recent Easter events and noted that one event had drawn a lot of interest from people living in Wereham.
6.6 Glazewing Report –
PB reported that a letter had been received from the Office of the Traffic Commissioner (OTC) regarding Glazewing. PB noted that she had not received any feedback of Bank Holiday operations at the yard taking place, although operators were working over the period. PB commented that the OTC correspondence had stated that Glazewing had submitted an application for an Operator’s Licence for what they call the proposed Operating Centre, Scrap Yard and Station Yard, Station Road, West Dereham for 14 goods vehicles and 4 trailers. PB noted that this would apply to the haulage yard, previously known as the Station yard, between the two station houses, which is the Glazewing Operators Licence that they lost at the end of last year. Glazewing have been granted what is understood to be an interim Licence for the time being and now they are re-applying for a new Licence. PB acknowledged that LH had successfully obtained a copy of the newspaper posting of the public notice in the press submitted on Thursday 29th March. PB noted that the public or owners and occupiers of land near the operating centre, who believe that their use or enjoyment of that land would be affected, should make written representations to the Traffic Commissioner stating their reasons within 21 days of this notice. PB stated that if anybody had any strong feelings about Glazewing actually using the site again, they have about 14 days to make their representation after this evening’s meeting.
A parishioner asked to clarify the number of operational vehicles that they were permitted to use in the past and it was noted that it was officially 14 goods vehicles and 4 trailers.
PB quoting the Notice, stated that representors must at the same time send a copy of their representations to the applicant at the address given at the top of the notice and adhere to a Guide of Making Representations, Objections and Complaints as noted in the OTC letter. PB noted that this has no relevance to the state of the road or anything to do with traffic but the main reasons being noise, visual intrusion, vibration, fumes and pollution that can be contested. PB added that she had started her letter of objection and that she was planning to focus on pollution, as a result of the fly situation in the last two years, citing that although the flies were actually traced to the waste transfer site as opposed the haulage yard, the Environment Agency were very stringent in the way they that said about the spraying the yard, however there was no mention of spraying the vehicles which the operators want to store in the haulage yard. PB said that she would question what measures would be taken for the 14 lorries and 4 trailers that they want to store in the haulage yard to ensure that they do not cause further fly infestation. PB added that Noise is also an issue with a lorry regularly leaving the area at 3.00-3.30 in the morning. PB also noted smells and visual intrusion in the form of litter being a concern. PB commented that she had been producing regular reports to the Northern Intelligence Unit who are the organization who are supposed to police the regulations that say that Glazewing have been regularly breaching their Operators Licence. PB noted that the last communication sent was on 20th February when 19 trailers were recorded as being parked in their yard. PB stated that It shouldn’t be down to local residents to police the situation. LH noted that the letter from the OTC states that they do not have any jurisdiction over other named companies using the site.
LH reported that the Parish Councillors had written a letter addressed to Chris Rowe, Transport Manager at Glazewing copying it to a number of Council and Departmental leaders and asked the Parish Clerk if there had been any responses? The Parish Clerk noted that Liz Truss MP requested to be kept informed of any developments and Councillor Brian Long, leader of BCKLWN responded stating that it was really a NCC matter and suggested that Tom McCabe, Executive Director of NCC Community & Environmental Services should be advised. The Parish Clerk commented that Tom McCabe had been sent a copy of the letter and that he had acknowledged it noted that it had been forwarded onto an officer in his department. LH noted that we have to keep pressing on this letter.
A Parishioner commented that the situation would be so much easier if a roadway could be built between the Glazewing site and through to College Road. He also expressed concern at the other lorries using the Glazewing site from other organisations speeding in Station Road. PB noted that it was the Environmental Agency (EA) who ensured that Glazewing had to change their practices by local people contacting them the Agency (EA) and making complaints.
A Parishioner questioned whether the amount of waste generated from the local Crimplesham site may now be reduced following the introduction of charges to deposit materials. LH requested that a notice be added to the Parish website to advise local people of the objection timeframe.
7.1 Accounts for March Advance payments.
7.1.1 Cash Book and Cash Flow March 2018 – The Parish Clerk displayed the Cash Flow on the overhead projector, followed by the Cash Book noting that during March, there had been income received of £0.81 in bank interest and a grant from the Transparency Fund of £130.01 to cover the purchase of a scanner for the Parish Clerk and provide training in the use of WordPress software that is used for the Parish website. The Parish Clerk noted that the final annual payments for the allotments had now been received and reminded Parish Councillors that in paying Roy Poole, the Handyman this month that a sum of £2.00 per month for 15 months for the charging of the speed monitor batteries would be included.
7.1.2 Cheque Payments for Approval for March 2018 – The Parish Clerk displayed the itemised pending payments on the overhead projector.
Payee Cheque No Net VAT Gross Remarks
Anglian Water 101010 £10.52 £0.00 £10.52 Water Bill for cemetery
BCKLWN 101011 £274.56 £54.91 £329.47 Waste Collection from Dog Bins
Holly Landscapes 101012 £487.54 £97.50 £585.0 Ground Maintenance – March 2018
P.King (Parish Clerk) 101013
£680.76 £0.00 £680.76 Staff Salary (5 week month) and expenses – Mar 18
209.56 £0.00 £209.56 Handyman’s Payment, Charging payment & Travel – Mar 18
Total £1,662.90 £152.41 £1,815.31
LH asked the Councillors present if they were content with the payments. All Councillors noted they were content. LH concluded that the cheques and control processes would be signed off at the end of the meeting.
7.2 Approval of resolution for Parish Councillors to use a Debit Card banking facility
It was agreed that the Parish Councillors should have the use of a Debit Card banking facility. Proposed by CW and seconded by PK. All Councillors were in agreement.
8. Ditches – Update
The Parish Clerk reported that he had written to Barry Hawkins, agent of the landowner of the field adjacent to identify responsibility of the ditch running along the length of The Row, Ryston Road and had received the following reply:
To help the council I have now had the opportunity of looking at the dyke in question. I can confirm that members of the Robinson family do own it. There is a Farm Business Tenancy in favour of Glover West Dereham Farming. However, can you please send any further communications through me. The road side dyke is I think the major problem that you are referring to and not the dyke adjoining the footpath.
Firstly, I am not a drainage expert but my view is that even if you were to take a spit from the dyke, the level at the outfall is above the existing base of the dyke where there is a culvert under the footpath. This looks as though this has been cleared and water is running towards the old dairy on Manor Farm, unless it runs to the Village Hall? When I viewed the dyke, there didn’t appear to be a problem but I can see that the water level has been considerably higher. It is my understanding that at one point there were some inhabitants of The Row who were possibly emptying their surface water into the road and then hence the dyke. I will do all I can to help but I can at the present time see no problem.
LH asked the Parish Clerk to contact Mr Hawkins and ask him if he would like to provide an out of hours emergency contact number for the Parish Council to include in its Business Continuity Plan please.
PK commented that the adjoining field in question is draining into the Village Hall’s septic tank and is being emptied twice a month at a monthly cost of £110.00 and maybe Mr Hawkins would like to consider contributing towards the costs, noting that as soon as it rains and drains from the field, the cess pit level raises. Parish Councillors agreed that the ditch needs to be dredged but should seek an expert opinion. The Parish Clerk was asked to contact Nick Pratt, Chairman of the Stoke Ferry Drainage Board to seek advice.
LH noted that the meeting had now taken two hours long and according to the Parish Council’s Standing orders required approval to continue with the meeting. All Councillors were content for the meeting to continue.
Parish Council Internal Affairs and Policies
9.1 Action Plan
LH noted that the item for the request of a goalpost should now be removed. LH asked the Councillors present if they were content with the revised policy. All Councillors noted they were content. LH noted that the policy had been revised.
9.2 Allotment Tenancy Agreement
PB proposed that as Parish Councillors were due to carry out a quarterly inspection on Saturday 7th April that review of the policy should be deferred. The proposal was seconded by LH and all Councillors agreed.
9.3 Handling Complaints Policy
LH commented that the Local Government Ombudsman should now be addressed as the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman and all references need to be updated throughout the Policy. LH asked the Councillors present if they were content with the revised policy. All Councillors noted they were content. LH noted that the policy had been revised.
10. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
LH commented that the new GDPR comes into effect on 25th May 2018 and that the National Association of Local Councils had provided a Toolkit to help Parish Councils with its introduction. The Parish Clerk commented that he will work his way through the Toolkit and bring any actions to Councillors attentions. LH requested that GDPR should remain a regular agenda item.
The Parish Clerk noted that all correspondence received had been raised under other items on the meeting agenda.
12. To receive further reports/items of business for the next Agenda
The next Parish Council Agenda will include the following items:
• General Data Protection Regulation
13. Date of Next Meeting – Annual General Meeting on Thursday 3rd May 2018 at 7.30pm
The Chairman noted that the Annual Parish Meeting will be held on Wednesday 25th April 2018 at 7.00pm with reports received from all the relevant village organisations.
14. Open Forum
There were no further questions raised from the Parishioners present.
Closure : The Chairman thanked everyone for attending, and final closure of the meeting was at 9.14 pm.
There were no further items raised by members of the Public present.
Next meeting is the Parish Council Annual General Meeting on Thursday 3rd May 2018 at 7.30pm with Open Surgery from 7.00pm.
Clerk: Peter King – Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Telephone: 01366 502110
Chairman’s signature …………………………………… Date ………………………