STOKE FERRY PARISH COUNCIL MEETING MARCH 2020

STOKE FERRY PARISH COUNCIL
Draft (until approved at the next meeting)
Minutes of the Ordinary Meeting held on
Wednesday 4 March 2020 at 7.00 pm in Stoke Ferry Village Hall
Present:
Cllr Sue Lintern (Chair)
Cllr Kit Hesketh-Harvey
Cllr Mandy Leamon
Cllr Trudy Mann
Cllr Gail Reeve
Cllr Donna Stocking
Cllr Janet Taylor
Helen Richardson (Parish Clerk and Financial Responsible Person)
Also, in attendance:
Cllr Colin Sampson, BCKLWN
Cllr Martin Storey, NCC
Chris Philpott, Footpath Warden
Public: 2
63/20 Emergency Evacuation Procedures was read by the Chair.
64/20 Openness and Transparency Notice – The Parish Council record the meeting. The Chair notified the public of this. The Chair also advised that any aggressive or abusive behaviour towards members of the Parish Council, staff or members of the public will not be tolerated. If this happens you will be asked to leave and if necessary, the meeting will be suspended.
65/20 To receive and accept apologies for absence – Cllr Jim McNeill (Vice Chair) (illness).
66/20 To receive Declarations of Interest from Members on any item to be discussed – Cllr Janet Taylor declared an interest on the payments for approval item and it was agreed that she would not vote (minute 84/20). Cllr Trudy Mann declared an interest on the item regarding the Bluebell and declared that she wished to abstain from voting (minute 69/20).
67/20 To approve the Minutes of the Ordinary Meeting 5 February 2020 – The minutes of the ordinary meeting held on 5 February 2020 were proposed for approval as a correct record by Cllr Gail Reeve, seconded by Cllr Janet Taylor, five were in favour and two abstained due to be absent from the meeting.
68/20 Matters Arising (and Clerk’s Report)
Buckenham Drive Land Transfer – The Clerk recently chased them for a response, and they acknowledged and responded to say they would respond as soon as possible. The Chair asked that for the Clerk share with the BCKLWN a concern of attachment to the Mill and request a response.
Mill Liaison Committee – The Clerk emailed the Mill Manager with the Term of Reference for the Committee regarding it continuation and awaits a response.
Indigo Streetlights – There was no update currently, but it is progressing via Norfolk County Council. There were also sewage considerations also in the road the BCKLWN and NCC needed to work on.
Village Gates – Had been installed at Bridge Road and Lynn Road. Cllr Trudy Mann wished to compliment Steve and Dave for their great work on the day in helping the Clerk and Cllr Trudy Mann in the siting of the gates and the installation. The Clerk agreed to pass the thanks to the Norfolk County Council. A discussion took place regarding the signage for the gates and this will be worked on during the month for approval at the next meeting.
Recovery Plan – The Clerk had sent the Recovery Plan to the Emergency Planning team as a tool for them to use as the authority on recovering following any incident. Leaflets had been provided to residents from BCKLWN in 2019.

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Ron’s Rambles

Britain’s Housing Crisis
There has been a series on BBC looking at some of the problems facing local councils and others trying to help people in need of housing. We all know that the situation is bad, but it takes a programme like that to show just how bad it is. There are people living in squalor that you would not believe, rat infested areas, dead rats lying in alleyways, interior walls green with mildew, and they are paying private landlords exorbitant rents for the pleasure. There was one man with a family, a hard-working man with a wife with a debilitating illness, who was paying £2000 a month rent for a house that was not really fit to live in. At a time when there are just not enough houses it is criminal to allow extortion by landlords, because that is what it is. Much of the time in the programme has been devoted to efforts by councils to bring back into use properties that have been left empty for a long period, many of them derelict. A praiseworthy effort, no home should be left empty when people are crying out for shelter, but it is only scratching at the surface of the problem.
We are slipping back into the bad old days that I remember from my childhood and never thought I would see again. In 1942, at the height of the war, the government gave approval to a report by William Beveridge which has come to be regarded as the blue-print for the welfare state, in those days there was a genuine wish by all politicians to improve the life of the least well off and, after the war, we saw most of Beveridge’s plan put into action, but now we are almost back to where we were. If Beveridge were still alive, he would be weeping.
The root of the problem lies with Mrs Thatcher’s deregulation of the private renting sector together with the ‘Right to Buy’ policy. It was bad enough to force councils to sell houses for less than they would cost to replace, although perhaps fair enough for those who had lived there paying their rent for many years, but to forbid the councils from using the money to build new homes ensured that there would be fewer houses available for the council to house those in no position to buy. It also ensured that there would be fewer new houses being built. It was truly a crime perpetrated against the least well off, a crime committed by our own government.
Some of those that did purchase their council house at a bargain price suddenly found themselves with a substantial equity, and some of them had never before had more than two beans. A number showed some lack of wisdom and yielded to the temptation to realise that equity. People in more fortunate circumstances saw the opportunity to invest in these houses and became private landlords and commenced renting those houses at far higher rents than the council had been charging. The situation was made worse when people with money were able to borrow money easily and cheaply and many houses that came on the market were bought on borrowed money by those intending to rent them out. Forcing the house prices up and ever-increasing rents.
You all know all this, it is a situation of the government’s making, and, since Mrs Thatcher’s government created the situation, successive governments have sat on their hands and watched. I was a young man in the post-war period, I watched with some excitement and some joy at what the Labour government and councils of the day were doing in an effort to ease the housing shortage that had arisen as a result of enemy action and the inability to build during the war. I saw thousands of prefab buildings erected, they were cheap and not to a standard that would be acceptable today, but many people loved their prefabs and some were sorry when they were demolished decades later. I saw whole new towns, Crawley, Bracknell, Stevenage, Welwyn and Hatfield, Harlow, and tower blocks of new flats in the existing towns, flats that people were overjoyed to live in. Yes, it was realised later tower blocks had their short comings, but the effort was there (many of those tower blocks are now in private ownership and have expensive flats). They built a million homes, 80% were council. The next Tory government continued the programme, and pursued a policy of slum clearance, that was the time when the Tory Party was a caring Party, not the pretend one that it is today.
The current situation is a national disgrace of enormous proportions. At last the restriction on council house building has been lifted, allowing councils to borrow to build may help, but councils have been so starved of cash that they can hardly contemplate heavy borrowing, so that is not going to solve the housing crisis. Theresa May’s government did make promises of building hundreds of thousands of homes, but they did not actually do very much, relying on the private sector and not doing anything very much to encourage, or ease the path for private developers. Help to buy schemes for first time buyers seem to have pushed prices higher so that the help is swallowed up by price increase. Boris has said very little about housing, I’m not sure that he knows a crisis exists.
Ten years ago, following an in-depth study, Sir William Marmot produced a report; ‘Fair Society, Healthy Lives’. Recently he has produced a new report; ‘Health Equity: The Marmot Review 10 Years On’. His conclusion was that life expectancy has stalled for the first time in 100years and for women in poorest communities it has declined, he concluded that England has lost a decade. Much of the problem with ill health is due to poor housing.
What is needed is a full-scale assault on the housing problem with some of the vigour that was shown back in 1945-55.

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WHAT DOES THE DOCTOR THINK THIS MONTH? – APRIL

CALL CENTRES: I think I am turning into Victor Meldrew (Head Office thinks this happened years ago!). It has just taken me 45 minutes on hold to speak to Bromsgrove District Council Bin collection about the start date for my garden waste brown bin collections. The service operates from March until November and, as I no longer have a compost heap (sob sob) it is a useful service. The annual bill came in January telling me that the service would recommence in February/March and that I should check the website for the start date. If that failed, I should ring a number printed on the letter. For weeks, their website has been telling me to check the “Bin lookup” section but this is still unavailable! So, because their website is rubbish, I have had to stay “on hold” for 45 minutes to obtain the answer to a simple question. When the call started, I was told that I was second in the queue. When the lady answered, she told me that I should understand that this is a particularly busy time of year (why?) and that, as she was in finance, she could not deal with this question She transferred me to Environmental Services who were also suffering a high volume of calls and, after a few minutes telling me how important my call was, they transferred me to an answering machine. I left a message and I decided to complain to the Borough Council. Under their “How to complain by telephone” section,,the website told me to ring the same number which had kept me on hold for 45 minutes. So, I complained by Email and received an apologetic ‘phone call from Angela who told me that they had been having trouble with their website and that she would get a manager to ring me so that I could tell him how better to run his business (my words, not hers). I am still waiting to hear from the manager and from Environmental services.
You may have noticed that telephone numbers are disappearing from all sorts of organisations’ documentation, presumably because they want us to use the internet. Fair enough unless the website is duff or we don’t have a computer. The call centres are almost always experiencing a higher than usual volume of calls but our call is most important. Don’t start me on British Airways with their 45 minutes on hold policy before they pick up.
Thank you for your patience – I feel better now.
THE GYMNASIUM: Management and I have hibernated during the winter; it rains every day so we have let the fitness levels slip (no comments, please!) and thought we should do something about it. The local secondary school has a splendid gymnasium which is open to the public from 5pm daily (subscription £12.50 per month per adult). One of the members of the Free Church we have joined has a history of heart problems and encouraged us to join him; we now go for an hour at 5pm three days a week and we are getting used to the machines and how to use them. I started on a cycling machine which made my hip start to dislocate so I soon stopped that and went to the cross trainer where you put your feet in the trays and hold onto the handles. Then, as you “walk”, the feet and arms move in harmony. I started off and was finding it quite difficult when my friend came over and told me I was going backwards. I reversed the flow and found it easier. Many of the machines develop upper limb and upper body strengths, when we next meet, you might mistake me for Tarzan. I once met a USAF serviceman in Feltwell Post Office. He said “Do you pump iron?”. “NO”. Hopefully, I shall be able to fool him again before too long.

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King’s Lynn & West Norfolk BC

50 things you can do to tackle climate change
We are surrounded by fear of climate change, so I have downloaded a simple list of 50 things we can all do to make a difference. The longest journey starts will the smallest step so please look at my list and consider whether you can incorporate some of these measures into your life style. As a bonus some of them will improve your own health too!
What is a climate emergency?
There are many scientists who have reported on rapid changes in the climate and it is a fear of the consequences of these that concerns us all. It is believed that to restore balance action needs to be taken to counter the extreme rapidity of observed variations in long terms weather patterns and by extension physical phenomena, whether these be a rise in seas levels, increased intensity of storms or the loss of fertile land to drought. In particular the world is getting warmer due to increases the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. By declaring climate emergency we create a political framework which allows for more rapid response to the crisis and involve all communities at local, regional and international level in making the changes to lifestyle necessary to manage the growth in carbon dioxide output.
50 things you can do to tackle the climate emergency
1. Drive less
Lace up those boots for shorter journeys and take public transport or cycle when you can. Taking your car off the road for one day a week can really make a difference. Cars are said to account for 60.7 per cent of total CO2 emissions from road transport in Europe.
2. Brush with bamboo
The first plastic toothbrush was made in the 1930s. Since it takes 400 years for them to decompose, nearly every single toothbrush made since then is still out there. So think about that for a minute while you’re getting ready for work. Bamboo handles take around six months to compost.
3. Power shower
The average shower in the UK lasts eight minutes and uses around 60 litres of water, according to The Green Age. A water-saving shower head restricts the volume of water, so it’s an easy swap to make. Can you also spend a little less time in the shower? Try singing just the one song in the morning instead of a band’s greatest hits!
4. Go green
Green energy can save you money and sends a message to your supplier that you want to avoid electricity generated from fossil fuels.
5. Off means off
Switch to energy-efficient light bulbs. And don’t forget to turn off lights when you leave a room. Just think of it like making an entrance on your way out.
6. Stay put
Swap this year’s holiday abroad for something in the UK, and you could even travel by train to make it that much more eco-friendly. The Air Transport Action Group said flights worldwide produced 895 million tonnes of CO2 in 2018. Besides, you know what Dorothy said about there being no place quite like home…
7. Properly insulate
A tidy house may not lead to a tidy mind. But a well-insulated one is very energy efficient.
8. Make your money green
Move to a green bank and your money will be invested in clean energy.
9. Eat vegan
There’s loads of tasty vegan grub, just ask Greggs. So even if it’s just a day or two a week, try to eat more plant-based food. To put it into perspective, it takes more than 2,400 gallons of water to produce just one pound of meat, while 25 gallons of water is needed for one pound of wheat, PETA say.
10. Milk it
Even if it’s one day a week, try to go dairy-free. In an Oxford University study, experts found that “avoiding meat and dairy is the single biggest way to reduce your impact on Earth”.
11. Stop buying disposable
Is it so hard to buy a can instead of a bottle? Thought not. A study by Earthwatch Europe found that 5.5 billion plastic bottles are littered, incinerated or sent to landfill each year, producing 233,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions.
12. Sharing is caring
Whether it’s tools, clothes or books, borrowing from friends and neighbours will save you money, too.

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Editorial

Welcome to the 500th edition of The Village Pump. How things have changed. Back in 1978, when the first edition was handcrafted by Chris Young and his team, articles were typed by the School Secretary on to “a skin” which was then placed on a screen wrapped around a pair of revolving drums, onto which ink was placed. The drums were manually revolved and ink, spread evenly across the surface of the screen by a pair of cloth-covered rollers, was forced through the cuts made in the stencil and transferred onto a sheet of paper which was fed through the duplicator. Each complete manual rotation of the duplicator printed one sheet. Jack Petrie, who was tasked with using the copier became known as “Inky Jack” because, no matter how he tried, it was impossible to make copies without getting ink all over his hands. The system of production was improved later in 1980’s by hiring access to, what I believe was, a school photocopier.
By the early 90’s The Village Pump was printed, in-house, using a Rex Rotary copy printer, purchased by The Village Pump, which left one’s hands clean but inevitably produced many blank pages. Every couple of years the printers were upgraded with some improvement in quality, but the manual method of collation and stapling continued each month by a dedicated team of helpers.
The latest improvement in the quality of the magazine occurred some 5 years ago when the Committee decided to outsource the printing to Minuteman Press. No more collation, no more blank pages but a distinct improvement in the quality of the final copy by use of laser printing. This year, the publication of each edition is also undertaken by Minuteman thus giving me a much-needed break. Many thanks to Minuteman for taking us into the 21st century.
Elsewhere in this edition you will find advanced in formation of this year’s Stoke Ferry Summer Fayre and the usual round of contributions from or stalwarts such as Jill Mason, Dr Ian Nisbet, Ron Watts and Rachel from the Fengate Drove Garden Centre. We also have the monthly newsletters from All Saints Academy and Wereham together with Parish Council minutes from Stoke Ferry, Wretton and West Dereham. Still no event details for Oxburgh Hall, I’m afraid.
I hope that you will all enjoy your Easter breaks despite the threats of the coronavirus which is a subject discussed elsewhere in this edition.
Ray Thompson