Annual Audit And Reports

Parish Council Report 01/04/19 – 31/03/2020

The Parish Council conducts much of its business through a committee system. The work over the last twelve months (and the ‘ongoing’ work) of the council and its ‘main’ committees is outlined below:-

Planning & Development Committee (Present membership – Brian Comer (Chairman), Chrissie Steggles (Vice-Chairman), Bob Carrier, Harry Hamilton, Ted Howlett, John Shaw, Trevor Wainwright, Sue Watson and Chris Wells) continues to make observations and, where appropriate, objections to local planning applications, and to question decisions made. It has been consulted on 53 GYBC and 2 Broads Authority planning applications between 1.4.19 and 4.2.20 – this figure compares with 58 for the same period last year, and 50 the year before (the Broads Authority applications concerned the Bradwell Hall site on Market Road, and the Humberstone Farm property on Mill Road). It has supported a number of objections from neighbours of proposed developments, including continuing concerns about proposals to fell trees covered by preservation orders on one property, the impact of the Persimmon development on the local environment, and changes made to a property on Long Lane.

The March 2019 edition of ‘The Bradwellian’ reported a proposal to build approximately 600 dwellings on land near Church Farm, Bradwell, but the Borough Council has recently confirmed that its ‘Borough Wide Local Plan’ will not allow for any such development on that site. Dwellings continue to be built on the Persimmon ‘Bluebell Meadow’ site – a ‘reserved matters’ application for ‘phase 4’, residential development comprising 125 dwellings and associated works, has recently been submitted. The original ‘outline’ application has already been approved, and the effect of this proposal, if passed, will be to approve some more detailed aspects of the overall application with regard to this ‘phase’ of the development. Details of this and any other local planning application that has been submitted in the fairly recent past can be found on the Borough Council website.

Amenities & Highways Committee (Present membership – Bob Carrier (Chairman), Brian Comer (Vice-Chairman), Hilary Hale, Harry Hamilton, John Hirst, Eddie Macdonald, John Shaw, Chrissie Steggles, Jo Thurtle, Trevor Wainwright, Sue Watson, and Chris Wells) – the council receives an annual ‘concurrent functions grant’ of £16,410 from Gt Yarmouth Borough Council, which it uses to maintain Green Lane Playing Field, the Leo Coles Pavilion changing room facilities, Gipsies Green and nine bus shelters; a portion of this grant is also passed on to St Nicholas Parish Church PCC, for maintenance of the burial ground.

Two local football teams, Celt Rangers and Prostar, play their home games at the Green Lane Playing Field – as was reported in the last ‘Bradwellian’, there is no local Sunday League any more, and El Sol FC is therefore unable to play at this present time. Celt Rangers and Prostar both play in the Sonata Security Gt Yarmouth & District Football League, on Saturday afternoons, and as such have had to ensure that their home fixtures do not clash. In March 2019 a decision was taken to award the council’s four-year grounds and soccer pitch maintenance contract to a new contractor, ‘Garden Guardian Limited’ – this was originally arranged, at the suggestion of the proprietor, Robert Rice, on a one year trial basis, but a decision has now been taken, following very satisfactory service (including having to deal with damage to the ground caused by a ‘chafer grub’ infestation), to extend the contract to the full four year period. This damage caused a number of football fixtures to have to be postponed to a later date within the season – many thanks to the two teams for their forbearance with this. Many thanks also to Norse, for its previous good work here over many years – Norse has continued to carry out jobs such as hedge cutting and felling of dead trees on the site.

Work was undertaken last October to carry out repairs to the ‘apex’ structure over the main entrance door to Leo Coles Pavilion, and replace all the fascias, soffits and guttering around the entire building – sincere thanks to the team at Innovate Property Improvements Ltd. for their good work. One of the building’s ‘skylight windows’ was also repaired earlier in the year – many thanks to Victor Bloom for his good work. The Pavilion was used as a polling station three times last year. The committee chairman and two other members have formed a ‘working party’ to carry out a survey of over 1,000 Bradwell residents, of all ages, in order to submit proposals to spend ‘section 106 monies’, currently held by the Borough Council, for improvements to the area. A submission has been made for a ‘50/50’ ‘match funding’ grant from Norfolk County Council, for provision of a mobile ‘SAM2’, which gives ‘flashing vehicle speed limit’ signs – these have proved to be useful in other local parishes – and a decision is awaited.

It was reported last year that one of the council’s two ‘public use defibrillators’ was removed from its base, presumed stolen – it has never been recovered, and a replacement has had to be purchased, further to an insurance claim. Thanks are due to Bradwell Bowling Club, which funded the purchase of a replacement water tank for the Golden Jubilee Pavilion last year, while the Parish Council paid for the purchase of nine lights with LED equivalent for the building. The Bowling Club has more recently arranged to replace an outside shed adjacent to the main building.

An Act of Remembrance again took place at the Memorial on Remembrance Sunday 2019, and again Mr B Young, Head Teacher, Homefield Primary School, arranged another Act of Remembrance on November 11th, involving children from all three Bradwell primary schools. Another successful ‘additional rubbish collection day’ was held in April 2019, and another will be held on 25 April 2020. The parish allotments continue to be popular, and some new tenants have taken on a plot this year – at the time of writing, there are only a small number of plots available on each site. The committee extends its thanks to the members of the allotments advisory committee (3 from each site), whose help in allocating plots to new tenants, and with the general running of the sites, has once again proved to be invaluable. The Cley Road site has again won ‘Gt Yarmouth & Gorleston in Bloom’ awards, and again the certificates have been presented to the Parish Council.

Finance & General Purposes Committee (Present membership – Eddie Macdonald (Chairman), Ted Howlett (Vice-Chairman), Bob Carrier, David Goodchild, Harry Hamilton, John Hirst, John Shaw, Chrissie Steggles, and Chris Wells) holds the purse strings, and keeps a close check on the Council’s finances. The Council’s draft accounts for the 2019/20 financial year will be presented at the Annual Parish Meeting. The 2019/20 ‘precept’ amount of £51,000 will be increased slightly in 2020/21, to £51,500.

The committee has overseen the recent upgrading of the council’s CCTV system, which has meant that the camera which oversees the site entrance now has the ability to display the number plates of vehicles in that area, and one such piece of information was passed on to the Police shortly afterwards. A donation of £1,650 to Bradwell Reading Room Trust, towards general running costs, has been made, and a grant of £100 has also been made to Age UK (re local activities). The committee annually reviews the council’s insurance policy and risk assessment policy, and ensures that other ‘internal controls’ are carried out regularly, such as internal finance checks, and building and ‘health and safety’ checks.

Public Relations & Publicity Committee (Present membership – Bob Carrier (Chairman), Ted Howlett, Eddie Macdonald, John Shaw, Chrissie Steggles, Trevor Wainwright, Sue Watson and Chris Wells) was until recently a sub-committee of the Finance & General Purposes Committee, established to oversee production of the ‘Bradwellian’ publication, and provision of the website. However, it has now been ‘promoted’ to the status of a committee in its own right, following its recent consideration of the following issues – a) Communication between the council and the local community; b) Annual Parish Meeting – possible options for the future; c) Website Accessibility Requirements (new legislation, re use of website by people with disabilities); and d) to review how long minutes of the council etc. need to be displayed on the website. It has been accepted that ‘public relations’, and how the council communicates with parishioners and with other organisations in this new ‘digital age’, are more important than they used to be, and this change has been made in order to reflect that.

The Parish Council (Chairman Chris Wells, Vice-Chairman Bob Carrier, see page 16 for membership) meets to oversee the work of its committees; hear reports from and raise issues with County and Borough Councillors and the Local Police; receive reports from its representatives on outside bodies. A number of members have resigned during 2019, and four new members have been co-opted to membership – David Goodchild, Hilary Hale, Harry Hamilton and John Hirst. There is presently one vacancy.

Member of the council attend the quarterly Bradwell ‘Safer Neighbourhood Action Panel’ (SNAP) meetings that have set local policing priorities for quite a few years, and have more recently also attended meetings of the Community Alcohol Partnership, which is a Police initiative aimed at reducing ‘anti-social behaviour’. Another ‘thank you’ evening for ‘Bradwellian’ deliverers and Allotment Advisory Committee members was arranged in August 2019.

The council meets approximately ‘bi-monthly’. There is an opportunity shortly after the start of each meeting for ‘public participation’, and a similar opportunity exists within all the ‘main’ committee meetings. Another council committee meet occasionally – ‘Staffing & Standards’, which oversees staff appointments, terms and conditions of service and reviews, and the ‘code of conduct’ for members – it has been busy recently in making all the necessary arrangements to appoint replacement Parish Clerk Catherine Bacon. There is also an ‘Allotments Advisory Committee’ of allotment holders.