Rocklands, Norfolk

The Villages of Rockland All Saints and Rockland St Peter

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Minutes of the Annual Assembly
of the Rocklands Parish Council held on Monday 4 April 2005 in the Village Hall

P. Cotes (Chairman)
P. Leigh (Vice Chairman)
P. Smith
R. Steel

District Councillor W. Smith
Ian Hydes)
Niki Park ) Norfolk County Council Planning and Transportation

Insp. T. Peacock Norfolk Constabulary

6 Parishioner

Councillors Mrs N. Southgate, Mrs M. Gibbon, J. Abel, J.Rogers (County Councillor)
The minutes of the Annual Assembly held on Monday 5 April 2004 were signed


There were no matters arising


The Chairman welcomed Ian Hydes and Niki Park of the Planning and Transportation department of Norfolk County Council and thanked them for attending.
Ian Hydes opened by giving a brief introduction as to the duties of himself and his colleague. He stated that the department had a staff of 50 and that he was on the financial side whilst his colleague was a network manager. The main operators such as First bus were granted an operations licence and when that was granted they were responsible for the operation of the route chosen with no further control being exercised by County, they also received very little in the way of subsidies. The County subsidised local bus routes which were not financially viable by the major operators such as park and ride and local services to villages. As far as Rocklands was concerned the service through the village had only made 10½ % of the 30% share of the subsidy and therefore the service had been withdrawn. To compensate for the withdrawal of service, a taxi feeder service was now being offered one day a week and depending on the success this could be increased, but it was dependant on the service being used. The meeting was then opened for questions and the main problem expressed was the number of busses running from Attleborough through Great Ellingham to Hingham and then onto Watton and why could not this service be alternated through Rocklands on an occasional basis. Mr Hydes replied that the County had no powers to force First Bus to alter their route and although they would make representation and suggested that the Parish Council do the same. Discussion on this line continued and it was agreed that representation should be made to First Bus to vary their route. The question of advertising bus service was also raised and Mr Hydes stated that the County spent about £1500.00 on advertising services. The Clerk stated that when he received bus timetables he delivered then to the Post Office as the most accessible place for them to be displayed.


As a result of correspondence between the Clerk and Norfolk Constabulary Inspector Tim Peacock had agreed to attend the meting. He was welcomed by the Chairman.
Inspector Peacock opened by expressing his apologies for the service or lack thereof by the Liaison Officer, he continued that the Officer concerned had just been promoted along with the sergeant in charge and that he had lost three other officers from Attleborough. He stressed that once he had new Officers in place he would appoint a new liaison officer and ensure better service. On the subject of crime Norfolk overall had 70000 reported crimes, of which the Western area of which this Council is a part had 18,600 crimes, Thetford had 4000 and Rocklands 6,of which 2 had been cleared up. This he stated proved Rocklands was a safe area to live in. As regards to Policing he stated that on the average he had six officers on duty, 4 based in Thetford and 2 to cover the rest of the area which stretched from Thetford to just below Watton to Wymondham and down to Garboldisham. Regarding the Mobile Police station there was one unit covering the whole of the western Area and its disposition was based on the use it had in the villages. Again Rocklands had not made as much use as other villages so it had been redeployed to areas of greater use, its nearest point of call was Great Ellingham. He concluded by asking that the 999 system be only used for real emergencies but crime, accidents and other incidents that required immediate police response were proper uses.

The Chairman then delivered his annual report which is attached at “B”


Mr Rogers (County Councillor) had previously presented his apologies for non attendance and under the new boundaries he would no longer be Councillor for Rocklands. The new representative was awaiting the outcome of the County Councillors elections on 5 May

Mr Smith (District Councillor) reported on the restructuring of Breckland Council and that Serco had now taken over waste management with the hope of saving £100,000. It was hoped that the restructuring would reduce Council Tax which at the present is the lowest in Norfolk and it was hoped to reduce it to zero growth. Due to increase in planning applications a new Enforcement Officer had been appointed. A new Chief Executive for Breckland was due to be appointed on Tuesday following the ill health of the previous incumbent. And a new Council Leader is also to be appointed


The Clerk presented the accounts for the year ended 31 March 2004. He stated that the council had received £2500.00 from the precept and had made £38.35 in interest and had reclaimed £64.03 worth of V.A.T The Council had spent £2660.02 in running costs and there was an outstanding electric bill for £145.02 which covered the period 1.10.04 to 31.3.05 and was due on 6 April though this was really part of the previous years expenses, so the total expenses for the year were really £2805.04 which is in line with the Councils objective or reducing the capital balance . There were no questions concerning the accounts. The Chairman and Clerk signed the accounts as a correct record. A full breakdown is attached to these minutes at “A”


These items were reviewed and no changes or alterations were necessary


There were no further comments from the floor

There being no further business the Annual Assembly was closed at 8.45 p.m.

Cash in hand B/F£4187.42
VAT Rebate£64.03
Lighting Maintenance£199.31
Prof Subscriptions£142.04
Clerk's Pay£1026.85
Clerk's Expenses£81.36£1108.11
Rent Hire of Village Hall£54.00
Chapel Green Grass Cut£20.00
Web Site setting up expenses£38.00
Community Account£468.16
Business Premium Account£3661.80

Chairman’s review of 2004/5

At first glance it seems that less has happened in 2005/05 than in previous years but first impressions might be misleading, there has been less noise and possibly more things achieved. Our perennial favourite of Flooding in The Street made significant progress, on two fronts. The drains were jetted in July and thanks are due to Breckland for doing this work, it’s just a pity they took them so long. For months the drains coped with the flow of water and everything was dry. That change at the start of 2005 when again there was water in The Street, but this time the residents took matters into their own hands, dug a hole and removed the blockage. If this signifies a realisation that the solution lies in their own hands and the powers of the Council are limited then we have made major progress.
The Village Website was designed and set up by Peter Smith and Mary Gibbon and I would like to express my thanks to them for their efforts. There are links to a number of other village organisations and businesses, I hope this will provide useful information on us to the outside world.
The Chapel Green working party declared themselves complete, having done their work. Its now up to us to keep it in a state we can be proud of and we have put funds into the budget for the coming year.
Planning continues to provide a lot of activity though without the passion that marked he previous year. The views we have given in response to applications seem to be reflected in the Planning Department's decisions - whether this is coincidence I cannot be sure, but at least it seems less like banging our heads against a wall.
What does the future hold? Topics for next year will include Planning with the new Local Development Framework and the definition of village settlement boundaries. Given our experience of Breckland’s unwillingness to enforce current planning rules I have no greater expectations that they will do ay better in future, we can only hope that this pessimism is unfounded and they will put more resources into this work.
Public transport has reappeared on our Agenda and revelled some strongly held views. I am unsure how much real demand there is - the Village survey in 2001 revealed that less than 10% of our residents used bus services. That figure is sure to decline still further as people moving in will have their own cars.
Linked with transport, and something we have ignored up till now, is the Attleborough Area Partnership. They are working on local transport schemes and we will hear more of this in the months ahead. Locally the partnership concept was started with Wayland and despite much scepticism the Wayland Partnership had produced extra funds for its parishes. We cannot ignore the Attleborough Partnership - it may yet do things for us!
I would like to close by thanking all Councillors and our Clerk for their work during the year with a special mention for John Rogers who, after many years as our County Councillor, has had his “ patch “ redrawn and will not be contributing to our meetings in future. May be one day I will be able to thank the Police representative and now I will!

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