Parish council – Nine members of the public attended the meeting which was chaired by Cllr D Clements.
Issues debated under matters arising from the previous meeting included ownership of land next to Bridge Road and The Common. Cllr Clements is waiting for relevant maps and will report back to the next meeting.
The clerk is to chase the highways department again about the state of Furlong Road and Freebridge about the overgrown hedge at the bungalows by the playing field.
The clerk had investigated the Anglian Water tariff and established it was the lowest possible for non-domestic household premises.
Council meeting venue: the meeting was told the other half of the Community Centre was not occupied during the meeting, and if this remained the case then there would be no problem in continuing to use the centre.
If the problem with noise re-occurred, then the village hall would be free on the required evening
The chapel had been suggested as an alternative but it was felt that this would be too small.
The PCSO match funding scheme: Cllr Lintern reported that Methwold and Mundford parishes were interested in reviewing the scheme, and Hockwold parish was in touch. It might be possible to arrange a meeting for the end of March.
Cllr Clements said that it appeared that when presentations were being made to parishes, it had been commented to parishes in Norfolk that Suffolk parishes were very interested, and vice versa.
Feedback so far from the village was that it was felt that the police service was already being paid for through council tax and so any additional charge should be unnecessary.
Although the council voted to reject the scheme, a detailed discussion followed among councillors and public, putting forward pros and cons for the scheme. It was agreed that a wider consultation should be made among residents and potentially a public meeting held to discuss the issue. Cllr Lintern agreed to place a request for views in The Pump.
County councillor Storey queried whether a pilot scheme had been put in place to review whether crime was reduced after 12 months of operation. If not, he felt it might be prudent to wait until such a pilot had been conducted.
Cllr Mann had held a meeting with CGM and discussed the quote for playing field grass cutting. She confirmed that the car park was now included at no extra charge.
Regarding complaints about the speed of the mower, there would be someone monitoring this. The quote has been modified to include 17 cuts from March 1 to October 31, which would be an extra £69.
The rubbish bins would be emptied once every week at £221. The total revised cost for the playing field is now £500 for the year.
The council was told that the replacement seat at The Common was now in place and in a better position than before.
It was also reported that the dog bin at The Common had now been emptied.
It was agreed that until the new council was confirmed in May, all councillors would be welcome to attend any committee meeting.
Following a request for removal of ashes from the cemetery, the clerk had received a partially-completed form from the family member concerned for submission to the Ministry of Justice for permission. It was agreed that the clerk would complete the form and the chair sign it on behalf of the council as burial authority.
It would be stipulated that the grave must be made good and the clerk would photograph the grave beforehand as a record of its condition. Cllr Denny would research what the appropriate fee for administration would be.
Cemetery charges are to be reviewed after the new council is in place. It was proposed that residents be invited to donate new benches to the cemetery. No particular design would be specified, but the council would reserve the right to approve.
A quote had been received for replanting the hedge, but it was felt that this would be something that residents could possibly do themselves. It was suggested that Didlington Nurseries might be able to donate suitable plants.
Cllr Clements had received a letter from the chair of the village hall querying whether a wider range of organisations within the village could receive funding from the parish council. Cllr Clements recommended that the hall committee should submit a request if they wished.
As a result of the Christmas tree and concert, Cllr Clements’ granddaughters informed the council that donations of £50 had been made to Stoke Ferry Football Club and the village hall. They said that they wished to thank Ed Taylor for accompanying the carols, Mally Reeve, Pat Swale and Carol Hardy for all their help, and Ed Taylor and John Nicholas-Letch for putting up the tree.
Cllr Denny reported that Jim Kirchen had repaired the tarmac on the playing field and had been thanked for his work.
Comments from members of the public: The council was told that there was a deep rut in Bridge Road, between the corner shop and old station.
Ms Reeve commented that regarding the Site Allocations Document, although the recommended 26 car parking spaces at the village hall were probably not adequate, nonetheless, they would be grateful for any provision.
County Councillor Storey commented that the County Hall budget setting meeting was the next Monday, and all information would be posted on the website. He said that if any help was required he should be contacted. Borough Councillor Sampson echoed this sentiment.
He added that if the ash tree in the cemetery were suspected of having ash die-back disease, then once it is felled it should be burned on site. However there was a comment that the tree was known to be extremely old and this was more likely the cause of its dying.
Site Allocation Document: The comment was made that Stoke Ferry seemed to be receiving more development than most other areas and that logically, the GP surgery should be based in the largest village in the locality. This raised the question as to whether it would be possible to move the surgery from Boughton to the site of the previously-proposed new village hall.
Cllr Sampson suggested that the Care Quality Commission might have some input regarding what was seen as inadequate health-care provision.
He asked that when the response to the document was submitted requesting that a representative from the borough council attend the village and point out the GP surgery mentioned in the document, that he should be copied in.