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Parish Council Chairman's News

Parish Councils are appointed for a four year term and as the present Council was formed in 2015 we are now at the half-way stage and it is time to look back, as well as looking forward.
What have we achieved in the last two years? Of course we have done what Parish Councils are meant to do – we have maintained the playing field and managed the up keep of two churchyards, we have kept other parts of the village tidy and we have carried out weekly safety checks on the play equipment. The parish council has considered and commented on planning applications, some of which have been contentious, we have liaised with the Highways department of Norfolk County Council and pressed them to attend to many outstanding matters, but we have done much more than that!
Starting with an audit of everything that we do, and everything that the Council owns, we have commenced a programme of improvement and renewal. Some of the results of this programme have been very visible, such as the installation of £25,000-worth of new play equipment on the playing field - the formal opening ceremony of which was attended by many residents – and the removal of ‘the shed’. The ‘Heritage’ noticeboards have been renewed and all the village benches have been restored and repainted. All of the footpaths in the Parish have been inspected and following the application of pressure, Norfolk County Council have re-instated lost and damaged footpath finger-posts. The overgrown hedge on Church Green has been cut back.
Other results are less noticeable, such as the fact that our projected ‘spend’ for next year is still virtually the same as ten years ago and the Parish council tax has only risen by 4% in spite of the fact that the block grant provided by South Norfolk Council, which used to be a significant part of our income, has been reduced to zero. We have prepared and lodged a detailed response to the request for comments on the South Norfolk Governance Review where it seems that SNC may be proposing to amalgamate parishes so that they have an electorate of about 1,000. Burston is about 400 – Shimpling 200 (as an example the Tivetshalls number 400). We are taking an active role in the Diss and neighbouring parishes Neighbourhood Plan, which will set out what residents feel will be appropriate development in coming years. We have been able to give financial support to Youth Groups in the Parish.
We have plans for the next two years – as well as continuing with the governance review and the neighbourhood plan, we will register both the playing field and Church Green with the Land Registry, and we hope to repaint the Burston village sign. We would like to secure more co-operation from landowners/farmers in keeping footpaths open and clear, especially where the paths cross cropped fields. We will be looking closely at the plans for the new sewerage scheme to ensure that it has a minimal impact as it is installed and when it is operational. However, we will aim to continue to keep Council tax as low as possible, while keeping our villages as safe and attractive as possible.

Big Litterpick
Over 20 residents and Councillors took part in the Big Litterpick in Burston and Shimpling on Sunday 7th May. Although the weather was a bit chilly it was dry and all of the major roads of the parish were cleared of litter – some of it having been there for many years. The sacks of rubbish and recycling were piled on Church Green ready for collection, while the rubbish collectors enjoyed a cup of tea and cakes in the Church. The event was organised by Tom Grieve who awarded Certificates to the younger collectors.

Don Swanton Award
Don Swanton was a real pillar of the community of Burston and Shimpling, quietly helping with many aspects of village life. The Don Swanton Award was instituted by the parish council to commemorate his sense of service, and is awarded each year to a resident who has been nominated in recognition of their contribution to the community. This year the award was presented to Sybil Peck who was nominated by many for her stalwart work in the community over many years. In particular Sybil’s involvement is with the church and especially with the luncheon club which meets monthly in the church providing a hot meal and an enjoyable social event for retired residents.

Annual Parish Meeting.

The Annual parish meeting was well attended, and gave residents an opportunity to raise matters of interest. The major concerns related to speeding at various locations in the Parish, and the water spill at the end of Gissing Road that can freeze in the winter, creating a sheet of ice just before the road junction. All of the items raised have or will receive the attention of the Council.
The theme of the evening was Burston and Shimpling Past, present and Future. There was an extensive display of photographs taken around the Parish in past years, with corresponding photographs showing the same scene today. A series of photographs showing Burston Station which came from an anonymous donor (thank you whoever you are!) aroused great interest. The photographs were later put in the Strike School until the end of May. Presentations were made by the bee Group and the Craft Group, and Burston House Hospital provided a display about their current work. The Don Swanton award was presented to Sybil Peck.
There were items relating to the future – the main sewer scheme, the ultra-high speed broadband ( 1000Mb), the Neighbourhood Plan and the Governance review. Tea and cakes were served at the beginning and at the end of the meeting giving resident a chance to get to know each other.

Author: Nigel Frankland
Uploaded: 21 June 2017

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