2020 – 21.
A review of things with which the Parish council has been involved since the Spring of 2020.
Coronavirus has affected everyone’s lives. A silver lining is that it seems to have enhanced the sense of community that has been growing in Paston in recent years, with everyone looking after those who needed help And what great posters appeared done by Paston’s children.
Highways An electronic speed warning sign has been put up at various points in the village, paid for by the gas terminal companies. It tells vehicle drivers if they are exceeding 40 m p h the speed limit Surprisingly few speeding vehicles have been clocked, But we think that through the village the limit should be 30 m p h and we’ve been pressing the County Council
Planning applications have been commented on. There has not been anything too controversial this year.
Coastal protection – “sandscaping”. Nearly two years on from the deposit of sand on the beach it seems to be working, although not everyone is convinced. The beach always moves to wards Yarmouth. Even though the new sand is “downstream” from Mundesley the beach alongside us is noticeably higher and covering the breakwaters. A sand cliff has formed and has caused concerns that people may fall off it, or walk along the beach and get trapped by the rising tide. We raised this with the District Coiuncil who are considering
Footpaths – Yarmouth Way and Sandy Lane – the County Council have at long last made an order for registration on the definitive map as a public right of way. We are now in the period during which the order is provisional subject to objections
Playground One could say the children’s playground is being a victim of its own success. The Paston community subcommittee having raised an astonishing amount of money and installed brand new state of the art equipment our playground is probably the best for in the area. Families are coming to it from quite far afield, which is good, but, which is less good we have been having problems with litter, and with dogs, who are meant to be banned from the playground
The Paston in bloom flower initiative with daffodils now established three years on around the pond and down Bears Road, and along the wall inext to the pont s a mass of wall flowers.
The Pond, has been cleared by Pip Clabon and his team, and now really looks like a traditional village pond, It has more wildlife than ever, ducks, geese and moorhens.
This report reviews the year to May 2020 and some of the things with which the Parish Council has been dealing. This is normally presented to the village annual meeting which of course we couldn’t have this year.
Coronavirus has probably been the most dramatic thing during this period – a national crisis which has affected Paston as everywhere else. It has been remarkable how everyone has coped, and it’s striking that the fall back measures and safety nets put in place by District and Parish council have been relatively little used, which is due to everyone helping each other in all sorts of ways. And what great posters appeared done by Paston’s children.
Highways An electronic speed warning sign is coming which can be moved from place to place, The gas terminal companies are paying for it and we await a remittance from just one of four. A warning sign showing life size children is also being prepared
Planning applications are looked at and commented on. The major application has been that of the Holiday Village to demolish the former main buildings and erect 18 new lodges along the roadway. The plans were approved with some but not all of the amendments requested by the Parish Council
Coastal protection – “sandscaping”. During July a dredger off shore and a team of bulldozers were depositing and spreading sand from out to sea up to a height of 7 metres on a stretch of beach alongside the gas terminal and either side Everyone is watching to see how effective it is. The contractors were Team Van Oord, a Dutch company
Footpaths – Yarmouth Way and Sandy Lane – the County Council footpaths team have now examined the evidence and recommended that it be registered on the definitive map as a public right of way. In absence of any objections being upheld, that should soon happen.
The Church The Diocese have given formal approval for the re-ordering and installation of toilets and creation of space, to make the church more suitable for events, particularly educational , and the PCC are now fund raising. Sadly due to the virus crisis the Heritage Lottery Fund have cancelled an application for a grant towards restoring and conserving the wall paintings.
The other main event was the creation last summer of the garden of remembrance by the lych gate, to be a resting place for departed residents’ ashes and plaques, which had been by the tower. They were moved by our Rector and members of the PCC with shovels and wheelbarrows, followed a few weeks later by a formal re-dedication attended by nearly 60 relatives not just from Paston but from all over the country and from overseas, using the event for many family re-unions.
Community group projects
The playground having been re-equipped the next planned addition is a shelter/ pavilion.
The Paston in bloom flower project is now showing results with daffodils down Pond Road and Bears road for a second spring and the flowers by the wall.
The Pond, with its reeds and wildlife has been a great feature of the village. with families of ducks, geese and moorhens. It belongs to Pip Clabon who has put a lot of work into it
Website and Facebook – we now have both a Facebook page and a new smartphone friendly website with info on Paston, and details of Parish council business ( which we have to have by Law) www.pastonvillage.org.uk. Following some attempted scams involving impersonation of parish council members our personal e mail addresses are not longer shown on the website but you can communicate with us on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Parish Council report to village annual meeting 2019.
This report reviews the year to May 2019 and some of the things with which the Parish Council has been dealing.
Highways Some additional road signs have been put up by the District Council (at Parish Council’s request) in Pond Road and Chapel Road effectively to tell visitors and delivery drivers that whatever their satnavs may tell them they have not yet arrived in Bears Road
“Affordable Housing” The Parish Council’s policy continues to be that we would like more housing, and that it at least some of any new development should be “affordable housing” with restricted rent or co ownership to reduce deposit needed. The two problems remain – the District Council’s policy of only allowing development around towns and larger villages, and the shortage of suitable and accessible sites.
Planning applications have been looked at and commented on. The Holiday Village continues to be a focus, though they have not submitted any new applications during the year. Development towards the cliff top is now limited effectively to movable “lodges” rather than brick built units due anticipated coastal erosion, and development overall is limited.
Coastal protection. The “sandscaping” scheme is now getting under way, by which a stretch of beach alongside the gas terminal and either side is to have 2 million cubic metres of sand deposited up to a height of 7 metres. The sand will stretch from Walcott north west to just short of the holiday village, gradually reducing. When the new outfall from the terminal is completed the sand depositing should start in July. The Parish Council is represented on the sandscaping liaison group.
Footpaths. The Parish Council has given support and provided evidence for an application to the County Council for registration of Sandy Lane and Yarmouth Way on the “definitive map”– these run from Stow Hill west to Knapton Road and east past the Holiday Village to the cliff top. The application is to register the paths as used on foot, horseback and bicycle (- no motor-powered vehicles). This has been with the council for some time due we are told to a surge of applications as the cut off date approaches.
The Sir William Paston Charity, for the benefit of poor people in Paston, runs the alms-houses. Cris Emberson a Parish Councillor is one of the trustees who have brought the charity’s finances under control from the rocky state they were in two to three years ago
The Church The village steering group’s project to widen use of the church for events, particularly educational is now hopefully about to be implemented. It involves laying on water, installing kitchen and toilet, removing some of the rear pews to create an open space, and removing the breeze block vestry to open up the north door. The sale of the former village hall site has provided much of the funds that will be needed and the application is now with the Diocese for formal permission to proceed. The new garden of remembrance is now in place and ready to take memorial plaques and ashes.
The Playground. As everyone will know the spectacular new equipment is now installed, at a cost of around £40,000 and the playground was opened formally last summer. It has been a great success. Word has been getting round the neighbourhood and families are visiting from other villages as far afield as Southrepps. A great achievement by the playground committee led by Parish Councillors Maggie Brett and Denise McKeough. The next planned improvement addition is a shelter or simple pavilion.
The Pond has been cleared of undergrowth and now looks more like it did in the past as in old photographs – thanks are due to its owner Pip Clabon and his team.
Our website is now required by Law to enable everyone to read our meeting dates, minutes, reports and accounts. As we have to have it anyway it can also give news of and comment on things of concern and interest to Paston residents. The Council’s current website, hosted by the Norfolk Association of Local Councils, is outdated and not smartphone friendly. A move is planned to a more modern more accessible website. Contributions to it and ideas are always welcome
Parish Council report to village annual meeting 3rd May 2018.
The Parish Council continued to manage the village facilities that it’s responsible for This report sets out some of the things of note that came up in 2017/18
Planning applications have been scrutinised and commented on. The main planning focus has been the continued development of the Holiday Village. We also monitored their site – there had been concern about demolition spoil dumped on the site containing asbestos which was finally removed under County Council supervision last summer (2017).
Highways The County Council are not going to give us a 30 (rather than 40) m p h limit through the village centre as we have asked, which they say they will only do on stretches of road where there are houses on both sides. But following concern about children crossing the road by the village centre on their way to and from the bus, the County Council have put in a foot path on the corner of Vicarage Road so the children can cross at a point where they can see further both ways. The cost of £3,200 was shared equally between County Council and Parish Council funds. We have asked for a railing to complete the safety provision.
“Affordable Housing” in the village Is something the Parish Council would like to see – which would have to be a mixture of ordinary market housing and what’s called “affordable housing” for people in need on the housing waiting list. There have been two problems. One is that no site we have suggested has been regarded by the Council as suitable. The little field off Bears Road looked the most obvious site for development but has been ruled out by the County Council (we think wrongly) because of difficult vehicular access. The other problem is the Council’s policy of generally speaking allowing new housing only around market towns and larger villages, which we feel risks leaving small villages like Paston declining when we should be evolving, adapting and growing. We shall persevere.
Coastal erosion continues to be a concern, and the Parish Council is represented on the Coastal Forum and the Gas Terminal Liaison committee. Paston village itself is sufficiently inland not to be under threat in the foreseeable future, but not so the northern end of the Parish at Stow Hill. The policy in recent past has been not to spend money on sea defences where erosion will lead to loss only of relatively few homes and of agricultural land – the Council have an erosion forecast map assuming loss of the sea defences and cliff erosion re commencing. This shows the sea having taken by 2105 the Holiday Village and the Hillside chalets. However, the Government have decided the gas terminal must be protected, through which passes possibly a third of Britain’s gas. So next year vast amounts of sand dredged from out to sea is to be deposited on the beach to reverse or halt its gradual sinking – an experimental solution being pioneered in Holland. It is hoped by the coastal engineers this will prolong the life of the defences, which may avoid or postpone the erosion scenario.
Footpaths. The Parish Council has given support and provided evidence for an application to register Sandy Lane and Yarmouth Way on the “definitive map”– these run from Stow Hill west to Knapton Road and east past the Holiday Village to the cliff top. The application is to register the paths as used on foot, horseback and bicycle (- no motor-powered vehicles).
The Sir William Paston Charity, for the benefit of poor people in Paston, runs the alms-houses. Cris Emberson a Parish Councillor is a trustee Thanks are due to him and the current Trustees for bringing its finances under control. In particular they have now repaid a loan which the Council made to tide them over a serious cash flow problem.
The Church re ordering The installation of water and facilities now looks to be going to happen. This was planned by the village committee including three Parish Council representatives. As well as providing better access to the Grade 1 listed building and its features which are of importance to our national heritage, it will provide a gathering and event space for village use, which there hasn’t been since the old village hall closed. The church finances generally are uncertain as most of its maintenance and insurance is now paid for by about 6 local people, but the reordering should ensure its survival The Council has given a £500 grant towards upkeep and improvement of the churchyard which will help particularly with the new garden of remembrance..
The Playground. A couple of years or so ago the Council circulated the village saying that the children’s playground needed either serious money spending on it or to be closed, and asking whether they really wanted a playground. The answer was a resounding “Yes!” In response, as everyone knows, two Parish Council members Denise McKeough and Maggie Brett took up the challenge and have now planned and raised enough funding – a staggering £40,000 – for a full re-equip, which is to be started in a month or so. Many thanks and well done to them.
Daffodils and flowers. A spin off from the playground project – volunteers from all over Paston planted many 100’s of daffodils last autumn which brightened up early spring around the Pond and Bears Lane. Planting is continuing under Denise and Maggie’s guidance.
Administration going forward will be complicated by new regulatory requirements. We have needed an updated much longer clerk’s contract and we are going to have to get used to working within the new EU
General Data Protection Regulations, (“GDPR”) which require any organisation to get people’s consent for holding their contact and personal details
The village website is now required by Law to enable everyone to read Parish Council meeting dates, minutes, reports and accounts. It also serves to give news and comment on things of concern and interest to Paston residents. http://pastonparishcouncil.norfolkparishes.gov.uk/ We welcome everyone to supply things to put on it.
Thank you finally to Elizabeth Purdy our former chairman who retired last August after some 25 years on the Council, to our councillors for their hard work, and to Martin Campbell our clerk who to ensures our smooth running, and everyone in the village who has helped with everything that’s going on – a few years ago it seemed difficult to arouse interest in the village, but now people rally round enthusiastically, like with the playground and planting projects. May this community spirit continue and grow.