The Walsham Parish Council meets on the second Tuesday of each month at 7.00pm in the Priory Room.
Members of the public are welcome to attend and there is normally an opportunity for any questions at the beginning of each meeting when the Chairman opens the meeting for any comments, questions etc.
During May 2011 our local elections were held and the following members were elected. The first meeting which included these new members took place on May 10th 2011 and Mrs. M. Barber was elected as the Chairman.
|Clerk to the Council||Mrs. Averil Clancy||01359 258842|
|Chairman||Mrs. Margaret Anne Barber||01359 259689|
|Vice Chairman||Mr. Richard Belson||01359 258868|
|Councillor||Mr. Fred Bloomfield||01359 258596|
|Councillor||Mr. James Gorzelak||01359 258529|
|Councillor||Ms Sue Leake||01359 258797|
|Councillor||Mr. Trevor Roberts||Home 01359 251144|
|Councillor||Mr. John Stebbing||Home 01359 259061||Work 01284 704546|
|District Councillor||Mr. Derek Osborne||01359 258115|
|County Councillor||Mr. Charles Michell||01359 870280|
There are instances within these draft reports of the Parish Council meetings where references are made under the PLANNING APPLICATION heading to HB8, PPG15 etc.. These refer to the very extensive planning document issued by MSDC to all Parish Councils whereby various aspects of the planning applicaions have to be judged/considered, and it would be virtually impossible for the full details to be given in this report. However, if anyone is interested in discovering more about these details they are welcome to attend the Parish Council meetings or they could even log on to the MSDC website!
Mrs. Barber (chairman), Belson, Bloomfield, Roberts, Gorzelak, County Councillor Jessica Flemmimg and District Councillor Osborne..
Mr. H. Frost spoke regarding the fact that he has discovered that 8 more men, born in Walsham, are not on the killed in action Washam memorial, 4 of those 8 are however on other memorials. He has other people helping him in his research and will forward his findings to the Parish Council at a later date. He will undertake funding for any additional work that might be required.
Proposal: Retention of repairs to structure and change of use of existing agricultural barn to ancillary cccommodation serving the occupanof the host dwelling as playroom/home gym. Location High Hall, Finningham Road, Walsham le Willows. The Parish Council made no comments but queried whether there should be an application for listed building consent.
Council Budget Approved for Financial Year 2014/15.
The cabinet has given its approval to budget proposals for the new financial year. The budget reflects a four–year plan needed to reflect reductions in central government funding. Front line services are protected whilst 22 separate savings totalling £38.6 million are made, including the following largest savings.
Consultation–Home to School Transport 2014/2015 and 2015/16.
Suffolk County Council is currently consulting on future funding support and policy arrangements for school transport.
Electric Car Charging coming to Suffolk
Suffolk‘s Climate Change Partnership has been awarded £337,500 from central government to install an anticipated 12 additional repid charge points in the County.
An update was also given for Better Broadband News, Internships & Apprenticeships and Agri–Tech Grants
Cllr. Osborne commented on footways in Elmside and also reported that MSDC are to clear the rubbish behind the garages in Townhouse Road.
In the absence of PCSO Dave Faulkner the Clerk read the following report.
Since your last meeting there have been 0 reported crimes to the police.
On–going crime trends across the County are currently Heating Oil Thefts and Catalytic Converter thefts.
Owners of vehicles with a high ground clearance, which are often targeted for their catalytic converters are being reminded of the following crime prevention tips.
We ran a speed check at the Sports Club at the end of January and caught some 15 vehicles in both directions. The fastest and the last of the session was a people mover checked at 58 mph driving through the village.
Because of the current state of the roads it is not always possible to be 100% accurate with the index marks, but we are looking at ways to improve this. We shall also be running more frequent checks in the future.
We are still awaiting instruction and training on the use of the revamped equipment.
Not in attendance.
Nothing to report.
Problems with finger posts are being dealt with. If anyone notices that a sign is in need of repair could they please report this to Cllr. Belson or the Clerk. Claire Dixon has said repairs should take place late March/early April.
A report of income/expenditure against budget to the 31st January, 2014 was presented and all cheques were passed for payment and signed.
Nothing to report..
The Clerk was instructed to e–mail Jack Wilkinson for a progress report.
Nothing to report..
The Chairman reported that she had contacted U.K. Power Network yet again with regard to the trimming of these trees along the banks of the stream. At the present time work here would necessitate the loss of power to the whole village. Work is therefore needed on the high and low voltage switching points before any work can take place. She will be making contact in the near future.
Cllr. Stebbing had attended a Neighbourhood Planning Event held on the 3rd February 2014 and has sent the following report:-
Well over 100 delegates from all over Suffolk with some communities quite advanced with this as a concept although they seem to be places that are under threat for one reason or another... the notes of the meeting that you circulated are helpful but perhaps I can set out a few of the key points that I gathered from this event: (See the March 2014 edition of The Observer).
An e–mail from Jonathan Free of MSDC has been received stating that as an organisation we did look at this iniative and the information we had at the time was that the level of savings were very modest or non–existant and that the switch process was quite difficult. Given this we did’nt pursue the scheme. John Stebbing tells me that he had some information which may cast the scheme in a different light. I have asked him to share this with us so that we can look at it again.
Chair has spoken to Jonathan Chown, Suffolk County Council Better Broadband for Suffolk, re concerns about connection of fibre optic cable to Walsham and has agreed to attend our Parish Council meeting on the 8th April, 2014 to speak on this subject. Any interested parties are invited to attend this 7.00 – 7.30pm slot.
Chair has requested a site meeting with John Simpson, Suffolk County Council Highways Dept. and County Councillor Jessica Flemming to discuss this.
It was agreed to complete a questionaire sent by MSDC concerning Open Space, Sport and Recreation facilities within our village.
The date for the spring litter pickwill be the weekend of the 22nd/23rd March 2014
This was discussed and ageed upon
A request has been received for a grit bin to be sited here, this was agreed and the Clerk was instructed to arrange this for next autumn ready for the winter
A query has been raised concerning the removal of the street light outside No.12 Wattisfield Road. This will be followed up with Suffolk County Council street lighting dept..
It was reported that the gully cleaning contractors had left an unsightly mess here. The Clerk was instructed to report this to Suffolk County Council
Further to Mr. Frost’s report in Public Open Forum the Clerk reported that the order for the 3 additional names to be inscribed on the Memorial has already been issued. This is to be funded by a grant from Gardens Weekend.
The meeting closed at 8.45pm.
The next meeting of the Parish Council will be held on Tuesday 11th March. 2014 in the Priory Room commencing at 7.00pm.
All Parish Councils have certain mandatory responsibilities such as setting the Parish Precept, taking responsibility for maintaining the street lighting, advising on Planning Applications etc.. In addition to these actions our Parish Council has also organised an "Annual Litter Pick" and as a "One -Off" project the last couple of years has seen Walsham le Willows taking part in a County-wide "Hedge Survey". This survey, although it was originally partly a Parish Councils project has been organised and carried out by various volunteers from our local residents, headed up by Mrs Maureen Turner.
The Annual Litter Pick takes place every February/March and consists of the village being split into over one dozen areas which are then cleared by teams of volunteers, with the resulting bags of rubbish being collected from the Memorial Hall car park by Mid Suffolk District Council. February is chosen as being the most suitable time for this annual event as the "litter" is still exposed prior to the spring and summer growth. This also avoids any litter being chopped into smaller pieces once any trimming takes place. By the look of the pile of black plastic bags the village must now be very clean and tidy!
It must be noted that in Mid-August 2008 there was an additional Litter Pick with the intention of tidying up the village prior to the Open Gardens Weekend and, although this did not generate quite as much litter as the usual February one it certainly proved to be worthwhile and it has now become another annual event.
These are two more of the projects that come under the aegis of our Parish Council along with their involvement with our footpaths, and also recently with the very costly maintenance of the Parish Church wall. Another recent involvement concerned the 106 agreement related to the final Hopkins Homes development in Finningham road. In addition to this rather broad summary of their work, our councillors are now much more involved in a mass of rules and regulations which has therefore made their work very time consuming - rather like the Police are now experiencing ! And farmers !
This hopefully gives just a taste of the involvement of our Parish Councillors, who of course are also all volunteers!
In 2002, a wide ranging Village Appraisal of all aspects of community life in Walsham le Willows, was conducted with the support of the Countryside Agency and Mid Suffolk District Council. Over 90% of households replied and the analysis of this very strong response in an Appraisal Report led to public discussions as to how the village should respond to the findings.
A number of issues were identified and an Action Plan was drawn up at a well-attended public meeting in November 2002. This Action Plan was subsequently adopted, with key organisations taking responsibility for particular issues. In 2003, a further, simpler survey sought to collect more anecdotal views on "What do you like about the Village?" and "What does Walsham need to make it a better place?". There was broad agreement about what residents value in our community and it is their wish that the findings of these surveys and discussions are presented, formally, in a document for reference and information.
The Parish Council prepared an initial draft document and had the benefit of feedback from the whole community via the "Walsham Observer", our monthly magazine which as you will see within the various references on this website that it is delivered to 493 households. A second revised draft document was circulated to all village groups, organisations and businesses for further contributions and comments.
A sub-committee of the Parish Council prepared further revisions to this second draft document, which were considered by the full Council and they were finally adopted at its January meeting in 2007. This document, in its finished format was then delivered to those 493 households and it will be a reference point against which villagers and village organisations can assess progress on issuies identified in the Action Plan and consider the impact of future situations. The document will contribute evidence of local character to the countywide landscape character assessment that will underpin design guidance in the Mid Suffolk Local Development Framework. It may also form a basis for the parishes comments on the appropriateness of future development proposals.
You will already have seen elsewhere on this site the locationb of this village so this will not be repeated here, it is sufficient to say that in the past it was a largely self-sufficient community with a range of provision shops, skilled craftsmen and workshops, and a thriving social life based around religious groups, a Temperance Band, a Reading Room, sporting events, shows and gymkhanas, public houses, and a calendar of regular meetins and events. Some of this social infrastructure has been lost as the development of mass media and an externally orientated economy has taken over. Yet a strong sense of community still obtains and small developments of new housing, together with the intermittent flow of new residents, have been assimilated relatively easily.
Unless approaching from the SouthEast, along the Westhorpe Road, you come across the village suddenly. The broad valley, with its stream meandering at 40 to 48 metres above sea level, is well wooded and the approach roads from Hepworth, Ixworth, Finningham and Badwell Ash are lined with good hedges and belts of mature trees which are an especially valued feature, hiding the presence of the village until the last minute of approach. The arable uplands at around 60 to 65 metres above sea level, are more open and extensive with large fields and consequently fewer hedges and trees, although small copses mark the location of ponds once so vital when cattle grazing was so important in a mixed farming economy.
Close to the village, fields are smaller, hedges common and of great variety and antiquity, as a survey of 1989 demonstrated. Apart from the tree lined approach roads there are many mature trees in hedgerows, surrounding the churchyard, leading from The Street along The Avenue towards The Grove, and within the grounds of private properties such as The Beeches, The Rookery, Hall Green, The Park, The Elms, The Lawn, and Sunnyside House.
Away from the central core of buildings in The Street, an uncrowded openness characterises the general village layout along some eight roads. There are significant gaps between properties giving pleasant views out of the village along Palmer Street, The Causeway, Wattisfield Road, and Finningham Road. Elsewhere, housing looks out over areas of mown grass, as in Staple Close, Grove Park and Townhouse Road. The loosely structured hamlets of West Street, Cranmer Green, Four Ashes and Crownland, situated well away from the central core, reinforce the feeling of spaciousness and of winding roads linking one area with another.
The 15th century church of St Mary is the dominant feature of the village - a large airy building of knapped flint. The early Victorian Maltings, in Wattisfield road, converted into nine dwellings in 1979, is also of flint. There are other buildings with individual flint walls, and numerous boundary walls are built of flint nodules with brick capping.
The over-all picture is of mostly unpretentious cottage style properties, many of them colour washed to hide a brick, or more often, a plastered exterior. Often the plaster covers a timber frame. Architectural Historian, Leigh Alston, has identified sixty-two pre 1700 timber framed houses. Most of these are modest in size; some thatched, often with first floor dormer windows. There are a few weather boarded properties including, situated opposite the Church, the former Guildhall, now converted into three dwellings.
Mock Jacobean estate houses, built in Summer Road and The Causeway at the turn of the 19th/20th century by John Martieau are very striking. There are tall hexagonal chimneys, some herringbone brickwork, and exterior heavy timbers carrying carved texts.
There are several substantial houses scattered throughout the village, timber framed with colour washed plaster and with impressive, and often very ornate, chimney stacks, as at Crownland Hall, Green Farmhouse, The Rookery and The Priory. Buildings in the main street mostly abut the roadside pavement, yet their front facing or gable facing positions, their brick, plaster and weather boarded exteriors, roofs of slate, tile and thatch, combine with such a variety of size and style to create an intensely varied and exciting streetscape enhanced by occasional views into the distance glimpsed between properties. The village welcomes plans to underground electricity and telephone cables in The Street. The removal of the current invasive clutter will enhance the intrinsic character of the village.
Wattisfield Road, Grove Road, Palmer Street and Townhouse Road are predominately an uncrowded mixture of houses and bungalows built in groups of ten to twenty in different styles, and at different times, over the past eighty or so years.
Farming is no longer a labour intensive activity and only small numbers earn a direct living from the land. By contrast, Clarkes of Walsham, employ about 98 people at their builders merchant business. Drivers, vehicle mechanics, metal fabricators, carpenters, store men, sales personnel, accountants, secretaries and management live locally. Some work opportunities also exist on the Shepherds Grove Industrial Estate at Stanton.
There are a number of small businesses run by self-employed skilled artisans. To builders, plumbers, carpenters, heating engineers and gardeners can be added art and craft specialists, tele-cottage workers, and specialist retail traders. An increasing number of professionals live here: doctors, nurses, architect, solicitor, educationalists, photographer, and journalist. For many people their workplace is not in Walsham and commuter traffic is now common, particularly towards Bury St Edmunds. The census of 2001 recorded over 80% of employed people travelling to work by private vehicle and an average journey of 20.41 km.
To this growth of individual car movements along winding roads with soft verges and sagging edges is added increased commercial traffic. Some of this serves Clarkes of Walsham but, worryingly, heavy 12 wheeler lorries now make short cuts between the A14 and A143, and the A1088 and A140, along these unsuitable country roads. In 2002 they were the impetus for a traffic survey conducted by the Parish Council with the assistance of Suffolk County Council.
Public transport to Bury St Edmunds is poor, with nothing after 18.30. Services to Diss, Thetford and Stowmarket, are intermittent or nonexistent. Service 306 was a joint venture between the Countryside Agency and Walsham, Rickinghall and Botesdale parish councils to provide a weekend evening service to Bury St Edmunds and it went some way to satisfying demands for improved public transport, until its withdrawal.
Doctors surgeries are between four and eight miles distant, but a system of voluntary drivers collect repeat prescriptions for those with travel problems. The closure of the Post Office Stores in 2003 created similar problems for those 10% of those households without access to a car and a further 41% of households where the one vehicle is needed for the journey to work. The situation is only partially mitigated by a Community Council initiative to set up a Satellite Post Office facility for two mornings each week in the Village Hall alongside a Coffee Shop.
There are two public houses, a hairdresser, a specialist niche retailer in wine and a cheese delicatessen and butcher's shop. A strong sense of community and self-help underpins village life. This has already been responsible for the purpose built pre-school facility opened in 1997, allotments and a Childrens play area which includes a skate park. There is now an expanded area at the Sports Club which includes football and tennis facilities and there are also cricket, snooker, table tennis and darts at the original clubhouse. These new facilities in line with equal opportunity objectives and the 2002 Action Plan, which highlighted the need to improve facilities for young people. These needed, and received considerable outside funding.
The village of Walsham le Willows, as we see it today, has evolved over a long period of time. The speed of change and the pressures for development will necessitate a regular review of the data and surveys which have informed this visual design statement.
On the morning of Friday March 23rd a large number of local residents attended the ceremony of the planting of a Willow Tree to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee of our Queen. This tree was planted at the junction of Finningham Road and Swan Path and the planting was undertaken by the two oldest residents who have lived in the village for the whole of the Queen's reign,.Mrs. Betty Jordan and Mr. Jim Kenny. Fittingly, we were blessed with a very fine, sunny day!
Everyone was invited by the organisers of this tribute, The Parish Council, to witness this historic event, including the whole of the children from the Primary School . To commemorate this planting there is a lovely plaque which has been placed on the post adjacent to the tree; this was designed and produced by our resident potter, Rob Wheeler. You can contact Rob on his own website, www.robwheelerpotter.com or, if you are lucky enough to be without such wonderful facilities, you can telephone him on 01359 258167. ..