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, Milton, Stebbing, Gorzelak and District Councillor Osborne..
The Chairman reported that Mr. Raynard Walt has resigned as a Councillor. The Clerk was instructed to thank him for his past services to the Parish Council and to advertise the vacancy.
Minutes of the meeting of the 13th December, 2011 were confirmed and signed.
On behalf of some residents Cllr. Osborne queried how the Play Council spent the grant of £3,500 given annually from the Parish Council and requested to see their accounts. He was informed that this information was not available from the Parish Council but could be obtained by a request to see the accounts to the Play Council.
Proposal Erection of detached garage with storage area above and erection of detached Single-storey garden machinery shed/storage building (amended scheme to 3092/11).
LocationCrownland Cottage, Crownland Road. The ParishCouncil made no comments to this application.
Proposal Installation of garage doors to existing detached cart-lodge.
Location West Barn, West Street. Planning permission has been garntd by Mid Soffolk District Council.
Cllr. Osborne had nothing to report from Mid Suffolk District Council except that the forthcoming merger with Babergh District Council was still ongoing.
Dr. Russell had informed the Clerk that the radar gun was still being repaired.
PCSO Kegge was unable to attend the meeting therefore the Clerk read his report on his behalf.
During the month of December there were 2 crimes of public interest, one of indecent communication and one of fraud via false representation; both of these incidents took place via phons and as such I would urge all parishioners that when answering calls, do not disclose bank details unless you are 100% sure of who you are talking to. If you suspect that there is anything suspicious please hang up immediately and report the incident to either trading standards or to the police.
The current 2 priorities are Crime reduction for the farming community. Several farms have been visited and have taken part in crime prevention surveys and been given free information packs provided by Suffolk Police. Parking iIssues in Eye.Due to concerns regarding dangerous parking in the town centre of Eye meeting were arranged (sioc) with the Council to look at road improvements and current signage. Tickets have also been issued to vehicles commiting offences.
The next SNT meeting is set for January 24th 2012 and will be held at Goodwin Hall, New Street, Fressingfield. IP21 5JP commencing at 19.30pm.. .
Not in attendance.
Due to the resignation of Cllr. Walt from the Parish Council a new Play Area representative was required. Cllr. John Stebbing agreed to fill this post>
Cllr. Barber reported that she had received a complaint from Ian Dryden about gaps in the hedge where children are going through onto his land. Cllr. Stebbing agreed to arrange a meeting with Quentin Cass regarding this.
A report of income/expenditure against budget to the 31st December, 2011 was presented and all cheques were passed for payment and signed.
The Clerk reported that the she had received an email from Suffolk County Council stating that the traffic order has completed its advertisement period now and they are preparing the order to extend the lines. They will lay the lines when the weather is dry and the road has no salt, hopefully within the next 6 weeks.
The Chairman reported that an agreement have been made with the Community Payback Service to start work on the 12th January, 2012 weather permitting and that arrangements have been made to clear away the debris.
The Clerk confirmed that she had written to Paul Rayson accepting his quotation and he has replied stating that he will start the work as soon as the danger of frosts has passed.
The Parish Council are still awaiting a decision from the Community Council concerning these celebrations, meanwhile, Cllr. Stebbing proposed that a White Willow be purchased and planted at the junction of Swan Path with Finningham Road (Millers Bridge end) with a plaque marking the Queens Diamond Jubilee. It was decided to find out the oldest village born residents who have lived in the village for the whole of the Queens reign and invite them to take part in the tree planting ceremony which is to be held on the first day of Spring, Wednesday 21st March, 2012 at 10.00am.
Nothing further to report.
The Clerk reported that she had been intouch with Suffolk County Council and had ascertained that the street lighting in Jolly's Way, Broadmeadow and Elmside belonged to Suffolk County Council and could well be considered for switch off between the hours of 12 midnight to 5.30am. The Parish Council owns 51 units and the cost to convert these units for switch off during the hours of 12 midnighht to 5.30am would be £2,295 (£45 per unit) and the energy saving would be £611.54p. approx. per annum. The payback period would be 3.75 years. Cllr. Belson agreed to conduct a survey of all street lighting and report back to the next meeting when this strategy will be discussed further.
This was duly completed on behalf of the Parish Council.
There was no correspondence for discussion.
It was with regret that the Parish Council have learned that our valued Road Sweeper is suffering ill health at present and is unable to carry oiut her duties and wishes to resign.
The Clerk was instructed to advertise the vacancy in the Observer.
The Chairman has provisionally booked the weekend of the 24th/25th March, 2012 for the annual litter pick and requested that this be placed on the agenda for the February meeting.
This will be held on Tuesday 27th March, 2012. The formast for this to be finalised at the February meeting.
Cllr. Milton reported that the edge of the road is breaking up by the gates leading into the park. The Clerk was instructed to report this.
The meeting closed !
The next meeting of the Parish Council will be held on Tuesday 14th February. 2012 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 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.
The Hedge Survey was completed in 2008. In this instance the survey has been carried out by just three teams, each consisting of two volunteers and in contrast to the timing for the Litter Pick this is only practical between the spring/summer period when the leaves allow for easier identification of the various plants. As mentioned above, this survey is being undertaken by most, but not all of the parishes within Suffolk County and although there are already several where their survey is now complete there are many more who are well behind the completion target.
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.