The last meeting of the old council was a bit of a non-event really. Our meaningful on-going situations go on. Meaningfully. Progress on quay restoration and combatting land grabs is real but slow. The only real excitement was provided by our District and County Councillors – the Police didn’t even bother to show.
First up was our County man, John Perry-Warnes, who confirmed that the Highways engineers were planning to resurface pretty much the whole of Cley High Street sometime early next year. As this is likely to close down the entire village for the duration I do hope they are careful with their timing. He also dropped a hint about plans to tackle the “problem” of people parking in Cley Road, Holt. I am not aware that this has ever been flagged up as a problem, at least not by Cley residents, as that is just about the only bit of free long-term parking in the entire town. Ah! Perhaps that is the “problem”: loss of revenue at the council’s long stay car parks.
He also announced that he had visited the Norfolk Fire Headquarters where they are facing swingeing 25% cuts over the next four years, imposed by the Max Axeman of Downing Street. To mark this inauspicious occasion they have gone out and bought a dozen new fire engines (he spared us details of the cost) which unusually are to be built on four-wheel drive chassis to cope with conditions in the rural areas – presumably the pothole situation is worse than we thought. Needless to say the chassis will be built overseas as we have long lost the ability to build our own – though we can still, just, do the red shiny bits.
Next up was our District Councillor, Henry Cordeaux, noticeably de-mob happy as he is standing down at the next election, which – in case you’ve forgotten or have taken up residence at the bottom of a deep well – is on 5 May. He has been our District Councillor for sixteen years which is probably enough for anyone to have to suffer. He did show some pride in announcing that the council had agreed a new contract for refuse collection and ancillary services. The contract has been awarded to Kier Street Services, a subsidiary of the Kier Group whose primary interest is in construction and property development, and is worth ￡8.5 million a year – presumably this figure also includes the contract they have with the Borough Council of King’s Lynn and North West Norfolk which they claim will give them considerable economies of scale. I’m not sure how that is supposed to work as it just means they have twice as much rubbish to dispose of presumably in twice as many holes in the ground – don’t even mention incineration! The same company will handle recycling, street cleaning, grounds maintenance and the cleansing of toilets and other buildings. They have invested in a brand new fleet of dust carts so someone must be happy though I doubt it’s the workforce. The company’s HQ is in Basingstoke so they’re obviously going for the sympathy vote.
I now have to sit down and write my annual report for presentation at the next meeting. It has been an interesting year though the most interesting bits are still sub judice and so can’t really be mentioned. I can say, however, that the External Auditors have signed off the past year’s accounts so all is hunky dory in that department. The new council will start life with a full piggy bank, assuming Barclays don’t lose it all on a dodgy investment or the 3.30 at Newmarket.
There will alas be no election for the new Cley Parish Council – indeed we start with a member short because one of the candidates didn’t get her nomination papers in in time. Come along on Tuesday 10 May and make our acquaintance. I should have my report ready by then. Meanwhile here is some food for thought from Di Dann:
NT Blakeney 100 years celebration
We are being encouraged by NT to take part, indeed arrange, projects to celebrate this event. We are thinking that we might do something which is food related. Possibly a set of mussel recipe postcards, front pics on the card to be a nice backdrop of the Point, Cley Marshes and so on with our most delicious mussel recipe printed beside. We just wondered how many folk might have cherished mussel recipes to give to us to consider using for this project. Note that the recipes must be tried and tested; granny’s favourite even! Do get back to us if you would like to be involved with this project. It could be fun – particularly when it comes to trying those tasty little crustaceans with a chilled glass of white wine if your recipe has been selected for the project!
Di Dann and Richard Kelham