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Annual Report

Traffic Problems in Cley – cycle-lane not the answer…

Well OK, so nobody actually suggested it was, and this is a shot of the high point of the year – at least for those who favour two wheels over four – as the Tour of Britain Cycle Race came steaming through the village on the 16 September last year.

Tour of Britain Cycle Race - Cley, Norfolk

This was Stage Six of the gruelling race and consisted of 189km from King’s Lynn to Yarmouth via Cley and a few other places like Sheringham, Holt and Norwich, definitely taking the pretty route.

There were 96 riders and our photo shows most of them as the peloton steamed through our village – the leaders were already half-way to Salthouse – accompanied by a phalanx of Police outriders and race support vehicles and TV camera crews standing on the backs of motor bikes like circus stunt riders. We all know that Norfolk is not as flat as Noel Coward would have people believe, but King of the Mountain might be pushing it a bit. Still we had our 15 seconds of fame.

Underlying all this frivolity however is the real threat that the police will push for parking restrictions and the accompanying yellow lines for Cley High Street and possibly adjacent streets. The Parish council has long fought against such proposals on the grounds that traffic volumes are only intolerable for a few weeks of the year; for the rest of the time a few strategically placed parked cars act as an effective traffic calming measure that stops drivers belting through the village at speeds well in excess of the limit. Given the lack of pavements this is very dangerous for pedestrians.

A group of Highways engineers visited us a few years ago promising to come up with a solution that could sit comfortably within our conservation area. Needless to say we’re still waiting for their report.

Drains ‘R’ Us

New drain at Fairstead, CleyAfter many years of campaigning we have finally got a drainage system installed in the Fairstead.

Hitherto, every time it rained, all the surface water from the Fairstead collected togetether and poured in a torrent down the Old Post Office Loke. This situation was made worse by all the residents of the Fairstead building small dams in front of their properties so that the rainwater no longer seeped down into their garages.

Now, thanks to the recently appointed Highway engineer (Michael Woodhouse take a bow) we have a new gully system cunningly placed to intercept all this water and pipe it into a humungous soak away. In the way of these things we have not had more than a few drops of rain since the work was finished in early March. We are, however, quietly confident this has cured the problem.

Unfinished Business

Fishing on Cley Beach, NorfolkInevitably there is much that has pre-occupied the council in the eleven meetings held over the last year. One that is about to raise its ugly head again is the conflict between bathers and sea anglers on Cley beach.

Unfortunately the anglers’ organisation (which seems to consist of one elderly bloke with a typewriter) don’t see this as their problem so are apparently unwilling to compromise. Who was it that said “angling is a stick and a bit of string, with a worm at one end and a fool at the other”? Not me, obviously.

The Phone Box

Another story that seems set to run and run is the saga of our red phone box. I say “red” though a sort of mossy grey green might be more accurate unfortunately as it is in a very sad state.

Telephone box on the High Street, Cley, NorfolkA resident has very generously offered to sponsor the box for a few years and BT have raised no objection to this though the paperwork has yet to be finalised. When asked to come and paint it, however, BT seem much less accommodating, saying that they will only paint it every ten years if a sponsorship deal is done. Fine, but it hasn’t been painted since 1994 at least – I’ve been going through old photos for the website – so is already well overdue for a bit of the red stuff. If nothing is forthcoming soon we may have to slap a repair notice on them as listed buildings should not be allowed to decay. That is a job for the next council to deal with after the ‘election’.

More unfinished business: the trial of the former Clerk has been put down for June so the matter is still sub judice and cannot be discussed here. The wheels of Justice grind exceedingly slowly.

Justice is being sought in another area too. At various times people try to claim chunks of Parish land as their own and the Council is fighting a constant battle to stop them. We lost one case a few years ago because someone didn’t write the letter she had been instructed to write. The current battle is looking rather more promising.

Councils, unlike certain other arms of government, have an obligation to communicate with their electorate, hence in part this report. We also publish our minutes on our noticeboard and summarise our activies in the Glaven Valley Newsletter. Now we are about to go onto the web! Our new website is taking shape and we should be live on-line by June. The site, to be found at www.cleyparishcouncil.org.uk, will carry all the usual stuff: minutes and agendas, contact details, a basic guide to services provided, and a brief history of the village and of its buildings – the last for the benefit of visitors and new residents. It may also carry a blog and perhaps even a webcam showing the state of traffic in the High Street. On second thoughts…

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