Wow! We actually had a full complement of Councillors in attendance at the last meeting, for the first time in many months, which meant that for once we outnumbered the members of the public. Not that that is necessarily a good thing of course. So what was on telly that night to keep the electors at home? Simon Cowell farewell benefit gig? Norwich City trashing Manchester City? No, the first icy blasts of Winter more like.
Now that the cold weather has finally arrived I should remind people of the potentially hazardous conditions on some of our roads, particularly the direct route to Holt via Swan Lodge which doesn’t normally get gritted. There have been several accidents on this road already so, unless you are desperate for a pretext to buy a new car or enjoy examining hedgerow flora from the comfort of your upturned car, you should avoid this route if at all possible when the temperature drops below 1 or 2 degrees, taking the road through Glandford instead as this route is on the gritting roster and is thus safer. Or at least it should be.
Talking about roads, we have received a date for the resurfacing work on Cley High Street. This is scheduled to start on Monday 23 January and last for five days and will involve the closure of the entire road from the junction with New Road right through to the Old Hall. The diversions put in place will mean most traffic will give us a very wide berth being sent up the Langham Road from Blakeney and thence via the A148 to Sheringham (a map showing the official diversion is available as a download here) though we can hope the bus routes will take a slightly less wide detour. Signs will be erected stating that “businesses are open as usual” so the really determined customers may yet fight their way through. This work will be followed up by another day or two sometime in April for surface dressing – where they spray a bit of tar, sprinkle stone chippings on top and hope that the traffic will tamp it all down without too many broken windows. All this is of course dependent on the weather being clement.
The Police emailed a report outlining the latest developments in our ‘crime wave’: one common assault, alcohol related as is so often the case, man arrested; thefts of heating oil have continued throughout the area with, as yet, no arrests made; the spate of break-ins at the Pinkfoot Gallery have resulted in the arrest of a man who has allegedly confessed to the last incident but who denies the earlier ones. The Safer Neighbourhoods Action Plan for the month ahead includes more high-visibility patrols in Cley and Wiveton in an attempt to deter further thefts of oil (and of outboard motors – another favourite target of the light fingered). How many of these patrols will be at night, when the thefts mostly occur, has not been recorded. Let’s hope they don’t need to pursue any villains as last time the only police dog on duty was somewhere the other side of Dereham. And before you ask, the helicopter has long since been flogged off. Cuts? What cuts? My advice is: be vigilant but don’t be paranoid.
Something we probably can be paranoid about is the on-going saga of the Marine Conservation Zone Reference Areas. Tony Faulkner has mounted a splendid campaign against the choice of RA4 and RA5, the wall of bureaucratic intransigence presented by NetGain is showing a few cracks, and now our MP Norman Lamb has been involving himself. We are told that an alternative site has been offered to Natural England. This new site has two great advantages: the landowner is amenable, and best of all it’s in Suffolk. Let’s see if we can persuade NE of its advantages. There will be another meeting on the 15 December, the outcome of which will no doubt filter through to the rest of us in due course.
That’s enough of my misanthropy for this month. Time only to wish you all a Happy Christmas and a good New Year, and keep safe as we want you to be able to attend the next meeting of Cley Parish Council. Hangovers permitting.