One thing arising from an otherwise uneventful meeting was the Council’s continuing effort to make the Quay rather more presentable. The next phase is to tackle the encroaching reeds that are threatening to strangle the Glaven itself. Some clearance work and spraying is planned for the 24 June. The eventual aim is to attempt to restore the Quay to something like its condition in 1995 – the last time the Parish Council did restoration work there. The project has been budgeted for, and with more able bodied councillors available, not to mention some very keen volunteers, something should be visible soon. That’s ‘soon’ as in the next twelve months or so – we’re not talking geological time here.
Our District Councillor, David Young, gave a full report on changes at Cromer including all sorts of geeky stuff about changes to the Code of Conduct, and the merging of the Revenue and Benefits Service with that of King’s Lynn & West Norfolk Borough Council using a new computer system that it is estimated will save ￡500,000 a year. Excuse my hollow laugh but how many times have we heard about new shared computer systems designed to save money ending up costing a small fortune? Maybe Norfolk do diff’rent. Other changes include the elevation of our County Councillor, John Perry-Warnes, to the exalted rank of Chairman of the NNDC (he is also a District Councillor…) with Keith Johnson, the former Markets Manager, as Leader of the council.
The District Council also passed a motion asking the County Council to try to protect CoastHopper bus services. The County is obliged to reimburse the operators for all the pensioners’ pass holders who make use of the service – the vast majority of users come into this category – but the sneaky old government who are supposed to pay the County Council enough to cover this do not ring-fence the money which leaves the NCC wracked with temptation to use the money to cover reduced grants elsewhere. Obviously the government want to do away with the bus-pass system altogether but are mindful that to do so, especially on top of the massive cuts to the NHS and the so-called ‘granny tax’, would be extremely damaging politically, so they oblige the county councils to undermine it – through reduced subsidies and thus less frequent services – instead.
One bit of good news: Victory Housing have been persuaded not to sell off 10 Glandford Road, so that is one property that will still be available for affordable rent in the village – let’s face it, there are precious few of them.
We are still collecting witness forms in connection with the registration of the short length of footpath alongside the beer garden of The George. If you have a form please hand it back to Di Dann or any Parish Councillor; if you want a form please contact Mrs Dann on 01328 878196. Originally this path connected with one that went across the marsh along the water’s edge to the sluice – visible in most old photographs of the area – but which fell into disuse after the seawall was built in 1955. Access is still possible, albeit a bit of a scramble, and this could be improved if there were sufficient demand for the reinstatement of the riverside path. It would, however, mean further hacking away of the encroaching reeds. Comments are welcome. No, really.
One odd thing happened in June: the post box on the Coast Road disappeared. The box was, or rather is, what’s known as a ‘lamp box’, designed to be attached to a lamp-post but, given the extreme paucity of lamp-posts in this village, attached to a wooden post instead. As wooden posts are prone to do, this one rotted and eventually collapsed leaving the post box on the ground. It was soon gathered up by the Royal Mail and whisked off to wherever it is that orphaned letter boxes go, causing real concern that it would not return. However, return it has, complete with new post so all is well. It’s a long walk from the Coast Road or Hilltop to the old post office – even further to Church Lane – so this village really does need three boxes. Thank you Pat. The Department for Too Much Information tells me that the box in question was made to the 1896 pattern by W T Allen in about 1934, so just a year before that rather dim monarch George the Fifth celebrated his (silver) Jubilee. For the sake of completeness I should add that the Church Lane lamp box is to the later 1935 pattern, again made by W T Allen sometime between 1937 and 1947, while the wall box at the former Post Office is more modern still having been built to his own design by James Ludlow around 1953 – it has the EIIR cipher on the door plus a few later modifications. This information, and much, much more, is to be found in volume 12 of the Glaven Historian, published by the Blakeney Area Historical Society and available from them or from the Crabpot bookshop in Cley. Just to keep things square, I should mention a non-pecuniary interest in the Glaven Historian…
Word has come via Tony Faulkner that “the Minister is considering very carefully how Reference Areas will be handled in the public consultation in light of policy commitments and feedback from local groups.” Make of that what you will, but some hope may be offered by the fact that the minister in question is the Parliamentary Undersecretary of State at DEFRA, Richard Beynon, who is a caricature of a country Tory and no friend of the conservation lobby. Indeed he recently tried to get a government sanctioned cull of buzzards, a rare and protected species, on the basis that they were destroying commercial pheasant shoots, despite his own department’s figures showing total predation by all raptors of just 1-2%. Far more pheasants are killed by motor vehicles though he has yet to ask for a cull of car-drivers. Guess what? The Beynon estate in Berkshire includes a 9000 acre pheasant shoot… Keep an eye on the Natural England website after 18 July for more information.
But before that, we will have the next meeting of the Cley Parish Council on Tuesday 3 July at 7.30pm in the Club Room. With luck it won’t be raining.