Here we go again. It seems our ‘friends’ on Wiveton Parish Council decided they needed a sign to warn drivers of juggernauts tempted to drive down Bridgefoot Lane that there was a severe weight restriction at the other end. At first sight not unreasonable except that anyone daft enough to try to get a large lorry into Bridgefoot Lane in the first place should have his license rescinded – or inserted where no license has been before. The case was taken up by their county councillor, Dr Strong, and duly agreed by whoever it is that has to sanction these things. It was then passed to the Highways ‘Design Engineers’ who, being the crass little souls they are, reached for the manual on signage for motorways and trunk roads producing a sign that is quite disproportionately large and intrusive for what is a C class road in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. There is in fact already a sign warning of the weight restriction but that is cunningly hidden round the corner from the junction where it is of little use. Am I missing something here? Would it not have been better to have moved the existing sign to the junction rather than waste several thousand pounds on a ghastly new sign that they will have, sooner or later, to remove? I thought money was supposed to be tight.
Nobody from Highways bothered to tell us what they were planning though this seems to be pretty much the norm. OK, they did give us plenty of notice about the road works back in January – in view of the disruption caused this was only fair – but nobody else seems to bother. We have recently heard by roundabout routes – there has been no direct communication – that Anglian Water are intending to dig up the Deli car park to install a large soak-away under it. Given that the water table is only a few inches under the surface at this point, this does seem a rather perverse decision. Perhaps they are trying to smuggle in an open air swimming pool without telling the planners?
They recently set up a small drilling rig to investigate the sub-soil but they were drilling into the bed of the old creek (latterly known as Jackson’s Creek) rather than the car park itself; perhaps they drilled there too and I missed it. A simple site survey would have shown them that the car park is bounded on two sides by a fresh-water creek and on another side by at least one well and a couple of small springs. The adjacent house is called ‘Springfield’ for a good reason. Any large hole dug in that car park is going to be full of water most of the time – only a severe drought would dry it out – so if they are hoping to solve the problem of damp in those cottages on the south side of New Road they are wasting their time. We can’t tell them of course because officially we don’t know about it.
What is certain is that the works will add considerably to the chaos of parking in that part of the village. The junction of High Street and New Road is already a problem for large vehicles as can be seen from the state of the garden walls at the apex of the junction where large lorries travelling on the A149 regularly tail-swipe them as they squeeze round the corner. Another problem is farm machinery coming from the other end of the High Street and trying to join the New Road but being obstructed by cars parked too close to the junction. Modern farm machinery is simply ginormous and could probably drive right over a car with barely a bump being felt. One day someone will probably do just that and the ‘victim’ will have little redress as parking that close to a junction is in any case an offence under various Road Traffic Acts which I’m too lazy to look up – besides I don’t want to risk giving Google any more money to not pay tax on.
Following on from our own tree work I am asked to remind tree owners throughout the parish that they have a Duty of Care with regard to those trees: if the trees fall down and squash next door’s cat, or indeed squash next door, you as owner would be liable. That is not to encourage you all to cede responsibility to the council, nor is it an invitation to destroy any or all the trees in the village – any tree that is much more than a sapling is in effect subject to the blanket tree preservation order that covers the whole of the Conservation Area and therefore the owner must have the consent of Simon Case, the NNDC Tree Officer, before any work is done. Anyone tempted to chop first and argue about it afterwards could end up facing heavy fines. It’s interesting to compare modern day vistas of the village and the Glaven Valley with views done in the eighteenth century. The first thing you notice is just how bleak and treeless the earlier views are. Some really ancient trees on the Bayfield Estate apart, most of what we have today is no more than 150 years old; Taylor’s Wood for instance was planted by Edmund Taylor of Swan Lodge Farm in the middle of the nineteenth century; before that it was open heathland.
News has just come in that the government has finally seen sense and dropped its proposal to impose Marine Conservation Zones – well some of them anyway – and more to the point it has dropped the Reference Area proposals too. This is great news for pretty much everybody as even the conservationists considered RA4 to be unnecessary. Congratulations to all those who campaigned tirelessly against the scheme. It’s just a pity so much taxpayers’ money was wasted on NetGain and the other ‘contractors’.