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June 2013 report

David Young, our District Councillor, reports that a new county-wide recycling contract will be signed soon. The new processing plant to be built under this contract will increase the scope for recycling more varieties of plastic. At the moment you can for instance recycle a plastic water bottle (PET) but not its stopper (HDPE?) – in fact you need a degree in polymer recognition just to get the right stuff in the right bin. With luck this will change and we might even be able to recycle styrene yoghurt pots, so all you artists will have to mix your paints in something else.

It is expected that glass would also be recycled in the green bin. This seems like a bad idea for the bottle bank business. If bottle banks were to disappear your parish council would be some £600 a year worse off and would have to recoup the shortfall by an increase in the council tax precept – so we would all be out of pocket – the law of unintended consequences still applies. Complaints please to the NNDC.

On the subject of the precept I must point out, for those of you still in the dark, figuratively as well as literally, that your council tax does not include a payment for street lighting. If it did your tax would be much higher. It really is much cheaper to buy a torch or three – indeed anyone who injures themselves stumbling around in the dark without a torch has only themselves to blame. This council subscribes to the notion that light pollution is something to be avoided – that the night sky should be black-with-white-specks, not a uniform orange.

PC Pegden gave a satisfyingly brief report: thirteen calls to the Police, two domestic incidents and one case of common assault that has since been resolved (whatever that means). He did remind us that the main thieving season is beginning and that they have fresh supplies of the outboard motor covers available for anyone who wants one. Remember the number to call for non-urgent matters is 101.

On matters legal, the NNDC has recommended the setting up of a “Cost Sharing Group” with Yarmouth Borough Council intended to achieve ‘administrative savings’ – pause for cynical snigger. Somehow this will also allow NNDC’s legal services department – known as ‘Eastlaw’ would you believe – to be made available to charities and not-for-profit organisations at cost and free of VAT. Given the shameful emasculation of Legal Aid this ought to be a welcome move though having seen them in action at a planning appeal where the developer had a shark in a suit while the NNDC sent the office boy – the developer won, needless to say – I’m somewhat underwhelmed at the prospect. Perhaps they have changed. I hope so.

Before we can even begin to raise funds for the Quay improvements we have to have planning permission. Having ticked all the necessary boxes with Natural England, the Environment Agency, the National Trust, Uncle Tom Cobley and all, we duly applied. The NNDC planning officer later contacted me to say that they were ‘minded’ to approve the application but, to cover their backs, they would wave it under the noses of the Marine Management Organisation. That was over two months ago and nobody has heard a word since. Apparently the MMO are notorious procrastinators (and that’s the polite, non-biblical version) who never seem to respond to anything so I trust the NNDC planners will take courage and pass our plans without the say-so of the MMO; otherwise we will not have time to get the funding in place for next Spring.

Talking of funding, several days after the Parish Council meeting news came from Linda Girling at the County Council that they would after all fund our scheme to improve the road down to the old quay. She wrote: “We have assessed your bid and am pleased to say that Cley Parish Council have been successful in their bid and we will be fully funding your bid for the reasons stated below. I will be sending you a letter shortly with the full details of any conditions that may apply, and information as to payment of the 25% contribution due from yourselves less any refunds due from complete schemes in the 2012/13.” No I don’t know what that last bit means either, but what the heck, it’s good news! Finally, after years of trying, it will be possible to drive to the quay in something other than an off-roader or a tank; ongoing maintenance should be a matter for the County Highways as it is after all their road. I always like to end on a high note…

The next meeting of the Cley Parish Council will be on Tuesday 2 July in the Club Room at the rear of the Village Hall, starting at 7.30pm. Please leave your tanks in the spacious car park. The big question: will our new County Councillor be there?

Richard Kelham

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