Notice Of Election Share…
Nothing to do with J K Rowling – this is a real vacancy on Cley Parish Council. Click the link for the full official guff.
SUNDAY 7TH MAY
8am – 12.30pm
We are holding a working party at Cley quay to install riding posts and further mooring posts. It is intended to also clear and tidy the quay ready for the oncoming season, all are welcome and doubtless we will repair to The George after our efforts for some light refreshment.
A note of caution; It usually rains on a working party day!
Also a reminder that on the 13th May we have a fleet of Cockle sailing dinghies coming to Cley harbour on the morning tide, arrival about 9am. There may even be tea and coffee for you if you wish to welcome the fleet to Cley.
The Project’s latest Newsletter is now available for download. Cley Harbour Newsletter April 2017
Architect’s sketch of the proposed new housing on the disused part of the allotment gardens, Cley.
The designs for new social housing that Victory Housing Trust are proposing to build on the unused part of the allotment gardens were displayed at the church on Tuesday afternoon, 4 October, with representatives of Victory and of the District and Parish councils in attendance. Prior to this comment forms had been delivered to every house in Cley. The Council wish to remind residents that they have until the 26 October to get their replies to the Clerk, Louise Stevens. We would urge as many as possible to do this.
Please note that the Quay Car Park and access road will be closed for dredging of the harbour from 31st January to 6th February inclusive. There will be a certain amount of machinery and plant coming and going during this week which might cause some inconvenience. Please bear with us in this, as we will be doing our utmost to keep disruption to a minimum. The footpath from the George garden through to the quay will be accessible for viewing the dredging but not for access to the quay car park or mill, please use the alternative footpath beside the Old Customs house.
If you have any queries or otherwise please contact me on 01263 740987 or e mail firstname.lastname@example.org
This is, to much relief all round no doubt, my last Chairman’s Report. Looking back the past year has been relatively quiet compared to the year before – no more floods, no more crashing helicopters, no more massive roadworks – though it has not been without its landmark changes. Most obviously our lovely listed phone box has finally been repainted, a mere seventeen years after the last time, and is looking very good. That it is virtually impossible to use is unfortunate, so much so that Vodafone (other networks are available) mobile users have been known to drive for miles in search of a signal rather than attempt to make a call from the phone box, so one of the jobs of the new council might be to find a fitting 21st century use for it; wi-fi hot-spot has been suggested, or a Liberal Democrat Party conference venue?
Less obvious, but undoubtedly more far-reaching, has been the arrival of fibre-optic broadband. The parish council have been enthusiastic supporters of Dr Marie Strong’s successful campaign to bring high speed broadband to rural Norfolk. Now it has arrived Cley can rejoin the modern world – fast broadband is essential for business users these days as well as being highly desirable for domestic users given the relatively poor TV and DAB radio reception hereabouts. The parish council’s own website has been a useful resource for visitors and residents alike as well as a means of publicising the council’s activities. The future maintenance of the website is another task for the new council to look at.
Cley now has its own community bottle bank provided by Indigo Recycling on behalf of the parish council. This should be a nice little earner for the parish but as yet we don’t have any actual figures. Meanwhile please keep on recycling your glass bottles in our bottle bank.
The restoration of the Old Quay area has been deferred until next spring due to lack of funding. To address this problem the council is collecting pledges of financial support from villagers in the hope of attracting match funding from the various grant-giving bodies out there – they are generally better disposed towards projects where the promoters have clearly made an effort. My thanks to our Clerk, Louise Stevens, to Councillor Mark Randell and to newly elected Councillor Simon Read for all their hard work on this project, past and future.
Some six months after the fatal helicopter crash on Cley marshes, the USAF report into the accident was published last summer. As suspected the report showed that the crash was the result of multiple bird strikes. We had long maintained that low-flying aircraft and bird reserves did not, and should not, mix so this seemed like vindication, albeit at terrible cost to those who lost their lives. In the hope of preventing such a tragedy from recurring a petition was raised asking that the no-fly zone already in place over Blakeney Point NNR be extended to cover the NWT Cley reserve as well. Unfortunately a majority of my fellow councillors declined to support me so I had to press on and raise the petition in my own name and, with support from the Pinkfoot Gallery, Holt Bookshop, Made in Cley, District Councillor David Young and of course Norman Lamb MP, our request was granted – with the added bonus that the village itself is now included in the exclusion zone. A big thank you to everyone who helped see this through.
Planning applications are still coming through at a rate of about one a month so the physical appearance of the village is gradually changing, for better or worse. Several properties have come onto the market recently at prices in excess of £1,000,000 exacerbating still further the shortage of affordable accommodation for those who actually live and work here. Proposals to build new social-rented houses under a section 106 agreement are still mired in ‘discussions’ with the planners. Meanwhile the existing stock of such properties is slowly hemorrhaging away. This slow trickle could become a flood now a Tory government has been elected as they have very generously “promised” to force Housing Associations to sell their property at a massive discount to sitting tenants. An interesting precedent seeing that Housing Associations are private, usually charitable, institutions.
Traffic in the High Street is more chaotic than ever, road works having been replaced by building works – at one time there were no less that ten active sites in the High Street and New Road, each with its concomitant gaggle of builders’ vans and cars. Much of the High Street is reduced to a single lane which brings gridlock when impatient motorists came face to face in a local variation of the Mexican standoff. Eventually the builders will finish their labours and we will return to a more normal level of chaos. What to do? Some years ago a couple of Highways engineers came to assess the situation with a view to implementing a scheme of differential road surfaces to delineate parking and non-parking areas without resorting to double yellow lines. They came, they saw, they departed – and nothing has been heard from them since. No doubt it was filed away under ‘too difficult’. Traffic congestion is really only a problem for about eight weeks of the year, not counting builders of course, so a solution must not cause hassles for residents for the other forty fours weeks. And no, that swathe being cut across the south part of the parish is not a previously unannounced new by-pass, despite appearances, but is the route of new cables being laid in connection with an off-shore wind farm. I hope.
And so, before I ride off into the sunset, I’d like to thank Louise for her sterling work as our Clerk and RFO, and for taking on the Village Hall Committee post as well. Thanks also to my fellow councillors for all they have done for the community over the years, to Di Dann, our previous Clerk who got us back on our feet after an attack of malfeasance, and to all the people of Cley for their support. I promise to keep a respectful distance from the new council, unless asked…
CLEY OLD HARBOUR PROJECT
A really big THANK YOU to all that gave their time and enthusiasm to help at the working party ( and there were a lot of you). The result of which is that we have cleared both banks of reed growth from Beau Rivage down to the flood gate, a great effort.
NEXT WORKING PARTY: SUN 24TH MAY 9.00am
View of the old harbour in the 1890s showing Beau Rivage in its original state as a granary. Note the width of the channel even at low tide.
A 1995 view of the quay wall and slipway at high tide. This is the condition we wish to return the area to.
We have had contact with BT (mirabile dictu) who point out that cashless payphones can be used even when there is no card reader. Apparently calls can be made from these cashless boxes by dialling 0800 0320023 and then following the prompts, or the instructions written on the display panel on the rear of the box – in about 9pt type so take your glasses. You will need to have your debit or credit card to hand which implies the system doesn’t actually work with phone cards, though it does work with BT’s own charge card, whatever that might be. Or, failing that, dial 100 and ask to reverse the charges.
The working weekend on the old quay was a great success thanks to all the volunteers – and there were a gratifyingly large number of you – and with particular thanks to Simon Read for organising the whole show. As I said last month this work was to be in preparation for the full-scale, mechanised assault on the silt originally scheduled for about now but postponed until this time next year as the funding is not yet in place. With that in mind, it has been seriously suggested that a local fund-raising effort be made so as to be able to provide match-funding for any grants on offer. This would take the form of pledges of money that would only be called in when work was about to start. Further details when they are available.
At the meeting it was announced that our Head Flood Warden, Tony Aberdein, has had to stand down for health reasons and that his place would be taken by Dr Roger Brownsword (01263 740862), an experienced flood warden with personal knowledge of what flood water can do to one’s home. It is in no way a reflection on Roger’s considerable abilities when I wish Tony a speedy recovery.
On the subject of seawater, the government’s nihilistic approach to the public sector has included a full-frontal assault on the Coastguard Service which continues with our own Watch being stood down at the end of the month. A least we still have the lifeboats though anyone getting into trouble out there will have to rely on passing strangers with mobile phones – and a signal – to call out the RNLI. Remember also that the air-sea rescue service has been privatised, the contract having been awarded to Bristow Helicopters of Houston, Texas. The company, which specialises in ferrying crews to and from the various oil and gas rigs, have some experience of air-sea rescue having seen several of their helicopters crash into the North Sea, with fatal consequences alas. I know this government were never likely to let reality trump their right wing dogma but how it can be cheaper to pay to have a commercial company’s helicopter and crew on stand-by 24/7 in place of air force personnel who are being paid anyway, is beyond my ken. Perhaps they will save money by only going out in office hours and have an answering machine for other times?
Elaine Ferguson, the Housing Development Officer from the NNDC, will be addressing the next meeting and we will no doubt have some very interesting questions for her. Her visit is particularly timely as there is a newly vacated property in Old Woman’s Lane which Victory Housing Trust are thinking of selling on the open market; no decision has been made yet, and it would require Board and Regulator approval, but we can ill afford to lose any more social housing, particularly as the NNDC planners have so far blocked the only realistic proposal for new build in the village. If this, or any other, development went ahead it would be built under the Exceptions Scheme and thus would fall under the local lettings policy which means it would be offered to the people of Cley and surrounding villages on the housing waiting list first – unlike the property in Old Woman’s Lane which would be available to anyone on the list. Perhaps some answers will be forthcoming at the next meeting – but please be gentle with her as we need her support in our war against the planners.
Many things may change in the next couple of months with our MP, our District Councillor and the entire Parish Council up for re-election. This is the point where I urge everyone – especially the young – to make sure they vote on 7 May. Ignore what Russell Brand says. The reason that all political parties fall over themselves to appease the old is that they know that pensioners vote; and there’s a lot of them/us round here. Conversely the needs of the young are generally ignored because most of them don’t bother to vote anyway so who cares if they are further alienated. Yes, the system is fundamentally and deeply corrupt – as we have been reminded yet again in the last few weeks – and parliament in session is more like a bear pit than a place of rational debate, but it’s the only one we have. For the moment. Besides, if you don’t vote you can’t complain at the outcome.
I must also urge people to stand for election to the parish council. PCs don’t have much actual power but they do have influence and they are important for their communities. We need at least eight candidates to have an election – without one there is a sense that the council doesn’t have a democratic mandate (we haven’t had an election for the PC for eight years so definitely time for another) – so please think about it seriously; nomination papers will be available from our Clerk, Louise Stevens (01263 713857), and then all you need is a proposer and a seconder, who must be on the electoral register for Cley.
The next meeting of the Cley Parish Council will be held in the Armes Room at the rear of the village hall on Tuesday 7 April, kick off 7.30pm. Not too literally, I hope.
I have just seen a copy of a letter from Defence Minister, Anna Soubry, to Norman Lamb in which the MoD concede our request that there be an all year round no-fly zone over the Cley marshes reserve. As an added bonus, this ‘Environmental Avoidance’ as they call it will be extended to cover the village of Cley too. So thanks very much to all of you who signed the petition and thanks too to Cllr David Young and Norman Lamb MP for pressing ahead with the campaign.