Roger Smith’s Monthly Update February 2013

Every month, Roger Smith, member of Norfolk County Council (NCC) publishes a newsletter for people in this area.  Here’s the newsletter for February 2013.

About Roger

Roger Smith  is the Member of Norfolk County Council (NCC) for Henstead Division covering Bixley, Bramerton, Caistor St Edmund, Framingham Earl, Framingham Pigot, Kirby Bedon, Poringland, Stoke Holy Cross, Surlingham, Trowse with Newton.  You can contact Roger directly (Telephone: 01508 538225   e-mail: roger.smith@norfolk.gov.uk)

CURRENT ISSUES AND CONCERNS: 4th February 2013.  

  1. A budget that freezes Council Tax while targeting help where it is needed most is being proposed. If agreed by Full Council (18 February), in 2013/14 around £1.5 billion, including some £95m on capital projects, will be spent by Norfolk County Council on providing services for Norfolk people. Out of this total, £302.587m will be raised through the Council Tax. The budget reflects £44.5m in rising costs, some of which will be paid for from one off sources of funding. The budget includes £34.2m of ongoing savings, many of which reflect decisions made as a result of the Big Conversation two years ago. There are also recommended some additional proposals for using £8m of available one-off funding to support Norfolk’s most vulnerable people, young and old.
  2. Norfolk’s Police and Crime Panel, which is made up of Norfolk Councillors and independent members, has resolved to support the Police and Crime Commissioner’s Precept (the amount he wants to raise from Council Tax) for the forthcoming year. In contrast with NCC & SNC where zero increases are proposed, the Panel by a majority agreed a 2% increase, technically within the Government’s Council Tax freeze policy. The amount raised by local residents will therefore increase from £52m to £53m.
  3. The planning application to build the Energy from Waste plant at The Willows Business Park, King’s Lynn to deal with the residual (black bin) waste was called in by the Secretary of State last year. It is to be considered by an Inspector at a public inquiry, starting 26 February 2013 and it is expected to last until 19 April 2013.
  4. One of the most common issues identified with rural isolation is the cost of commodities such as heating oil and fuel.  A leaflet entitled Your Guide to Buying Heating Oil gives consumers information on how they can protect themselves when purchasing heating oil and how to keep their heating oil tank secure.
  5. The 50th anniversary of the Norfolk Record Office is being marked with a special exhibition, ‘Norfolk’s House of History’ on display in the Archive Centre, Norwich.
  6. Parish councils across Norfolk are being given another opportunity to choose their own local highway improvement schemes. In future the County Council will meet 75% of the cost, up from 50% last year. Full details went out to parish councils last week.
  7. The second Norfolk and Suffolk Community Composting Network Seminar is on Sunday 17th March 2013 in Thurlton (South Norfolk).  This is a free and informal event and includes a visit to the local community composting site.
  8. On 5th December outline planning permission 2012/0405  for 60 dwellings was given by South Norfolk Council for land West of Octagon Farm, Bixley in spite of strong local objections and with a vote 7-4 for approval. I find this decision disappointing for highway reasons as previously NCC Highways had recommended refusal. Additionally the site is located outside the current development boundary in an area of open countryside.
  9. Local residents are currently being consulted by David Wilson Homes for development for land at Heath Farm, Poringland between Caistor Lane and Stoke Road. Initially 110 homes are proposed, followed by 160 later. The views of NCC on highway access arrangements & education provision will be important to assess any planning application.
  10. Possible further housing development planning applications in Trowse are still causing serious concern, with traffic and school capacity among the main issues.
  11. Vacancies for local authority appointed School Governors for Framingham Earl HS & Poringland Primary School are still open. That for Stoke Holy Cross has now been filled.
  12. I hope the rattling AW valve cover at Saxonfields, Poringland will soon be fixed.

My Web Page is where an electronic copy of this & the previous newsletter can be found.

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