Cllr Turner delivered the following report at the Annual Parish Meeting held on 15th April 2024:

“Breckland Council has a balanced budget for 2024/5 and has no debts, unlike many other councils. This is due to the prudent housekeeping within the Council, income from its property portfolio and ensuring every grant going is applied for. Thanks to the intervention of our current Leader and other council leaders, the government’s Household Support Grant has been extended by six months to help those on lower incomes. As an example of external grants, we were awarded £250,000 to provide solar panels at Dereham Leisure Centre, as an energy saving, and to reduce our carbon footprint. Thetford was awarded £20M in the recent budget to improve and promote our largest town in Breckland.

A number of groups in the village have benefitted from or had the opportunity to apply for a range of grants during the year, including those for celebrating the Coronation, and commemorating D Day, and many individuals have received financial assistance from a number of government grants.

Probably the most important item for Scarning is the revision of the Breckland Local Plan, taking the district through to 2046 for housing, growth and commercial development. Villagers have been encouraged to take part in the consultations, and your Councillors have attended many member briefings. We both feel that over the next couple of years the Local Plan will be one of the most challenging of issues in Scarning and the Greater Dereham area, impacting our community for the next 20 years, and we will keep you informed as plans continue to develop at every stage.

Following a serious incident in Shipdham last week, we would remind you all that no councillor, be they parish, town, district or county will tolerate physical or verbal abuse, threats to their safety, or intrusion into their home. Any such behaviour will be reported to the relevant authority.

Finally, Breckland Council celebrated its 50th anniversary as your District Council on 2nd April, with a reception for members, officers and past chairman, with a congratulatory message from Norfolk’s Lord Lieutenant, on behalf of The King.”

Linda Turner – Breckland Councillor