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

“This Report covers some of the activities of the Parish Council over the last 12 months.  The Parish Council’s (“Council”) full membership is normally 9. Unfortunately during the year this has fallen to 6.

The Council has met every month since April to conduct Parish business, with in depth discussions and decisions being made over differing matters.

In last year’s report I mentioned that for the benefit of the Water Meadows the Council was to terminate its lease of the area with Breckland Council. This was finally completed, and a new lease signed relating to the play areas at Blackthorn Drive and Ted Ellis Walk.

The Council has pledged to improve the Blackthorn Drive play area. A working group has been set up and has investigated the types of improvements required in order to modernise the area and make the amenities more accessible and inclusive to all.

An initial costing has been obtained of £75,000 and with the realisation that the figure will be affected by inflation the Council has agreed the expense with monies being allocated to the project. However it will require substantial grant funding being obtained to successfully complete it.The Parish Council has continued to support the Playing Field Committee with the provision of equipment and running costs and at their request has taken over responsibility of two oak trees at the tennis courts.

The Council has also promised support to the Village Hall Estate Trust in its aim for car park and access improvements and has given permission for the Trust to lay an access path on the playing field.

The PCC also received support from the Council and its tower project will need support from the community as a whole if it is to attract funding to complete the renovations.

Following on from Breckland’s Local Plan meetings held last year the Parish Council gave its support to Bintree Parish Council in opposition to a proposed new town of 5,000 houses being developed between Bintree and North Elmham.

The Council unanimously objected to the application for a Care Home to be built on land east of Draytonhall Lane. It made verbal representation to the Planning Meeting at which the plan was rejected. Subsequently an appeal by the developer was made and the Council again sent written representation against the proposal.

In relation to roads, lighting, and verges the Parish Council has continued to liaise with Norfolk County Council especially to tackle the subsidence of the verge along Fen Road opposite the Broadway and the dips in Dereham Road just after the junction with Chestnut Road.

The failure of the led light at the bus stop opposite Chestnut Road as you go into Dereham continues to be a problem.

Parking at the School is of grave concern, with some parents parking in such a dangerous way that it puts other road users and indeed the children at risk. There is nothing the Council itself can do regarding this situation, but we have been in contact with Norfolk County Council, the Police and the Civil Parking Enforcement division in order to try and improve the inconsiderate parking of some parents.

The Council has come of age and is now using social media as a way to communicate with the community and our thanks go to Melanie Blackburn for setting this up.

The flower boxes located in various sites in the Parish are always a delight to see and our thanks go to Sharon Goldsworthy for volunteering to keep these well stocked and maintained.

Unfortunately, the Speed Watch Group had to be disbanded in December as a volunteer co- ordinator could not be found. There is some hope that it will recommence activities in July however this has yet to be confirmed and the Group’s equipment has been handed back to the Police.The Council has undertaken a full review of its policies and procedures, and these can be found on our website.

I would like to thank our Breckland Council and Norfolk County Council colleagues for attending our meetings when possible and their advice and assistance with matters is greatly appreciated.

As previously mentioned, membership of the Council has fallen to 6. Despite ongoing attempts to recruit additional members no-one has as yet come forward to join us. I really would urge anyone who feels that they would like to try and help the community they live in to contact the Clerk for details of what the voluntary post involves. Team work is at the heart of a good Council.

I would like to thank Cathy Geary, Tina Mallard and Chris Porter for the time and effort which they gave to the Council prior to retirement. I would also like to thank the existing members of the Council for their effort in not just attending meetings but by going out of their way to do things for the Parish which benefits the community as a whole. Obviously, my thanks go also to Nick, our Clerk, who ensures that the Council works to its remit and within standing orders.”

Fiona Bradford – Chair of Scarning Parish Council