Overstrand Life - Janet's Diaries

February 1st - 15th 2017

Thursday 2nd February 2017 - Dogs on the Beach and PIcking Storm Debris

Sunday 4th February 2017 - Peter's Knee, Parish Council Meeting and In the Garden

Going back to earlier this week, Peter went for his first appointment with a physiotherapist. Since our GP’s diagnosis, Peter has been using his exercise bike twice a day and doing some exercises recommended on a website, both of which have helped his knee. He now no longer needs his stick when we take Barney out and sleeping at night has been a whole lot easier. The physiotherapist told Peter the bike and exercises are the right things he should be doing, so basically he needs to carry on with this so that muscles will build in his leg and support his knee.

The Parish Council meeting on Wednesday evening was preceded by a presentation on Civil Contingencies by Richard Cook from NNDC. One of his responsibilities is to work together with local communities to identify the vulnerable who may need assistance in the event of an emergency. The vulnerable can be either civil or businesses and examples of emergencies are; flood, terrorism and extreme weather. He left information with our Parish Clerk on developing a community team who would draw up a plan along with contact details. The meeting followed and amongst others topics, the following were reported or discussed.

• An application to the Big Society Fund has been made for a grant towards the refurbishment of the kitchen in the Parish Hall. The Council will be advised as to whether the application is successful by 7th March.
• The question of whether the Parish Council should take on the running of the public toilets on Pauls Lane car park, once again came up for debate. It was reported that NNDC currently make an annual profit of £20,000 on fees from the car park and the cost of running the toilets is £9225 p.a. If the Parish Council take on the toilets they will need to find additional funding over and above the grant (£7,000 for the first year, £5,000 during the second year, £3,000 for the third and nil thereafter) offered by NNDC. The question is whether this will be sought from NNDC, by requesting a portion of the profit from the car park, or through an increase to the Parish Council precept. It does sound unfair that we the parishioners should have to pay, through the precept, levied in the Council Tax, for a facility that is an infrequent benefit to us. The Parish Council would like to see the toilets open throughout the year which would mean the running costs of £9,225 would be higher. It was reported when Wells turned down the offer to take over the public toilets, NNDC decided to close them. However, after Peter looked on the web he found, Wells has three public toilets so by closing one, the town is not without any toilets. He also read that the toilets to be closed will be redeveloped to provide a restaurant and retail premises. As we have just the one toilet block, Wells’ situation is very different to ours and not a good comparator. Taking all the factors that have been presented at the Parish Council meetings since this was first mentioned in March last year, I cannot see that this is a viable proposition and is laden with too many uncertainties. It needs to be borne in mind that our District Councillor, Angie Fitch-Tillett assured the meeting in March 2016 that if the Parish Council did not want to take on the running of the toilets; they would not close. As NNDC are encouraging walkers to come to the area to walk the paths, then ultimately it would be a nonsensical move on their behalf to close this facility, leaving themselves open to considerable amount of criticism from both walkers and day visitors to the village.
• The subject of traffic and parking near the school was discussed again. It was felt there is not a speeding problem and that parking by parents who live outside the village is the issue. However, if the school wish to go ahead with a Community Speedwatch, the Parish Council agreed to support this but will not help with its operation.
• The two telephone boxes that are used as a village information point and a geology kiosk will be given a fresh coat of paint.
• It was agreed to light a beacon on 11th November 2018 as part of the nation’s commemorations of the end of World War I
• The date for the Annual Parish meeting is 12th April where the proposals for taking over the public toilets will be on the Agenda, enabling parishioners to have their say.

The weather has been pleasant and the strong winds, that were forecast to sweep across the UK, did not materialise here on the east coast. Following a visit to Woodgate Nursery in Aylsham on Saturday, we are ready for the planting season. As well as seeds we bought some asparagus crowns, a redcurrant bush and some raspberry canes. Peter was tempted to plant the asparagus this morning but delayed this when he found the soil is still wet and cold. Instead, he hoed the plot and removed the lower leaves on the purple sprouting which were yellow. We have lost at least two redcurrant bushes since we have been here, so Peter suggested, rather than plant the new bush in the soil, to put it in a large pot. So why he was working on the veg plot, I did this and hopefully in a couple of years the bush will yield and I will be able to make jelly to go with roast lamb. The raspberry canes will stay in their pot until after we have had some new fencing erected.

© 2017 Overstrand Life - Janet's Diaries

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