Oulton Parish Council
Chairman of the parish council Tina Claxton welcomed everyone to the July meeting and introduced new councillor John Grist. Also present were Brian Hunter (vice-chairman), Carolyn Gosling, Kevin Hodgkin, Charles Swan, Bill Robertson, John Grisby, Ivan Levett, Peter Collecott, Waveney District Councillor George Hawes and Colin Law and Mike Barnard (Suffolk County Councillors) as well as 14 members of the public.
Chairman of the parish council Tina Claxton welcomed everyone to the July meeting and introduced new councillor John Grist. Also present were Brian Hunter (vice-chairman), Carolyn Gosling, Kevin Hodgkin, Charles Swan, Bill Robertson, John Grisby, Ivan Levett, Peter Collecott, Waveney District Councillor George Hawes and Colin Law and Mike Barnard (Suffolk County Councillors) as well as 14 members of the public. Apologies received from PC Stranks and PCSO Kershaw. Cllr Grisby raised the matters of speeding along Bentley Drive. He thought traffic was going slower now since new 30 mph signs had been erected and 40 mph signs along Millennium Way (although these had not come into force at present). Cllr Grisby was also pursuing the building of the spine road which would take traffic away from Bentley Drive. He had been in correspondence with Persimmon Homes who said they had paid S 106 money, some of which, they thought, should go towards the new road. He had also spoken to Mr Watson of Lowestoft Transport Strategy who thought that the road should have been finished by now and estimated the cost at �6m, increasing annually. Cllr Law said that he would investigate where the S 106 money had been allocated and this raised a number of issues. He said the profile of the proposed road needed raising and he will do this at county council level. Cllr Hunter said that two of the three plaques commemorating the refurbishment of the community centre had arrived and mentioned that the recent dance at the centre had been a great success, with a profit of nearly �500. The police report for June was read out. There were nine recorded crimes including criminal damage to a dwelling, criminal damage to a vehicle and one other criminal damage case. There was one theft and aggravated taking of motor vehicles at Queens Drive (JCB), cases of possession of drugs and one of common assault. PCSO Kershaw would give an introduction to Community Speed Watch at the next meeting of the Northern parishes. The first project of this scheme began at Blythburgh and it needs a minimum of six people, in a 30 mph area. The risk assessment would be carried out by a trained officer. Cost to a council of a speed radar device is over �1000. The possibilities of forming a parish plan would be discussed at the next parish council meeting in September. The Oulton Marshes walk for councillors in June had been very informative and enjoyable. A donation had been sent from the parish council as a thank-you to the Suffolk Wildlife Trust warden who explained how the work going on would be of benefit to the wildlife as well as strengthening the river wall. He will be leading a walk for the public, on Sunday, August 9 at 2.30pm, meeting at St Michael's Church car park. Booking was essential on 01502 589970. A letter had been received from Malcolm Cherry, who lost his seat on Suffolk County Council recently, thanking the council for their good wishes. Both he, and his colleague, Allyson Barron would hopefully be attending Oulton PC meetings in future. A letter of thanks had been received from Rev Robin Pritchard for the council's donation towards churchyard upkeep. Under the open forum, a number of residents from the Oulton Road/Fallowfields area expressed concern that 56 houses had been proposed at the rear of Oulton Road and Fallowfields. They were informed that no planning application had been submitted for building on this site. It was explained that Waveney District Council had to recommend local sites for possible building development in the area. Cllr Law said that this was planning strategy under the Government's Local Development framework which looks into possible development sites up until 2021 and they are purely proposals to look at. Many never come to fruition. Cllr Hawes said that the next stage would be to rule out unsuitable sites. This particular site was marshy with lots of Tree Preservation Orders on it. Cllr Gosling, Planning Chair, said that Oulton PC was asked for its response. This area had previously been declared as a buffer between Oulton and Parkhill. Mr Chilvers complained about bollards being placed on the bridle path on Higher Drive to Gorleston Road. He said traffic had become worse on Gorleston Road which meant it was dangerous trying to get out. They were not allowed to remove the bollards. Cllr Law said they have to consider where bollards are. Two properties have no exit onto Gorleston Road. The chairman said that although the area was not in the parish of Oulton, they are concerned with the safety aspect and she thought that the problem was under review. Residents of Oulton Road North present at the meeting said they had regularly paid to have their hedges trimmed but they had not been done. Cllr Levett, Tree Warden, said the hedges had eventually been trimmed at the third attempt as cars had to be moved to carry out the work. Since then they had grown up again. Cllr Grisby asked when the new 40 mph signs along Millennium Way, which were still covered up, would be in use. Apparently the traffic lights at the junction of Somerleyton Road had to be re-calibrated first. Under planning applications, the owner of a property in Chiltern Crescent was applying for a single-storey front extension which appeared to project beyond the building line. This was agreed subject to neighbour's consent. Although not in Oulton Parish an application was received (via the Broads Authority) for a two-storey extension to a property in Broadview Road. The amount of car parking space allocated to new dwellings was also discussed. Correspondence had been received from Rev Pritchard regarding parking in the church car park at Church Avenue. He wants to put posts at the north end to prevent vehicles using the road as it was designated as a public footpath and there had been problems with vehicles using the church car park. He said he was tolerant of visitors to the marshes using it but not to heavy vehicles. One problem was that there were two properties further along the road where refuse lorries, ambulance or fire brigade vehicles needed access. One of the owners of the properties said he hadn't been notified of the proposed changes. Trees near Dairy Farm had become overgrown, stopping the electricity supply and causing a fire. The chairman had contacted Suffolk Wildlife Trust who owned the land and the trees have yet to be trimmed but a job number has been allocated. Discussion followed a letter received from Janet Davies, a resident of Oulton Street stating that the 20 mph restriction there was been ignored since the speed humps were removed and that she wanted them reinstated. It was said that when they were removed Oulton PC reserved the right to replace them. Another resident complained that traffic sped past Oulton Road North at up to 40-50 mph and it was very dangerous near the pedestrian crossing. These problems will be discussed at the next parish council meeting. It was suggested that S 106 money be used to repair the Cambrian Crescent play area and that Dunston Drive play area could do with money being spent on it. The council would remind Waveney DC that they have a responsibility to maintain these areas and S 106 money is available for new projects, although there is little sign of it being used at present. The chair announced that new councillor John Grist will take on the education portfolio for the parish council. Cllr Hunter said that following a report in the Lowestoft Journal eight soccer teams had shown an interest in using the community centre playing field next season. Outside changing facilities and portaloos should be provided and local Saturday and Sunday leagues will decide who plays there. Cllr Levett had been contacted by a parishioner in Meadow Road about trees hitting power lines and WDC had sorted this out. He said no tree preservation orders had been placed on trees felled in the area of St Michael�s church car park. The parish hedge survey had been carried out and a survey map will eventually be published. Cllr Grisby suggested that a pedestrian crossing be put in near Townsend Way but it was thought that other crossings were too near to warrant another one. The parish council is in recess in August. The next meeting is on September 14 at 7pm at the community centre.