LITCHAM PARISH COUNCIL

September meeting

At September’s Parish Council meeting which was attended by 6 Councillors and 2 members of the public the following was considered:Litcham Parish Council have appointed a new clerk due to the previous clerk retiring. The Councillors welcomed Donna Secker. 

Resignation: Unfortunately, Councillor Anderson has resigned from Litcham Parish Council. The Councillors thanked her for all her hard work, she has been a Councillor for Litcham for more than 10 years. She will be sadly missed.
County Councillor and District Councillors report
County Councillor Kiddle-Morris distributed the latest Norfolk County Council report (NCC).“Planning for the Future” The government is currently consulting on radical proposals to reform the planning system. The consultation started on the 6th August and will run until the 29th October. The paper outlines 5 fundamental proposal. Streamline the planning process, modernise the planning process, new focus on design and sustainability and improve infrastructure. This will be implemented within the next 12 months.“Changes to the current planning system” is also running from 6th August until 1st October. The changes are: amendment to the standard method of assessing housing need: securing first homes which are sold at a discount to first time buyers. Raising the small site threshold below which developers are not required to contribute affordable housing from the current 10 dwellings to 40 or 50 to support SME builders.A further consultation ending on 30th October is underway called “Transparency and competition” which is proposing changes to improve the transparency of contractual mechanisms used to exercise control over lands.All details on the document mentioned above and how to respond to the consultation are available on the gov.uk website.Matters for report: 9 Dereham Road, This has been passed to Breckland Council who are now responsible for this property. The Clerk will write to Breckland to find out the current situation as the property is now causing concern.Councillor Fagence received a letter form the owners regarding the danger of the trees that have Tree preservation order on Tittleshall road. The clerk will write to the Tree Preservation officer to find out more information to clarify the situation.The Church have asked if the parish council will consider on a regular basis to pay for the cutting of the churchyard. This item will be added to the agenda to be discussed further.Highways: To note any new problems within the parishCouncillor Oldfield reported: No road marking on Druids Lane and the road surface is bad. Also, the Litcham sign is damaged and need replacing the clerk to report this.Councillor Lawrence reported a pothole on Dereham Road, the clerk will be reporting this.Outstanding highways issues: Please see the full minutes for the outstanding highways problems. District Councillor Kiddle-Morris will be chasing these up.Finances: The financial position at the end of August was considered and payments authorised.Vacancies on the Parish Council: There is currently one vacancy and if any parishioners wish to become a member please contact the clerk or any of the Councillors. 

To confirm that the next meeting of Litcham Parish Council is to be held Monday 2nd November at 7.30pm at Jubilee Hall. You can email the Mileham clerk at pclitcham@gmail.com. 

Adders on Litcham Common

The European Adder, or Common Viper, is one of Britain’s three native snakes and our only venomous reptile and we are fortunate to have a population living on Litcham Common.
What do adders look like?
Male adders usually have silvery-grey colouration, while females can be copper or brown.  Both have a distinctive, black zig-zag pattern along their backs.  Fully black adders can be seen in some areas too.  Once fully grown, adders usually measure between 60 and 80cm in length.  Young are almost perfect replicas of adults and measure around 17cm in length at birth.
Hibernation
Adders hibernate through the coldest part of the year.  From around October to March they sleep in sheltered, dry spots such as old rodent burrows or within fallen trees.  A few years ago a member of our conservation group got more than she bargained for when pulling up a bramble by the roots to find a sleeping adder underneath, which was swiftly covered over again to resume its slumber.  
The males come out of brumation (a type of hibernation for cold-blooded animals) first, with the females being spotted within the following 2 to 5 weeks.
After a couple of weeks of the males emerging, they shed their skin.  Next on their mind is to mate.  Once the females are “awake” they leave a scent from a gland at the base of their tail.  The males will smell this, and follow it to find the female.  They then writhe their body over the female, flicking their tongue in and out in a courtship ritual before settling down to copulate.
Dance of the adders
If a second male comes across the female then the first will stop the courtship to defend his possible mate.  What follows is a beautiful and elegant display which is known as the “Dance of the Adders”.
The “dance” usually only involves two snakes, but can number many more.  It is a test of strength and stamina with each male trying to force the other to the ground.  They can raise the first half of their body up off the ground before trying to push the other male down to the ground.  The males will completely intertwine their bodies together while trying to force each other out, and often show very staggered and jerky movements.  This ritual can last for several minutes and often happens on many occasions over many days.  During the “dance” they never try to bite each other, but just keep competing with strength until one of them gives in and slinks off quickly into cover.
Unlike some snakes, adders do not lay eggs and instead give birth to up to 20 live young in late summer.  The species has been known to live for more than ten years, although it can sometimes fall victim to other predators, such as birds of prey, crows and even pheasants, especially when young.
What do adders eat?
Adders feed primarily on small mammals, such as voles and mice, and lizards.  They will also eat frogs, newts and small birds and their chicks.  They are active during the day.
Unlike grass snakes which constrict their prey, adders use their venomous bite to subdue their meals.
Where do adders live?
Adders are found across Britain but are absent from Ireland.  They are associated with open habitats such as heathland, moorland and woodland edges.
The adder is the most northerly-occurring snake species in the world and has been recorded within the Arctic Circle.
Signs and spotting tips
Your best chance of seeing an adder is in spring, when they are emerging from hibernation and spend the early part of the day basking in sunlight.  They are sensitive to vibration and quick to slip away when they feel footsteps approaching.
Aware of the Adder’s love of sunshine, and the need to tread carefully, Shakespeare wrote: “It is the bright day that brings forth the Adder, and that craves wary walking” [Julius Ceasar, Act II, Scene 1]
In fact these snakes are shy creatures that will naturally retreat from humans.  It is rare for adders to bite people, but this can happen if humans try to handle them or accidentally step on them.  To quote Spike Milligan:
“There’s nothing madder than a trodden on Adder!”
What to do if bitten by an adder
Adder bites are rarely fatal, but can be very painful.  NHS guidelines suggest that medical treatment should be sought immediately.  In the meantime you are advised to:

  • remain calm and don’t panic;
  • try to remember the shape, size and colour of the snake;
  • keep the part of your body that’s been bitten as still as possible to prevent the venom spreading around your body;
  • remove jewellery and watches from the bitten limb as they could cut into your skin if the limb swells;
  • do not attempt to remove any clothing, but loosen clothing if possible.

Slightly more commonly, dogs will be bitten, often on the nose, due to their natural curiosity.  Guidance is to seek immediate advice from a vet and in the meantime keep the animals calm and as still as possible, carrying the dog if it is small enough.  Again, bites are rarely fatal.
Threats and conservation
The UK’s adder population is in decline.  Habitat loss is thought to be the leading factor in this worrying trend, with both intensive agriculture and increases in woodland cover destroying suitable habitat and causing adder populations to become fragmented and isolated.  The species is fully protected by law.
Sightings of adders
We are keen to build up a picture of the population size and location on the common and would be grateful to receive reports of any adder sightings, including the date, location and a description of the snake (for example its size and colour).  Please report sightings to Tim Angell who can be contacted on 01328 700045.

LITCHAM PARISH COUNCIL

September extract

Précis of Meeting held on Friday 17th July,2020 on Zoom at 7:30p.m.
Present: Cllrs Oldfield(Chair), Mitchell, Anderson, Brookbank, Lawrence.
County and District Councillor M Kiddle Morris
Temporary Clerk: Angela Leigh was appointed as temporary clerk for this meeting.
Apologies from Cllrs Christie &  Fagence were accepted. 
Minutes of the Previous Meeting were approved.
County Councillor Report:  Update from NCC chief legal officer; meetings closed in public places due to the Covid pandemic can reopen but will need risk assessments.
Breckland Local Plan: The 2019 local plan is going to be revised as the government felt housing numbers agreed in 2016 were not sufficient.
Cllr Oldfield enquired about the 16 new houses in Litcham that have been passed and County Councillor Kiddle-Morris agreed to make enquiries.
The clerk reported that £4500 has been allocated to Litcham under the section 106, as a legal agreement between the developer and the local planning authority requires a financial contribution. This is in regard to the new houses behind the post office, this money can be spent on recreational facilities. 
Planning – Applications:
Litcham Secondary School Pavilion and Community Classroom: No objection 
Outdoor swimming pool at Paston House, Tittleshall Rd. Litcham: Approved.
15 Church Street, Litcham- withdrawn. 
Finance – Budget: The budget was unanimously approved.
The Old Fire Station: A parishioner contacted the clerk regarding the condition of the building. The condtion of the building is responsibility for the owner.  As it isn’t residential Breckland is not able to assist. County Councillor Kiddle-Morris will speak with the regarding condition of the building. 
Street Lighting : The council agreed to proceed with the required 3 yearly testing of the 21 street lights at a cost of £251. 
Matters for next meeting (Not for discussion): 9 Dereham Road, Litcham 
Next meeting will be held Friday 11th September 2020 on Zoom

Planning

3PL/2020/0467/F Litcham School (secondary phase)
Sports Pavilion, Back Lane
Amended description to include – community classroom
“Erection of new single storey sports changing pavilion and community class room.”

Breckland Council has received revised details for planning permission  3PL/2020/0467/F and would be pleased to receive any observations you may wish to make. You can view the application by clicking on the link below and use the ‘Comment on this application’ button to leave your observations.

Click here to view the application documents

To help us provide a more efficient service please use the quick consultee response link

*PLEASE NOTE:  During the Covid-19 crisis we will not be able to accept any postal representations on planning applications. All representations must be made online on the Breckland website https://www.breckland.gov.uk/planning
or by email to planning@breckland.gov.uk*

Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Briefing for Breckland Council elected members

1. Recent Government advice/action

Lockdown easing – Further changes to lockdown measures in England have been announced to enable people to see more of their friends and family, help businesses get back on their feet and get people back in their jobs.

From Saturday 4 July, pubs, restaurants and hairdressers will be able to reopen, providing they adhere to COVID Secure guidelines. From the same date, two households will be able to meet up in any setting with social distancing measures, and people will be able to enjoy staycations in England with the reopening of accommodation sites.

Some leisure facilities and tourist attractions may also reopen, if they can do so safely – this includes outdoor gyms and playgrounds, cinemas, museums, galleries, theme parks and arcades, as well as libraries, social clubs, places of worship and community centres.

Following a review, the Government has also said that where it is not possible to stay two metres apart, guidance will allow people to keep a social distance of ‘one metre plus’. This means staying one metre apart, plus mitigations which reduce the risk of transmission.

To reduce the risk of transmission, ‘close proximity’ venues such as nightclubs, soft-play areas, indoor gyms, swimming pools, water parks, bowling alleys and spas will need to remain closed for the time being.

The latest government and Health information and advice can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus.

Other Government updates:
Tourism – Guidance on Tourism and the Visitor Economy, published today, will help to get the tourism sector back up and running so the public can safely take domestic holidays and visit attractions on days out

Housing – Interim housing for thousands of rough sleepers taken off the streets during the pandemic is to be provided. The additional £105 million will be used to support rough sleepers and those at risk of homelessness into tenancies of their own, including through help with deposits for accommodation, and securing thousands of alternative rooms already available and ready for use, such as student accommodation.

Shielding – Millions of people shielding from coronavirus (COVID-19) have been advised they will soon be able to spend more time outside their homes. From Monday 6 July, those shielding from Coronavirus will be able to gather in groups of up to 6 people outdoors and form a ‘support bubble’ with another household. From Saturday 1 August, the guidance will then be relaxed so clinically extremely vulnerable people will no longer be advised to shield, but support will remain available from NHS volunteers and local councils. (See section 3B of this briefing for more detail).

Construction – New measures to help the construction industry boost building and a return to work safely will be introduced this week. Planning permission deadlines will be extended, planning appeals will be sped up and builders will be allowed more flexible working hours following agreement with their local council.


Medicine – A weekly Coronavirus (COVID-19) testing model using a new ‘no-swab’ saliva test is to be piloted in Southampton from this week (22 June). Participants will be able to complete coronavirus tests at home by putting their saliva into a sample pot to be tested for current infections of the virus

Criminal justice – The UK has launched a landmark draft ‘Murad Code’ to support survivors of conflict-related sexual violence, as the COVID-19 pandemic increases suffering.

Business support – Measures have been extended to prevent struggling companies from eviction over the summer. The extension, until the end of September, comes alongside further support to help local businesses plan for economic recovery following the coronavirus pandemic.

Alert level – The Chief Medical Officers for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland agreed with the recommendation of the Joint Biodiversity Centre to move the UK’s Covid-19 alert level from Level 4 (epidemic is in general circulation; transmission is high or rising exponentially) to Level 3 (epidemic is in general circulation).

Test and trace – The Government has announced the next phase of development in building an app that supports the end-to-end NHS Test and Trace service, learning from the challenges identified during initial field testing and a trial on the Isle of Wight.

2. Supporting businesses and employees

A) UPDATED: Business grants
The Council is responsible for administering, at a local level, some of the Government’s national business support schemes. As of 23 June, we have paid out a total of £26.7 million through a total of 2,345 business grants.

We are still accepting requests from any eligible business, and they can submit their application by online form. To date we have awarded almost 90% of the monies allocated. Rate Relief continues to be applied automatically for eligible businesses.

B) UPDATED: Rate Relief for Small Business Rates Relief (Retail / Hospitality / Leisure / Nursery): A total of 840 businesses in the eligible sectors have been awarded a further £14 million in rate relief. Businesses do not need to apply, we will apply relief automatically.

C) UPDATED: Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund
Breckland Council has been given additional Government funding of almost £1.5m to help us address the needs of businesses which were not eligible under the original COVID-19 grant schemes. To manage the fund, we opened an application window from 1 June to 23 June, with grants available of between £2,000 and £10,000.

We have been paying ‘Category A’ businesses (B&B, those in shared spaces and regular market trades) on a rolling basis, and so far have supported 42 businesses with almost £250,000 of support. To date, we have had over 100 further applications, largely through businesses who’ve suffered hardship as a result of Covid-19 but haven’t been able to access wider support, and will be making awards to them as quickly as possible over the coming days.

F) UPDATED: ‘Confidence’ campaign: ensuring local High Streets are safe and vibrant
Our High Streets have now re-opened, supported by our campaign around confidence to help the public and business owners feel assured about shopping locally. We are working with partners to achieve sensitive alterations to the townscapes, to make these spaces as useable as possible and give people the confidence to go about their day-to-day lives. This will also give us a chance to make changes which will draw people back to town centres as a destination of choice to carry out shopping, leisure and business activities.

With hospitality businesses set to re-open from 4 July, the next phase of our activity is targeted around supporting them to reopen successfully and safely. To achieve this we are helping businesses with access to extra tables and chairs free of charge, and helping provide additional space outside to serve a greater number of customers. We are also offering support and guidance on serving customers under the new regulations, including offering an online course free of charge, and free access to social distancing signage. Our High Street Confidence campaign will continue to help encourage people to eat and drink in Breckland with confidence.

If you have any questions or suggestions about your local area, you can get in touch with the liaison team via regeneration@breckland.gov.uk

3. Community support

A) UPDATED: Housing and homelessness support
The Housing Team have, to date, worked hard to successfully accommodate all rough sleepers who were known to us in the district since lockdown began. We are currently supporting and providing accommodation for 22 rough sleepers and the team are actively engaging with any new rough sleepers who have moved into the district in recent weeks.

Temporary accommodation has also been secured for a number of households during lockdown and we are currently supporting and accommodating a further 51 households otherwise at risk of homelessness. This number will – and has – reduced over time as the team works with Registered Social Landlords and Private Sector Landlords to find long term housing solutions for this group.

B) UPDATED: Breckland Community Hub
Breckland’s Community Support Hub continues to prioritise 3186 of the Extremely Vulnerable ‘shielding’ residents who have said that they do not have access to essential items, such as food and medicine, while also offering welfare checks to those who are ‘managing for now’ with the help of friends and family. By the end of this week, we will have delivered 620 food parcels through our district hub at Dereham Leisure Centre to this priority group because they did not have their own access to food.

C) NEW: Shielded update
As virus infection rates continue to fall, the Government is relaxing its advisory guidance, in two stages, for the 2.2 million clinically extremely vulnerable people who have been shielding in England.

From Monday 6 July:

*Those shielding can spend time outdoors in a group of up to six people (including those outside of their household). Extra care should be taken to minimise contact with others by maintaining social distancing. This can be in a public outdoor space, or in a private garden or uncovered yard or terrace.

*Those who are shielding and either live alone or are single parents with dependent children will also be able to create a ‘support bubble’ with one other household of any size, following the same rules already in place for the wider population. All those in a support bubble can spend time together inside each other’s homes, including overnight.

*The Government’s support package for those shielding will be extended to the end of July – this includes the delivery of food and medicines. Beyond this date, people will still be able to retain their priority supermarket delivery slots and support will remain available from NHS volunteers and local councils, where needed.

From Saturday 1 August, advice to those shielding will be further relaxed:

*While this group of clinically extremely vulnerable people should continue to follow strict social distancing measures, they will be able to participate in more activities such as visiting shops and places of worship.

*Those who need to work and cannot do so from home will be able to return to work as long as their workplace is COVID secure, adhering to the guidance available.

You can read more about the changes to the guidance for clinically extremely vulnerable people here.

D) UPDATE: Breckland Council Hardship Fund
Breckland Council continues to support residents through its Hardship Fund scheme, providing short-term financial support to residents facing financial difficulties as a result of Covid-19.

With 24 households having received support so far, the scheme is open to all households experiencing extreme hardship within the district. To apply, the household must be in severe crisis as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic and must have attempted to mitigate their position and use other sources of financial assistance.

Referrals need to be made through ward members – it is not intended for residents to apply directly for the grants. If you are aware of someone within your ward who you feel that may be eligible, please email your request through to: communitysupport@breckland.gov.uk

4. Breckland service updates

Critical services, such as Housing, Waste, Customer Services and Public Protection, all continue to operate, albeit in some cases, this is being managed in a more flexible way (see below for details). We continue to keep all services under review, in light of the latest Government guidance and our staff resource, with the latest updates available on our website here.

*The Council’s first virtual Planning meeting successfully took place on 22 June, with up to 55 viewers at any one time throughout the meeting. The next virtual committee meetings to take place will be Cabinet on 13 July, followed by Planning on 14 July and Overview and Scrutiny Commission on 16 July.

*Public Protection are gearing up to support the re-opening of the Hospitality sector as part of the High Street Confidence campaign. As part of this, they are preparing guidance for the sector, to be added to the Council’s website. In the meantime, officers are on hand to offer businesses support or answer any queries they may have about re-opening safely.

*Council decisions have been made relating to: an ‘Asset of Community Value’ nomination for the Watton by Verve (formerly the Hare and Barrel); contractual relief payments to the Council’s leisure provider Parkwood Leisure; and a CVA (Company Voluntary Arrangement) proposal for one of the Council’s commercial property tenants.

You can read more here: https://democracy.breckland.gov.uk/mgDelegatedDecisions.aspx

*The Council’s Enforcement team continues to take a tough line on littering and flytipping, successfully fining three workers for littering on a coffee break in Swaffham, and issuing a fixed penalty notice to a flytipper spotted in Beetley.

*To celebrate Armed Forces Day on Saturday (27 June) the Council will be raising a flag at its offices, as well as calling on Breckland residents to take a selfie of themselves saluting, to share on social media using the hashtags #ArmedForcesDay2020 and #OurBreckland.

Breckland Council, 24.06.2020

OPERATION NO COLD SHOULDER

Are you (or is someone in your community) feeling lonely or isolated?
There is FREE support that could help!

 

Operation No Cold Shoulder is a year-long project funded by the National Lottery Community Fund running in your area from April 2020 until March 2021 and is offering the following free support;

Free Creative Wellbeing Packs  -Provided by Creative Arts East for people aged 18+
A series of postal packages containing creative arts activities to try at home, including music making, crafts, movement activities and more!
No prior experience is needed.Call Lea or Sydney on 019953 713390 or email lea@creativeartseast.co.uk

Free Telephone Befriending  – Provided by Age UK Norfolk for people aged 60+
Offering people aged 60 and over friendly conversation by telephone from a dedicated befriending volunteer. We call weekly for an enjoyable and stimulating chat.
Call 01603 785 223 or email befriending@ageuknorfolk.org.uk

Free Befriending Support in West Norfolk
Provided by West Norfolk Befriending for people aged 60+
Matching isolated older people age 60 and over with a volunteer befriender who can contact them on a regular basis (by phone during lockdown) – supporting socially isolated older people and their carers in West Norfolk. Call 01553 763500 or email info@wnbefriending.org.uk

Free help to set up Good Neighbour Schemes
Provided by Community Action Norfolk (CAN)
Would you like to help lonely or socially isolated neighbours?
The project is offering free support for communities who would like to set up Good Neighbour Schemes in their area where volunteers help those most in need in their neighbourhood with practical support.
Step-by-step support, advice, a resource pack and funding support to
help a scheme get up and running along with ongoing advice and support including an option of online training sessions provided by Future Projects. Call Tracey on 01362 545024 or email tracey.allan@communityactionnorfolk.org.uk

 

Test & Trace scams.

There are lots of reports across social media of Test & Trace scams.

Please remember, genuine texts, calls or emails from the NHS service won’t ask you for any personal details upfront.
You’ll be given a unique ID number to log in to the NHS Test and Trace website. The ONLY official web address for the NHS Test and Trace service is: https://contact-tracing.phe.gov.uk/

Once you’ve logged in using your ID, you’ll be asked to enter some basic information about yourself including:
– Your name, date of birth and current address
– the names of the people you live with
– places you’ve recently visited
– names and contact details of people you were in touch with around 48 hours before you developed symptoms.
You won’t be asked to share this information upfront over a call or
text, so if someone is asking you for it directly, they are a scammer.

Contact tracers will never:
❌ ask you to dial a premium rate number to speak to us (for example, those starting 09 or 087)
❌ ask you to make any form of payment or purchase a product of any kind
❌ ask for any details about your bank account
❌ ask for your social media identities or login details, or those of your contacts
❌ ask you for any passwords or PINs, or ask you to set up any passwords or PINs over the phone
❌ disclose any of your personal or medical information to your contacts
❌ provide medical advice on the treatment of any potential coronavirus symptoms
❌ ask you to download any software to your PC or ask you to hand over control of your PC, smartphone or tablet to anyone else
❌ ask you to access any website that does not belong to the government or NHS

Stay scam aware, and report any suspicious approaches to Norfolk Trading Standards via 0808 223 1133.

Planning Applications

Because Parish Council meetings have been suspended due to Covid-19 restrictions the council is unable to process planning applications in the usual manner and allow parishioner an chance to discuss any concerns with the council at a public meeting.
Therefore, for the time being details of new planning applications will be published here, on the website.

Any comments or concerns about an application should be sent to the Parish Clerk

3PL/2020/0467/F
Litcham School (secondary phase) Sports Pavilion, Back Lane
Erection of a new single storey sports changing pavilion to replace the existing facility.

3PL/2020/0511/F Paston House Tittleshall Road  Installation of 12mx6m outdoor swimming pool in the garden.

3PL/2020/0457/HOU
15 Church Street. Removal of existing roof to barn within rear garden renovation of adjoining  barn roof,reinstatement of 4 dormer windows to front elevation (facing Church Street) and additional alterations.

3PL/2020/0458/LB
15 Church Street As 3PL/2020/0457/HOU application

To find out more about each application please visit Breckland Council’s Search Planning Applications page and enter the application number.
You will be able to view full details and documentation including drawing and plans of the proposed development.  If you have any comments about any of the above that you would like to make to the Parish Council then please contact the clerk via e-mail at : bryan.leigh@btinternet.com