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Councillor Advert

Ditchingham Parish Council Meetings 2019
All in the village hall.

  • Monday 16th March 2020 at 7.30pm
  • Monday 18th May 2020 at 7.30pm (APM & AGM)
  • Monday 20th July 2020 at 7.30pm
  • Monday 21st September 2020 at 7.30pm
  • Monday 16th November 2020 at 7.30pm

December 2019

Maltings Amenity Area

We have met with the Broads Authority and communicated with them on number of occasions, over a long period of time. The footpath has been mown and is just about suitable for able-bodied pedestrians. The rest of the meadow is overgrown with thistles and nettles and the beck is also overgrown and barely visible.

However, I am pleased to report that the Broads Authority have now advised the Landowner that they are in breach of the Planning Permission, originally granted, and have asked them to maintain the area in line with their application. It remains to be seen how matters progress but we will continue to monitor the situation.

Street Lamps

I refer to my article in the September issue of this magazine. I had hoped to make the position clear regarding our Policy on this issue. We have had 6 responses, varying from wanting to save all the lamps, to save some and others happy to remove all, or individual lamps outside their properties. There have been various comments on local Social Media, which I have ignored, and posters have been placed in Loddon Road implying that our footpaths would not be safe, which is not the case. These have been removed.

I confirm, again, that any decision to remove lamps will be done after consultation with residents in the immediate area. In the meantime, I am happy for residents to give their views by contacting the Parish Clerk (email: clerkdpc@aol.co.uk) as previously advised.

Chicken Roundabout

I regret to advise that a vehicle has twice driven onto the roundabout, completed a circle around the trees and exited, before driving off. This act of dangerous driving and vandalism has been reported to the Police, and, at the time of writing, I am awaiting a response. Some severe damage has been done and our Contractors, Clinks Care Farm, will need to restore the grass surface before planting wildflowers and bulbs.

We received many positive comments for the wildflower display last year and hopefully, we can continue to maintain this area without further vandalism.

Finally, on behalf of the Council and all our Staff, I would like to wish all residents a Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year.

Alan Larkin (Chair, Ditchingham Parish Council)

October 2019

Ditchingham Community Notice Board At the request of residents a Community Notice Board has been placed in the bus shelter outside the Village Hall. This will display information about what’s going on near you, including news about events and activities. The aim of the new Community Notice Board is to inform local people about what is going on in their area providing information on activities run by local communities and organisations.

To help you make the best use of this facility, guidelines have been placed in the bus shelter and will help you understand the types of notices that may be displayed  and how this can be achieved.

In Summary:-

  • These are for charities and not-for-profit organisations
  • For locally based organisations benefitting local residents
  • For an individual event taking place in the Parish of Ditchingham
  • A diary of ongoing events
  • Posters should preferably be A5 but no larger than A4
  • Names and contact details must be included on the front of the poster
  • Posters can be displayed no earlier than 28 days before an event

Place your poster in an envelope addressed “Community Notice Board” through the letterbox in the Village Hall

I hope that this new facility will prove to be of benefit. My thanks to the Village Hall Committee for their co-operation. I am grateful to a local resident and others who have agreed to take on the responsibility for its management, on behalf of the Community.

Alan Larkin
Chair, Ditchingham Parish Council

August 2019

Street Lamps

As previously advised in this Magazine and Minutes of Meetings over many months, we have, after a bit of a technical delay, taken over responsibility for 86 streetlamps, previously maintained by South Norfolk District Council.

The roads affected are:- Ditchingham Dam, Loddon Road, Station Road, Black Horse Lane, Green Lane, Waveney Road, Lewis Close, Hamilton Way, Rider Haggard Way, Turner Close, Thwaite Road, Windmill Green, Hollow Hill Road, The Loke, Beevors Gardens, and Drapers Lane.

In our initial discussions, SNDC identified 10 lamps which they thought were “needed”. We asked for a further 10 to be considered, and after further thought we decided to take on full responsibility for all the lamps, so as to be in control.

Our Policy is to continue to maintain those 20 lamps considered “essential” (subject to any future change in circumstances) but to decommission the other 66 lamps over a period of time (again, subject to potential changes of circumstances) and with local resident consultation)

The lamps thought (at the present time) to be “essential” are Station Road (opp. St Anne’s House) (4), Loddon Road X roads (2), Loddon Road bus stop and footpath end (2), Rider Haggard Way post box and school entrance (2), Beevors Gardens car park (1), Hollow Hill Road bus shelter, opp Thwaite Road, opp Scudamore Place (3), Thwaite Road by Scudamore Place (2), Black Horse Lane (1), Green Lane (1), The Loke (1), and Drapers Lane (1)

To begin the consultation, I am asking for residents for their views, which will be most welcome.

Do you wish to retain your lamps? If so, why?

Are you happy to lose lamps outside your property? Many residents complain of light pollution.

Points to consider. Many County Councils are switching lamps off (to save money?). Other nearby Parishes have no lamps at all (Broome, for example). New developments are unlikely to have streetlamps as a matter of course.

Other lamps in the Parish continue to be maintained by Norfolk County Council or Housing Associations. Any defects or problems with any streetlamps should be reported to the Parish Clerk and we will act in accordance with our Policy or pass information as appropriate.

 Alan Larkin (Chair, Ditchingham Parish Council)

June 2019

Your Councillors were elected without contest in May. Although we are eligible to have 9 Cllrs. only 6 volunteers put their names forward. Despite a shortfall in numbers, we hope to give good service, as best as possible, to all residents in the Community.

Details of Councillors and future meetings can be found on the Parish notice board, opposite the Village shop and Post Office, and on our web-site: Ditchingham Parish Council

As well as undertaking our statutory and community duties we are also engaged in the following:-

  • Speed awareness – we are liaising with interested residents in the formation of a group to monitor speeding throughout the village. This will be done alongside the SAM2 machines currently placed at random sites and software monitored.
  • Community notice board – we are investigating the possibility, with cooperation from residents, to provide a  board for Community posters, funded by external sources.
  • Streetlamps – Despite a delay, we have taken over responsibility for 86 streetlamps, previously undertaken by SNDC. There is still much work to do, and a further report will be issued later in the year.

It is with regret that I have to report some minor nuisance with play area equipment in Thwaite Road. Although easily resolved by the Council, usage of this equipment was delayed for a number of days. Also, a bench appears to have been rocked off its base and is now unusable and needs major repair, at a cost to the Council, which is unbudgeted.

The play areas are of great benefit, not only to our younger residents, but also to parents and others. The Council has a duty to maintain them and undertake repairs or replacement  when required. However, our Budget is based on natural wear and tear and such misuse incurs an additional cost to our finances.

On a positive note, there have been many favourable comments on Social Media, regarding the wildflowers on the Chicken roundabout. Our thanks go to Clinks Care Farm for looking after them for us.

Finally, If you have any concerns regarding issues in the village, please contact our Clerk (email: clerkdpc@aol.co.uk ) or any Councillor. We may not have the power to deal with everything but are able to forward concerns to Local or County Council departments and other Agencies, where relevant.

Alan Larkin
Chair, Ditchingham Parish Council

March 2019

Speed Limits
You will be aware that the 30mph speed limit on Loddon Road ends at Waveney Road and starts again just before Sun Road, in Broome. The speed limit between these two points is therefore unrestricted. In conjunction with Broome Parish Council, we have asked the Highways Department to consider making the whole stretch 30 mph. We have been advised that this does not conform with their policy, and the present system is considered to be reasonable. We have also asked our County Councillor for her help.

This area is used by vehicles, cycles, runners and pedestrians, and is a parking space for those using the Heath. We urge all users to take care, particularly in hours of darkness, as the road is not lit.

Parish Council Elections
Your Council is due to be re-elected in May. At the present time, we are 2 short of the required number. It is also possible that a further 2 experienced Councillors will not be standing again. We are therefore looking for more residents to put their names forward. More details will appear, both in this magazine, on Public Notice Boards and our web-site. If you need further information, please contact our Clerk.

Big Litter Pick
This year the Litter Pick will be held on Sunday 12th May, at 10.00am. We ask residents, once again, to support this event, which has proved to be very worthwhile in the past. Further details will be available shortly.

Alan Larkin (Vice Chair, Ditchingham Parish Council)


It is some time since we reported to you. This is because it has been a relatively quiet period in the Parish. Litter picking, general cleaning and maintenance continues to be done and I am grateful to all our employees, contractors and Councillors for their hard work and diligence.

Our long serving Councillor, Rev Kirkpatrick, has resigned due to other commitments within the Parish that he has taken on. His knowledge and experience will be greatly missed. We thank him for all his work and wish him well for the future.

Speed Awareness Machines
Our SAM2 machine has been seen in various locations throughout the village. Details of any speeding hotspots will continue to be analysed and reported to the Police where necessary.

Building Developments
Hastoe Housing have offered to build a Social Housing site behind Station Road, with access from Loddon Road. At our request, a Housing Needs survey was undertaken which indicates sufficient demand from local residents for this type of development. A Planning Application has not yet been submitted.

The application to build behind Rider Haggard Way, with access from Hamilton Way, is still with the South Norfolk District Council planning authority. No final decision has yet been made.

Maltings Amenity Area
We have met with the present Contractors who are maintaining the meadow to the east of the Maltings complex. As yet, no proper footpath is in place and the beck is overgrown and untidy. We are waiting for a further meeting with the Broads Authority to try and resolve the situation for the benefit of all our residents,

Street Lamps
We have agreed in principal to take over the maintenance of 88 Street lamps, previously undertaken by South Norfolk District Council. They wanted to cut down on this service and identified only 10 lamps which they considered to be needed. We have identified a further 10. A decision will be made regarding the remaining 68 lamps as and when they need repair or renewal. New LED bulbs will be installed, when required, which will be more efficient and may make some lamps surplus to requirements.

We will be given a lump sum to be kept in Reserve to cover future replacement or dismantling costs. The precept payment will be increased slightly to cover annual maintenance and electricity. However, this will be more than offset by a reduction in the tax, currently charged by SNDC.

Finally, on behalf of the Council and all our Staff, I would like to wish all residents a Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year.

Alan Larkin (Vice Chair, Ditchingham Parish Council)

June 2018

SAM2 CaptureIntroducing SAM 2

With 50% funding from Norfolk County Council and 50% from our Parish Council we have bought one of these machines. It will be moved from location to location in the parish. SAM stands for Speed Awareness Monitor. Its purpose is to inform drivers of their speed in the hope that they will slow down if the machine tells them to. Like all communities we have inconsiderate and even dangerous drivers using the village roads. These machines probably won’t influence those who pay little regard to safety but they do remind people of speed limits and give them a chance to respond. We can download data from the machine and with this evidence the police will visit persistent trouble spots.

We hope you approve of the Parish Council’s latest attempt to keep our village safe

Keith Weston ~ Chair Ditchingham Parish Council

May 2018

Review of Streetlights  

As I explained in the March magazine, the District Council (SNC) is reviewing the provision and maintenance of street lights. Up to now, Ditchingham residents have been paying for lighting through a special charge within their community charge. Historically SNC has not collected enough revenue, from residents, to cover the true cost of lights – hence the review.
The Parish Council had three options:

1. Keep just the lamps the District Council defined as “needed”
2. Keep the “needed” lamps and ten more that Councillors think should be retained
3. Keep ALL the lamps we currently have
(Some lamps in the village are the responsibility of Norfolk CC and some Saffron Housing; these are not affected by the review. )

At the March Parish Council meeting Councillors decided, unanimously, to go for option 3. A reserve budget will be opened with the amount SNC will pay the parish for each light they hand over. This reserve will be available for future replacement of lights which cannot be repaired and are thought, by the then Cllrs., to be needed. The full revenue costs of electricity, safety monitoring and maintenance will be raised through the precept. Cllrs will decide, in November, when setting the next budget, whether this means any increase in the precept.

Big Litter Pick
We are again taking part in the District-wide litter pick. We will gather at the Village Hall for 10.00 on Saturday 19th May. Please come and help, for an hour or two, if you can. All equipment will be provided. Thank you.

Yard Sale
The Parish Council has decided to hold another sale this year. It will be on Sunday 3rd June. We already have 15 sellers plus one table in the Village Hall and a plant stall outside. Please contact me keithweston@talk21.com if you have questions , would like to open your yard,  or have a table in the Hall. Both will cost £6.00 which will be collected on the day. Customers will collect, from the VH, a map (£1.00) to show where open yards are. ALL proceeds will be donated to the East Anglian Air Ambulance.

We currently have two allotments (a double) available. If you want to know more, or want to hire it/them, please contact the Parish Clerk, Sally Chapman clerkdpc@aol.co.uk

Annual Meetings
On Monday May 21st from 7.30pm we will be holding the Annual Parish Meeting and the Annual Parish Council Meeting (I’ll explain the difference at the time!). All parishioners are welcome to these meetings

Thank you very much to Alf Skippen and to Fred Hartwell. Having offered their services, they were both co-opted onto the Council at the March meeting. We now have 8 of the 11 Councillors we are supposed to have.
I can also tell you that, following our submission to the Local Governance Review, the District Council has agreed that, in future, D.P.C. should be made up of 9 Cllrs.

Keith Weston (Chair Ditchingham Parish Council)

December 2017


Since this article will appear in the December/January issue I thought I would offer a brief review of the Parish Council’s activities and actions during 2017. In so doing I will remind you of some of the responsibilities of Parish Councils.

Village Maintenance The public open spaces in the village are our responsibility and we employ three people to deal with litter, inspect (weekly) all the play equipment, clean the bus shelters and carry out minor repairs and installations. With occasional help from others this excellent work is mainly done by Paul Austin and Richard and Anne Mulley. We are fortunate to have such conscientious staff and, on behalf of readers, I thank them.  We contract out grass-cutting to Clinks Care Farm and we are very pleased with the service we get from this brilliant organisation.
In addition to the routine inspections we organise, and pay for, annual inspections of play equipment and trees. We then pay for any remedial work needed to keep things safe.
We have on order three new benches – two to replace broken ones at the Play Area and one for the top of the access slope to The Dip.
We have installed a small number of new litter and dog waste bins; we pay the District Council to empty all bins on a regular basis.

New initiatives This year has seen the completion of four projects to improve the parish. The village sign was completely refurbished. The unsatisfactory steps to The Dip were replaced with an access slope complete with hand rail. The redundant BT ‘phone box was adopted and has been converted into a free Book exchange. The new field -edge footpath up Hollow Hill was completed to provide a safer alternative to the pavement.

Precept  The precept is the amount households pay for parish costs within their Community Charge. Prior to 2010 it had not risen for many years and the Council’s budget and its reserves were insufficient. Consequently, it rose for several years until the finances were on a sounder footing. The precept for 2016/17 went down. Going forward the Council will set a precept which is sufficient to carry out its responsibilities, that reflects any proposed projects and that maintains sufficient reserves.

Councillor numbers Ditchingham P.C. is supposed to have eleven Councillors; currently we only have six. South Norfolk Council is currently running a Local Governance Review. We have requested a reduction from eleven to nine -in line with official data showing this is the right number for Ditchingham’s population. If any reader would like to become a Parish Councillor, or just wants to find out more, they only need to get in touch with me, or with our Clerk.

Last, but not least

On behalf of the Council, its Councillors and its staff, I should like to wish “Parishioner” readers


October 2017

The Red ‘Phone Box in Hollow Hill Road
B.T. made this box redundant and the Parish Council adopted it. South Norfolk Council made a grant of £100 towards adapting it to a new use and some of the money has been used to install shelving to convert it into a Mini Lending Library. More shelves will be added if needed. People can leave books they no longer want and exchange them for ones others have left. Books for adults and for children (but not magazines, please) can be swapped. We are hoping that this book exchange will be popular and will, more or less, look after itself. We are grateful to Anne Mulley for volunteering to “keep an eye” on it.

Official Opening of the Hollow Hill Footpath

This took place on 5th September at the footpath. The public were not invited as the space available isn’t safe for a larger group. County Councillor, Margaret Stone spoke in appreciation of the project which had been achieved through partnership between the Parish and County Councils. All Parish Councillors attended as did Dorothy Cheyne and a representative of Alan Nobbs. The Cheyne family and the farmer were thanked, by the Chair of the PC, for making the land available. A considerable number of people have used the new path already.

South Norfolk Council HELP HUB and Social Prescribing
This service is intended to “Help to improve your health and well-being.” Social prescribing is an opportunity to have a face-to-face chat with someone about your life and any concerns you wish to deal with. A doctor or nurse may refer you to a Community Connector who can meet with you and advise you how to get the help you need. Our Community Connector is Jake Kubala and you may well meet him at events in the village as he tries to get himself and the service better known. If you would like Jake’s help you can also contact him yourself by ‘phone 07758139076 or Email: jkubala@s-norfolk.gov.uk

Amenity Area to East of The Maltings

We continue to badger the Broads Authority (BA); their officers are concerned about the state of the area. We now have the contact details of the company engaged, by the developers (PJ Livesey) to manage the land. They have provided a schedule of work and the BA should be monitoring it. Let’s hope for a timely resolution of this problem.

If you ever want to raise anything with the Parish Council our Clerk, Sally Chapman can be contacted on:
Email clerkdpc@aol.co.uk  Tel 07774734411

Keith Weston (Ditchingham Parish Council Chair)

September 2017

Hollow Hill Footpath
Capture17The Council is pleased to announce the completion of the footpath. You can now walk from the bottom of Hollow Hill (where Hollow Hill Road joins the Norwich Road, B1332) to the top of the hill without using the narrow pavement close to heavy traffic. We hope it will be popular and well used – we have already heard from a number of people who have walked the path and have expressed their appreciation for its provision. The footpath was originally the brainchild of Cllr. Richard Mulley and he collected names to demonstrate support for the project. The cost of the footpath has been met 50/50 from the Parish Council budget and from Norfolk County Council’s Parish Partnership Scheme. We are very grateful to Dorothy and Jonathan Cheyne, the land owners, who made the land for the path available at no cost. We are also grateful to the farmer, Peter Rodger, who agreed to sacrifice part of his maize crop to enable the path to be constructed. We commend Alan Nobbs and his team for the first-rate job they have done in building the footpath.


Village Fete On behalf of the Council, and the wider community, we thank the members of the fete planning team. We compliment them on their excellent organisation, which resulted in such an enjoyable and successful event.

Allotments Calling keen gardeners. If you would like to express an interest in any allotments that become vacant please get in touch with our Clerk, Sally Chapman clerkdpc@aol.com

Keith Weston (Parish Council Chair)

July 2017


South Norfolk Council’s Local Governance Review
This review is being carried out to try to improve the engagement of residents with the most local forms of governance (in our case a Parish Council.) It gives the opportunity for parishes to review their boundaries, to consider joint working or merger with other parishes and to review the number of Councillors.
We consulted residents by using a flyer sent out with the May issue of “The Parishioner” and I made a presentation about the review to the May Parish Council meeting, which was attended by ten members of the public. The following is what we submitted to South Norfolk Council:

“There were less than ten responses to the flyer but those who did reply all favoured keeping the status quo in respect of the parish boundary. No-one favoured collaboration with neighbouring parishes. A show of hands at the meeting revealed that those members of the public present, and the Parish Councillors, were unanimously in favour of keeping the status quo in respect of the parish boundary. No-one present favoured collaboration with neighbouring parishes.

We have had informal discussions with parish leaders in Broome and Hedenham and we believe they, too, support the status quo.

Ditchingham Parish Council, at its May meeting, voted unanimously to ask that an outcome of the review should be to reduce the number of councillors from the present 11 down to 9. This is in line with the table shown as part of the SNC presentation to Council chairs.  We formally request this.”

Proposed Changes to the Village Hall

The Council (DPC) is collaborating with the Village Hall Management Committee over a project to extend the hall at the Green Lane end. If the project is successful it would provide self-contained accommodation for the Broome and Ditchingham Playgroup to use. This would have a number of advantages including:

  • The main hall, garden, committee room and kitchen would be available to the community when Playgroup is in session. Currently, safeguarding of children protocols mean the whole building is generally unavailable even if Playgroup is only in the main hall. We know there are groups and individuals who would hire the facilities if they were able to.
  • Playgroup would be better able to offer the full number of hours being funded, from September, by the Government. This would benefit local families.
  • Offering a pre-school setting in the village may discourage families from going elsewhere. Potentially this could help the primary school’s numbers.
  • The hall’s revenue would improve thus improving its sustainability
  • Difficulties over storage would be resolved
  • The new accommodation would be for hire to other users outside Playgroup session times.

Over the years there have been several initiatives to provide facilities to provide the above advantages (including a proposal for Playgroup to move onto the school site.) These have come to nought. The present project is likely to be part-funded from Section 106 grant – hence the collaboration between the Council and the hall committee. [S106 grant came as a result of The Maltings” development. It is administered by the planning authority, in this case the Broads Authority (BA), and must be used to benefit the community.] DPC tells the BA how it wants to spend the grant but the BA has the final say (and there are rules, of course!) The BA is keen that the grant should be spent on a major capital project which leaves a legacy and has indicated that it favours expenditure on the Village Hall.
What happens next? We are in the process of having plans drawn; we will make a planning application to SNC; we will get estimates for the work; as S106 grant will be insufficient for the project there will be additional fund-raising. Watch this space.

Amenity Area to the East of The Maltings

The Council has, repeatedly, told the BA that this area, which should include a footpath, is unacceptable. The BA tells us that it shares our concerns and is working with the contractor to get the area completed. In the meantime the weeds have returned.

June 2017

Annual Meetings In May the Council holds the Annual Parish Meeting and the Annual Parish Council Meeting. They are both at the Village Hall on the same evening, namely, Monday 15th.  As with all Council meetings, members of the public are most welcome.

Footpath through the Amenity Area to the west of The Maltings: In February we told you that an informal footpath was open and people could get from The Maltings to Alma Bridge without walking on the road. Unfortunately, PJ Livesey’s contractor has tilled the whole area and the path has gone. It will be reinstated and we are in touch with the Broads Authority to try to get early progress.

Council Members We have recently had two resignations from the Council. We thank Marie Allen for her service, for almost a year, and Sharon Cheer who was co-opted but then decided the role was not for her.  We have vacancies so, if you would like to help the community by offering yourself for co-option (or you would just like to know more about it) please contact me or Sally Chapman, the Parish Clerk – clerkdpc@aol.co.uk . Thank you.

Yard Sale Several people have asked if following last year’s very successful Yard Sale there will be another one. There are currently no plans to hold one this year but it will be on the May agenda to consider whether to hold one next year. What do you think; is once every two years about right?

Hollow Hill Footpath Unfortunately, the builder who we had engaged, to construct the field edge path, pulled out and we have had to retender. We hope the work will be done before too long.

The new access to The Dip Within the next few weeks we expect to install a handrail to complete this work.

Wild Flowers on “Chicken Roundabout”
Using the money we won by entering the 2016 Litter Pick we bought wild flower plugs; we are waiting for some rain before planting them.
The Red ‘Phone Box’ in Hollow Hill Road
B.T. made this redundant and the Parish Council has adopted it. South Norfolk Council has made a grant of £100 towards adapting it to a new use. In the near future we shall be installing some shelving to convert it into a Mini Lending Library. People can leave books they no longer want and exchange them for ones others have left. We are hoping that this book exchange will be popular and will, more or less, look after itself. If there is a volunteer (perhaps someone who lives near the ‘phone box) who would like to “keep an eye” on it we would love to hear from them.
The Village Sign
Capture9The sign, which was taken down for refurbishment, has now been put back. It looks brilliant. At first we thought only minor repairs were needed but investigations showed the sign was in a very bad state. Robert Utting of Ellingham was commissioned to do the refurbishment and he has done an excellent job. We thank him for the care he has taken over this assignment. Basically he had to make a wholly new copy of the original. Only the pear and the wheat stalks (but not the ears) are from the old sign; everything else Robert has had to make. He also carved the lettering afresh.
This work, which took many hours, was paid for using a grant from our District Councillor, Brendon Bernard, and using Ditchingham Parish Council funds.


April 2017

 “Chicken” Roundabout
Last year Ditchingham took part in South Norfolk’s Great Big Litter Pick. We were entered into a draw and won £200. This is being spent on WILD FLOWER PLANTING on the roundabout. The work will be carried out by Clinks Care Farm and we hope you like the results which should  make the roundabout look more attractive.

Community Governance Review
As described by Brendon Bernard, our District Councillor, in the March “Parishioner,” South Norfolk Council is carrying out a review. Among other things, the review will look at whether parish boundaries still make sense and at the virtues of any parishes mergers. This is all intended to revitalise the public’s engagement with the most local form of governance – town and parish councils. At present 84% of parishes have Councils which were elected unopposed because there were fewer nominations than the numbers needed.
By the time you read this the Parish Council will, at its March meeting, have discussed its response to the review. It will also have considered whether, or not, to hold a parish consultation the results of which could be taken into account in the response.

Fallen tree Ditchingham Dam
You may have been wondering why the road was blocked for so long after Storm Doris brought down a tree in Ditchingham Dam. Your Parish Council was busy behind the scenes. The delay was caused by uncertainty over the owner of the land from which the tree fell. Norfolk County Council Highways removed the tree as soon as there was clarity.

Charges don’t go down – or do they?
Recently you will have received your annual Community Charge statement. Understandably some charges have had to go up (to make a small contribution to the care system, for example.) However, I expect you noticed that the precept being collected on behalf of Ditchingham Parish Council has gone down significantly. This is to be welcomed but let me explain:
For many years, until about five years ago, the precept was unchanged. This meant the Council was limited in what it could provide; didn’t comply with up-to-date requirements; wasn’t properly insured and had very low reserves. The last one in the list meant there were insufficient funds for maintenance and for contingencies. The precept was raised, more dwellings were built (so more people paid the charge) and the financial picture was improved. Due to its good house-keeping, the Council now has healthy reserves – hence the reduced precept this year. Each November the Council will review it finances and set a fair precept that reflects the foreseen expenses and maintains healthy reserves. We don’t want the precept to “yo-yo” but, each April, we will levy the right amount for the needs of the parish.

Keith Weston (Parish Council Chair)

January 2017

Councillor Colin Mison

Colin sadly died just before Christmas; he had been unwell for some time. Our thoughts are with his wife and family. He was very much a local man having lived and worked in this locality all his life. On behalf of the parish I should like to express our gratitude to Colin for his many years of service as a Councillor. What I remember most is the amount of walking (in the village) he did. He always kept his eyes open for items that needed attention and reported them so they were fixed. On the Council’s Planning Committee he always adopted a practical, common sense approach to decisions. At Council meetings he couldn’t always hear very word of the discussions (!) but he clearly heard enough because, when it came to a vote, he always voted the way he thought was right.

Councillor Numbers

Ditchingham is a Council of eleven Councillors. Since the last election we have been working with reduced numbers and we currently have only six. If you would like to become a Councillor, or would just like to know more about helping the community in this way, please get in touch. Contacts: Myself, keithweston@talk21.com / 01986 892326 or our Clerk, Sally Chapman clerkdpc@aol.co.uk We won’t pressurise you just because you enquire. Thank you.

Keith Weston – Chair

December 2016

Dementia Friendly Community
We have received an Email from Donna Oakins, media coordinator for All Hallows Hospital Trust, on this subject. We are sharing its contents because it is of interest to everyone.
A short time ago Harleston launched their commitment to becoming a Dementia Friendly Community. We, at All Hallows are committed to becoming Dementia Friendly and would love to reach out to the local community for them to do it too. However we don’t feel we could run a project due to existing commitments but would be happy to sit on maybe something like a community engagement team. We wondered if this is something you would be interested in maybe Ditchingham & Bungay becoming a Dementia Friendly Community. Please visit the following link for more information: https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/dementiafriendlycommunities

I am sure I speak for other Councillors as I express my support for this idea, which doesn’t need to be a Parish Council initiative. 
If you would be interested in joining a group to explore this idea further please get in touch with me (Keith Weston) or with Donna – thank you.

Thank you
Despite some anti-social litter bugs our village is kept very tidy and largely litter free. Our thanks are due to three Council employees. I would like, on behalf of the community, to thank Paul Austin, our litter picker and Richard and Anne Mulley who maintain the bus shelters, Lychgate and other assets.

Youth Shelter
A few young people have been seen climbing on the shelter. A fall from the top could be dangerous as there is no safety surface. For this reason, and at the request of our insurers, we have posted “CAUTION Do Not Climb” notices on the shelter.

What are the main responsibilities of the Parish Council?
– Respond to planning authorities when applications are made within the parish. (In our case South Norfolk Council and the Broads Authority.)

– Raise highways issues with Norfolk County Council.
- Maintain the cemetery, The Dip, the Thwaite Road Play Area and the A143 (Chicken) roundabout. This maintenance includes grass cutting, repairs, improvements and upgrades.

– provide and maintain street assets – bus shelters, seats, grit bins, litter bins and dog waste bins
- manage the allotments
- insure all of the above
For a full list have a look at this website: http://www.localgov.co.uk/Parish-council-responsibilities/29135

Last, but not least
Ditchingham Parish Councillors, Parish Clerk and Council employees wish you

A very
Happy Christmas
&  New Year!

Dog Fouling     
We regret the need to return to this subject again but it remains a problem to which we cannot find a solution. The large posters which appeared around the village recently were not put there by the Parish Council. However, the Council supports the message they convey. Unfortunately there are still some local dog owners who behave irresponsibly in this regard.

Access to “The Dip”      
The steps opposite the shop have been removed as they were not very safe. A new sloping access is being built in the corner a little further along Loddon Road. It should be a gentle enough slope for mobility scooters, buggies Etc. to use. The Parish Council expresses its gratitude to Darren Broughton of Broughton (E.A.) Developments Ltd., as he is installing the access as a gift to the village and at no cost to the public purse.

BMX Track at the Thwaite Road Play Area     
In recent months the Council has paid to have the track uncovered from the vegetation that had grown over it. It has now used further resources to improve the drainage and the surface. Councillors are pleased that young people are already using the newly restored BMX track and hope the facility will be popular.


On Bank Holiday Monday some fifty people were given a brief lesson in the life-saving techniques of CPR (Cardiopulmonary resuscitation) and to using a defibrillator. This was a “drop in” session and we are grateful to Alan Rudd, one of our local Community First Responder, and to two of his colleagues from the Ambulance Service, for providing the training. We also thank the residents who gave up a few minutes of their time to practise the techniques.

Important information The defibrillator outside the village shop is for ANYONE, trained or untrained, to use in an emergency. The code needed to open the cabinet can be obtained from shop staff or by dialling 999. The defibrillator can then be taken to where it is needed. Time is of the essence. The machine tells and shows users exactly what to do.



The Trustees have once again this year agreed to offer grants of £250 to students who are residents of the village and have been accepted by a university.

This is intended to help with the cost of books or specialist equipment needed for their course. They must be between the ages of eighteen and twenty five.

Applications with proof of acceptance at a university should be sent by to:

Mr V Cossey, Hon. clerk to the trustees,
46 Norwich Road, Ditchingham, NR35 2JL


Ditchingham Village Hall 1    All Hallows Hosp 1