BLENHEIM GRANGE - THREE YEAR PLAN
In 2016, Carbrooke Parish Council accepted ownership of the Open Spaces at Blenheim Grange on behalf of the community. The Parish Council is responsible for the maintenance of the Open Spaces, together with the play area on Lancaster Avenue and the Community Cabin on Washington Drive. The Parish Council maintains the War Memorials near Norwich Road, two noticeboards and the litter and dog bins situated around the estate (with the assistance of members of the Blenheim Grange Residents Association).
Since assuming ownership of the land in 2016, the Parish Council has completed the following:-
* Installed a new play area on Lancaster Avenue. The purchase of the equipment was entirely grant funded.
* Laid down a new path next to the play area, together with a new grassed area.
* Installed new metal fencing at the front of the estate to the left and right of the War Memorials on Washington Drive.
* Installed new drop-down locks on the path between Washington Drive and Norwich Road to control access.
* Funded Tree Surveys and carried out all works recommended in the survey.
* Removed the concrete slabs and reseeded the grass at Lancaster Avenue.
USE OF THE COMMUTED SUM
The Commuted Sum can only be used for the maintenance of Blenheim Grange and for no other purpose. In view of the current low interest rates, the rate of return on this money is minimal. The Parish Council has therefore had to use part of its Precept to cover its current costs in respect of the maintenance of the Open Spaces at Blenheim Grange. The Precept is the local tax levied by Breckland Council as part of the Council Tax bill. It is the main source of the Parish Council’s income.
AIMS & OBJECTIVES
The aim of the Three Year Plan is to set out the Parish Council’s key priorities and objectives for the next three years for the management and maintenance of Blenheim Grange. The Parish Council wishes to ensure that the land and assets it holds on behalf of the parish are administered efficiently, in the best interests of parishioners and in a manner that represents the best value to the community.
The Three Year Plan does not relate to Carbrooke as a whole, but has been specifically drawn up to help the Council plan and promote its vision for Blenheim Grange in the short to medium term. A Three Year Plan for the remainder of the parish has been completed separately.
The Three Year Plan will be regularly reviewed in the light of new housing developments at Blenheim Grange and in accordance with the Council’s aims and objectives, which are based on the needs and requirements of residents. It is hoped that the Plan will help local residents to have a better understanding of what the Parish Council does and that it will encourage them to come forward with their own ideas for improvements at Blenheim Grange.
ANNUAL MAINTENANCE COSTS
The current maintenance costs in respect of Blenheim Grange have been budgeted for the financial year to 31 March 2021 as follows:
Blenheim Grange Running Costs
Grounds maintenance is paid from the Commuted Sum
Tree maintenance work is paid from the Commuted Sum
Electricity – Community Cabin £200
Waste collection – Community Cabin £500
Dog waste collection - £700
Play equipment - £5,000
Play equipment safety report 100
Play equipment repairs (warranty ended May 2017) £510
General repairs - £1,000
CURRENT AIMS AND OBJECTIVES
The Parish Council is currently pursuing the following aims and maintaining the following facilities.
ADOPTION OF THE ROADS
The Parish Council is in consultation with the Taylor Wimpey housing consortium regarding the completion of the roads at Blenheim Grange and the adoption of the roads by Norfolk County Council. Council members have met the local MP, George Freeman, who is working to push forward plans for the completion of the roads, as is Norfolk County councillor Claire Bowes.
ANTI SOCIAL BEHAVIOUR
Anti social behaviour affecting people’s enjoyment and use of the Open Space land takes many forms. Examples include littering, dog owners not clearing up their dog foul, speeding, riding motorbikes on the pavement or open spaces, drinking in public places and fly-tipping.
The Parish Council has installed dog waste and litter bins on the estate. Members of Blenheim Grange Residents Association carry out regular litter picks.
Speeding. The adoption of the roads will allow the Police to enforce speeding and parking violations.
Fly-tipping. As the Parish Council owns the Open Space land, it cannot request the removal of fly-tipped items by Breckland Council. The Parish Council may have to pay a contractor to remove items.
As part of the land transfer in 2016, the Parish Council assumed ownership of the Community Cabin on Washington Drive. The Cabin is fully insured by the Parish Council. The outside of the Cabin has been repainted. The Council hopes shortly to take possession of a new Community Centre at Blenheim Grange.
The Parish Council precepts towards the cost of the grass cutting, strimming and weed killing. The contract is put out to tender each year..
The Council is also responsible for the trees on the Open Space land. A number of the trees on the estate have Tree Preservation Orders on them. The Council needs to work in conjunction with the Tree Officer at Breckland Council.
The largest area is the wooded area at the front of the estate at Washington Drive. This is predominantly poplar and maple. As one of the two main entrances to Blenheim Grange this area needs to be sensitively managed.
WOODED AREA NEAR SUNDERLAND CLOSE
The Parish Council is seeking to clear this area of litter and to determine its long term future. A number of trees have been felled and cut back in accordance with the tree surveys.
The play area is regularly monitored on behalf of the Parish Council. The Parish Clerk makes periodic inspections. The warranty on the equipment has expired. The Council has therefore budgeted for any small repairs to the equipment and may use its insurance policy regarding larger items of repair.
The area suffers from an excess of litter and the Council may wish to effect a long term solution to this.
There are two War Memorials, one on either side of Washington Drive at its junction with Norwich Road. The Parish Council maintains these, together with the benches alongside them.
FUTURE AIMS AND OBJECTIVES
Over the next few years, there will be further development at Blenheim Grange. Westmere Homes is to construct 106 homes (see below under Community Centre). Barretts has constructed further homes at Knights Park.
The increased population will place a further level of responsibility on the Parish Council. It may also lead to an increase in the Precept.
The Parish Council will adapt its plans accordingly and its Three Year plan will be a ‘living’ document which will be changed/amended as it progresses to meet current needs.
It is anticipated that a new plan will be drawn up at the end of each year to encompass the following years, thus enabling the Parish Council to budget for longer term projects.
As part of the Westmere Homes development, the Parish Council will accept ownership of a new Community Centre to be built off Lancaster Avenue. It is anticipated that this will take place in 2020/21.
The Parish Council will fund from its reserves, the Precept and grants the fitting out of the building and the purchase all necessary equipment.
The Community Centre will be open for hire for community events, individual users, parties and so on.
The Parish Council will prepare a full plan Business Plan for the maintenance and running of the Community Centre.
The Parish Council has identified the following key priorities:-
To complete the adoption of the roads.
To reduce/eradicate anti social behaviour.
To clear the front of the estate next to Norwich Road.
To clear the wooded area near Sunderland Close.
To cut and clear the scrub/brambles in defined areas of the Open Space land.
To fell or cut back any dangerous trees/branches.
To remove ivy from trees so as to protect the trees.
To revitalise the wildflower meadow at the front of the estate.
To produce Information Boards and/or road maps of the estate.
To put flower beds on the roundabout at Lancaster Avenue/Washington Drive and other locations.
To set aside reserves and obtain grants to fit out the Community Centre.
To purchase new Outdoor Fitness equipment.
To liaise with Westmere Homes over laying down a new path linking the development.
The Parish Council listens to and represents local people’s views. We welcome your comments on ways to improve Blenheim Grange. Please submit your ideas/proposals to the Parish Clerk at firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to Oakleigh House, Shipdham Lane, Scarning, NR19 2LB.
MONITORING THE PLAN
The Parish Council will evaluate its progress against its activities every quarter. The Three Year Plan will be reviewed and updated at regular intervals.
This plan was prepared by the clerk/RFO and approved by Carbrooke Parish Council at its meeting held on 11 February 2019 and has since been updated.