Town council’s wide range of responsibilities outlined

At the Annual Town Meeting held on Wednesday 12 June at Stimpson’s Piece Pavilion, Reepham Town Council chairman Paul Mitchell (pictured) gave the annual chairman’s statement:

“Before giving my report I would like to thank the town clerk and finance officer for their hard work and support in ensuring that the responsibilities of the town council are carried out and for their support to me and other councillors.
“There are 12 councillor positions on the town council and I am pleased to report that the council now only has one vacancy. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the members of the council who have enabled the town council to carry out its work for the past year and, in some cases, for much longer.
“Through prudent financial management Reepham Town Council managed to keep the rise in the precept in 2023–24, which is the town council’s share of the council tax, to 2.9% and has managed to lower this to 2.3% for 2024–25 against high national inflation.
Lack of awareness
“Throughout my time as chairman I have often been surprised by the lack of awareness in the general public of the work of town and parish councils. People use public facilities without giving a thought as to who provides and looks after them. I feel it is worth reminding ourselves of the wide range of responsibilities that Reepham Town Council has for maintaining the public areas of the town as follows:

  • “The Market Place is owned by the town council. There has been considerable concern about the volume of traffic, including HGVs, using the Market Place, Church Hill and the sharp bend into Norwich Road by the church. Thanks to County Councillor Greg Peck, a traffic survey was conducted, which has resulted in improved signage and new road markings, particularly at Townsend Corner.
  • “The town council continues to be concerned about the fact that residents attending the Sunshine Memory Café sometimes receive parking tickets for staying in excess of 1½ hours and that tickets are issued to people parking in the Market Place on a Wednesday, despite there being no market taking place. This matter is now under review by Norfolk County Council’s Highways Department.
  • “On the subject of highways, the town council has responsibility for maintaining the 127 street lights in the town and for overseeing the cutting of roadside verges around Reepham.
  • “The School Road cemetery, which is currently in use, and the now-disused Norwich Road Cemetery are looked after by the town council.
  • “Although, for financial reasons, the churchyard is now the responsibility of Broadland District Council, the town council arranges the grass cutting of the churchyard on behalf of the district council.
  • “The town council owns the town hall and is responsible for its upkeep, management, cleaning and maintenance.
  • “Although the car park on Station Road is owned by Broadland District Council, Reepham Town Council is responsible for its management.
  • “The public toilets in Pudding Pie Alley belong to Broadland District Council but the town council has a management responsibility to ensure they are well looked after. The town council employs a cleaner and ensures that repairs are carried out.
  • “The town council is responsible for the church clock and an area of land at the front of the churchyard known as the Pound.
  • “A significant amount of the land, for which the town council has responsibility, has trees growing on it. The town council has these inspected annually for safety reasons and, over the past few months, has spent well in excess of £1,000 on tree works to ensure the safety of the public.
  • “The town council uses income from recycling and interest from investments to provide grants to local organisations and events such as the Reepham Food Festival, Reepham Classic Car Festival, Reepham & Salle Cricket Club (to support young players) and the Festival of Light.
  • “The town council continues to receive planning applications for Reepham for comment. These have been carefully scrutinised, with the council objecting to those that it considers do not meet planning criteria or are detrimental to the conservation area, nearby inhabitants or the street scene.
  • “The town council manages allotments on three sites enabling residents to have access to these amenities.
  • “A significant commitment of the town council is its responsibility as the trustee of Stimpson’s Piece. This involves the maintenance and development of the recreation ground, upkeep and management of the community hall and pavilion, and ensuring the provision and safety of the play areas.
  • “Thanks to the town clerk a defibrillator has recently been installed, the community hall has been redecorated by young offenders involved in the Community Payback scheme, and it has become a popular venue for community groups and events.
  • “Thanks to the work of Cllr James, the clerk and volunteers from the community, work is currently in hand to develop Stimpson’s Piece further and increase the range of facilities and activities, particularly for young people.

Town News
“One highly successful development, which has been incredibly well received by the community, is the production of Reepham Town News, which is published by the town council with the support of Reepham & District Rotary Club and is now on issue 18.
“In particular, I would like to make mention of the excellent work done by John Tym in gathering articles, taking photographs and in preparing this for publication. Reepham Town News is available online but also, for those who are unable to access it online, for collection at various shops and community areas in Reepham.
“During the year Reepham Town Council agreed a biodiversity policy and, in conjunction with Norfolk County Council, agreed to the planting of an experimental area of trees on Stimpson’s Piece, which in addition to creating a habitat for wildlife will improve drainage on a very wet area of land.
“Thanks to the support of people who are willing to give a little of their time to serve their community, Reepham Town Council is the largest that it has been for years.
“In conclusion, I would like to repeat my thanks to the clerk, the finance officer and fellow councillors for their work and support.”