With regards to the delay with getting the HGV re route in place, I can confirm that the hold up still lays with Highways England and the last update I received stated that Kier who are approving and undertaking the works on the A11 for the advance signs and NCC have agreed locations, and designs but have hit a problem in that the advance signs on the east bound approach to the B1111 junction need to be well in advance and are very large (3m x 5m) so need big posts and foundations.
The issue they have is that in the verge is the main fibre optic BT cable from Norwich to Newmarket so NCC need to do some trial holes through Kier so they can see how deep it is and if they can get the foundation in.
This will require a lane closure to do the trial holes which will not happen quickly.
Police Crime Commissioner launches council tax consultation
Would you pay more council tax to help fund policing in Norfolk? That is the question being posed by the county’s Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC).
PCC Lorne Green will soon have to decide whether to increase or freeze the policing element of council tax to fund next year’s policing service, and he wants to know what the Norfolk public thinks.
By law, the PCC can only raise policing council tax by a maximum of just under 2% – a cap fixed by central government.
But, as well as giving Norfolk’s communities the chance to vote for a freeze or a 2% rise for 2018/19, for the first time Lorne will be asking if they would be willing to pay even more if the central government cap is lifted – a possibility in mid-December.
“What I am asking is do you support a freeze, keeping policing council tax at last year’s level or do you support a rise? And, if so, please tell me the maximum amount you would be prepared to pay,” said Lorne.
“I am now 18 months into my work as your PCC and, during my time in office, I have become increasingly aware of just how challenging the financial situation is for policing in our county.
“Grant funding from central government continues to reduce year on year but policing costs are increasing, along with demands for service. If austerity continues, Norfolk Constabulary will need to make cuts of between £2 million and £3 million every year just to cover inflation. The Government has made it clear it expects me to increase the policing element of council tax by the maximum I can to help bridge the gap. That budget gap in 2018/19 is estimated to be £6.8 million.
“The Chief Constable has recently announced a new policing model for Norfolk which he says will ensure the Force is best placed to tackle the biggest threats to the safety of our communities, while also maintaining neighbourhood policing and being more sustainable in the current financial climate. He also says, however, that further difficult decisions will be needed to balance the 2018/19 policing budget.
“I, along with other PCCs, have been lobbying central government to look again at police funding and lift the council tax limit above the 2% maximum. This would allow PCCs more flexibility to set council tax levels in response to funding challenges and local policing needs.
“To help inform my budget decision if that were to happen, I would like to know what you would be prepared to pay next year for policing in Norfolk.
“Some 58% of Norfolk’s policing budget is funded by central government, meaning your council tax makes up the rest so I want all Norfolk residents to have the opportunity to have their say.
“There are lots of ways you can share your views, not least through the online survey on the Norfolk PCC website. Please take the time to have your say as your views are important to me.”
The initial two options Norfolk residents are being asked to consider are:
No Increase in the policing element of council tax
A freeze on the policing element of council tax would mean a funding gap for the Constabulary in 2018/19 of £6.8m. Some £4m of savings have been identified at this stage, including £2m from the frontline local policing model (Norfolk 2020) announced by the Chief Constable in October. This leaves £2.8m still to find. The Chief Constable says further savings of this magnitude would mean some very difficult choices about even deeper reductions in frontline operational and support functions, mindful that 80% of the budget is staff costs.
Increasing the policing element of Council Tax by just under 2%
A council tax increase of just under 2% (the maximum amount currently permitted by central government) is equivalent to 8 pence extra per week (at Band D) and would raise £1.2m. This is not ‘additional money’; it will simply offset an expected £1.2m reduction in central government grant. This would leave the Constabulary with £1.6m of savings to find, in addition to the £4m already identified. The recently announced local policing model would be protected but the Chief Constable says this £1.6m would need to come from other operational and support areas of the budget. This would also mean some difficult decisions for the Constabulary.
In addition, if they support an increase, taxpayers are being asked how much they would be prepared to pay if the cap were to be lifted. The options being presented are:
Up to an extra 19 pence per week (a 4.5% increase)
This would raise £2.8m which, alongside the £4m of savings already identified would, on present projections, balance the budget for next year. This would mean that the frontline local policing model announced in October would be protected.
Up to an extra 25 pence per week (a 6% increase)
This would raise £3.6m and, alongside the £4m of savings already identified, would enable the budget to be balanced. This option would provide an opportunity, on present projections, to make some modest increases in local policing.
Up to an extra 50 pence per week (a 12% increase)
This would raise £7.2m and enable significant additional investment in frontline local and operational policing.
The consultation will run until Friday 22 December and people can have their say via an online survey or by getting in contact with the Norfolk PCC office. Hard copies of the survey are also available on request.
The PCC will take his budget proposals to the Norfolk Police and Crime Panel on 6 February 2018.
Take the survey now>>
Read the full consultation document>>
Christmas Craft Fayre at the Old School Hall this weekend. Please come along and support the friends of East Harling Parish Church in their popular event.
The management committee of the Old School Hall have a stall of homemade goodies, along with many others, and there will even be some Christmas songs being performed between 11:15 and 11:45.
A new group will be meeting on Wednesday 11th October at 10am upstairs in the Sports and Social Club.
The idea of the group is to get together dog owners who enjoy walking their pooches in our lovely woods but would prefer to go with a small group for some company.
This group is open to everyone and the hope is to have arranged walks Monday to Sunday locally.
Come along on Wednesday, have a coffee (minus your pooches) where Norfolk Police, who are behind the scheme, will be there to answer any of your questions and help to get the group going.
Congratulations to Harling Parish Council Clerk, Kate Filby, for being nominated by the Council and being selected as the Norfolk Association of Local Councils Clerk of a Medium Size Council for 2017.
The award is given to three Clerks from a small, medium and large Council, and in November all three will be put forward for one to be selected as overall Clerk of Norfolk.
The Parish Council will once again be taking nominations for the Freedom of The Parish Award to be presented at an awards ceremony in the spring of 2018.
This will be the second year the Parish Council will be accepting nominations of residents of Harling who you feel should be recognised for their exceptional contributions or service to our community.
For the first year of the award the Parish Council were overwhelmed at all the wonderful nominations that were received, we are truly lucky to have so many remarkable people living in our community.
Nominations in writing please to: Mrs K Filby, 5 The Bailiwick, East Harling or email to Clerk@harlingpc.org.uk
Closing date for nominations 1st January 2018
(Please note we will not be accepting nominations for any currently serving members of the Parish Council)