ORFORD & GEDGRAVE PARISH COUNCIL
NEW ORFORD TOWN TRUST
REGISTERED CHARITY 1053729
The Town Hall, Market Hill, ORFORD, Woodbridge Suffolk IP12 2NZ
Telephone: 01394 459172
Minutes of the Annual Parish meeting held in the Town Hall
on Friday 27 May 2005
For Council Consideration 24 May 06
1. Welcome by the Chairman
Cllr D Forbes welcomed Cllrs S Johnston, T Logan, M Smith, T Hannon, P Tricker, R
Smith, R Mellor, County Councillor Rosie Clark, District Councillor Ray Herring,
and 32 members of the public, as well as Audrey Power, Michael Flint and PC Andy
The incoming Chairman, Cllr S Johnston, presented the retiring Chairman, Cllr D
Forbes, with a gift, thanking him on behalf of the Parish for all his dedication and
hard work over the past year. Cllr Forbes will remain on the Parish Council.
2. Apologies for absence
Apologies were received from Cllr I Castle, I Thornton and K Paterson.
3. Minutes of the annual Parish Meeting held on 14 May 2004
These were agreed and signed as an accurate record.
4. Matters arising from the meeting held on 14 May 2004
There were no matters arising.
5. Chairman’s report – Cllr D Forbes
Cllr Forbes thanked Cllr S Johnston and began his report by giving tribute to the
number of Orford residents who had passed away over the past year, amongst them
Cllr E Smith, Mrs E Partridge, Krista Paterson, Ted Hawes, Fred Smy, Lady R
Bridges, and Dr Henry Baker. All of these „characters‟ will be sadly missed.
Cllr Forbes congratulated Cllr S Johnston on her new office as Parish Council
Chairman, and explained to the audience that this year, the Trust will be chaired by
Cllr T Hannon. This break with tradition is purely to spread the workload, and does
not indicate any split between the Parish Council and New Orford Town Trust. The
system remains that the Parish Councillors are elected by the Parishes and
automatically become Trustees of New Orford Town Trust.
Cllr Forbes welcomed new Councillor R Smith, who has taken up the task of
resurrecting the important Neighbourhood Watch Scheme.
You will hear from the committee chairmen the details of their work, but overall we
have had a very busy and expensive year.
The precept was raised to cover exceptional legal costs arising from our legal
obligation to protect the village greens. These arose when a parishioner laid concrete
over a green. The parishioner was subsequently cautioned by the police.
There were two formal complaints to the Standards Board for England against two
Councillors, both from the same parishioner and related to the village green incident I
referred to earlier. Both complaints were rejected by the Standards Board and the
Councillors completely exonerated. The two Councillors were Margaret Smith and
Esmond Smith. It is particularly sad to report that the lodging of the complaint was in
part the reason he left the Council. It is even more sad to note that he did not hear of
his exoneration before he died.
It is a sad irony that one of the last occasions we saw Esmond was when he officiated
at the funerals of Teddy and Fred, and today we attended his own funeral across the
way. I wonder if anyone thinks about how smoothly these occasions in the church
seem to take place. It is the unsung heroes like Bill Lennox whose tireless efforts
behind the scenes ensure that these events take place with minimum problems.
The restoration of the quay has been a big priority and we are in the final stages of
negotiating funding from commercial sources, all efforts to obtain grants having
failed. You will hear more of that in the Riverside report.
The affordable housing project has become bogged down as the housing association
dealing with the scheme failed to obtain access to their preferred site. They are
currently looking at alternatives, but I have to say the wheels turn very slowly.
Comment – we have been criticised for not divulging all the behind-the-scenes
negotiations with various landowners. As I have tried to explain through Village
Voice a number of times, these are not our negotiations, and whilst we as a Council
are kept informed of the broad issues, we are not party to the negotiations, and have
been told by Flagship Housing, the housing association dealing with the project, in no
uncertain terms, that we must not disclose commercially sensitive information.
Anyone who disagrees with this must dispute it with Flagship, not the Parish Council.
We made representations to the Public Enquiry re Footpath 14. Richard Roberts, Lord
Bridges and I spoke at the enquiry and the Inspector ruled that, footpath 14 should be
upgraded to a bridleway, not a byway open to all traffic. This was a very sensible
decision, but it has been appealed by Suffolk County Council as it is not certain that
the inspector was entitled to come to that conclusion. We await the appeal.
Orford Museum is now opening in the Castle, and we wish it well and congratulate all
concerned for their hard work.
We saw the retirement of Canon Robert Clifton this year although he returned to
conduct a number of funerals, including Christa Paterson and Lady Bridges. We will
all miss him very much indeed. We wish him a long and happy retirement in
We have seen the establishment of a fresh fish shop on the quay and we are soon to
see, subject to planning approval, the opening of a new tearoom as well. The closure
of the Warehouse as a tearoom left a big gap in the facilities for visitors and residents
alike, so a new tearoom is very welcome.
I would like to thank our hard-working employees, Valerie our Treasurer, Jill our
Assistant Clerk, and of course Rosie, our Clerk, whose workload has increased
enormously over the year with the quay project and numerous other government
initiatives, which while largely irrelevant, still have to be dealt with. Rosie‟s husband
is in hospital at the moment, so we wish her and Harold all the very best. All our other
employees too, who will be mentioned in other reports.
And finally to Carol, my other half – thanks for all the support, and putting up with all
the excuses „sorry, can‟t do that, got a Council meeting!‟ And the phone calls at
strange hours. I must tell you about just one – an irate parishioner rang one evening to
complain „there is a broken toilet seat in the ladies loo at the Town Hall. What are you
going to do about it?‟ I replied, much to her annoyance, I‟m sure „Not a lot, you have
got through to my mobile and I‟m in Cornwall at the moment!‟
So with thanks for the support and help from all Councillors and Trustees, I end my
The report was received.
6. Presentation of accounts for the Council and the Trust – Treasurer
Firstly the Parish Council accounts – these will be taken to Heelis and Lodge, the
internal auditors (Lubbock Fine being the external auditors), in the next few weeks. If
you will refer to the Income and Expenditure report you will note that village green
maintenance and legal expenses came in at £2611.00 over budget, and this is the main
reason we have finished the year with a deficit of £724.87. The balance sheet gives
you the bank account balances and loans outstanding balances for the year-end. Under
Current Liabilities you will, note that we are holding an amount of £1599.48 for the
Parish Plan – there is a separate sheet showing the breakdown of this amount.
The New Orford Town Trust Accounts will be taken to Scrutton Bland, our
accountants, within the next few weeks to be audited. Scrutton Bland audited the
2003–2004 accounts last year, and these were presented to the Charity Commission
on the due date.
The Trust balance sheet shows the Trust‟s assets and bank balances. I have also
included this year a depreciation schedule. Please note that these figures have not
been incorporated into the Income Expenditure Report or the balance sheet. There is
also a summary of the NOTT Income and Expenditure (actual and budget) together
with individual committee accounts. The 2005–2006 budgets are also shown.
I have not shown comparisons against last year‟s actual. Those of you that were
present last year will remember that for the first time we introduced the accruals and
prepayments system of accounting. Comparisons therefore would not be beneficial at
this stage, but will of course be next year.
We have banked over £16,000 in Riverside revenue in March this year and this is held
in the balance sheet as at 31 March, and will be transferred to Income and
Expenditure for 1 April.
The VAT threshold for „standard rated income‟ is £60,000 from 1 April this year. The
budgeted figures for 2005–2006 indicate we will still be marginally under this
threshold, but income in these areas could still easily exceed budget. I have therefore
arranged a meeting with the local VAT Officer and her colleague, who specializes in
Charitable Trusts, to discuss registering for VAT, which will be on a partial
exemption basis) for those of you who do not know what that means – well, believe
me, the best definition is a bit of a headache, but it cannot be ignored). I will not bore
everyone with an overview of partial exemption – it will take too long, but if anyone
requires any further information perhaps they can see me later. There will be much
forward planning to organize if we register for VAT, and I feel we should start the
ball rolling sooner rather than later.
The Report was received. The Chairman thanked the Treasurer.
7The Following Committee Reports were given
Estates committee – Cllr Forbes for Cllr Thornton
The report was received. The Chairman thanked Cllr Forbes.
Highways – Cllr Mellor
The report was received. The Chairman thanked Cllr Mellor.
Riverside Committee – Cllr Logan
The report was received. The Chairman thanked Cllr Logan.
8. Report from the Local History Recorder – Margaret Smith
The report was received. The Chairman thanked Margaret Smith
9. Police report – PC Andy Warne
The report was received. The Chairman thanked PC Warne.
10. School report – Audrey Power
The report was received. The Chairman thanked Audrey Power.
11. Esmond House report – Mr Michael Flint
The report was received. The Chairman thanked Michael Flint.
12. Welcome to new County Councillor Rosie Clarke
The report was received. The Chairman thanked Rosie Clarke.
13. Report from District Councillor Ray Herring
The report was received. The Chairman thanked District Councillor Ray Herring.
14. Report on the Parish Plan – Mr Roger Hipwell
The report was received. The Chairman thanked Mr Hipwell.
15. Questions from the floor
Mrs Penny Donnelly, on affordable housing, requested that the following statement be
minuted in the minutes (also to be published in the Village Voice):
„I have a short statement that I wish to make to this meeting with regard to affordable
homes in the village. I would like it to be recorded in the minutes of this meeting and
published in the Village Voice that I have never suggested, and nor would I, that the
identity of the landowner or landowners or how much is to be paid for the land for the
affordable homes become common knowledge. However, I do have an interest in
where the houses might be built and in the design of the houses.
I have read the letter from the Flagship Housing Group which was a response to my
piece in the April 2005 Village Voice, and it states that “engaging local residents in
the design of any new affordable housing scheme is an essential element of the work
undertaken by Suffolk Heritage Housing Association and is usually undertaken in the
inital stages with the Parish Council pending further consultation with local
The letter also says that the Housing Association is looking at the sustainability of
alternative sites. Can we now look forward to proper consultation with the residents of
Cllr D Forbes replied to Mrs Donnelly, sympathising, but reiterating that the Parish
Council has been acting under strict instructions from Flagship Housing Association.
Where information has been leaked in other areas, landowners have been physically
threatened „not to sell‟, and for this reason only Flagship Housing demanded an
embargo on intended sites in Orford. There will be public consultation, together with
Suffolk Coastal District Council.
Mrs Donnelly responded that she understands this development will be on the edge of
the village, in close proximity to her own property and would wish to see detailed
plans before planning permission is agreed.
Cllr Herring responded, supporting Cllr Forbes: before any development is considered
a purchase of land has to be secured. There are one or two possibilities. The Parish
Council can be party to this information and as Flagship Housing has expertise in
negotiating with landowners for a low-value sale, hopefully appealing to landowners‟
better nature, it is not a good route to make intended sites public until a purchase has
been completed, thereafter to come into the public domain.
The Chairman thanked District Councillor Ray Herring.
There being no other questions from the floor, the Chairman declared the meeting