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BUS SERVICES - (Have your say)


(5th March 2012) 

Hello,

I was very disappointed and annoyed to hear from the bus driver last week that the late evening bus from Norwich to Poringland ( and Bungay on request ) which runs at 11.25pm Fri and Saturday night, is being cancelled. There has been a late night bus to Poringland for as long as I can remember ( at least 20 years ) so I am shocked to hear that it is being cancelled now, when the population of the area served by this bus is increasing dramatically and the council is meant to be encouraging use of public transport! 
I was also surprised that you only made a small one line reference to this in your latest edition. Many people in the area depend on the evening and late Fri/Sat bus service and to cancel these after at least 20 years is to take away an important local service. After writing to Anglian buses I was informed that originally the council wanted to cancel all evening and Sunday services which is what has happened in Suffolk! 
Many people depend on this service to attend classes in the city or for work and family commitments. Important services like these can’t be cancelled with such short notice! There has still not been a formal notification of these cuts for service users. I only heard from one of the bus drivers. I for one depend on this service to attend an evening class in the city and to use city services like theatre, cinema, music venues etc. Without this service I could have to pay £100s or even £1000s a year in taxis. This is all because the council wants to save £100,000 a year in its subsidy to Anglian buses. This is really quite a trivial amount when you consider council spending and the size of the area covered by the Anglian service. In terms of Poringland we are only talking about the provision of 2 buses a week at 11.25pm Fri/Sat from Norwich to Brooke ! This cannot cost the council more than a £100 or so a week. 
I would have liked to have seen more local response to these cancellations but with only one line in your publication and the parish council seemingly powerless to influence this decision, it appears as if everyone is going to just accept the situation without question. 

I would like more questions to be asked:
• Considering that Anglian buses have the monopoly on this route don’t they have any obligation to provide buses at times of the day which aren't necessarily profitable?
• In a time when bus travel is free to those over 60, shouldn’t we at least ensure that there are services supporting younger people who may be more likely to want to use this service?
• I would have thought that now, more than ever, we should be encouraging people to uses buses rather than cars. In addition, cancelling this bus does nothing to discourage drink driving in the community. 
• With more and more young people moving to and growing up in the area there is likely to be greater demand for this service. So why is it being cancelled now?

One of the reasons I chose to buy a house in Poringland and not in the city was because I knew there was a late night bus service back to the village. Back in the 90s there used to be a late bus every night but in recent years this was cut back to just Fri/Sat. This was inconvenient enough, but to cut the Fri and Sat service too is ridiculous.
I know your next edition isn’t for some time but maybe you could add a news item or article on your website and ask anyone who is concerned about these cuts to makes their voices heard. 

Many thanks (email details supplied)



COMMUNITY EMPOWERMENT IN SOUTH NORFOLK

An initiative from South Norfolk Council - summary from Trevor Lewis, District Councillor, Stoke Holy Cross Ward.

The thrust of the recently Localism Act 2011 is to promote the exercise of local authority functions at the level closest possible to those affected.  South Norfolk Council has decided to run a pilot scheme for one year, to turn this aspiration into a reality, beginning almost immediately. It has been able to set aside substantial funds with the expectation that this will continue in the future, subject to regular review, with a full review taking place at the end of the first year.

The full details are to be found in a recent Cabinet report to be found at:

http://www.south-norfolk.gov.uk/CARMS/meetings/cab2012-02-06ag11.pdf

- to which there are also several appendices with further detail.

The purpose of this document for Parish Councils in my Ward (which is my best understanding of what has been agreed, but is not authoritative) is to encourage engagement with the process at the earliest opportunity, since funds, while generous, are finite. This will involve working closely with our Eastern Rivers Neighbourhood Board, the body that for us meets at Poringland, Brooke and Loddon, and consists of local councillors and community representatives (a successor to the previous SNAP panel).

'The pilot involves developing the role of the Neighbourhood Boards to be the catalyst for community empowerment by encouraging communities, individuals and relevant organisations to influence and improve service delivery and increase social capital.'  (Cabinet report).

The idea is not about applying for funding, it is about influencing the spending of the Council’s budgets, so that services can be prioritised in accordance with local people’s needs. The process will be that proposals gaining the support of the Neighbourhood Boards will go forward to South Norfolk Council's Cabinet for approval. Some projects might be delivered by the proposers, and this can include Parish Councils. The expectation is that most services will still be delivered South Norfolk Council itself.  The engagement initiative is using the well tried and tested model of 'Participatory Budgeting'.

Funding will be confined to particular themes, which for the first, pilot year are:

Grass Cutting, Youth, Health Culture and Sport, Community Transport, Natural Open Space Management, Vulnerable and Older People, Community Safety, Public Toilets, plus up to three Social Action Projects, which will ideally, but not necessarily fall within one of the above themes.

Funding will not be available to compensate directly for cuts made by other organisations, nor will it be available for capital projects (for which the Council has separate funds available, and available via a different application and approval process.) A possible example of this could be a bus service that is cut because Norfolk County Council has removed a subsidy that previously allowed the service to run. South Norfolk Council funds under this scheme would not be available to replace that subsidy, nor to buy a community bus - but scheme funds might be available to fund a community transport scheme based on volunteer drivers (or support funding towards the capital cost of a community minibus might be available, but through the Council's other Capital Funding process, and not via this scheme).  The fact that volunteers are involved in the proposal will enhance its sustainability, reduce expenditure and therefore ultimately help to cuts overall costs of providing the service, and this is a key success factor for the initiative.

Nor will funds be available for proposals that are the primary duty of other organisations.

Funding is initially aimed at service enhancements with a one year life or not going beyond March 2014, although I hope that if the proposals pass its first year review, longer term funding might be available. 


Speeding

Dear all,

Speeding continues to be a commonly reported problem across the District and I wanted to update you on a number of initiatives South Norfolk Council is pursuing with our partners;

Speeding strategy 
With the decrease in public spending, the joint South Norfolk Council / Police team (Operational Partnership Team) are in the process of creating a speeding strategy to ensure we can deploy resources quickly when a problem is reported and ensure our enforcement speed guns are targeted where there is the most risk.  This will be ready early in the new year and I will send it to you.  Part of the measures in the strategy will include;

Speedwatch teams 
These teams have proven to be very successful and we're continuing to receive requests to set teams up.  I'm working with the Police to see how we can maintain and increase the Speedwatch teams whilst working to a realistic budget.  

Speeding Indicator Machines (SAMs) 
Two initiative came from the County team, 1, to erect permanent machines and 2, to deploy mobile SAMs.  Parishes that have been successful for the first scheme have been notified and for the second scheme, some parishes will be prioritised.  However this fell short of the original idea to train volunteer teams up (49 South Norfolk parishes asked to be included with 71 volunteers), as they have now said that only Speedwatch teams can be trained.  Since there is no current way to start a Speedwatch team then the idea is limiting.   Also there are only 3 mobile SAMs for the whole of Norfolk which means it may be difficult to get one allocated to your Parish.  I am meeting with the County team on Monday to 1, see if we can buy a SAM specifically for South Norfolk and 2, whether we can train non Speedwatch volunteers up.

Speeding stickers 
County launched a scheme several years ago to put stickers on bins to provide a high visibility sign to speeders.  Since then some residents have also put them as permanent signs and when several are visible they are quite impactive.  I have tried to negotiate with County to bring the price down but they have declined so we have produced our own.  These are available now at £0.25 each (cost price), I have several hundred in stock and so if you want any please let me know.

<<Slow Down Bin Stickers.pdf>> 
Any questions please do let me know.

Regards

Mike

Mike Pursehouse 
Deputy Locality and Communities Manager 
South Norfolk Council 
Long Stratton, Norfolk 
NR15 2XE 
Telephone 01508 533718 



Civil Parking Enforcement  (CPE)  

Why is South Norfolk Council 
 (SNC) 
taking over the job done by Traffic Wardens?
Since legislation was introduced which decriminalised on-street parking offences, Police Forces around the country have been working with their local highway authority to transfer to them the duties usually carried out by a Traffic Warden. Last year, the Norfolk Constabulary gave notice that for a range of operational and other priority reasons,  it would be unable to continue to operate a Traffic Warden service beyond 2011. As the Norfolk County Council is the highway authority, it had the responsibility to see that an on-street parking enforcement presence was maintained in Norfolk. 

In two tier authorities, it is usual for the operational enforcement of CPE to be undertaken  where possible by district councils on behalf of the highways authority. This enables the provision of a service that is efficient and in tune with local needs. SNC shall deliver these aims by using its two Car Park Inspectors for both on and off-street parking enforcement.
 
 What will SNC  be enforcing?
In addition to enforcing parking restrictions in the  Council's  pay and display car parks, SNC shall also enforce;     
-      parking and loading restrictions (signs and lines) on public roads
-      unauthorised parking in a specially reserved place e.g. a disabled bay 
-      return to the same parking place within the prescribed time

What will SNC not be able to enforce?
SNC shall only be able to enforce existing parking restrictions. It is appreciated that  the Town and  Parish Councils  receive complaints about "nuisance parking", but as a generality, CPE will not enable SNC to take action for these issues.

Requests for new parking restrictions
Any request for a new parking restriction, such as "residents only" parking, is a matter for the County Council as it is the highway authority. CPE will not enable South Norfolk Council to put in new restrictions.

What changes will people notice?
Motorists who park legally will not notice any change. SNC shall not be doing anything that was not previously done by traffic wardens. However, once people become aware that the Car Park Inspectors (in future to be known as Civil Enforcement Officers)  also enforce on-street parking restrictions, it can be expect that this will help to deter motorists from taking a chance. Our Civil Enforcement Officers have a distinctive new uniform (royal and navy blue) which is intended to help maximise their presence on the streets.  
 
How can the Town and Parish Councils help SNC?
We will welcome information that will enable us to provided a service that tackles the "hot spots", particularly in our market towns. We are aware that illegal on-street parking has caused access problems for the emergency services, delays with business deliveries and damage to buildings where lorries have had problems manoeuvring. To forward information, please contact Michele Earp, Parking Services Manager mearp@s-norfolk.gov.uk
 
Customer enquiries
By telephone: 01508 533830
Web site: information about CPE in Norfolk can be accessed on:  www.norfolk.gov.uk/parkingenforcement



Police urge people to be safe and respect others this Halloween and Bonfire night

 
People across the county planning to celebrate Halloween at the end of October and Bonfire Night in early November are being urged to be considerate to others.
 
Norfolk Constabulary officers will be working with residents, partner agencies and local businesses aiming to make sure that celebrations are safe and enjoyable for everyone. Additional officers will be on duty for what can be one of the busiest periods of the policing calendar.
 
As in previous years, planning and preparation for this peak time of year is a multi-agency effort including: Norfolk Fire & Rescue Service, Norfolk County Council through Trading Standards and the Youth Offending Team, as well as other local authority resources.
 
Chief Inspector Gavin Tempest, representing Norfolk Community Safety Partnership, said: “We want everyone to have an enjoyable Halloween. We understand that trick or treating has become an exciting tradition for youngsters. However, Halloween can be a distressing time of year for some vulnerable members of the community and we would ask trick or treaters to respect the wishes of those who choose not to mark the occasion.
 
“Last year’s event passed without major incident thanks to the consideration of trick or treaters for those who didn’t want to take part in Halloween and we hope to see a repeat of that this year.
 
“The same applies for Bonfire Night – we urge everyone to have fun, stay safe and respect residents in their neighbourhood.”
 
Richard Herrell, Group Manager for Community Fire Protection, Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service said: “Every year we work more closely with our partners around Halloween and Bonfire Night. We hope everyone; retailers, customers and our communities enjoy themselves and have a safe and enjoyable time."
 
Norfolk Community Safety Partnership offers the following safety tips to young people who intend to go trick or treating:
 
· Never go trick or treating alone or split up from your friends.
 
· Always check with your parents or carer first.
 
· Only go to houses where you or your friends know who lives there.
 
· Don’t go into any house - stay on the doorstep.
 
· Don’t talk to strangers on the street.
 
· Stay in well-lit areas and carry a torch.
 
· Take care when crossing roads - it may be hard to see so well in a costume.
 
· Although Halloween is about looking spooky, be careful not to frighten the elderly.
 
· Eggs & flour make a mess & most shops won’t sell them to under 16s over Halloween.
 
A selection of posters are available for people to display in a window or on their front door - dependent on their view of Halloween.
 
One poster welcomes trick or treaters to the doors of residents while an alternative asks that trick or treaters do not disturb residents. There is a poster with the message that shopkeepers will not be selling eggs or flour to under 16s on 29, 30 or 31 October and a leaflet aimed at young people which gives important tips on how they can stay safe and enjoy Halloween and Bonfire Night. The Partnership has prepared an additional poster combining safety messages and concerns about anti-social behaviour for both occasions.
 
Chief Inspector Tempest added: “Our Safer Neighbourhood Teams have access to the posters and will be out and about in their communities to raise awareness with local residents and encourage their use. The posters are simple for people to access and download from our website to print out and put in windows and on doors for themselves.”
 
The free posters are available for download at www.norfolk.police.uk to place on windows and doors.

 

2nd October 2011

So many think that nothing new ever happens at church!  Same old hymns, same old words etc.  However, although that is not the case, on the second of October this year in All Saints church in Poringland something really new, an original event even, happened!  What, you may well ask?  Well on that day for the first time in its history a person was ordained a priest within its walls.  The person’s name is Debbie Driver and the reason that this service took place in All Saints is because she has been ordained as a local minister.  What does that mean?  It means that she has been a member of the local church for many years, she trained locally and will remain within the Benefice of Poringland to serve the people of that community until she retires from service.  So this was a special moment for all in the Benefice of Poringland.  Debbie considers this post as a special calling of God to show his love in her local community to all the people there.  The post is unpaid and for some of the week she will continue working as a driving instructor.   It is hoped that you will all get to know her over the years as you see her about either in her car or in her capacity as an OLM.


                                                        

Clearing SNOW and ICE yourself

Last winter many people helped keep pavements and public spaces around their homes clear of snow. However, many people were put off doing so because of fears of being sued. 
The law on clearing snow and ice from public spaces
There is no law stopping you from clearing snow and ice on the pavement outside your property, pathways to your property or public spaces. If an accident did happen, it is unlikely that you would be sued as long as you:
  • are careful
  • use common sense to make sure you do not make the pavement or pathway clearly more dangerous than before
 People using areas affected by snow and ice also have a responsibility to be careful themselves.

(Source-direct .gov.uk)


                                              Cars unattended whilst defrosting

Officers from the Organised Car Crime team are warning Norfolk drivers not to leave their cars unattended whilst defrosting them as reports of cars 
being stolen come in from across the country.
 
Knowing that, legally, all windows on vehicles have to be clear with no obstructions before beginning their journey; drivers are taking the risk of
 leaving their engines running to defrost on a chilly morning and heading back to the warmth inside their homes. This is an opportunity for thieves
 to strike and often vehicle owners may find that not only have they lost their transport to work or school but also their insurance companies will not honour their claims.
 
DC Chris Woodcock, Organised Car Crime, said:
“As the weather gets colder, some motorists become careless and leave keys in their ignitions as their vehicles defrost, and go back into their homes.
“This is a perfect opportunity for a thief and even if you leave your vehicle for only a few moments you may end up losing more than just the ice on your windows.
“Our advice to motorists includes covering windscreens overnight if frost is forecast and making sure you lock your vehicle, remove any valuables and take your keys with you”

(Source-Norfolk Constabulary)