Following the completion of the refurbishment of the public convenience facilities at Loddon Staithe in October 2016, South Norfolk Council announced their decision to close the facilities located on Church Plain. Owing to significant local concern Loddon Parish Council agreed to take over this facility with effect from 1st January 2017, on an initial 6-month lease whilst further investigation was undertaken into the long-term viability of maintaining both sites. Since July 2017 the lease has been on a rolling one-month agreement but a decision on the future of the toilets has now had to be made as the Parish Council looks to confirm the precept for 2018/19.
Based on the costs incurred during the last 12 months relating to the day to day running of the Church Plain toilets, the forecast for 2018/19 is in excess of £15,000pa. The forecast for those same costs for the Staithe facilities are circa £21,000pa and whilst the Staithe costs are currently offset by funding of some £15,174pa from South Norfolk Council, this funding ceases in 2021 at which point the Parish becomes wholly responsible for all costs pertaining to the Staithe facility. There will be no such funding provided by South Norfolk Council in relation to the Church Plain toilets. Therefore, were the Parish Council to assume responsibility for both toilet facilities, the Parish’s financial commitment in terms of annual running costs would increase from £21,000pa in 2018/19 to in excess of £36,000pa after October 2021.
In addition, following a structural survey completed on the Church Plain building the Parish Council have been advised that approximately £14,000 is required to address issues with the ventilation, roof and damp in the structure. Recent issues with the electrical circuits and water leaks within the building also indicate that significant rewiring and re-plumbing are also necessary to make the structure fit for purpose. Were the Parish Council to assume permanent responsibility for the facility we would also look to refurbish the interior to bring it up to the same standard as the facility on Loddon Staithe, a conservative estimate of this cost would be around £25,000.
During the last 12 months the Parish Council has measured, using footfall counters, the usage across the two facilities and noted that the facilities at the Staithe, on average, were used by 3 times as many people as those on Church Plain. Outside of the tourist season this figure reduces, but not significantly.
Whilst the Parish Council recognises that there is a demand for maintaining the facilities on Church Plain it does not feel that this demand is sufficient to warrant the level of financial commitment it would have to make on behalf of our Parishioners who ultimately have to pay for this through their Council Tax. With the not insignificant increases in Council Tax coming from County and District Councils the Parish Council felt it vital that we minimise the impact of any local rise to the rate of inflation. Therefore, with this very much in the forefront of our minds the Parish Council will be handing the Church Plain toilets back to South Norfolk Council on the 2nd April 2018, at which point we understand South Norfolk will close them permanently.
As per the requirements of The Accounts and Audit (England) Regulations 2015 Loddon Parish Council can confirm the following:
- The audit for the year ended 31st March 2017 has been concluded and the statement of accounts published
- Members of the public have the right to inspect the annual accounts as conferred on local government electors by Section 25 of the Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014
- The annual accounts can be inspected at the Parish Council Office at The Library Annexe, Church Plain, Loddon, Norwich NR14 6EX. The office is open between 9am and 12pm Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
Attached are the Report from the External Auditors, Mazars and the Notice of conclusion of the Audit.
Thank you to everyone who notified the Parish Council about this broken footbridge. We have contacted the Broads Authority who have confirmed that responsibility for the repair and maintenance of this footbridge does not lie with the landowner. The Broads Authority are now in discussion with Norfolk County Council to try and agree a way forward in terms of the necessary repairs being carried out.
Norfolk Constabulary have published the following information to raise public awareness of Cuckooing:
‘Cuckooing’ is the term used to describe the practice where professional drug dealers take over the property of a vulnerable person and use it as a place from which to run their drugs business.
The drug dealers will target those who are vulnerable, potentially as a result of substance abuse, mental health issues, or loneliness, and befriend them or promise them drugs in exchange for being able to use their property.
By using an unassuming property, criminals can operate their drugs supply out of sight in an attempt to stay below the police radar. They are often only in the premises for a short amount of time before moving on to their next victim.
As the victims of cuckooing are vulnerable, they are often fearful of going to the police and worry that they will be incriminated in the criminality.
We are urging the public to watch out for vulnerable neighbours, to ensure they don’t fall victim to this trend.
There are also signs of cuckooing that you can look out for:
- It usually takes place in a multi-occupancy or social housing property
- There may be an increase in the number of comings and goings, including people you haven’t seen before
- There might be new vehicles outside the property
- A possible increase in anti-social behaviour in and around the property
If you suspect that drug dealers are operating from a property near you, it’s really important that you report it so that we can protect those who are vulnerable and ensure those responsible are brought to justice.
Call police on 101 (or 999 in an emergency) with as much information as possible. If you don’t want to contact police, you can report drug dealers to Crimestoppers, completely anonymously, by calling 0800 555 111 or via their website.
The Norfolk Constabulary brief is attached here: cuckooing
Norfolk Police will be holding their next Neighbourhood Team Street Surgery on the 2nd September between 12pm and 1.30pm outside the Co-op.
Please come along and raise any issues or concerns you have regarding Loddon and the surrounding area.
Loddon Parish Council has adopted the 2012 Code of Conduct, as recommended by South Norfolk Council. Councillors have submitted their Declarations of Interests forms, as required by the Code of Conduct. Information included on the Declarations of Interests forms is available from the parish council.
An audio guide to Loddon has recently been developed. The walk can be downloaded to your MP3 player, or you can borrow a preloaded player from the Loddon Tourist Information office in the Town Hall.
Find out more at the Explore Waveney Valley website, which also provides walks for the other market towns in this area.