Rectangle: Rounded Corners: HOCKERING VILLAGE

Your village, our passion.

Norfolk Matters

Annual report of Gordon Bambridge

Annual report of Gordon Bambridge - councillor. Upper Wensum Ward - Breckland District Council




Please pass a copy of this to all parish councillors and other interested parties, I am also happy for all or part to be published in parish newsletters.


The political year 2017/18 is drawing to it’s close, and as I write this on 30th April the weather outside is more like November than the middle of Spring. I am hoping it will be followed by a superb summer. 


During this year I have attempted to do the best for the Ward by representing individuals, groups and most importantly the Parish Council within Breckland, and sometimes further afield. With the advent of new ward boundaries at the last election this is increasingly hard too attend some parish meetings, (sometimes there are 2, 3 or even 4 on one evening) but I do commit to ensure that I will always represent you, I will meet with you outside of the parish council, or maintain contact via e-mail or telephone. 


As so often happens I was challenged on this very issue a week or so ago by someone who had read on the Breckland website that I had only attended 35 meetings in the year. I do assure you that I do a bit more than that. I am now retired and therefore assume that being your councillor is my ‘job of work’ and spend an appropriate amount of time as councillor. Far from attending 35 meetings I have attended almost *260 in the year May to May in my role as ward member, cabinet member and representative on Norfolk Rivers IDB for Breckland. 


As a ward member I believe that I am elected by you primarily to represent you to Breckland. I take your concerns and seek to give them a profile within the district. This includes when you apply for grants, seek changes in policy or have views on such as planning or licensing. I do this by either representing you directly or by arranging for you to meet officers of the council or other bodies. My secondary duty is to represent Breckland to you. I do this by bringing changes of policy to your parish or other meetings and by answering questions either in parish meetings or directly. If at any time you have issues with this then please talk to me. My new landline number is at the end of this report. Sometimes the best I can do is act as a signpost, but I will write letters and lobby on your behalf at all levels of government.


As a cabinet member I have a wider responsibility. About 18 months ago I took on the Planning and Housing portfolio, which is one of the biggest in the council. This gives me a much wider responsibility for the whole of the district. We are currently in the throes of an inspection of our new Local Plan, which could take several more months, after some 8 years in the making, so thats a big project. We have also levered in some extra government cash for homelessness within the district. We are fortunate in Breckland to not have a high volume problem, but it is huge to those who suffer homelessness, often through no fault of their own. In practical planning terms I have arranged for senior planning officers to attend some parish meetings, and for others to meet in Elizabeth House. All parish clerks will by now also have received contact details for Jon Berry who will be your main contact point on general issues. 


As a Breckland representative on Norfolk Rivers Internal Drainage Board, I really do represent you, as most of our Upper Wensum villages are affected by the rivers or the catchments to a greater or lesser extent. I attend the 4 main board meetings, plus the 4 executive meetings and several other events during each year. These include the AGM of ADA in London where we can often question government ministers and the head of EA and the like. Many local farmers, and indeed others with holdings alongside our rivers, pay a drainage rate direct, but we all do so through the Breckland levy, so it’s important to have an ability to comment.


Many of the villages in the ward have had to face a change of status under the new Local Plan. Some have lost development boundaries, some have been made up to Local Service Centre status. There  is very little we can do at a district level to alter this national policy, but we are seeking adjustments in our local plan so that you can seek to make the best of what you have. Here in the South of the ward we have challenges from the A47, in the North there is the challenge of outfall from the NDR increasing traffic. We are all waiting for better broadband and mobile signals, and Breckland are seeking to help in this. 


Do you have a big community project in the offing, preferably one which will affect more than one village, do let me know?


I will seek to deal with matters concerning your village directly as we meet during the year.


Gordon Bambridge


NEW LANDLINE       01603 881364










* 71 IN THE WARD - 58 AT BRECKLAND AS A MEMBER - 65 AS A CABINET MEMBER - 63 AT OTHER DUTIES CONNECTED TO BEING A COUNCILLOR  In addition I usually walk in most villages in the ward each month