Minutes of Downham Market Town Team Meeting – 25 June 2014
1. Introduction. The main focus for this meeting was a presentation by John Beer representing Aventa Capital Partners, the company behind the proposed development of the old RAF Downham Market site at Bexwell. It was kindly hosted by Timbers at Fincham and attracted over 40 members and invited guests.
2. RAF Downham Market Development. The presentation covered most aspects of the proposal and filled in a few gaps from the information previously published either in the Lynn News or on the Aventa Capital Partners’ website. A general overview of the presentation is also written as a news article on downhamweb. The thrust of questioning afterwards focussed on the timeline for the development, how the company would engage the wider Downham Market audience and crucially the knock-on effects for public services and general town infrastructure – doctors, dentists, buses etc. Members can see a more detailed description of these topics in the Town Team forum.
3. On Street Parking. Simon gave some feedback on correspondence with the County Council Highways Department regarding on-street parking in Downham Market. Specifically, the Council gave re-assurance, subject to a final few signatures, that the bus stop would be removed from Bridge Street; most likely late Summer 2014. With regard to the movement of the taxi-rank from High St South and the addition of parking opposite the, soon to be removed, bus stop on Bridge St. It was accepted these were good ideas and could be placed on the list of pending work; however, it is unlikely there would be funding available for several years. The Council did acknowledge if the ‘Town’ (businesses, residents or Town Council) could share the funding burden with the County Council, matters could be brought forward. The Town Team will consider additional funding to bring the projects forward. The conduct of certain traffic wardens was sighted as one of the main issues with the enforcement of regulations. The Town Team will write to the Council as there are several specific warden related issues that should be addressed.
4. Car Parks. Members were asked for their views and ideas regarding the car parking in the town. These would be collated and passed to the Town Council for consideration. Members are encouraged to enter their thoughts on the forum or e-mail Simon directly.
5. Downham Market Neighbourhood Plan. Members were updated on the progress of the Town’s Neighbourhood Plan; a Government supported initiative to devolve more power regarding planning and development issues to a local level. Thus far the Town Council have been gathering information as to how best to tackle this challenging task of writing such a plan. They have formed a core group of interested parties and had a briefings from another town who has already produced a plan. This core group will be meeting in the coming days, the Town Team will be represented. The first public meeting will take place regarding the plan on 18th July 2014 at 7pm in the Town Hall.
6. Town Team Forum. It is still early days for the forum; however, there was some positive feedback regarding the topics including current scams that are circulating. It is intended to also add funding & finance to the topics soon.
7. Town Improvement. Albeit a small battle, the Town Council reported they have managed to get the old job centre building landlords to agree to clean it up. Small change but welcome on the high st.
8. Next Meeting. The next meeting would be a Committee meeting. No date has yet been set for the next open meeting, but it is likely to be Autumn 2014. Subjects for further full meetings might include, online selling and a discussion with Elizabeth Truss MP and/or a Borough or County Councillor.