Notes from the Annual Village Meeting held on Thursday 16th May 2013 at
Oulton Congregational Chapel.
The meeting was held after the Annual General Meeting of the Parish Council and attended
by 33 people.
Richard Bryan reported that after 4 years as Chairman he was standing down. At the AGM
of the Parish Council, Paul Killingback had been elected as the new Chairman with Greg
Peck as Vice Chairman. The Parish Councillors were Alison Shaw, Jane Morgan, Nicola
Poole Richard Bryan (who was remaining on the Parish Council) and newly co-opted
member, Sam Booker. There was a good range of people from all parts of the village and
an increased age range.
During the last year the Parish had received the planning application for the wind turbine
from Bernard Matthews, an application for a solar farm from Jim Agnew and the proposal
from Michael Harrold for an anaerobic digester. Members of the Parish Council and
parishioners had visited the AD at Taverham. A public meeting had been held in August
2012 with representatives from BM and the firm erecting the turbine and the application had
been received by the Parish Council in March. The Parish Council voted unanimously
against this application. The application for the solar farm had been withdrawn.
The Parish Council had raised the precept as outgoings were exceeding income. The Parish
Council had decided not to make the donations usually made each year, but it was hoped to
be able to re-instate them in future. The finances were now on a solid footing.
The marquee had been damaged but the people renting it had paid for the repairs and the
marquee was now available for renting and had been used at the Veterans’ Day. It was
hoped that it would be possible to buy a container to take the marquee plus the tables and
Richard thanked all those who had served on the Parish Council and also thanked the Clerk.
Alison Shaw spoke briefly on the wind turbine application. An eight-page document with
appendices had been submitted to Broadland District Council setting out Oulton Parish
Council’s objections. Matthew Rooke, the Case Officer at BDC had held a meeting with
representatives of Bernard Matthews to put the objections to them but so far no response
had been received. The application may go to the BDC Planning Committee meeting on
the 19th June.
Andrew Dawson from the National Trust apologised that Helen Bailey, Property Manager
at Blickling was unable to attend the meeting. He updated the meeting on the situation at
the Buckinghamshire Arms. The kitchens had been revamped but the gas system needed
further modification. The present tenant had surrendered her tenancy and the Trust was on
the verge of signing a new lease with Colchester Inns.
He said that the Old School would in future be run with the Rural Community Association
and bookings should be made to the NT office at Blickling. The committee of the RCA had
found it harder to run the building bearing in mind various improvements needed to be
Presentation made by Mr. Michael Harrold (Saltcarr Farms & Aylsham Growers) and
Mr. Philipp Lukas (Future Biogas) in relation to a proposed anaerobic digester on the
old airfield site, Oulton.
Michael Harrold opened the discussion by explaining why growing maize was an important
cycle in land use. The recent increase in carrot growing in the area requires significant land
management. Carrotsd are an intensive crop that require prime soil but that leave the land a
significant period to recover. Where carrots are grown, a company rents the land for 2
years. When the carrots have been harvested a vast amount of straw is left behind,
approximately ten times the amount that would be left behind from a crop of wheat or
barley. This straw is then incorporated into the soil and some organic matter is put on the
land to help it rot down. This leaves soil containing a great deal of nitrogenous matter and
no crop other than maize can be grown. Mr. Harrold believes that where carrots are
followed by maize, the argument of food versus fuel doesn’t apply as the maize crop is being
used to reinstate the land and the subsequent use of the harvested maize in a local AD plant
is an efficient and practical solution. Mr. Harrold confirmed he is growing some 2,300
acres of maize this year for Future Biogas.
He acknowledged there would be significant harvest traffic to the proposed site (initial
mention made of a 5% increase in frequency during harvest) and that it was the intention to
have a 106 agreement which is legally enforceable to prevent traffic coming through The
Street. He pointed out that when previously Murphys used the site for storing gas line
pipes and later when the cables for the Sheringham Shoal were stored, none of the traffic
used the main part of the village and all traffic came and went towards the Holt Road with
Philipp Lukas of Natural Biogas said there would be a 5% increase on current traffic levels
and emphasised that a Section 106 agreement would be put in place. He said there would
be no smell from the site. For every 4 units of maize input, one quarter was produced gas
for generation, one quarter solid fertilizer and half was liquid which could be put down
irrigation pipes in order to disperse this at low cost. Both by-products were considered to
be valuable to improve the land. Odour from the liquid has not been found to be a
significant issue. The engine on the AD would be sited so that it was shielded from the
nearest neighbour. Filling the feed hopper would not create noise nuisance partly because
there is no reversing bleeper on the vehicle. This scheme produced low impact renewable
Jonathan Pearce asked about the risk of traffic accidents especially where the bend near
Docking Farm on the road towards the B1149. Philipp Lukas said that a warning sign
could be put at that position and that passing places could be constructed, built to highway
standards rather than the muddy passing places that exist now. The proposed site was well
screened which is why it was chosen.
Sue Mather asked if there would be a flare stack. Philipp Lukas confirmed there would but
it would be very low and only used when necessary when the site was closed for
maintenance. The flame would not be visible and emissions would fall well below EU
He was asked about the danger of explosions. He stated the possibility was very low and
felt a domestic tank containing LPG was far more dangerous.
Anne Roy was very concerned that all the traffic would be coming past her house and it
was suggested by Bolton Agnew that perhaps Future Biogas should make some
compensation. It was suggested that levelling the hump left over from the old railway
would make a difference. However the hump had an effect on traffic through the village,
slowing it down and there was not significant support for this suggestion. Philipp Lucas
agreed he would meet Ms Roy would investigate mitigating the effects.
Philipp Lukas talked about feeding the electricity generated into the grid. The substation at
Salle has a 96% load and seven parties were looking to connect to the substation. At the
moment this scheme is 7th in the queue and they needed to be sure of getting planning
permission before making a point of connection offer which involves a payment of £70,000
to be first in the queue. Subsequent point of connections would cost considerably more.
As a result of a number of concerns expressed from the floor about traffic movemenets
during harvest (than acknowledged as a delivery every 8-10 minutes during harvest
periods), he emphasised once more that a 106 agreement would be made giving a unilateral
undertaking that no traffic would come through the village. He suggested that
representatives from the village should have regular meetings with Aylsham Growers and
Future Biogas to sort out any problems. A point was raised about tractor drivers ignoring
the agreement – what could be done about individuals ignoring instructions. Alison Shaw
wondered whether a Section 106 agreement was legally enforceable – she understood from
BDC Planning Department that this was not the case. However Philipp Lukas disagreed
and had been asked by a Planning Officer to enter into a Section106 agreement on another
Philipp Lukas also emphasised that there was no need to harvest maize at night; in any case
it would not be cost-effective with a low-value crop bearing overtime payments to tractor
drivers in mind.
Finally, Michael Harrold confirmed that as part of any application, a Community Fund
would be set up and he and Future Biogas would jointly put £3,000 per annum in the pot
which could be spent on village projects – for example he suggested that air pumps on all
the septic tanks would be a good use of money in that it would make the septic tanks work
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