Agenda and minutes

Venue: The Beech Room, the Environmental Hub, Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse, Gressenhall, Beetley, Dereham, NR20 4DR

No. Item



To elect a Chairman for the ensuing year.


Due to the meeting not being quorate it was agreed by those present to adjourn the matters of the AGM until the next meeting on 26 September 2022. It was agreed the reports would still be heard.



To elect a vice-Chairman for the ensuing year.


Due to the meeting not being quorate it was agreed by those present to adjourn the matters of the AGM until the next meeting on 26 September 2022.



Minutes pdf icon PDF 461 KB

To confirm the Minutes of the meeting held on 28 February 2022.


Due to the meeting not being quorate the minutes would be confirmed at the next meeting.




To receive apologies for absence.


Apologies were received from Councillors Eagle, Clarke, Bushell, Harvey, Dr Hanley and Dr Robinson.


Chairman's Announcements


The Chairman said he had received notification from David Blackburn that for personal reasons he would be retiring from his Co-opted position on the committee. The Chairman would write a letter of thanks to Mr Blackburn for all his hard work, dedication and contribution to the committee.


Urgent Business

To note whether the Chairman proposes to accept any item as urgent business, pursuant to Section 100(B)(4)(b) of the Local Government Act, 1972.




Declaration of Interests

The duties to register, disclose and not to participate for the entire consideration of the matter, in respect of any matter in which a Member has a disclosable pecuniary interest are set out in Chapter 7 of the Localism Act 2011.  Members are also required to withdraw from the meeting room as stated in the Standing Orders of this Council.





Ancient House Museum Report pdf icon PDF 1 MB

To receive a report from Oliver Bone, Curator of Ancient House Museum.


The Curator of Kings Lynn and Thetford Museums, Oliver Bone presented the report on activities at Ancient House, Museum of Thetford Life covering the period from March to May 2022.


Despite the ending of legal Covid restrictions, a number of the Covid secure systems and procedures implemented across Norfolk Museums Service (NMS) sites during the pandemic remained in place with a focus on keeping staff and visitors safe through minimising any risk of transmission. The museum continued to provide hand sanitiser and directional sign posting. Pre-booking remained an option although it was not a requirement, the wearing of face coverings was optional, and the museum was well ventilated with staff following a good cleaning regime.


Building works at the former King’s Head public house, a listed building next door to the Ancient House continued to cause some disruption, it remained shrouded in scaffolding but there was light at the end of the tunnel as a new application for development had been proposed which seemed a better scheme than that which had previously been applied for and would have less of an effect on Ancient House. They continued to work with Breckland Council’s Historic Buildings Officer, Andrew Gayton to ensure that the proposed building works did not have an impact on Ancient House. The Chairman would add a consultee comment to the current planning application to voice the committee’s concerns on any impact of the proposed properties including the storage, placing and collection of waste bins for any new properties to ensure they did encroach in front of the museum and potentially block access.


The Museum had marked the 150th birth anniversary of Princess Catherine Duleep Singh with an exhibition featuring items on loan including a newly commissioned portrait of the Princess by leading contemporary artist Amandeep Singh, also known as Inkqusitive. Also on display were artefacts associated with Princess Catherine and pull up banners telling her story including her work championing rights for women and helping refugees escape from Nazi Germany. The TV programme, Antiques Road Trip had filmed at the Museum recently with an interview with Peter Bance the Sikh Historian to talk about Princess Catherine which would be broadcast in Autumn.


The current exhibition at Ancient House in the Changing Displays room was Thetford Treasure which featured items from the late Roman hoard of inscribed and decorated silver spoons and gold jewellery. Replicas had been made for permanent display in Thetford as a result of the Thetford Treasure Replica Appeal, led by the then Mayor of Thetford, Mike Edmond. There was also a lovely hoard of glass and pewter ware, a very rare collection, painstakingly pieced together by Debbie Harris.


The Ancient House is part of the National Lottery Heritage Fund-funded Brecks River and Fen Edge (BFER) landscape project. The Scheme won a £2m National Lottery Heritage Fund grant as part of the proposal for a £3.5m landscape conservation scheme. The project would be engaging local communities, schools and like-minded organisations to understand, reveal, celebrate and protect  ...  view the full minutes text for item 17/22


Gressenhall Farm & Workhouse Report pdf icon PDF 280 KB

To receive a report from Andrew Smith, Operations Manager – West.

Additional documents:


The Operations Manager for East and West, Andrew Smith presented the report that covered the period from February to May 2022.


Despite the ending of legal restrictions in terms of Covid-19 a number of the Covid-secure systems and procedures remained in place with a focus on keeping staff and visitors safe through minimising risk of transmission. The priorities remained:


·         Ventilation – maintaining existing ventilations arrangements to maximise fresh air flow including supplementary air purifiers and CO2 monitors at relevant sites

·         Cleaning regimes – maintaining enhanced cleaning arrangements including toilets and regular touch points

·         Hand sanitisation – maintaining existing sanitiser stations and encouraging regular hand sanitisation/hand washing. Additional hand sanitiser stations have been introduced where required e.g. near interactives.


CO2 monitors provided through Norfolk County Council had been introduced into a number of rooms and spaces where there was limited natural ventilation, these were the Library, the Learning Centre, First Farmers Gallery, Women’s Land Army Gallery, the Training Room, Board Room, Environment Hub – main meeting room, the Café and the Chapel. The detectors were monitored by the staff using those spaces and they also linked into the LoRaWAN network, facilitating the use of monitoring dashboards to track live data and spot trends. This has enabled a number of spaces to be brought back into use and increased capacity for schools and other visitors.


A new Events Officer, Fiona Ashley had been recruited and had been making lots of plans in assisting with current events and planning future events.


The four operational models included:


·         Special Event days – major events which required full event staffing and set up, including the use of large parking fields. A premium ticket price applies for these event days to reflect the high level of activities taking place. Free admission continued to be provided to Norfolk Museums Pass holders.

·         Days with a Difference – smaller themed events. These required smaller staffing complement and utilised core parking. They were aimed at attracting audiences of 500-800 visitors. Free to Norfolk Museums Pass holders. Bank Holiday 29 Monday on 2 May featured Yoga for Kids - a yoga session for families, getting messy with Art Attack, and trying the I-Spy trail. Sundays in May featured Art Attack sessions including Make a bookmark on 1 May, Discover cottage gardens on 8 May, Try your hand at macrame on 15 May and Make a peg doll on 22 May.

·         Norfolk School Holiday activities – extra themed activities delivered each day of the Norfolk School holidays, with minimal increase in staffing. Free to Norfolk Museums Pass holders. During the Easter holiday period in April the theme was Senses in Nature – based on getting outside and discovering the wonders of the natural world. This included trails and activities, making a musical shaker and exploring the musical woods and the adventure playground. May half-term (28 May – 5 June) activities were Jubilee themed. Create Like a Royal celebrated the Queen's Platinum Jubilee and activities included making a medal, creating your own flag and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 18/22


Next Meeting

To note the arrangements for the next meeting to be held on Monday, 26 September 2022, venue to be confirmed.


The arrangements for the next meeting to be held on Monday, 26 September 2022 were noted. Venue to be confirmed.