West Acre Parish Council
Welcome to our website.
Here you will find information about the village, news about local events and links to local attractions. We hope that you find what you want. If not, please contact one of the Parish Councillors listed in the contact page.
Click on a picture to see a larger version. Please note that this site is not responsible for changes to any events listed.
West Acre Parish Council Meeting
The next Meeting of the West Acre Parish Council will be held in the village hall on Monday 22 May 2023, commencing at 6pm. All welcome.
Click on a heading to see the full document.
Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting 23 January 2023
Draft Budget 2021-22
Annual Governance and Accountability Return (AGAR) - Certificate of Exemption 2020/21
West Acre All Saints Church services
Further information on the Nar Valley Group of Parishes can be found here -
Watch and Pray clock restored to full glory
by Terry Howlett
The clock in the West Acre Church tower has been a constant part of village life since it was gifted to the Church and installed in 1910. The clock itself is protected inside the tower from the wind and rain and is as good as the day it was made. The North facing dial however is exposed to everything the weather can throw at it. In 1994 the dial and hands were re-gilded and painted, but 28 years later it was looking somewhat worse for wear.
In 2021 Chris Lloyd Owen from Warren Farm Stables had the idea of getting the dial refurbished by the original installers, Smiths of Derby. The price they quoted was beyond anything the village could ever hope to raise so, after some research, Chris decided this was a project that he would like to try himself and I offered him my help should he go ahead. After countless correspondence Chris eventually gained permission from the relevant powers that be and the work was given the go ahead. To finance the project money would be raised from donations and from a website set up by Chris. Eventually all costs for materials and scaffolding were covered thanks to the generosity of all those who donated and supported the project.
Election of Parish Councillors
The following councillors stood for re-election to the Parish Council and were elected without contest as there were fewer than seven candidates
This means that there are two vacancies on the Council. It would be good to see a wider representation of the community willing to become involved in discussing ideas which involve the Parish.
If you would to offer your services or discuss the matter with someone, please contact the Clerk (Dave Williams) at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Council meets five times a year. Meetings are held on a Monday, from 6pm.
With everything documented the drawing was transferred to an Illustrator file and sent to a sign manufacturer who laser cut vinyl stencils of all the dial’s features. In the meantime the copper dial was sanded back almost to the bare metal and two coats of top quality black enamel paint were applied (below).
In late September 2022 the scaffolding was erected and the scale of the task could be seen close up for the first time. The paint covering the copper dial was flaking badly and some of the gilding had all but disappeared from the letters and minute marks. Everything was covered in lichen and moss and the mortar surround badly needed replacing. Interestingly we found two small dents, which are probably the result of air rifle target practise by a past generation, and shall remain part of the clock’s history as we decided not to repair them.
The original plan was to remove the dial and hands completely from the tower so that refurbishment could be carried out in the comfort of Chris’s workshop. However, this wasn’t possible as the hour hand was completely seized on the spindle, which in turn meant the dial could not be removed and so everything would have to remain on the tower and the work done in situ. This problem was also encountered in 1994.
After a thorough clean a full size copy of the dial was traced and rather than correct the naive style of the minute and hour marks, and the crudely drawn lettering, we thought the dial should be faithfully replicated and so the finished article you see now is probably as it would have appeared in 1910.
After each element had been gilded the stencils were very carefully removed and any blemishes and imperfections were made good. Finally, the lime mortar surrounding the dial was re-pointed and with a final polish the job was complete - in total about seven weeks.
To do this kind of work 40ft up a tower, exposed to the wind and rain and totally reliant on fine weather is not an easy task, but we had no choice when the hour hand refused to budge. In hindsight this was probably a blessing as the unstable stonework could have caused us untold problems if the dial had been removed.
All is now finished, the dial looks magnificent and hopefully will last at least another 28 years before it needs any attention, by which time neither Chris nor myself will get involved again..
The paint was given two weeks to completely cure and go hard before the stencils for the gold outer ring were offered up. It was now time to apply the “size”, which is the glue that holds the gold leaf onto the painted surface. When the size had become tacky the 23½ carat gold leaf was successfully applied. Top tip; if you ever try to apply gold leaf, don’t do it on a windy day! Next came the hour and minute marks and finally the letters WATCH AND PRAY (below).
Terry, pictured above with the restored clock face
West Acre Village Fete 2023
This year’s Summer Fete at West Acre will be held on Saturday 10 June. This very popular family-focused event will, once again, be held in the delightful grounds of Abbey House, thanks to the generosity of Garlinda Birkbeck.
Few other village fetes in Norfolk can be blessed with such a dramatic setting, which this year will feature a flying display of hawks and owls by Fens Falconry. There will, of course, be the usual family favourites, including Duck Races and the Human Fruit Machine.
Hot and cold food options and a choice of liquid refreshments will help make this a memorable afternoon.
Admission: £1 for adults, accompanied children free. Unfortunately we cannot take card or app payment. Cash only please.
Please note that dogs must must be kept on a lead at all times.
The fete is a charity event, raising money for good causes. It runs on the goodwill of many volunteers. Additional help in the following areas is always appreciated;
erecting/dismantling marquees, gazebos etc.
baking a cake
donating a prize for the raffle/tombola
assisting with organising/running a stall or attraction.
Please contact Ralph at email@example.com or 07484 130542 if you think you can help.
Community herb garden created at Stag pub
Following the improvements to the pub’s interior, a new community herb garden has been created by the entrance to the car park. Thanks to the pub’s manager, David, for this excellent idea.
Isabella’s perseverance pays off
Isabella Howarth recently celebrated her fifteenth birthday in a very special way. Seven years ago she started attending classes with her dad, James. The classes were regular, three times a week, and hard work. But fun and rewarding.
Seven years later, with a two year break for Covid, and Isabella has been rewarded for her efforts by achieving black belt status in the martial art known as Taekwondo.
A black belt level is called a ‘Dan’ grade, meaning degree or level in Korean. For some the black belt represents the end of the journey, but not for Isabella. She is determined, like her dad, to continue to develop her skills in this technical and fast-paced Olympic sport. Her intention is to overtake James, currently a level 2 dan, in the pursuit of success.
There are ten levels of dan. The higher the rank, the longer the period between grades; it can take several years to advance from one dan to another. The ultimate goal is to achieve the honour of Grand Master.
We think you are amazing Isabella.
cleaning products that must also be processed. The plant removes anything unsuitable for discharge by running through several processes including settling tanks, pH adjustment, aeration and aerobic digestion, and finally a membrane filtration tank to clean water.
Any vegetative matter suspended in the waste water will require oxygen as it decomposes (imagine what happens when a leaf that falls into the river). The BOD (Biochemical Oxygen Demand) levels in the breweries waste water must fall in permitted limits so as not disturb the river and wildlife. A sample test in October 2022 had a cloudy visual appearance and a temporary stop was put in place. At this point the brewery immediately commenced tankering away all waste from site while working collaboratively with the Environment Agency who commended the brewery on its actions and permitted discharge to the river to recommence in February 2023.
In November 2022 a planned expansion of the water treatment plant was undertaken. This doubled the membrane filters allowing slower digestion of waste through the plant. This considerable investment has brought a more consistent quality of the waste water and in April 2023 the Environment Agency again commended the brewery on its practices and permitted the weekly testing to reduce to monthly.
What does the testing comprise of? The brewery sample from three points, including one at the discharge into the river. These samples are all tested for pH, BOD (Biochemical Oxygen Demand) and TSS (Total Suspended Solids) as these are the three key monitoring parameters for the permit. The results are then compared against the permitted figures to check all is in accordance with conditions - which have consistently met parameters since February 2023.
The brewery has installed a small dam at the end of the ditch they discharge into as an additional containment measure should any future non-compliance arise. The brewery is actively looking at improvement studies to continually maintain a better-quality outfall and reduce the need for tankering.
The brewery met with the Environment Agency, our consultants and the Westacre Estate in late January to look at best options for the discharge and whether a variation to our permit to allow for discharge to ground water rather than surface water would be more suitable. Any changes would need approval prior to any actions being taken. The meeting confirmed the addition of the dam is improving the overall outfall to the river.The smooth running of the plant was undoubtedly hampered by the start/stop pattern of production when the brewery first opened in the midst of two national lockdowns. The brewery has worked diligently and pro-actively to improve both the infrastructure of the plant and establish robust best practises in plant management to reach a far more consistent level of operation.
The River Nar
At the last Parish Council meeting we discussed the issue of the quality of waste water being produced as a result of operations at Duration brewery (see Item 14, Minutes of the meeting held on 20 March).
Following the meeting Sally Bridle, formerly Chair of the West Acre Parish Council, contacted the Parish Council to ask us to publicise her intention to form a local group with a view to preserving the unique qualities of the River Nar.
In order to provide a balance to debate we have invited Duration to respond to Sally’s invitation. Miranda Hudson, co-founder and CEO of the brewery has provided the text that follows Sally’s.
“As a member of the national Chalk Stream Alliance, I would like to form a sub-group to protect our own very precious SSSI chalk stream from any sort of contagion.
As many people are aware, since the opening of Duration Brewery there have been several unfortunate episodes that have resulted in ‘breaches of discharge consent of trade effluent with the potential to cause serious harm’. This followed monitoring by the Environment Agency. There have been 4 recorded such incidents. This is not the only threat to the river ecosystem, road and field run-off with salt and fertiliser can also do significant harm.
Both the Brewery and Estate actively promote their Eco credentials, so we are hoping that by working with them these occurrences will not happen again. The Environment Agency and Highways Agency also have an obligation to protect our environment.
However, regular monitoring of the river is essential and I am hoping that many of you will be interested in joining the group and helping in this vitally important work. To use a familiar adage ‘once it’s gone, it’s gone’, so let’s get proactive and prevent this from happening.
I am calling this sub group WARN (West Acre River Nar). Should you wish to show an interest or offer your assistance please contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Duration Brewing produced 170,000 litres of beer last year. Waste water discharged was 1,960,000 litres including 6 months of tankering waste away (not discharging to the river). This means approximately 1,000,000 litres of clean waste water went to the river.
The brewery has a waste water treatment plant. The plant is managed and strictly monitored by the brewery. The brewery also engages in regular independent laboratory testing alongside the Environment Agency testing. Monitoring is to ensure all water that goes to the river falls within permitted limits. There are several controls in the brewery systems wider drainage system to ensure other unsuitable waste never goes into the river.
The final waste water contains mostly water and yeast. The brewery also cleans equipment using water and cleaning products that must also be processed. The plant removes anything unsuitable for discharge by running through several processes including settling tanks, pH adjustment, aeration and aerobic digestion, and finally a membrane filtration tank to clean water.