Great Staughton Parish Council Minutes 8th November 2012

Minutes of the Great Staughton Parish Council

held on 8th November 2012 in the Village Hall

Present:

H Duberly (HD) (Chair)                  F Backhouse (FB)                         J Bowen (JB)

G Gilbert (GG)                              R Jewell (RJ)                                W Mumford (WM)

P Willmer (PW)                            A Withers (AW)                            M Young (MY)

D Palmer (DP) (Clerk)

District Councillor Jonathan Gray (JG)                                               County Councillor Peter Downes (PD)

Members of the public:                 Mr & Mrs Luckman                       Mr R Harding

Mr R Batting                                 Miss C Neale                                Ms A Sheik

HD welcomed everyone to the meeting and particularly F Backhouse, his first meeting after being co-opted to the Parish Council.

 

 

a)      Residents’ Forum

Mr R Harding (RH) mentioned that the current number of registrations for Broadband is 363 which is almost 87% of the village.   He hoped that a few more people would register before the deadline and thanked Kathy Wilson and Janet Bowen for their help.   PD said that Cambridgeshire County Council will be appointing a contractor with a view to starting the work in the county in 2013.   He felt that Great Staughton had done very well with RH acting as a champion for Broadband and HD thanked RH for his hard work.   RJ asked how the decision will be reached as to which areas will be eligible for improved broadband and RH said that this will be made by the procurement team from Connecting Cambridgeshire.   JB asked whether Great Staughton was dependent upon Kimbolton registering a strong interest and it was thought that this would not be a deciding factor.

Mr R Batting (RB) informed the meeting of a serious accident on Sunday, 21st October where a car, presumed to be speedng through the village, had mounted the pavement, hitting the 2 cottages on The Green and the Village Hall.   RB pointed out that this was the 7th accident in recent years in this area and, in addition to stating his concern about the damage/danger for the property owners, he expressed his concern for the safety of pedestrians.   He requested that serious consideration be given to some measure to slow down traffic entering the village.   A particular problem is drivers ignore the 30mph sign when entering the village on the Kimbolton Road and then, when turning the bend onto The Green, the flashing sign causes sudden braking which often leads to skidding and the car being out of control.   As RB felt the chicane at the St Neots road entrance to the village was so successful he requested that something similar be installed at the Kimbolton Road end.   Contact has been made with the Highways Department at Cambridgeshire County Council by Mr Batting & Miss Neale and also by the Clerk.   In reply to both contacts, speeding vehicles were thought to be the cause of the accidents although in most cases there were no witnesses to verify this.    Ms Sheik had seen one of the accidents and confirmed that the driver was speeding.   HD said that the Parish Council would like to support the request for some form of speed reduction measure to be installed.   HD mentioned that the original request for a mini-roundabout had been turned down.   All of the accidents have been reported to the Police.   Clerk to ask for further details from the police.                                                                                         Action: DP

1.   Apologies for absence

None.

2.   Minutes of the meeting held on 6th September 2012 were agreed as a true record and signed.

 

3.   Matters Arising

Brought forward from item 3:

Highway Warden & Speed Watch – parishioners have been approached – in hand                            Action: HD/DP

Land Registry for the Village Hall – proof of ownership needed for 2 small areas of land.   An signed affidavit will be required.                                                                                                                         Action: HD/DP

A further appeal to HDC not to increase the Pavilion rates –  refusal received.   RJ had done some background checks and there were 64 buildings in the same situation which he considered would equate to a small reduction in the income of the District Council.   RJ recommended that a letter be sent to the Leader of the Council stating that the increase is contrary to the statement in the Corporate Plan and that the Council should consider offering the same discretionary rate throughout the District.                                                                                   Action: RJ/DP

JG explained that Great Staughton Pavilion had actually been the beneficiaries of an oversight and the increase was not actually a change in policy.

Item 8 – Hunts DC changes to council tax benefits – it was suggested that the Clerk write to the local MP, Jonathan Djanogly, for clarification.                                                                                                       Action: DP

Item 8 – Citizens Advice Bureau – a letter had been sent offering the Village Hall as a venue for outreach services but a reply has not been received.   PD said that Hunts CAB will close down in November.   The District Council is hoping to make interim arrangements from January to March.

Item 11 – Norman Hardy has ordered 4 trees for the playing field.   However, 3 of these are fruit trees and the Playing Field Committee are concerned about wasps being attracted.   HD asked if they could be planted somewhere else.                                                                                                                                     Action: JB

RJ said that he and RH were putting information on the website including minutes from Parish Council meetings and Playing Field Committee meetings.   It was agreed that the Village Hall minutes also be included. Action: RJ

4.   Attendance at other meetings

RJ attended the Cambs ACRE planning seminar where the video about Great Staughton was shown.   Community led planning and consultation was discussed.   RJ pointed out that the Parish Council should be revisiting the Village Plan on a regular basis to determine whether the action points were still relevant.   It was recommended that the Village Plan be placed on the Agenda for the March meeting.                                                                    Action: DP

JB met with Phillip Peacock from Cambs ACRE to discuss the replacement of playing field equipment.   A survey has been conducted with children in the village to form a wish list.   JB hopes to be able to replace all of the equipment utilising external funds.   However, if sufficient funds cannot be found, equipment may have to be replaced gradually and the Parish Council will be asked to make a contribution.                                                      Action: JB

5.   Planning Applications from 6th September

H501812CC Littlehey agreed Modular building
1201489FUL 10 Green Lane refused Extensions & alterations,
      new vehicular access
1201489FUL 10 Green Lane refused Revised roofline
1201652FUL 24 Dillington agreed Changes to approved planning
      application no 1100677FUL
1201678FUL 71 Beachampstead Road agreed First floor extension

AW and RJ attended a meeting with Frank Mastrandrea of Hunts DC and Mark Deas of Cambs ACRE to look at affordable housing and potential building sites including the charity fields.   The charity field which is further out of the village was rejected by Hunts DC but the other charity field was considered feasible.   A housing association will be invited to work with the Parish Council on this project and initially a questionnaire will be circulated to determine whether there is a need for affordable housing.   This housing will only be for people with a connection with Great Staughton such as family or work.   It was agreed that villagers would be invited to attend a meeting at 7.00pm on Thursday, 10th January to inform them of the proposal and so that they could pose any questions.   Notice to go in Life and on the notice boards.                                                                                                         Action: DP

AW had also attended a meeting to discuss the Huntingdonshire Housing structure plan to 2036 which suggests that most of the new housing will be built on 3 airfields as they become available.   AW expressed concern that villages were not considered in this plan.   JG mentioned that this plan was predominantly for ‘market value houses’ and asked whether the Parish Council had formally endorsed the plan and suggested the aims of the Parish Council be stated at the same time.   JG suggested that the new Village Hall and the affordable housing are right on the cutting edge of localism and community planning.   A letter to be written referring to the series of meetings and the 2 proposals.                                                                                                                             Action: RJ/DP

RJ had a meeting with Steve Ingram who confirmed that it was understood that parishes may want to build but the core strategy is to promote sustainability of villages and the countryside.   The provision of houses on rural exception sites will be encouraged.

6.   Highways

HD referred to the point brought up by Mr Batting under Residents’ Forum and asked PD for guidance as the Parish Council were concerned about the danger to the general public.   PW, who lives on Kimbolton Road, confirmed that the drivers ignore the 30mph signs.   PD suggested that the Parish Council submit a bid to Cambs CC Local Highway Improvement fund.   There is a total of £50,000 for the County and councils can apply for up to £10,000 and must commit to contributing 10%.   PD is on the panel and suggested that any bid submitted would benefit from someone attending the presentation to the County Council if invited to the next stage.   PD said that he felt the options were: flashing light, rumble strips, or some form of road narrowing to slow vehicles down.   If lighting is required this will have an impact on the cost and maintenance.   The application should express concern about the junction and mention the number of accidents.   HD asked whether the number of accidents should be triggering the County Council to act.   PD said the County Council does not have the funds to do all of the work it would like to do.   RJ suggested that consideration be given to the practicality of the situation so that the best solution is found.   Clerk to write to Traffic Officer at Cambs County Council asking for their opinion on proposals and for their suggestions to ensure any application meets the right criteria and follow traffic regulations.                               Action: DP/PD

Clerk to invite the Traffic Officer and the CountyCouncillor to a formal site meeting with representatives from the Parish Council as soon as possible.                                                                                                Action: DP

FB mentioned that the Traffic Officers were consulted when the Village Plan was being prepared and he thought that the design costs would have to be borne by the Parish Council.

Street Lighting – concern was expressed about the replacement programme for street lighting.   PD said the Parish Council will receive a letter giving 6 months notice of the work which will include reducing the number of street lights on side roads but not on the main road.   An overall reduction of 10% is to be achieved.   The Parish Council will be given an opportunity to select which lights will be removed.   Older light stock will be the first choice for removal as the maintenance costs will be higher for these.   The new lights will give more light for a lower cost and can be turned down or/and switched off.   HD said it might be useful to call a village meeting to discuss this matter.   RJ suggested we may want to have prior notice of when this is going to happen.   Clerk to contact Cambs CC.     Action: DP

WM mentioned that there had been a lot of litter on The Green which was paperwork from Littlehey Prison and he suggested that the Governor be notified of this.                                                                           Action: DP

GG mentioned that the hedge by the Village Hall needed a trim.                                                      Action: WM

JB said that parking on Green Close of vehicles from Smith’s Yard still continues to cause problems.

MY has been approached by a parishioner asking for the chicane to be given more prominence as it was dangerous at night.                                                                                                                                                   Action: DP

JB said that Emma Murden, Cambs County Council, had visited Beachampstead Road to look at the problem reported by RH.   It has now been swept and is excellent.

Peter Downes, Ms A Sheik and Miss C Neale left the meeting.

7.   Correspondence

Letters received from:

MAGPAS requesting financial support.   Clerk to reply with refusal.                                      Action: DP

Victim Support requesting financial support.   Clerk to reply with refusal.                                         Action: DP

A request was received from Norman Hardy, the Tree Warden, to ask residents not to park on the grass verges.   Not only does it make it difficult for the verges to be maintained but also new bulbs have been planted.   Notice to be placed in Life magazine.                                                                                                             Action: DP

Moore Stephens have confirmed that the Annual Return for the year ended 31st March has now been audited.

8.   Cheques in and out since September 2012

   Income        Expenditure    Cheque No
25-Sep Precept 6,000.00   6-Sep Petty cash 40.83 1428
18-Oct HM Revenue & Customs 460.27     Village Handyman 104.00 1429
          Blades 45.85 1430
  Total 6,460.27   27-Sep CAPALC 35.00 1431
          Mr Duberly 10.00 1432
          Cambs ACRE 30.00 1433
        22-Oct PT Round 235.20 1434
          D Hoenig 51.50 1435
          Village Handyman 150.86 1436
        31-Oct Moore Stephens 190.80 1437
          PT Round 117.60 1438
        8-Nov D Palmer 361.40 1439
          Petty cash 20.32 1440
          Village Handyman 88.00 1441
          Total 1,481.36  
          Balances 8,195.12  

Payments were unanimously approved by the Councillors.   RJ confirmed that he had seen a copy of the reconciled cash book up to the end of August 2012 and approved it.

 

9.   Report from the Village Hall Committee

HD requested that this item and the Playing Field committee be included on the Agenda in future.   Minutes for meetings of both committees will be placed on the website at www.greatstaughton.com.

MY, chair of the Village Hall committee, reported that bookings had reduced and this was leading to a deficit in the accounts.   Cost saving measures were being put in place.   It was anticipated that the boiler would need repair work soon.   As usage was down, the plans for a new Village Hall were being put on hold for the moment.   HD said it was important that those presently using the Village Hall be retained.   PW mentioned that the Friendship Club, which is a regular user of the Village Hall, has had its grant reduced from the County Council and is having to look for funds elsewhere.   A letter has been received from Mr D Palmer, Chair of the Friendship Club, asking for financial support.

AW asked whether the installation of the noise limiter had an impact on bookings and MY informed the meeting that people were concerned about this.   However, the limiter has been retuned and the volume which can be used at parties, etc. had now been increased significantly.

10.  Report from the Playing Field Committee

RJ informed the meeting that the bookings for the playing field have also reduced.   The Cricket Club could only play 3 matches during the summer due to the wet conditions.   The increase in rates has also had an impact and also the Football Club has not been able to pull together a team this season and this has also reduced the income.   Every attempt is being made to save costs.

GG suggested that FB be co-opted on to the Playing Field Committee.   Agreed.

RJ also mentioned that Life magazine is experiencing a reduction in advertising and they are trying to reduce costs.

 

11.  Precept 2013

Following a review of the additional expenses that might fall on the Parish Council to support the Village Hall, the Playing Field and Life magazine, it was agreed to request a Precept of £13,500.   An increase from £12,000 received last year.   There had not been an increase since 1210.   The increase for a band D property is likely to be £6.00 per annum.   This was proposed by RJ, seconded by HD and carried unanimously.                           Action: DP

 

12.   Local Joint Committees

JG said that this is no longer relevant.

 

 

13.   Neighbourhood Watch

It was suggested that the village would benefit from an active Neighbourhood Watch scheme, particularly in light of the recent burglaries.   FB volunteered to take on this role.                                                    Action: FB

 

 

14.   Parish Matters

PW asked that the culverts be cleared near to the allotments to stop flooding.                                  Action: WM

AW mentioned that the next Litterpick would take place on 2nd February 2013.

AW expressed concern that the recent burglaries in the village seemed to be very well organised and requested that the Police be contacted to see how they are progressing with solving the crimes.                                    Action: DP/FB

AW proposed setting up a village archive.   He has a copy of the minute book of the ‘Comrades of the Great War’ group which later changed to the Social Club and recorded meetings from 1919 to 1965.   He felt they should be preserved and available for villagers to view.   JG mentioned that there is already an archive where Great Staughton papers are kept at Hunts DC.

JB asked for villagers to be reminded that dogs need to be kept on a lead when in the village.           Action: DP

JB said that recent firework displays had used Chinese Lanterns and asked for people to consider the potential landing point as the frames can create a hazard for livestock.

JB has been asked by a villager if the hedge can be cut at the edge of the playing field near to the electricity substation.                                                                                                                                  Action: HD

JG said that the proposed wind farm at Kimbolton is now being considered on a slightly smaller site.   A consultation will be opened.   JG said that, whilst this does not affect Great Staughton directly, the result could impact on district policy for wind power.   The information will be on-line for 8 weeks.   Feedback to be given before 13th February.   To be discussed at next meeting.                                                                                                Action: Agenda item

HD mentioned that a resident in Smith’s Yard had expressed concern about the large Chestnut tree.   Bridget Halford from Hunts DC has visited the site and confirmed that the tree is dangerous.   The owners have been informed.

12.  Date of meetings for 2013

 

 

10th January

14th March

25th April – Parish Assembly

16th May AGM

11th July

5th September

7th November.

HD thanked everyone for attending and the meeting closed at 9.35pm.

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