Minutes of the Great Staughton Parish Council
held on 14th March 2013 in the Village Hall
H Duberly (HD) (Chair) F Backhouse (FB) J Bowen (JB)
R Jewell (RJ) W Mumford (WM) A Withers (AW)
P Willmer (PW) M Young (MY) D Palmer (DP) (Clerk)
District Councillor Jonathan Gray (JG)
Roger Watson (RW) Neighbourhood Warden, Luminus
HD welcomed everyone to the meeting and invited Roger Watson (RW) to give the meeting more information about the Neighbourhood Warden scheme managed by Luminus. The scheme has been in operation for 5 years and benefits local people by meeting with street representatives to discuss any problems and issues and also to offer information. The warden scheme works in partnership with Hunts District Council and the police. The aim is to make the community a better place in which to live.
HD asked how it would work in Great Staughton. At present there is not a representative of the scheme in the village and they tend to be in high population areas. RW said the wardens monitor information and report problems to the relevant organisation. The issue of parking problems within the village was discussed. It was suggested that Luminus should consider parking arrangements when letting properties. RW said that any problems should be reported to Andre Fourie who is the Street Representative Coordinator for Luminus. HD thanked RW for attending the meeting and it was agreed that this matter would be discussed at the Parish Assembly. Action: DP
a) Residents’ Forum
1. Apologies for absence were received from G Gilbert (GG) and County Councillor Peter Downes (PD).
2. Minutes of the meeting held on 10th January 2013 were agreed as a true record and signed.
3. Matters Arising
Brought forward from item 3:
Land Registry for the Village Hall – the Village Hall is now registered. A signed affidavit is required to prove ownership for 2 small areas of adjacent land. Action: HD
A further appeal to HDC not to increase the Pavilion rates – a reply has been received from Councillor Ablewhite saying that HDC cannot reduce the rates. However RJ informed the meeting that the data contained in the attachment to the letter did not correspond with the details he had obtained via a freedom of information search and, although he does not expect this to have an effect on the rates, he will clarify this. Action: RJ
– a request was submitted to PD for Cage Lane, Vicarage Walk and Green Close to be considered for highway repairs.
– following the bid submitted to apply for funding to build a chicane on the Kimbolton Road, AW and PW will attend a meeting with the Highways Improvement panel. Action: AW/PW
– PD to look at the number of signs being installed. Action: PD
Parish Matters – AW visited the archive for Great Staughton and the information is available on line at www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/leisure/archives.
Hunts DC changes to council tax benefits – following information received from Hunts District Council, RJ proposed an adjustment be made to the Precept application to take into account that £471 would be received through the Council Tax Support Grant leaving a balance of £13,029. This will ensure that the total funds received will be £13,500 as agreed at the January meeting. Seconded by HD and carried unanimously. JG said that it was still uncertain whether inflationary increases will happen in the future.
As JG had to leave the meeting early he was invited to present his report and responses to matters arising:
Planning – JG had made enquiries about the land known as Kym Stables, Hail Weston, and was told that, although it was understood someone was actually living there in 2003, Hunts DC had not made contact with the residents until 2010. However, it was claimed that someone had been living on the site for 10 years and so planning approval was given for a change of use. Council tax has been paid from April 2011. Concern was expressed as it was felt that the situation had not been dealt with satisfactorily.
HD asked for clarification on planning applications for extensions and whether the localism act has had an impact on the decision making process. JG said that in general applications for extension do not go to the full planning control panel but can be decided by a Planning Officer. WM mentioned a recent application that had been given approval as it was not considered to be a significant extension although Parish Councillors had felt it was overbearing. FB asked whether there were any criteria relating to the amount of land to be left on site and JG said a garden is no longer considered a necessity when looking at planning applications. RJ felt that Parish Councillors ought to have an opportunity to access the planning committee in special circumstances. WM asked whether anyone had visited the site. JG will check. Action: JG
RJ said that there should be occasions when a local District Councillor should be involved. The Councillors present agreed it would be useful to write to the District Council making this point. Action: HD/DP/JG
AW raised concerns that a national newspaper had suggested some planning officers were facilitating planning decisions and JG assured the meeting that this did not happen at Hunts DC.
JG reported that a new application for the Bicton wind farm has been submitted and the Southoe application is the subject of a planning enquiry . Hunts DC are working on a revised wind power planning policy document.
AW asked JG whether District Councillors’ allowances will be increased in the new financial year and whether there is any proposal to enrol Councillors in the Local Government pension scheme. JG said that Councillors’ allowances were reduced 3 years ago and he thought that an increase of 2% was being discussed. With regard to pensions, JG said that Councillors have always been able to join the local government scheme but no one has chosen to do so.
JG mentioned that Hunts DC was trying to put together a balanced budget in the light of spending cuts from the government and to maintain services.
4. Attendance at other meetings
AW, RJ & FB attended a meeting to discuss a further planning application for building on the land at the Rectory. It was understood that this was not going ahead
FB had circulated a report on a Neighbourhood Watch scheme which was the result of meetings with the local police and other Neighbourhood Watch coordinators. HD thanked FB for the report and suggested that this be discussed with local residents at the Parish Assembly. Action: FB/DP
5. Planning Applications from 10th January
1300079FUL – Crown Farm Erection of grain store. Agreed
1300113FUL – 1 The Highway Change of use to butcher’s shop Agreed
1300245FUL – The Manor Addition of conservatory In circulation
1300296FUL – Cherry Blossom, Moor Rd Building for agricultural use In circulation
WM had received a request to ensure that the back road to the prison is cleared if it snows again.
RJ reported that he had clarified that it is prohibited to park on the pavement and grass verges on roads where yellow lines are painted.
A letter received from David Wilson asking for the road markings to be repainted. Some of the markings are barely visible and cars are being parked across driveways needed for access. DP has reported this.
JB said that the repair to the BT inspection pit outside the school is breaking up. This has already been reported. DP to follow up. Action: DP
JB reported that some hedges on The Highway are overhanging the pavement making it extremely narrow, particularly for wheelchair users and anyone with a pram. The Highway Warden to discuss with property owners
7. Street Lights
HD reported that Great Staughton is not yet on the Balfour Beatty repair/maintenance schedule. DP to circulate the working paper from Balfour Beatty to JB and MY together with the list of lights maintained by the County Council and those maintained by the Parish Council. JB and MY will check the current lights and make suggestions for discussion. Action: DP/JB/MY
A letter received from Norman Hardy, the Tree Warden, containing suggestions for tree planting for 2013. It is uncertain whether any permissions are needed prior to planting. RJ will liaise with Mr Hardy. Action: RJ
9. Cheques in and out since January 2013
Income – nil.
Donation to Life Magazine £600.00
Membership of Soc of Local Clerks £75.00
Hayes Recycling (repairs) £82.65
Westcotec (street lighting) £107.05
Village Handyman £24.00
D Palmer (Feb & Ma) £433.68
Petty Cash £21.40
Total £1,343.78 Balance in Community account = £7,104.82
Payments were unanimously approved by the Councillors. HD and RJ confirmed that they had seen a copy of the reconciled cash book up to the 14th March 2013 and approved it.
10. Report from the Village Hall Committee
MY reported that there had been a successful quiz night run by the cricket club. HD suggested that the village hall could be advertised on the ACRE website. Action: MY
11. Report from the Playing Field Committee
JB reported that the proposed change to the footpath, gate and fence by the school had now been resolved. The Tennis Club would like to open the courts to the general public. At present an issue with insurance is still being discussed. Action: JB
JB reported that there should be 2 Trustees on the Playing Field Committee drawn from the general public but recently 2 have resigned and JB is looking for recommendations. It was agreed to place a notice in Life. Action: JB
12. Village Plan
Following a review of the Village Plan, HD reported that progress is being made with the housing initiative and it is hoped that there will be more information available at the Parish Assembly. Following the funding application, it is felt that progress is being made on road safety in the village. The Nene & Ouse bus company is providing a regular service to and from the village.
HD asked about the proposed Association to be formed to implement some of the proposals from the Village Plan and FB said that it had not been possible to recruit volunteers.
It was felt that the school needed support, although a letter had been sent asking whether the Parish Council could be of any assistance. HD will invite a representative from the school to the Parish Assembly. Action: HD
13. Litter Pick
AW reported that this was very successful with more than 20 volunteers including members of Bedfordshire Young Farmers. Fewer bags were filled and it took less time than in previous years. Thanks were expressed to all who helped.
14. Parish Matters
FB reported that a parishioner had mentioned that crop scarers were disturbing dogs. WM will check although he said that they were being set up in accordance with the rules which he will circulate. Action: WM
RJ reported that a street light on The Causeway was not working due to the power being disconnected. This has been reported. DP to check which energy company is the provider and follow up. Action: DP
RJ said that the website is being updated on a regular basis and asked for any items to be sent to his email address at firstname.lastname@example.org.
AW asked what progress had been made with footpath 29. WM replied that resources are not available for this but Perry Parish Council will apply for a Permissive Path in conjunction with local landowners on the route suggested. This will be reviewed in 2 years time.
AW suggested a new format for the Parish Assembly in order to attract more people. Following a discussion it was agreed that there could be table space provided for clubs and societies to display information and an open forum to discuss parish matters. AW to insert a revised invitation in Life. Action: AW/HD/DP
15. Date of meetings for 2013
25th April – Parish Assembly
16th May AGM
HD thanked everyone for attending and the meeting closed at 9.20pm.