Minutes of the Great Staughton Annual Parish Assembly
held on 25th April 2013 in the Village Hall
Present: Councillors – Hugh Duberly (HD) (Chairman), Frank Backhouse (FB), Janet Bowen (JB), Geoff Gilbert (GG), Bob Jewell (RJ), Peter Willmer (PW), Anthony Withers (AW), Mervyn Young (MY), Dianne Palmer (Clerk)
Parishioners: Sandra Allen, John Allen, Pat Backhouse, Roy Benford, Barbara Bishop, Michael Bishop, Howard Chalkley, Rev Judi Clarke, Bob Eaton, Charlotte Edwards, Guy Freeman, Dave Giddings, Susan Giddings, Eileen Gilbert, Helen Glanville, Roger Harding, Michael Howe, Mike Keeble, Simon Maylor, Emma Mumford, Audrey Newman, Jenny ODell, Nick Orchard, David Palmer, Janet Perrett, Jean Phillpot, Tricia Richards, Dr David Roberts, Elaine Roberts, Margaret Sare, Hugh Stewart, Ian Taylor, Alex Turner, Sheila Wells, Liz Wetzel, Nicole Yates, Philip Yates, Judy York, and Peter York.
Peter Downes (County Councillor), Jonathan Gray (District Councillor), Inspector Mark Greenhalgh and Community Safety Officer Dave Griffin were also present.
1. Apologies:, Will Mumford, Laurie Ballinger, Valerie Downs, Norman Hardy, Claire Matthews, & Sophie Thompson and Piglets
Chairmans Address: The Chairman welcomed everyone to the meeting and mentioned that the Parish Council had lost John Hitchin but had been fortunate in co-opting Frank Backhouse to the Council. HD expressed his thanks to John Hitchin for the years he had served the Parish Council.
HD also mentioned some items of particular interest since the last Annual Parish Assembly:
an extremely successful Diamond Jubilee celebration had been held and thanks were expressed to Mr & Mrs Edmunds. A photographic record of the celebration had been presented to Mr & Mrs Edmunds and was available at the meeting.
the playing field was registered as a Field in Trust to ensure that it continued as a playing field in perpetuity.
the Village Hall was formally registered with the Land Registry for the same reason.
the village looks extremely attractive at this time of year and special thanks were given to the village handyman for maintaining the verges and grassy areas to such a high standard.
thanks to all of the Parish Councillors for their support during the year
2. Minutes of the last Parish Assembly Held on 3rd May 2012 were agreed as a true record and signed. Proposed by Janet Bowen and seconded by Anthony Withers.
3. Matters Arising
Broadband Roger Harding gave a brief report on the progress made during the year with Broadband Registration. As the Broadband Champion for the village Roger was still kept informed of the current situation and mentioned those properties within 1 km of the Tavern (where the repeater box is situated) should have a significant improvement in their Broadband service. The contract has been awarded to BT and it was anticipated that everything should be in place by 2015.
HD reported that the Parish Council had undertaken to review the Village Plan each year. At the recent review Councillors were satisfied that progress is being made, particularly in respect of housing for local people and road safety.
4. Parish Accounts
Playing Field Bob Jewell (RJ) presented the accounts mentioning that income was dropping and expenditure was increasing. The grant from the Parish Council had been increased to 1,000.00 but the business rates had almost doubled despite several letters of appeal. RJ said it was unfortunate that the Football Club was no longer running and said he would welcome any suggestions on how to attract a new one.
HD mentioned that both the Playing Field Committee minutes and the Village Hall Committee minutes are now available on the village web site. Both committees are also discussed at the Parish Council meetings. HD also mentioned that the Playing Field Committee would like to attract 2 new independent Trustees, ie not on the Parish Council and invited any volunteers to contact Janet Bowen.
Parish Charities Eileen Gilbert explained that the income to the Parish Charities came from 2 agricultural fields and 1 garden field. The opening balance was 5,365.40 with income of 3,863.11 and expenditure of 2,995.58, leaving a balance of 6,232.93. Donations were made to the School, Piglets, Guides and Brownies. Eileen invited applications from any worthwhile cause connected to youth and/or education to apply for support and mentioned that grants totalling 30,000 had been made over the last 10 years.
Village Hall Helen Glanville presented the audited accounts for 2012 mentioning that there was deficit of 361.00. Bookings had fallen and the Parish Council had increased their donation to 1,000.00. Savings had been made on heating and insurance. Helen expressed her thanks to Kathy Wilson for auditing the accounts.
Life Magazine Helen Glanville presented the audited accounts for 2012 which ended with a deficit for the year of 1,927.00. There had been a drop in advertising and an increase in printing costs. The committee had decided to make a saving by reducing the size to A5. Helen expressed her thanks to the Editors.
HD thanked everyone for presenting the Parish accounts and they were unanimously approved by the meeting.
5. Reports from County & District Councillors and the Police
Peter Downes (PD) circulated a comprehensive report prior to the meeting. He drew attention to the key issues currently faced by Cambridgeshire County council and emphasised the difficulties of providing local services with reduced funds. Subsidies to rural bus services are being withdrawn and this will be replaced by Cambridgeshire Future Transport. There will be consultation with the Parish Council about the provision needed.
PD had given support to the funding application bid submitted by the Parish Council to install a pinch point on Kimbolton Road to reduce the speed of traffic entering the village but this has not been successful. AW gave on outline of the situation with recent accidents taking place on the bend by the Tavern PH and expressed his concern that an extremely serious accident could happen there.
Dr Roberts asked about Community Navigators and PD said that this is a scheme to identify how to steer people towards services that they might find helpful. PD also mentioned the Time Bank scheme where people volunteer to give time to perform a specific task and can then recall time for a task that they need to be done.
HD thanked PD for his report and asked Jonathan Gray to brief the meeting on local planning issues.
Jonathan Gray (JG) circulated an informative report prior to the meeting. He reiterated PDs comments relating to the Government asking District Councils to do more work with less money. The National Planning Policy framework had come into force and should reduce the paperwork for small planning applications. Hunts DC is going to start consulting formally on what the district will look like up to 2036. Great Staughton is actively engaging with Hunts DC on this matter.
JG informed the meeting that the Bicton wind farm application has now been submitted.
Jenny ODell asked whether the new MD of Hunts DC had been appointed and also enquired about the salary offered. JG said that the selection will take place next week and the salary has not been yet been determined but will be competitive. HD thanked JG.
Inspector Mark Greenhalgh (MG) gave a brief overview of policing in the area and said that staff restructuring had taken place to align with the District Council boundaries. Staff numbers have been reduced but there are still savings to make. Great Staughton is considered a low crime area. With regard to Neighbourhood Watch (NHW), this has recently been given more priority. The aim of NHW is for residents to take ownership. It is important that the community is aware of what is happening in their area.
6. Neighbourhood Watch Scheme (NHW)
FB informed the meeting of the structure of NHW and said that in order to operate the scheme properly there would be approximately 20 zones within the village with a co-ordinator responsible for each one. FB ran through the zones and said he would be looking for volunteers.
HD said the Parish Council was extremely grateful to FB for the time he had put into this project and reminded people that this scheme would not work without the volunteers.
Mike Keeble asked how the NHW would coordinate with the police. MG said that it was dependent upon local people and the 4 area coordinators, based in Huntingdon, St Ives, Yaxley and St Neots, The police contact the area coordinators and they cascade information. Information can also be obtained from the police website at http://www.cambs.police.uk and via the weekly report from e-cops, register at http://www.cambs.police.uk/signup/ecops. HD thanked the 2 police representatives for their time and input.
7. Village School
A report from the school was circulated prior to the meeting. Helen Glanville acted as representative for the school as there was a Governors meeting taking place. The school was concerned about the numbers of children in attendance but said that in the recent Ofsted report the school had been rated from good to outstanding.
8. Affordable Housing for Local People
AW give a brief outline of the suggestion which came from the Village Plan and was initially discussed 15 months ago. Several meetings have taken place with Hunts DC and Cambridgeshire ACRE to discuss building housing for people with a local connection such as family or work. The suggestion is for the buildings to be on one of the Charity fields as this will reduce the costs and increase the funds available to the Parish Charities. This suggestion has still to be agreed with Hunts DC as they do not consider the land to be in the village envelope. However, the initial stage is to determine whether there is actually a need for the housing and a survey will be conducted by Cambs ACRE in conjunction with Luminus. Each household in the village will receive a questionnaire from which data will be extracted, and personal views will not be attributed. The questionnaire is being sponsored by Luminus and AW pointed out that there will not be any cost to the village. Helen Glanville asked how the Council would ensure that these properties do go to local people. This will be covered in the terms and conditions.
9. Highway Improvement Funding Application
Discussed under item 5.
10. Highway Wardens Report
HD introduced RJ as the new Highway Warden. If there is anything people wish to report relating to the roads in the village RJ asked them to let him know. Mr Mayler suggested that, when trees were going to be planted outside properties, the owner of the property should be informed. RJ said that the issue with the trees is being discussed by the Parish Council and he felt it was important to the look and the feel of the village to maintain the verges. He asked that the Tree Wardens be thanked for the work done in replacing trees and liaising with Hunts DC to obtain trees without cost to the village. At present the Parish Council are in discussion with Cambs CC about the trees planted in the village and the maintenance. Hugh Stewart pointed out that the trees originally planted to celebrate the Queens Coronation need to be replaced.
11. Changes to Street Lighting
JB informed the meeting that some street lights will be replaced, within the next 5 years, with more efficient ones and every household will receive a questionnaire about the new lights. Plans of the existing lights were on display at the meeting and the Parish Council would welcome any comments relating to this. HD mentioned that the Parish Council is surveying the current lights and trying to ensure that the new lights are placed correctly.
RJ pointed out that at present only the lights maintained by Cambs CC are being considered and that there will be a reduction in those situated away from the main road.
12. Parish Matters
GG asked what could be done about dog owners who do not keep their dogs on a lead when walking in the village. Another notice to be placed in Life.
RJ asked clubs and groups to email him any news items or dates of events to go on the website at bjewel12.
Hugh Duberly thanked everyone for their attendance and participation and paid tribute to the work of the Parish Clerk.
The meeting closed at 9.10pm.