The Annual Parish Assembly was held in the Village Hall and attracted an excellent turnout. In fact the District and County Councillors complimented the village on the regular support given to the Assembly by villagers.
The Clerk had laid on a selection of refreshments for those attending and Sir Hugh Duberly, Chairman, welcomed everyone to the meeting. Sir Hugh said he was exceptionally pleased with the appearance of the village and thanked all those responsible for this, in particular John Harrison – the village handyman; Norman Hardy and John Bashford – the tree wardens.
The budget for Parish expenditure was distributed and Bob Jewell identified the amounts spent by the Parish Council. The annual accounts of all the Parish facilities were presented to the assembly. Helen Glanville, who is Treasurer for the Village Hall and Life Magazine, said bookings for the village hall were excellent and it was occupied almost every evening. Helen also said that whilst the accounts for Life did show a deficit, this was not an immediate cause for concern. However she did think the advertising rates may well have to increase some time in the future. Janet Perrett told the meeting about the Parish Charities fund which can offer local young people a bursary towards education and she invited applications before the end of May.
County Councillor Peter Downes told everyone about the changes by the Boundary Commission which will mean Great Staughton will be part of a different Ward and he would no longer be Staughton’s County Councillor. Councillor Downes talked about the election in May for a Mayor and said that he had put forward a recommendation that a level of government be removed in order to cut out bureaucracy and make financial savings. Sir Hugh thanked Peter for his support over several years and mentioned that each time the Parish Council had applied to the County Council for a Highway Improvement Grant Peter had always been supportive.
District Councillor Jonathan Gray mentioned the successful grant application made by the Playing Field Committee to Huntingdonshire District Council for help in replacing some of the equipment on the playing field. He invited organisations and charities to continue to apply for grants to Hunts DC.
It was great to welcome Suzi Whiting, the Headmistress of the Primary Academy, to the Assembly and she was pleased to say that the school role will be increasing in September. Suzi was able to advise everyone the Ofsted school inspection resulted in a ‘good’ grading in September 2016.
Anthony Withers explained that the Parish Council has once again been successful in obtaining a Highway Improvement grant to adjust the junction from The Highway to Causeway. It is hoped that the Highways Officer will be able to create something to slow down traffic leaving The Highway on to Causeway. There are concerns about the speed at which cars travel along Causeway where children and parents cross the road and drivers also the speed past the school.
Anthony gave a brief explanation about the proposal to build Affordable Housing for people with a local connection through family or work. The project has been on hold for a while due to concerns about the Government’s proposals for tenants to have the right to buy. However, this may not be applicable to the Parish proposal so meetings have once again been in progress and a grant application has been successful to obtain funds to move the project forward. Once official approval has been received an open meeting will be called for all villagers to learn more.
Parking in the village was discussed and generally it was felt that the problems could be solved with more consideration given to other road users.
David Moore, the co-ordinator for Speed Watch, said that he and his team hoped to carry out more checks this year.
Sir Hugh thanked everyone for attending and people stayed to chat with friends and acquaintances.