Minutes of the Great Staughton Parish Council meeting held on 2nd March 2016 in the Pavilion
Present: Sir H Duberly (HD) (Chair) J Bowen (JB) K Fisk (KF) G Gilbert (GG) R Jewell (RJ) D Moore (DM) W Mumford (WM) A Withers (AW) D Palmer (DP) (Clerk) Joanne Reid (Clerk from 1st April) Also present were County Councillor Peter Downes (PD) and District Councillor Jonathan Gray (JG).
a) Residents’ Forum None present.
HD introduced Joanne Reid, who will be taking on the role of Clerk from April, to all Councillors
1. Apologies for absence Apologies for absence were received from N Yates (NY).
2. Minutes of the meeting held on 6th January 2016 The minutes were then agreed as a true record and signed.
3. Matters Arising b/f – RJ said defibrillator training had taken place in the village hall with 13 residents from various organisations attending. A DVD was supplied to everyone so that they could feed back information to their organisations. It was hoped that another training course would take place later in the year. RJ expressed thanks to the Pope Nurses Charity which supported the provision of the defibrillator and training. HD thanked RJ for organising the defibrillator and training.
b/f – Parish Matters – KF has a meeting with the village school later in the week. Action: KF Item 13 – Parish Matters – a letter was received from the Environment Agency in response to the suggestion that the river should be cleaned. The Environment Agency said this work is down to the riparian land owners and they also mentioned that spraying weeds is done by them on a regular basis. It was felt the river needs to be dredged to ensure that unnecessary flooding does not happen. Action: HD/DP Item 13 – Parish Matters – the Horticultural Society has been contacted regarding the suggestion for a decorated Christmas Tree and it will be discussed at their next meeting. Action: DP
4. Attendance at other meetings RJ mentioned that NY attended the recent Hunts Forum and she had circulated a report of the meeting.
5. Planning Applications received: 15/023704/REM –Land to rear of 59/61 The Highway – access, layout & erection of dwelling – agreed. 16/00076/HHFUL- Gaynes Lodge Farm (HD declared an interest and took no part in the proceedings) – Erect a lean-to machinery store – agreed. 16/00083/HHFUL – 26 Dillington – new 2 storey extension – agreed. 16/00021/HHFUL – The Old Coach House, The Town – Additional garage & alterations to the barn – agreed. 16/00255/HHFUL – 3 Smiths Yard – single storey extension & front porch – agreed. 16/00225/HHFUL } Place House, Kitchen extension, demolition of 1950s two storey extension – agreed. 16/00226/LBC } The Town, ( HD declared an interest and took no part in the proceedings).
JG said discussions are taking place relating to the new Local Plan for Huntingdonshire. However, at present further information is required. JG mentioned the meeting on 15th March that is open to all. HD asked about the site at Hail Weston and JG has asked that the conditions of the planning permission are observed, particularly as the area is on a flood plain.
6. Highways HD asked PD for support with the request to Cambs CC to improve the junction of The Highway and Causeway to slow down traffic leaving The Highway. DP to copy email to PD. Action: PD/DP
It is not known when the Zebra crossing will be installed but a diagram of the position has been approved.
AW and DM attended the meeting to support the application for the Highway Improvement Grant. Unfortunately, the application has not been successful this year. AW expressed concern about the relatively high cost to install the 40mph sign further out of the village = £3,000 and asked PD for a breakdown. PD said approx. £1,000 of this sum would be legal costs to advertise the change in speed limit. Following discussion, it was agreed to apply again for this work which already has the approval of the police. Action: Clerk
Two residents have written regarding problems with surface water on Cage Lane. WM and HD have visited the area and recommend cleaning the ditches. A broken culvert is causing some problems. RJ said the ditch coming down from Cage Lane is blocked. Ian Winfield from Cambs CC has offered to meet with Councillors to discuss the problems. RJ and WM will liaise with Mr Winfield. Action: RJ/WM
JB mentioned parking on The Highway opposite the surgery and AW said there is also inconsiderate parking on and near the sharp bends in Beachampstead Road. AW will put something in Life. Action: AW
WM asked whether parking difficulties could be considered when planning applications are submitted to ensure there is sufficient parking for new properties. HD suggested that parking is discussed at the Parish Assembly. Action: DP
An email has been received regarding ‘street furniture’ appearing in Dillington. Wooden posts have been placed on the verges which are the property of Cambs CC. Action: DP
7. Report from County & District Councillors JG mentioned that the Budget meeting had been held at Hunts DC. A surplus budget had been set for the next financial year, but JG noted that the surplus is likely to be eroded in future years by the reduction in Government grant. and this has been set to produce a surplus as they need to close the deficit. It was HDC decided to freeze its portion of the Council Tax for this year. AW asked what was the level of reserves whether there is a surplus at Hunts DC and JG said there is a working reserve surplus of approx. £5,000,000 after the allocated reserves had been deducted..
JG also informed the meeting that the Cycle Tour of Cambridgeshire will return in 2016 and will probably be bigger than last year. The event takes place during the first weekend in July and he will inform the Parish Council which roads will be affected. Action: JG
JG said there is an organisation contacting people offering to arrange a revaluation on their property for a fee. This service is available free of charge from the Valuation Office. Information to go on the website. Action: RJ
JG said Devolution is being discussed by the central government but at present this does not affect Huntingdonshire District Council.
PD informed the meeting that Cambs CC held a meeting to discuss the budget and it has been agreed to implement an increase of 2% although the Liberal, Labour and Independent some Councillors felt the need for had proposed a 4% increase to cover important services. HD asked whether this would have an impact on Great Staughton? PD thought the worst cuts would be on Social Services and care. People will lose out through the cuts which will be imposed and the responsibility will move to a local level. PD has produced a summary of the budget and will email a copy. Action: PD/DP
It was suggested that some support could be given via the Parish Charities and this may also be available to Perry residents. For discussion at the Annual Parish Assembly. Action: DP
PD reminded the meeting of the changes to the the County Council boundaries which will mean that from 2017 Great Staughton will be part of the Alconbury and Kimbolton ward. He expressed concern about how a Councillor will be able to support such a large number of parishes. HD thanked JG and PD for their attendance at the meeting.
8. Correspondence Received 19 Jan – Jo Philpott, HACT, – request to attend Parish Assembly – yes 22 Jan – Ian Sims, Hunts DC – Confirmation of precept at £16,500. 22 Jan – Steve McGee, Cambs CC – Zebra crossing approval given by police. 29 Jan – Local Boundary Commission – re Electoral review of Huntingdonshire. 02 Feb – Jane Cantwell, Cambs CC – re school crossing patrols. 08 Feb – Frank Backhouse – stepping down as NHW co-ordinator. 01 Mar – Cambs Roadwatch – questionnaire – DM to return. Sent 15 Jan – Mr G Holgate – reply to planning query 18 Jan – Mike Keeble – re decorated Christmas tree for 2016 22 Jan – Highways Dept, Cambs CC – registered RJ & DM for community gritting scheme. 22 Jan – Jacob Jaarsma, Hunts DC – request to apply for paper copies of planning applications if needed.
9. Cheques in and out since January 2016: Income: Nil Expenditure: R Payne £212.00 Bystander (Ad) £42.00 D Palmer (Feb & Mar) £447.88 Frank Backhouse £51.00 Petty cash £72.33 Total £825.21 Balance in Community account = £2,098.79. All Councillors received a copy of the cashbook prior to the meeting. HD & RJ confirmed they had seen a copy of the reconciled cashbook up to 29th February and approved it.
10. Affordable Housing Frank Backhouse attended the Community Land Trust Conference and circulated a report. HD mentioned that now that the government has issued an exemption for Community Land Trusts from the ‘right to buy’ scheme work will continue on the affordable housing proposal.
11. Reports from: Village Hall Committee Mervyn Young stepped down as chair at the AGM held on 27th January and KF was elected as the new Chair. KF said that there appears to be a problem with a downpipe and he is looking into this. Sincere thanks were expressed to Mervyn Young for his years of service as chair of the village hall committee. Playing Field Committee NY circulated a report prior to the meeting expressing concern at the reduced number of bookings for the pavilion which will lead to reduced income. New applications are being submitted to replace the play equipment. RJ has put forward a suggestion to be discussed with the school whereby the pavilion utilise their broadband facility. It was hoped that this would lead to greater usage of the pavilion for such things as an internet café or training purposes. Neighbourhood Watch (NHW) DM said there has not been a meeting since the last Parish Council meeting. JB said the NHW newsletter is still not being delivered to Green Close. Action: DM Speed Watch DM informed the meeting that the equipment is out of service at the moment.
12. Litter Pick AW and WM said that the village has now taken part in the ‘Clean for the Queen’ campaign. Over 30 volunteers worked on the day to collect approximately 60 bags of rubbish. WM pointed out there were items which had been left by highway contractors and felt this should be pointed out to Cambs CC Highways Department. Action: DP/PD HD expressed thanks to all those involved including Nick and Caroline at The Tavern for providing supper for many of the volunteers.
13. Update on recruitment of new Clerk HD said the recent advert had attracted 5 good candidates and, following interviews by HD and RJ, he is delighted to inform Councillors that Joanne Reid is now going to take on the role from April. HD asked for approval for JR to attend a one day training session specifically for new clerks. This was approved. Action: Clerk
14. Parish Matters It has been reported that a Peugeot registration R75 YAV appears to have been abandoned on a verge on the Green. Clerk to report to the District Council. Action: DP
HD asked JB to ask the owner whether the overhanging hedge near to the corner of The Highway and Green Lane could be cut back on the side which abuts the pavement. Action: JB
RJ reported the street light is not working on The Highway where the garage used to be. Action: DP
RJ said that the gritting equipment provided by Cambs CC is now stored in the garage next to the pavilion. If the gritting bins need topping up the clerk has contact details. It was agreed to ask for another bin to be placed on Green Lane near to the position of the new Zebra crossing. Action: DP
RJ reminded informed the meeting that, under the new rules for transparency code effective from 1st July 2015, the Parish Council is legally obliged to should be placing place further information on the website relating to spending and the accounts. It was agreed to comply as a matter of urgency. Action: RJ/DP
AW asked whether Councillors had noticed any reaction to the pink spray. KF thought there were less occasions of dog fouling in the village. JB had received extremely positive feedback from parents of young children who now felt more confident letting their children walk on the pavements.
WM reported that some of the drains on the side of the road on The Green/Perry Road are blocked. Action: DP
14. Annual Parish Assembly 6th April at 7.30pm A draft agenda was circulated prior to the meeting. RJ asked for the Parish Council budget to be included as an item. Agreed to be included under Item 4.
Dates of meetings for 2016 6th April (Annual Parish Assembly) 11th May (General Meeting) 6th July 7th September 9th November
HD thanked everyone for attending and the meeting closed at 9.10pm.