Parish Council Minutes 06.04.17

Minutes of the Great Staughton Annual Parish Assembly held on 6th April 2017 in the Village Hall

Present: Councillors – Sir Hugh Duberly (HD) (Chairman), Janet Bowen (JB), Bob Jewell (RJ), David Moore (DM), Will Mumford (WM), Anthony Withers (AW), Nicole Yates (NY). Jo Reid (Clerk)

Parishioners: Michael Askew, Frank Backhouse, Pat Backhouse, John Bashford, Dennis Clarke, Helen Glanville, Roger Harding, Norman Hardy, Patrick Harris, Olive Hynes, Paddy Hynes, Andy Moulds, Emma Mumford, David Palmer, Janet Perrett, Ann Price, Ralph Walter, Phil Yates, T Richards, Caroline Taylor, Mike Baker, Vicky Goldsmith, S Doyle, L Goody, R Goody, Brenda Blignaut, Les Blignaut, Nigel Jenkins, Sue Cowley, Liz Wetzel, David Cope, Tracey Stokes, Mr & Mrs L Glover, Simon Glover, Judy Chalkely, Tania Jenkins

Jonathan Gray (District Councillor), Peter Downes (County Councillor) and Suzi Whiting (Head teacher, Great Staughton Primary Academy) were also present

Chairman’s Address: Sir Hugh opened the meeting by warmly welcoming everyone. He went on to express how beautiful the village looks and offered thanks and congratulations to John Harrison, the Tree Wardens: Norman Hardy and John Bashford, the Horticultural Society and to all involved in the village Litter Pick, organised by Anthony Withers.

HD noted that the village had traffic management improvements in the last year, with the installation of the zebra crossing and speed limit restriction moved further down the road towards Perry.

HD was grateful for the restoration of the village sign, a project undertaken with the Horticultural Society.

HD wished to thank Mr & Mrs Edmund, The Rotary Club and the Youth Club for another very successful village lunch. The event is confirmed again for this June.

1. Apologies for absence: received from Margaret Sare, Geoff Gilbert, Eileen Gilbert, Lauren Fisk, Steve Prince, Doris Dainty.

2. Minutes of the last Parish Assembly held on 6th April 2016 were agreed as a true record and signed.

3. Matters Arising There were no matters arising.

4. Parish Accounts Village Precept – A copy of the budget upon which the Precept application was based was circulated prior to the meeting. Bob Jewell (RJ) reported that the precept of £17,500 costs the average Band D household £54.01 per annum, based on a 324 home tax base. So although the precept has increased 6% this year, it is still significantly cheaper for villagers than our neighbouring villages. The bulk of the precept is spent on the upkeep of the village, street lighting and grants to village facilities i.e. Pavilion, Village Hall, Cemetery. Playing Field – Bob Jewell (RJ) circulated the accounts prior to the meeting and mentioned there was a surplus of £3391.10. This surplus was mainly due to the grant received from Hunts DC Treasure Chest to contribute toward replacing the playing field play equipment. The accounts were received and approved.

Parish Charities – Anthony Withers (AW) reported that the Parish Charities receives revenue from 4 fields within the parish. Revenue last year was £7822.78. Of this, £3856.80 was granted for purposes of education within the village. There was a balance of £15,475 carried forward at year end. Bursaries given out this year have included courses in French and Mandarin, hairdressing and professional cooking. Anyone looking at further education or training should contact the Charities Committee by the end of May to be considered this year. The accounts were received and approved.

Village Hall – Helen Glanville (HG) presented the audited accounts for 2016, she wished to thank Kathy Wilson for auditing the accounts. Income was down slightly last year. However, with thanks to the Parish Council for their grant and with similar overheads to previous year, they submitted a surplus of £609. 2017/18 will see a lot of work being planned and undertaken to maintain the village hall and they are looking externally for a grant.

Life Magazine – Helen Glanville reported a loss of £868 for the last year, however this was mainly due to timing issues. Prior year surpluses have allowed the prices to be maintained and for colour production to be introduced. HG expressed thanks to Perry and Great Staughton parish councils for their grants. She also wanted to thank the editors Rob and Shaun for their contribution. HG added his thanks, stating that Life is a very valuable publication.

5. Reports from County & District Councillors Peter Downes (PD) referred to a circular that he had distributed to all householders in the weeks prior to the Assembly. Key points included:

  1. Reduced Funding: Central Govt grant will reduce from £85m to zero over 5 years. They have also capped council tax increases. Added to this, the demography of the county is changing: more younger people with special needs and more older people, which fuels social care costs. This accounts for 60% of county council spend.

  2. Directly Elected Mayor: new authority of Peterborough and Cambridge. There will be a mayor and cabinet (the leaders of all district councils), meaning an additional layer of local govt. PD has proposed an investigation into reviewing/removing a tier in local govt.

  3. Change to Boundaries: Great Staughton division has changed this year. May 4 elections will be fought with the new boundaries. As a result, PD will have a new division. Great Staughton will now be in the Alconbury and Kimbolton division with 22 villages.

PD would like to thank HD and the Parish Council for all he has learnt from Great Staughton. HD expressed his thanks for the 12 years we have had a superb County Councillor, who has helped, support and achieved. Our thanks to PD.

Jonathan Gray (JG) opened by adding his thanks to PD too, they are both big believers that councils do the best for the villages. He added that the attendance at the Village Assembly was a real tribute to the village spirit.

  1. JG was pleased that the grant came to the Playing Field from the Community Chest. All community organisations can apply, enabling local communities to do good things.

  2. Robin Howe, leader of the District Council, is committed to working with Parish Councils and has set up a number of conferences.

  3. The local plan is finally taking shape and affordable housing is key.

HD passed on his thanks to Jonathan for his support.

6. Conferences RJ reported that through a series of conferences, the following has been determined:

  1. County and District are looking increasingly to Parishes to do more

  2. There is funding on offer to run local initiatives

  3. More emphasis on Parish taking control, both via the Precept and through voluntary work, tit is positive but challenging to take on responsibilities. A services directory has also been issued.

  4. There is like to be news of a major St Neots update once mayoral elections are complete

7. Village School Suzi Whiting (SW) reported that all is going well, the school is more stable and numbers are growing steadily. This year they are likely to lose 6 to high school, but gain 16, with 73/74 on roll by September.

  1. Assessment standards are good, Key Stage 2 2016 results were amongst the best in the county.

  2. More rounded education too, focus on sport, music, drama

  3. Volunteers are always gratefully received

  4. Last year the Parish Charities donated towards the kitchen, this year iPads were bought. Many thanks to the Parish Charities.

HD noted how the school was a valuable part of the village and it was important to maintain links with the PC.

8. Local Highways Initiative AW reported that Cambs CC places £100k into a fund for villages to spend up to £10k on initiatives to enhance their highways and safety. In the last 3 years we have had the Zebra Crossing Installed and speed restrictions enhanced on the road to Perry. This year we have been successful with a funding bid to create a scheme at the junction of the Highway and Causeway to deter speeding motorists.

9. Affordable Housing AW gave an overview on the project

  1. Inspiration came from the village plan and the Parish Charities fields

  2. HDC planners agreed the idea and Community Land Trust was formed and an outline scheme was agreed

  3. Steering Com: Sir Hugh Duberly, Frank Backhouse, Bob Jewell, Tracey Stokes, Phil Yates, Anthony Withers

  4. Initial plan was 8 houses for people with local connections. Plans were put on hold when the govt extended the Right to Buy process. Upon clarification of impact, the project commenced again at the end of 2016.

  5. Steering Committee reconvened in Feb 2017 to set out a routemap and applied for a grant to cover legal expenses.

  6. Further meeting was held with Hunts DC planners and Luminus who agreed to revisit the plans.

  7. Currently we are awaiting formal papers and grant approval. AW detailed further, what the project would look like:

  8. Parish Council will convene a lease to Gt Staughton CLT, who will then sub lease to Luminus and HDC.

  9. It will create a “Community Benefit Society”, which will also be beneficial to other village facilities.

  10. Each villager will have a vote and a voice via the trustees.

13. Parish Matters Parking: HD said in the village is still causing concern with some vehicles being left in illegal and dangerous positions. Particularly, The Highway near the village sign, the bottom of Beachampstead, The Causeway near the Highway and the top of Cage Lane were mentioned. David Moore requested that any dangerous parking situations should be raised with himself. He also added that the Speedwatch equipment is now permanently based in the village and they are experiencing more coordination with Perry Speedwatch. Last year, 4 exercises resulted in the details of 35 cars being verified and details passed to the police.

HD concluded the meeting by thanking the Councillors, Vice Chair and Clerk, plus all the villagers for their part in maintaining our village so well. The meeting closed at 8.40pm.