Minutes of the Great Staughton Parish Council held on 8 July 2021 – 7.30pm
R Jewell (BJ) H Glanville (HG) G Brittain (GB)
N Yates (NY) L Goody (LG) W Mumford (WM)
David Moore (DM) Andrea Gilbert (AG) James Duberly (JD)
Ian Gardener (IG)
1 . Apologies for absence – Darren Tysoe (DT), Jo Russell (Clerk)
2. Resident’s Forum – 8 residents of Staughton Moor attended to voice concerns regarding the planning application for 8 business units at Little America. This comes in the context of current enforcement investigations being conducted by HDC and CCC as a result of alleged unauthorised development at the Little America and 5 Acres sites. The objections are that:
The roads on the Moor are unsuited to heavy traffic, both in terms of volume and large vehicles.
Substantial development has already occurred without planning consent or environmental controls.
Enforcement investigations are ongoing and it would be inappropriate to permit further development before those matters are resolved.
Residents feel the planning system is being manipulated and individual small scale applications are made in a piecemeal fashion, meaning that the wider impact of the combined effect of various developments are not considered as a whole.
Residents require proper scrutiny of all moves towards further development, regulations imposed on the permitted hours of industrial traffic movements and protection of the surrounding amenity land on the Moor.
BJ advised that the PC are not the final arbiters on planning applications but will put forward residents’ objections to HDC.
IG stated that CCC and HDC are now working together to gather all the relevant information and to review responses received from residents on the planning enforcement matters. It has been agreed that a monthly written update will be supplied to IG from the team conducting the investigations and he will pass those monthly updates to residents directly to keep them informed.
The residents extended their thanks to IG and DT for their efforts in ensuring that residents’ concerns are being taken seriously and investigations are now underway.
3. Reports from District and County Councillors – no report from DT, however IG advised that DT was absent as attending an overview and scrutiny panel meeting dealing with flooding issues. IG reported that HDC, CCC, the Environment Agency and Anglian Water are now working together to alleviate flood issues and to provide more training to council officers, particularly with regard to consideration of flooding on planning applications.
IG also reported that Police will now attend PC meetings on request, gave an update on COVID statistics for the County and advised that the consultation on alterations to Luton airspace had concluded and the plans were approved. The plans are now for air traffic to fly over Huntingdon, St. Neots and over the Black Cat roundabout heading in to Luton. One positive concession to concerns raised over stacking aeroplanes is that the lowest height permitted will now be 9000 feet. It is reported that the hope is that the stacking system will not actually need to be in use on a regular basis.
4. Minutes of the meeting held on 27 May 2021 – approved.
5. Matters arising:
a. Green Close potholes – last time Highways viewed it was not considered bad enough to take any action. Highways to be asked to visit again and reconsider.
b. Replacement of village streetlights – this has been done. However, the CIL payment contributing towards the costs has yet to be received from HDC. The Clerk has chased this and an unsatisfactory response received from the CIL officer dealing with the matter. DT has been asked to pursue this further.
c. Tree in Moory Croft – Highways have confirmed that it will be removed before the winter.
d. Bus services – carry forward to keep under review.
e. Blocked footpath near 5 Acres Salvage yard – no progress has yet been made and the rights of way officer that had been dealing with the matter has now advised that they are leaving their role. IG to follow up and ensure this is passed to a new officer.
f. Proposed constituency boundary changes – at present, GS is within the Huntingdonshire constituency and that is not going to change. It is proposed that Hunts is to be divided and St Neots will then fall into a different constituency. The issue for GS is that, naturally, we tend to be more closely affiliated to St Neots in terms of schools and shops etc. IG identified the new proposals now brought the whole of his County Division into the same Parliamentary constituency. Whilst the Parish Council accepted that GS did have a greater affinity to St. Neots it recognised that it was inevitably difficult to find solutions which retained consistency of District, County wards and local affinities and it did not regard there was sufficient reason to object to what was a complicated proposal. The PC will not take any further action.
g. Luton Airport consultation – as noted by IG, approved, but the minimum height for aircraft has been increased and the route will be further to the East. Since the decision to approve has now been taken, the only route left to anyone still wanted to pursue objections would be to write to their MP.
h. PC representative for the Parish Charities – BJ now standing down, AG and WM to stay. LG will take BJ’s place.
6. Attendance at other meetings – none.
a. LHI 20/21 – No answer yet as to when works will start. IG will follow up with Highways officers.
b. Pedestrian crossing, potential LHI bid 21/22 – IG will ask a Highways officer to visit and look at possible improvements to the existing pedestrian crossing on Green Lane.
c. Blocked drains – Cage Lane is due to be cleared by 13 August. Highway/Green Lane bend is thought to have been done. Further blocked drains noted – Moor Road by Rushey Farm and on the Vicarage Walk junction with Green Lane – Clerk to report.
d. Humps on Dillington road – No response to report. Carry forward until a new Highways officer has been appointed, currently recruiting.
e. Footpath works – also to carry forward until a new Highways officer has been appointed.
f. Blocked bridleway Perry – WM to highlight the bridleway on a map and send to Clerk to pursue this. IG also pursuing this point.
a. Staughton Moor planning enforcement – PC agree to publish the monthly update to be provided by the enforcement officers and comment on any issues that may be noted in those updates.
b. Chestnut nursery site – in Clerk’s absence, not aware of any update. Carry forward.
c. 20/02098/FUL – cemetery railings – some councillors remain unconvinced from a cosmetic perspective, however accept that the plans are a compromise position for financial reasons. Ultimately, no objection, simply request that as far as possible the works are in keeping with the existing wall.
d. 21/01050/LBC – Blaysworth Manor – no comments.
e. 21/01016/FUL – Little America, Moor Road – 8 business units – objections to be presented on the grounds that the road is unsuitable for additional traffic and industrial use as it is too narrow. Impact on the local environment would be substantial. The enforcement matters pending should ideally be resolved prior to granting permission for new development, on the basis that viewed on a cumulative basis with existing development on site, this new proposal would result in overdevelopment in a rural location.
f. A query has been raised as to whether vehicles being marketed for sale on the verge at GSN Conservatories would require specific planning consent. Clerk to ask Planning Officers for advice.
9. Correspondence – no queries.
10. Cashbook – BJ reported that the CLT has now received money on completion of the leases for the affordable housing development. The PC should now therefore be reimbursed for expenses paid to date, to include £350 insurance premium and Clerk’s fees. Costs of £817.96 to be requested from the CLT, and thereafter the CLT will be self-funding.
11. Affordable housing update – BJ confirmed that the legal documents have now been signed, the leases completed and HDC has granted planning permission. Places for People now has 2 months to prove they will comply with the planning conditions and to produce a construction statement. It is expected that the build will take 14 months and completion aiming for September 2022. HDC is expected to consult with the PC as to the new road name, with three proposals put forward for consideration – Jewell Close, Greenfields or Orchard View.
12. Three Villages Sustainable Heat Scheme update – HG and BJ advised that a meeting is to be held on 15 July when a full update will be given on the outcome of the feasibility study. The study is expected to conclude that whilst the plans are technically possible, they are not financially viable. The same problem is being experienced across the country in rural areas, however the next steps are to come up with ideas to determine how we can move forward with how to tackle our carbon footprint and this will become an issue of wider concern beyond the three villages.
13. Neighbourhood Plan – The group has had a meeting with Cambridgeshire ACRE and grant claim has been applied for. On receipt of grant funds, will then move to organising the next steps in arranging surveys and recruiting more volunteers to develop the plan.
14. Reports from:
a. Village Hall Committee – HG reported that all groups are now back using the Hall and there is a steady income. The first phase of the roof repairs have been paid for and phase two will be starting shortly.
b. Playing Field Committee – NY reported that the new play equipment is currently in construction phase and due for installation towards the end of July. Wicksteed has not yet raised their invoice, but this is expected to be as per the quote received – £24,763.20 plus VAT. The Committee will transfer £9,814.84 to the PC account to cover our contribution towards the costs, which includes the £5,000 grant received, with thanks, from the Parish Charities.
An issue has arisen with the grass cutting contractor being asked by staff at the School not to park in their car park, leading to them now parking their van on the main road. The car park does not belong to the School and the contractor is entitled to park there. Clerk to please write to the School to ask that staff are reminded/informed that the car park is PC land and by historic agreement, shared use.
c. Neighbourhood Watch – no report.
d. Speed Watch – no report.
e. Friendship Club – no further report since last meeting.
15. Parish Matters
a. LG – grass verges, other than those cut by the PC, have been very overgrown. Since reported, these have now been cut. BJ confirmed that CCC only cut twice a year. LG will attend to a footpath sign in The Town that has been covered by long grass.
b. NY – a rotten slat on a bridge on the footpath at the rear of Moory Croft Close to Dillington was reported by several residents. Phil Yates has repaired this. The PC records their thanks.
c. BJ – reports of noisy motorbikes driving through the village and sometimes, apparently at speed, have been made. WM suggests the offer of a Police representative to attend PC meetings could be taken up to raise this.
The PC website needs further work. Shaun Prince and Kat Moir of Online Designs have started working on it for a monthly fee of £50 and have suggesting revamping the website, possibly integrating this with an online version of Life Magazine. This may encourage further advertising to support Life Magazine financially and possibly reduce the print run with paper copies being delivered to those that still want it, but others can view online as they choose. BJ and NY to meet with Shaun and Kat to consider this in more detail.
16. Next meeting – 9 September.
Meeting closed 9.24pm.