MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF FOWLMERE PARISH COUNCIL

HELD AT SCHOOL ROOM, UNITED REFORMED CHURCH

ON TUESDAY, 19 December 2006 AT 7.30 PM

PRESENT: Cllr M Bates (Chairman)

Cllr B Hawkins

Cllr D Woods

Cllr D Roberts

Cllr P Flynn

Cllr W Kohler

Cllr P Mullock

Cllr A Lucas

Mrs J Fletcher (Clerk)

IN ATTENDANCE: Cllr T Stone

 

1.

APOLOGIES – There were no apologies.

Actions

2.

MINUTES OF MEETING OF 21 November 2006

 
 

The minutes were agreed and signed as a true record.

 

3.

DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

Cllr Flynn declared a personal and prejudicial interest in the item covering the tunnel under the High Street.

 

4.

MATTERS ARISING

 
 

Rectory Lane

Cllr Roberts reported that the wall has not been rebuilt. A letter listing all outstanding matters on this project has been sent to SCDC Legal Department.

Bus Shelter Bin

The litter bin has been received and erected in the Pipers road bus shelter by Chris Wall.

Village Historian

Cllr Bates and Cllr Hawkins are still to finalise the funding application.

Drains in Westfield Road

CCC will be chased for an update.

Questionnaire

Cllr Woods has completed a further online form.

Royal British Legion

A thank you letter for the wreath donation has been received from the RBL.

Duxford Community Relations

Representatives have now advised they will attend a PC meeting in 2007.

Footway Lighting

PC is in agreement with CCC proposals for footway lighting.

Chequers

SCDC has not responded to the PC queries on the planning application form and Cllr Roberts advised the application is still being considered.

Pro-forma housing survey

Cllr Roberts has spoken to SCDC Housing Department who advised they could conduct the survey on our behalf for a fee. Cllr Roberts will investigate this further.

The Swan

Cllr Bates stated he has written to Andrew Lansley, MP.

Cllr Roberts advised that SCDC Conservation Department are considering putting the building on the ‘At Risk’ register. They state that in their opinion the building is wind and water-tight.

SCDC advise that an approach has been made with regard to purchasing the building.

Councillors Flynn and Hawkins declared a personal interest as close neighbours and took no part in the discussion.

Cllr Roberts mentioned that the possible purchase would be for use as a Take-Away restaurant. Whether planning approval for a take-away restaurant would be granted is unclear.

A letter will be sent to Green King to ascertain if the building has been sold.

Tunnel under High Street

CCC has advised that in their opinion the owners of a property are responsible for the subsoil up to the centre of the road outside their houses and the County Council is responsible for everything on top of the subsoil. Cllr Bates declared his dissatisfaction at the County Council’s apportionment of responsibility. He felt that CCC is not trying to ameliorate a potential problem situation by restricting HCVs through the village.

The meeting agreed that letters should be sent to the three property owners concerned advising them of the County’s information and possible liability should there be a collapse. The owners should be advised to inspect the deeds and insurance policies or take legal advice to clarify the situation.

A recent inspection of the tunnel showed signs of slight movement

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cllr Bates/ Cllr Hawkins

 

Clerk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cllr Roberts

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Clerk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Clerk

 

 

5.

COUNTY COUNCIL AFFAIRS

 

 

 

Cllr Bates handed Cllr Stone the completed personal appraisal questionnaire and reiterated that this should not be used for party political purposes.

Budget 2007/08

This will be a recurring theme. The County now knows how much it is to get from Westminster, which, as predicted, is a 2.9% increase over last year's figure. The government has said that the average increase is 4.9% but much of that is ring-fenced money going directly to schools. In any event the county now has to decide which services to cut to make ends meet.

Meanwhile the overspend in this year's budget continues to cause waves. £1.3 million is to be cut from Adult Social Care, £500,000 from Highways and more cuts from the Libraries' book fund.

Added to the woes of Adult Social Care, the service has just received a one star (out of four) report from the government inspector, putting it at the bottom tier of all local authorities in England and Wales. Not that all is bad: the In Control project, which gives vulnerable adults more control of their own care, has been singled out for praise and is being used as an example for other authorities. It's a problem of good people with not enough cash; Cambridgeshire spends much less than the national average on social care and the results are there for all to see

Local Government White Paper

I promised last month to find out what the government meant when it offered "Quality Parish Councils" "the power of well-being." Although Little Abington is the only Quality Parish Council in the Division you might nevertheless like to know a bit more about this.

The power of well-being is defined by the Local Government Act 2000 Part 1 section 2:

Section 2. -

(1) Every local authority is to have power to do anything

which they consider is likely to achieve any one or more of the following objects-

(a) the promotion or improvement of the economic well-being of their area,

(b) the promotion or improvement of the social well-being of their area, and

(c) the promotion or improvement of the environmental well-being of their area.

(2) The power under subsection (1) may be exercised in relation to or for the benefit of-

(a) the whole or any part of a local authority's area, or

(b) all or any persons resident or present in a local authority's area.

(3) In determining whether or how to exercise the power under subsection (1), a local authority must have regard to their strategy under section 4.

(4) The power under subsection (1) includes power for a local authority to-

(a) incur expenditure,

(b) give financial assistance to any person,

(c) enter into arrangements or agreements with any person,

(d) co-operate with, or facilitate or co-ordinate the activities of, any person,

(e) exercise on behalf of any person any functions of that person, and

(f) provide staff, goods, services or accommodation to any person.

The uses of these powers to promote ESE (economic, social, environmental) objectives have to be consistent with the local authority's Community Strategy which was established as a duty under section 4 of this Act. With this came all the apparatus of the Local Strategic Partnerships.

I'm not sure if this means that Parish Councils will have to prepare and consult on Community Strategies (even set up Local Strategic Partnerships? Seems unlikely.)

Tunnels under the road

Thank you for copying me in on the correspondence with Mike Cooper about your tunnel.

I have checked with Essex County Council to make sure that Cambridge's view is correct. The answer is that it is, though the case is a very odd one. I have had the same sort of trouble with footpaths because although they are a right of way, the land over which they pass is actually owned by someone. So if it is considered that they should become a cycle track then the landowner has to be consulted and has to agree.

Apparently there is a different set or rules for motorways.

Post Office Closures

The announcement of up to 2500 Post Office closures has caused widespread dismay across our villages. The Government spends £150m a year supporting the 9,400 rural post offices and this support is due to run out in 2008.

There is currently no public set of criteria which allows sub postmasters and mistresses to judge whether their post offices are to be closed, though recent studies confirm that closures have a 'significant' knock-on impact on local communities.

I have spoken to a number of local postmasters and mistresses - though not yet Fowlmere - and they confirm that they are entirely in the dark. Those who were considering improving their premises have put all plans on hold until they know more. There is no timetable for further news.

Since 1999, under both Conservatives and Labour, the number of post offices in South Cambridgeshire has fallen from 51 to 42. And this at a time of unprecedented growth with new settlements such as Cambourne being built.

Police

The police continue to baffle me. At a recent meeting I questioned a Chief Superintendent as to why there was no published source showing which members of the police look after which villages. I quote:

"It is deliberate that we do not specifically identify officers with any particular parish or parishes. The idea of the Neighbourhood Teams is that they cover for each other across the whole neighbourhood. This is designed to avoid the situation that occurred previously of there being no community officer cover for parishes when that single officer was sick, on a course or moved on."

Anyway, Fowlmere now has a police constable to join PCSO Becca Follenfant. He is Lee Scott whose mobile number is 07740 734977. His e-mail address is Lee.scott @cambs.pnn.police.uk. The two of them cover 13 villages. As I explained to the Chief Superintendent, Parish Councils should be capable of understanding that police officers do have lunch, go on holiday or courses just like the rest of us. So if you try to contact them using these personal numbers it is not certain that you will get a reply as these numbers are not backed up by anyone else.

I wish you all a very Happy Christmas and all the best for 2007.

 
 

COUNTY COUNCIL MATTERS DISCUSSED AT THE PRESENT MEETING

Cllr Roberts stated that there is much concern among SCDC Officers regarding the closure of rural post offices.

Cllr Stone advised that there is a possibility of special dispensation being given to certain properties in villages.

Cllr Stone left the meeting at 8.30 pm

 

 

6.

TREES, GRASS AND HEDGES

 
 

A request had been received for tree trimming near 9 Jackson’s Way. The meeting agreed the Tree Officer would have to advise on this.

Cllr Hawkins felt that the tree at the opposite end of the road was in more need of trimming.

URC Grass cutting

Ivan Shaw has relinquished his duties in cutting the URC grass together with the oiling of the village sign and memorial seat. The meeting agreed that this work should be included in the main village grass cutting. Cllr Bates proposed that a letter of thanks should go to Mr Shaw.

Royal British Legion Bench

The RBL had previously requested permission to plant a tree in the village. They are proposing a Sorbus on the Butts. Cllr Woods will check whether this tree is poisonous or not.

Village Tree Work

Permission has been received from SCDC to carry out tree work.

 

Cllr Woods

 

 

 

Cllr Woods

Clerk

 

 

Cllr Woods

7.

PLANNING

 
 

There had been no planning meetings during the month.

 
 

Affordable Housing

Cllr Roberts has received a further email from Simon Finbow but has not replied. Cllr Roberts mentioned her concerns to Paul Sexton at SCDC who advised he will contact the gentleman himself.

 

 

8.

BURIAL BOARD

 

8/A

Burial Board Working Party Notes on Meeting held on Tuesday, 28 November 2006 at 7.45 pm in the Dorothy Pluck Room, St. Mary’s church.

PRESENT: Cllr M Bates, Cllr D Woods, Cllr D Roberts, Mrs J Fletcher (Clerk)

1.0 Fee Structure – Agreed at 2 May 2002 meeting to review in two years. Last increase was 10%.

1.1 The meeting agreed to increase fees by 5% and then rounded up, e.g. existing £55.00 + 5% = £57.75 – rounded up to £60.00.

2.0 Redecoration – Two quotes received - £710 from LT Services and £800 from GDS. Meeting of 21 November 2006 agreed to proceed with LT quotation. LT will be booked but work is not required until repairs to the tower have been carried out.

2.1 Cllr Woods will book the work with LT Services.

3.0 Bell Tower Repairs – Quotation is awaited from WJ Mead – promised in time for December 2006 meeting.

3.1 This will be discussed at the December PC meeting.

4.0 Purchase of extra land – Decision needed on whether to allow landowner to continue to use the area or whether hedging is planted and the area maintained by Parish Council until required. Present owners have requested a hawthorn hedge.

To allow the landowner to use the area will necessitate a complicated contract that will be costly; to take over the land immediately will only require a simple contract.

Solicitors have pointed out that there is permission for a water pipe to be laid across the width of the extra land, which according to Cambridge Water plans has not been put in place. The permission has no time limit.

Cheque for £1544.38 has been sent to solicitors to cover the other party’s fees and show the Parish Council’s intention to proceed with the purchase.

4.1 The meeting agreed that the PC should take over the land upon completion of purchase, and maintenance will be included with normal grass cutting.

Cllr Woods will obtain recommendations for a suitable hedge and prices for planting and maintenance.

5.0 Electricity to Chapel – Route of the cable trench from the road to the chapel to be decided.

5.1 The meeting agreed on the direction of the cable trench and EDF Energy will be advised.

Prices for electricity connections and fittings will be obtained. Recommendations on heaters and a central light, in keeping with the building, will be obtained.

The meeting agreed to arrange a leaf clearing day in January 2007.

The meeting closed at 8.00 pm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cllr Woods

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cllr Woods

 

 

 

Clerk

 

Clerk

8/B

Matters Arising from Working Party Notes

  • The quotation from WJ Mead for the bell tower is still awaited.
  • Chris Wall requires a sketch of the proposed position of the hedge in order to produce a quotation. Advice will be taken on natural native species of hedging that will thrive in the proposed position.
  • Care for Trees will notify Cllr Woods of a date for trimming the cemetery trees.

 

 

 

 

Cllr Woods

9.

FINANCE

 
 

Precept

The precept for 2007 has to be submitted by 5th February 2007. Cllr Woods will submit proposals at the 9th January Finance meeting.

 

Cllr Woods

9/A

Cheques signed at the meeting

Mrs J Fletcher November salary £ 395.04

Fowlmere Friendship Club Over 60’s Christmas dinner £ 377.07

Gardencare Butts trees/Jackson’s Way £ 350.00

Glasdon UK Litter bin £ 52.47

EDF Energy (Awards for All) Electricity, Cemetery £4148.91

 

10.

ROUND MOAT

 
 

Cllr Lucas has drafted a pre-application form for a £20,000 grant and has discussed the content with Heritage Lottery Fund. The proposal will be ready for submission in March.

Cllr Lucas will meet Care for Trees on 9th January.

BC Group Trust are concerned that SCDC will reduce the funds they provide for the Moat.

SCDC Tree Officer will be asked to look at trees in the Round Moat and advise on safety aspects.

Cllr Woods suggested that a letter be sent at the end of January to residents in St. Mary’s Walk, Savile Way and the perimeter of the Moat advising that tree work will be carried out. Cllr Lucas will draft the letter.

 

 

Cllr Lucas

 

 

Cllr Lucas

Cllr Lucas

11.

CORRESPONDENCE

 

 

SCDC 27 November 2006 – Mutual Exchanges and s106 Restrictions

The meeting agreed that they do not wish to see any deviation to existing arrangements. Cllr Roberts abstained from voting due to her connection with SCDC.

CCC 12 December 2006 – Statement of Community Involvement (SCI)

Inspector’s Report and adopted SCI can be viewed at www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk

 

 

12.

OTHER MATTERS

 
 

CCC has advised that drains and grilles will be jetted and an inspection of the High Street carried out.

Website

Cllr Hawkins suggested a link to the Village Hall be included in the Parish Council official website. The meeting agreed that such a link should be on the Village website and not on the PC official site.

Mill Road

Cllr Roberts had received a letter of complaint about the road condition on the sharp bend. The meeting agreed that a letter be sent to Cllr Stone asking him to instigate immediate action.

Manhole Cover

Cllr Lucas mentioned that the manhole cover outside St. Mary’s church needs attention.

Websites in Village

Cllr Mullock asked for a list of the various websites available in the village.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Clerk

 

 

 

 

Clerk

14.

CONFIRM DATES OF NEXT MEETINGS

Finance Meeting Tuesday, 9 January 2007

Parish Council Tuesday, 16 January 2007

Parish Council Tuesday, 20 February 2007

 
 

 

The meeting closed at 9.20 pm

 
 

 

Clerk to the Parish Council: Julie Fletcher, 21 Ryecroft Lane, Fowlmere, SG8 7TT