MINUTES OF THE ANNUAL PARISH MEETING OF FOWLMERE PARISH COUNCIL
HELD AT ST MARY’S CHURCH SOUTH ROOM
ON TUESDAY 9th MAY 2006, AT 7:30 PM
PRESENT:Mrs Dorothy Woods, Parish Council Chairman
Councillors D Roberts, P Mullock, A Newby, A Lucas, M Bates, S Isaacs
Constable PC Sutton, Cambridgeshire Constabulary
Clerk, Mrs J Fletcher
Thirteen (13) residents of Fowlmere Village
Apologies were received from Mr R Elcock, Cllr P Flynn and Cllr B Hawkins
2. MINUTES OF THE ANNUAL PARISH MEETING OF 17 MAY 2005
The minutes were agreed as a true record and signed by the Chairman.
There were no matters arising.
3. REPORT OF THE CHAIRMAN OF THE PARISH COUNCIL – Cllr Woods
Parishioners, PC John Sutton, and fellow councillors.
Last year I reported that at the beginning of the year we were two councillors short, therefore making us ineligible to apply for Quality Parish Council status. I was very pleased to report that we had been able to co-opt Steve Isaacs and Alun Lucas to the Parish Council) I am also very pleased to announce that our Parish Clerk Mrs Julie Fletcher has obtained the Quality Assurance Certificate and I am sure you will all join me in congratulating Julie on all her hard work in attaining this qualification. Julie also wished to thank all the Parish Councillors for all their help.
I am however, disappointed to announce that although we then went on to apply for Quality Parish Council status, we were not granted this as co-opted members do not count towards making us eligible for this status. We cannot therefore reapply until the Parish Council elections in 2007. All the Parish Councillors were extremely disappointed especially as we had been commended on our application.
Still, we will persevere and reapply after elections in 2007. All the hard work has already been done so hopefully we will achieve this.
3.1 Security Cameras at the Village Hall
All seems to be well with the security cameras at the village hall. I can confirm from the last AGM at the Village Hall that all appropriate records are being maintained.
3.2 Fowlmere Cemetery
The last piece of work to be carried out is refurbishing the floor at the cemetery Chapel. The order has been placed for this work and this will be completed on 16/17 May this year. The Parish Councillors continue to have a twice-yearly tidy up and ‘bonfire’ at the cemetery. (Cllrs Roberts and Newby being the expert bonfire lighters on the Parish Council). We certainly appreciate any help from parishioners – children welcome (with their parents of course) Next date will be early October and we will publicise the date nearer the time.
The District Valuer, acting on behalf of the Parish Council has now negotiated the purchase of a small piece of land at the back of the cemetery in order to extend the cemetery. Although this will not be needed for about 5 years. Appropriate planning permission is now being sought.
3.3 Play equipment
Following the 2004 R O.S.P.A. report on the play equipment both at the village hall and on the Butts two pieces of equipment were found to be unsafe due to rotting timber supports below the ground. The two pieces were the very popular Wobbly Bridge and the well used Compass point Balance Climber. Unfortunately the cost of repairing these pieces was uneconomical and so they had to be removed
The safety surface below the swings at the village hall was renewed as was the surface below the rope climbing frame, new seats and chains were also renewed on the swings.
There was also a medium risk noted on the safety surface below the two seat flat swings on
the Butts and this was rectified only to be damaged very soon afterwards.
In conjunction with the village group Swings and Things the Parish Council has agreed to
fund A Wicksteed Trim Trail which consists of a SWITCHBACK RUN, a Rope causeway, a Big foot crossing and a log run connected by four step links. This should provide the children with the same degree of exercise and excitement as the compass balance climber used to.
All the new equipment will be of metal construction.
The Scout shed had to be demolished as the wood was rotten and becoming dangerous. The PC is thinking of possibly replacing this with a sheltered seating area.
We have just received the April 2005 ROSPA inspection report and only minor remedial
work is required on the equipment on the Butts and at the Village Hall.
3.4 Skateboard Park
So far we have been unable to find a suitable site for this. We are therefore looking at alternative suggestions ie a BMX track. We are getting the opinion of the youth of the village on this and possibly a sheltered seating area.
3.5 New Village Paths
The footpath that joins Champions Close and John’s Close to Jackson’s Way has been reinstated. In order to complete this area the footpath from Isons Close to join this footpath will be reinstated very shortly.
3.6 Low Cost/Affordable Housing
You will all have seen the new housing at Long Lane and we are very pleased that 4 of these are affordable housing offered to people in the village and surrounding areas.
As you know we were looking at another site for Low Cost Housing and the Housing Association had obtained funds to build these. Unfortunately negotiations with the landowners failed and we were very disappointed, after a year of negotiation, to have this scheme fail. The funds were used for another project in Cambridgeshire.
We all feel very strongly that Affordable Housing should be available and will continue to pursue other options vigorously.
3.7 Round Moat
As reported last year the Parish Council is working with Geoff Blackford of BC Group Trust and now also with Adrian Scuby of CCC who has responsibility for ancient sites and Rob Mungovan (SCDC Ecology Officer). Funding may be available from the Heritage Funding and we are applying for this. There is a maximum grant of £25,000 over 5 years with the PC being expected to contribute 10%. Cllr Alan Lucas is leading this project on behalf of the PC. As with all projects of this type it is very important to have volunteers. At the moment we have (it may only be two) six volunteers from the Duke of Edinburgh (DoE) award scheme helping. The Parish Council is very grateful for this help and all the help by other volunteers throughout the year. Also the good news is if we are successful in obtaining the grant then all volunteer time is accredited as the PC part of their contribution. As always if anyone would like to volunteer I am sure Alun will be very pleased to hear from you.
The next step is to create a costed project plan. Some of the items to be included in the outline plan are:
A very ambitious plan but we are sure it will be worth all the hard work.
3.8 Parking near the school
Hopefully you will have noticed that the area near Top Close has been ‘white lined’ and there are 12 parking spaces. The aim of this was to ease congestion outside the school. The Parish Council is also regularly having the brambles trimmed. I hope that these parking spaces will be utilised by teachers, visitors and parents to help alleviate the constant problems and cause of frustration with parking near the school.
This year we have had to spend quite a lot of money in tree maintenance in the village. Unfortunately the three Elms along St Johns Way had to be felled due to two of them having Dutch elm disease and the third one being unsafe once the other two were felled. The Parish Council will replace these trees in Autumn with Hornbeams – Carpinus betula ‘Fastigiata’.
The whole area around Jacksons Way and Saville Way has now been cleared and will be maintained. 9 new trees have been planted in this area and I think this is looking very nice.
The Parish Council want to concentrate on one area at a time to make sure that the whole village is well maintained. If anyone has any thoughts on this I would be very pleased to hear from them.
Seniorlink has been a real success in Fowlmere and we are the only village who provides this service to our older and disabled residents. I have heard many comments in different villages that they wished their Parish Council would look after them as well as we do. The Parish Council continue to pay the monitoring fees for 16 systems in the village at present.
3.11 Village Historian
The idea to appoint a village historian was put forward by Mr John Ison who felt that it was important to capture stories and information that otherwise might be lost. This suggestion has been met with enthusiasm by the various interested parties in the village. Cllr Barry Hawkins has taken on this project and Dennis Hitch, Martin Sheldrick and Leslie Price would all like to be involved and will make their contribution to a village web site linked to that of the Parish Council.
Leslie Price has offered to let the Parish Council have access to his latest CD Rom which brings village events up to date since his last publication, and he will continue to update it for us with a link to our site. He will also make the CD available to the general public on a cost basis over the internet if the PC approves.
Barrie is currently investigating the possibility of funding this facility for the village and plans to have a full report by the summer with more definite proposals
3.12 Other matters last year
We are still awaiting the results of a traffic survey to try and get HGVs banned from the village.
We are also still awaiting the white lines and cats eyes being replaced on the High Street
We were pleased to learn that the move of Marshalls to Duxford has been abandoned.
There is still the matter of A10 development – I will ask Cllr Roberts to give an update on this
Also the naming of the new development on Long Lane – this has not yet been resolved despite many attempts. Again perhaps Cllr Roberts can give an update.
At the end of my third year as Chairman, I would like to thank my fellow councillors and Julie Fletcher, our Clerk, for the support they have given me and also for their hard work and commitment to the community.
Thank you all for attending tonight and please let me know if you have any concerns or questions. Remember the Parish Council is here to serve the Parishioners.
4. COUNTY COUNCIL REPORT – There was no report
5. DISTRICT COUNCIL REPORT – Cllr D Roberts
Cllr Roberts advised that SCDC had moved to Cambourne and that a Contact Centre had been set up.
The Housing Department is looking at future and are having consultations with Council house tenants regarding which way to go – stay with Council in present form or transfer to a Housing Association. An independent body is conducting this survey. The Housing Department has gone seriously over budget and there will be a final report shortly.
SCDC has put in a requirement for 100% increase but as Government believe budget increase should be in single figures there is a possibility of capping. Historically SCDC has been a very low collecting Council. If capping goes ahead there would have to find a saving of £6.3 million through cut-backs.
A10 Update – All parishes have worked closely to fight the erection of an additional 19,000 dwellings. It looks like the immediate danger has gone but could be resurrected next year.
Cllr Roberts thanked the Chairman, Vice Chairman and Clerk and all PC members for their support.
Question: Rumours regarding travellers.
Answer: A great deal of time has been spent working with residents, Parish Councils, local District Councillors and Police. There are strong indications that travellers are looking elsewhere in South Cambridgeshire for other areas. Travellers come from Southern Ireland and England is very useful middle ground. At Meldreth a lot of people turn up to meetings because of concerns that the land near Mettle Hill could be sold to travellers. 28 acres has been bought by people with traveller connections and we are trying to get this confirmed. In another village a landowner has said that he had an offer in excess of £1 million from travellers for 12 acres of land outside the village envelope.
6. NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCH REPORT – Cllr Woods
Fowlmere Neighbourhood Watch is well established now, although there are still a few roads to be covered.
We continue to receive a monthly ‘Sawston Newsbeat Newsletter’ from PC John Sutton, which is circulated to all members in the NHW scheme. This keeps NHW co-ordinators up to date with crime in Fowlmere and surrounding villages. Carol Wilson, Community Contact Officer works alongside John Sutton and is our main point of contact on a day- to-day basis. Carol recently came along to our NHW meeting and gave a very interesting presentation on Distraction burglary.
Last year there was the Community Speed Watch trial in Fowlmere and John Sutton has sent his report on the findings. This is next on the agenda.
The next NHW meeting is planned for sometime in July. Thanks to all the co-ordinators who have worked so hard and continue to do so, to make NHW successful. If your road is not covered and you would like to become a co-ordinator I will be very pleased to hear from you.
7. REPORT BY CAMBRIDGESHIRE CONSTABULARY – PC J Sutton
PC Sutton reported that reports in Cambridge Evening News were not accurate.
The latest initiative is neighbourhood policing. This is a system whereby each neighbourhood has teams of police officers police community support officers who concentrate on crime and unsocial behaviour in that neighbourhood. The intention eventually is to have panels of ordinary people who will decide on what the priorities in each neighbourhood will be. A lot of what is done is conducted from Government and District Councils but sometimes priorities are not necessarily the priorities of a local community. The size of each neighbourhood has still to be decided but could possibly be as many as 30 villages.
There had been a total of 45 crimes reported last year. Theft from motor vehicles at the Nature Reserve makes up half of all reported crime. Youth problems in the village had been cut this year.
The Chairman thanked PC Sutton for attending the meeting and his attention to the village. He left the meeting at 7.50 pm
8. PARISH COUNCIL PLANNING COMMITTEE – Cllr D Roberts
Cllr Roberts advised that the committee met on a very regular basis with about two meetings a month and although not obliged to open the meetings to the public Fowlmere adopted a very open door policy.
Long Lane/Rectory Lane
There is still not a name for the development although the Parish Council provided two names. Cassenders has been the first choice as historically the Rev Yorke used to call the church Cassanders. The development is half-way to completion and when the eight unit is complete the PC is entitled to a financial contribution from the Developer towards the maintenance of the open areas. There are four affordable houses on the site which have been allotted to a Fowlmere resident. The PC is still looking for another suitable site as about eight more affordable homes are needed.
Cllr Roberts thanked the Planning Committee members who give us so much time to attend meetings.
Question: Mr Mullock is concerned about sewage outflow from the developments as this is down Rectory Lane.
Answer: The PC had pointed this out to the Water Board who had been official consultees prior to the development – they had no objection.
Question: Whose responsibility is it to name a new development?
Answer: SCDC ask Parish Councils for suggestions but the name is considered by official bodies such as Emergency Services, Post Office, etc. Also the Developer is given an opportunity to object. If there can be no agreement then the matter is put before Magistrates.
Question: There are many old families in the village who have not had anything named after them.
Answer: The PC had considered this but it becomes difficult when there are a lot of families and not many developments.
The Chairman mentioned that all meetings are open to the public when their views could be expressed.
9. PARISH COUNCIL FINANCE REPORT – Cllr A Newby
At year-end we finished just £116.00 above our housekeeping budget of £19,103 that as usual covers a balance of over and under spends from the original projection.
The key saving of the year was on the audit fees due to new regulations and play equipment, which for once needed little maintenance, this year (mainly because most of it is being replaced!)
We continue to put some money aside in support of a youth club in the village that for the second year has not been required.
Overspends this year have been under the heading of PC/telephone where we purchased a new computer for the council which was unbudgeted
Legal fees, which were one off fees for the cemetery extension project
Maintenance projects on trees, public areas and general grass cutting proved to be more expensive than originally forecast.
Under projects we continued to spend money on major tree work around the village, which is ongoing, and built the new footpath from Jackson’s Close which cost more than originally allocated in the forecast.
Under this heading we had also allocated a significant amount for the play surfaces at the village hall, which as you can see by the minutes, we completed by the end of the 2003/04 financial year.
The council are now allocating money into a higher interest longer term account for building funds for any significant projects that we may carry out in the future e.g. £5,000 plus.
We have also agreed to invest regular funds in maintenance of the round moat on an ongoing basis
The 2005/2006 budgets for housekeeping items has been set at £19,676 which is a rise of 3% reflecting average inflation.
Projects for next year:
We are continuing our policy of investment into village amenities with a number of new initiatives including:
Continued tree work and the round moat
The bank balance remains healthy which will continue to allow us to undertake and invest in projects to the benefit of the village
11. village hall report – Cllr B Hawkins
Cllr Hawkins provided a report advising that the Village Hall was recovering from an initial set-back as all existing Management had stood down from the committee. The financial year had ended with a better than targeted breakeven position.
The size of the hall was an important selling feature and a promotions brochure will be launched in the next few months.
A feasibility study plus fully costed proposals will be carried out on the access to toilet/washing facilities, amplification for disabled or hearing impaired people and improvements to the heating system.
The Management team and Trustees are short of willing hands – the present booking clerk is unable to continue and this role is of critical importance as continuity of this function remains the key to the success of the Village Hall.
Question: Mr S Isaacs mentioned that as £15,000 will be added to the deposit account could this be included in the ‘pot’ and used for the whole village.
Answer: This money is allocated under a 106 Agreement and cannot be used for anything other than maintenance of the open areas at the new development.
Cllr Newby asked for ideas from the village on what projects would be beneficial to everyone.
12. Any other business
Mr Mullock advised that the Parish Council no longer has a right of representation on the Board of School Governors.
The Chairman stated that the PC would always be pleased if the Headmaster would like to attend a meeting.
Mr Wall asked if there would be another Newsletter. – The Chairman advised that to achieve Quality Status we would have to produce four issues a year and just one issue involved a huge amount of work so it had been decided not to proceed with this.
Mrs van Tassel mentioned that the Village magazine will be produced monthly and wondered if the Parish Council would be interested in contributing on a regular basis. – The Chairman will contact the editors.
Cllr Woods thanked everyone for attending - the meeting closed at 8.40 pm.
Cllr Bates thanked the Chairman for conducting such an efficient meeting.
Clerk to the Parish Council: Mrs J Fletcher
21 Ryecroft Lane, Fowlmere, Royston SG8 7TT, Tel: 01763 208018