MINUTES OF THE ANNUAL PARISH MEETING OF FOWLMERE PARISH COUNCIL
HELD AT ST MARY’S CHURCH SOUTH ROOM
ON TUESDAY 8th MAY 2007, AT 7:30 PM

PRESENT: Mr M Bates - Parish Council Chairman

Councillors D Woods, D Roberts, P Flynn, P Mullock, M Bates, B Hawkins

Councillor T Stone – Cambridge County Council, M R Elcock – Fowlmere School

Mrs J Fletcher – Parish Council Clerk

Eight (8) residents of Fowlmere Village

 

1. APOLOGIES

Apologies were received from Cllr B Hawkins and Mr M Johnson, Chairman, School Governors.

 

2. MINUTES OF THE ANNUAL PARISH MEETING OF 9 MAY 2006

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 Bates

Welcome to County Councillor Tim Stone, Parishioners and fellow Parish Councillors.

Following the Parish CounciI Elections on 3rd May, 2007 which I regret to say were again un-contested, I report that the Parish Council remains below strength.

The Council consists of nine seats with the retiring council made up of eight councillors with one vacancy. At the 3rd May election seven of the eight retiring councillors, put themselves forward for re-election, one did not citing pressures of employment and other commitments. There being no contested election, the Returning Officer, under the rules declared the seven nominees elected un-opposed.

Prior to the 2007 election there were attempts through the formal process required, to co-opt to fill the vacant seats, however these were not successful and it will be an early priority, following the Parish Council Annual Meeting on 15th May, 2007 to seek to co-opt to fill the vacancies.

The Council being below strength has consequences, in that, as was reported to last years Annual Parish Meeting, the Council applied for Quality Parish Council status, however, although meeting all other conditions the fact of being below strength, meant that the status being sought could not be awarded.

  1. Security Cameras at the Village Hall
  2. Following discussions and agreement between Parish Councillors, the Village Hall Committee and the Social Club Committee, the security cameras protecting the village hall as the major community asset remain operational.

  3. Fowlmere Cemetery
  4. Following reference to this at last year’s annual parish meeting, I report that documents have now been signed to complete the purchase of the additional land to extend the cemetery and the land is to be marked on the ground very shortly.

    As to the Chapel at the cemetery, the installation of the electricity supply is part completed with orders for heating and lighting about to be placed.

    After this the Chapel will be available for non-religious gatherings concerned with burials and will possibly be used for other Parish Council purposes.

    Other remedial work is also to be undertaken.

    The path from the road to the Chapel has been re-surfaced and the trees lining the path have been pollarded. In addition some Councillors continue with the twice yearly clean up of the cemetery and grateful thanks to those concerned for carrying out much needed work. Any volunteers to assist with this work would be most welcome.

    A final issue at the cemetery is that many of the floral tributes to deceased persons contain metal and plastic, which causes some difficulty with their eventual disposal and the Parish Council would very much appreciate such material being taken away by families caring for their family grave/graves.

  5. Play Equipment
  6. As a safety measure, the Parish Council has play equipment installed at both The Butts and the Village Hall inspected by ROSPA – the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents and acts upon recommendations made for any remedial work required. Councillor Pat Flynn leads on such issues and has been assisted by Councillor Alun Lucas – thanks are due to both in maintaining the equipment in a safe condition for the enjoyment of village children and families.

    Thanks are also due to those volunteers whose efforts have added to the amenities , particularly on The Butts.

  7. Road Safety considerations

Concerns have been raised during the last year by parishioners about road safety generally and in the High Street, Long Lane and Fowlmere Mill Road in particular.

The question of road safety and traffic conditions was raised by residents and the Parish Council as concerns with the proposal to open the Swan House Inn at the junction of High Street and Long Lane as an Indian Restaurant and Takeaway. The County Council Highways Department as the Highway Authority did not regard the likely additional traffic and possible on road parking as being of concern and raised no objection to the proposal, taking no account of local opinion.

On the sharp bend at the boundary between Fowlmere and Melbourn parishes at Fowlmere Mill Road where there have been numerous ‘near misses’ in recent months the Parish Council and County Council Highways Department are investigating what improvements to visibility at this location may be possible.

The Parish Council has also been making attempts to restrict the passage of heavy lorry traffic through the village and whilst this is proving a tortuous process, it is one the Council intends to persevere with. It may be of interest to parishioners to know that, in the context of heavy lorry traffic through the village, that the possible threat to the village tunnel of such traffic is one argument being offered to warrant action. Traffic restrictions have been applied in Melbourn and it is the local view that the conditions in Fowlmere warrant such action. This is the subject of ongoing negotiation.

 

e) Low Cost/Affordable Housing

The Parish Council is giving this matter due attention, to the extent that a Housing Needs Survey has been conducted recently on our behalf through South Cambridgeshire District Council, with results awaited. The PC has received presentations from two Housing Associations during the year with proposals to develop particular pieces of land for the provision of such housing. There were difficulties with both sites proposed and the PC will continue to seek a more suitable location for what is expected to be shown from the Housing Needs Survey as an on going need by village people.

Parishioners may have noted that the issue was amongst those raised during the recent District Council election.

  1. Round Moat
  2. The Parish Council continues to work with the County Council Archeology Department and the District Council Ecology Officer utilising the services of BC Group Trust a charitable ecology organisation to undertake conservation work at the site.

    This is an ongoing project and it is our hope that an application for funding to extend the work will be made in the near future.

    Councillor Alun Lucas has been leading on this project and whilst he has found that he does not have the time available to continue serving on the Parish Council, it is anticipated that the current initiative will be brought to an early conclusion and further conservation work carried out.

    Volunteers to help with this work are always welcome

  3. Trees/Hedges
  4. Attention has been paid to this work during the year with Councillor Dorothy Woods taking the lead. New Trees have been planted and are being maintained in their early growth with irrigation etc. Thanks are due to Councillor Woods for her work in this area.

  5. Senior Link
  6. Councillor Woods also leads the SeniorLink work in association with Help the Aged – the Parish Council provides support to the scheme which gives peace of mind and security to a number of older residents and again thanks are due to Councillor Woods for this work.

  7. The Swan House Inn
  8. Whilst there were considerable reservations and strong opposition to the opening of the Swan as an Indian Restaurant and Takeaway, Villagers should be aware that Mr Rahman the proprietor has to comply with specific conditions to operate the takeaway element of the business and the permission is for one year in the first instance and the use will be reviewed.

    It is understood that from early experience the proprietor is being required to enhance the extractor arrangements. Also the use of a neon sign and an external floor mounted notice board is being reviewed.

    These reservations and objections aside Mr Rahman is to be congratulated on restoring the premises to a condition more consistent with the street scene in the High Street.

  9. Other Matters

Many villagers may be aware of the voluntary work undertaken by community minded people in Fowlmere and I record appreciation to Mr Pat Rowley (The Village Womble) and to Mr John Stamford who keeps a road bend suitably salted in frosts as well as tidying up his local area. This support for their community is much appreciated.

I re-iterate that the Parish Council will be seeking to co-opt to the Council two people from our community to fill the vacancies. There are I am sure numerous able people in our village and hopefully, some may have the time to give to serve our community.

My thanks to all of my fellow councillors for their work and support during the past year and similarly particularly to the Parish Council Clerk Julie Fletcher without whom, business would be so much more difficult to deal with.

Please remember that this meeting is an opportunity to raise issues of concern with Parish Councillors - please take the opportunity.

Also the Parish Council will hold its Annual Meeting on Tuesday next at The URC Chapel School Room Chapel Lane at 7-30 pm to which all residents would be most welcome.

Thank you for attending this evening and we hope to see more of you at Parish Council meetings – held the third Tuesday of each month Except August when no meeting is held – Meeting Agendas are posted on the two notice boards – outside the Swan in the High Street and outside the Post Office

 

4. COUNTY COUNCIL REPORT – Cllr T Stone

A505

As well as rumbling on about the increasing congestion on the A505 between Junction 10 of the M11 and the Sawston roundabout, I have been making noises about the number of accidents. Flint Cross seems to have more than its fair share. I have asked the County to investigate and have been given the following report:

This section of the A505 stretches for about 7.8miles.

The accidents have been assessed over a five year period from Jan 2001 to Jan 2007

There have been 90 injury accidents over the 5 years, of which 6 were fatal 15 were serious and 69 were slight.

The accidents have ranged between 13 to 17 per year.

Looking at the accident statistics the factors (i.e. wet, dark and skidding) are all below the norm level for the South Cambs Rural area.

Flint cross is an accident site, number O151.

It has been investigated as part of the safety camera assessment but it did not meet the current criteria.

It has also been recently investigated in this team, where street lighting is proposed. Dependent on the cost it might be feasible to construct this in 07/08. If the cost is high it will have to go forward to the Medium Sized Traffic Management and Road Safety Schemes list and be assessed for funding with other schemes.

There is one other site within this length, Site O554 Gravel Pit Hill Thriplow.

Although outside the Duxford Division, and although I am generally not in favour of the proliferation of street lights, I shall be pushing to get lighting at Flint Cross. If we can get it onto a list that might help.

 

Joint Planning Arrangements - Cambridge Sub-Region

The City, County and South Cambridgeshire Councils with Cambridgeshire Horizons have proposed that they should work together on planning for local growth. Plans are now well advanced for the creation of the joint Development Control committees for Northstowe and the Cambridge fringes that will form the centrepiece of these proposals. It is expected that these committees will start work by September.

The Government is providing an additional £700,000 of funding to support the work on growth in 2007/08 and the expectation is that similar levels of funding will follow in subsequent years.

Although good news in itself, there are a couple of issues here which are worth a little reflection:

Gypsy and Traveller Sites

The East of England Regional Assembly (EERA) is preparing a single issue review of the emerging East of England Plan relating to the provision of Gypsy and Traveller caravan sites. EERA is required to identify the number of pitches required for each local planning authority (but not their location) based upon Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Assessments prepared by local authorities and a strategic view of needs across the region.

An Issues and Options document has been published today for twelve weeks of public consultation. This document seeks views on:

The Issues and Options document will be made available on EERA's website: www.eera.gov.uk

Within Cambridgeshire a public engagement event will be held on Monday 21st May at the Auditorium, Robinson College, Grange Road, Cambridge, CB3 9AN between 7pm and 9.30pm. This is to raise awareness about the consultation and to give the public to an opportunity to ask questions.

Streetlight outside the Old Manor House

I have received a complaint that the street light by the bus shelter outside The Old Manor House (SC7) is disturbing to people sleeping in bedrooms to the front and right of the house.

I have put the matter to the County's lighting department who say that, budget permitting, it should in principle be possible to fix a shade to prevent the problem. However before taking action they would wish to have confirmation from the parish council that it wishes the County to go ahead. The person to write to is:

Chris Sproston, County Lighting Engineer, Box ET 1007, Shire Hall, Cambridge CB3 0AP

No 31 bus

The County has conducted a consultation about re-scheduling the 31 bus. The idea was to connect with the 26 at Hauxton to speed journey times to and from Cambridge. The result is that 5 people would like the timetable to change, 20 are against change and 11 have no opinion.

I have yet to discover why so many people were opposed but I suppose you can't argue with democracy.

Matters Arising

Councillor Bates expressed his disappointment at the budget situation.

He was also concerned regarding the dangerous corner in Mill Lane and asked if we had to await a fatality before something is done.

 

5. DISTRICT COUNCIL REPORT – Cllr D Roberts

On behalf of the meeting Cllr Bates congratulated Cllr Roberts on her re-election success.

Cllr Roberts explained that anyone working for a District or County Council should be prepared for an enormous amount of work. Cllr Roberts stated that she always attended meetings if Foxton or Fowlmere were listed on the agenda.

A difficult year at SCDC had resulted in:

On a positive note, by working with the County Council the issue regarding bus passes had been sorted.

Cllr Roberts appreciated very much the Parish Council and how it works for this parish and thanked everyone for their kindness over previous years.

 

6. REPORT BY CAMBRIDGESHIRE CONSTABULARY

Read by Cllr M Bates

Hello to you all, hope you are all well.

Sorry I could not attend the meeting tonight. I have been asked to provide a quick written report, so here goes.

You will be pleased to hear that Fowlmere is generally a very quiet village with very little occurring. Let’s hope it continues this forthcoming year. We are still aware of the speeding issues in the village and have all intentions in carrying out speed checks in the near future. Likewise, we will continue to monitor the school during pick up and drop off times and promote safety to passing motorists.

Here are the crimes that were reported between 1st May 2006 to the present date.

May 2006.

5th; building window smashed and entry gained in The Way.

July 2006.

9th; vehicle broken into and property stolen at Fowlmere Nature Reserve.

August 2006

3rd; theft from the Village Hall in London Road.

6th; entry gained into a building in The Way.

September 2006

8th; charity box stolen from RSPB Office.

9th; interference with a vehicle in Fowlmere Nature Reserve.

entry gained to building in The Way.

12th; vehicle window smashed at Fowlmere Nature Reserve.

October 2006.

20th; two vehicles caused damage to the football pitches at the Social Club.

December 2006

7th; house entered and burgaled in London Road.

15th; person found in procession of cannabis in London Road.

18th; entry gained to building in The Way.

January 2007

24th; common assault in the High Street.

29th; stone thrown through front bedroom window in Top Close.

February 2007

16th; vehicle broken into and property stolen in Johns Close.

17th; vehicle broken into and property stolen in Butts View.

23rd; unknown offender purchased item using false credit card details in Butts Lane.

March 2007

16th; tricycle stolen from Butts Lane.

April 2007

15th; vehicle broken into and items stolen at Fowlmere Nature Reserve.

Vehicle crime historically increases in rural areas this time of the year and it is generally related to many of the beauty spots and car parks within South Cambridgeshire. Fowlmere Nature Reserve has been identified as a beauty spot and therefore will be patrolled regularly by South Cambridgeshire officers. The aim is to reduce the number of offences by providing high visibility patrols, to reassure members of public, to educate motorists and when possible bring offenders to justice. Quite often motorists leave valuables on display which may attract offenders. Please urge all visitors to be vigilant and take all precautions to protect their vehicle and property. If anyone sees anything in which they deem unusual/suspicious, please report it.

If you would like any ‘steer clear of crime leaflets’ which provides motorists with security tips or similar posters please ask. I will be happy to put some up elsewhere or alternatively drop them off so you can use them when necessary. As detailed above, Fowlmere Nature Reserve is a prime example.

Please continue to report all non-emergency incidents via the incident number on 0845 456 4564. When reporting an incident please be as specific as you can in recording names if known, descriptions of persons, times, locations and what actually happened. By helping us to identify the individuals responsible, we can deal with them appropriately.

Dial 999 only in an emergency. An emergency is an incident, which requires an immediate police response.

If you have any further queries/questions, please do not hesitate to contact; PCSO Becca Follenfant on 07711 036500 or by email becca.follenfant@cambs.pnn.police.uk or PC Lee Scott on 07740 734977 or by email on lee.scott@cambs.pnn.police.uk. Thank you very much - PCSO 7151 Follenfant

 

7. PARISH COUNCIL PLANNING COMMITTEE – Cllr D Roberts

Cllr Roberts stated that planning applications during the year had generally been non-contentious. Of most concern had been The Swan with residents voicing their comments: Cllr Roberts was surprised that the County is happy about the traffic situation on the corner. SCDC Environmental Health Officer is offering advice and it is hoped Mr Rahman is clear on what is required.

The Parish Council Planning Committee is always busy – Cllr Roberts thanked her Vice Chairman Pat Flynn and also colleagues who turn out in all weathers and at all times of the year.

 

8. PARISH COUNCIL FINANCE REPORT – Cllr D Woods

At year-end we finished £1,483.48 under our housekeeping budget of £20,682.52 this covers a balance of over- and under-spends from the original projection.

Over-spends this year included extra grass cutting due to the long cutting season, increase in the cost of hire of halls for meetings. Key savings were on maintenance of play equipment and public areas. We also saved a little on street lights as the amount needed to cover this was not known when the precept was set for the last year. The village grass cutting/tree maintenance remains our biggest risk to budget as it is expensive and unpredictable. We recently had to have 14 trees pollarded at the cemetery. The Council feel it is well worth the investment in order to keep the village looking neat and tidy.

Seniorlink system continues to be supported by the Parish Council and monitoring is being paid for 16 systems in the village at present.

Under projects we invested in a new cemetery path which was paid for out of our project budget.

In order to continue to maintain the village and to enable us to invest in future projects, we have had to raise the precept by 12% this year. The 2007/2008 budget for housekeeping items has been set at £24,030.

Projects for next year:

Due to health and safety considerations, the Bell Tower at the cemetery is now in urgent need of repair. We have secured a grant of 25% towards the cost of this work from the Conservation Department at SCDC. Once this work is completed the outside of the chapel will be decorated. Work is continuing at the chapel to install electricity and a small piece of land at the back of the cemetery has been acquired. Completion of this purchase will be finalised very soon. The Council will then need to plant a hedge around this land and add the area to the grass cutting contract.

Urgent tree work is required in the Round Moat and also the Fire Engine shed is in need of renovation and decoration.

Unfortunately the bus shelter at the end of Pipers Close has once again suffered damage and will have to be replaced. Costs are not available at the moment but we are hoping that we will be able to claim at least some of the cost of this on our insurance.

All these projects will be undertaken during the forthcoming year.

The bank balance remains healthy and this continues to allow us to undertake and invest in projects to the benefit of all age groups in the village

 

9. VILLAGE HALL REPORT – There was no report.

 

10. ANY OTHER BUSINESS

 

10/A Mr Elcock reported on Fowlmere School

Mr Elcock reported that the school has 90% children living in the catchment area. Very pleased with the continued educational successes, which are County average – Fowlmere is in the top 28%.

The school has spent time considering their development plan with teaching and learning at the top of the list.

School grounds will be developed.

The PTA and Friends of Fowlmere School have combined and are now PTFA.

The Governing Body has no vacancies and the new Chairman is Martin Johnson.

Government has introduced a 3-year funding plan for schools.

 

Matters Arising

Cllr Flynn stated that the school was delightful when playgroup visited.

Cllr Bates congratulated the Governors and school on achievements for the last year and wished everyone well for the coming year – Mr Elcock advised that they are oversubscribed for the coming year.

 

Cllr Bates thanked everyone for attending - the meeting closed at 8.15 pm.

 

 

 

Clerk to the Parish Council: Mrs J Fletcher
21 Ryecroft Lane, Fowlmere, Royston SG8 7TT, Tel: 01763 208018
Email:
fowlmereparishclerk@btopenworl.com, Website: www.fowlmereparishcouncil.com
(Contact me by phone, E-mail, or letter)