Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting held in the Old Village Hall
on Wednesday 11 April 2001

Members present:


Mr R Abraham

Mr M Bennett

Mrs R Bratt

Mrs S Hyde

Mr R James (Chairman)

Dr J McCabe

Mrs D Morison

Mr G Saunders

Ms J Wakelin

Mr W Watts

Miss C Westgarth

Dr M Wright

In attendance: Mrs G Stoehr (Clerk)

  1. Apologies
    from Mr C Pettit (work)
    also received from District Councillor S Harangozo, County Councillor R Martlew
  2. To approve the minutes of the previous meeting
    On a proposition by Miss Westgarth, seconded by Mrs Hyde the minutes were approved as a true record and signed by the Chairman.
  3. Matters arising from the meeting including
      1. (3.3) Playgroup fencing. No reply had been received as yet to the Council’s offer.
      2. (9) Cornhill are to be contacted about insurance for the proposed skateboard facility.
      3. (10.4.3) Council loans. A paper prepared by the Clerk was noted(report 1).

3.1 Government Rural White Paper(r2)
Following discussion of the briefing paper by Mr Bennett the proposition by Ms Wakelin, seconded by Mr Bennett that the Parish Council aim for ‘Quality Council’ status was carried unanimously.
On a proposition by Mr James, seconded by Mr Bennett it was agreed that the Mr James would be the member responsible for ensuring that the Council was both involved in the forthcoming consultations and also took the appropriate steps towards achieving its ‘Quality Council’ aim.

  1. To receive the financial report and to approve expenditure(appended to these minutes 1)
    The Chairman drew attention to an administrative error in the amount of precept demanded for the forthcoming financial year. On a proposition by Mr James, seconded by Ms Wakelin it was agreed to put the extra four thousand pounds into the land purchase fund.
    On a proposition by Mrs Morison, seconded by Ms Wakelin the expenditure as listed in the financial report was approved unopposed.
    On a proposition by Mr Abraham, seconded by Dr McCabe, the additional payment of £195.75 to Comberton Bowls Club (hedge cutting) and £70.50 to Herald Contract Services (grasscutting) was approved unopposed.
    1. To consider requests for Section 137 grants
      On a proposition by Mrs Morison, seconded by Ms Wakelin, the Council in accordance with its powers under Section 137 of the Local Government Act, 1972, authorised the following expenditure which, in the opinion of the Council, are in the interests of the area and its inhabitants: Old School House - £250; Self Help Scheme - £1,500; Contact - £700; and Comberton Church - £650.
    1. The Clerk’s terms and conditions of employment
      The proposal by Mrs Bratt, seconded by Dr McCabe, that the Clerk be put on a permanent contract now that the six month’s probationary period had ended was carried unopposed.
  1. To receive and approve the Accounts for the financial year ended 31 March 2001(r3)
    The proposal by Mr Saunders, seconded by Mrs Hyde that the Income and Expenditure Account, Balance Sheet and Supporting Statement of Accounts for the year ended 31 March 2001, as prepared by the Responsible Financial Officer, be approved by resolution of Comberton Parish Council was carried unanimously.

6. To receive and consider the planning report and applications including
S/0560/01/F Hubert Leach Ltd, Land at Barton Road – 25 houses and garages
Following discussion of the recommendations by the Planning Committee(r4) the proposal by Mr Watts, seconded by Ms Wakelin that the Parish Council approve the application with the following comments and conditions
Public Open Spaces, Landscaping and Play Equipment

The developer has designated an area to the west of the site, backing on to homes in Swaynes Lane and Barton Road as the main public open space and children’s play area. This is an area of grass and trees, some of the trees have preservation orders. The Parish Council is agreeable to assuming ownership of this main area of public open space subject to a satisfactory Section 106 Agreement being signed including, inter alia, a commuted sum towards its future maintenance costs.

The Developer has indicated that he would be willing to provide a cash sum instead of play equipment for this public open space which could be put towards another, as yet undecided community benefit. The Parish Council will give further consideration to the necessity and appropriateness of play equipment on this open space and would welcome an opportunity to meet with the landscape architect to discuss the details of what play equipment, and hard and soft landscaping might be provided on this site by the developer. This matter will form part of the Section 106 Agreement also.

The Parish Council notes that there are wells on the proposed main site for the public open space. Steps should be taken to ensure that the developer attends to these wells and makes the site safe for the purpose for which it is intended.

All other areas of open space and landscaping will not be accepted by the Parish Council who suggest that they should become the responsibility of the adjacent house or housing association as appropriate for all maintenance.

It is essential that the hedging and ash belt which runs along the Herringfield Drift remains to provide an effective screen on entering the village. We are led to believe that there is a tree preservation order on this landscaping, if this is not the case a preservation order should be put in place.

Drainage and sewage problems in this area of the village

There are long term and worsening problems in this part of the village. The development of 25 houses will add considerably to that problem. No development should be allowed to start until the fundamental problem is solved.

Roads and footpaths

The current plan shows a 'shared' area for the road with the main development which is designed for vehicles and pedestrians. A clearly marked, raised pavement is safer.

A footpath between the two areas would overcome the current division into two separate areas. It would also increase the possibility of the residents of the larger houses doing at least some of their journeys on foot. The site is close to the Primary school but without the foot paths residents are likely to take a car to get to school.

Footpath access should be provided from the site to both to Swaynes Lane and to Barton Road.

Design and colour scheme of the houses

The design of the houses is more in keeping with a town/city development than a village in South Cambridgeshire. Similarly the colours of the building materials are not in keeping with the tones of the materials used in traditional buildings in the area. The developer should redesign/specify the buildings to reflect local conditions.

The design of the low cost/affordable houses should be changed (turned) so that the residents have the benefit of a southern facing living room.

Highway changes as part of the development

Although the changes to the road and its junctions have been given full planning permission, concern is expressed on two matters

- the visibility towards the East from cars leaving the Drift is not good because of the hedge. The hedge does not come within the development and so is not the responsibility of the developer. The District Council should reassess the sight lines from the drift.

- the speed of traffic from the East. The stretch of road from Barton to Comberton is 60mph. This development plus a new office development a few hundred metres to the East and a proposed change of use of another building in the same area will result in an increase in traffic. The stretch of Road from the office development to Comberton should have its speed limit reduced from 60mph to 30 or 40 mph.

Calor Gas provision

It is unclear how the houses would be supplied with their gas. If this is to be from a central tank/storage area more information is required.

Primary school

The Parish Council notes that the Section 106 Agreement will include provision for the Meridian Primary School.

Street/road names

The Parish Council exercises its right to choose the development’s road names.

The main access from Barton Road into the development is to be ‘Thornbury’.

The Public Byway is to be/remain as ‘Herringfield Drift’.

The proposal by Ms Wakelin, seconded by Mrs Hyde that the Vehicle access to the low cost housing should be from Barton Road as Barton Road traffic should be relatively slow at this point. Also residents will be more likely to take cars to the planned parking spaces rather than leave them on Barton Road received the following votes, 6 votes in favour and six votes against. The Chairman cast his deciding vote and the motion was carried.

The meeting thanked Mrs Bratt for arranging the public meeting to discuss the planning application.

All members were encouraged to write individually to the District Council with their views on the application.

6.1 The planning report was received and considered by the meeting(r5).

7. To receive the report and consider the recommendations

    1. County Councillor
      Not present.
    2. District Councillor
      Not present.
      1. On a proposition by the Chairman it was agreed that a letter be sent to the District Council saying that the Parish Council is very concerned about the District Council’s approach to litter.
      2. Concerns were expressed regarding litter from the Village College students and also outside the Spar. The Chairman offered to talk with the shop owner and a letter is to be sent to the Village College.
      3. The Large pothole outside 82 Swaynes Lane has returned and is to be reported.

7.3 Tree Warden
A letter had been received from Cornhill Insurance regarding the tree survey. Some trees had already been looked at by the Trees working party and the rest are to be discussed at the next meeting. An interim report is to be sent to Cornhill.

7.4 New Village Hall Steering Group
The Group’s report was received and considered by the meeting.

7.5 Village Hall representative(r4)
Mrs Bratt’s report was received by the meeting. Following the recent problem with parking the proposal by Miss Westgarth, seconded by Mr James that a general letter be sent to the Nursery School and the Commercial Centre respectfully requesting considerate parking. The Chairman offered to enquire into the cost of car park markings.

    1. Focus Group
      The Group’s report which included additional litter bins, war memorial, flower beds, footpaths, village map and jazz concert was received and considered by the meeting.
      1. Litter picking. On a proposition from Dr Wright, seconded by Mr James, carried unopposed, it was agreed that approximately 3 extra hours litter picking are required each week around the pond area and along West Street. These are to be offered in the first instance to Mrs Watson.
      2. Causeway. One budget estimate of £960 from RW Beamiss had been received for the Causeway’s refurbishment. On a proposition from Mr James, seconded by Dr Wright it was agreed that no further quotations be sought and that the budget figure from Mr Beamiss be approved. John Cooper, Parish Paths Liaison Officer is to be notified and a courtesy letter sent to Mr and Mrs Dickinson.
      3. Open Spaces Society. On a proposition from Dr Wright, seconded by Mr James, carried unopposed It was agreed to join the Open Spaces Society for £25 per annum.
      4. Barton Road/Harbour Avenue planting. On a proposition by Dr Wright, seconded by Miss Westgarth approval was given to flower beds being established on the corner of Barton Road/Harbour Avenue. Approval was also given to planting in Hillfield Road with the proviso that advice on shrubs and safety is sought and taken into consideration.
      5. Village map. On a proposition from Dr Wright, seconded by Mr Watts, carried unopposed it was agreed that Mr P Hardy’s offer of a village map be gratefully accepted.
      6. Jazz concert. The proposal by Dr Wright, seconded by Mr James that the Parish Council underwrite any loss up to a maximum of £150 for a summer jazz concert was carried unopposed.
      7. Village sign. Mr Abraham reported that the sign was progressing well and should be ready very soon.
      8. Bus shelter cleaning. The proposal by Dr Wright, seconded by Mr James that Mr Leader be increase the frequency of bus shelter cleaning to twice per week was carried unopposed. It was agreed that the quotation could be accepted by the clerk as long as it was no more than double the current rate.

7.7 Village Action Plan(r9)
Mr Bennett’s progress report was received and considered by the meeting.

7.8 Neighbourhood Watch and Countryside Watch
Mrs Hyde reported on recent break-ins and the lack of police notification to Neighbourhood Watch, the police liaison committee meeting and the Chief Inspector’s comment that Comberton had one of the best Neighbourhood Watch schemes in the county.

    1. School Governor
      Mrs Morison reported that the school’s budget had been approved and that interviews for a new headteacher were being arranged.
    2. CALC representatives
      Mr James reported on the recent meeting he had attended, which included Foot and Mouth and path closures, the legal requirements for committees and working parties and CALC training. It was agreed that CALC should be kept informed of all the Council’s consultation responses.
      1. On a proposition by Mr James, seconded by Dr Wright it was agreed to arrange a CALC in-house training session for November and to invite the neighbouring parish of Toft to also attend.

7.11 Recreation ground
It was noted that youths had been seen loitering near the pavilion. Mr Orme is to be asked to quote for filling the potholes in the recreation ground car park.

8. To consider matters arising out of correspondence received since the last meeting
Minor correspondence for information or for possible inclusion in a future meeting is to be circulated between members before the next meeting.
Concessionary bus passes, as from 1st April 2001 are free of charge. It was agreed that the Clerk would no longer need to attend the village hall on the second Thursday of each month.

9. Matters brought forward with the Chairman’s consent
It was agreed that the following reports were required for the Annual Parish Meeting:
Roger Abraham Recreation ground

Mark Bennett Village Action Plan

Rhona Bratt Planning

Sandra Hyde Neighbourhood Watch and Countryside Watch

Janet McCabe Comberton Help Scheme

Dorothy Morison School Governor and Contact

Graham Saunders Finance

Jane Wakelin Village Hall Steering Committee

Bill Watts Tree Warden

Chris Westgarth Public Arts

Malcolm Wright Village Enhancement

There was no further business and the meeting closed at 10.12pm.

Signed ……………………………Chairman ……………………date.