Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting held in the Old Village Hall
on Wednesday 12 June 2002

Members present:


Mr R Abraham

Mrs R Bratt

Mr R James

Mrs J McCabe

Mrs D Morison

Mr C Pettit

Mr G Saunders

Ms J Wakelin

Miss C Westgarth.

Dr M Wright (Chairman)

In attendance: County Councillor R Martlew, District Councillor S Harangozo, 4 members of the public and Mrs G Stoehr (Clerk).

The Parish Council and members of the public recorded their sadness at the recent death of Mr William Watts with a minute's silence. The Chairman on behalf of the Council paid tribute to Mr Watts who had served on the Parish Council for 40 years and had been for some of those years both District and Parish Councillor. He had a great passion for trees and had been the Council's tree warden. It was agreed that Watts Wood, which was named after him, would be a fitting lasting memorial.

It was noted that Mr R Robinson of 6 Barrons Way was in the Whittington Hospital in London. The Clerk was asked to send a get well card on behalf of the Council.

1. Apologies

Mr M Bennett and Mrs S Hyde

2. To approve the minutes of the previous meeting

On a proposition by Mrs Bratt, seconded by Mr James the minutes were approved as a true record with the one amendments: to show that the amount paid to Herald Contract Service was 1327.77. The Chair signed the minutes.

3. Matters arising from the meeting

3.1 New Financial regulations and appointment of an Internal Auditor.

The Clerk reported on her recent training course and encouraged greater involvement by the financial overseer in the accounts. On a proposition by Mr James, seconded by Mr Abraham it was agreed that the Clerk should meet with Messrs James and Saunders to review the risk to the accounts and consider how the Council complies with the tasks listed in the 'statement of assurance'. It was agreed that a report would be brought to the next meeting.

3.2 Meeting with Topham and Banks

As no response had been received to the Council's letter it was agreed that another letter should be sent suggesting some dates for the proposed meeting.

3.3 Street lighting and removal of obsolete lamp posts update

The Chairman reported that he had phoned the County Council who had begun removing obsolete posts the next day. A formal complaint had been sent to the County Council and was currently being investigated.

Complaints passed to Councillor Martlew included a faulty (day burner) streetlight in The Valley and the give way sign at the end of Long Road (warning tape around the electrics) both of which had been reported on numerous occasions had still not been repaired. He was also asked to ensure that the uneven pavements be reinstated without delay.

3.4 Skateboard facility litter collection sponsorship and request for fundraising event

It was noted that litter collection had now begun and would be monitored by both the Chairman and the Recreation Ground Committee.

In response to the request from Dr Hughes seeking permission for a skateboard facility fundraising music event in July on the recreation ground the proposition by Mrs Bratt, seconded by Mrs Morison it was agreed that the Parish Council was agreeable in principle to a fund raising event on the recreation ground on the evening of Friday July 19th July with the following provisos: all necessary licences are obtained and complied with; the neighbouring properties are consulted; and the event organisers provide details of how numbers will be controlled and that starting and finishing times and other finer matters to the satisfaction of Dr Wright, Mr Abraham and Mr Pettit.

3.5 Ducks in the road' sign

Confirmation had been received that the County Council had agreed to install three warning signs.

3.6 Traffic calming in Barton Road

Councillor Martlew reported that he had spoken with Sue Reynolds, Development Control Officer at the County Council. It was agreed that she should be asked for a plan showing the latest proposals.

On a proposition by the Chairman it was agreed to take item 10 at this point in the meeting.

10. Grasscutting

In response to the numerous complaints received from residents and members regarding the recent grass cutting the proposal by Dr Wright, seconded by Mr Abraham that the Parish Council write formally to Herald to record its dissatisfaction with the standard of the contractor's work. In particular:

1) The poor quality and manner of last verges cut

2) The speed and lack of care and thought for public safety by the employees when cutting the grass alongside the school

3) The damage done by strimmers to the post and rail fencing at the junction of Swaynes Lane and South Street.

Giving notice to the contractor that if the standard of the grass cutting is not improved the Parish Council reserves the right to withhold a proportionate amount of payment until the work is done.

On a proposition by Ms Wakelin, seconded by Dr Wright it was agreed that Herald should be told not to strim around the post and rail fencing at the junction of Swaynes Lane and South Street and that the kind offer from Ms Wakelin and Mr Winney that they would carry out this task be gratefully accepted.

4. Finance

4.1 To receive the financial report and to approve the payment of bills(appended 1 to these minutes)

On a proposition by Mrs Morison, seconded by Mrs Bratt, the expenditure as listed in the financial report and monthly financial statement plus Comberton Allotments and Gardens Society - 95 (planning permission), Herald Contract Services - 1321.88 (grasscutting), Cancer Research - 100 (in memory of Mr Watts) was unanimously approved.

4.2 Request for financial support from Comberton Scouts

In response to the request from Comberton Scouts for financial support towards the annual firework event the proposal by Mr James, seconded by Mrs Bratt that in accordance with its powers under Section 137 of the Local Government Act, 1972, the Council donates 300 to Comberton Scouts which, in the opinion of the Council is in the interests of the area and its inhabitants was carried unanimously.

5. Reports

5.1 To consider matters from circulated reports

The report from the Minor Authorities Appointed Governor(1a) had been circulated and was noted.

5.2 County Councillor

Councillor Martlew reported on the sites for special schools currently being considered.

5.3 District Councillor

Councillor Harangozo reported that there would be a delay in the Parish Council receiving its recycling credits due to the lack of an officer and on the forthcoming consideration at the Joint Area Committee of the proposed cycleway which will cross through the parish at the Hardwick Road/Long Road junction. The Parish Council was asked to consider suitable 'exception sites' for affordable housing to meet current housing need.

5.4 Planning update(1)

Mrs Bratt reported on the applications considered by the Planning Committee since the last Council meeting and provided a brief update which included the refusal by the Committee of the Orange 15m high telecommunications mast because of lack of information and a request for a site visit.

5.5 Tree Group(2)

The Group's report was received and considered by the meeting. it was agreed that quotations for the work both with and without stump grinding should be brought to the next meeting.

As reported in the Group's report the handrail on the footbridge between Barton Road and Milner Road was missing. On a proposition by Mr Pettit, seconded by Mr Abraham it was agreed that Morley Manufacturing be asked to weld the rail in place when they come to do the play equipment repairs.

Councillor Harangozo was thanked for arranging the sweeping of foliage from the footpath between Barrons Way and South Street.

It was agreed that the Clerk should put an article in the next Contact regarding overhanging trees and hedges.

On a proposition by Ms Wakelin item 8.1 was taken at this point.

8.1 Sensory garden

It was agreed that both members of the Tree Group should be kept informed of the Sensory Group's meetings and any planting should take into consideration the prevailing winds.

6. Village Halls including

6.2 Report from the Chairman on his meeting with Messrs. Fisher and Gadney

The Chairman reported on his meeting. On a proposition by Dr Wright, seconded by Mrs Bratt it was agreed that the Parish Council would continue to obtain its three quotations but that work would not be contracted whilst the new hall is on schedule.

Mr Fisher was invited by the Chairman to address the meeting. Mr Fisher suggested that a portaloo could perhaps be considered if disabled toilets were required and he reported on the thinking behind the formation of a new trust for the new village hall from the Village Institutes point of view.

6.1 Village Hall and Steering Group representatives' report

Minutes of the Village Hall Steering Committee meeting on 21 May(3) and Mrs Bratt's report on Village Halls Committee meeting 20 May(4) were received by the meeting.

Mr Fisher was thanked for kindly clearing the elder bush near the village hall gate and details of the faulty drain covers mentioned in the report are to be given to the Clerk for attention.

A list of questions(5) relating to ownership, financial issues, existing buildings and alternative new village hall location from the Steering Committee were briefly considered. On a proposition by the Chairman it was agreed that Mrs Bratt should meet with the Clerk and others as appropriate to see which could be answered factually, which require further consideration or professional advice. It was agreed that further consideration of this should be an agenda item at the next meeting.

6.3 Disability work quotations update

Still only one quotation from Coulson had been received but two other builders had indicated that they would like to quote by the next meeting.

7. S106 Hubert Leach Development, Barton Road

Draft three had now been received and it and the letter from Mills and Reeve Solicitors were considered. On a proposition by Mrs Bratt seconded by Mrs Morison the Parish Council unanimously resolved to approve the S106 following the inclusion of a proviso to make clear that it does not accidentally release the Owner from its 3 year maintenance obligation.

8. Golden Jubilee

It was unanimously agreed that the recent celebration had been an enormous success and the Chairman and the Vice-Chairman were congratulated for their part in the organising and running of the music event. Letters of thanks are to go out to others who had helped with the event and also all the sponsors.

It was agreed that a piece is to be put in the next edition of Contact regarding both the event and also the distribution of the commemorative coins.

8.3 District Council competition entry

On a proposition by Mr James, seconded by Mrs Bratt it was agreed that the Parish Council should enter the most relevant sections of the District Council's Jubilee competition and Miss Westgarth was thanked for kindly volunteering to do the entry.

9. The Causeway

Disappointment was expressed that the current contractor had now withdrawn from his contract to refurbish the Causeway and on a proposition it was agreed that Mr Beamiss should be asked for a firm quotation to complete the work. It was also agreed that Mr James should be the contact for this matter.

It was noted that a signpost for the top end of the Causeway had been approved as part of the P3 grant.

Mr Fisher was thanked for tending to the weeds on top part of the Causeway. On a proposition by Dr Wright, seconded by Mr James Clive Orme was authorised to deal with the weeds along the length of the path until fully refurbished.

11. Recreation ground and pavilion report including

11.1 Repairs to the shutters

Mr Abraham reported on repairs required to the large shutters. It was agreed that quotations for their repair and or replacement be brought to the next meeting for further consideration.

11.2 VAP involvement in the recreation ground

Councillor Harangozo Leader of the Village Action Plan Sport and Recreation Group reported that the brief given to the group at the last meeting (7.3) was to time consuming and for the Group alone and requested support from the Parish Council for the involvement of an independent consultant. On a proposition by Mr James, seconded by Mr Abraham, it was agreed that the Clerk should arrange a meeting of the Action Plan Group, recreation ground users, Messrs Abraham and Saunders and Mr Tim Wall, Sport and Leisure Consultant to find out how Mr Wall could assist and what his fee would be.

11.3 RoSPA play equipment inspection report

Mr Abraham reported on the work considered high risk by RoSPA in its report. On a proposition by Mr Abraham, seconded by Mr Saunders, Morley Manufacturing's quotation for 365 to repair the crane was approved by the meeting.

It was agreed that quotations for the work to the rocking horse should be brought to the next meeting and that RoSPA should be asked to meet with Mr Abraham or the Clerk to point out the problem with the swing chains.

12. To consider matters arising out of correspondence received since the last meeting including

Minor correspondence for information or a future meeting is to be circulated between members.

12.1 Recreation ground noise

In response to the complaint for residents of youths spinning their cars in the car park and playing loud music the Clerk reported that the matter had been passed to both Environmental Health and the Police to monitor. On a proposition by Mr Abraham, seconded by Mrs Bratt it was agreed that a letter be sent to the gate key holders asking them to pull the gate to by 8pm at the latest.

12.2 Consultation on street trading consent

In response to the consultation the proposition by Mrs Bratt, seconded by Mrs Morison that the Parish Council support the District Council's move to a District wide consent status was carried unopposed.

12.3 Village of the Year Competition final

The Parish Council was delighted to hear that Comberton had reached the competition final and Miss Westgarth offer to put together the presentation for the judging on 1 July was gratefully accepted. On a proposition by Mrs Bratt, seconded by Dr Wright it was agreed that up to 300 could be spent on the presentation.

12.4 Race Relations Amendment Act

On a proposition by Mrs Bratt, seconded by Mrs Morison, Comberton Parish Council unanimously acknowledged the general duty placed up on it by the Race Relations Amendment Act 2000 and agreed that the Council will continue within its functions and policies to have due regard to the need to eliminate discrimination, promote equality of opportunity and promote racial equality between people of different racial groups.

12.5 Complaint from Mr Chambers of speeding vehicles in South Street and Royston Lane

On a proposition by Mr Abraham, seconded by Dr Wright it was agreed that PC Bradley should be asked to carry out speed check at this location and to take appropriate action with offenders. Highway Division is to be asked to clear the signs of any obscuring vegetation.

It was noted that the Police had been carrying out speed checks in West Strret.

14. Urgent matters brought forward with the Chairman's consent

14.1 It was agreed that a letter should be sent to Anglian Water asking them to reinstate the corner of Barton Road and Swaynes Lane.

14.2 Chippings left on the Herringfield Drift from a drive in Swaynes Lane were noted.

There was no further business and the meeting closed at 10.02pm.