Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting held in the Old Village Hall
on Wednesday 11 September 2002

Members present:


Mr R Abraham

Mr M Bennett

Mrs R Bratt

Mrs S Hyde

Mr R James

Mrs D Morison

Dr M Wright (Chairman)

In attendance: Mr Andrew Lansley MP, District Councillor S Harangozo, Mrs P Wright, Internal Auditor, 12 members of the public and Mrs G Stoehr (Clerk).

As a sign of remembrance of those who lost their lives one year ago in New York the meeting opened with one minute's silence.

1. Apologies

Dr J McCabe, Mr C Pettit, Mr G Saunders, Ms J Wakelin, Miss C Westgarth and County Councillor R Martlew.

2. To approve the minutes of the previous meeting on 10 July

On a proposition by Mrs Bratt, seconded by Mr Bennett the minutes were approved as a true record and were signed by the Chairman.

2.1 The extra-ordinary meeting of 31 July

On a proposition by Mrs Morison, seconded by Mrs Bratt the minutes were approved as a true record and were signed by the Chairman.

3. Mr Andrew Lansley MP - open discussion to include flooding and Comberton exchange upgrade

The Chairman on behalf of the Parish Council welcomed its Member of Parliament to the meeting and thanked all the residents who had taken time to attend.

3.1 Flooding. Mr Lansley explained that the Government had already agreed to increase its funding for flood defence and was reviewing 'accountability'. It was also looking at the availability and affordability of household insurance for those who had been flooded last year. He agreed to take up residents' concerns and suggestions with all the relevant agencies before and at his meeting on Flooding to be held on 2nd October in Orwell Village Hall and report back to the Parish Council. Residents' suggestions included:

3.2 Broadband. Mr Lansley reported that Comberton would be considered for the next round of exchange upgrades if enough residents registered their interest in broadband. It was noted that many had tried to register but had been unable. Mr Lansley reported that the East of England Telematics Development Trust (EETDT) could help on He also reported other options could be considered for example 'wireless broadband' and to help support this EETDT would be running a 'Connecting Communities' Competition and that more information on this should be available shortly.

3.3 Community policing. Mr Lansley reported that he had held talks with the Police to ensure that there would never be a repeat of the recent problems when Comberton was without a community beat officer.

4. Vacancies/appointments

4.1 Parish councillor

Only one parishioner had formally expressed interest in the vacancy. On a proposition by Mrs Bratt, seconded by Mrs Hyde, Mr Charles Chambers was co-opted to the Parish Council and appointed the Council's second representative on the New Village Hall Steering Committee.

4.2 Tree Warden

One parishioner had written expressing an interest in the position. On a proposition by Mr James, seconded by Mrs Morison, Mr Robert Cook of Green End was appointed as the Parish Council's Tree Warden and as a member of the Tree Group.

4.3 Herringland Charity Trustee

In response to Dr Hosking's letter two candidates were considered for the vacancy. Mrs Ann Collins recommended by the Trustees and Ms Jane Wakelin as proposed by the Parish Council Chairman. Following a secret preferential ballot in which Mrs Collins received 3 votes and Ms Wakelin received 11 votes, Ms Wakelin was appointed as Trustee to the Herringland Charity.

5. Matters arising from the meeting

5.1 Meeting with Topham and Banks

The Chairman's report(reports 1) on the recent meeting with Messrs Topham and Banks was received and considered. On a proposition by Mr Bennett, seconded by Mrs Hyde it was agreed that the District Valuer should be asked for a land valuation and that this matter be considered further at the next meeting.

5.2 Village of the Year competition

The Chairman reported that Comberton had won the award for South Cambridgeshire Village of the Year and won plaque, certificate and £100. It was agreed that the plaque should be put up in a prominent position in the centre of the village and the Nursery School had agreed that it could go up on its end wall. This was gratefully accepted. Thanks were expressed to everyone who had contributed to helping the village win the District Award.

It was agreed that a discussion on how the £100 prize money should be spent should be an agenda item at the next meeting.

5.3 Grasscutting

It was agreed to carry this matter forward to the next meeting to consider then if any changes were needed to the contract especially to the verges cutting frequency.

5.4 Skateboard facility music event

It was noted that Dr Hughes had cancelled the event proposed for the recreation ground due to the Licensing Officer's request for portable toilets during the event. Dr Hughes had written saying that she hoped the event would be rescheduled and held at the Village College.

5.5 Hubert Leach Ltd S106 Agreement update

Mr Taylor had copied a letter sent by him to Leach Homes asking why they had not responded to the second draft and if they were ready to sign. It was agreed that a letter be sent to Leach Homes saying that the Parish Council was in a position to sign.

5.6 Warning signs Royston Road/Swaynes Lane

The reply from Highway Division was read saying that it would not be making any changes as requested.

It was noted that the 'ducks in the road signs had now been erected.

5.7 The Causeway

Mr James reported on the site meeting with the County Council's Footpath Liaison Officers. It was noted that there might be problems with drainage at the end of the Causeway and that Mr Beamiss was due to start work any day.

5.8 Other


6. Finance

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

On a proposition by Mr Abraham, seconded by Mrs Bratt, the expenditure as listed in the financial report and monthly financial statement excluding Comberton Scouts (already paid) plus Herald Contract Services - £1,286.63, C Orme - £199.50 and ESPO -£285.53 was unanimously approved.

6.2 Budget review

The Budget report (appended 2) was received and considered. In response to the letter from Comberton Self Help Scheme requesting an additional £1,695 it was noted that the limit for S137 payments this year was £6013 and that the Council had budgeted for £2500 in total for the Scheme. 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 donate £1,500 to Comberton Mobile Self Help Scheme which, in the opinion of the Council is in the interests of the area and its inhabitants, was carried unanimously.

6.3 Internal Audit report

The Clerk reported that Mrs Wright had completed the Internal Audit and the Annual Report had now been sent to Moore Stephens the External Auditor. Mrs Wright's recommendations regarding the Clerk's salary review reporting, the issuing of P45's and the inclusion of cheque numbers in the financial report were noted. Mrs Wright who was present at the meeting was introduced to members and at the request of the Council she agreed to carry out a half yearly check on the accounts within the next month.

6.4 To consider quotations for the pavilion shutters

The quotations from Briar Securities £765, £1,175 or £1030 for an electric version and £1734 from Secom were considered On a proposition by Mr Abraham, seconded by Mrs Hyde the quotation from Briar Security for £765 was approved. It was agreed that the money should be taken from the contingency budget.

7. Reports

7.1 To consider matters from circulated reports

7.1.1 Village Action Plan

Mr Bennett's report(2) on the progress of the overall plan, the grants received from the Countryside Agency £2260 and the District Council £1,100 and on the recreation and sport consultancy being undertaken by Tim Wall was received and considered. On a proposition by Mr Bennett seconded by Mr Wright it was agreed that the next October Parish Council meeting should start early at 7pm to allow time for Mr Wall to present his findings.

7.1.2 Minor Authorities Appointed Governor(6)

Mrs Morison's report as circulated was noted.

7.2 County Councillor

Not present.

7.3 District Councillor

Councillor Harangozo reported on local busses and the A421/428 Study.

7.4 Planning update(3)

Mrs Bratt report on the applications considered by the Planning Committee since the last Council meeting was received and considered.

8. Focus Group(4) including

The report which included litter bins and their emptying, the sensory garden and the parish paths partnership was received and considered.

8.1 Sensory Garden

It was noted that a public meeting was being arranged for a Saturday in the near future and that quotations for plants and materials are in the process of being obtained.

8.2 Parish Paths including stiles and waymarking

On a proposition by Mrs Bratt, seconded by Mrs Morison it was agreed that a letter be sent the relevant land owners in South Street and Long Road concerning the removal of the styles and replacing them with wooden chicanes and Clive Orme be contracted to install the extra waymarkers (posts and discs provided by CCC).

9. Village Halls

A copy of correspondence from Martin Black, Chairman of the Institute Trustees to the Steering Group and the Groups' reply (including a draft of its constitution) was noted.

9.1 New Lease

In response to the letter from Richard Nobel, Solicitor, outlining his suggestions and advice for the proposed new Lease, on a proposition by Mrs Bratt, seconded by Mr Bennett, it was agreed that Mr Nobel be invited to attend an extra-ordinary meeting on 25 September. It was also agreed that both Martin Black, Chairman to the Village Institute Trustees and Al Gadney, Chairman of the New Village Hall Steering Group be also invited to attend the meeting and be sent a copy of Mr Nobel's letter for information.

In response to Mr Nobel's estimate for his fees, on a proposition by Mrs Bratt, seconded by Mrs Morison it was agreed that the Solicitor be formally be contracted and that the money should come from the general fund unallocated from last year's carry forward.

Mrs Hyde gave her apologies for the next meeting.

9.2 Appointment of Architect

Mrs Bratt reported on the procedure undertaken by the Steering Group to select an architect which included open tender, interviews and shortlisting. The Clerk confirmed that this procedure met the Parish Council's financial policy on securing contracts.

9.3 Reports

Two sets of Steering group minutes and Mrs Bratt's report as Village Hall Representative were received and noted.

10. Recreation ground and pavilion report including

10.1 Preferred handyman/contractors

Mr Abraham's report(5) was received and considered. In response the suggestion that a list of preferred contractors should be drawn up to call on in between meetings when urgent action was required, for example with a wasps nest it was agreed that the Clerk and Mr Abraham should draw up a list for further consideration at the next meeting.

10.2 Car parking

This was not discussed and will be carried forward to the next meeting.

10.3 It was noted that the rocking horse had been vandalised and a quotation of £378.70 from Wickstead Leisure for its repair had been received however Wicksteed were unable to carryout the repair for six weeks due to the need to make a replacement part. An additional £250 was quoted if safety fencing was put up in the interim period. On a proposition by Mr Abraham, seconded by Mrs Bratt Wicksteed were contracted to carry out the repair and the safety fencing costs approved if the insurance company insisted on it and would include its cost in any claim.

10.4 Thanks from Comberton Crusaders Football Club for the new goals and equipment on the recreation ground were noted. Mr Abraham reported that the football club had now gone up a league and that this brought increased crowds and therefore cars to home matches. On a proposition by Mr Abraham, seconded by Mr James, it was agreed to write to use the village hall car park as additional parking and a letter is to be sent to the Institute Trustees.

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

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

11.1 Watts Wood

John Hellingsworth, Trees Officer at the District Council had asked if the Parish Council were willing to continue with the management of Watts Wood. It was agreed to carry this forward to the next meeting.

11.2 Mr Jones of Fox's Way had written noting that the new pavement had been installed by the traffic calming in Long Road and requesting a stretch be installed on opposite side on the grass verge.

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

12.1 The Chairman reported on the recent problem with blue green algae, which had resulted in the temporary closure of the pond and surrounding area. It was agreed that this should be an agenda item at the next meeting.

12.2 It was noted that the village map at the end of Harbour Avenue had been stolen during the summer. It was agreed that this should be an agenda item at the next meeting.


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


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