Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting held in the Old Village Hall
on Wednesday 9 October 2002 at 7pm

Members present:


Mr R Abraham

Mr M Bennett

Mrs R Bratt

Mr C Chambers

Mr R James

Dr J McCabe

Mrs D Morison

Mr G Saunders

Ms J Wakelin

Miss C Westgarth

Dr M Wright (Chairman)

By special invitation: Mr Tim Wall, Sport and Leisure Consultant.

In attendance: District Councillor S Harangozo, Mr R Cook (Tree Warden), Mrs G Stoehr (Clerk) and three members of the public.

1. Apologies

Mrs S Hyde (ill) and Mr C Pettit (work).

The Chairman opened the meeting by welcoming the new member, Mr Charles Chambers and the Tree Warden, Mr Robert Cook to their first meeting.

2. 'A Review of the Management of Comberton Pavilion & Recreation Ground' by Tim Wall

On behalf of the Parish Council the Chairman welcomed Mr Wall to the meeting. Mr Wall's presentation(reports 1) explained the purpose of the report, the process undertaken, the key issues arising from his consultations and his recommendations. The full report will include both sporting and recreation provision the latter becoming more possible if and when extra land is acquired. The written report is expected by the Village Action Plan Committee by the end of the month after additional information on case studies of other Councils' provision and management is included. This will be considered by the Council along with the recommendations of the Village Action Plan Committee at the next meeting.

3. To approve the minutes of
3.1 The last meeting on 11 September

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

3.2 The extra-ordinary meeting on 25 September

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

4. Matters arising from the meeting not included elsewhere on this agenda
4.1 Watts Wood ongoing maintenance and management

The Clerk read extracts of minutes from the District Council's Conservation Committee dated 1981 indicating that 'the former sewerage works at Comberton had been appropriated from the Housing Revenue Account to the Conservation Sub Committee, the transfer to be funded by £500 from the remainder of the 1981/82 Conservation Fund and the £500 offered by Comberton Parish Council, management to be undertaken by Comberton Parish Council'. The land is owned by the District Council and it holds the deeds.

On a proposition by Mrs Bratt, seconded by Miss Westgarth it was agreed that a formal approach be made to the District Council to acquire ownership of the land.

On a proposition by Mrs Morison it was agreed to discuss item 11 at this point.

11. Comberton Pond and willow tree work

The Chairman reported that Mr Oakes had advised that the willow trees sucklings near the pond might in the future undermine the adjacent wall and were taking water from the pond and had quoted £40 for the work. Concern and disappointment was expressed that despite the Chairman offering to raise this at this meeting in the meantime Mr Oakes had already removed the trees. The proposal by Mr Abraham, seconded by Mr Saunders to pay Mr Oaks £40 for the tree work was carried by eight votes in favour with three abstentions.

11.1 Following a brief discussion on the tree group membership and how it would operate the proposal by Ms Wakelin, seconded by Dr McCabe that the tree Warden, Mr Cook and Mr John Smith join Ms Wakelin and Mrs Morison on the Tree Group, discuss together how they will operate/communicate and come back to the Parish Council if necessary with any recommendations, was carried with ten votes in favour and one abstention.

11.2 Monitoring the pond for any reoccurrence of blue-green algae next year so that warning signs could be promptly put up was discussed. Mr Cook, the Tree Warden and a biologist, kindly offered to undertake this.

4.2 To appoint a Trustee to the Herringland Charity

A letter from Mrs Ruth Chapman, dated 17 September resigning as a Trustee to the Charity had been received. On a proposition by the Chairman, seconded by Mrs Bratt it was unanimously agreed to ask Mrs Ann Collins of Harbour Avenue if she would still be willing to become a Trustee and if so Dr Hoskin, Chairman to the Trustees be informed.

5. Finance

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

On a proposition by Mrs Bratt, seconded by Miss Westgarth, the expenditure as listed in the financial report and monthly financial statement was unanimously approved.

5.1.1 It was noted that safety netting, lamp irons and painting materials had been ordered from ESPO on Mr Abraham's authorisation. Thanks were expressed to Mrs Sims and her friends who had kindly painted the children's play equipment.

5.1.2 A transfer of £3000 from the savings to the current account was also approved.

5.2 Annual review of the Clerk's terms and conditions(reports 1)

It was noted that NALC and SLCC had agreed the new pay settlement for Local Council Clerks.

On a proposition by Mrs Bratt, seconded by Mr Abraham, it was agreed that as a result of satisfactory performance the Clerk's salary should increase as follows:

Point 21 on scale 1 April to 31 September 02 (backdated) at hourly rate = 0.522ph extra x 10hrs x 26 weeks = £135.72 owed for period

1 October 02 to 31 March 03 at the hourly rate of £8.293. In total, an annual salary for an average of ten hours per week of £4291.30.

It was also agreed that Ms Wakelin, Mr James and Miss Westgarth should look at he number of hours required from the Clerk and bring a recommendation to the next meeting.

5.3 Village of the Year prize money

The Chairman reported that Mr Richard Gentry of Westside Joinery had kindly offered to make and donate a backing board for the Village of the Year plaque.

5.3.1 A letter from the Women's Institute (WI) offering to purchase and plant bulbs in the village was considered. On a proposition by Mrs Morison, seconded by Ms Westgarth it was agreed to accept the WI's kind offer the bulbs to be planted at two of the entrances to the village (Royston Lane and West Street). It was also agreed that the Parish Council should purchase £100 of bulbs using the Village of the Year prize money and ask if the WI would also be willing to plant these.

5.4 Preferred suppliers list

Mr Abraham asked that this matter be carried forward until information had been received from the City Council regarding their inspection and repair service.

5.5 To agree the date and arrangements for the assets review

It was agreed that the assets review would take place on Saturday 2 November meeting at 10am at the pond.

6. To consider matters arising from reports

6.1 County Councillor

Not present

6.2 District Councillor

Councillor Harangozo reported that some residents had contacted him concerned that the negotiations with Topham and Banks for the recreation ground extension meant that Topham and Banks would partly develop the land. It was agreed that the Parish Council was aiming for an outright purchase of the land and that this had not been made clear in the last minutes.

6.3 Planning update(2)

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

6.4 Youth Council/Forum report from Sue Lester(3)

Disappointment was expressed that Ms Lester's funding had now finished and it was agreed to wait until Tim Wall's report was published before considering this matter further. The Clerk was asked to find other sources of funding to support the youth consultation and work of the youth council.

6.5 Minor Authorities School Governor(4)

Mrs Morison's report was received and noted.

7. Hubert Leech development, Barton Road S106 Agreement - update and planning application

The Clerk reported that the Council's solicitor had informed her that there was a delay in the signing of the Section 106 due to the County Council now requesting an education contribution of £28,000. It was agreed that an update on the traffic calming proposals should be brought to the next meeting and that the plans should be circulated before the meeting.

It was noted that Mrs Morison left the meeting at this point.

8. Village Halls including

8.1 New Lease to consider the 'Heads of Terms'

A letter dated 8 October from Richard Noble Solicitor was received and considered. A report(4) and recommendations from Mr Bennett, Mrs Bratt and Dr McCabe were also considered. On a proposition by Miss Westgarth, seconded by Mr Chambers it was agreed that :

1. The solicitor be asked to prepare a draft of the letter of ‘evidence of intent’ with the aim of not incurring significant expense at this stage until it is clear what is required by the potential funders of the new village hall.

2. It would be short-sighted at this stage, as time moves on, to continue to view 2004 as a fixed target date for the completion of the project as it would appear to close too many options, and is a date unlikely to be enforced in law assuming that there is evidence of progress. The Parish Council should proceed with care, both in view of other developments in the village and the importance of this project.

3. It would be appropriate to take further advice on some of the proposals that our solicitor suggests – including the need for the Parish Council to ensure that its assets are used to the best possible advantage of the village.

4. It would be appropriate to take further advice on some of the proposals that our solicitor suggests – including the need for the Parish Council to ensure that its assets are used to the best possible advantage of the village. This should be done prior to issuing any final letter and propose that a further meeting with the solicitor takes place as soon as practicable.

It was also agreed that a letter be sent to the Village Hall Trustees asking them to discuss both their solicitor and likely funders whether a letter of ‘evidence of intent’ would be acceptable and in what form.

The Clerk was asked to invite Mr Noble to attend an extra-ordinary meeting on Wednesday 23 October to discuss these matters further and to consider his draft of the letter of intent.

8.2 Reports

Two meetings of the New Village Hall Steering Group had taken place recently and minutes from the meeting were received and considered(5&6). It was noted that the most recent set were still in draft. It was also noted that Dr McCabe had a copy of the design progress documents should any member wish to take a look.

In response to the request from the Steering Group for information on how much could be raised through the Precept the Clerk was asked to send them the formula.

It was noted that Mrs Bratt's time as a Trustee had now ended and that Mr Saunders had now formally taken her place. The Parish Council thanked Mrs Bratt for her time and efforts.

9. Focus Group including

The Group's report(7) was received and considered.

9.1 Village map and dog bins

On a proposition by Dr Wright, seconded by Miss Westgarth it was agreed £450 be spent from the remaining Jubilee and the contingency budgets. Firstly for a new village map frame to be made by Westside Joinery to replace the one stolen earlier this year and secondly for two new maps, updated to include the Flower Mill, CVC etc. and relief printed purchased from a supplier found by the Chairman.

9.2 The idea of selling leaflet sized maps at the camping site was considered and the Chairman offered to discuss this with Mr Paul Hardy who owns the copyright.

9.3 Dog bins for Long Road, Harbour Avenue are to be added to the draft budget.

9.2 Minor improvements scheme

Following discussion about possibilities for a bid which included traffic calming in Hines Lane it was agreed that no application would be made this year. It was noted that a resident had requested that Hines Lane be resurfaced and that the Clerk had forwarded this request to the County Council.

9.2.1 On a proposition by Ms Wakelin, seconded by Mr Chambers it was agreed that a letter should be sent to the County Council investigating the possibility of 30mph roundels on a red backing at the entrances to the village.

9.3 Signs and Hines Lane traffic calming

The letter from the County Council refusing to changes received at the last meeting was discussed. On a proposition by Miss Westgarth, seconded by Ms Wakelin it was agreed to reiterate the Parish Council's concerns for safety and insist that the signs were implemented.

9.3.1 Costs for moving the village sign to include Horizon Park and the residents on the other side of Barton Road are to be brought to the next meeting.

9.4 The Causeway

Mr James reported that Mr Beamiss had started work however this had slowed up because the ground is to hard and would be better after some rain. Problems to the south end and heavy weeds and compacted gravel were also noted.

9.5 Christmas lights event

Arrangements for the Christmas lights event are beginning and a brass band to play at the event is to be found.

10. Memorial schedule and words

On a proposition by the Chairman it was agreed that Miss Westgarth, Ms Wakelin and the Chairman should consider reducing the number of suggestions and bring a recommendation to the next meeting.

10.1 It was noted that the Artist was behind schedule, that she should have completed the work by 1 September and that nothing further had been heard. The Clerk was asked to chase her.

10.2 The County Council is to be asked to clear the brambles from the rear of the Memorial site

11. Comberton Pond and willow tree work

Taken earlier.

12. Grasscutting and village maintenance specification review

On a proposition by the Chairman it was agreed to carry forward this item to the next meeting.

13. Report on recent flooding meeting attended by the Chairman

The Chairman reported on his attendance at a flooding meeting held at Orwell and chaired by Andrew Lansley MP. It had been recommended that a Flood Action Group be set up in villages to consider strategies should flooding reoccur. It was noted that the Association of British Insurers would not refuse insurance to households who had been flooded and that it had undertaken to make the insurance affordable. On a proposition by the Chairman it was greed to accept Mr Max Bacon's initiative to set up a Flood Action Group in Comberton.

14. To agree the date of the Annual Parish Meeting

Given the elections next May it was agreed to hold the meeting in April and the New Village Hall should be booked for 16 April.

15. Recreation ground and pavilion report including

15.1 Recreation ground report(8)

Mr Abraham's report was received and considered. Concern was expressed that the recreation ground and car park was being littered with alcopops, broken glass, and other litter and that neighbours gardens and the recreation ground were being used as a toilet. Damage to the posts and wire on the southern boundary was noted and it was reported that the Meridian Primary School was also having a similar problem. On a proposition by Mr Abraham, seconded by Miss Westgarth it was agreed that Clive Orme be contracted, to a maximum of £100 to carry out urgent repairs to the southern boundary and to remove the barbed wire.

Mr Abraham was asked to write a piece for Contact regarding this matter.

15.2 Extension

It was agreed that this should be carried forward to the next meeting, as the District Valuer's report had not yet arrived.

15.3 Car parking

After considering the request from Mr Ranger of the Valley to park his large van in the recreation car park for long periods of time the proposal by Mr Abraham, seconded by Ms Wakelin that his request be refused was carried unanimously.

16. To consider matters arising out of correspondence/communications received since the last meeting

16.1 Freedom of Information Act 2000

A letter regarding the Freedom of Information Act and the legislation requiring Parish Council's to register was received. It was agreed to circulate the information before the next meeting and carry this item forward to the next agenda.

17. Urgent matters brought forward with the Chairman’s consent

The Chairman reported on the recent sad deaths of two Comberton residents who had contributed to the life of the village. Mr Bob Robinson who was an ex-chairman of the Parish Council's and Mr Bert Daniels who had built the notice board in South Street and restored the village pump.


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


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