Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting held in the Old Village Hall
on Wednesday 12 February 2003 at 7.30pm

Members present:


Mr R Abraham

Mr M Bennett

Mrs R Bratt

Dr C Chambers

Mrs S Hyde

Mr R James

Dr 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, Mrs G Stoehr (Clerk) and five members of the public

1. Apologies fro absence

District Councillor S Harangozo.

2. To approve the minutes of

2.1 11 December 2002 - confidential minutes

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

2.2 8 January

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

3. Matters arising not included elsewhere on the agenda from the meeting on

3.1 11 December including

3.1.1 (7.2) Appointment of village hall representative

On a proposition by the Chairman it was agreed that this matter be carried forward until after the elections.

3.1.2 (10) Speeding School buses

The letter received from Mr Nelson, Education Transport Officer at the County Council was read. It was noted that discussions had taken place with Burtons Coaches and that PC Bradley had been asked by the Clerk to carry out speed checks in West Street.

3.1.3 Other including Clerk's report on outstanding matters

The Clerk's report(reports 1) was received and noted.

3.1.4 Councillor Martlew was asked to take up the Parish Council's concern that the missing bollard still had not been replaced and that the priority for cyclists and motorists was confusing at the top of Long Road. It was agreed that a letter also be sent to the County Council regarding these matters.

3.1.4 Miss Westgarth reported that Mr Lines had contacted her to say that the as his budget for this financial year was running out he would be planning the works for after April.

3.2 8 January

3.2.1 Water run off from the Long Road allotments

A meeting with Pat Matthews and representatives from the Allotments Society was being arranged. It was noted that Mr Matthews had advised that if the run off had always been in the same direction and if nothing had been done to alter the course then it was unlikely that the Parish Council could be held liable for any surface water running on to an adjacent property.

4. Village Halls including

4.1 Report on meeting with the District Council

Mr Chambers report (2) was taken as read.

4.2 To consider the plans for the proposed new village hall

The Chairman welcomed Mr Gadney, Chairman of the New Village Hall Steering Committee to the meeting. Mr Gadney reported on the background to the Committee's work to date and the architect's design for the proposed new hall(3). On a proposition by Mrs Bratt, seconded by Mrs Hyde the Parish Council agreed in principle to the plans being taken to the village for further consultation.

5. Recreation ground and pavilion including

5.1 Football Club

It was noted that although invited representatives from the Comberton Crusaders Football Club were not in attendance.

Mr Abraham reported that the Clubs had been unable to use the pitches for the last seven weeks due to drainage problems. Two quotations had been received for drainage improvement, Cambridge Drainage £1295 and Terrain Aeration £11,000. It was noted that the option from Cambridge Drainage would only be a short term solution and that other quotations had been requested but none had been received.

The proposal by Mr James seconded by Mrs Bratt, that the quotation from Cambridge Drainage for £1295 be accepted and that a letter be sent to the Football Clubs saying that the Parish Council could not continue to keep paying out on the recreation ground and pavilion without an expectation that the Clubs must give something in return, was carried with eleven votes in favour, one vote against and one abstention.

On a proposition by Mr James, seconded by Mrs Bratt it was agreed that cost of the drainage be taken from the contingency fund with any shortfall form the Land Extension Fund.

It was agreed that Mr Saunders and Mr Abraham and the Clerk should meet with the Football Clubs to discuss the future management options for the pavilion.

5.2 Tennis Club letter regarding their continued use of the tennis courts

The Chairman declared an interest in this matter as President of the Tennis Club and Miss Westgarth chaired this item. The letter from Mrs Collins, Chairman of Comberton Tennis Club, dated 2 February(4) was received and considered. On a proposition by Miss Westgarth, seconded by Mrs Bratt it was agreed to accept the Tennis Club's proposal for continued use of the tennis courts with the provisos that the courts are available for general parishioner use and also maintenance details being resolved. The details e.g. times etc of parishioner use and also the maintenance of the courts is to be discussed and agreed in a meeting between the Club and two Parish Council representatives. It was also agreed that Councillor Harangozo should be invited to attend the meeting on behalf of the Parish Plan.

5.3 Extension including report from the Chairman and Vice-Chairman and to consider a letter from Topham and Banks

Dr Wright and Miss Westgarth's report(5) on their meeting with Messrs Topham Banks to make a formal offer on the recreation ground extension was received and considered.

The letter dated 12 February from Mr Banks(6) outlining, without prejudice, three proposals for the Council's deliberation was received and considered.

The Chairman welcomed Mr Mark Catley, the District Valuer to the meeting and it was noted that Mr Catley had kindly agreed to attend the meeting free of charge as an informal extension of the service his department had provided valuing the land for the recreation ground extension.

On a proposition by Dr McCabe, seconded by Mrs Morison it was agreed to ask Mr Catley, in an informal capacity and two representatives of the Planning Committee to explore all the options in discussions with the District Council and report back to the Parish Council at a future meeting so that this matter may be discussed further.

5.4 Recreation ground person appointment

Mrs Bratt reported that no applications for the vacancy had been received. On a proposition by Dr Wright, seconded by Mr Bennett it was agreed that the selection committee should meet to redefine the job description and look again at the salary and hours on offer.

6. Finance

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

6.1.1 It was noted that a cheque had now been received from the Crusaders Football Club. It was noted that if a PC charges members of the public for sporting or recreational facilities it is not acting in its capacity as a public authority. This is business activity and registration for VAT is required. The liability for VAT on the football clubs' invoices is £78.75. On a proposition by Mr James, seconded by Mr Saunders it was agreed to carry this matter froward until after the meeting with the football clubs had taken place.

6.1.2 On a proposition by Mr Pettit, seconded by Mr Saunders it was agreed that £841.18 be paid to the District Council for the pavilion rates.

6.1.3 On a proposition by Mrs Morison, seconded by Mrs Bratt, the expenditure as listed in the financial report and monthly financial statement as follows was unanimously approved:

A Marsh

pavilion cleaning


Information Commissioner

data protection registration


Valuation Office Agency




affiliation fees



pavilion phone



member's training


RW Beamiss

Causeway refurbishment


Comberton Baptist Church

room hire VAP


C Westgarth

Reimbursement Christmas lights event


LG Stoehr



LGS Services



TXU Energi

pavilion electricity


M Wright

reimbursement bus shelter repairs


7. To consider matters arising from reports

7.1 Chairman's report

Dr Wright's report(7) including his report on his meeting with Mike Cooper to discuss road drainage and repairs and the recent vandalism to the bus shelter was received and considered.

7.1.1 It was agreed that Highway Division should be asked to cut in narrow grips in the verges along Swaynes Lane to help drainage off the road into the ditches.

7.1.2 The work of the Flood Action Group led by Mr Max Bacon was noted and on a proposition by Mrs Hyde, seconded by Mrs Bratt it was agreed that the Flood Action Group should have the same terms of reference as the Tree Group.

7.2 County Councillor

Councillor Martlew reported on the increase in Council Tax of 9+% and the implications of the area cost adjustment in future years and also on the temporary pot hole fills being undertaken.

7.3 District Councillor

Councillor Harangozo's written report, considered in his absence, indicated his support of the motion to the next meeting of the full District Council that the current council tax precept of £70 is not raised.

7.4 Planning update

The Planning Committee's report(8) was received and considered it was noted that the committee had recommended refusal of the application for 21 Barton Road and considered an application for advertising signs at the Spar/Post Office.

Notification had been received that the Appeal for 51 Green End had been dismissed and that an application for a conservatory for Mr Wise had now been withdrawn.

7.5 Tree Group including recommendation for work on trees

The Group's report(9) was received and considered. On a proposition by Mrs Morison, seconded by Mrs Hyde it was agreed to ask the County Council if it was willing to undertake the works to the trees in Long Road as the trees are on highway verges.

The Group was thanked for the clarity of its report.

7.6 Village Action Plan

Members were thanked for attending the recent Saturday meeting to discuss the draft report and it was agreed that another meeting should be held on Saturday 1 March starting at 9am.

7.7 Focus Group

Miss Westgarth's report(10) covering community safety warden/youth worker, youth shelter/skateboard facility, sensory garden, locations for remaining rustic bins and increase in traffic along Barton Road was received and noted.

7.8 Parish Paths Partnership

The report(11) was received and considered. Miss Westgarth reported that John Cooper had contacted the owners of Dove Cottage and was now awaiting the outcome of their planning application and that Mr Beamiss had now finished the work to the Causeway. An additional grant for some drainage had been applied for and that there were now problems with vehicles using the path which would have to be stopped.

It was noted that the outstanding amount from the budget for the Causeway is to be put into a contingency fund should there be a shortfall in the grant allocation or extra work arises.

7. Memorial (duplicate numbering noted)

The revised contract had now been signed by the Artist and it was agreed to ask Mike Cooper once again to cut back the brambles on the Memorial site.

The wording for the memorial was considered and it was noted that only three residents had responded to the consultation. Two residents had expressed a preference for 'the strength of a (our) village lies in its people' and one for 'To those whose efforts have enriched our village / To those who have enriched our village'.

On a proposition by Mrs Bratt. Seconded by Miss Westgarth it was agreed that the wording on the Memorial should be 'The strength of our village lies in its people'.

8. Members training including

8.1 Grant funding course

In response to Miss Westgarth's interest in the ACRE fundraising course on a proposition by Ms Wakelin, seconded by Mrs Hyde it was agreed that the cost of the course £120 be covered from the Parish Council's training budget.

8.2 Invitation from SCDC to attend training on the code of conduct

It was noted that training on the Ethical Standards and Code of Conduct is being held in Comberton Village College Monday 31 March at 7pm and South Cambs Hall, SCDC Offices Monday 19th May at 7pm and that other dates and venues are available.

9. Sensory garden and to approve quotations

On a proposition by Mr James, seconded by Mrs Bratt it was agreed that Miss Westgarth could spend the grant, following the Council's financial policy to complete the project without having to refer each item to the Parish Council.

10. To consider a speaker for the Annual Parish Meeting

On a proposition by Dr Wright, seconded by Mrs Bratt it was agreed to ask the Cambridgeshire Constabulary Air Unit to be the guest speaker at the Annual Parish Meeting. Ms Wakelin was thanked for making the suggestion.

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

11.1 Obstruction of verges

A letter of complaint regarding obstruction of verges by stones in Barrons Way was considered and it was agreed that Mrs Bratt should speak with the resident and ask them to remove the stones as they were an obstruction and would cause a problem for the grass cutting.

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

12.1 Carpet which has been dumped at the rear of the garages in St Thomas Close is to be reported to the District Council.

12.2 Concern was expressed at cars racing in Fox's Way at weekends and in the early evenings is to be reported to the Police.

12.3 It was noted that the consultation for the proposed path across the recreation ground for the Safer Routes to School Scheme was being held today and that the Parish Council would need to reach a decision on the path at its next meeting when plans would be available.

There was no further business and the meeting closed at 10.11pm.


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