Minutes of the Meeting of the Parish Council held in

the Old Village Hall on Wednesday 12 November at 7.30pm


Members present:


Mr A Bailey

Mr M Bennett

Mrs S Brookfield

Dr C Chambers

Mr D Charge

Mr A Hollick

Dr F Hughes (arrived during item 6.1)

Dr J McCabe

Mrs D Morison,

Mr R Rowlands (arrived during item 7.1)

Dr H Roscoe

Mrs A Webb

Miss C Westgarth (Chairman)

In attendance:       Mrs G Stoehr (Clerk) and 2 members of the public.


1.         Apologies for absence

District Councillor S Harangozo, County Councillor R Martlew

2.         To approve the minutes of the last meeting on 8 October 2003

On a proposition by Mr Bennett, seconded by Mr Charge, the minutes were approved as a true record and signed by the Chairman following two amendments. Firstly, item 7.4 to read ‘£50 prize money had been received and it was agreed that this should be spent on shrubs for the sensory garden’ and secondly, item 7.4 to record the flood group membership.

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

3.1       (5.3) Barton Road traffic calming

Mr Charge reported that a meeting had taken place with Sue Reynolds and that she had drafted two suggested alternatives. A scheme for central islands similar to that outside the Village College had been chosen as previously recommended by the Parish Council. Ms Reynolds had written to Leach Homes. A change to the 40mph speed limit had also been discussed.

Miss Westgarth reported that Mike Cooper had been reminded of the missing island outside the village college.

3.2       Other

3.2.1    (3.1) Topham and Banks recreation ground extension

Nothing new to report.

3.2.2    (3.3.1) United News

Details of the shop’s owner and leaseholder had been obtained and letters sent to both. A letter had been received from United News on behalf of themselves and Bettaplace Ltd. (the freeholder) which was non-committal.

4.         County Councillor and District Councillor reports

Neither councillors were present.

5.         Parish Plan

5.1       Mr Bennett's report(1) was considered. This detailed the progress underway since the last meeting.

5.2       Notes from the recent youth consultation meeting (2) were received.

5.3       The recent meeting with the sports club to consider the future management of the pavilion and the preferential use for the recreation ground and sports pitches was discussed. It was reported that the pavilion users were generally in favour of taking on the lease and the Parish Plan Implementation Committee (PPIC) would draft a Lease for consideration at a future Parish Council meeting. On a proposition by Dr Chambers, seconded by Mrs Webb it was agreed that all Leases should be consistent with the level of detail which was being considered for the Village Hall lease.

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 Miss Westgarth, seconded by Dr Chambers, the expenditure as listed in the financial report and monthly financial statement was approved:



SCDC (rates)



Moore Stephens (audit fee)



LG Stoehr (salary)



LGS Services (PPIC support)



LGS Services (expenses)



LGS Services (VAP support)



Andrew Marsh (pavilion cleaning)



Ridgeons (wood slide & notice board)



N Gristwood (groundsman)



BT (pavilion phone)



C Westgarth (reimbursement keys)



Cambs ACRE (affiliation fee)



Five Star Pest Control (pond rats)



Powergen (pavilion electricity)



C Orme (grass at pond & VH & VH hedge)



6.2       Draft budget

Dr Hughes arrived during item 6.2.1

6.2.1    A letter from a Comberton resident Mrs Petty, expressing concern at Comberton being the third highest Precepting authority was read and considered.

It was acknowledged by the Parish Council that the Precept for last year was high and that Comberton indeed was the third highest precept in the District. The Parish Council was very conscious of this when setting its budget for the FY ending March 2004 and note that this was an exceptional year and does not anticipate it being repeated again next year. Mrs Petty’s other points concerning buses and the Long Road traffic calming were also discussed so that a formal reply could be made.

6.2.2    The budget report (appended 2 to these minutes) showing income and expenditure against budget to date and draft figures based on past history and existing contracts was received and considered. This noted that as a baseline for the draft budget 2004-2005 committed expenditure was expected to be in the region of £34,000.

6.2.3    Requests for financial support for the forthcoming year had been received from:

Comberton Mobile Warden Scheme - £2,500

St Mary's Parochial Church Council for upkeep of the churchyard- £750

Contact - £700

6.2.4    A letter was expected from the Finances and Resources Department regarding Local Government Finance Act 1992 Parish Precepts that would show the estimated tax base for all parishes and an explanation as to how the Council tax base is calculated. Details of last year’s figures had been circulated for information.

6.2.5    It was agreed that all members would give some thought to additional projects for FY 2004-2005 and let the Clerk have the details for second draft of the budget.

6.3       Assets Review

The two part report(3) from Dr McCabe on the recent review was received and considered. It was noted that acquired assets had been added to the form and included in the checks. It was also noted that Mr Charge and Mrs Brookfield had also attended the review.

6.3.1    A list showing all the Parish Council’s assets’ values and insurance cover if appropriate is to be circulated to all members so that this can be updated and approved at the next meeting.

6.4       Standing orders

It was agreed that all members were to consider these and email their thoughts and suggestions to the Clerk before the next meeting so that these could be approved at the next meeting.

7.         To receive reports and consider matters arising from the reports

7.1       Tree group

The Group’s report(4) was received and considered. It was noted that Mrs Morison together with the Clerk had already powers to agree expenditure as detailed in the Parish Council’s financial standing orders.

7.1.2    Tree in Westlands. As there were mixed views on the merit of the tree being removed it was agreed that both Highway Division and the Trees Officer at the District Council should be asked to take appropriate action, if any after consultation with nearby residents.

7.1.3    Kentings grass

A letter from a resident in Kentings regarding trees on the verge was discussed. It was noted that the plans received from the County Council to show which highway verges the Parish Council was to cut under the agency services scheme included areas in Kentings. A letter had been sent to Mike Cooper highlighting this.

Mr Rowlands arrived at this point in the meeting.

7.1.4    Tree locations and recommendations. It was agreed that the Tree group should put an article in Contact regarding the ‘Plant a Tree in 2003’ tree sponsorship scheme and a notice on the notice board regarding overhanging trees and encroachment.

7.1.5    The application to the County Council’s free trees and hedging scheme to improve the recreation ground southern boundary was noted. On a proposition by Mrs Morison, seconded by Miss Westgarth the purchase of an additional £50 of hedging was approved. It was agreed to write to the adjacent landowner to ask if she would be willing to keep her horse away from the new planting perhaps by using an electric fence and also ask the Groundsman to put up some thicker gauge wire.

7.1.6    Memorial landscaping. It was noted that the memorial appears slightly sinister when wet and agreed that the Tree Group should be asked to look at alternative planting to lighten the scheme.

7.2       Planning report

Miss Westgarth’s report(5) was received. It was noted that Mrs Morison is now the Committee Chairman.

7.3       Village Hall Steering Group representatives

Village Hall Steering Group report(6) was received and noted.

The latest draft (Draft E)(7) of the heads of terms for the Village Hall lease was considered.

On a proposition by  Dr Chambers seconded by Miss Westgarth it was resolved that that the Heads of Terms: Comberton Village Hall Lease – Draft E’ be offered to the Comberton Village Institute on the following conditions:

·        An acceptance of the offer is received at the latest by the date of the next Parish Council meeting on Wednesday 10 December

·        Evidence is supplied within four months from the date of this letter that the trustees have achieved the lottery criteria and

·        Whilst it is acknowledged that the building of the new hall is dependent on outside funding being achieved it is the Parish Council’s expectation that the project will be completed within 2 years.

7.4       Other

7.4.1    P3 report

Miss Westgarth reported on the proposed diversion of Path 5, between Barton Road to Swaynes Lane and how the recent changes to the route now met the criteria previously agreed by the Planning Committee.

7.4.2    Christmas lights event

It was reported that Mr & Mrs Turnbull had kindly agreed to allow their electricity to be used and that lights had been ordered for the pond wall and the Nursery School tree. Mrs Kingshott had kindly offered use of her tree and electricity. The Groundsman would put up all the lights. The Salvation Army band had been arranged and the event would take place on Friday 12 December at which festive refreshments would be served.

8.         Clerk’s appraisal

On a proposition by Miss Westgarth, seconded by Mr Bennett it was resolved that Dr McCabe, Mrs Morison and Mrs Webb should meet to discuss this matter and bring a recommendation to the next meeting.

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

Minor correspondence for information is to be circulated.

9.1       Members allowances

In response to the consultation letter(8) from Mrs May at the District Council it was agreed that more information was required. On a proposition by Mr Bennett, seconded by Dr Chambers it was unanimously resolved that in principle the Parish Council’s current system of reimbursing members at cost for out of pocket expenses incurred on behalf of the Council or at approved NALC rates for mileage incurred attending meetings or training out of the parish rather than paying allowances should be the approach as from 31 December when the new legislation comes into force.

9.2       Mrs Wilson, The Valley re the recreation ground

This letter was delegated to PPIC to consider and reply.

9.3       Other

9.3.1    Allotments replies from the Deputy Prime Minister’s Office(9) and the Shepherds Friendly(10)

Guidance from the Deputy Prime Minister’s Office and the letter from the Shepherds Friendly that they would be considering the allotments in the New Year. It was agreed to put an article in Contact informing interested parties.

9.3.2    In response to the communication from Mr Walsh of Fox’s Way regarding the still outstanding matter of water run off from the allotments in Long Road on to his property on a proposition by Chairman, seconded by Mrs Morison it was agreed that Miss Westgarth, Mrs Brookfield and the Clerk should meet with Mr Walsh, Mr Pat Matthews, Land Drainage Manager at the District Council and bring a recommendation to the next meeting.

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

10.1     The Chairman reported on her attendance at the recent Community Mediation AGM at which the guest speaker had been Mr Andrew Lansley MP.

10.2     An invitation had been received to attend the District Council’s Funding Toolkit meeting on 29 November at the Village College.

There was no further business and the meeting closed at 9.37pm.



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