Minutes of the Meeting of the Parish Council held in

the Old Village Hall on Wednesday 14 September 2005 at 7.30pm


Members present:


Dr B Burton

Mr D Charge

Mr A Hollick

Dr C Chambers


Mrs D Morison

Mr R Rowlands

Miss C Westgarth (Chairman)

Mrs A Webb

In attendance: Cllr S Harangozo, 5 members of the public and Mrs G Stoehr (Clerk).


1.         To approve apologies for absence

Satisfactory apologies were approved from Mr M Bennett (overseas), Dr J McCabe (holiday), Mr A Bailey (ill) Mrs S Hyde (holiday) and Dr H Roscoe (overseas).

Apologies were also received from Cllr D Baldwin.

2.         To approve the minutes of the last meeting on 3 August 2005 including the confidential minutes

On a proposition by Mrs Morison, seconded by Mr Charge the minutes of the meeting were approved as a true record after the following amendment:

·        Insertion to show that Mrs Webb left before the confidential item.

The confidential minutes were also approved as a true record after the following amendment:

·        Mrs Webb deleted from those present.

Both sets of minutes were signed by the Chairman.

3.         Matters arising or carried forward from the meeting (and also the July meeting) for discussion/decision

3.1       Interactive sign/Barton Rd scheme – to consider the members’ report in the site meeting[1]

The report on the recent site meeting was received and considered. There was a consensus that the scheme now no longer what was originally agreed as the interactive sign is proposed in a different position.  By recollection the sign was at the roundabout but now it is at the beginning of the traffic calming. It was noted that the speed was assessed by someone at the side of the road and thus considered by the Parish Council to be an amateurish way of assessment and not suitable evidence for the Parish Council to spend up to £6,000 of public money on.  Therefore on a proposition by Mrs Morison, seconded by Mr Charge it was agreed that the Parish Council requires a proper speed survey to be undertaken by Cambridge County Council (CCC), sight of the Safety Audit and a reconsideration of the data obtained from the speed survey which gives clear evidence that an interactive sign is essential for the scheme before the Parish Council will consider again the funding of the interactive sign.   It was noted that there was a consensus that if the Parish Council funds an interactive sign it should be placed at the most useful position in the village which was considered to be on Barton Road nearer to the Meridian School.  It was agreed to carry this item forward until the required information has been received from CCC. It was also agreed to enquire as to how much 40mph signs cost in comparison with an interactive sign. A letter is to be sent to Sue Reynolds, CCC.

3.2       Redevelopment of Papworth Hospital – to respond to the consultation[2]

Mr Rowlands declared a prejudicial interest in this item and left the meeting whilst it was being discussed. On a proposition by Mr Hollick, seconded by Mrs Morison it was agreed that the Parish Council responds that it does not support the move to the Addenbrookes Site for reasons of transport and parking.

The vote was recorded as three votes in favour, one vote against and 3 abstentions.

It was noted that members could respond as individuals to the consultation.

3.3.            Other

3.3.1    E-mail from the ex-secretary of Comberton FC – use of foul language. [3]

It was noted that an informal response from the ex-secretary of the club had been received.  However no formal reply from the Football Club had been received as requested in the Parish Council’s letter.

4.         County Councillor and District Councillors reports

Cllr Harangozo apologized for not providing a written report.  He reported that the planned briefing from South Cambridgeshire District Council (SCDC) on affordable housing would have to be postponed as due to the capping of Council Tax there would probably not be enough funding to enable this. It was also reported that Ms Charmain Hawkins wants to undertake a site meeting with the Planning Committee to discuss Church Farmhouse. The Planning Committee are to action this.

5.         Parish Plan

5.1       Connections bus report[4]

            It was noted that the Bus report has been received.  The Parish Council was pleased with the report and the topics discussed and also that the Bus is able to cover these topics and offer support to the youths.

6.         Finance & procedural matters[5]

6.1       To received the financial report and to approve the payment of bills

The financial report was received and considered and checked by a member against the invoices. On a proposition by Mrs Morison, seconded by Dr Chambers it was agreed that the payments as listed in the financial report should be paid.

SCDC (planning application)


BT (‘phone bill – alarm)


Connections Bus Project (donation see last meeting)


Wicksteed Leisure (safety surface repair)


MD Landscapes (grasscutting)


Ridgeons (Groundsman materials)


Connections Bus Project (youth bus contract)


Powergen (electricity pavilion)


MD Landscapes (grass cutting)


LGS Services (Admin & expenses July)


ACRE (Trust document)


Cambridge Water (water bill)


Moore Stephens (annual audit)


Ridgeons (bus shelter materials)


Ridgeons (Groundsman materials)


N Gristwood (Groundsman)


Peter Oakes (tree work)


Phil Smith Carpentry (bus shelter)


Scotsdales (Roundup for Causeway)


MD Landscapes (grass cutting)


LGS Services (Admin & expenses Aug)


On a proposition by Dr Chambers, seconded by Mrs Webb it was agreed to pay the

Grounds man’s petrol for the Parish Council’s strimming and grass cutting work and to seek clarification on the apparent over claim of petrol for July. It was agreed that future claims for petrol must be supported by the original receipt.

6.2       Audit conclusion for FY ending 31 March 2005

            It was noted that the audit had now been completed and Moore Stephens had found everything to be in order. Moore Stephens had asked the internal auditor to change her report regarding petty cash as no petty cash system is operated. The accounts have been placed on the notice board for the statutory period advertising closure of the audit.

It was noted that the half yearly internal audit is to be arranged and that the practice of some Council’s is to change on occasion the internal auditor to gain a differing perspective on the Parish Council’s systems in place. It was agreed to carry this forward to the next meeting. 

It was noted that Dr Chambers and the Clerk are still to meet to consider/check on some of the items detailed in the risk assessment report and following this Dr Chambers would report their findings to the Parish Council.

6.3       Standing Orders review including closure of meetings for confidential matters advance notice & acceptance of cash

The Standing orders were reviewed with respect to notifying the public in advance when it was likely that confidential matters might be discussed and also in respect of the cost and time implications of banking cash, to save confusion about a petty cash system being in place and to provide a better paper trail for audit purposes. On a proposition by Mrs Morrison, seconded by Dr Chambers it was resolved:

·        To delegate to the Proper Officer the power to indicate on the agenda when appropriate that the Parish Council may close the meeting due to the confidential nature of the business to be transacted.

·        That no cash will be received by the Parish Council.

The standing orders are to be amended accordingly.

6.4       To consider the quotations for the repairs to the tennis court fencing.[6]

            Four companies had been invited to quote.  Two quotes, one from Universal Fencing for approximately £1500 and one from Bradgate for approximately £2100 had been received and were considered.  The report from the Groundsman was noted which indicated that since the fencing had been removed there had been no further damage. It was agreed to explore the idea of temporary netting to prevent the tennis ball from going out of court and to carry this item forward to the next meeting to discuss further.


 7.        To receive reports and members proposals and to consider recommendations

7.1       Planning including a recommendation to write to SCDC regarding lapsed planning applications and recommendation on SCDC design guide

7.0.1    It was noted that no written planning report had been received. Given the recommendation of the Planning Committee on a proposition by Miss Westgarth, seconded by Mrs Morison it was unanimously agreed to write to SCDC regarding the lapsed planning application specifically planning in 2000 for Church Farmhouse Ref No: S/0386/00/F Church Farmhouse, The Causeway - Change of Use of Land to Garden Land and Erection of Store/Stable.  It was agreed that the Parish Council was of the opinion that the planning permission had lapsed and that it has not been adhered to in that the following conditions have not been kept to:

·        Condition: 3 archaeological Works - Not happened.

·        Condition:  6 garden land to west of causeway - felling of Wellingonia Tree.  The condition states that the landscaping must take place no later than the 1st planting season after felling of tree. This has not happened

·        Condition 7 East Causeway - condition refers to 1st planting and seeding season after the building or occupation. There has been no building or occupation.


Comberton Parish Council believes that SCDC needs to address these and determine that the application has lapsed and that another application is therefore required.

7.02     It was noted that the Parish Council had previously recommended refusal of an application of railings and iron gates and retrospective close boarded fencing at Church Farm House however the planning officer recommended approval. The application had been taken to the Development and Conservation Control Committee Meeting and the Committee had agreed with the Parish Council and had refused application. Thanks were recorded to Mrs Morison for attending the meeting at short notice and Cllr Harangozo for his support.

7.0.3    The recommendation of the Planning Committee design guide describes Comberton and its character well. It was agreed that Comberton Parish Council supports the design guide and hopes that the historic design trend will be supplemented when dealing with applications in Comberton.  It was noted that the guide was already being used to form Comberton village design statment.

7.2              Chairman’s report on meeting with D Vacher, Highways Supervisor[7]

The report detailing action to resolved outstanding highway matters was noted.

7.3              Tree Group report including removal of trees near recreation ground path at rear of the school & works to oak tree on recreation ground

7.3.1    It was noted that some trees near the Parish Council’s path to the rear of the school have been removed by Acacia Tree Surgery allegedly on behalf of CCC on the basis that they were deceased and dangerous. The Chairman had spoken to the Head Teacher at the school who knew nothing about the work or that they needed to be felled and had indicated that they liked the shade that they had given. It was agreed that this was a sad loss of an amenity and that the matter should be passed to Cllr Baldwin for further investigation and explanation.

It was noted that the Tree Group did not have a policy to recommend that for every tree removed a new one should be planted to replace it  and that each application was considered on its own merits.

7.3.2    Works to the Oak Tree

It was noted that the tree had been sonic tested which had concluded that the tree could be saved for a few years if the crown was reduced by 40%.  This would cost approximately £1000+.  The budget implications were briefly considered. It was noted that the tree budget was already overspent.  However some funding could be found from either the general reserve or the contingency fund.   It was agreed to seek further quotes for the tree work and the netting for the tennis courts and carry both these items forward to the next meeting for further discussions when the budget implications would be considered further.

7.3.3    As the pond walling was not progressing it was agreed to ask the Tree Warden to draw up the specification for the pond wall and seek the quotations.  It was noted that the recently planted rose bushes had failed to take and it was agreed to find out if they were guaranteed.

7.4              A proposal to review of work carried out in Comberton (by the PC, local authorities and the water authority) since the last great flood in order to prevent a recurrence

It was noted that matters relating to the drains had been taken up with the Highway Division in the Chairman's report (item 7.2)

It was agreed to undertake a review.  Letters are to be sent to Anglian Water asking them what steps it had/was taking to mitigate further flooding in the village, Pat Matthews at SCDC asking him for details of the annual maintenance of awarded watercourses in the parish.  A note is also to be placed in Contact encouraging residents to check their ditches and piped watercourses for blockages. Highway Division is to be asked to explore the possibility of making the manholes into grids to take excess surface water.

Mr Hollick the Flood Action Co-ordinator was asked to report to the next meeting.  It was noted that Mr Hollick had taken over the report that Mr Max Bacon had started. It was also noted that the Met Office concludes that flooding will increase in the future.

8.         Village Hall

8.1.      To consider the reports from the Village Hall representatives and Steering Group representatives

8.2       To consider the correspondence from the VIT including the request that the Parish Council allow a staged build

Items 8.1 and 8.2 were taken together.

The minutes of the joint Parish Council/Village Hall Institute Trustees (VIT) co-ordination group held on the 30 August 2005 were received and considered[8]. The Village Institute Trustees (VIT) had now decided not to create a new charity. Dr Burton reported that this had been accepted and voted on by VIT.


The following correspondences with brief summaries were noted:

·        E-mail dated 8 September 2005 (a) – Confirmation of date of meeting set up with the Steering Group to decide the way forward[9].

·        E-mail dated 8 September 2005 (b) – Notification that upon acting on the advice of the Charity Commission and their solicitor the VIT have decided not to form a new Charity but that the agreement to lease is acceptable[10]

·        Letter dated 13 August 2005 informing the Parish Council that the new Trust Deed will be based on ACRE Model B and the solicitors have been given instructions to this effect[11]

·        An e-mail dated 19 August 2005 providing notes on the ACRE Trust Deed and Lease document from Dr Burton has been received and noted[12]

It was noted that:

·        as there were 2-3 groups interested in the Village Hall the VIT has now formed a project group to absorb the work of the Steering Group which includes Dr McCabe, Dr Burton, Mr Hollick as Parish Council representatives on the Group. The group has been empowered to take action and draw up a remit of objectives for consideration by the VIT at its next meeting. The Parish Council agreed this was positive move.

·        the outstanding Plan B only identified the sale of the Old Village Hall.  It does not include the other funds which the VIT has etc.  A risk assessment of contingency plans which could be considered should the funding for Stage 2 not be secured was briefly considered.

·        The following planning condition 'New Village Hall together with car parking following demolition of existing village hall’ was noted.  It was agreed that the VIT should carefully look at the planning conditions before development commences in particular Condition:3 relating to detailed landscaping plans.

On a proposition by Miss Westgarth, seconded by Mrs Morison it was unanimously agreed as requested by the VIT that the Parish Council:

·        will allow a staged build.

·        Allow the VIT to make use of the building prior to its final completion

·        Relax all the outstanding HOT on the trust/understanding that these will be available as soon as possible but certainly within six months of the Agreement to Lease being signed.

It was agreed to ask the Solicitor to incorporate these changes into the appropriate documents.

It was also agreed that the VIT should check with the builder if he has suitable insurance, both public liability & buildings cover, during the build if not the Parish Council is to secure the insurance and seek its reimbursement as per the HOT from the VIT.

8.3              Agreement to Lease – to consider the number of parking spaces required by the Parish


At the March 2005 meeting the Parish Council had resolved that ‘The land covering the car parking area should be leased to the VIT, as per their request.  However, a covenant or similar would be placed on the lease through which the Parish Council would reserve its right to allocate parking privileges for purposes other then access to the new village hall’. It was noted that the number of required spaces in total is 22.  On a proposition by Dr Chambers, seconded by Mr Hollick it was agreed that the Parish Council should have access to 10 unallocated spaces and that the solicitor is to be informed accordingly so that this can be incorporated into the documentation.  It was agreed that a letter should be sent to the VIT informing them of the decision.

9.         To consider matters arising out of correspondence/communications received including

9.1       Royal British Legion[13]

In response to the request for a donation from Mr HJ Addy Secretary to the Branch and having considered the advice from CALC the proposal by Miss Westgarth, seconded by Mrs Morison that in accordance with its powers under Section 137 of the Local Government Act, 1972, the Council donate £15 to The Caldecote, Comberton & District, Royal British Legion Branch which, in the opinion of the Council is in the interests of the area and its inhabitants, was carried unanimously.

9.2       Residents of Hines Lane complaints & request that the plastic recycling is relocated[14]

Consideration was given to a letter dated 19 August 2005 and signed by 13 residents of Hines Lane expressing their concerns over issues relating to the Recreation Ground and its use and requesting that the recycling facilities are relocated. It was noted that a lot of the concerns had been already been addressed by the Parish Council and the Groundsman. On proposition by the Chairman it was agreed to carry the matter forward to the next meeting to allow full consideration to be given to the letter and its contents due to the lateness of the hour. A letter is to be sent informing the residents accordingly.

9.3              CCC Proposed bus changes[15]

Consideration was given to the recent letter received regarding changes to the Bus Service changing times from 9.01am to 9.11am. It was agreed to respond that the Parish Council prefer an earlier bus e.g. 8.30am which will benefit the residents more than two buses close together after 9am.


Closure of meeting


There was no further business and the meeting closed at 10.20 pm


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


[1] Report on the Interactive Sign/Barton Road Scheme

[2] Redevelopment of Papworth Hospital

[3] Email from ex-secretary of Comberton FC – use of foul language.

[4] Connection Bus report

[5] Financial report

[6] Quotes for repairs to the Tennis Courts

[7] Chairman’s report on meeting with D Vacher

[8] Minutes of the joint PC/VIT co-ordination group – August 05

[9] Email from B Cook 08/09/05 – confirmation of nest Steering Group meeting

[10] Email from B Cook dated 08/09/05 – not forming new charity, lease instead.

[11] Letter from B Cook dated 13/08/05 informing PC VH will be based on ACRE Model B

[12] Email from Dr Burton dated 13/08/05 – Notes on ACRE Trust and Lease

[13] Letter dated 11/08/05 from Royal British Legion requesting a donation.

[14] Letter of complaint  from residents of Hines Lane

[15] Letter from CCC regarding proposed bus changes.