Held at the School on Tuesday, 6th December 2011.
The evening started with an Open Forum at 7pm to give members of the public the opportunity to put their views on items of the agenda. There were 12 members of the public in attendance.
Present: Margaret Chadwick-Chairman (MC), Brian Ambrose (BA), Bert Collins (BC), Giles Merritt (GM), Lynn Reed-Vice Chairman (LR), Sue Romero (SRo) Mary Smith (MS) and David Turner (DT).
CCC – Cllr David Brown
ECDC – Cllr Allen Alderson
Karen King – Clerk
2879: Apologies for Absence:
Sharyn Robinson – unwell
2880: To Approve and Sign the Minutes of Meeting, 1st November 2011:
Subject to minor amendments these were approved and signed as a correct record. Proposed: Lynn Reed. Seconded: Brian Ambrose.
2881: To Approve and Sign the Minutes of Extraordinary Meeting, 15th November 2011:
Min.ref.2877: BA confirmed that BC, GM & DT also helped with the work to tidy the Pavilion and the area around it. Following this amendment, the minutes were approved and signed as a correct record.
Proposed: Lynn Reed. Seconded: Brian Ambrose.
2882: Matters Arising from Previous Minutes (for information only):
Min.ref.361/2868: GM confirmed in writing his resignation as a Parish Councillor. Everyone thanked Giles for his support and hard work. The Clerk was to inform ECDC.
2883: Members’ Declaration of Interest for Items on the Agenda:
2884: County Councillor’s Report:
A copy of Cllr Brown’s report was circulated prior to meeting.
MC asked if the increased number of children needing school places at Burwell Village College in the coming year would have a knock-on effect for SB School. Cllr Brown replied that this was still being discussed but hopefully not.
2885: District Councillor’s Report: (Cllr Allen Alderson reported to the meeting)
• On November 19th I attended the Swaffham Internal Drainage Board. As ECDC partly fund the board we have four district councillors on the board.
• On November 8th the Development and Transport Committee, of which I am a member, agreed a twelve week public consultation on the proposed charging for Ely’s car parks.
• In November I also attended a budget briefing by a senior council financial officer in order to have a better understanding of next year’s finances in the run up to next year’s budget.
• Last year the Housing team at the Council received over 1700 requests for help, re-housing over 200 families, supported 26 families threatened by domestic violence and it delivered 147 new affordable housing units. 147 are not enough to meet the current demand and we must find ways to increase this number.
• The Council’s Conservative group is presently exploring the setting up of housing trusts, working with interested Parish Councils or landowners as a possible way of increasing the supply of affordable housing.
2886: Correspondence for Consideration/Circulation:
• CCC – Local Minor Highways Improvements Funding Scheme – the Clerk was asked to complete application using the same criteria as last year and circulate for comment.
– Station Road – pedestrian crossing
– Park End – interactive speed signs/speed control for vehicles entering the village northbound from Bottisham.
Cllr David Brown left the meeting at 7.55pm
2887: Access & Parking at Play Area, Cemetery Corner:
The Chair reported;
• that a petition of approximately 100 signatures had been received and read out the introduction for the record:
“The withdrawal of the present parking facilities adjacent to the Denny playground in Swaffham Bulbeck, and the associated rights of way, is a very significant reduction in public amenity.
We urge the Parish to thoroughly investigate the claims to private ownership regarding the affected land.”
• a letter received from Mr Tim Oates raised two issues:
– Composition of the working group.
– Establishing title of the disputed land.
• A meeting was held with S.B-F (as requested by S.B-F) with the Clerk present to take notes. S B-F expressed his concern about the Chair’s recent letter in the Beacon, as in his opinion it gave the wrong impression and appeared to suggest that the Butler family wished to close the parking area. The Chair said that it was possible that her letter in the December Beacon had been misunderstood, noting that it did say that “the Butler family would prefer the closure of the parking area”. The Chairman said that this was never her intention and the Butler family had done nothing at all to promote or bring about its closure.
The Chair used her discretion to change the order of items under this heading and said that each heading would be discussed by Parish Councillors and then there would be a brief adjournment for the public to comment.
• Proposal to extend car parking area – Working Party progress:
MS reported on the first meeting of the working party. Amendments were discussed and Geoff Reed produced a revised plan for consideration. S.Ro was concerned that such a plan was being considered on the assumption that the entrance to the play area had to be moved and felt this was a few steps ahead as the matter was tied up with the land ownership issue. MC explained that the moving of the entrance/extending of the car park was considered necessary from a safety aspect and the current plan was an extension of a outline plan drawn up by S.B-F at the Parish Council’s request. S.Ro stressed that it was important to establish boundaries and land ownership on behalf of the whole community and the Caution should remain in place until matter resolved.
The Chair adjourned the meeting at 8.15 to allow members of the public to speak.
The meeting reconvened at 8.27pm.
It was suggested that the working party had a further meeting to review the revised plan and consider the options put forward by S.B-F during the adjournment. Mary Smith said she would be looking at funding options for the project but that this was difficult until planning permission had been received.
• Confirmation of land ownership and boundaries
The Chair read out a brief statement:
“This is an important issue.
The Parish Council is a public, democratically elected body and councillors represent the interests of the whole village.
The Council has been accused publicly via the Beacon of “failing to defend the interests of the Parish”, “failing to exercise due diligence” and of “mismanaging the whole affair, failing to stand up for parishioners rights”. I see it as our self-evident duty to establish the facts in a way which is transparent to the general public. At the meeting on 1st November we voted to accept Simon Butler-Finbow’s offer to show the deeds and definitive map of Lordship Farm to the Parish Council. We should make every effort to do so. It is accepted, normal practice that when there is a query over a boundary, the relevant deeds are consulted. The fact that we have been told that they have been seen by a ‘trustworthy and independent person’, an employee of CCC, is not sufficient.
The arrangements can be by agreement with the family of course. As we discussed at the meeting on 1st November, two councillors and an independent person (maybe a lawyer) would be sensible. We can guarantee that the privacy of the family will not be compromised in any way. Of course the family is free to refuse to produce them after all, but it is thought that this would be in their interests to do so.
If this is not possible, then perhaps independent arbitration should be considered.”
Following discussion by Parish Councillors, the Chair adjourned the meeting at 8.35 to allow members of the public to speak.
The meeting reconvened at 8.45pm.
The Clerk was asked to write to the Butler family to ask if they would be willing for an independent legal professional to look at the Deeds of Lordship Farm with a view to confirming ownership of the land at Cemetery Corner. Proposed: Sue Romero. Seconded: Brian Ambrose. Vote taken – 7 for (MS, GM, S.Ro, LR, BC, BA, MC), one abstention (DT).
• Caution in place at land on the south side of Green Bank Road: It was confirmed that no action would be taken over this until planning permission for the revised parking area had been given and funding obtained. DT expressed his concern about this decision.
The Chair adjourned the meeting at 8.55pm to allow members of the public to speak.
The meeting was reconvened at 9.05pm.
Cllr Alan Alderson left the meeting at 9.06pm.
2888: The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee:
Christopher Welton, Churchwarden, had contacted the Chair to ask if the Parish Council was planning anything to celebrate this event. It was suggested that perhaps members of the Parish Council and PCC could form a working party to organise a celebration. It was agreed to discuss further at January meeting.
2889: Telephone Box, Commercial End:
A petition had been received from residents requesting that the Parish Council adopt the telephone box for the village and the community. The Clerk was to find out more from BT and report back to January meeting.
2890: Consideration of Draft Budget & Precept for 2012/13 for later approval:
A draft Precept figure of £16,000 was agreed. Proposed: Brian Ambrose. Seconded: Lynn Reed. All agreed.
2891: Clerk’s Reports:
Red2Green Archaeology Project: A request was received to carry out a dig on the Denny in June 2012. More details on location required.
Min.ref.362/2877: Adventure Playgrounds were asked to advise on tightening of zip wire. Reply pending.
Approval for treeworks: 106 High Street – felling of trees.
2892: Finances including Approval of Payment of Outstanding Accounts:
a) Karen King – Clerk’s salary, November 2011 £ 274-30
b) Inland Revenue – PAYE £ 68-60
c) Karen King – expenses & reimbursements £ 181-50
d) Herts & Ground Maintenance – grasscutting £ 504-00
e) Herts & Ground Maintenance – rolling/slitting-Recreation Ground £ 420-00
f) Cambridgeshire County Council – salt bin £ 114-00
g) Honorarium for Bin Emptying/Litter Picking £ 140-00
BIAA Bank Interest – November 2011 £ 0-75
2893: Parish Councillors’ Reports:
MS carried out play area inspections for November and reported on items requiring attention.
DT reported that the litter bin on the Denny was continually being lifted from its base.
MS reported that litter bin outside school needed painting.
GM reported on disturbance caused by mopeds at Vicarage Close/Downing Court.
GM said he would circulate some further copies of Parish Paths leaflet and pass remainder to Clerk.
The meeting ended at 9.40pm
2894: Future Meeting Dates:
3rd January 2012
15th May – Annual Parish Meeting
Amy Jones – New Communities Pathway Website
Amanda Warburton – Older Persons’ Newsletter
Adam Cobb – Local Minor Highway Improvements Funding Scheme
Chairman’s Weekly Highlights
Suzanne Goff – Grants for Green Projects
Darren Hughes – Grafitti Kits (email)
Julie David – Ely Car Parking Proposal – consultation
Cambridgeshire ACRE – Newsletter
Youth Club – thank you for donation
Red2Green – thank you for donation
Guy Marsden – December Parish Council agenda request
Cambridgeshire ACRE – Funding News
CPALC – online newsletter
CPALC – Localism Update/Localism in Cambridgeshire