Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting held in the Sports Pavilion on

Monday 10 October 2016 at 7.30pm

Present:                     Councillors: J Brocklehurst (Chairman),   A Drew, S Martin, C Whittington, V Belson, S Wheatley

District Cllr Murfitt, County Cllr Dent

In attendance:               Mrs S Walmesley (Clerk) and 6 members of the public.





Apologies were received from Mr Clayton. There were no interests declared.





The Clerk confirmed that there were two vacancies. One was from the election in May 2016 and the other a result of the resignation of John Hobbs. The Chairman advised that there had been two applications for co-option from Celia Upchurch, whose details had been circulated to Councillors and Sue Norton a past Parish Councillor.

Mrs Wheatley proposed that they both be co-opted onto Steeple Morden Parish Council which was seconded by Mr Whittington. All Councillors in agreement. Clerk to advise the applicants.











3.1 Update from Football Club

There was no update made.

3.2 Other

3.2.1 Changes to Parliamentary Boundaries

The Parish Council was asked if they were aware of the proposed change to Parliamentary boundaries. Councillors were urged to look at the Boundary Commission website for the Eastern Region. The comments relating to the proposed change were completely different to those used for the County boundary proposals.

3.2.2 Defibrillator Training

Parishioner Sean Comerford advised that a Fire Service officer had offered to hold two sessions of First Aid and Defibrillator training in the village free of charge on the 16th and 23rd of November 2016. The sessions could accommodate up to 12 people.  It was noted that there was a list of interested parishioners and if there were not enough of these to fill the sessions details would be put in the newsletter. The Clerk was asked to find out if the village hall was available for the two evenings. If not an alternative venue in the village would be found. The Clerk would also get a copy of the list.



















4.1 County Council

 Cllr Dent had circulated a report. He reported that Steeple Morden was quiet at this time. There had been no news on the future of Bassingbourn Barracks. He had been promised a decision in October but felt that this would probably be deferred again. The Barracks was not included in the asset sale list published recently. Planning permission for access to the ski club via Guise Lane in Bassingbourn had been approved but there were still other permission needed.

Cllr Dent advised that he had been voted onto the Local Access Forum so would now be involved with the County Rights of Way.

4.2 District Council

Cllr Murfitt reported that Community Chest grants had now finished and the scheme would start again in the new financial year. The local community had benefited from these grants.

The Government had changed the date for the release of information relating to Devolution which meant that District Council meetings had been moved further on.  Clare Gibbons, the South Cambridgeshire District Council Development Officer, wanted to find out the main concerns of parishes on Devolution and was willing to attend a meeting to discuss these. There was to be a conference of Parish Councillors in November 2016 which was advertised in the County Council report.

Applications for District Council Community Awards were now invited with a closing date in January 2017. Cllr Murfitt explained the categories. She added that it would be nice to get some awards made locally.

Cllr Murfitt advised that Councillors had been given a briefing on the proposals for peak time congestion in Cambridge. Dr Belson had responded to the consultation which she said had a lack of detail. Cllr Dent added that there was going to be a review of the proposals. There was a protest march in Cambridge the previous weekend.

Cllr Murfitt concluded that she had met with parishioner Mr Steve Fisher, and landowner Mr Fordham, to discuss the A505 junction. Mr Fisher had obtained a lot of information from Hertfordshire County Council where the Odsey junction did not appear in a list of statistics on accidents. Cllr Murfitt was going to put an appeal in the Steeple Morden and Guilden Morden newsletters asking for witnesses to accidents at this junction to come forward. Councillors were aware of an accident, which resulted in three people needing hospital treatment, two weeks previously. Cllr Murfitt stated that until it can be proven that this junction was dangerous nothing would happen. A discussion took place on whether the police had more information than the County Council. It was agreed that a Freedom of Information request be made to Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire Police on information relating to accidents, on or near the Odsey junction, with the A505.

The Chairman thanked Cllr Dent and Cllr Murfitt for their reports.





































5.1 The Parish Council  Meeting held on 12th September  2016

On a proposition by Mr Whittington seconded by Mrs Drew the minutes as circulated were taken as read and then approved as a true record.





6.1 A505 Junction

6.1.1 Update on HCC agreed work at Junction

There was no further update.

6.1.2 Request for information from Sir Oliver Heald MP

Mrs Wheatley had received concerns from a parishioner over the response to Sir Oliver Heald regarding the suggestion of the closure of the cross over points .The Parish Council had stated that they did not want to see these points closed. 

6.2 Update on the purchase of Community Speedwatch Equipment

The equipment had been received. Mr Whittington stated that the he felt the Speedwatch team had been ill served by the police as they were short of signage and had to purchase a case and accessories for the equipment, at a total cost of £49.98, for which Councillors agreed Mr Whittington could be reimbursed.  A Steeple Morden volunteer had made a sign for their team.

Dr Belson asked if the equipment recorded speeds less than 30mph which Mr Whittington confirmed it did.

6.3 Defibrillator Training

This had been covered under Item 3.2.2.

6.4 Odsey War Memorial Refurbishment

The Clerk had received a letter of thanks from The Mordens Branch of the British Legion which she read to the meeting. She would copy to Councillors. She added that she had e-mailed the War Memorials Trust regarding the payment of the grant towards the refurbishment and was awaiting a reply.

6.5 Overhanging shrubbery

Following the last meeting Dr Belson had reported the overgrown hedge on Litlington Road on the County Council website.  She had been advised that this was the responsibility of the landowner and not the County Council and the case was therefore closed.
























7.1 To receive the financial statement and to approve the payment of bills

The invoices were checked by Mrs Drew. On a proposition by Mrs Drew , seconded by Dr Belson,  the following payments as listed in the monthly financial report were approved:


Newsletters October 2016                                                                                                        £48.00

IN & OUT           

Disabled toilet clean October 2016                                                                                                     £ 30.62


External Audit 2015/16 (inc. £60.00VAT)                                                                         £360.00


Car park resurfacing (inc. £1449.00VAT)                                                                        £8694.00


Recreation Ground Sign (inc. £102.07VAT)                                                                                     £612.42


Speedwatch equipment (inc. £480.00VAT)                                                                                     £2880.00


Clerks salary & expenses 1/7/16 -30/9/16                                                                       £   889.60


PAYE July-Sept 2016                                                                                                           £  213.00


Donation from precept 2016/17                                                                                         £  850.00


Reimburse for Speedwatch kit accessories                                                                          £ 49.98

TOTAL                                                                                                                                  £14627.62

7.2 First Responder Initiative –Feedback on other parish contributions

Councillors were advised that Litlington Parish Council had agreed a contribution of £300 and Guilden Morden £500 towards the equipment. Ashwell and Shingay-cum-Wendy had also promised a donation. The Chairman proposed that a donation of £500 be made from Steeple Morden Parish Council which was seconded by Mrs Drew. All Councillors in agreement.

7.3 Conclusion of External Audit 2015/16

The External Auditor report had been received. The Auditors had commented that the transfers between bank accounts should have been excluded from the receipts and payments in Section 2. The Clerk advised that the Internal Auditor had asked for these transfers to be shown.

A copy of the Annual Return was on display on the notice board.

























8.1 Recreation Ground Maintenance –working group update

Mrs Drew had nothing to report other than litter.

8.1.1 Dangerous Willow tree by brook

The Clerk confirmed that she had chased up a response from the contractor who had been asked to inspect the tree.

8.1.2 Annual Cut of Conservation Area and hedge

It was confirmed that the hedge had been cut. The contractor had been chased on the cutting of both.

8.2  Recreation Ground Sign –Update on Installation

Mr Whittington had suggested that the sign be positioned at a 45’angle to the existing notice board which would still allow access to the recreation ground. Mrs Drew would arrange the installation.

8.3 Planting of Bluebells in Whitepond Wood

Mrs Wheatley reported that a response had been received from the Woodland Trust but it was not very helpful. If the planting went ahead it was stated that the Bluebells should be British planted as bulbs. There were also concerns over the trees in the wood. Mrs Wheatley suggested that this was left for now which was agreed.

8.4 Update on Car Park Resurfacing

The resurfacing had been satisfactorily completed.

8.5 Planting of Bulbs at entrance to village

In hand. The Clerk investigating.

8.6 Request by Football Club to cut back scrub

It was stated that Mr Clayton organised this last year and the cutting back needed to be carried out soon before the ground became too wet. The Clerk was asked to contact Mr Clayton to see if he could arrange ground scrub clearance again.

8.7 Car Park Lighting

Councillors agreed that the lighting in the car park was poor and the lights would probably need cleaning. A discussion took place on how this could be done as a cherry picker would probably be needed. It was also feared that it would be difficult to get inside the light casing. Mrs Drew agreed to investigate the cost of replacing the lights with LED fixtures.

8.8 Cowslip Day 2017

The Chairman asked Councillors for their view on whether or not to hold an event in 2017. Dr Belson stated that the time the cowslips were at their best was the time that the weather was not very good. Councillors all agreed not to hold the event in 2017.





































9.1 Ashwell Road Birch Trees

The Clerk asked for confirmation on the Housing Association responsible for the houses which was believed to be Bedfordshire Pilgrims. Cllr Murfitt agreed to find out and let her know.

9.2 Request for Parish Council to Maintain Footpaths

The Chairman and Mrs Wheatley were meeting with a parishioner on the 12th October to discuss the updating of the Parish Paths leaflet. An update would be made at the next meeting.

9.2.2 Woodland Grange Tree

Mr Whittington had carried out some investigations with adjoining landowners and stated that the tree was part of 62 Hay Street. He had borrowed a lot of paperwork which the Chairman agreed to copy.  Mrs Wheatley had also received some information from County Rights of Way which showed the tree to be on the Woodland Grange land. The Chairman had acquired a list of title numbers for surrounding properties from Land Registry. He stated that the Parish Council needed to be absolutely sure that the tree was not on the ransom strip. The investigations would continue. The Chairman thanked Mr Whittington for his work.

9.2.3 Footpath 7

The Chairman reported that the landowner had met with the Rights of Way officer, Peter Gaskin, to discuss what was involved in changing a Right Of Way.  Mrs Wheatley had spoken to the landowner and believed Mr Gaskin was trying to find the best way forward so that the existing footpath was retained.  The Chairman advised that a meeting was to be arranged with Mr Gaskin, himself and the Ramblers Association. A date was not yet known.



















10.1 Hosting

The Clerk had received information on the company recommended by Morden Web Design which would cost around £99 plus VAT per year. Mrs Drew advised that there were other cheaper providers but they did not provide the support and the migration would need to be carried out by the Parish Council. The current hosting and support expired in June 2017 so there was time for further investigation. Mr Martin agreed to carry out some investigations with other companies.

10.2 Upgrade

The Clerk reminded Councillors of the decision made at the July 2016 Parish Council meeting not to commission a new website. The current website did not allow for additional Parish Council documentation to be added.  The Clerk was asked to find out if Morden Web Design would carry out some modifications to the existing site to accommodate this before their hosting and support services expired.














11.1 Planning Ref S/2382/16/FL

41 Craft Way –Two storey and single storey front extensions including garage conversion

(Mr & Mrs Fewster)

Recommendation –Support, providing there are no objections from neighbours.

11.2 Planning Ref S.2537/16/PO

22-28 Ashwell Road –Application to modify planning obligations for planning permission S/2508/14/FL

(E W Pepper)

Mr Martin advised that the developer was seeking to reduce its affordable housing obligation on the grounds that following a Government announcement, which reduces the amount of rent that would be receivable from the social rented element; the proposed development was no longer viable.

The Parish Council expected that the Developer had provided South Cambridgeshire District Council with a detailed appraisal and valuation to justify that the scheme was no longer viable on the basis of the current obligations under the Section 106 Agreement dated 27th January 2016. As the Parish Council did not have access to this information the Councillors did not feel that they were in a position to assess whether the Developer’s grounds for the proposed modification were justified.

Recommendation –No Recommendation

The developer is seeking to reduce its affordable housing obligation on the grounds that, following a Government announcement which reduces the amount of rent that would be receivable from the Social Rented element, the proposed development is no longer viable.
The Parish Council expect that the developer has provided SCDC with a detailed appraisal & valuation that comprehensively demonstrates and justifies its assertion that (as a consequence of complying with the government announcement referred to) the scheme is no longer viable on the basis of the current obligations under the S.106 Agreement dated 27th January 2016.
In the absence of an independent appraisal & valuation of the scheme, we are not in a position to assess whether the developer's grounds for the proposed modification are justified. SCDC has not provided us with any appraisal on which to evaluate the scheme and we must therefore rely on SCDC to ensure that the developer's grounds for such modification are fully justified.
On the face of it, however, it does seem to us unlikely that the viability of the original scheme would be so fragile that the impact of the government announcement requires such modification as a necessity to ensure viability, rather than simply a desire on the developer's part to maintain profit margin.
It may be that the scheme's viability is reduced but, unless the scheme is rendered unviable, the negative impact of the government's announcement (assuming its effect to be retrospective) is a risk that ought to have been factored in by the developer with suitable contingency made within its own initial financial appraisal when the scheme's viability was assessed prior to development commencing.
The Parish Council respectfully ask that SCDC confirms that the developer's proposed modification is fully justified on financial grounds - based on an independent appraisal of the scheme to reflect any impact of the changed circumstances on which the developer is relying, together with disclosure of its initial financial appraisal to verify that prudent contingencies were made prior to development proceeding and that such contingency was reasonable, albeit insufficient to offset the changed circumstances
It is noted that the development has already commenced and we ask that SCDC confirms that the government announcement on which the developer is relying for the proposed modification is indeed relevant to this development:  Is the announcement's effect retrospective?
In conclusion, The Parish Council object to the developer's proposed modification unless SCDC is fully satisfied that the developer has comprehensively demonstrated that the effect of the grounds on which the developer is relying, results in the development being unviable, as opposed to less profitable.

11.3 Planning Ref S/2540/16/FL

16 Station Road –Single storey rear extension and two storey infill extension, obscure windows to side elevation, garage alterations for utility room

(Mr & Mrs Boyt)

Recommendation -Support





This item would be held over to the next meeting when Mr Clayton would be in attendance.





Mrs Drew suggested that a bid could be submitted for a speed reduction on Station Road to 40mph.  Mr Whittington believed that speed reduction requests would be supported by police now as there was a history built up through the Speedwatch data. Other traffic calming measures could also be a bid. As the closing date for applications was at the end of November 2016 this would be discussed again at the next meeting.





The booklet had been copied to Councillors. Dr Belson advised that she had been carrying out an informal consultation on litter and asked for an item to be included on the next agenda so that she could present her proposals.





Councillors agreed that due to the length of the agenda, and the current activity in the village, meetings needed to continue on a monthly basis at the present time. Now that there was a full complement of Councillors it would be easier to have a quorum present.





16.1 SCDC Removal of Telephone Kiosk on The Green

At the last meeting it had been informally agreed that the Parish Council would like to adopt the kiosk following the removal of the telephone equipment. Councillors reiterated their decision. It was agreed that the Clerk respond to the consultation advising of this.

16.2 Cheyney Water Woodland

An e-mail had been received expressing concerns over smoke rising from the woodland. It appeared that someone had dragged large sacks of farm waste into the clearing in the wood and set fire to them. It was advised that the woodland was part of the local landscape and was valued and enjoyed as an asset by the local community. It was felt that this action was dangerous and irresponsible.

A discussion took place on the location which was confusing and believed to be private land. The Chairman would investigate the reference given in the e-mail.




















17.1 District Council/ Housing Association Tree Work

Cllr Murfitt advised that the tree on Jubilee Way, where there had been issues with Starlings, had been removed. She had received a lot of thanks from residents for this.  There was work planned on three trees on Russell Close which were restricting light to properties and affecting telephone lines. This work involved trimming the trees back.

17.2 Police Panel Meetings

Mr Whittington referred to recent circulated information on Police Panel meetings. He was advised that the previous Parish Council Police representative had suggested that it was not worth attending the meetings unless there was a particular issue which needed to be raised.




DATE OF NEXT MEETING Monday 14th November  2016



There was no further business and the Chairman declared the meeting closed at 9.15 pm

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Chairman                                                                                                                      Date