STEEPLE MORDEN PARISH COUNCIL

Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting held in the Village Hall on

Monday 12 December 2016 at 7.30pm

Present:                     Councillors: J Brocklehurst (Chairman), S Martin, C Whittington, S Norton, C Upchurch, S Wheatley

District Cllr Murfitt

In attendance:               Mrs S Walmesley (Clerk) and 1 member of the public.

 

PARISH COUNCIL MEETING 7.30 PM

 

 

1.

APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE AND DECLARATIONS UNDER THE CODE OF CONDUCT AND REQUESTS FOR DISPENSATIONS

Apologies were received from Mrs Drew, Dr Belson, Mr Clayton and County Cllr Dent.

No declarations were made.

 

 

3.

COMMENTS AND OBSERVATIONS FROM PARISHIONERS AND MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC

There were no comments made.

 

 

 

 

4.

COUNTY AND DISTRICT COUNCILLOR REPORTS

4.1 County Council

 Cllr Dent had circulated a report.

4.2 District Council

Cllr Murfitt referred to notification of enforcement action regarding fencing at Woodland Grange and 3 Cheyney Close which Councillors were unaware of.

South Cambridgeshire District Councillors had voted for Devolution and an elected Mayor. Mrs Murfitt confirmed that she had voted against.

She then referred to the discussions on the rail link between Cambridge and Oxford. She  had been notified that one of the workable options came within 100 metres of Flecks Lane. She expressed concern over this and urged Councillors to look at the website -

www. eastwestrail.org.uk/route-selection

The Chairman thanked Cllr Murfitt for her report.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4.

 

TO APPROVE THE MINUTES OF

4.1 The Parish Council  Meeting held on 4th November   2016

On a proposition by Mr Martin seconded by Mr Whittington the minutes as circulated were taken as read and then approved as a true record with the following amendment – Third paragraph of 4.2 to read –

There was to be a Devolution vote at South Cambridgeshire District Council. Cllr Murfitt felt that this was already a done deal for Cambridgeshire/Peterborough. She personally did not like the idea of a Mayor as it would mean too much power in the hands of one person. It would also be very expensive.

 

 

5.

MATTERS ARISING AND CARRIED FORWARD

5.1 A505 Junction

5.1.1 Update on HCC agreed work at Junction

There was no further update from the Clerk.

5.1.2 FOI Request from Police

The Clerk reported that a response had been received from Cambridgeshire Police who stated that as the junction was within Hertfordshire they had no accident information recorded.

5.2 Boundary Commission –Proposals for Parliamentary boundaries

It was hoped that as all the leaflets advising residents of the proposals had gone from the Post Office plenty of representations had been made against the proposal to include Steeple Morden within the North East Herts Parliamentary boundary.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6.

FINANCES

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

The invoices were checked by Mr Brocklehurst. On a proposition by Mrs Wheatley , seconded by Mrs Norton,  the following payments as listed in the monthly financial report were approved:

HALES PRINTERS

Newsletters December 2016                                                                                                    £48.00

IN & OUT           

Disabled toilet clean November 2016                                                                                  £ 15.92

CAMBRIDGESHIRE ACRE

Membership 2017                                                                                                                      £54.00

E-ON

Direct Debit December 2016                                                                                                 £ 74.00

MRS S NORTON

Copying of questionnaire regarding use of Footpath 7                                                                       £  9.00

TOTAL                                                                                                                                      £200.92

6.2 Budget 2017/18

The budget and precept amount would be finalised at the January 2017 meeting. The Chairman stated that if the Parish Council decided to go ahead with the vehicular access to  the meadow then funding for this would need to be included.

 

 

7.

RECREATION GROUND/CONSERVATION AREA

7.1 Recreation Ground Maintenance –working group update

Mrs Drew had sent a report which stated that everything seemed well. She was monitoring the disabled toilet paper and towel situation which the Clerk confirmed the cleaner was aware of. Dog fouling seemed to have decreased compared with 2015 and the dog bins were being well used. Mrs Drew expressed a big thank you to David Holt, Richard Willey and Mike Smith for all their hard work on the recreation ground in 2016.

Mrs Wheatley was surprised at the reference to a reduction in dog fouling. Mr Martin added that  he was aware people were picking up after dogs but leaving the bags.

The Clerk was asked to write a letter of thanks to Mr Holt, Mr Willey and Mr Smith to reiterate Mrs Drew’s thanks.

 7.1.1 Dangerous Willow tree by brook

As far as Councillors were aware no work had yet been carried out on the tree. A quotation would be urged.

7.2 Planting of Bulbs at entrance to village

In hand. The Clerk investigating.

7.3 Car Park Lighting

Mrs Drew had advised that she was waiting for STE Solutions to get back to her with a quote. She would urge for the next meeting.

7.4 Access to Meadow

A parishioner had raised the access at the Annual Parish Meeting and offered to put together a proposal for Councillors to consider. By the time this was received the Parish Council had agreed not to pursue. As stated in the Standing Orders six months had now expired and Councillors could now revisit the proposal.

Mrs Wheatley stated that she thought that it was unnecessary for one day a year, the bonfire event, and suggested temporary matting be purchased to enable vehicles to use the ground which was very muddy. A discussion took place on the proposal. The Chairman stated that careful consideration needed to be given and Councillors should all take a look at the site. Mrs Norton reminded the meeting that in the past there was a petition from users of the play area not to cut down the Leylandii and to let the copse grow up to act as a windbreak. The Chairman would arrange a meeting with Mrs Drew, and other Councillors, and report back to the next meeting on their findings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

-Clerk

 

 

-Clerk

 

 

 

 

-AD

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

-JB

 

 

8.

MAINTENANCE

8.1 Ashwell Road Birch Trees

Both the Clerk and Mr Clayton had contacted Bedfordshire Pilgrims Housing Association who had stated that they would sort out the planting during the winter.

8.2 Footpath 10 and others

Cllr Norton confirmed that the application for MHI funding had been submitted and acknowledged. Further information would become available in due course.

Cllr Norton advised that she had forwarded a letter from the Ramblers Association, regarding Footpath 7, to the County Council and it had been forwarded to an officer to review.

There was some concern raised over notices which had been erected at various locations on the Morden Grange footpaths. The Chairman had contacted the Rights of Way team who confirmed that nothing would change. This was an exercise for the Landowner to prevent permissive paths being changed into official footpaths in the future.

8.3 Village Grasscutting Contract

The three year term would expire on the 31st March 2017. It was noted that there could be changes to the specification as the Football Club currently did not want the football pitch included in the cutting. There was also a parishioner that had machinery capable of cutting and collecting which would be useful for the cowslip meadow which Mrs Norton was investigating. Changes to South Cambridgeshire specifications would also need to investigated with County Highways. This would be discussed again at the next meeting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

-SN & Clerk

9.

VILLAGE WEBSITE

9.1 Hosting

The Clerk had spoken to other Parish Councils investigating a hosting company. It was recognised by them that the company suggested by Morden Web Design provided the best value for money. As a decision did not need to be made until June 2017 Councillors agreed to wait until nearer the time to see of any other competitive website companies were found.

9.2 Upgrade

Morden Web Design had agreed to upgrade the current website to enable the Clerk to upload Parish Council documents. This was in progress.

 

 

 

 

 

10.

PLANNING APPLICATIONS

10.1 Planning Ref S/2629/16/FL

Wyndmere Farm, Ashwell Road –Erection of industrial unit and hard standing area following demolition of agricultural building

(EW Pepper)

Mr Martin stated that the information in the documentation appeared to be inconsistent. He was also concerned over the amount of traffic the new units would generate which was a lot more than stated. It was noted that the units would attract employment. Mr Whittington added that Ashwell Road/Station Road was a hotspot for the Speedwatch team.

Recommendation –Objection

Steeple Morden Parish Council objects to this proposal on the grounds that it would generate a material increase of traffic within the village, where concerns about speeding generally and congestion adjacent to the village school at peak times are already being addressed. The junction of Ashwell Road and Station Road, close to the application site is hazardous due to through traffic from the north regularly cutting across traffic approaching Station Road from the direction of Ashwell.  Additionally, the Parish Council has raised concerns over the dangerous A505 junction at Odsey, which is another settlement within our Parish that suffers from particular traffic problems. The relevant authorities have advised that until statistics of RTA fatalities can support our concerns, suitable measures will not be taken to address this dangerous junction.

The Transport Note prepared by WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff on behalf of the Applicant concludes that the proposed development would generate a “diminutive 5 trips (2-way) in the busiest PM peak, and a small number of commercial vehicles (4, 2-way trips).” It further concludes that “the development will have a negligible impact both on the immediate site access and the local highway network, and is likely to be indiscernible from current traffic conditions.” We consider that these conclusions are based on flawed methodology and are wrong and furthermore, do not have suitable regard to existing concerns about traffic-related safety in and around Steeple Morden.

It seems patently obvious that 5 self-contained units will generate more than 5 peak-time trips by the tenants and their employees arriving / leaving work.  The application cites an expectation of 10 full-time employees being generated by the development whereas the Transport Note concludes that the development would support 15 persons.  It is reasonable to expect that prospective employees would include car drivers from outside Steeple Morden and consequently this brings into question the Transport Note’s conclusion that any impact on the local highway network would be negligible. It is also reasonable to expect that additional traffic generated (by tenants, their employees and visitors) would be using the A505 junction at Odsey or, if approaching the application site from the north, travelling through the village past the school at peak time where congestion is already a material concern.

 

The Application Form states that 15 parking spaces are proposed although the drawings and the Transport Note each indicate 20 car spaces at the proposed development. Regardless of which figure is correct, the parking provision indicates the expectation of an increase in traffic numbers which is significant in the context of a rural village with existing traffic concerns.

In addition to those inconsistencies in the information supplied by the Applicant and its advisers as already highlighted above, it is noted that:

·      the GIA of the proposed development as stated in the Application Form is 772 sq. m. whereas the drawings indicate 5 units each extending to 140 sq. m. (aggregate 700 sq. m.)

·      according to the Planning Statement the existing building (to be demolished) extends to 772 sq. m. but the Transport Note cites this as 266 sq. m. It is obvious from the drawings provided that the existing building’s footprint is materially smaller than the proposed aggregate footprint. It is noted that the existing building has 2 floor levels (apparently of unequal size).

The relevance of these floor areas is that the development’s GIA is adopted by WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff for estimating employee numbers and vehicle trip numbers generated by the proposed development.  The Transport Note (4.3.1) states that the methodology for calculating the proposed development’s trip generation employs figures relevant for floor areas in the range 300/3,500 sq. m.  For the purpose of considering traffic generation related to anticipated employment numbers, this application would be appropriate for a single unit within that size range. It is inappropriate to adopt the same ratio for 5 smaller employment-generating buildings, each of 140 sq. m. (aggregate 700 sq. m.) on the flawed assumption that these 5 units will not accommodate more employees per sq. m. 

In conclusion, we request that our concerns be considered and if the proposed development is to proceed, notwithstanding our objection, we respectfully request that such decision be made on the basis of a proposal supported by consistent information and advice.

 

 

11.

COMMUNITY HIGHWAY VOUNTEERING SCHEME

11.1 Update on Proposal for Litter Picking

11.2 Additional Litter Bins

11.3 Registration of Volunteer Group with Cambridgeshire County Council

Dr Belson had reported that there was no further update beyond identification of some funds for new litter bins and equipment to support the ‘litter picks’.  She was still working on a requirement. It was noted that the registration of the volunteers needed to be done through the County Councillor but in his absence the Clerk would liaise with Highways on the way forward.

A discussion took place on how enough volunteers would come forward. Mrs Wheatley advised that the Scouts and Clubs had agreed to carry out one litter picking session and Dr Belson was keen to get the Primary School involved.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

-Clerk

12.

TO CONSIDER CORRESPONDENCE RECEIVED INCLUDING:

12.1 Historic England –Notification of Odsey War Memorial Listing

Details had been circulated to Councillors. Historic England had agreed to include the Odsey War Memorial in its listing in addition to the Steeple Morden Memorial. The Chairman queried whether there would be any financial implications for the Parish Council. This reminded the Clerk to follow up the grant promised from the War Memorial Trust for the Odsey memorial refurbishment.

12.2 Steeple Morden Primary School PTA

A letter of thanks had been received from the PTA  for help with the Fireworks event which raised around £2300.

 

 

 

-Clerk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

13.

COUNCILLORS’ ITEMS FOR INFORMATION AND REQUIRING THE URGENT ATTENTION OF THE CLERK

13.1 Station Road Car Parking

Cllr Murfitt advised that she had been contacted by parishioners concerned over vehicles parking on Station Road in the dark facing oncoming traffic. There had been an accident recently as the vehicles were hard to see without reflectors. Mr Whittington advised that the Highway Code (clause 28) stated that it was illegal to park in this way. It was agreed that a note would be put in the parish newsletter pointing this out.

13.2 Cambridge Water/Anglian Water rate invoices

The Clerk advised that the waste water element of the water bill was now dealt with by Anglian Water through a separate invoice. She had spoken to Anglian Water who advised that there was a delay in their sending out of invoices which would probably now be at the end of January 2017. The Clerk had delayed sending out the Parish Council invoices to the Village Hall committee and clubs. It was agreed that she wait until the Anglian Water invoice was received so that only one invoice was sent.

 

 

14.

DATE OF NEXT MEETING Monday 9th January 2017

 

 

There was no further business and the Chairman declared the meeting closed at 8.25 pm

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Chairman                                                                                                                      Date