Parish Council Minutes: Thursday 21st October 2021

Minutes of the Parish Council on Thursday 21st October 2021 at 8:00 pm in the Village Hall

Present: Mr Brown, Mrs Edwards, Mr Watterson, Mrs Glasse, Ms O’Callaghan, Mrs Morley and, in the Chair, Mr Dinsdale.

1. Apologies for Absence were received from Cllrs Mallows, Oliver and Prince.

2. There were no declarations of interest.

3. Approve Minutes of:
22nd February; unanimously approved with abstention from Mrs Edwards/Mrs Jack;
8th March; approved with EWR amendments;
26th April, unanimously approved with abstention from Mrs Edwards;
4th May; unanimously agreed;
22nd May; unanimously agreed;
7th June; unanimously agreed, in future distinguish between Public and Council comments;
14th June; unanimously agreed;
28th June; unanimously agreed;
19th July; unanimously agreed;
23rd August; unanimously agreed;
6th September; unanimously agreed with exception of Mr Dinsdale
6th October; unanimously agreed, add that Mr Dinsdale recused from vote.

4. Open Forum for Public Participation (10 minutes)
It was reported that the hedge to the right-hand side of Wheelers Way was very overgrown and people cannot pass without stepping into the road. The Clerk will report on the South Cambs website.

Mr Coad, the new owner of the property adjoining OSP148 made the following comments: The site plan of 5th August 2021 had envisaged the removal of the well-established hedge on Mr Coad’s property. He informed the Parish Council that Fiona Bradley representing Greater Cambridge Shared Planning visited site and was shown i) the boundary (clearly well established with an old oak fence); and ii) the hedge on Mr Coad’s land (shown as being part of OSP 148 on the new site plan); iii) the straightness of my hedge compared with its erratic and inaccurate representation on the site plan and iv) the lack of agreement about the identity and position of trees on and around the boundary
Ms. Bradley was also shown the number of trees that were to be culled in the proposed development, while more retention would add to the amenity of the site and its environmental credentials, the site’s established hedge fronting the road which is to be removed and the plan to install 10 air-sourced heat pumps producing 55db each, against the opportunity to install a significantly more efficient and less noisy ground-sourced facility under the envisaged conservation area. The PC agreed to recommend retention of the hedge where possible.

Ms Bradley took photographs and asked that she be given sight of the deeds to the property showing the position of the boundary. Mr & Mrs Coad have yet to receive feedback from the visit.

5. Matters Arising & Clerks Report
PC Website & Email: The Clerk to contact Vision ICT to request emails are set up and live as soon as possible.

Fossey Field
The Clerk informed the meeting of the current situation with regard to the Fossey Field. The Village had been asked for comments on what they would like to see happen with the field and these were published in the 22nd February 2021 minutes. Since then Mr Dinsdale and Mr Prince have worked with a member of the public with expertise in this area to produce a tender to maintain the field.

The initial plan for the Fossey land consists of maintenance for wildlife habitat and amenity space, as a way to respond to some of the popular items from the village survey in a cost-effective way. It does not include any substantial modifications or hard landscaping, and does not preclude further ideas from being developed in the future.

The Clerk said that in the last two days she had received at least 10 emails from Little and Great Eversden residents pledging their support for the field as a community facility. These will be circulated to the Council for information.

Mr Blatch felt that the proposals for the land should have been discussed at an open Council meeting, and had been decided on by three members of the PC and not the village – several members of the council explained that this was not the case, and the plans had been properly explained to and debated by the Parish Council at a Parish Council meeting following the survey information.

Mr Dinsdale explained that the next stage is to cost the maintenance of the field by way of the tender which has been put together with the help of a well-qualified individual from the Village. The contract is to run for 2 years.

Mrs Morley asked why the village had not been updated on the outcome of the Village response. Mr Dinsdale explained that the Field was leased by the Parish Council, therefore legally was the Parish Council’s responsibility. Mrs Glasse said people needed to be mindful of the timings and frequency of Parish Council meetings due to Covid (there were fewer meetings, and meetings were via Zoom) as this has meant that people had time to dwell on the outcomes and decisions made but not have not been able to voice their opinions at the time. It was also raised by Mr Watterson that the PC has had to prioritise work on EWR this year due to the non-statutory consultation.

Mr Blatch went on to say he could see nothing in the minutes to say that the proposal had been voted on. The Clerk pointed out the 19 October 2020 minutes that confirmed we do have a Procurement Standing Order under Standing Order No 28 and a tender can be raised. Parish Councillors in attendance agreed that the proposal had been accepted at Council.

Mr Blatch questioned the need for any grassed amenity space, when the recreation ground was adjacent to the field and could be used instead. Several members of the Parish Council commented that most families would be outdoors at weekends, when the recreation ground was in use, and people and families might not want to be beside football or cricket matches and would prefer a quieter space to enjoy. Mr Blatch also commented that the Fossey field had drainage problems and was often waterlogged.

Mr Mallows asked whether the awarded drain was in the tender, Mr Dinsdale confirmed it was not. It was suggested that a community working party of volunteers could clear this, however it was deemed to be dangerous, and Mr Dinsdale will liaise with recreation ground members and email SCDC to discuss the matter.

Mr Dinsdale indicated that we needed to find a way to move forward. Costings for the maintenance of the field would give the Council some help us to do this. The results of the tender process will be discussed at the next full PC meeting in November.

Mr Blatch raised the issue of the ragwort in the field as per his letter to the 6th September 2021 meeting of the Parish Council. This letter will be added as ‘Appendix A’ to the website minutes by the Clerk. He was concerned that the Council had only been taking advice from ‘Friends of the Earth’. Mr Dinsdale said that the Parish Council had taken the document he produced for the Parish Council meeting of 6th September 2021 seriously and the Chair had consulted the DEFRA guidelines and criteria.

Whilst in the meeting the Clerk received an email to say that the gate latch had broken onto the main road. The Clerk will ask Mr Cutmore to fix.

6. Finance
VH Precept & Insurance £3669.69
Vision ICT £573.00
PKF Littlejohn £240.00
All finance payments were agreed.

7. Eversden Fete/Jubilee 2022: Request from the Fete Committee that a joint event on Saturday 4th June be held as part of Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Celebration weekend. The Parish Council were content with the suggestions and would like to see a coordinated approach with both the Recreation Ground and Village Hall as well as the Fete Committee.

8. Adopt updated LGA Councillor Code of Conduct: It was agreed to adopt the new May 2021 Code of Code when new Councillors are in post in May 2022.

9. No further Planning applications were received after agenda publication.

10. Correspondence received

11. County & District Councillor Reports: Neither Councillor in attendance.

12. Next meetings: Planning; 1st November, if required. Full Parish Council, Monday 15th November 2021.

The Chair closed the meeting at 9:27 pm.

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