Unconfirmed Great Eversden Parish Meeting Minutes – 13th April 2015
EAT EVERSDEN PARISH MEETING
The Great Eversden Annual Parish Meeting was held in the Village Hall on Monday 13th April 2015 at 8 pm
Mr Paul Tebbit, Chairman of the Parish Council, was in the Chair.
Minutes of previous year’s meeting on 7th April 2014 were confirmed.
The following reports were received from Representatives.
Recreation Ground Report – Sue Glasse
This last year has again not been kind causing us problems and postponements. January and February 2015 has been much like 2014 was, very wet with light ground frosts which retain the water. This has meant that only two games have been played in the first two months of 2015.
In October the temperatures were still in the low to mid 20’s and September the driest on record. This unusual weather caused us a big problem with Chafer and Leather Jackets, these feed on the grass roots, killing the grass and then the birds pull up the dead grass to get at the grubs. It was a costly operation to rid the soil of these pests and the time window and weather conditions had to be right to get a good percentage of success.
We had 20 tons of top dressing delivered, which is mainly sand, this is to improve drainage and break down the clay. We managed to spread most of the 20 tons before the bad weather stopped us. We are gradually eliminating the likelihood of the ground cracking during very dry spells in the summer and getting a thicker sward of hard wearing grass.
We have managed to cut the front hedge and even though very wet verti-drained both the football pitches.
As last year we have four football teams playing on the recreation ground, all from Comberton Crusaders, Under 17 boys, Under 16 boys, Under 15 boys and Under 14 girls. The cricketers again finished mid table of their league and played though the whole season without one postponed match due to rain.
You will have noticed that the short length of path now has a back edging and a blinding surface, making it usable. We may have to wait a considerable while for the kerb to be dropped and a tarmac surface due to how the Highways allocate work.
We have constructed a new manhole to divert the top half of the field drainage into the ditch on the north side and now that we know that this is running free, we are locating the existing land drainage runs, and adding to these to improve drainage to the top football pitch, which has two areas that, after a heavy rain, have standing water.
We now have to push for something to be done about the manhole in Buck’s Lane which, since the new diversion, only now takes the drainage from the bottom end of the field. This is the drain that affects the bottom play area.
The Connections Bus visits us weekly on a Monday evening with an average of 14 young people attending and is solely funded by the Parish Council and am pleased to say that they have agreed to fund the whole of next year ( term times ), so from April 2015 to March 2016 the bus will visit us on a weekly basis. We would like to thank the Parish Council in supporting this valuable activity for the young people of the village.
The Pavilion is still being used for the monthly coffee mornings and the Mother and Toddlers Group.
Lastly a big thank you to the committee for their hard work throughout the year, especially with the Jumble Sale and Quiz nights.
Mr Webster, from the public gallery, wished his gratitude to be recorded for Mr Blatch and Mr Mallows in their upkeep of the Recreation Ground, it always looked fantastic on passing.
Village Hall – Gemma Spencer
Since the death of John White in December 2013, Betty Mallows has chaired the Village Hall Committee and together with other members of the Committee, organised (with the help of village residents) many social events, to raise necessary monies for the Hall which is the hub for the villages of Great and Little Eversden. Some monies raised are also shared with The Friends of the Eversden Churches.
2014 and the start of 2015 have been seen much activity in the Hall, with the aid of the Village Society Sub-Committee. We’ve had Film Nights, Jumble Sales, Ian Keable’s Magic Show in April, the Race Night in May organised by the Village Society which raised money for the new Notice Board in Great Eversden opposite The Hoops in memory of John White, in conjunction with and ordered by Kieran O’Callaghan, on the Parish Council. We had our 3rd Beer Festival with a Bavarian flavour accompanied by an Oompah Band in October. On Saturday 1st November the Hall hosted an event to mark the centenary of the beginnning of the First World War, with memorabilia, music, slides and readings. In December we had the Christmas Fayre and Katherine Jackson organised Santa’s Grotto, an “elf hunt” for the children, a seller of crafted reindeer, Father Christmas arriving on a pony and cart, and many other activities including stalls which were run by willing helpers and sustenance from the very popular hot dogs.
During the year Katherine has run “Café Creative” in the Hall on six Saturdays with stalls including face painting, arts and crafts, vegetables, Barbara’s book stall accompanied with of course great coffee and homemade cakes! At September’s Café Creative, a Produce Show (organised primarily by Margaret Tebbit) brought out the villagers’ fruit, veg and flowers for display, to be judged and awarded “best of” in different categories. It’s hoped that the Show will be repeated this year in September.
On 31st January the Village gathered at the new Noticeboard for the placing of the plaque in memory of John White. There was in excess of 40 people as the snow began to fall. Carol Handley gave a short speech and then we all moved into the Hoops for some Indian snacks. In the year ahead the Village Society hopes to continue the Hoops lunches to become a village event. The possibility of another International Lunch is being looked at, to be incorporated possibly with Café Creative.
There are plans to install new staging in the Hall as the number of people able to put up and dismantle the stage is diminishing. A more user-friendly stage system such as that at Toft Village Hall is being considered (namely Q-Build). A site visit by Parish Councillors and Village Hall members was made to Toft where it could be seen that their staging was more easily assembled, another company and system will also be investigated.
Lottery funding and VH fundraising to be sought if plans go ahead.
Robert Jackson has made further wooden storage units on the Hall’s balcony which match the older units. He has also made a cupboard in the Committee room at the back for storage of glasses. All are ready for use.
The sale on 7 February was very successful with more buyers than last year, there were less clothes and more bric-a-brac, a sign of the times?
Maintenance and Improvements
Mrs Pritchard, Parish Councillor, has offered to trim the hedges behind the Hall and along the pathway to the kitchen. Offer glady accepted.
And of course the Village Hall would not prosper without the support of everyone in Little and Great Eversden and further afield. THANK YOU ALL!
Village Sign – Derek Blatch
This has been mown regularly and now extends along the verge up to the footpath opposite Bucks Lane.
The beech hedge is in good condition and is due for a cut before spring arrives. I am pleased to say that the area around the seat has not flooded this year even though we have had a lot of rain during January and February 2015. The sign and stones are in good condition, however the seat as a build- up of algae and requires a wire brush and coat of Cuprinol Hardword Furniture oil.
Connections Bus – reported by Clerk
January – March 2015 Numbers
There have been 9 visits by the bus during the term and we have seen 31 young people. Average attendance was 18.
|Attendance||18||15||18||22||17||19||Cancelled broken window||18||16||18|
Craft and other activities available on the bus this term have included sequin art, face painting, assorted puzzles, making Valentine cards, making Shrinkies, making Mother’s Day cards, scratch art and assorted Easter crafts
Quizzes have been held on words, the Simpsons, EU countries, Chinese New Year, the heart, Wales, St Patrick’s Day and Easter
Week 1 – Good catch ups about Christmas and starting back at school. Usual football outside in wet and dark until 5pm! New member mixing well. Assisted young person with Chemistry revision.
Week 2 – Relaxed atmosphere. Discussed 16+ choices and part-time jobs. Also enjoyed watching Pointless
Week 3 – Usual football outside then everyone on the bus. Enjoyed quiz on EU countries. Had chats about school, sport and health issues.
Week 4 – Large number playing football and then joining us on the bus. Good discussion about smoking and its effects.
Week 5 – Mix of girls and boys playing football. Discussions about school, health, football and marriage break-up.
Week 6 – Good session with lots playing football now the evenings are lighter. Conversations about “50 Shades of Grey”, the definition of rape, 6th form interviews, subjects choices and piercings.
Week 7 – Cancelled due to broken window on bus
Week 8 – Good sessions of sitting and chatting. Caught up with a couple of young people who had not been for a while. Topics included loss of a cat, computer games, movies, finding a football team, 6th form interviews, dieting, school, alcohol and menstrual cycles. Bit of chemistry homework helped with. Usual group playing football.
Week 9 – Usual football outside with good mix of ages. Conversations inside about school, IVF, gay parents and teachers. Assistance was given with maths homework.
Week 10 – Good mix of outside activities being enjoyed. Also conversations about school, 6th form, parents evenings, homework, home life and exams
As the Connections Bus was a large amount of the precept, the Chair asked the public for their views on whether we should continue to suppor the bus. Miss Sach said she thought it was an excellent resource for the young people of the Villages as we had tried to organise a youth club without success. Nobody at the meeting had any objections and were all in support of continuing to fund the bus.
Comberton Village College – Carol Handley
It has ben customary to start the report with statistics about exam results and this year Mr Gove has added a complication to them by decreeing that only the first attempt at an exam in a given subject can be allowed to count in the final score.
It had been common practice among Cambridgeshire secondary schools to enter students for important subject like English and Maths early so that they could gain experience that would help them to get a higher grade in the summer. When this new rule was announced in Autumn 2013 schools were faced with a dilemma. Some decided to cancel earlier entries and wait till the summer. Others, like Comberton, decided to continue with previous policy since they believed it was in the best interest of their pupils to help them get the best grade possible to assist their future careers and to ignore the effect on league tables.
The result is that we have two sets of GCSE statistics.
% achieving 5+ A*- C grades including English and Maths counting only ‘first’entry
as required this year 72%
% as measured in previous years counting best results 79% (80% in 2014)
The national figure is said to be 55%
% of all grades that were A-A*: 39%
% achieving at least 1 A*-G grades: 100%
In the Sixth Form the A2 results were excellent
Total grades at A*- B: 54% 65%
Total grades at A*- C: 85% 89%
Total grades at A*- E 100% 100%
Numbers in the Sixth form this year are also very promising
Total yr 12: 203
Total yr 13: 164
Total Applications for 2015: 470
Total 1st choice 214
Both the highest yet received. They are about 50% from CVC and from elsewhere
UCAS offers have been very satisfactory too. 109 applied, 99 have confirmed places, of which 39 are from Russell Group universities
Both Comberton and Cambourne expect to be fully subscribed at yr. 7.
That is more than enough of statistics. Important as they are, exam results are only one part of the work of a school, and CVC continues to be very successful in giving its students a sense of the excitement of learning, a realisation of the breadth of opportunities open to them both now and in the future and, above all, the confidence to explore these opportunities. Teachers are trying consciously to train pupils to learn resilience and to regard any failure as a learning experience rather than a disaster, and it seems to work.
In extra-curricular activities I continue to be amazed at the confidence with which students and their families set out to raise about £2000 to enable them to visit and work with our link schools in South Africa or Mozambique, and, nearer home, the numbers following the Duke of Edinburgh Award schemes at various levels.
Finally, you may be interested to know that Cambourne is growing so fast and the demand for school place is increasing so much that by 2017 they will already need an extension to the Cambourne Village College. This was foreseen at the planning stage, but there was not enough money to make it any larger than 5 form entry (150 pupils per year). However the architects recognised the situation and designed the building so that another wing could be added, but, of course, it will cost more this way.
And, on the subject of costs, I am sure you are aware of the Government’s claims that the money spent on schools has been protected. The problem is that all the costs have increased. The situation is particularly acute in Cambridgeshire because, for some inscrutable historic reason Cambridgeshire schools get less money per head per pupil (capitation money) than any other county in England. Representations have been made, and an additional grant given, which will just balance the budget, but no one can tell us if this is a one-off or whether it will be repeated. The trouble is that Cambridge schools have coped too successfully so far, and no doubt the DfE feels confident that we can continue to do so, however meanly we are treated. And I think this is true, but it does put a considerable strain on all staff who work in these schools.
Meridian School, Comberton – Glynis Virgo, Headteacher
The Clerk read the following report on behalf of Mrs Virgo. This year we are working on ‘rejuvenating’ our library. When we asked the children what they would like, they told us they wanted a library which was bright and cheerful, with comfy chairs, and books which were easy to see and choose. We have taken these three themes of ‘colourful’, ‘comfortable ‘ and ‘accessible’ and are working with a company to provide just that. The PTA (Parent Teacher Association) have been very busy and have already raised thousands of pounds to pay for the project. We are very much hoping that our newly refurbished library will be open by the end of the school year.
Mr Dalton reported that Meridian will have a new Headteacher from September 2015.
Allotments – Paul Tebbit
There are currently 10 plots being used on the allotments with 2 or 3 unused but with potential if cleared. Laura Hobbs has stepped down and Diarmund Coyle is currently acting as treasurer with £1,100 in the account however a permanent new Treasurer is required, if anyone is interested.
Mr Tebbit said that the latest report from the Council was available in Tailcorn.
Some of the issues include:
- All of the agendas and minutes are now on the website.
- We saved £1k on the Village Hall insurance
- Successfully reduced the A603 speedlimit to 50 mph
- Flooding, footpaths and hedges is ongoingThe Noticeboard in memory John White
- Filling many of our footpaths with plainings
- We joined a coalition of Parish Councils in support of STOP BAD
- The second application of OSP148 was passed in March by SCDC, 9 votes to 4.
Mr Abraham epxressed his thanks to the Parish Council for all their work. However he felt that the decision regarding OSP148 was being justified at all costs by the Parish Council and asked that if the same situation ever arose again in the Village that better consultation be undertaken. Mr Tebbit responded that other available sites in the Village had been sought but none were brought to the attention of Accent Nene, the developer nor the Parish Council. Mrs Webster enquired about the land offered at a Parish Council meeting by Mr Bridgewater. Mr Tebbit replied that it was his understanding that this had since been withdrawn.
District Council – Robin Page
Cllr Page informed the meeting that his main concern was planning, this was his reason for putting himself forward for election. He was very critical of SCDC Planning Policy and Conservative and Liberal Democrat Councillors had been selected over him on the Planning Committee despite expressing an interest. He went on to say that as a local boy from Barton, he understood the need for affordable housing, and two sites had been secured in Barton. However, he was also elected as an environmentalist. Mr Page found it unbelievable that after travelling to the third world, people here as so ready to give away their green areas.
Cllr Page talked about the amount of vitriol that is going on about OSP 148. He had made a Freedom of Information request which had produced over 1,000 documents and a further FOI requet to clarify some of the revealing information. He informed the meeting that he had also made a data protection request due to a complaint about him to the Standards Committee of SCDC. SCDC found he had no case to answer. At this point he likened the regime to that of North Korea.
There had been misinformation about other available sites in the Village. The Bloor Homes site was clearly available but received a dismissive response from the Parish Council’s previous chair, Mr Dalton.
At the March planning meeting it was said that Great and Little Eversden should be treated as one when legal advice said the two parishes should be dealt with separately.
Cllr Page is now in discussion with an organisation that owns an alternative site. There is no paper trail that any other site has been investigated. After 45 years in public life he is depressed by what is going on.
Cllr Page then went on to state that Cllr Kindersley came to his house and said he would support the recommendation of the Officers but he nows denies this. Cllr Page said he had never before been accused of fabricating anything.
After this the Chair intervened and said that the Cllr Page should not be using this public meeting for a personal attack on a fellow Councillor.
Cllr Page protested that Mr Tebbit was preventing him from speaking and again, likened the PC to the North Korean Government.
The Chair objected to Cllr Page’s assertions about himself and fellow Parish Councillor in both this meeting and recent Press articles. He explained that the Bloor homes site was discussed before his Chairmanship and was dated 2010. The site was subsequently sold and the current owners have plans for an Alpaca Farm with building and a house. Mr Page asked if the Parish Council had contacted the owners about affordable homes there. Mr Tebbit replied no.
The Chairman asked if there were any further questions for Cllr Page. The Clerk requested that Cllr Page provide a transcript so as to ensure a true and accurate record of his report. The Chair then invited Cllr Kindersley to present his report.
County Council – Sebastian Kindersley
In response to Cllr Page, Mr Kindersley read the following statement:
I met Mr Page at his invitation at his home on February 23rd. He alleges that he asked me how I intended to vote at Planning Committee in relation to a site in Great Eversden. He further alleges that I told him I would vote in support of the Planning Officer recommendations – at the time not yet published.
M Page neither asked me the question nor obtained the answer from me that he alleges.
Given that there are two versions of events – his and mine – and no other witness to the conversation I would highlight the following:
1) There is a strict requirement under the Code of Conduct for members of the Planning Committee to avoid pre-determination. As a long-standing member of the Planning Committee I am only too well aware of this obligation. Why would I offer anyone any view on how I intended to vote on any planning matter but in particular OSP 148 which has already been the subject of a successful judicial review by a consortium of objectors?
2) Even if I was naïve, stupid or reckless enough to give a view on OSP 148 no sane Councillor would commit to supporting an Officer recommendation that was not at the time even published.
3) Furthermore Mr Page was aware that I had supported the previous application on this site, as indeed had the Committee. Why – given that the applications are essentially the same in general if not in detail – did he think I might have changed my mind?
Clearly a professional journalist would have spent some time trying to find out the basis for my changed position – if it had changed as Mr Page alleges. In all his subsequent correspondence he does not once make any reference to this. Why not? Because it didn’t happen.
4) Mr Page will recall that there were upwards of 30+ residents in the public gallery who throughout the speaker’s presentations made clear their support for a refusal – for example by applauding both his speech and that of the objecting neighbour when they respectively denounced the application.
Again only an idiot would alienate those people – who are my electorate as well as Mr Page’s – when the much easier path would have been to support the refusal as I had allegedly assured Mr Page I would?
5) I am not the only decision maker on the Committee and the vote – 9 in favour, 4 against – would imply that Members of the Committee took the planning merits of the application into account rather than anything else – as they are required and entitled to do. It is a matter of regret that Mr Page should pick on one or two Members and subject them to particularly venomous attacks.
6) Mr Page makes much of the fact that he considers me a ‘career politician’. While it is true that I would like to be elected as MP for South Cambs it is only South Cambs that I want to serve. He – on the other hand – has attempted to enter Parliament 5 times and the European Parliament once.
I understand a complaint has been made to the Monitoring Officer about Mr Page’s behaviour so there I shall let it rest. I am happy to answer questions on this but I will not again allow myself to be subjected to a relentless bullying diatribe of Mr Page’s various prejudices against me.
Cllr Kindersley, Vice Chair of the County Council as well as sitting on the Constitution Ethics Committee and Planning Committee, reported on the following topics over the year:
- The Committee system within Cambridgeshire County Council is working extremely well and there is transparenc within the decision making. The signing of City Deal being the most positive Central Government are giving SCDC/Cambridgeshire County and Cambridge City Council £500m over the next 5 years to spend on infrastructure in order to deliver the SCDC and County Council local plans.
- Cambridgeshire is the worst funded for education and we have recently received an extra £324 per pupil. The reason behind this is due to the Shire Counties accepted lower taxes in 1970s in return for less money for education. There are currently 15,000 children living in poverty in Cambridgeshire, 70% dispersed through affluent areas in SCDC.
- The Balfour Beatty street lighting contract has been very difficult and there are still many outstanding lights. Balfour Beatty are likely to incur fines for non-performance.
- If the Barrington Quarry development of 250 houses is given the go ahead traffic will be affected considerably through Barrington and Haslingfield. Barrington PC have secured £5m in community benefits should it be successful.
- There is a new bus route “R” from Trumpington Park and Ridge to Addenbrookes every 5 minutes.
- £500m has been secured through the City Deal to support infrastructure.
A member of the public gallery asked Cllr Kindersley about the road closures through Little Eversden. Cllr Kindersley replied that although he was not aware of the actual scheme he could only apologise on behalf of Highways. It was understood that the road had been closed so that pot holes could be filled before major resurfacing work later in the year.
At the end of his rebuttal of Cllr Page’s accusation of dishonest behaviour, Cllr Kindersley made a remark about returning to the ‘proper business’ of the Parish Council. Ms O’Callaghan objected to the comment on the grounds that it was in some way disrespectful to the residents.
Any Other Business
Rev Fraser reported on the Chancel repair. He informed the meeting that the underpinning contractors had walked off-site but negotiations had now resolved that they had returned to a new fixed price. The work has restarted and will continue until late Summer. The Friends of the Eversden Churches wished their thanks be recorded to Neville Pritchard for all his work.
Speedwatch is still operating in the Village and can be booked via an online booking system. The Police will come out and assist when requested. 20% of drivers are currently over the 30mph speed limit between 30-35 mph, however driving at over 60 mph does not trigger the speedgun!!!
Date of Next Meeting
Monday 4th April 2016