MINUTES OF THE LONGSTOWE OPEN PARISH MEETING
Thursday 19th May 2022
Longstowe Village Hall 7.15pm
Present: Cllr Barbara Cooper (Chairperson)
Cllr Will Bevan
Cllr Ben Holland
Cllr Peter White
Sharon Brown – Clerk
Also present: Cllr Tumi Hawkins (SCDC), Cllr Mark Howell (CCC), Mrs Bobbie Coe, Mr Geoff Hemmins, Mrs Chris Morton and Mr Richard Murden and other residents of the Parish.
Minutes of the Open Parish Meeting May 2021:
The minutes were available at the meeting, having been agreed and signed at the June 2021 Parish Council Meeting.
Chairperson’s Annual Report: Cllr Cooper gave a comprehensive report for the year 2021-2022. A copy is appended and will be kept with the Minutes.
A handout of the unaudited accounts for 2021-22 was available.
Cllr Cooper welcomed everyone present.
Thanks were extended to Cllr Tumi Hawkins and Cllr Mark Howell and for regularly attending LPC meetings.
Especial thanks were extended to Geoff Hemmins who stood down from the Parish Council at the May 2022 elections, after many years of service. In appreciation of his work, the presentation of a small gift was made, together with the expressed hope that he would make available his knowledge of the village and continue to input to the parish council concerns and activities.
Reports from District and County Councillor representatives to LPC.
Cllr Tumi Hawkins, SCDC commenced with her thanks in being re-elected at the May elections. Her Annual Report is available on her website. Highlighted at the meeting were, a) SCDC’s Zero Carbon Strategy which includes communities grants, low energy street lighting, an electric bin lorry and ‘greening’ South Cambs Hall. b) Housing: doubling of council housing in the last four years in South Cambs; the available help with Neighbourhood Planning. c) the Local Plan, including the effects of the East-West Rail proposals and moving Cambridge Sewage Works. d) continuing support to businesses since covid. e) the ‘caring council’ actions, including online services, an equalities scheme and support for young people.
Cllr Mark Howell, CCC highlighted the County Council’s remit of education, highways, social services and children (the majority of the budget) and libraries. He also commented on the E-W Rail and Ox-Cam Arc projects.
There followed extensive discussion and questions on a number of issues, with replies from the councillors. Issues included:
The lack of grid capacity: at present, no further larger scale green electricity generation ispossible in the immediate area. Direct discussion with the grid providers will be necessary and with the MP. It was noted that this issue relates directly to finance in respect of grid development.
The growth of Cambourne: concern was raised that this was ever-extensive and development far beyond the original plans. Cllr Howell noted that the Levelling Up White paper addressed the issue of over development in the south-east of England.
Concerns about high speed limits in Longstowe: Cllr Howell noted that he is taking up the issue of reducing the speed limit on the A1198 and will provide further information.
Aircraft noise: with this increasing due to the new flight paths into Luton airport, the impact on Longstowe was discussed. The Clerk will attend the public meeting being held in July.
The Open Meeting concluded at 8.30pm.
Signed by:……………………………………………………… Date:. ………………..
Annual Report from the Chairperson, 2021-2022.
Welcome to the 2022 Longstowe Parish Open Meeting. Tonight’s meeting is the Annual Parish Open Meeting at which the public may speak without invitation. This will be followed by the normal Parish Council Meeting which again you are very much welcome to attend. Hopefully you will have all seen the Agenda which has been on display on our four noticeboards throughout the Village and on the website. There will be reports from myself, County Councillor Mark Howell, District Councillor Tumi Hawkins and then there will be an opportunity for parishioners to speak or ask questions.
The Parish Councillors are:
• William Bevan
• Ben Holland
• Peter White
• Barbara Cooper
• Clerk – Sharon Brown
• Editor of Skylark – Christine Morton
I would like to thank Councillors Mark Howell and Tumi Hawkins for their attendance at our monthly Parish Council meetings and for continuing to review various issues on behalf of our village.
The Village Hall Committee has continued to have oversight over the ongoing refurbishment of the Village Hall. We should thank those on the Village Hall Committee and their ongoing fundraising efforts for the continued refurbishment of the Village Hall and the Village Sports Committee members who continue to work tirelessly in their own time to keep the Longstowe Sports Field in such good condition. Thanks, in particular, should be made, to Michael Murden who looks after the bus shelters and Andy Church who continues to do the grass cutting. Thanks, should also be extended to Ben Holland, rights of way Warden for the Village, who has looked after the footpaths and has agreed to continue to remain as Warden for the Village.
We would also like to thank Christine Morton for looking after the production of Skylark. The Parish Council would also like to express its gratitude to Charlotte Hemmins who is the Internal Auditor for the Parish Council.
We have been very lucky to have Geoff Hemmins as a longstanding Parish Councillor and will be very sorry when he stops attending our meetings. His knowledge and history of the village has been hugely valuable. We hope that despite standing down as a councillor he will attend as many meetings as he can to help keep us on the straight and narrow. We would like to present him with a small gift as a token of thanks on behalf of the council for his time and commitment to the parish – thank you.
Longstowe Parish Council has met each month, with the exception of August. At the monthly meetings we have discussed matters raised locally, planning matters referred to us by the District Council, local environmental issues, correspondence received and the Parish’s finances. In addition, we have attended a variety of additional meetings within the district and more locally for training purposes or as part of the ongoing planning process for the area.
Our major source of funding is the precept, currently set at £5775 for 2022/23. Apart from paying our Clerk, the majority of the money is spent on street lighting, maintaining the bus shelters, along with fees to organisations such as CAPALC (Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Association of Local Councils), NALC (National Association of Local Councils) and the insurance. A draft summary of the income and expenditure for 2021/22 is available at this meeting and will be available on the website. The most significant expense is the Parish Clerk. Sharon Brown is contracted to work 16 hours per month. Believe me, I can assure you that Sharon does significantly more than she claims and for this the Parish Council are truly grateful. Her pay rate is mandated by a national agreement covering all Council employees and reflects her experience in the role. Other costs are associated with the publication of the Parish newsletter, the Skylark and the rental of the village hall.
Funds and Grants
The application by the Parish for a grant to purchase a defibrillator was finally successful, but within days we heard from the national lottery that our application had also been succesful. We have since asked South Cambs to consider our platinum jubilee application instead. This will hopefully result in the planting of an English Oak tree, a slate commemorative jubilee plaque and 1000 daffodils planted along the high street verge.
The repairs to the drains on the High Street have meant a replacement under-road pipe and the resurfacing of the A1198 has been completed.
We have established a Neighbourhood Planning Group who are reviewing the neighbourhood survey, to support the Longstowe Neighbourhood Plan, with a view to identifying what the village as a community want and to possibly make available land that can be utilised for affordable housing and retirement bungalows.
The Parish Council has contributed to numerous consultations on aspects including the transport strategy. East-West Rail line and various local environmental issues.
Areas for Immediate Action
The Parish Council continues to ensure that it communicates with all the parishioners in Longstowe, in a timely and effective manner.
We are close to having internet connection put in the Village Hall which will be of great value to residents in the village and to these meetings.
The Parish Council will continue to negotiate with the police and other services regarding the speed limit in the village.
We encourage members of the Village to liaise with the Parish Council over any concerns they may have in relation to the Neighbourhood Plan or any other matter that affects the village. We recognise the need to attract more young people to the area and to provide accommodation that will allow long-standing retired residents to remain in the village.
I would like to thank my fellow Councillors for their continuing support and commitment to ensuring that Longstowe remains a pleasant, safe and outward-looking parish. Long may it continue.
And last, but not least, may I thank William Bevan, who has kindly stepped in on occasion to Chair the meetings during my 9th year as Chairman. I said last year that this would be my last year however I am aware that we needed continuity particularly during the pandemic and therefore hope that I can look to an existing counsellor to step into the role or some new people to join the Parish Council.
Please remember we welcome your feedback on the Village and any other Parish matters that you feel should be raised and hope that you will come to future meetings. I look forward to seeing everyone at the community event, on 2nd June, in celebration of the Queens Silver Jubilee
Please make sure you keep up-to-date with the Longstowe Parish Council website, longstoweparishcouncil.co.uk.