Every year Hardwick, along with most other villages, holds an annual meeting to which all residents of the village are invited.
This year it is being held in the school hall at 7:45 pm on Tuesday 17th May. This is not a Parish Council meeting although as the chairman of the Parish Council I will give a brief report of what has been happening in the village over the year – and there has been a lot happening with possible new housing developments in the village, preparations for a Village Plan and there will be an update about the demolition of the eyesore at the corner of St Neots Road and Cambridge Road.
New this year is the opportunity to turn up on the night and apply for a small grant of up to £250 for projects which will benefit the people of Hardwick. There will be a maximum of £1,000 which is being made available by Hardwick Parish Council. The grants can be applied for by individuals or by groups and the main requirement is a commitment to come to following year’s meeting to report back on what the project achieved.
Start preparing your pitch for the money. I’m looking forward to hearing all about some exciting projects. Even if you don’t have a project in mind please turn up and make your views known about what is good or not so good about our village. Many of your elected representatives, including your new Parish Council. District Councillor and Member of Parliament, are invited to the meeting and I am hoping that they will all be able to make it on the evening to listen to the views and concerns of the village.
There were 8 of the 9 Parish Councillors present along with 4 members of the public.
The open session at the beginning of the meeting allows villagers to ask questions to the councillors and 2 residents of Hall Drive asked about the Environmental Impact Assessment Screening that is taking place on the land south of St. Neots Rd. These assessments are looking for populations of protected species like Great Crested Newts and some bat colonies. The Council or an individual cannot comment at this stage but all the findings of the Assessment could be part of a future planning application for the proposed St Neots Road housing development. There is a rare non native pheasant which is currently living on the land proposed for development, the RSPB has said it has probably escaped from a private collection.
The chairman provided an update on the status of possible planning applications for housing developments off St Neots Road and off Grace Crescent together with details of possible planning obligations required of the developers should the planning applications be approved. Councillor Joslin asked that consideration be given to the inclusion of bungalows in the mix of properties close to St Neots Road as these are sought after by elderly residents in the village.
Ann Jones attended the meeting on behalf of the “Clean for the Queen” WI venture happening in Hardwick on Saturday 5th March. She requested that the PC support the national initiative by covering the cost of hiring the community room and tea/coffee and cake ingredients for the volunteers to enjoy afterwards. Pippins cake bakers are baking extra this month for the volunteer litter pickers. It was voted upon later in the meeting to cover this cost.
Martin Cassey of the Village Plan Committee reported that the 2 recent meetings have resulted in a proposed publication date of the Village Plan of late September 2017. Pauline Joslin attends the meetings as a representative of the PC.
After a long discussion and examination of 4 quotations for the recreation ground management the contract remains with Mel Pooley for the next 3 years. Cahills Corner improvements are complete and the PC are very pleased with the widening of the pavement. A resident had already contacted councillors with their gratitude for the safer route to school.
The Beaver Scouts plus a parent each will be camping on the grass next to the Church play park in May for just one night. This is something the PC is happy to support again.
The Annual Parish Meeting will take place on 17th May in the School Hall with a small grant fund of £1000 being available for village organisations. Groups can request up to £250 as long as they present at the meeting and agree to return to the 2017 meeting to report how it was spent.
Finally the Highways Dept. are due to clear overhanging vegetation along St. Neots Rd very soon.
The meeting finished at 10.40pm.
Written by Jane Humphries