September Parish Meeting Report

The meeting was attended by 7 councillors and 8 members of the public.

During the open part of the meeting the issue of litter was raised by a concerned villager who said that the problem had been especially noticed by the dog walkers of Hardwick. Later in the meeting it was an agenda item and the PC discussed how it too is concerned and would continue to be pro active in keeping the village clear of rubbish but that signage is not the way to tackle the problem. The PC is very grateful to the volunteering group which will have its first ‘pick’ on 7th October and as many PC members as possible will join them. The position of a paid litter picker is still open and interested applicants should contact the clerk.

A large part of the evening was spent discussing the possibility of Section 106 money resulting from any housing development that may arise in the village over the next few years. Increased numbers of children in the village would mean the school would need the room; but section 106 money could be spent on a new Community building if it is decided upon before the planning permission is ever granted. Given that the school will need to expand if the development goes ahead there has been a suggestion that the community rooms in the school be surrendered in exchange for a new community centre elsewhere in the village. This option is being considered by the Trustees of the community facilities at the school. It is a complicated set of events that need to be thought through but a decision to relinquish the Community Room to the school seemed to be the popular one, in the interest of the whole village. This is a hypothetical situation at the moment as planning permission has not yet gone to the County Council.

The Village Plan group met on the 1st Sept and at present are not keen to merge into a Neighbourhood Plan group yet. More support from the village is needed in terms of volunteers offering to be a part of the scheme.

A hard cut back of vegetation on the recreation ground will go ahead with work on the surrounding trees too. The bench outside the church is to be cleaned and treated as soon as possible.

The meeting closed just before 11pm.

Written by Jane Humphries

August Parish Meeting Report

The meeting took place in the Social Club as the school was closed for the summer break. All 9 councillors attended and about 12 members of the community.

In the open part of the meeting at 7.45pm Carter Jonas made a short response to the decision made at the July meeting to oppose the planning application for houses near Grace Crescent. They have offered a greater contribution of section 106 money which is to benefit the village and would be put towards village facilities like a community building to replace the community room which would be required for the extra children attending the school and pre-school.

Martin Cassey reported on behalf of the Village Plan Steering Committee and emphasized that they would not be rushing towards a neighbourhood plan at the moment as it may cause confusion and greater bonding is still required with the Parish Council. Grenville reported that the devolution Deal was still unclear and a final decision would be made in October.

Chris Fuller gave a detailed report on the works required on trees around the recreation ground which will be cut back to reveal the dog walk area west of the pitches and cleared well back from the car park near the Social Club. These bramble bushes will also be pruned hard from the eastern side too. The Council thanked him for his time given to the report.

Wild flower mixes will be sown in several locations around the village including outside the school, church, Cahills Corner and on the Laxton Ave green. The planting will be in small blocks so mowing can still keep these areas tidy.

A new litter picker is required for the village, it is a paid position needing about 4 hours per week with a remuneration of £140/month. Not all the village is cleaned just the recreation grounds and parks. Please contact the clerk if interested.

Written by Jane Humphries

July Parish Meeting Report

There was a well-attended Parish Council meeting on 26th July and a lively open session before the formal meeting began.  Alison Talkington from South Cambs District Council gave a brief presentation about Neighbourhood Plans.  Hardwick already has an active Village Plan Group, supported by the Parish Council,  but there are advantages to the more formal Neighbourhood Plan when it comes to local decisions on planning issues – but also a lot of extra work.  The Parish Council decided that it wanted to adopt a Neighbourhood Plan for the whole of Hardwick and Tony Gill, Pauline Joslin and Jim Stewart were appointed to a newly formed group.  The new Group was asked to meet with the Village Plan Group with a view to combining resources.

A planning application for 98 houses on land adjacent to Grace Crescent was on the agenda for discussion and a number of village residents attended the meeting to make their views known to the Parish Council.  There were some  thoughtful and constructive comments which the Parish Council were pleased to receive.  There followed a detailed and wide ranging discussion of the application by the Parish Council.  The proposal would provide much needed affordable housing in the village which the Council is keen to support but the Council had significant misgivings over the sustainability of a development on this site and, on  a show of hands, unanimously decided to object to the application.

Clare McGowan of Hardwick Play Park Group gave an interim report to the Parish Council on the activities of the Group.

Other items on the agenda included

Recycling collection for electrical goods in Hardwick which was approved

Tree Survey of all Parish Council trees in the village – the Clerk will invite tenders for remedial work needed

Grounds maintenance – the Clerk will seek tenders for grounds maintenance in the village.  The Council considered the suggestion that some verges be sown with a wild flower mix with interest but further consideration was needed regarding locations to be seeded.

Written by Steve Rose

June Parish Meeting Report

There were 4 Parish Councillors and 3 members of the community present. The open session at 7.45pm had Pat Portlock report that there is a team of 12 volunteers ready to start the litter picking, the removal of rubbish has been organised and the equipment can now be ordered.

Martin Cassey reported on the June meeting of the Village Plan Committee and said that it will be interesting to watch how Cambourne progress as they are about a year ahead of Hardwick.

New way marker signs will go up on the Millennium Footpath to replace rotten posts and fallen markers.

Our ROSPA reports for the 4 playgrounds and skate park have been done and all the required action of repairs to keep in line with the findings will take place as soon as possible.

New updated Council policies were discussed and accepted concerning standing orders, financial regulations and risk assessments.

Reports of overgrown, dead or overhanging trees will be checked against the recent tree survey which has just been completed.

Parish boundaries are to change which will reduce the number of District Councillors and our ward now includes Toft.

The state of repair of some of our lay-bys is particularly poor and any member of the public can report potholes and bad surfaces at: please help us get these up to the standard of our new main roads through the village.

Meeting closed at 10.50pm.

Written by Jane Humphries

May Parish Meeting Report

6 of the 9 councillors were present, our District Councillor and 8 members of the public.

The meeting started with the election of posts for the year following the Annual Parish Meeting in the previous week. Steve Rose remains as Chairman, Tony Gill will be Vice-chairman, Tony, Pauline Joslin and Jim Stewart are on the planning committee, Jane Humphries and Tony will look after trees, Newsletters Jane and Steve, noticeboard agenda and minutes put up by Chris Cracknell and website liaison and litter will be Steve. Martin Cassey heads the Village plan with Pauline attending meetings and Tony, Pauline and Steve will attend the coalition of 22 Parish Councils locally.

During the open public session James Thomas from Hill together with Ben and Caroline Chivers and their colegue Colin introduced a proposal for land development in Hardwick looking ahead to about 2020-2022. Land opposite the school and shop and parallel with St.Neots Rd would provide over 250 houses, recreation grounds, community buildings and a road from Cambridge Rd out to St.Neots Rd. All this is a very early and initial presentation to the PC and as it is all green belt has a long way to go from this proposal on paper at present. The website will have a short report from the developers very soon.

Pat Portlock has found materials for the new volunteering Hardwick Litter Pickers which will be funded with equipment by the PC but they are all volunteers.

Grenville Chamberlain reported that there will be a discussion on the EU referendum at Comberton Village Hall on 2/6/2016. City Deal traffic changes will appear in the press very soon but may include congestion charges, road closures and personal number plate recognition in the centre of Cambridge.

The meeting closed about 10.15pm.

Written by Jane Humphries

Annual Parish Meeting Overall Report

The meeting was well attended with about 50 residents and most Parish Councillors, our District Councillor, Head Teacher, Vicar and many group and club representatives.

Steve Rose extended a warm welcome to all and the meeting began with the business of accepting apologies and signing the minutes from the Annual Parish Meeting of 2015. There were no matters arising so Steve gave his annual report especially thanking the dedication of two councillors in particular, Tony Gill and Pauline Joslin, who were not re-elected in the May 2015 election yet continued to help the PC on the planning sub-committee and with trees and public footpaths. They were successfully co-opted when two councillors stepped down from their posts are now part of the full Parish Council again.

A financial report was displayed on the Parish notice board last year and the public have 5 weeks in June and July to contact the clerk if they have questions about the accounts.

In Grenville Chamberlain’s report he recommended a Neighbourhood Plan for Hardwick to secure what the village wants for the future. The burnt out building on the corner of St.Neots Rd will be demolished this summer and an outline planning application is close for both proposed developments in the village.

The local police sent a report that was read out, 258 incidents were reported in 2015 compared to 295 in the year before. 67 were crimes compared to 51 in the previous year.

Reports were read out by Hardwick Sports and Social Club, The Community Association, Hardwick Happenings magazine, website master Robert Cassey, Village Plan Committee, Guides, St. Mary’s Church, Hardwick Evangelical Church, Hardwick Play Parks, Women’s Institute and Chris Fuller on the recreation ground maintenance.

Pat Portlock introduced the Hardwick Litterpicking Volunteer group which will be recourced by the PC but will be manned by resident volunteers and if you would like to help regularly or just once please contact her at details will be on the website.

Two small grants applications came from Hardwick Play Parks and Hardwick Brownies who were both awarded the maximum amount of £250 each. The Play Parks group will use it to organise a fun run in Hardwick in September and the Brownies want to offer an open evening to attract new girls and will now be able to offer crafts, activities and possibly a trip.

The meeting had a break for refreshments of tea, coffee or a glass of wine and finished about 10pm.

Written by Jane Humphries

April Parish Meeting Report

7 councillors, our District Councillor and 2 members of the community attended to hear councillor Chamberlain discuss the derelict building on St.Neots Rd and the arrangements to demolish it. The gas supply has been disconnected and the owner has agreed to remove the unsafe building ‘soon’.

Grenville said he will push for this as soon as possible and that the application of legal charges may speed things up. The Local Development plan should be through in about a year.

A member of the village is keen to set up a volunteer litter picking group that would assist in keeping the village clean in addition to our paid litter picker. This must be a Parish Council lead group that will be trained, registered for each pick and use the equipment provided by the council. The PC will spend £250 on the set up for this group and our thanks goes to the volunteers already interested.

Martin Cassey sent comprehensive notes on the current state of the village plan and will be at the Annual Parish Meeting to deliver a report and answer any questions. Litter bins will be fitted at the bus stops on St.Neots Rd without them yet, and the lay-by, in an attempt to combat the litter problem. 2 new swing seats were ordered for the play park on Egremont Rd and a quote for resurfacing the footpath along Cambridge Rd from the church to the pub will be sought for the next meeting.

The Annual Parish Meeting will be held on 17th May at the School at 7.30pm.

Village groups will offer reports on the year’s activities, the 2 development companies will update on their progress and there will be small grants available for clubs and societies.

The meeting closed at 10.30pm

Written by Jane Humphries

March Parish Meeting Report

All 9 councillors were present along with Grenville the District Councillor and 3 members of the village. Councillor Chamberlain reported that the burnt out building on St.Neots Rd will eventually be demolished and made clear this summer. It is not clear however what the owner intends to do with the site. In the public session Simon Gibson informed the PC that he hopes to put in a planning application for land next to the DVLA for a cider production unit and a newly planted orchard. The WI informed the PC that their commemorative plaque will go onto the village sign very soon and that 40 people turned out to collect 60 bags of rubbish in the ‘Clean for the Queen’ initiative last month. St.Neots Rd was particularly littered with rubbish and this is a problem as the paid village litter picker is not allowed to pick on that roadside, which is Highways responsibility. Mrs Jones requested a litter bin at each bus stop, a team of volunteer village litter pickers and a dog bin at number 1 St.Neots Rd. Later in the meeting it was resolved that we would look into buying and fitting the litter bins ourselves. The dog bin request was discussed at length and as the PC is often asked for more bins and have to pay for their emptying the one already along St.Neots Rd would be sufficient for the time being.

A small amount of fly tipped rubbish will be removed by the councillors themselves and planning and tree works were also discussed at length. A Neighbourhood Plan now looks to be more likely than the Village Plan that is lead by Martin Cassey, taking longer it will legally protect the village more than a Village Plan and will have the same committee and objectives. 2 new swing seats will replace the current ones at the Egremont Rd play park as the rubber is crumbling around the waist guard.

The meeting finished at 10pm.

The Parish Council would like to ask if there are any volunteers to take part in training for the Speedwatch programme to use speed monitoring equipment to reduce speeding along Cambridge Rd and Main Street. Please contact the clerk if you are interested.

Written by Jane Humphries

February Parish Meeting Report

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

January Parish Meeting Report

Two Parish Council meetings were held in January

There were 7 members of the council and 2 members of the public present at the meeting on 19 January, however the meeting was chaired by Cllr Gill as The Chair and Vice Chair were both absent.

District Cllr Chamberlain reported that unfortunately planning permission had been granted for an extra bungalow to be built at 11 Cambridge Rd despite opposition from the council and several neighbours on the grounds that the plot was too small and too close to Cahills Corner.

The Local Plan, proposed modification, consultation period was up the next day so the council was meeting a week early to allow it to discuss and respond in time. Cllr Rose and Steve Jones from Bourn Parish Council had summarised in writing for the council and it was decided to support the proposals of the Coalition of Parish Councils (which includes both Bourn and Hardwick). The proposals were to oppose the modifications/amendments to the plan with transportation being the main concern.

A few small items on the agenda concerning blocked drains at the Pavilion, overgrowing trees and planning permission for 44 Main Street were dealt with and the meeting finished at 9.25pm!

The following week the PC met to discuss and review the budget and set the precept for 2016/2017.

Only Cllr Skingle was absent for this meeting.

Gail Stoehr presented the finances very clearly for the PC and the councillors spent over 2 hours analysing the 11 main areas of spending which include salaries, grounds maintenance, trees, repairs and asset maintenance. Then the 4 main areas of income which are the precept itself, advertising, buildings/pitch rent and bank interest. Some areas had resulted in a deficit against the budget this year particularly repairs and maintenance but we had saved in other areas. The councillors decided to slightly increase the budget for donations to village groups from Section 137 monies and for ground maintenance. The improvements to Cahills Corner are going to cost less than previously estimated by about £19,000. The Council decided to use some of this to pay for the increase in the budget, to transfer £3,000 to the Scout Hut project, reduce the precept by about £5 per household and to transfer the balance to general reserves.

Written by Jane Humphries