The comments in Willingham News from the Parish Council are written on a rota basis by six different councillors. This shares the load but more importantly ensures a variety of styles and opinions. It is my pleasure as council chairman to present the comments this month.
I know that not everyone will be pleased to hear that I am back as chair for the third time. Let me assure you that this is not due to an inflated ego but a lack of other candidates. Whilst it is a privilege to chair the council, having done it twice before for a total of six years, I can well understand that you may have preferred to see a new face.
I should have preferred to see one myself. I am a great believer in rotating chairmanships. That way you get new ideas. The good news is that the council does have some new and very able councillors who have put their hands up for future leading roles. David Carlton has agreed to be my vice chair and will, I hope, be able to take over next year as chairman.
As you will know, we had elections in May which resulted in thirteen councillors being returned unopposed. The remaining two posts have since been filled by co-option so I am pleased to say that for now we have a parish council at full strength. However, at least one councillor is likely to be moving out of the village shortly which will create a new vacancy. Please do consider putting your name forward. We are regarded as progressive and well run and can promise new members a very warm welcome.
As reported last month, SCDC also had elections in May that saw the Liberal Democrats sweep the board and enabled them to form a strong majority at Cambourne. They promise that their priorities will be affordable housing, the environment and supporting business growth.
For Willingham and Over we have two new Liberal Democrat councillors, Dawn Percival who lives in Willingham and Bill Handley who lives in Over. Both of them came along to our parish council meetings in May and June. They have promised to hold quarterly surgeries in Willingham from the end of July. The surgeries will be held in the Ploughman Hall between 11 am and Midday on 28 July 2018, 27 October 2018 and 26 January 2019.
Some of you may remember Dawn’s grandmother. She taught at Willingham school for many years and had among her alumni councillors Cook and Manning. How hard is that!
Your county councillor, Tim Wotherspoon came along to the Annual Parish Meeting and took on a series of questions about highways. Potholes and HGV traffic featured strongly and are high on Tim’s agenda. He mentioned a scheme of summer repair work to improve the road surfaces that will try to avoid so many problems next winter and also a potential new road link from the top of the M11 into the fens that could provide significant benefits to Willingham. However, that is some time away with the route still to be decided and funding to be agreed.
Unfortunately, Tim was not at our June meeting when further issues were raised regarding the volume and speed of traffic through the village. The clerk will be in contact with him on these matters. Tim usually attends parish council meetings when you can ask him questions or you can contact him at: Timothy.Wotherspoon@cambridgeshire.gov.uk
I mentioned above the landslide victory of the Liberal Democrats in the district council elections. I should also mention that it resulted in Ray Manning narrowly missing election as an Independent. Ray has done a huge amount for this village over many years as a parish and district councillor. Our thanks go to him and his long-suffering family for the thousands of hours he has contributed.
I also mentioned the fact that this page of Willingham News gets compiled by different councillors on a rota. My next contribution will be for the January 2019 edition so in the meantime may I wish you all a wonderful summer.