Newsletter – February 2018

Outcomes of Community Governance Review for Willingham and Over

The full Council of South Cambridgeshire District Council met on 25th January 2018. Its business included consideration of a recommendation from its Civic Affairs Committee that a new boundary between Willingham and Over be adopted. Following a lengthy discussion an alternative, amended boundary line was agreed. This new boundary would move all the properties around Highgate Farm and to the west of Haden Way into Willingham. A map showing the agreed boundary can be seen on the Parish Council website. The Local Government Boundary Commission for England will also be asked to re-align the County Council boundary along the new parish boundary.

The Parish Council is very grateful for the support of local District Councillors, especially Councillor Manning, who have had to work very hard to bring this Review to this positive result.

District and Parish Council Elections

All current District and Parish Councillors have to stand for re-election on the 3rd May 2018. If you would like to consider becoming a Parish Councillor nomination forms for candidates are now available from the Parish Office. Completed nomination forms should be returned by hand to South Cambridgeshire Council’s offices at Cambourne, no later than 6th April 2018. To be qualified to stand for election you have to fulfil simple pre-conditions. These are stated on the nomination papers. Further information may also be obtained from: elections@scambs.gov.uk or the Electoral Commission website (www.electoralcommission.org.uk).

Willingham’s electricity supply

In recent weeks there have been several short periods when the electricity supply to the village has been disrupted. UK Power Networks have confirmed that some of these faults have been due to debris hitting lines during the recent strong winds. In addition a fault has been identified and repaired on a high-voltage line running between Burwell and Aldreth. Poor tree maintenance is not currently considered to be an issue. UK Power Networks are reluctant to install underground cabling because of potential damage caused by farmers.

If you are concerned about the welfare of vulnerable family members and neighbours who lose their electricity supply during these disruptions, encourage them to register with their utility suppliers who have a responsibility to prioritise the needs of these customers.

Willingham’s new defibrillator

The Parish Council has purchased a second defibrillator and this has been sited on the Village Library building. The support of our Library staff in helping the Parish Council complete this is gratefully acknowledged. Training in using a defibrillator will be provided by a qualified first- responder during April – further details will be provided.

Stopping fraud

Financial fraud can be prevented by remembering the following points. Firstly, a genuine bank or financial organisation will never contact you ‘out of the blue’ to ask for your PIN or password. You can ignore any requests to move money into different accounts.   Secondly, never allow access to your personal or financial details by automatically clicking on links in an unexpected email or text. Thirdly, if you have an uninvited approach from someone on the doorstep claiming to represent a company contact this company directly by telephone or email before allowing someone to enter your home.

Making metals matter

Please make sure that all household metal packaging – drink and food cans, foil trays and wrap, empty aerosols and screw tops – is placed within your blue bin for recycling. It is estimated that if all household metal packaging from Cambridge and South Cambs was collected it would save the equivalent of taking 812 cars off local streets for a year.

News Letter – January 2018

As this is the first Newsletter of the year it seems like a good opportunity to look back at the achievements of 2017 as well as looking forward to what 2018 may bring.

QEII Field Entrance

With the help of SCDC Community Chest Funding, the Council have improved the disabled access to the Ploughman Hall and QEII Playing field. During periods of heavy rain the previous path often became waterlogged and muddy. The path has been re-laid with improved drainage and following the very heavy rain of late we are pleased to say that the issue is now much improved.

2nd  Defibrillator

 A 2nd public Defibrillator has been purchased and is currently awaiting installation at the library. This along with the original defibrillator situated at the Pavilion, West Fen Road will (whilst we would always hope they are not needed) be a vital and reassuring asset for parishioners.

New Website

The Council has been working on a new, more user friendly website.   This is now up and running and as usual among other documentation, you will find, agendas and minutes of meetings, news items and information on how and who to report issues to that may arise for parishioners.

Highways issues

Whether it be parking, congestion or speeding, Highways issues is an area that many residents have expressed concerns about over the last twelve months. The Council share many of these concerns and continue to liaise with County Council Highways and our County Councillor regarding these concerns. In addition to making written and verbal representations to the relevant authorities the Council have also undertaken some initiatives directly.

Some environmental testing has been carried out along the High Street, with the placement of Nitrous Oxide monitors and it is hoped to continue this testing in 2018 in order to assess levels in the village.

Towards the end of 2017 a short trial was carried out using an interactive speed sign on Earith Road. We are currently waiting for the results of the trial and will report on these at a later date.

Parish Council Elections

2018 will bring the end of the four year term for serving Councillors. Existing Councillors will be required to step down and if they wish to, re-stand for appointment at the Parish Council elections in May. The elections are due to be held on 3rd May, along with District Council elections. If you are interested in becoming a Parish Councillor or would like further information please contact the Parish Clerk.

Life in the Old West

The Council has been in discussion with Cambridgeshire ACRE regarding their ‘Life in the Old West’ project. The Project has just received initial Lottery funding and aims to improve public understanding of the vulnerable biodiversity in the landscape around the Cambridgeshire Fens’ Old West River, whilst developing demonstration sites to showcase new ways of working on the area’s community green spaces and ditch network. The project aims to run for around four years and it is hoped that over the next two years, some of the green spaces in the Parish may benefit from being included in the project. More information about Cambridgeshire ACRE and their project can be found at https://newlifeontheoldwest.wordpress.com/

Newsletter – December 2017

Newsletter – December 2017 – compiled by Councillor Croucher

The Parish Council hopes everyone has had an enjoyable Christmas and New Year break! In the period before Christmas the Parish Council was busy reflecting on the support it has received in the past 12 months and looking forward to the opportunities and challenges of 2018. We hope for positive progress on extending the 30 mph speed limit along Station Road and, maybe, a resolution of the boundary review between Willingham and Over.

 Christmas trees

 Last Christmas the Parish Council re-introduced a Christmas tree and lights to the Village Green. They were much enjoyed by everyone. This year the tree and lights were in place from early December – we hope you have taken the opportunity over the holidays to walk to the Green to enjoy the spectacle. The tree has been generously donated by a local resident, Mr Coe, to whom we offer our grateful thanks. We also thank the volunteer Councillors and family members for giving up their time to set up the tree and lights – this year they discovered that a rodent had been nesting in the fuse box! The fuse box needed some tidying up before any connections could be made.

You may have also noticed that another Christmas tree has been sited on the front of the Public Hall, using a wall bracket which will remain in place for use in future years. This tree has been supplied through sponsorship supplied by the Co-op Store. The Parish Council hopes this will brighten up one part of the High Street.

 The Parish Precept, 2018-2019

 The Parish Council’s Finance and General Purposes Committee met during December to review the parish’s financial situation, decide on the budget for the coming 2018-2019 financial year and propose a precept requirement to the District Council. Lead Councillors identified a budget for the coming year of £180,367. This sum would cover the parish Council’s current activities and also allow for funding for new initiatives. Key items include an increased level of support for Over Day Centre, recognising that a large number of users are Willingham residents and that the Centre is losing considerable funding support from the County Council, the introduction of a structured monitoring programme of nitrous oxide emissions from vehicles on the High Street, and the revision of the Parish Plan.

After further discussion the precept request was agreed at £119,950, an annual increase of just over 2%. The difference between our budget and precept requirements was covered by taking forward income and unspent balances from the current financial year.

Recent activity

Walkers using Pound Lane will note that hedge trimming and verge tidying works have been completed. At its December meeting the Council awarded small grants to support the Salvation Army’s Christmas activity and the ongoing work of the Fen Edge Twinning Association. Council also agreed funding to replace security lights on the Ploughman Hall which had been vandalised.

Paper caddy upcycling and wood-burning stoves

As you are probably aware the District Council is no using paper caddies as part of its recycling activity. Used paper should now be placed directly into the blue wheelie bins. The District Council is also running an upcycling competition for the most imaginative re-use of a caddy.

The District Council also notes that the increased use of open fires and wood burning stoves is generating more chimney smoke,   A new practical guide to improve the efficiency of wood burning stoves , reduce fuel costs and decrease impacts on health can be downloaded from the District Council’s website.

Proludic Sport

Proludic supplied much of the equipment on our very successful playground. Some of this equipment is for use by keep fit enthusiasts. The benefits of using this equipment can be maximised by downloading videos and individual workouts from the Proludic website (www.proludic.co.uk).

Newsletter – November 2017

Compiled by Councillor P King

I joined the Parish Council fifteen years ago to try and help improve our village and in some respects this has happened but, sadly, it is not the case on all issues. On some we seem to be moving backwards.

Traffic

A subject of regular and entirely reasonable complaint is that there is too much through traffic and far too many HGVs. The Parish Council has lobbied continuously for improvement but the Highways department at our County Council do not listen or perhaps do not wish to hear. As one parishioner pointed out at length last month, after being trapped in Tesco’s car park for an hour, not only do they do nothing to help, but they are not even very good at communicating issues. It does sound like a department that could use some new blood. We will keep lobbying our County Councillor, please do the same, the more emails he receives, the more likely we are to see some action, timothy.wotherspoon@cambridgeshire.gov.uk

On the same subject the Parish Council is trying to gather solid data. We installed two Nitrous Oxide test kits at central locations to measure emissions. These are quite simple devices consisting of test tubes that can tell us the NO2 levels in the atmosphere. They are mounted above eye level on street furniture. Sadly one has been stolen. What conceivable use or value it could have is unclear but if you do see someone looking vacantly at a test tube and wondering what to do next could you let us know please, which brings me to the next subject.

Crime

It is true that we live in a relatively low crime area but that is little comfort to those villagers that are on the receiving end of burglary, theft, criminal damage or anti-social behaviour. Equally worrying is the apparent lack of police interest. They claim that they simply do not have the resources to deal with low level crime. You will find it difficult to get any response on the 101 number and even 999 calls do not automatically trigger a physical response. What we would recommend is that for non emergency problems you use the following link: https://www.cambs.police.uk/report/ the advantage of doing so is that your complaint goes on record and that if there are enough complaints action will be taken.

Meanwhile your Parish Council will continue to press for greater police presence and use the link to ensure any damage to council property is always reported. There is also a nominated police liaison contact, currently Councillor Carlton, who attends local police meetings and maintains contact with local officers.

Be Winter Ready

We put in a reminder last month that winter weather can be seriously bad for our health and recommended getting expert advice from your pharmacist, making sure you get your flu jab, stocking up your medicine cabinet and keeping warm with more information available at www.nhs.co.uk/staywell To this we would add advice from the energy suppliers to make sure that appliances are serviced and in safe working order, that you keep a couple of torches within easy reach and that if you do suffer a power cut you dial 105 for further information. Also can we ask that you keep an eye out for any vulnerable neighbours?

 Christmas

Finally, to try and end on a more upbeat note, I am delighted to be able to tell you that Councillor Manning has agreed to take on the role of leading Green and Boundaries, ably assisted by Councillor Cook. And even better news, they have obtained a Christmas tree free of charge and will be installing it on the Green very shortly. Councillor Manning has said that he will hold the ladder as Councillor Cook puts up the decorations. Enjoy the tree and enjoy the holiday. The Parish Council sends very best wishes for Christmas and the New Year to all parishioners.

Newsletter – October 2017

Boundary Review:

Whilst many of you might think that Highgate Farm Store and adjacent buildings are in Willingham, you would be wrong. They are in Over, and most of the residents and businesses that are based there think that this is also wrong. They have petitioned for this area to be formally recognised as part of Willingham. The matter was reviewed by the Civic Affairs Committee at SCDC in September. The committee recommended refusal for change on the grounds that a sufficiently strong case had not been made and that the proposed new boundary conceded too much land, despite the boundary having been recommended by SCDC officers.

Geographically the Highgate area is joined to Willingham and separated from Over by about a mile of open space. As the petition from residents and the businesses operating there had requested local representation, Willingham Parish Council argued that it was their democratic right for this to happen. District Councillor Burling argued that the boundary had existed for four hundred years and should not be changed.

The SCDC committee recommended that Willingham and Over Parish Councils see if they could agree a smaller land change. WPC will certainly try but efforts in the past have met a brick wall. We will also be raising concerns about the procedure at the SCDC meeting.

Traffic:

Concern has been expressed by many in the village about the volume and type of traffic. The parish council is trying to obtain evidence about the extent of the problems, beginning with nitrous oxide testing at two locations. This will show whether the levels exceed national standards. Further testing may be done to measure particulates, noise levels and vibration. These are more expensive, but cooperation with neighbouring villages can reduce the costs, and could possibly lead to restrictions on heavy goods vehicles over a broader area. Meanwhile the parish council continues to liaise with local haulage firms to try and reduce the impact of heavy traffic through the village.

Bowls Club:

An application for a grant to help the bowls club resolve problems with the grass on the bowling green was approved. The council hopes the bowls club will continue to grow its support.

Waste Collection:

From 11 December papers and magazines must be placed directly in your blue bin. The separate caddy can no longer be used. The papers will still be recycled by the sorting centre.

Keeping Well:

Winter weather can be seriously bad for our health. Being cold can aggravate existing conditions and raise the risks of increased blood pressure, heart attacks and strokes. However, there are many things you can do to stay well. Recommendations include, getting expert advice from your pharmacist, making sure you get your flu jab, stocking up your medicine cabinet and keeping warm. More information is available at www.nhs.co.uk/staywell

First World War Memorial:

The parish council previously agreed to commemorate the ending of the First World War. A special steel bench has been ordered and will be placed in the cemetery near to the war memorial.