Newsletters

Newsletter May 2022

Willingham Surgery

Representatives of Willingham Surgery (and the Longstanton branch) gave a short presentation to the Parish Council at the April meeting, also attended by several parishioners. It was well received. The PC had received many comments regarding the perceived poor service from the practice following the pandemic and recent lifting of restrictions. Much of this was felt to be due to the impact of Northstowe. However, figures presented at the meeting showed that while the proportion of Northstowe patients had increased over the past few years, this was compensated by removal of patients in other areas such as Bar Hill and Cottenham. Overall patient numbers had increased by 22% and staff by 24%.

The presentation explained that Willingham Surgery, in common with most in the country, continues to be affected by the pandemic particularly in relation to isolation requirements. Due to the nature of the business, infection of a member of staff or their family prevents them attending the surgery. Also, they are restricting numbers attending the surgery to reduce potential spread of the virus. Other challenges include dealing with the covid backlog, and increased transfer of work from secondary care.  They are aware of long waits to answer phone calls, but little can be done as all calls need to be answered by the receptionists and their complexity varies greatly.

Waiting times to get appointments was raised as a major concern and the practice was focusing on reducing them, trialling new formats. For urgent cases, there are some appointments available on each day with others within 48 hours once the initial allocations have been filled. The current wait for a regular appointment is 14 days or so.

The surgery page in the newsletter covers these points in more detail, and they are planning an open meeting in the Octagon in mid May. Hopefully many residents with issues will be able to attend to make their comments. We will invite the practice to come to a future meeting to outline progress on these issues.

Roads and Traffic

It has been proposed that the temporary road closure of Thoday’s Close at the school arrival and closing times be made permanent. This will pedestrianize the road with non-residents vehicles prohibited between 8.30-9.30am and 2.45-3.30pm Monday-Friday, term time only. The proposed privatisation of parking offences will help to enforce this.

The footpath to the Community Orchard should proceed soon. This will include the 40mph buffer zone extending some 400m beyond the bridleway. Hopefully this will also include repairs to the potholes at the start of the bridleway, though it has been noted that this isn’t really a parking area so there is no requirement for this to be done.

Road markings repairs such as at the traffic lights and along Berrycroft are probably going to be carried out this summer. Yellow lines are under review and are unlikely to be repaired or extended until the result of the application to decriminalise it which is unlikely to be before the end of next year.

As roadside bushes and hedges are starting to grow, can residents please ensure the footpaths are accessible to all by cutting back where needed to not block pedestrian and wheelchair passage.

We continue to monitor traffic using the SIDs (Speed Indicating Devices) currently on Station Road and Earith Road. These give warnings when traffic is speeding and log dates and times of traffic flows. Results from these devices since 2018 can be found at: http://roadwatch.org.uk/Cambs/Willingham/index.html

Cemetery

The removal of the footpath on the northern side of the cemetery has resulted in an additional 20 burial places. Whilst this will help most immediate needs, we still require an additional location to meet future demand. We are examining potential locations but will be interested if we could be told of any suitable and available sites

Meetings

The next meeting of the council on 4th May is the Annual Meeting of the Parish Council at which the chairman, committee members and lead councillors are elected, and various procedures are agreed. This is followed on 18th May, by the Annual Parish meeting at which various organisations give presentations and accounts of their activities.

Newsletter April 2022

The Surgery:

Disappointment was expressed at the parish council meeting in March that another new phase of development had been announced for Northstowe with still no plans for a medical centre. Concerns were raised that the surgery in Willingham was struggling to cope with more than ten thousand patients now registered at a facility built over twenty years ago for a village, at that time, of three thousand.

District Councillor, Bill Handley, said that the problems were county wide and caused by Covid and not Northstowe and that he had been assured by the surgery that they could handle the additional numbers. This statement was questioned by several parish councillors, one of whom cited their own experience in being unable to get a doctor’s appointment in under five weeks and having to wait over an hour and a half on the telephone to get a reply.

Councillor Handley agreed to make further enquiries and report back.   

Cycle Ways:

Plans are underway for expansion of the cycle network in Cambridgeshire. Sadly, they will not help Willingham as the focus will be on direct links (spokes) into Cambridge. The need for cross links was emphasised to County Councillor, Neil Gough. In particular Willingham lacked direct routes to Cottenham and Over. Cycle use in Willingham was not great mainly due to the volume of traffic and the lack of safe routes.

Councillor Gough noted the concerns but said it was unlikely that anything would happen before at least 2024. In answer to a separate question, he said that he would check on whether the planned upgrade to the B1050 would provide a cycle route to the north of the village.     

Jubilee Arrangements:

The parish council was delighted to hear of plans for a Jubilee family picnic on the QE2 field on Sunday, June 5 and agreed to help with some funding. They also agreed to help with proposals from the WI for a new bench on the village green and provide a second bench on the QE2 field.   

Environment and Sustainability:

The parish council continues to look at ways of improving their carbon footprint. Two schemes are being considered. The first, which is well advanced, is replacement of the pavilion lighting with LEDs. The second, which is still at an exploratory stage, is provision of an electric vehicle charging point near to the Ploughman Hall. It would be interesting to know if residents have any views on this second proposal. If you do, please send a brief email to the clerk at the address shown below.

Meetings:

Meeting arrangements are now more or less back to normal with a little extra spacing. The next full council meeting will be in the Octagon at 7.30 pm on Wednesday 6th April.

Newsletter February 2022

Roads and Byways

Many residents in Willingham are very aware of the floods and drainage problems we have periodically here, and some serious worries have been voiced. Much as the Parish Council would like to see roads and gutters cleared more frequently, we have to be guided by the central office’s schedules which are these days much reduced due to cost cutting and staffing issues. We could do some things to help, for example try to stop fly tipping in the ditches which our farmers work so hard to keep clear and free-flowing. Closer to home, if there is a neighbour who needs assistance clearing leaves to be sure they do not block drains – then that would be a helpful thing to do. Meanwhile, taking all our own litter home, or putting it in one of the many bins around should a sensible and kind habit.

Also subject to centrally resourced operations are the Highways department repairs. Berrycroft and Over Road have been on a schedule for a long while now but the latest information is that both may be actioned this April.

Amenities

As the village has grown to around 5,000, so has the need for places to participate in essential recreational and social activities. The Parish Council is aware that there are not enough fields for regular sports which we are happy to know are very popular. Down West Fen the seasonal bowls club will reopen as will the cricket club. Meanwhile there is a successful under 6’s football club and growing women’s numbers to include in our 300 strong footballers registered here. Willingham has twelve teams that play in Cambridge leagues. The Parish Council would be very pleased if anyone knows of suitable land that could be bought and annexed to our facilities.

One building owned by Willingham is the Victorian built Parish Hall on the High Street. The scouts are the only group that now use the Hall, but they too are struggling to feel it is fit for purpose in its current condition, so discussions will be held soon as to how to move forward.

Willingham in Bloom!

To date our fantastic WAG’s funds have covered much of the expense of our six village flower tubs. The costs of replanting from 2022 will need to be funded differently so any sponsorship ideas and offers will be welcome. Additional tubs would be a great addition to our village. Although visible from the street, they would need to be placed on private or agreed areas of land. The theme for this summer’s tub planting we intend to be red, white, and blue to celebrate our Queen’s Jubilee, and if more village flower displays would like to follow that idea – wouldn’t it look amazing!

Parish Councillor Vacancies

Elections for Parish Councillors here in Willingham this May are not needed, however there are vacancies on the council. We welcome Deborah Ramsden who was co-opted at the full parish council meeting in February, which still at the time of writing, leaves two more places to be filled. If you are interested in serving the community as a Councillor, then please contact the office. In a village which has grown it would be good to have a full team working on behalf of our village.

Newsletter January 2022

As we move into the final weeks of winter the Parish Council hopes residents have had a joyous festive season and a happy new year. It gives us a chance to look forward to the year of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee with excitement and ambition but it is also a chance to reflect on the positive things the Parish Council have been doing over the last 12 months.

Environment and Sustainability

Last year, Environment and Sustainability issues were given a regular agenda item with two dedicated councillors as we endeavoured to fight back against climate change issues. We have made several progressions in this area. Flower tubs have been installed around the village including on the village green. These beautiful displays have been very well received and look very pretty. We encourage as many parishioners as possible to walk around the village and view them.

Another place to visit is our recently acquired Barton’s Field which was generously donated to us last year. The council have been awarded a grant for hedge planting to reinforce the beauty of the area, a lovely place for family and dog walks. We have also had grant funding received for a wildflower strip on the QEII Field to increase and improve biodiversity and wildlife as it provides homes and food for insects in the form of leaves, nectar, and pollen.

Ploughman Hall

The long-awaited heating project has been completed in the Ploughman Hall in a move that will not only save money but will make for a more pleasant inside experience for users. In addition to this, the new heating system will be much kinder to the environment. The project was funded as a result of the successful Zero Carbon Community Grant application made by our Environment and Sustainability councillors and S106 monies.

Leisure and Amenities

Work is still continuing with the MUGA (multi-use games area) on the Recreation Ground and the Council will be resubmitting an improved application over the coming months. We are looking forward to seeing this project come to fruition. Last year also saw new equipment put in place at the QEII fields which have since been enjoyed by many.

The FA had kindly donated a defibrillator to be sited at the Pavilion which has enabled the council to place a new defibrillator elsewhere. Therefore, to add to our defib sites at the Pavilion and the library, in the coming months there will be one placed at the primary school alongside our ongoing project to install another located in the high street phone box. We hope that by doubling our defibrillator capacity, the additional services could make the difference in saving a life.

Cemetery

Work has been carried out to increase available space for burials in the cemetery; including hedge works and reclaimed land via the removal of a pathway that has since been seeded and grassed. Despite this, we are becoming more and more limited in terms of burial plots, and we have been looking for a new site. If anyone is aware of land for sale that may be suitable for a new cemetery, then please get in touch with the Parish Council.

Roads and Speeding

The Parish Council have been working in collaboration with the police, the county council, and our MP Lucy Frazer on the issue of speeding and traffic in the village. Data from our speed loggers indicates that on average nearly 70% of vehicles are exceeding the 30mph limits. After a strong bid, worked on by the council and supported by Lucy Frazer and our local councillors; we have been successful in our bid for a minor highways improvement scheme which means that we will see improvements on Earith Road to try and encourage slower driving speeds entering and leaving the village. These changes are currently due to start next month.

Newsletter December 2021

Parish Council Casual Vacancy

Following the resignation announced last month, there is now a vacancy on the Council. As there were no requests for an election the Council is now free to co-opt a new councillor. If you would like to influence local decisions and support your community by joining the Council, please contact the office (see below) for more information and details of how to apply. It is expected that the co-option will take place at the meeting of the Full Council on the 12 January.

Orchard Footpath and Speed Limit

We first applied to the A14 Legacy Fund in April 2019 for a project to create a footpath to the Community Orchard. This would provide pedestrian access without encroaching on the private roadway alongside Earith Road. The project was approved some time ago but there has been a long delay in implementation whilst the Highways Department considered whether a proposed change to the speed limit would be included in the same works. Happily, this has now been agreed. The 30 MPH limit will be extended northwards to cover the new footpath, and a 40 MPH buffer zone will be added to encourage motorists to slow down when entering the village. The construction is planned for January next year and it is expected that the B1050 will be closed during the works.

Environment Issues

Last year we successfully applied to the SCDC Zero Carbon Communities grant for £13,000 towards low carbon heating of the Ploughman Hall. This has now been installed and provides a much more controllable source of heating, which is not only more efficient but will cut down on wasteful heating of unused spaces in the building.

This year we made a joint application with the Willingham Action Group for funds to create a wildflower strip at the edge of the QEII and to add a hedge to Barton Field. We were again successful and accepted a grant of £4160 which, along with £3000 of section 106 money (dedicated to open space development), will see these projects proceed soon.

Multi-Use Games Area

Planning for the combined netball and tennis games area to be constructed on the Recreation ground behind the bowling green is progressing well and an application has now been submitted to Greater Cambridge. If anybody wishes to look at it in detail, it is available to view on the Greater Cambridge Shared Planning portal as application 21/04517/FUL.

Greater Cambridge Local Plan

The consultation for the Greater Cambridge Local Plan has begun and runs until the 13 December. Although there are no direct implications for Willingham, the District Council are still keen to hear the opinions of residents. For more information and to make any comments, see the website at www.greatercambridgeplanning.org/localplan.

Cemetery

The planned work to level the uneven ground in the cemetery has had to be postponed because of adverse weather conditions. Remedial work to repair and then add a fence on top of the small wall between the cemetery and the closed Churchyard is being investigated by South Cambs District Council whose responsibility it is. They are working with the Ely Diocese and the parish Church to form an action plan.

Newsletter November 2021

 Parish Council

The parish council has co-opted 2 new residents. They are Maedee Rogers and James Welton who both not only have a keen interest in the village but also considerably reduce the average age of the council. We welcome them both and look forward to their involvement.

We still have one councillor vacancy following the resignation of Andrew Cook. Andrew has served on the council for many years including several as chairman and leading committees. Andrew brought a wealth of experience and knowledge of the village and its history, and this will be much missed. We wish him every success in the future.

Traffic

The Parish Council has had meetings with our MP, Lucy Frazer, together with the County Council Highways department regarding the traffic issues particularly on the B1050 and discussed our proposals for the Local Highways Initiative (LHI) bid this year. Although the volume of traffic was greatly reduced during the lockdown periods, it is now back to near the previous levels. We have monitored the volumes and speed of vehicles along Earith Road, Station Road in both 30mph and 40 mph areas, and also along Rampton Road south of Newington. In all locations speeds have averaged somewhat over the limit and occasionally been over 100mph. were discussed

Along Earith Road, the footpath to the community orchard is scheduled to go ahead early next year. This will reduce the width of the highway to 6.2 metres, just above the legal minimum, and move the 30mph signs slightly further out together with 40mph signs to create a buffer zone. We hope this will be effective and will monitor the traffic to compare with previous results.

Our LHI bid this year will be to add road markings in various locations along the B1050 to create apparent narrow lanes to encourage lower speeds. We have also identified several locations in the village to plan for future bids. Depending on the development of our current proposals together with the orchard footpath, we will look at these options and decide which to progress further.

Public Transport

Our County Councillor’s report highlights improved public transport schemes planned for Greater Cambridge. This will include longer operating hours and greater frequency. It also promises additional routes, but none appear to include Willingham. We have asked again that links to Cottenham must be created, and a frequent service to the local guided busway, as promised in the initial development proposals, seems to have been forgotten. Also, when the repairs to Shelford Road alongside the river have been completed, the route to Somersham could be reinstated.

Haden Way Development

Meetings have been held regarding the development of 64 homes south of Haden Way. Bill Handley, our District Councillor, together with members of the parish council, the CEO of SCDC, planning and enforcement officers have had separate meetings with representatives of the residents and with the developers, which were very informative. Ways of resolving issues were discussed and SCDC will present their conclusions within a week of the meetings.

Cemetery

Over time, the ground has sunk in various parts of the cemetery. Not only has this made maintenance difficult, including mowing the grass, but could be hazardous to visitors. Warning sign have been put in place. The parish council has approved works to remedy this which should take place in the near future. Also, the hedge on the northern boundary is to be cut back which should allow for several more burial plots, extending the life of the cemetery.

Newsletter October 2021

Buses and cycleways in and around Willingham.

This document was sent to Lucy Frazer MP. The cycleways section also formed part of the Parish Council’s submission to the Cambridgeshire Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan (LCWIP) survey, and to the Greater Cambridge Partnership ‘Cycling Plus’ consultation.

Buses

Willingham is poorly served at present, with no services at all to the North or East of the village and a limited service to the South and West. The existing service, the Citi 5 from Bar Hill, links Willingham to Longstanton, Over and Swavesey, but direct buses between Willingham and the Busway at Longstanton run only every two hours on weekdays and not in the evenings, and not at all on Sundays and Bank Holidays.

We badly need an additional service to provide connectivity among all local villages for employment, leisure and social purposes and to access facilities such as shops and village colleges, and improved access to the Busway and thus Cambridge and St Ives. The most useful route would link Willingham with Swavesey, Over, Longstanton, Rampton and Cottenham, serving a total population of around 20,000. Various routes would be possible with the simplest probably Cottenham-Rampton-Willingham-Longstanton-Over-Swavesey-Over-Longstanton-Willingham-Rampton-Cottenham. This would be a journey of about one hour in total.

If the new service was required to also replace the existing Citi 5, the route would need to include Bar Hill.

Cycleways around Willingham

Willingham is extremely badly served by cycleways compared to other local villages. It currently has just one – south along Station Road to the guided busway at Longstanton along the very busy B1050. It is welcome and heavily used, but urgently in need of improvement. It is very narrow in places and the shared-use with pedestrians and numerous exits from driveways make it often awkward and even hazardous at times. It also provides access to the fast-growing town of Northstowe.

There is much connectivity between Willingham and surrounding villages so cycleways are also needed in other directions, for employment, leisure and social purposes and to access facilities such as shops and village colleges. In particular:

East to Rampton. The majority of secondary school pupils at Willingham attend Cottenham Village College, which is also an Adult Education Centre. It is the other side of Rampton and the road between Willingham and Rampton is narrow and winding and carries fast-moving traffic. There is an indirect cycle route via Station Road, the busway and Reynolds Drove but the Station Road part is inadequate as described above, and this route adds over a third to the distance. Another option for a new cycleway is along Iram Drove and Cow Lane, which is an existing backroad but with a very poor surface. Beyond Rampton there is an existing cycleway to Cottenham, which links to other cycleways into Cambridge.

West to Over. Willingham and Over are closely linked and there are numerous trips between them, e.g. Over residents use Willingham library and the Coop and other shops, and facilities.  This contributes to increased traffic in Willingham. The current road is fast and narrow with a semi-blind summit.

North to Earith – this is the only river crossing for 10 km in each direction and opens up connections to all the towns and villages to the North, such as Ely. The current B1050 is very dangerous for cyclists, as it is a speeding blackspot and carries a large number of HGVs. It is due for an upgrade and a cycleway from the centre of Willingham must be part of that project.

Willingham is linked to both Over and Earith by public bridleways/footpaths that are partly paved, which could be upgraded to cycleways at less cost than along the roads.

Newsletter August 2021

Parish Facilities and Events

As with all village facilities, shops and spaces, we ask that everyone continues to keep as safe as they can and observe what is asked without question. Hopefully the pandemic is turning a corner but it will be up to us to help keep it that way. Meanwhile, the Ploughman Hall, Public Hall along with all recreational facilities are due to reopen with some Covid measures still in place, so it would be good if everyone supported at least one local club or society which all need our input – not only to help rejuvenate village life but to enhance our own wellbeing.

Also, South Cambs are promoting their tourism website ‘Visit South Cambs’ and would like to hear about any events run by local independent retailers and others operating in the tourist sector, for example galleries, gift shops, artisanal bakeries. On that website, follow the link: ‘sign up free of charge’.

Concessionary Bus Passes

As we are moving about more and making use of the bus services through Willingham it may be time to check bus passes are in date. It is now possible to renew the pass on line six weeks before it expires using a direct link: bit.ly/camborobuspass . Alternatively, a form can be accessed online at Free Bus Passes – CPCA Transport (cambridgeshirepeterborough-ca.gov.uk) However, if more help is needed there is a telephone number to call on the back of the old pass.

Willingham Supplementary Flood Plan

Following the floods at the end of last year, Willingham Parish Council are currently reinforcing their existing flood plan. One of the routes the Council is looking at will be possibly forming a small flood management team and recruiting residents to act as neighbourhood support volunteers. 

It is hoped to be able to divide the village into zones so that when a risk of flood is highlighted, the management team would be activated and would co-ordinate the neighbourhood support volunteers. The volunteers would notify residents in a particular zone at risk of flooding and distribute advisory information where appropriate.  By dividing the village this way, it is hoped that more people can be reached but in order to achieve this, volunteers will be needed to support the plan.

If you would like to be involved as either a member of the management team or as a neighbourhood support volunteer or would like more information then please forward your details to the Parish Clerk on email@willinghampc.org.uk or telephone 01954 261027

Willingham Footpaths, Roads and Boundaries

Now that the boundary changes have been agreed pushing further west around the Over Road area and south towards the guided busway, new signage is being organised to show where the Willingham boundary begins. This does not, however impact on our efforts to maintain the green spaces between our housing line and neighbouring villages.

                    Some permanent signs are not easily visible since trees and hedges have had a summer growth spurt so if these were pruned by owners that would be good, as would the chopping back of hedges that may be making our essential footpaths dangerous. 

                    The B1050 Shelford Road has been long in the planning, not least the remaining pathway needed to reach our Community Village Orchard. SCDC Highways have issued a notice that this is likely to commence on 6th September. There will be road closures linked with these changes so everyone’s cooperation will be helpful, and be forewarned so that extra time is planned into your journeys during that week.

Green Energy and LEAP Advice

At Green Energy Switch there is a free scheme called LEAP which runs in partnership with Peterborough City Council, South Cambridgeshire Council and Rutland County Council to bring free energy support to residents struggling with

fuel poverty. The statistics showing how much money and energy has been saved by over 400 supported residents are impressive, not least the total saving of 1463.5 tonnes of carbon!

                    Home visits are due to resume in September, so you can email: emma.deaton@greenenergyswitch.co.uk, and online at: Apply – LEAP – The energy and money saving service (applyforleap.org.uk) or use the free phone service: 0800 0607567

Newsletter July 2021

Police and Community Liaison Meeting.

At a recent meeting, two items in particular were highlighted.

The first involves Scams as it seems that we are in the middle of a massive wave of fraud.

Sadly, Scammers are working hard trying to steal both your money and identity.

Many of them operate outside UK jurisdiction, as they operate from overseas.

They particularly target older victims with three million cases a year, costing in excess of five billion pounds.

Forty per cent of these victims are targeted five times or more. Texting scams are also on the rise on younger age groups.

Some of the scams are extremely sophisticated, using what seem to be genuine logos, government departments, recognisable ‘phone numbers, delivery firms and so on.

If you are not sure that something is genuine then hold back, check it out if you can, put the ‘phone down or delete an email.

The elderly among us may need your help, so if concerns are raised, please talk to them.

More advice is available at Cambridge and Peterborough Against Scams Partnership (CAPASP)

The next item is Speedwatch as the Police are keen to step this up within the area, using Community volunteers.

If you are interested in volunteering contact them by email at;  Speedwatch@cambs.pnn.police.uk

Summer Holidays.

We are pleased that Cambridge County Council have agreed to provide Supermarket Vouchers over the Summer Holidays

for families with children who receive free school meals.

This is much needed support for those families, especially in the current situation.

Minor Highways Bid.

Last year a bid was put into CCC. to create a speed reduction buffer zone along Earith Road.

We very narrowly missed the granting of this.

We are putting in another bid this year supported by data gathered from traffic speed monitoring,

using our own M.V.A.’s to warn and monitor speed, pollution and sound monitoring tests.

We are pleased that Mick George vehicles now travel at 20 m.p.h. through the village.

The proposal is to gradually slow down traffic coming south, and prevent traffic going north accelerating too much well before the 60 m.p.h.

Footpath to the Orchard

The Footpath to ‘The Orchard’ is an A 14 legacy grant, which is moving on slowly with C.C.C.

who hope to have preliminary design work in place, in the next few months.

If as we hope, the Minor Highways Bid is successful, these two measures will considerably improve safety along Earith Road.

South Cambridgeshire CHILD and FAMILY CENTRES.

S.C.D.C. have one of these centres in Northstowe, which provides support for parents and families as children grow up.

At Northstowe you will find for example, Stay and Play sessions, Baby Group, Messy Play Pop Up and other resources and workshops for older children.

They also run a programme called ‘Bookstart Corner.’

For information contact;

Northstowe Child and Family Zone

Northstowe Community Wing

Pathfinder School

Northstowe.

CB24 1AA

Tel:01954 284672

Email:  ChildAndFamilyCentre.South@cambridgeshire.gov.uk

 Zero Carbon Communities Grant Application 2021.

The Parish Council is putting in an application under the ‘Trees and Nature’ category in collaboration with WAG. The application will be to establish a Wildflower Strip on the QE11 Field and hedging on the northern boundary of Barton Field. An ecologist is being consulted about a biodiversity survey, to provide context for the proposal. Initial research has already been undertaken to consider suitable plants/trees and costings involved. Community involvement is also planned in collaboration with Willingham Library.

Dog Fouling on the Recreation Ground.

Someone is persistently allowing their dogs to foul the Recreation Ground late at night.

This is unpleasant for other users and is a health risk to anyone using the pitches.

We therefore ask them to desist from this and remind them that there are several

‘Dog Waste Bins’ around the village. These are emptied each week.

Newsletter June 2021

Newsletter June 2021

Anti-Social Behaviour

The Ploughman Hall has again been the subject of various reports of anti-social behavior, including trees whose bark was stripped away, which leaves them seriously vulnerable to disease as well as criminal damage to CCTV cameras and intimidating behaviour towards parishioners. Following correspondence with the Parish Council, police patrols in the area have been increased and they remain vigilant on this issue while investigating all reported crimes. While the council and our police liaison continue to work alongside the police as much as possible, we urge you to contact the police if you witness any anti-social behavior.

As the weather improves and the hot summer days arrive once again, we will all be out and about more than ever as families, children and our older residents enjoy the easing of COVID restrictions. It is imperative that everyone feels safe at all times in our wonderful local community and that anti-social behavior is firmly opposed, no matter what kind it is. We do not want a repeat of the summer of 2019, which was very distressing for many parishioners.

COVID-19 and Outdoor Spaces

With national restrictions easing, the Ploughman Hall and Pavilion are starting to open up more and more to regular users although sadly we are not yet in a position to be able to make these venues available for party hire etc. However, we look forward to opening the doors for these types of events in the future. With usage of the neighbouring QE II Field increasing as we move into the summer months, please make sure all current guidelines are being followed and that people are acting appropriately. Unfortunately we have had some incidents of people leaving soiled nappies in the play park, so we would like to remind everyone to take these items home with them as well as being responsible in respect to littering.

As part of the COVID-19 pandemic recovery, The WEA: Adult Learning Within Reach is offering an excellent service to Willingham residents. The WEA provides support and learning for people who face barriers in returning to education, job search or work. They have extensive experience working with people from all walks of life who are facing multiple barriers and helping those people realise their personal and professional goals. If you are not currently working or engaged in education/training and feel like you have lost some of your confidence since the pandemic started then they can support you to: Rebuild your confidence and help you to recognise your potential. Plan your next career move. Move into job searching if you are thinking about returning to the workplace. Develop your CV and prepare for interviews. Apply for further education and training. This fantastic support service is open to anyone over the age of 15 and we encourage anyone who could benefit to get in contact with WEA.

Contact details are as follows; Tanis Paulin, 07385 463335, tpaulin@wea.org.uk.

All-weather Sports Facilities on the Recreation Ground

Following the winter flooding, sadly our plans for an all-weather multi-use games area (MUGA) on the lower rec were found to no longer be feasible as the proposed sand-dressed surface would have been badly damaged. However, that surface was a compromise to cater for three main sports – football, tennis and netball – but ideal for none. We now have an improved and revised plan that splits the project into two, with a hard permeable tarmac type surface for tennis and netball at the location of the original MUGA which occasional flooding would not harm, and a 3G rubber crumb football pitch on the upper rec that simply replaces one of the grass pitches. While this will be more costly it has many advantages and it may be easier to attract grant funding.

Council Meetings

The Council is delighted to welcome two newly co-opted councillors, Simon Clark and Andrew Cook, following our most recent full council meeting. Andrew has rejoined us while our newest councillor, Simon, has been appointed as the Deputy Lead for Leisure and Amenities. We would also like to take this opportunity to welcome our new County Councillor Neil Gough to the parish and we look forward to working closely alongside him and all our other elected officials on the important issues that we, as a village, face. Additionally, our deepest gratitude and appreciation must also be expressed to the departing County Councillor Tim Wotherspoon for all of his dedicated service, candid humor and particularly for his efforts to address flooding and climate change during the past four years. We wish him all the best going forward.

After 13 months of online Zoom meetings, the Council have now returned to physical meetings which are currently being held in the larger venue of the Ploughman Hall for the full council or the Octagon for committees, this is due to social distancing guidelines. The date for the next meeting is the 7th July – at a venue to be confirmed.

Newsletter May 2021

Parish Council Elections

Parish Councillors are elected for a term of four years, but this time the election was called a year early because of the change of boundary which made Willingham slightly larger after the incorporation of what was part of Longstanton. To keep future elections in synchronisation, the next election will be in five years’ time in 2026.

There were only 11 nominations for the 15 seats on the Parish Council, so no vote was called and all nominees were elected. We welcome back two former Councillors: Jamie Smith and Jo Pilsworth. The remaining positions can be filled by co-option but as there has just been an election, and unlike the case of casual vacancies arising mid-term, there is no immediate timescale to do this. Anybody who is interested can contact the Clerk for further details.

Several councillors decided not to stand, and I am extremely grateful to all those who have left for volunteering their time, effort, and skills for the benefit of the community, often with little thanks. In particular, I wish to mention Ray Manning, whose knowledge of the village, experience of local government, generous support, and tireless work on our behalf will be sorely missed.

Annual Meeting of the Parish Council

Annual Meeting of the Parish Council

The Annual Meeting of the Parish Council, which appoints the chair, vice chair and lead councillors, will be held on the 18 May. The Government legislation which permitted remote meetings has ended and will not be extended, so this will be a physical meeting held with social distancing requirements in the Ploughman Hall. Parishioners can attend, but will need to wear masks and numbers are limited by the space available.

School Run Parking – Mill Road

The parking restrictions on Thodays Close and Long Lane during school drop-off and collection are a welcome contribution to the safety of the children. However, can we please ask those who do still arrive by car to be considerate in their parking. We have had several complaints from the residents of Mill Road who have been unable to leave their houses or exit the road because of badly parked vehicles. As lockdown eases and more people return to work, please think of the access required when parking.

Flooding – Anglian Water Meeting

After the numerous flooding incidents over Christmas, the Parish Council arranged a multi-agency remote meeting with representatives from Anglian Water (AW), Cambridgeshire County Council (responsible for highways and flooding) and South Cambridgeshire District Council (SCDC), along with Willingham residents with experience of drainage and water supplies. A large team from AW attended. They detailed the unprecedented, sustained rainfall during the period which coincided with already saturated land and extremely high water tables. There was a blockage of the sewer on Church Street by the green and a collapsed culvert by the Guided Busway. They have yet to establish the causes of the problems in Westfield and Bourneys Manor Close/Covent Garden.

There were very many incidents across the region. Willingham has been put on their list of areas meriting a full investigation, which is planned to take place between August 2021 and May 2022. There were several failings acknowledged: the slow, and initially misplaced, remedy of the Church Street blockage; the absence of a point of contact at the County Council and slow response of the Highways Department; the lack of communications with AW and AW’s patchy historical records of the drainage system in Willingham. We now have contact details for AW and promises of better communications. The County Council will have better coverage during holidays. Some of our questions remain unanswered, particularly those regarding the capacity of the current foul and surface water drainage and its ability to deal with future deluges and future development, and we continue to engage with AW to find these answers. Other answers will not be known until after the investigation.

Multi-Use Games Area

Our plans for the MUGA have been delayed by the exceptional weather this winter. The flooding in January would have destroyed the proposed surface and has made us think again about both the positioning and surfaces. We are continuing to work hard on this project.

Environmental Issues

In conjunction with the WAG sustainability group, we are making progress with plans for the strip of wildflowers along the edge of the QEII Field but, as with many things, the key is good preparation which can take time. Progress with another joint project, tubs of flowers around the village, is faster and if the weather does finally warm up there will be a few around the village in June.

The Parish Council owns a small triangle of land about two miles to the north of the village, near the Old West (aka the Great Ouse) where boats used to be unloaded. We are hoping that this can be included in our biodiversity plans and we have been in contact with the ’New Life on the Old West’ project.

The deadline for applications for an SCDC Zero Carbon Communities grant is fast approaching. Last year we were very successful, winning £13,000 towards low carbon heating of the Ploughman Hall (to be installed once we have the matching funding from the Glebe Field development), so we are thinking about something more modest this year, under one of the categories of: community buildings, biodiversity or that old favourite ‘other’.

Newsletter April 2021

Elections 

As you know there will be elections on 6 May. You will only be required to vote during the Parish Council election if there are sixteen or more eligible candidates otherwise the election is non-contested and those who apply are appointed. If you want to stand you can obtain guidance and nomination papers from the electoral commission website https://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/i-am-a/candidate-or-agent/parish-council-elections-england but beware as by the time this Willingham News goes out you will have very little time left to submit your nomination: they must be returned to SCDC by 4pm on 8 April. For more information about Willingham Parish Council go to our website, click on ‘Documents’ then ‘Policies & Procedures’, and select ‘Who we are and what we do’ and ‘Why become a councillor’. 

Drainage Problems 

A huge amount of work has gone into trying to understand exactly what went wrong over the Christmas period. The parish council is grateful for the considerable assistance received from our county and district councillors and, in particular, our local experts who have the detailed knowledge to ask probing questions and are part of the working group that has now been formed. 

We are being repeatedly told that the underlying causes were due to the exceptionally wet weather. This was clearly a major factor but if climate change predictions are correct, we will need infrastructure that can cope with wetter winters and hotter summers. A major failing appears to be poor communication from Anglian Water. The parish council is working hard to improve that and has a meeting scheduled with them in April. 

Recreation Ground 

The recreation ground was severely affected by the very wet weather, with extensive flooding. We have had discussions with the Environment Agency regarding the lode, and are working on getting the under-pitch drainage pipes cleaned out. We are also exploring ways of remedying the lack of sports pitch provision in Willingham. It is currently well below the SCDC requirement. 

Parish Carbon Footprint Tool 

The Centre for Sustainable Energy has produced a community level carbon footprint tool available at https://impact-tool.org.uk. You can search for Willingham’s carbon footprint and compare it to others from around the country. The aim is to enable communities to look at ways of reducing their footprint. To get more information, click on ‘Council’ on the Parish Council website and select ‘Environment’. 

Willingham in Flower 

In conjunction with the WAG Environment Group the Council is working on two new initiatives – turning unused ground at the QEII field into a wildflower meadow and coordinating tubs of flowers at various locations in the village, hopefully with the help of village groups and local businesses. 

The B1050 

The parish council has been pressing for some years for a permanent solution to the poor surface in the section of the B1050 north of the village along the river bank. Thanks to hard work by our county councillor, the county council have responded with a major scheme to totally rebuild that section of road. It will certainly be an improvement but is not the complete answer. Willingham desperately needs a bypass and should have had one before construction began at Northstowe. The danger is that by simply improving the B1050 to the north of the village we will have even more cars, vans and HGVs coming down the High Street day and night. 

Anti-Social Behaviour 

There have been reports of youths gathering in the Ploughman hall car park in the late evening and causing noise and general nuisance. The police have been informed and asked to increase patrols in the area. If you do witness ASB please report it. Single reports may not carry huge weight but the cumulative effect does. We do not want a repeat of the summer of 2019. 

Meetings 

It is not yet clear when physical meetings will resume but for April they will remain on Zoom. These will include the Full Parish Council meeting on April 7 and the Annual Parish Meeting on April 28 plus any Planning Meetings that are needed at a new starting time of 6.30. You are welcome to join any of these with joining instructions available from the parish clerk and listed on the appropriate agenda.

Newsletter March 2021

Flooding and Drainage Issues in Willingham

Over the past few weeks Willingham has experienced issues with flooding and sewage in parts of the village. The Parish Council has been liaising with the County and District Councils with regards to gullies and ditch clearance and has been advised that those in need of clearing will be done as soon as possible. In addition, there has been frequent interaction with Anglian Water who believe they have resolved the issue of the sewage leak in Church Street and Green Street, although further leakages have come to light in other village locations.

The current sewage capacity, future maintenance and upgrade by Anglian Water have been issues we need addressing. Our MP Lucy Frazer has also been made aware of our issues, plus the District Council Environmental Health team at SCDC have been contacted to liaise and resolve the problems as quickly as possible. We would encourage all residents experiencing problems with their foul water to contact Anglian Water directly as well. The February Council meeting was well attended by parishioners and the Council welcomed and appreciated their input. We are hopeful that now we have requested a multi-agency meeting between the PC, CCC, SCDC and Anglian Water, we can start a discussion on how we can resolve this in the long term. The village will be updated via the website.

Community Plan

As described in December News, the 2008 Community Parish Plan is due to be revised and updated to show the needs of the changes within the parish. Such a Community Plan has no set content since it can reflect whatever the community identifies as important. Following the call for volunteers – ideally seeking a wide variety of individuals who could work together and focus on the village needs – we can now move forward and more will be published on this. It takes a lot of work at all levels so an army of helpers will be called for at different times and I am sure Willingham will step up as they did in 2008.

Outside spaces

The arrival of our two sparkly new table tennis tables with their surrounding matting are already a hit! Plans are going ahead for some bike shelters nearer the pavilion also, which will encourage outdoor enjoyment. Please follow any guidelines that are current as well as observe requests that may be made. Thinking ahead, the football fields will need residents to keep off until it is clear the fields can cope with a resurgence of ball games and the Council drain cleaning programme is completed.

Last month more energy, time and parish money was spent on making the Meadow Road village field a place we can appreciate. Fly-tipping and the heap of litter was cleared. Importantly, the commemorative oak trees there have been replanted, so we all hope this time they do well and provide a fitting avenue of trees for future generations to enjoy. On the southern side of the village the piece of land donated to the village will also be prepared to benefit us all: find more details in this month’s News.

Closer to home our own boundary hedges and trees that provide winter berries and seeds for birds will be needing attention and should be well trimmed. There are still a few that encroach on the footpaths; we would all be grateful if they could be chopped back so that we can walk around safely. The Council will be flailing the field hedges – also before nesting begins.

As we move into spring it will be hoped that we can begin to enjoy better weather and take advantage of our outdoor spaces. The first week of March is ‘Food Waste Action Week’: choosing each piece of fresh food as we need it would certainly make a difference. Considering our drive to achieve a better carbon footprint, not only would growing our own vegetables be a good way forward, but making use of our local suppliers could reduce that carbon footprint – as well as supporting local businesses for our tasty, carefully selected food.

Parish Council meetings and elections

Meetings will continue to be held remotely using zoom for the time being. Full Council meetings are held on the first Wednesday in the month starting at 7.30, with agendas posted on the website as well as at the Public Hall and library. We usually begin meetings with members of the public being able to speak briefly or asking questions, (agendas have the details).

Keep an eye out for any lifting of restrictions on the use of indoor facilities and use of the carefully cleaned public halls in the village. We are still unclear as to how or even if the elections will take place as planned on Thursday 6th May. However, we are assuming they will go ahead and the clerk is preparing the Ploughman Hall for ‘covid friendly’ accessibility for this event. It is an ideal venue for moving people through safely, but have your own pencil sharpened ready!  

Newsletter February 2021

Flooding and Drainage Issues in Willingham 

Over the past few weeks Willingham has experienced issues with flooding and sewage in parts of the village. The Parish Council has been liaising with the County and District Councils with regards to gullies and ditch clearance and has been advised that those in need of clearing will be done as soon as possible. In addition, there has been frequent interaction with Anglian Water who believe they have resolved the issue of the sewage leak in Church Street and Green Street, although further leakages have come to light in other village locations. 

The current sewage capacity, future maintenance and upgrade by Anglian Water have been issues we need addressing. Our MP Lucy Frazer has also been made aware of our issues, plus the District Council Environmental Health team at SCDC have been contacted to liaise and resolve the problems as quickly as possible. We would encourage all residents experiencing problems with their foul water to contact Anglian Water directly as well. The February Council meeting was well attended by parishioners and the Council welcomed and appreciated their input. We are hopeful that now we have requested a multi-agency meeting between the PC, CCC, SCDC and Anglian Water, we can start a discussion on how we can resolve this in the long term. The village will be updated via the website. 

Community Plan 

As described in December News, the 2008 Community Parish Plan is due to be revised and updated to show the needs of the changes within the parish. Such a Community Plan has no set content since it can reflect whatever the community identifies as important. Following the call for volunteers – ideally seeking a wide variety of individuals who could work together and focus on the village needs – we can now move forward and more will be published on this. It takes a lot of work at all levels so an army of helpers will be called for at different times and I am sure Willingham will step up as they did in 2008. 

Outside spaces 

The arrival of our two sparkly new table tennis tables with their surrounding matting are already a hit! Plans are going ahead for some bike shelters nearer the pavilion also, which will encourage outdoor enjoyment. Please follow any guidelines that are current as well as observe requests that may be made. Thinking ahead, the football fields will need residents to keep off until it is clear the fields can cope with a resurgence of ball games and the Council drain cleaning programme is completed. 

Last month more energy, time and parish money was spent on making the Meadow Road village field a place we can appreciate. Fly-tipping and the heap of litter was cleared. Importantly, the commemorative oak trees there have been replanted, so we all hope this time they do well and provide a fitting avenue of trees for future generations to enjoy. On the southern side of the village the piece of land donated to the village will also be prepared to benefit us all: find more details in this month’s News. 

Closer to home our own boundary hedges and trees that provide winter berries and seeds for birds will be needing attention and should be well trimmed. There are still a few that encroach on the footpaths; we would all be grateful if they could be chopped back so that we can walk around safely. The Council will be flailing the field hedges – also before nesting begins. 

As we move into spring it will be hoped that we can begin to enjoy better weather and take advantage of our outdoor spaces. The first week of March is ‘Food Waste Action Week’: choosing each piece of fresh food as we need it would certainly make a difference. Considering our drive to achieve a better carbon footprint, not only would growing our own vegetables be a good way forward, but making use of our local suppliers could reduce that carbon footprint – as well as supporting local businesses for our tasty, carefully selected food. 

Parish Council meetings and elections 

Meetings will continue to be held remotely using zoom for the time being. Full Council meetings are held on the first Wednesday in the month starting at 7.30, with agendas posted on the website as well as at the Public Hall and library. We usually begin meetings with members of the public being able to speak briefly or asking questions, (agendas have the details). 

Keep an eye out for any lifting of restrictions on the use of indoor facilities and use of the carefully cleaned public halls in the village. We are still unclear as to how or even if the elections will take place as planned on Thursday 6th May. However, we are assuming they will go ahead and the clerk is preparing the Ploughman Hall for ‘covid friendly’ accessibility for this event. It is an ideal venue for moving people through safely, but have your own pencil sharpened ready!

Newsletter November 2020

Parish Plan Volunteers Needed

The Willingham Parish Plan was created in October 2008 by the Willingham Parish Plan Committee. This enthusiastic group of volunteers worked for over a year, writing and distributing a questionnaire to each household, collecting and collating the results and finally producing the Plan and a Summary Report. The report is still available on the Parish Council website (under Documents>Policies and Procedures).

The Plan helped map out existing services and identify gaps for future development. Some of the issues identified have been addressed in the intervening years, but others remain. Special thanks are due to the Willingham Action Group, formed after the Plan was published, which has been a major force for change and improvement in the village.

It is now time for the Plan to be updated, to identify priorities for both the Parish Council and other organisations in the years ahead. The Parish Plan is not a Parish Council plan. It is produced by and for the community. The Parish Council will co-ordinate the initial recruitment of volunteers and will assist wherever possible. South Cambridgeshire District Council also provide support for what they call Community-Led Plans: see https://www.scambs.gov.uk/your-council-and-democracy/parish-councils/community-led-plans/ for details and plans which have been produced by other villages.

Contact the Council Office to volunteer and help guide Willingham into the future.

Newsletter September 2020

Coming back to Life! 

As restrictions are being lifted and we are all now imbued with Risk Assessment terminology, it is good that groups are beginning to restart. In spite of at times problems in marrying up guidelines which as a Council we need to follow and those of a specific group, it is encouraging to see that ‘Willingham Wolves’ are back in training and that the Pavilion is open on a limited basis. 

Regular Classes are also returning to the ‘Ploughman’s Hall’. 

Planning White Paper 

District Councillor Handley reported that once Officers at SCDC have finished reviewing the Report, SCDC would be commenting on the White Paper, regarding changes to the planning System. 

The Council will be updated once District Councillor Handley had had further information. 

Willingham (B1050) Earith Road Speed Reduction 

As mentioned in last month’s magazine, last year we made a bid under the ‘Minor Highways Improvement Scheme’ for a 40mph buffer on the Earith Road where it enters the village. 

Councillor Harris circulated his proposal for this year at the last Council meeting. This was accepted at the September meeting. 

This will be submitted. 

A lot of time and research has gone into this proposal, including ‘Community Roadwatch’ with traffic monitoring and ‘Mick George’ drivers being instructed to slow to 20mph through the village. 

We also purchased our own MVAS system to warn drivers and monitor speeds, and carried out pollution and sound monitoring tests. Results from data logging 200 metres inside the 30mph zone showed average speeds that are above the 30mph limit. 

This is particularly dangerous to the increasing numbers using the ‘Community Orchard’ for recreation, and also adjacent bridleway for exercise. 

On-going work on the village roads. 

County Councillor Wotherspoon will be meeting with Highways Officers to discuss issues within Willingham. The Council along with many residents have reported problems with, blocked drains, flooding, ridges along the edge of the roadway along Station Road, amongst other issues, on the Highways Portal. Other issues will also be raised. 

We look forward to resolutions to these issues. 

Ploughman’s Hall and ‘Public Hall’ 

New doors have recently been installed in both halls. 

‘QE11 field’ and ‘Recreation ground’. 

AS part of on-going maintenance to provide a safe environment, the Council replaced two logs on the QE11 field. 

A floodlight will be repaired on the ‘Recreation Ground.’ 

Environment and sustainability 

As reported in one of the early online-only versions of Willingham News, in May 2020 Willingham Parish Council adopted the following statement: 

“Willingham Parish Council fully supports the urgent need to tackle the issues surrounding global warming and its impact on climate change. Within its limited resources the Council will do what it can to assist in the aim of ensuring the long-term sustainability of our environment.” 

Cllrs Linda King and Valerie McKee are the council contacts for these issues. As mentioned last month, we are applying for an SCDC Zero Carbon Communities grant towards the cost of changing the heating in the Ploughman Hall to a much more efficient IR radiative system, which will provide significant savings in both carbon emissions and costs and also be more comfortable for users. The energy survey on which the application is based also identified changing lights throughout the building to LED and installing solar panels, and we shall be looking into implementing these. 

On the theme of energy saving in buildings, the Local Energy Advice Partnership (LEAP) is offering local residents free advice on energy saving measures in the 

home. Eligibility criteria include low income, poor health or vulnerability (see leaflet on page …). Further details can be found at www.applyforleap.org.uk or 0800 060 7567 

And if you are thinking of installing solar panels then sign up before 6 October to the Local Authority led group-buying scheme ‘Solar Together Cambridgeshire’ at www.solartogether.co.uk/cambridgeshire

Newsletter August 2020

Parish Council Meetings 

With the coronavirus situation still ongoing, as since early April, all council meetings are held as virtual with the same procedures as normal. These can be ‘attended’ by members of the public who still have the same right to speak. Details can be found on the Parish Council website at https://willinghamparishcouncil.gov.uk/ or by contacting the clerk. 

QEII Field 

At last, from 8th July, we have been able to reopen the playground since it was closed following government advice at the start of the lockdown. We have set some guidelines for use of the equipment which are posted at the entrances to the area. These are for the safety of all users of the field and equipment to ensure everyone is kept as safe as possible. Please note, though, that the playground is not supervised and equipment is not regularly cleaned. Also, whilst all possible practical measures have been put in place, the users of the equipment do so at their own choice and risk. 

All the advice regarding your personal safety still apply and we encourage everyone to keep safe and adhere to the rules set out at https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus 

Dogs 

Unfortunately there has been evidence of dog owners not clearing up after their dogs in the cemetery. There are signs that guide dogs only are permitted so this shouldn’t happen anyway. This is not only unpleasant for visitors to the cemetery but also disrespectful to the long term residents. 

Dog walkers are reminded to always clean up after their dogs. This is not only on the streets and pavements, but also footpaths, bridleways and all verges. Also, please take it home or use the litter bins and not leave plastic bags on display on the ground or hanging on fences or bushes. 

Recreation Ground 

It has been good to see the recreation ground being used so much in the past few months. With the playground out of action people have been using it for exercise and social activities, hopefully with all obeying the social distancing rules! 

Alas, some people seem to leave their rubbish behind after enjoying themselves. This, apart from being unsightly, can be dangerous causing risks to other users and the parish council litter pickers. Can we ask you to take all your litter with you when you leave? After all, you brought the rubbish so please take it away with you. 

Also, please remember that the recreation ground is for all to enjoy. For this reason it is NOT to be used for dog walking, cycling, golf, barbeques nor for flying drones. 

Planning 

Several months ago the planning departments of SCDC and Cambridge City were merged to create savings and become more efficient. Despite a few glitches, this is generally working well. The Parish Council planning committee still meets regularly to discuss all applications currently with virtual meetings. We are not the planning authority however, but play a part in adding our comments to the planning process. 

Most of the applications we receive fall into 3 categories – outline, full or conditional. Outline planning is usually for larger or more difficult proposals where the applicant wants to get approval in principle for a scheme prior to developing the full application. The full application presents the complete proposal. In both these cases the approval by the planning authority is final though conditions to this may have been set. Conditional applications address these caveats to the approval though don’t change the decision. If an application has been refused by the planning authority, the applicant has the right to appeal the decision to the Secretary of State; unfortunately this doesn’t apply in reverse. 

Climate Change 

As mentioned in the last newsletter, the Parish Council will continue to work on policies and strategies towards net zero carbon. The council has appointed as liaison Councillors, Linda King and Val McKee. They will be the Council point of contact for climate change, environment, and sustainability matters and help facilitate any initiatives within the Council’s remit on these matters. They would be attending the Zero Carbon Community Grant workshop and would then be looking at the grant application for the heating in the ploughman hall.

Newsletter July 2020

Multi-Agency Meeting

At a recent multi-agency Zoom meeting, Willingham Hub were rightly praised for the work that they have been doing and some astonishment expressed that they have over a hundred volunteers working for them. For anyone that does not know, Willingham Hub was set up in March, soon after lockdown, to support anyone in the village who needed help with obtaining food or medicines. A very professional structure was rapidly put in place to meet basic needs and monitor those at risk.

The Parish Council has been very pleased to support this excellent group with some basic tasks such as printing and most importantly some funding. Fortunately, the Council had an Emergency Plan written many years ago to help deal with problems such as flooding. A pandemic was not foreseen but parts of the plan were still useful in authorising rapid access to cash. When the world returns to a more normal state the plan will be updated.

The meeting was attended by various housing and support agencies as well as County, District and Parish Council Officers and Councillors and Cambridgeshire Police. There was a review of the anti-social problems that had beset Willingham last summer and the action that had been taken. The view was expressed that this year had been much quieter with the caveat that we may see more problems as the lockdown is relaxed. As always, everyone is encouraged to report any incidents however trivial. Whilst no action may be taken on an individual case, providing it is logged, it will add to the cumulative picture.           

A benefit of lockdown has been the massive reduction in traffic. The flip side has been an increase in speed from a few inconsiderate drivers. The police have been made aware of this but say that they do not have the resources to do anything about it for now. They have asked if the village could restore a ‘Speed Watch’ team.

Increased fly tipping has been another downside of the lockdown process. With the closure for a while of recycling centres and restrictions on vehicle movements some unsociable folk have used the droves around Willingham as dumping grounds. There is a backlog of mess to be cleared for which we, as council tax payers, will be liable. If you do see anyone dumping rubbish please give us the details of time, place and vehicle registration number.

Climate Change

Back in 2008 the Climate Change Act established a legally binding target to reduce the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80% in 2050 from 1990 levels. Over the past year or so the dramatic effect of these emissions on our climate has become widely recognised as a very urgent problem and tackling it has moved higher up the agenda. In addition to greenhouse gas reduction, the sustainability of our environment also involves issues such as biodiversity, pollution and plastic waste.

Fundamental change requires international and national commitments, but local authorities also have an important part to play. WPC will continue to engage fully with CCC and SCDC, both of which have declared climate emergencies and are working on policies and strategies towards net zero carbon.

Virtual Meetings

For the time being we have had to suspend our normal meetings but they are all continuing on Zoom. Members of the public are most welcome to join in and are able to speak subject to the usual rules on timing. The parish council website carries details of meeting dates and times together with a lot of information on council activities. Information is also available on a non-interactive Facebook page.

Village Heroes

Whilst the NHS have rightly been applauded for their excellent work, there are a lot of other folk who have quietly got on with keeping services running. The Parish Council is enormously grateful to the store workers who have kept us fed, the post office that has kept communication links open and all the other heroes in our village who have risked their own safety for the benefit of us all.

Newsletter June 2020

Challenging Times

I hope everyone is staying well, and staying indoors. On behalf of the Parish Council I’d like to thank all the key workers in Willingham who are keeping us safe and provided for: the NHS staff and carers; everyone at the Primary School; those at the doctor’s surgery and pharmacy; all at the Co-op, One Stop, Highfield Stores and other supermarket staff; the Post Office workers and other delivery people; and all the behind-the-scenes workers keeping our services running and supplies flowing. A special thanks goes to the organisers of the Willingham Hub and all their volunteers looking after the vulnerable and isolating.

Willingham Hub

The Willingham Hub (see https://www.facebook.com/groups/WillinghamLoveHub/) is the initiative which is providing help and support for anybody in the village. This is being run by local volunteers, with the Parish Council providing assistance, clerical support and financial aid where required. Everybody in the village should now have received a leaflet giving contact details for their “zone reps” who are co-ordinating the responses from volunteers.

Parish Council Meetings

Physical meetings of the Parish Council have been suspended, according to Government guidelines. There was no meeting in April, as we awaited new legislation. The “Local Authorities and Police and Crime Panels (Coronavirus) (Flexibility of Local Authority Police and Crime Panel Meetings) (England and Wales) Regulations 2020 No.392” have now been published. The Regulations allows Full Parish Council and sub-committee meetings to be held with remote access by video or audio links – provided all councillors, and members of the public who wish to, can speak and participate. Virtual meetings will commence with the May meeting. Further details will be published on the website and usual noticeboards.

The Annual Meeting of the Parish Council, where chairs and lead councillors are selected, has been cancelled for this year. Again, this is following the legal advice from the Government. All Councillors will continue in their present posts until the next Annual Meeting in 2021.

Zero Carbon Communities Initiative

In last month’s News our District Councillors gave some background to the District Council’s response to the climate emergency and their ambitious aims for fast reductions in carbon dioxide emissions. They have embarked on several initiatives, one of which is supporting and encouraging local communities to help achieve this. Councillor Linda King joined around 70 representatives of parish councils and local green groups at the first Zero Carbon Communities (ZCC) Workshops to hear about SCDC’s programme.

The workshop started with presentations setting the scene regarding the need for action, the current situation in the District, and ways of tackling the problem. One of SCDC’s main ways of supporting communities is the ZCC Grants and several successful applicants then described their projects. Unfortunately, WPC’s grant application in 2019 for green heating of the Ploughman Hall was unsuccessful. We will apply again for the next round in 2020. A ‘table top’ exercise to discuss ideas was very brief due to the first part overrunning.  However, an important aim of the workshop was to initiate contact among the participants so that ideas, examples, lessons learned, and practical information regarding reducing carbon emissions at a local level could be shared, together with high-quality data. This has been established and it is intended that further workshops will take place, as well as informal contact. This issue and Willingham’s response will be discussed at a forthcoming Parish Council meeting, but if you would like to know more before then, you can contact Linda King at the email address below.