Newsletter November 2019

New Councillors

Three casual vacancies arising from the resignations of previous councillors were filled at the November meeting. As there were more applicants than positions, there was a rather complicated voting procedure but eventually Kay Cook, Valerie McKee and Barry Todd were selected to join the council. Our thanks to all who volunteered and a warm welcome to the new councillors.

Northstowe Governance Review Drop-In

As the community at Northstowe grows, so South Cambridgeshire District Council is required to carry out a Governance Review to consider future governance arrangements. The Civic Affairs Committee has now commenced the Northstowe boundary review. A drop-in session has been arranged on Saturday 30 November, 11 am to 1 pm in the Ploughman Hall. Liz Davey, the Development Officer, and your District Councillors will be on hand to help residents understand the review process and timescale and to answer any questions you may have.

Christmas Tree

For the last two years the Christmas tree on the Green has been kindly donated by Mr A Coe. Unfortunately, this year the uncertainty over Brexit has meant that large trees are in short supply and Mr Coe has been unable to obtain one. We are aware how much villagers appreciate having a tree and the council decided to purchase one for installation on the Green this season which will be decorated once more with the new lights.

Orchard Dog Walking

A new fence has been installed alongside the B1050 to make the Community Orchard secure for dogs. We are investigating whether we can have a new dog bin installed by the Orchard but until then would ask dog owners to be considerate of others sharing the area when walking their animals. Flat Road bridle path is adjacent to the Orchard and provides over a kilometre of safe grassland where dogs can run, should more vigorous exercise be required.

Willingham Youth Trust

After the conversion of a storage area and unused upper floor of the Ploughman Hall into a Youth Centre, the Youth Trust took over the building and now runs an extremely successful Youth Club on Wednesday evenings open to all and free to children. This has been a tremendous effort by the Trustees and has been entirely self-funded for the last four years, but they now feel that to keep the sessions sustainable into the future, they need support from the Parish Council. We agreed that this is a worthwhile expenditure and will provide £6,000 for 2020/2021 for the Connections Bus Project staff. This and the lease would be reviewed annually.

BT Phone Box

The phone box on Station Road by the Willingham Wing bus stop has not been operational for some time and, even before it fell into disrepair, had only made a single call in over a year. Under a BT scheme, local authorities can adopt unwanted phone boxes and convert them for new uses. The Council had already decided to provide a third defibrillator for this area of the village and has now agreed to adopt the phone box, refurbish it and use it to house the defibrillator.

Bus Survey

We wrote to our MP (Lucy Frazer at the time) in response to the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority’s strategic bus review. Ms Frazer has replied that the Authority has now commissioned a six week survey which can be accessed at www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/FutureBus/ or over the phone on 07377 001512 (9 am – 5 pm, Monday – Friday). ‘Have your say on our future public transport network. Tell us what matters to you about improving local bus services.’

Newsletter October 2019

Meadow Road Site

It has been suggested that the Meadow Road site could be used for electric generation with windmills and/or solar panels. This has been explored in the past but appeared not to be viable. Meanwhile, work on the site is continuing to make it a better amenity for the village. Plans are in place to plant some 50 oak trees to commemorate those from the village who lost their lives in the World Wars, together with wild flowers, especially poppies, which would be prolific around VJ day anniversary. As mentioned previously users should be mindful that this is a work in progress and the ground is uneven in places.

Dog Walking

Further to previous articles in the News, the dog walking working party set up to look at site options presented their recommendations at the October meeting. Two sites were identified with a total estimated cost of £10,000 for the works.

Option 1: The Community Orchard on Earith Road which is an area about 5 acres planted with trees. This has a boundary along the B1050 which has hedges and a timber rail fence. The fence could be made secure along that boundary at an approximate cost of £2000. There is limited parking in the area but an extension of the footpath along Earith Road is planned. There is also the right of way alongside the orchard leading to Milking Hills Drove which allows extra dog walking space.

Option 2: An area between the QEII recreation ground, the Ploughman Hall and Willingham Lode could be fenced and gated at a cost of £7000. This amounts to around ½ an acre being about 200 metres x 10 metres.

It was agreed to start work on option 1 immediately.

Traffic & HCVs

The condition of the B1050 should see some improvement soon, as Cambridgeshire Highways plan to close it on November 3rd from 7am to 5pm for remedial work. We wait and see how effective this is and for how long it will last. Although the meeting with the Northstowe developers and SCDC councillors (see report elsewhere) does seem to have reduced the  HCV traffic to some extent, there are still many of these vehicles travelling through the village.

The Community Roadwatch group has sessions at various locations recording speeds and reporting to companies their speeding vehicles. One 30 minute period in the new 30mph limit on Station Road showed nearly 60 vehicles exceeding the limit, 33% averaging over 40mph including a bus and the maximum at 54mph. The orange  flashing speed signs (supplied by Mick George) give real time speeds, but the red/green flashing sign (borrowed from Haddenham recently) seem to give better results as they act as reminders of the actual speed limits. The PC may look at purchasing our own as a better deterrent to excessive speeds.

Northstowe

The October PC meeting saw a presentation from SCDC about a Community Governance Review. Northstowe means there will be a population increase over coming years with additional assets and facilities to be maintained and managed. This will have an impact on existing community governance arrangements. The review will start in autumn 2019 and aims to secure an arrangement which reflects the identities and interests of the community in the area. Willingham is involved as changes could affect the village boundaries.

Drones

There have been instances of drones being flown on the recreation ground. They should not be used on public open spaces, or where there are people around. New laws will come into force on 30 November 2019 which will also require owners of drones weighing over 250 grams to register with the Civil Aviation Authority, and for drone pilots to take a safety test to ensure the UK’s skies are safe from irresponsible flyers.

Willingham News September 2019

B1050

James Broder from County Highways attended the September meeting. When pressed about the appallingly dangerous state of the B1050 Shelford Road he was only able to offer further patching, with a vague reference to a ‘permanent solution’ at some distant time and no prospect of a lorry ban. The council reiterated its deep concern.

Dog Walking

As detailed in last month’s piece a big topic at recent meetings has been dog walking, arising from the closure of the set aside field. Dogs and their owners had enjoyed use of this space for many years as an easily accessible safe area. The council enquired about purchasing or leasing part of the land but that was not possible.

Dog owners then lobbied the council to allow dogs onto the recreation ground or part of it. Rec users lobbied just as hard not to allow this. Clearly, whichever way the decision went a sizeable number of residents would be upset. The council decided on the status quo and not to allow dogs on the Rec on the basis of health and safety and the fact that the village already has a shortage of sports space. A working party set up to look at alternatives is due to report back in October.

Meadow Road

Another hot topic was the Meadow Road site. For readers that do not know the background, this was once a traveller site set up by the county council that was eventually abandoned.  The parish council leased it with the objective of creating an open space. The intention is that it will be a woodland area for parishioners to enjoy with or without their dogs. It is open for anyone that wishes to visit but is far from finished and the ground is very uneven.

MUGA

Plans are now beginning to take shape. We are looking at an area next to the Bowls Green of 34 m x 37 m, which can accommodate two tennis courts, a 5 a side football pitch and a netball court. Catering for different sports on a single surface requires compromise, and sand-dressed artificial grass is the best option. We are drawing up detailed specifications and collecting information to make a pre-planning application to SCDC. As the recreation ground is in a high flood risk area the Environment Agency’s input is key. 

Vacancies

There have been three resignations, including the Chairman. Derek Law has stepped up from Vice Chair and Phil King has returned from the back benches. If you feel you can help fill the vacancies then please do contact the Parish Clerk for more information. The duties need not be very onerous and you will be able to judge at first hand how well your council performs. The closing date for applications is noon on the 30th October.

Willingham News – July 2019

Meadow Road: from brownfield to green!

The Meadow Road site, now under the stewardship of the Parish Council, has had a chequered past.  It was a good example of a brownfield site because of its past industrial use.  Since acquiring the site the Parish Council has invested considerable time and effort in the regeneration of the land.  The site has been levelled.  Rubble, hardcore and other waste material have been covered with the topsoil the levelling produced.  All visible holes have been filled and old tree stumps and rubbish removed.  The Parish Council now considers the site ready for recreational use by villagers – please visit it.

To commemorate the 2020 Anniversary of VE and VJ Day and assist in the regeneration process the Parish Council is considering planting a wood along with sowing poppy seeds this autumn.  These would be in flower in June 2020.

Crime news

The future of Parkside Police Station in Cambridge is being considered.  The building no longer meets the current needs of the police.  One option would be to develop a Southern Police Station in Milton.  A public consultation about this proposal is now underway and you are invited to take part in this by completing an online questionnaire at: https://www.cambridgeshire-pcc.gov.uk/get-involved/your-views/have-your-say.

The police are warning car drivers about a new credit card scam.  Individuals posing as police or traffic wardens approach car drivers and advise them that they are parking illegally.  The car driver is offered the chance of paying a small fine ‘on the spot’ by credit card.  The victim is directed to a previously tampered machine for payment which then refuses to return the card.  The police advise the following three steps: check with the local council if you think the fine is not authentic, always shield your PIN number, contact your bank immediately if your credit card is retained by an ATM.

The Parish Council has decided to take a robust approach to any fly-grazing incidents on its land.  A new streamlined approach is now available allowing land owners to remove fly-grazing stock more quickly.

Traffic and the environment

The Parish Council is making two funding bids for highway improvements on Earith Road.  The first was to the A14 Community Fund and asked for funding to complete the pavement along Earith Road as far as the Community Orchard.  The second, a Local Highways Improvement Scheme application, would introduce a speed reduction ‘buffer’ zone along Earith Road so that drivers traffic entering the village would not have to reduce speed from 60 to 30 mph in one step.   A 40 mph zone would be introduced to encourage speed reductions both in and out of the village.

South Cambridgeshire District Council Enforcement Officers have been serving enforcement notices on developers in Northstowe about breaches of condition on working time.  Our District Councillors are planning to meet with their Enforcement Officers to discuss the flows of construction traffic for Northstowe which travel through Willingham.  Complementing this, discussions are ongoing with the County Council to place signs advising heavy goods traffic for Northstowe not to travel through our village.

The Parish Council has also been submitting proposals and making representations to our MP and the Combined Authority Mayor about fen-edge village bus services.  It wants better connectivity between these villages and the Guided Busway.  The Combined Authority Mayor acknowledges the need for innovation and is aware of our local demands but notes that his authority has limited funds to provide support.

Long Pond – long wait

The County Council is responsible for the fencing around Long Pond.  It was originally placed there despite the objections of the Parish Council.  The fencing is in poor repair and the County Council has been asked to repair this many times!  The County Council is moving very slowly to deal with this request.

The Ploughman Hall and Recreation Field

The area around the Ploughman Hall and Recreation Field has been well used by the community and visitors in recent weeks with three well-supported local events taking place – the Willingham Wolves Football Festival, the Beer Festival and the Fen Gallop. 

Councillors were also invited to visit the ‘pop-up’ café being trialled by Willingham Youth Trust from its premises.  It can be reported that an excellent cup of coffee is available!  The opportunity was also offered to observe the Trust’s Coding Club.  This allows younger members of the village to develop their computer skills in an informal environment.  Perhaps there could be a similar opportunity for older village members?

The Parish Council thanks all the organisers of these events and their teams of helpers for their voluntary efforts in making sure activities run smoothly and safely and raising the village profile throughout the region.  It would also like to thank everyone who took the time to complete the MUGA Survey.  This has now finished and the results of this exercise are awaited.

Willingham News – June 2019

Clock:

The major overhaul is complete and the clock is running very well. It is taking a little while to fine tune the regulation so that the mechanism runs accurately. As with Big Ben the pendulum swing is adjusted with small weights that make a difference of only a few seconds a day. Good progress is being made and by the time this issue of Willingham News is published we hope to have the clock accurate to within half a minute throughout the day, just as it would have been when originally installed in 1887.

Scams:

If like me you are just an ordinary, law abiding, citizen you will not have been amused to have been told that your internet is about to be cut off due to improper use unless you pay a fee or that your bank details have been compromised and that you need to immediately contact a nice man in Nigeria who will sort it all out. These are just a few of the scams that we get frequently by phone, text or email. Most of us are confident that we are too wise to be caught but the scammers are getting more and more sophisticated and the problem is growing into an international multibillion-dollar business. Please be careful and if you would like some advice, there is a very good website at cambridgeshireinsight.org.uk/CAPASP.

MUGA:

Thanks to all of you who responded to our survey regarding a Multi-Use Games Area on the recreation ground (and if you are reading this before the closing date of 30 June there is still time to fill one in on the PC website or pick it up from the Post Office or Library). The results will give us a good picture of the sports that should be included, and we can then move ahead with detailed plans. It will be partly funded by money from the new developments in the village, and we will be applying for grant funding to make up the rest.

QE2 Field:

The play facilities on the QE2 field are proving a great attraction for families from Willingham and other surrounding villages with many bringing along a picnic. They are most welcome to do so but, sadly, a few, are spoiling it for others by leaving litter lying around, including dirty nappies. Please enjoy the open space and ensure others can enjoy it too by using the bins for your litter or taking it home. If you see anyone who is not treating the area with respect then tell us and, if we can identify them, we will take action.   

Surgery:

Our thanks are due to our District Councillors, Dawn Percival and Bill Handley, who have helped us with several tricky problems over the last few months. They are very approachable and hold quarterly surgeries in the Ploughman Hall. The next one is on Saturday 6th July between 11 am and 1 pm. Pop in and see them if you have a problem with which you think they might be able to help. Our County Councillor, Tim Wotherspoon, is also hoping to be in attendance.

Newsletter May 2019

Annual Meeting of the Parish Council

In May, the Parish Council holds its Annual Meeting, when Officers and Lead Councillors are elected. After returning to the rôle of Parish Chair last year, Cllr Phil King stepped down, although he remains a councillor. We thanked him for his untiring and excellent work in his latest spell as Chair. He, in turn, thanked the office staff for their expert support and all councillors for their valuable contributions. Cllr Dave Carlton is the new Chair for the coming year and Cllr Derek Law is Vice Chair, both were elected unanimously. All Lead Councillors remain the same and are listed below.

Annual Report

The Willingham Parish Council Annual Report for 2018-2019 has been published and copies are available in the Library, at the Surgery, at the Primary School and from the Parish Office. It can also be downloaded from the website (look under Documents > Annual Reports > Parish Council). It was presented along with reports from many village organisations at the Annual Parish Meeting.

Parish Clock

The Parish Clock on St Mary and All Saints Church has had its mechanism repaired and the face repainted. Sadly, when it was restarted after the initial repair work, it only ran for about a day. The clock-mending company are still investigating and it seems to be working a little better now.

A14 Legacy Funding

The A14 Integrated Delivery Team have a £1 million fund to spend on highways projects for Parish Councils affected by the A14 construction works. We have proposed three items which match their criteria and will be putting them forward for consideration. In priority order these are (1) a footpath to the Community Orchard, (2) speed reduction measures on West Fen Road between the Rec and QEII field, and (3) a footpath to Highgate Stores. We expect a decision by the end of June.

Recreation Ground Stump Fire

Persons unknown set fire to the large tree stump on the recreation ground and the Fire Brigade attended to extinguish it. Unfortunately, the appliance caused some damage to the adjoining football pitches when it drove onto the Rec. This has occurred before and the police are looking into ways of finding those responsible. The Council is making arrangements to have the remains of the tree stump removed.

Station Road Speed Limit

After many, many years of campaigning and hectoring of the County Council Highways Department and the Police, and with financial assistance from the Lindum Group who are building the affordable houses there, the 30 mph speed limit on Station Road has finally been extended south past the sharp bend and beyond Westfield.

Dog Walking Field

The Council considered several options for provision of a replacement dog walking area after the loss of the set-aside field but concluded that there is no obvious solution. Dogs remain prohibited on the Recreation Ground for health reasons.

Willingham News – April 2019

Station Road Speed Limit Change

There has been positive progress by Cambridgeshire County Council to extend the existing 30mph speed limit on Station Road to south of Westfield (towards the Park-and-Ride), including the placement of adequate signage.  This work is currently expected to commence on 8th April and should be in place by the time you read this.

Loss of the Set-Aside Field

The loss of the set-aside field behind the recreation ground has been a loss to the village, in particular the dog walking fraternity who are keen for the identification of an alternative solution.  At the time of writing options are still being investigated and remain a challenge, but at least this issue is eased with access to footpaths in the countryside, including the footpath towards Over that is approached through, what was, the set-aside field.

Willingham Youth Trust Pop-up Café

The Parish Council has supported a grant application for the Willingham Youth Trust to provide a pop-up café at the Youth Centre, which is intended to be a benefit to all of our community.  The opening times are expected to initially be over a number of weekends, with the possibility of extending this if the café became viable.  It is understood that, apart from the normal tea, coffee and soft drinks, there would be a tuck shop serving healthy snacks and sweet treats to start with (which may include locally baked cakes).

The Youth Trust are advertising for volunteers to assist with the café on the Willingham Facebook page.  This sounds like an exciting venture and hopefully parishioners will support this novel idea.

Parish Clock Refurbishment

The Council undertook the identification of a suitable company who had the capability of repairing and refurbishing the Parish clock at St Mary and All Saints Church.  Work started in April and hopefully by now you are hearing its chimes once again.

Annual Parish Meeting

The Annual Parish meeting is scheduled to be held at the Octagon, St Mary’s and All Saints Church, at 7:30pm on Wednesday 15th May.

This meeting is open to all Willingham parishioners and is an opportunity to speak on matters that are pertinent to the Parish.  At the meeting reports will also be received from our District and County Councillors, along with those from our village bodies (such as clubs, charities and services).  The details of previous Minutes of Annual Parish meetings can be found on the Willingham Parish Council web site http://willinghamparishcouncil.gov.uk

 

Willingham News – March 2019

Traffic! Whether stationary or moving, it is one of the most discussed issues affecting Willingham.

Stationary – Following issues regarding parking around the Primary School in Thodays Close, new yellow lines have been marked out restricting parking to improve safety for both pedestrians and drivers. This has caused problems further afield where people are now parking, especially at the junction of Long Lane, Silver Street and the doctor’s surgery. This is also making it difficult for residents to enter & leave their properties. Of course this doesn’t affect those who see the bright yellow lines as their personal parking spaces and use them instead of walking too far. They do this elsewhere in the village, so why not here?

Speeding – We have 2 interactive speed signs (SID) supplied by Mick George Ltd. These have been on Earith Road and now one relocated to Over Road. This is very effective in alerting those who inadvertently find themselves over the limit. In conjunction with this, Community Roadwatch are conducting speed and vehicle checks, counting lorries in particular and informing companies if their marked vehicles are travelling over the limits. Unfortunately this doesn’t help with speeding in Church Street, Long Lane, etc., but those doing it will ignore conventional limits anyway.

30mph limit on Station Road – after a very protracted period of discussion and lobbying with County Council Highways we have been notified that the works order has finally been placed with the contractor and we are now awaiting a start date for the work to commence. This will extend the 30mph limit almost to Stanton Mereway. The SIDs will help to reinforce this as well.

HCVs – The issue of Heavy Commercial Vehicles coming through the village has caused distress to many. HCVs travelling to Northstowe and the A14 upgrade are not supposed to come through the village but use other routes. The council have lobbied strongly to get this checked and the operators prosecuted. A further issue is the proposed gravel extraction at Willow Hall Farm in Haddenham by Dennis (Haddenham) Ltd which anticipated 90-150 HCV movements per day for 8 years. Originally this was planned to only travel through Earith, but following their objections, they have suggested the B1050 through Willingham was a perfectly viable alternative, especially if the destination was Cambridge! We have protested strongly to Cambridgeshire CC (the planning authority) about this.

Affordable housing on Station Road – parishioners may be aware that of the development being constructed on Station Road.  This is of 22 homes entirely of affordable housing (rented and shared ownership) with priority being given to Willingham residents and applicants with a connection, whether through work, residence or family, to Willingham.  Contact details for Cross Keys Homes –

Phone: 01733 396406

Website: www.crosskeyshomes.co.uk/sharedownership

Email: sales@crosskeyshomes.co.uk

Parish Clock – The Clock stopped working before Christmas and upon investigation to came it to light that a full overhaul was needed.  Work has been scheduled to start at the beginning of April.

Cemetery Gates on Church Lane – Following ongoing issues with the gates and feedback from parishioners experiencing difficulties opening them, the Council are looking into the feasibility of replacing them with hard wood gates

Willingham News – February 2019

 East/West Rail Link from Oxford to Cambridge.

Councillor Bridget Smith, leader of South Cambridge District Council attended the February Council meeting and spoke about the ongoing focus of SCDC.

Amongst these Councillor Smith highlighted the east/west rail link between Oxford and Cambridge as being transformational for South Cambridgeshire.

This development could bring improved transport, opportunities for business and housing development.

Last autumn SCDC wrote to the Government, asking them to give full and thorough consideration to the environment when selecting the route .Councillors are urging people to make sure that they have their say during the consultation period recognising the information published raises a lot of questions which they will be asking the promotors on behalf of local communities.

To find out more about the Oxford to Cambridge rail link proposals and the routes for consultation visit:

https://eastwestrail.co.uk/haveyoursay

Willingham Action Group.

Willingham Action Group have applied for a grant which will enable them to purchase a number of Bird Boxes.

These will be placed around the village in order to help reduce the decline in native bird numbers.

More information will follow when the boxes arrive.

 The Ploughman Hall remains a very popular venue for parties and exercises classes.  Below is a list of the activities that take place regularly in the hall:

Mondays

9.30am – 10.30 am – Zumba/aerobics

10:45am – 11.45 am – Pilates

12.00 – 1pm – Mother and Baby exercise class

6pm – 8pm – Fitness, strength & conditioning circuits

8pm – 10pm Badminton

Tuesdays

6pm – 8pm – Fitness, strength & conditioning circuits

8pm to 10pm – Badminton

Wednesdays

7.30pm – 8.30pm – Keep fit/Zumba

Thursdays

9.30 am – 12.30pm – Adult Ballet

7pm to 8pm – Yoga

Fridays

9.30am – 10.30 am – Aerobics

10.30am – 11.30am  – Fitness pilates

8.30pm – 10pm Ballroom dancing

Lost and Found

Cambridgeshire police have joined police forces nationwide by ceasing to take reports of lost property and accepting only certain types of found item.

The changes took effect nationally from 1 February after the Chief Constables’ Council agreed it as a way of reducing non-essential demand and the associated costs and bureaucracy generated for call centres and front counters.

The police service has traditionally accepted the responsibility of recording lost and found property, despite there being no statutory duty to maintain a system of recording non-evidential property.

Found items dealt with by police have reduced and a consistent approach adopted across the country. This will help reduce call volumes and remove an unnecessary burden on policing.

If you have lost or found an item, visit the force website for guidance on what to do. Further detail on our lost and found policy is below.

Lost items

Any loss can be reported online at sites including:

www.lostbox.co.uk

www.immobilise.com

www.reportmyloss.com (for an insurance report)

For bicycles, register and report at www.bikeregister.com

Report UK Passports at https://www.gov.uk/report-a-lost-or-stolen-passport

Details of losses reported via these methods are made available to police forces across the UK.

If you have lost property in a public place/premises or on public transport, contact the location or service provider directly.

Found items

The following categories have been created for found items:

 Accepted

  • Items capable of containing data e.g mobile phones and computers.
  • Cash and wallets that are identifiable
  • Unidentifiable cash
  • Identity and personal documents

 We do not accept

  • Bicycles
  • Personal but unidentifiable items
  • Clothing
  • Keys
  • Jewellery

For non-accepted items, with some exceptions, the finder can retain the property. They are under no legal obligation to hand in the property providing they have made a reasonable attempt to return it to the owner.

 

Willingham News – January 2019

Our Parish Clock

Our Parish Clock has not worked since October 2018.  The Parish Council was able to identify only one clock company – Smiths of Derby – prepared to advise on and complete the work required to get the clock working again.   Smiths advise that the clock’s equipment requires a major overhaul.  It also suggests restoration work on the dial is carried out at the same time.  The Parish Council understands that this complex level of maintenance and renovation has not been carried out since the clock was provided in 1887 at a cost of £125.00.  It will be discussing these proposals and the budgetary implications during January.

Parking at road junctions

Vehicles parked on streets should not cause a danger or unnecessarily obstruct the road.    Parking is not allowed within ten metres of a junction or anywhere where the kerb is lowered.  This helps users of powered mobility vehicles, wheelchair and pram users.  The Parish Council receives residents’ comments about dangerous or unnecessary car parking close to the junctions of Saxon Way, Covent Garden and Bourneys Manor Close with the High Street.  It has been suggested that yellow lining is placed around these junctions to restrict this parking.  The Parish Council has investigated this. It has been advised that parking restrictions could be introduced but the police would not undertake routine enforcement.  Neighbouring parishes report that recently introduced parking restrictions, without enforcement, are often ignored.  The police are encouraging villages to approach the County and District Councils to seek de-criminalisation of these parking offences.  Parking offences could then be managed as a civil offence and enforced by traffic wardens.  The Parish Council will be discussing how it should respond to this situation in the village.  Vehicle users can also play a part by parking with a greater consideration of the needs of other residents and vehicle users.

Black Pit Drove: an update

Shortly before the Christmas holiday the South Cambridgeshire Principal Planning Enforcement Officer and a legal representative attended the High Court to seek resolution of this issue.  In the absence of traveller representatives, the Judge declined to reach a final decision.  It is anticipated that a further hearing will be held during January with a final judgement made at that time.

Reporting concerns

Cambridgeshire County Council (CCC) and South Cambridgeshire District Council (SCDC) are responsible for the following areas of our village life.  Contact SCDC to report Abandoned vehicles, Air Pollution, Dog Fouling, Fly tipping, Fly posting, Graffiti, Litter, Street Cleaning and Asbestos.  Use this online address:  https://www.scambs.gov.uk/services/environment

Contact CCC to report Potholes, Road/pavement surface, Flooding, Signs and street furniture, Street lights, Rights of Way, Hedges/trees and weeds (along the highway), Road works, Spillages/debris on the road, Traffic lights.   Use this online address: https://www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/residents/travel-roads-and-parking/roads-and-pathways/roadworks-and-faults/

 The police can be contacted with respect to their non-urgent responsibilities by either telephoning 101 or using this online address: https://www.cambs.police.uk/report/

 Hedge cutting

We have been asked by Cambridgeshire County Council to remind residents to try to complete any hedge cutting or tree trimming by the end of February – certainly before birds start their nesting activity!

Willingham News – December 2018

Crime:

The last time I had the pleasure of writing the comments for the Parish Council was for the July edition, when I closed by wishing you all a wonderful summer. Weather wise, it was, but we did have some other problems, not least with crime.

It was at two levels. There was a stream of low-level criminal damage and anti-social behaviour which caused considerable distress and there was more serious criminal activity in a number of raids on the Co-op and Stop Shop. One of the raids on the Co-op involved the removal of the cash machine, which will not be replaced, and one of the raids on the Stop Shop, during opening hours, threatened staff.

Quite understandably, this crime spree led to widespread concern and some loss in confidence that cuts to the police budget meant a lack of police presence, difficulty in contacting the police and even more difficulty in getting a response.

It took a little time, but to give due credit to the Cambridge Constabulary once the scale of the problem became apparent the response was very positive. There was increased presence, much more rapid response and two public meetings, both very well attended.

At the second of these meetings on Saturday 1st December significant progress was reported. The meeting was attended by the Police and Crime Commissioner and our MP as well as our local police contacts.

We now have a quieter, calmer village. The kind of place in which we all wish to live. Whether or not that can be maintained long term is not certain. Inevitably, as the focus moves away from Willingham to other hot spots, we shall receive less attention. But we have established some very good contacts and made the point that Willingham residents care deeply about their village and the need to keep it safe.

One of the points raised by Sgt Priestly at the meeting was the positive support provided through the village Facebook page.  As he pointed out social media can be an excellent tool for disseminating information when used correctly but users do need to be mindful that not all information posted may be correct.

Enough for now, but there will be more on this subject in the New Year when we take up some of the issues raised at our meetings.

Other Matters in Brief:

The precept for 2019/20 has been set at £123,275 which is a 2.8% increase on last year. I will deal with this in more detail in my annual report in May.

The parish office will be closed from the 21st of December through to the 1st January. If you have an urgent problem please call one of the councillors listed in Willingham News or on the website.

And finally, let me close this time on a similar note to last time by wishing you all a very happy New Year. My next contribution to Willingham News will be for the July 2019 edition by which time I am hopeful that we will have a new and younger Chairman with new ideas.

It has been a pleasure Chairing WPC on several occasions over the last ten years or so but definitely time to hand over to new blood. I do know that WPC works hard to deliver services, help and information in our village and understand that the efforts are not always appreciated. Our very hard worked parish clerk tells me that it is a good day when she gets less than three complaints. So be it, better three complaints than no comment.

With my best wishes – Phil King