Girton village website

Notes of Parish Meetings

Notes from the Parish Council Meeting - December 2012

The following were amongst items discussed at Parish Council meetings and information received by the Clerk. The full minutes may be found here.

Council Meeting
The Council is being asked to reconstitute the Bowls Green Committee, with membership from both the Council and the Bowls Club, in an effort to drive the project to a speedy conclusion. The Chairman will also report on efforts to finalise the formal hand-over of the open spaces at Wellbrook Way to the Parish.

A formal vote of thanks will be moved, for Cllr Williams and the anonymous donor who repaired and cleaned the War Memorial. The donor has let it be known that he wishes his payment to be given to the charity `Starlight'. Information about the charity may be found on its website www.starlight.org.uk

The Council has been informed that the Granny annexe at 2A Thornton Road has now been declared a separate dwelling following four years of use as such without objection. This is an abuse of the planning system. If villagers are aware of other such abuses, they should report them to the Parish Coucil or to South Cambridgeshire District Council.

The Chairman will also announce, with disappointment, that the Council has received neither reply to nor even acknowledgement of its letter to our Member of Parliament Mr Lansley concerning the flooding in Girton, which was sent in early August.

Flooding in Girton
Following the very successful drop-in session run by the Environment Agency (EA) in October, the Agency arranged a meeting on 12th November for residents who were unable to attend. Councillors John Reynolds and Douglas de Lacey were also present, with Jenny Gough from the County Council and Sadia Moeed and Graham Verrier from the EA. Sheila Hiley clerked the meeting, and it was agreed that a report should be included in the Parish News.

The EA reported that one or more locations were being determined for automatic water level measurements in Beck Brook and Washpit Brook. Modelling is being undertaken to determine the effectiveness of various possible modifications to the Oakington Road Bridge. The final report on this has been delayed but the EA hopes to report to the Parish in the new year.

The EA apologised that the companies owning the pipes under Oakington Road Bridge have not yet been formally contacted but will very shortly. Residents asked for a list of the owners of the pipes. They were emphatic that, as in 1978 and 2001, it was backing-up from this bridge which caused the flooding. The EA noted that the Dodford Lane Bridge also poses an issue at times of flood.

Jenny Gough noted that the NW Cambridge development should improve matters as their flood storage plans should reduce peak flows. Residents noted that Highways Agency flood storage was not effective due to lack of maintenance, and the EA promised that no future Highway plans would be approved without a robust maintenance schedule for all their schemes.

Residents noted potential problems with insurance when the government agreement with the insurance companies runs out next year. This should be considered when the cost of alleviation is taken into account, as should the mental anguish and emotional distress which flooding causes.

There was a discussion about whether essential maintenance on the brooks and ditches is actually being carried out: the EA will investigate why there is no clear evidence that it is. It was noted that much set-aside land, being unploughed, no longer acts to allow surface water to soak through.

The recent newsletters which the EA has produced for Girton flood victims were appreciated, but could contain more information; eg minutes or notes of relevant internal EA meetings. Other residents are invited to sign up for the newsletters from PSO-Brampton@environment-agency.gov.uk or by calling Georgina Nichols on 01480 483895. The possibility of some sort of Flood Action Group was mooted.

Full copies of the unconfirmed minutes of the meeting may be obtained from the Parish Clerk.

We Will Remember Them
The annual Remembrance Ceremony at the newly-refurbished Memorial, and the service in St Andrew's Church, were very well attended in bright November sunshine. Next year there will be an act of remembrance at the memorial on Monday 11th November as well as the regular Sunday observance.

County Farm Fencing
The Parish Council has been informed that part of the County Farm is to be fenced off for grazing, but the footpath to Histon will remain passable.

Village Planters
The planters are now bright with their autumn colours, and we are grateful to those who sponsor them and those who maintain them. It is however deeply disappointing to see that plants have been stolen from them. However, Peter Graves Florists have generously agreed to replace these plants at no cost to the Parish. We are extremely grateful for their generosity and help.

If you notice any suspicious activity at any time, please inform us immediately.

Ash Tree Dieback Disease
It is recognised that this is now endemic in England. We have been informed by the South Cambridgeshire District Council (SCDC) Tree Officer of rogue `tree surgeons' identifying Ash Tree Disease in garden trees and offering to do expensive and unnecessary work. If you believe you may have a diseased tree you should contact SCDC (or the Parish Council) who will deal with it. This will also allow SCDC to gather statistics on the spread of the disease. Please report any rogue traders.

Wellbrook Way
Over the past month horses were noted grazing in the land at the entrance to Wellbrook Way. We are grateful to sharp-eyed residents who enabled us to trace the owners, and we believe the incident is now closed.

The Council is still negotiating the final minor repairs to the play area and the hand-over of all the open spaces to the Parish. However we have been given permission to commence the construction of the Bowling Green irrespective of ownership.

A notice-board has been ordered, but its erection has been delayed by the works to the footways: it will be installed as soon as possible.

Forthcoming Meetings
The next meetings of the Parish Council will be on Wednesday 19th December, 2012 and Wednesday 16th January, 2013, starting at 7.30pm at St Vincent's Close Community Centre. Members of the public are welcome to attend all Parish Council meetings and to speak in the open session at the start.