Friday, 20 April 2012

Last Night's Parish Council Meeting

Bar Hill Village Sign
The meeting started with the traditional Open Forum which (equally traditionally) no-one turned up to. I'm pretty sure that if the three Tesco planning applications which arrived last minute had been on the published agenda then we would have had slightly more local interest! (they are available on the South Cambs planning website, I'll do a detailed post on them later - the Parish Council will be responding as will I as a local resident).

I'm not going to go through the agenda point-by-point (that's what the minutes are for), I'll just highlight items I think might be of interest.

The first came under Item 3.1 (which relates to the sale of 130 Appletrees). Now as a fairly-recently arrived resident I can understand the complexity of purchasing property in Bar Hill and the difference between freehold and leasehold properties but it does seem that the original developers (Ideal Homes) have made life very hard for both themselves and local residents.

Normally (as was the case with other developments) when the development was finished the small bits of land that were left dotted around were given to either the Parish Council or the County Council (usually depending on what they were used for). In the case of Appletrees it seems that the developer decided to hold on to them.

In the case of 130 Appletrees "permission" was required from the Land Owner - something the Parish Council is usually happy to do - but as the Parish Council wasn't the land owner it took a long time to resolve the situation; it would have taken a lot longer if the original assumption that Ideal Homes had gone out of business had proved to be correct!

Suffice to say that the entire situation was an absolute nightmare for the owner but that it has now (after the Parish Council funded a legal investigation) been resolved and is clear should the issue arise again in future property sales in Appletrees.

The next item of interest came under "Correspondence Received" as item 4.2, a letter from Anglia Water informing us of an imminent hosepipe ban. Of course it was quickly pointed out that the village gets it's water from Cambridge Water (Anglia Water handles it's sewage), the Clerk contacted Cambridge Water who confirmed that while they were monitoring the situation there are no immediate plans for a hosepipe ban and consequently Bar Hill residents shouldn't feel they can't use their hosepipes.

Of course it's pretty clear that if everyone rushes out and washes their car the situation will change, but at the moment everything looks under control.

Spine Path showing removed Street Light
(by the tree in the centre)
The next piece of correspondence (of interest!) was 4.7 in relation to Street Lighting in Chestnut Rise and the litter being left behind by the engineers fitting the new lights. The litter issue has been raised with Balfour Beatty and they have promised to make sure it doesn't happen again (well, actually they just said people will be spoken to - that's the same thing right?). I raised the lighting issue on the Spine Path in the first section from the library, of the three street lights the middle has been removed but the two end lights are partially obscured by the chestnut trees which leads to a very dark patch in the middle.

Under section 7 the report from County Councillor touched on the ongoing fiasco with the South Cambridgeshire Minor Improvement Panel (which has now been delayed again and looks like it will turn into multiple meetings rather than everything being resolved in a single meeting). I also took the opportunity to highlight the money going into improving the right road between the A14 and Tesco (which I've blogged about previously).

There was a brief discussion regarding some tree-trimming which had gone on near 187 The Spinney, a letter will be sent to the resident involved registering the displeasure of the Parish Council regarding both the work that was done and the quality of cleaning up that was done afterwards.

Tesco Car Park - Site of New Planning Application
The next item I'm going to raise is the three new planning applications that came in from Tesco. These came in very last minute. The first thing to note is that the planning landscape has totally changed and these three new applications will be dealt with under the new system. The Parish Council will be responding to the planning application.

My view is that first of all it's disappointing that Tesco are putting in a dry cleaners and key cutters - which we already have - rather than something that we don't have but could actually use! Secondly the new proposed "pick up" structure is in the wrong place both for traffic to be correctly managed into and out of the car park and for it's own staff who are going to have to take the stock from the store and put it into the pick-up point. To me it would be better placed somewhere nearer the entrance.

I'll be responding to the planning applications and if you'd like to respond as well I'll be posting details of how you can at some later stage.

On a side note I did wonder as the Dry Cleaning "Pod" (Pod. Really Tesco? Really?) and the sign age are separate items what would happen if they got the sign but didn't get the Dry Cleaners?!

Finally last night was the final full meeting that will be Chaired by Margaret Sellars who is standing down both as Chair and as a Parish Councillor at the AGM next month. Margaret has been on the Parish Council for over a decade and, based on my own experience since I've been on the Parish Council, has been an excellent and impartial chair who works tirelessly for local residents. She will be a very hard act to follow.

The next meeting in May will be the AGM at the Village Hall. Hopefully I'll see you there!

PLEASE NOTE: These are my views, and represent my recollection of the meeting. I haven't said this before on this website but it's important; the record of the events at the meeting is the Meeting Minutes. Not this blog. I'm happy to make corrections where I've misreported something, and I'm always happy to respond to comments but the views where are my own and should not be interpreted as coming from anyone else or any other body.