GSPC Election on May 2nd 2019

We are likely to have to have an election for one Parish Councillor on 2 May. As background, the electoral process for parish councils is as follows:

  • Every four years all councillors stand down. Nominations are then sought for new councillors. If the number of nominations is less or equal the number of seats, all the nominees are elected unopposed. This was what happened with GSPC in 2018. If the number of nominations is more than the number of seats, then an election is held. It’s important to understand that this is a ‘full-blown’ election, so polling stations, tellers, etc. It is a very onerous process.
  • If a councillor resigns or is removed mid-term, ‘normal’ procedure would be for nominations to be invited and for GSPC to interview and then co-opt a replacement. As always, the meeting to decide on the appointment is open to the public.
  • However, if ten or more residents wish, they can ask SCDC to hold an election for that position only. This is what has happened and, again, it will necessitate a full-blown election for one seat (I have assumed here that there will be more than one candidate – I personally know of three already).

Now, these are the democratic rules, but:

  • It incurs a significant expense for the village – £3,000-£4,000 (note that this could happen several times a year).
  • It places an additional burden on the Clerk and Chair.
  • It seeks to deprive GSPC of the ability to select and appoint the most appropriate candidate.

What GSPC intends to do is:

  • Set up a hustings meeting to allow all candidates to be interviewed by GSPC and any villagers who wish to attend. This has been set for 11 April at 7pm in the Memorial Hall.
  • GSPC to decide on its preferred candidate and inform villagers of that preference. It is obviously up to individual villagers to decide whether to take that recommendation or vote for an alternative candidate.
  • We have asked SCDC to circulate notices of poll to all residents.

For further information, election timetables and nomination papers contact either the Clerk or SCDC electoral services.

Asbestos on the Recreation Ground

Work on the rec to provide improved services for the Feast started on 5 March. Unfortunately, it has uncovered buried asbestos over a significant area. The rest of the Recreation Ground where there have been no excavations (e.g. the football pitches, cricket square, children’s play area, etc.) do not present any risk from asbestos GSPC has had specialist tests run on the contaminated material:

  • Chemical tests have confirmed that the contamination is due to white asbestos encased in concrete (chrysotile). Whilst it is classed as a hazardous material, it is encased in concrete and any danger is minimal.
  • Air tests have also been performed at multiple points and have confirmed there are no asbestos fibres in the air.

GSPC is confident that there is no safety risk to the public or to contractors working on the site. Work will continue over the next few weeks to excavate the trenches and drain connection.

During the work there will be on site monitoring by specialists to ensure that the correct procedures are adhered to and that contractors and the public are completely safe. All excavated material will be removed from the site and taken to a hazardous waste facility. New material will be brought in to replace the contaminated soil.

Where did the contamination come from? We don’t know and probably never will, but the finger has been pointed at the following as potential sources:

  • Wartime military encampment.
  • Old Memorial Hall roof.
  • Robinson’s dairy.

The clean-up exercise is going to be costly. We don’t have the final figure, but believe it could be in the region of £35,000-£50,000. GSPC believes it essential to complete the work to safeguard public safety and to ensure we can complete the Feast and Playscape projects.

Letter From GSPC & SPC Regarding Proposed Mass Rapid Transit Route

The following is a letter from Stapleford and Great Shelford Parish Councils to James Palmer and members of the GCP Executive Board to consider carefully and evaluate the costs and benefits of alternatives to their Strategy 1 Mass Rapid Transit route between Granta Park and the Cambridge Biomedical Campus: Letter

We ask that they make a fuller appraisal of alternative routes and transport modes, including the proposal from Cambridge Connect to follow the alignments of the existing Cambridge to Liverpool Street rail line and of the former Haverhill rail line.

 

Wellcome Trust Planning Application and GSPC Response

Wellcome Trust have submitted an outline planning application to SCDC for a major expansion of the Human Genome Complex site.

In summary:

• Total area 150ha (elsewhere stated as 127.5ha). Current site is 125 acres (50ha).
• Construction start targeted for 2020; completion 2031.
• Land is all outside Green Belt.
• Research and development, office and workspace and associated uses falling within Use Classes B1 (office, laboratories, light industry), B2 (general industrial) and B8 (Storage).
• Buildings potentially up to 20m high.
• 1,500 residential dwellings. None on current site.
• Nursery (Use Classes D1); conference facility (Use Class D1) and associated hotel (150-170 rooms Use Class C1); retail uses including shops (Use Class A1), restaurants and cafes (Use Class A3) and bars (Use Class A4); leisure uses (Use Class D2).
• Wellcome out of space on current site; government commitment to sequence 500,000 additional genomes within five years (same as current total).
• Creates circa 4,300 net additional jobs on site and, taking into account displacement and multiplier effects, up to 9,750 net additional jobs across the district, and 11,700 across the UK. Current site houses 2,500+ staff.
• Pre-app advice sought from Toby Williams at SCDC, also consulted CCC on transport, environment, etc.
• Straddles A1301 – land to E is agricultural, to W part of existing site. Map on following page.
• Appear to be two wind turbines near A1301.
• Three new roundabouts on A1301.
• Intention to reduce A1301 speed limit to 30mph.
• ‘The Proposed Development includes improvements to the A1301, the A505/A1301 roundabout (adjacent to McDonald’s roundabout), A11/A1301 junction and Junction 10 of the M11. These would be designed in detail and delivered in agreement with SCDC and the relevant highway authorities.’ The outline application contains no detail.
• 48 page document providing economic justification for development.
• On current site one third use campus bus service, half drive, 10% cycle.
Projected 24 hour traffic volumes on A1301 increase by 404 vehicles (5.4%) N of A505, 2,446 (27%) S of A505 by 2031. These seem implausibly low.

GSPC’s response is here: Wellcome Trust Outline Planning Application GSPC Comments to SCDC

Barclays Great Shelford Closure

Barclays wrote to Great Shelford Parish Council (GSPC) on 17 January to announce that it was closing its branch in the village. The reasons given have nothing to do with the recent theft of the ATM from the branch, but focused on declining footfall. GSPC believes that the closure will have a significant negative impact on the communities in Great Shelford and the surrounding villages:

  • This is the last bank branch in the South of the county. The nearest alternative branch is not easily accessible by public transport and necessitates a drive through congested traffic, with severe parking problems around the branch.
  •  The local villages have a significant elderly population, for most of whom Internet or telephone banking is not an option.
  •  A number of local businesses are cash-based and rely on the branch being there to bank their takings.
  • Without the branch being in Great Shelford, there is a danger of a domino effect, with shoppers not visiting the village and therefore further damaging other businesses.

Barclays, along with other members of the British Banking Association (BBA), has a duty of care under the ‘Access to Banking Standard’, which came into effect in May 2017. This set out best practice guidelines for banks considering closing branches or reducing opening hours by more than 30%. The Protocol required that a bank must carry out a full assessment of the impact of the closure or significant opening hours reduction on the community, after consulting with affected customers and their representatives (such as local councils and residents’ groups). The bank is then required to publish this assessment, detailing the reasons for the closure and the outcome of the community consultation, before the closure or hours reduction takes effect. It seems that has not happened in the case of the Great Shelford branch.

What is GSPC doing in response to the closure?

  •  GSPC’s views on the issue were made verbally in a call to Irene East, Barclays Head of Corporate Relations Eastern on 18 January. There was a further call with Terry Staff, Community Banking Director for Cambridgeshire on 21 Jan. Mr Staff made it very clear that Barclays would not reverse the decision, nor would they consider mitigation such as mobile banking or leasing smaller premises. Obviously, GSPC’s views will be confirmed in writing.
  • We have recorded a short interview to be broadcast on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire.
  • GSPC holds its main bank account with Barclays. We have made it clear that we will close the account unless the decision is reversed.
  • We have organised a public meeting in the Memorial Hall 7:30pm on Tuesday 5 Feb to allow residents to make their views known. Barclays were invited to the meeting, but have declined to attend.
  • A petition asking Barclays to reconsider is being circulated.
  • We are asking Barclays customers to complain in writing and also to give consideration to moving their accounts.
  • We will be lobbying other local parish councils, District and County councillors and our MP for support.

Links:
Public Meeting Poster
Barclays Petition
Barclays Bank Closure Proforma Letter

We need to fight the closure as hard as possible. Please help us by:

  • Forwarding this to friends and neighbours.
  • Signing the petition (copies in the Library and Memorial Hall).
  • If you are a Barclays customer, write to them to complain. Consider moving the account and tell them what you are doing. If you do contact Barclays, please let Mike Nettleton know.

For further information please contact Clerk Mike Winter 07870 807442 parishclerkgreatshelford@gmail.com or Chair Mike Nettleton 07805 356468 mike.nettleton@eagleanalysis.co.uk.

Babraham Road Park & Ride Development Meeting on Tuesday February 5th

Cambridgeshire County Council invites Great Shelford and Stapleford residents and users of the Babraham Road Park & Ride site to come talk to the Council’s Energy Investment Team about a new clean energy project being considered for the site. As a County Council, we’re looking for innovative new ways of using our assets to generate clean energy, reduce our environmental impact while generating revenue for much-needed public services. With our partner, Bouygues E & S, we’re designing a renewable energy system at the site. Our renewable energy system solar panels mounted on carports above the car parking spaces. An artist’s impression is included below.

These panels will generate clean, renewable electricity to power not only the site, but also for electric vehicle chargers, neighbouring customers and autonomous vehicles planned for 2019. The project will be underpinned by battery storage which will store green electricity, allowing us to power the different demand centres after dark. This project could pave the way for public transport to move away from fossil fuels, a known contributor to poor air quality. The same team has been designing a similar project planned for the St Ives Park & Ride, on the northern end of the Guided Busway.

Members of the team developing the project will be at the Great Shelford Memorial Hall at 1830hrs on the evening of Tuesday 5 th February. So please come, meet the team and have your say! Your input will be vital in shaping the future of the project. If you’re unable to meet the team, please contact mlei@cambridgeshire.gov.uk with questions or concerns.

April 2019 / March 2020 Budget and Precept Summary

The Parish Councils Finance & General Purpose (F&GP) Committee meeting on 5th December 2018 reviewed proposals from all Committees for the following year’s budget and resultant Precept application. The F&GP Committee after lengthy debate agreed a Budget recommendation to the Full Parish Council of £375,219 for the year April 2019 to March 2020. This proposed Budget would result in a Precept increase of 11.5% over the current year April 2018 to March 2019.

For a summary of the main budget headings on the F&GP proposal, click here.

Christmas Lights Switch-on Recap

Sunday 2nd December saw the annual switching on of the Christmas Lights in Great Shelford.  This year the Great Shelford Parish Council teamed up with the Shelford School PTA and Playscape committees to host a bigger and better event than ever before.  It proved to be a great success, with hundreds of local people coming along to the Memorial Hall and carpark to mark the start of the festive season.  The evening raised an impressive sum of over £4,500 for local causes and feedback has been very positive.

The event kicked off with the Cambridge University Steel Pan Society (CUSP) bringing a little bit of the Caribbean to the British winter as they entertained the crowd with some Christmas Classics!  The Memorial Hall hosted a bustling Christmas market with local sellers bringing a wide range of wonderful products including jewellery, homewares, artisan preserves, local beer and much more!  Outside, the car park was closed to vehicles and provided a fantastic space to host the children’s carousel, a selection of Christmas themed games, a fabulous hamper raffle, tombolas, BBQ, beer and gin bar and of course mulled wine and mince pies!

The lights were switched on at 5.45pm by Abigail Pearce and William Cousins, Head Girl and Boy at Shelford School before a lovely rendition of ‘Winter Wonderland’ and ‘Christmas on the Beach at Waikiki’ by the Shelford School Choir.  Then it was time for everyone to join together in for for some carol singing by lantern light.  The evening was finished off with a festive performance from CSD Brass Band.

We would like to thank everyone who organised the event, helped on the day and turned up to support it.  Generous sponsorship was provided by Redmayne Arnold & Harris, Day Accountants, Gatward & Sons, Pinkster Gin and Moonshine Brewery.  Jim Rayment assisted with electrics on the day and two local carpenters, Simon Sparrow and Rolando Pincay did a brilliant job of building outdoor games and mobile bars.  Barker Bros provided the meat for the BBQ and Days of Ashwell supplied rolls.  Lucy Barlow led the school choir and carol singing.  Simon Talbott did a great job of compering and the parents of Shelford School together with other local volunteers did a magnificent job of running all the activities.  Plans are already underway for next year!