The Parish Precept 2017-18
The Parish Council, like the District and County Councils, raises money for its expenditure from your council tax. The Parish Council element of the council tax is called the Parish Precept.
Every year, at this time, the Parish Council is required to submit its budget. This year the Parish Council has submitted a precept requirement of £185,000, the same amount as last year. With slightly more properties in the parish than last year, this will mean a very slight reduction of £0.40 or 0.40% per annum for a band D property.
The parish council would like to explain why we have asked for this sum from your council tax.
Probably the biggest issue in the village of recent years has been traffic – pedestrian and cyclist safety, problems around the school entrance and driving along Church Street, congestion and speeding, parking in Woollards Lane. Last year we allocated a large sum from our budget towards highways improvements. Progress on these has inevitably been slower than we hoped. Those things which depend solely on the parish to implement have been done, such as placing Speed Indicator Devices which flash up a driver’s speed, and collate information on traffic speed. The other planned works have been progressed as far as possible, but depend for their implementation on the County Council’s Highways Department. You will know that the County Council’s staff are under great pressure, because of budgetary constraints, and that the County’s Highways Department has to balance the needs of 101 parishes. So inevitably the work is taking time to come to fruition. We have therefore carried forward the funding for this work from last year’s budget into the budget for 2017 – 2018, so that the works can be carried out as soon as Highways can schedule them. This carry-forward represents 60% of this year’s parish Highways budget. In addition, we have a new highways project for this year: improving safety for pupils at Shelford school by placing flashing warning lights on both sides of the school. We have therefore included some funding in the highways budget to contribute towards their cost.
Another area where expenditure is needed in our growing village is in the provision of recreation facilities. The Playscape project, which will provide exciting new play space and play equipment, continues to be funded largely by appeals or grants but inevitably any parish project requires some support from the Parish Council. To give the Playscape project full value, the parish council feels that accompanying improvements are needed to the recreation ground, riverbank, car park and surrounding facilities. To fund both the new and existing proposals means increasing the budget for the recreation ground by £68,858 for the 2017/2018 budget year.
Another parish aspiration is more recreation space: the recreation ground really isn’t big enough. We have again made a contribution to reserves of £30,000. Along with contributions received from new local building developments – so-called Section 106 contributions – this gives us a pot of money to allow us to contemplate purchasing Grange Field, the field beside the recreation ground, should it become available.
We have included provision within the parish budget for a number of new items. The first is to support planning activities related to the production of a Neighbourhood Plan. This Plan is a valuable tool for establishing the village’s priorities and has value within the planning process: essentially it gives us more control and also a financial incentive, in the shape of higher contributions from developers.
Provision has also been made for a possible contribution towards the running of Great Shelford Library. On a more prosaic note, a survey of all the trees for which the parish council is responsible is planned, together with the funds for any resulting tree works.
We have examined all areas of the budget, and tried, as far as possible, to reduce costs compared with previous years: the budgets for plant and tools, contributions to local groups (called S137 Grants), and General Contingency have all been reduced.
The budget for administration includes the work done by our Village Man. Recently he has been employed on a number of tasks such as clearing leaves and gutters. This has addressed a number of areas that were not previously being given much attention and which gave rise to frequent complaints from parishioners. His work has improved the look and feel of the village. We have refurbished all the bus shelters in the village and in the next year we will be giving them a coat of paint so they look their best.
We feel that all the items mentioned above will greatly benefit the village and improve the quality of life. Great Shelford is deservedly a very popular village, because of its vibrant community and excellent facilities. However, growth and popularity bring pressures with new challenges that call for creative solutions. The Parish Council is seeking to do everything in its power to make sure the village continues to be a good place to live.
We have managed this year to hold the Precept application to the same monetary value as last year, viz. at £185,000. This is despite increasing spending by over £30,000 and is accounted for by the carry forward of underspending from last year’s budget.
The precept of £185,000 will give a band D equivalent of £93.81 in 2017-18. This is a decrease of 40p or 0.40% below the band D equivalent charge in 2016-17.
We hope you feel that the improvements will be to your benefit.
Here are the detailed figures for next year’s budget supporting the 2017/2018 Precept:
|BUDGET||2016 / 17||2016 / 17||2017 / 2018|
|Plant & Tools||£7,430||-£1,874||£5,690|
|Contribution to Reserves||£60,000||£60,000||£30,000|
|2015/16 S106 Unbudgeted||-£47,735|
Annual Parish Meeting
Please put the date in your diaries – Wednesday 19th April at 1900hrs in the Memorial Hall. Your chance to hear from the Parish Council about the most important issues facing the village (and what we are doing about them) and to put forward your own views. There will be an opportunity afterwards to meet the councillors and discuss issues over a drink. More details will be provided prior to 19th April.
CGM are the Parish Councils contractor that takes care of our grass cutting and other similar activities. For the first time last year the verges were cut and arising’s collected on the first cut of the year. This resulted in a tidier appearance of the verges when cut every two weeks of the balance growing season. We intend to do the same again this year and also include the Cemetery, Freestones Corner and the Memorial Gardens, tidying up any louse debris or un-stored leaves.
CGM will also undertake work on clearing various debris from the riverbank are and copse areas to allow our plans in making this area far more user friendly. Re seeding of sections of the football pitches, vertidrained, weed spraying and general cutting maintenance will take place on the recreation ground along with the trimming of various bushes on verges, at suitable times throughout the season.
Recreation Ground Improvements to support Playscape
The area between the Copse and the first football pitch is destined for some improvements of wild flower seeding and grass pathways with seating to make the area more interesting for use.
By 3rd week in February, we will have marked out the proposed pathways with white liner to gain a better impression of its dimensional appearance from the previous drawings circulated.
Residents and recreation ground users are welcome to offer their comments on the proposed layout.
We called a public meeting on 24 Jan to discuss parking issues in the village. This was attended by over 60 residents – thank you to everyone who made the effort. A lot of (frequently differing) views were expressed. No decisions have been made yet on what to do, but all your views will be taken into account. We hope the meeting also helped residents understand in more detail the issues around parking provision in the village.
Chief Inspector James Sutherland – Parking and Burglaries
CI Sutherland, Area Commander- South Cambridgeshire, Cambridgeshire Constabulary attended the Parish Council meeting on 18 January. He was questioned by Councillors and members of the public on two main issues, parking enforcement and burglaries:
- Parking enforcement – CI Sutherland reiterated that this was not a priority for the Force. There are two ways in which this might be changed, firstly new government legislation to allow Police to delegate some powers to volunteers, secondly decriminalisation of parking (this is the model used in Cambridge City and would have to happen across the whole of South Cambs). This is clearly unsatisfactory and the Parish Council will be examining what further pressure we can exert, as well as exploring the option of decriminalisation with South Cambs.
- Burglaries – there had been a spike in burglaries in Great Shelford in the second half of 2016. Shed and property burglaries always increase in last quarter of the year due to darkness during working hours. Great Shelford is at increased risk due to proximity to main road, railway Station and close to City. Focused crime patrols have increased in Great Shelford and burglaries have reduced again. However, CI Sutherland stressed this was a joint issue for Police and residents and asked that residents became more engaged on crime prevention.
With current train volumes the rail crossings in the village are closed for 20-25 minutes per hour in the peak and, particularly in the mornings, traffic backs up onto the A1301, gridlocking the village. The Parish Council is engaging with Network Rail to understand what further increases in train volumes can be expected and how the current situation can be improved. Briefly:
- West Anglia – one additional off-peak train Liverpool Street to Cambridge and one evening peak Liverpool Street – Ely from December 2019. Cross Country – franchise due for renewal in 2018; no changes currently planned. Addenbrookes Station – Astra Zenica have asked John Laing to manage a private contract for construction. Possibility of 2 or 4 platforms (Network Rail prefers the latter). No dates currently. We are trying to set up a site meeting in the Spring to review what signalling improvement could be made.
- We have asked about the possibility of some parking being made available along the railway to the SE of the station (behind Leeway Avenue). We are also investigating ownership of the three parking spaces outside the Zara Indian Restaurant.
- There is currently no prospect of a footbridge at the station.
Update on Highways Improvements
Highways – outstanding works
We have met with CCC to finalise the proposed changes in the village which require a TRO (Traffic Regulation Order). This is the legal document that must be raised to make certain highway changes (e.g. speed limits, yellow lining, ,parking restrictions) can take place.
We initially approached CCC last September asking for the proposals to be implemented but due to cut backs within CCC progress has been slow. The proposals are now in hand, the positive outcome of the delays are that we have been able to incorporate some additional works, mainly around the new Post Office in Hinton Way, as well as items brought forward by parishioners. We are hopeful that in about 3months we can be in position to start some implementation.
Unfortunately the new proposed Pedestrian Crossing in Woollards Lane is not progressing, again due to staff shortages at CCC, we will be pursuing this in the next few weeks.
Highways – Freestone’s Corner
The replacement traffic light system is now operational and should improve traffic flow at the junction as we now have a ‘smart system’ to control the sequencing of the lights. The whole signalling system had to be modified and new cabling installed as well as relocating the crossing on Tunwell’s Lane. This was the reason for the lengthy time to complete.
Highways – Station Road
Unfortunately the road closure for a week was insufficient time for UK Power to complete work on the trench carrying the electric cables. A temporary finish was installed on the road and pavement and the final work will be completed on Sun 12th Feb.
Recreation Ground Pavilion Hire
The Pavilion during summer weekends has normally been almost fully occupied by the Cricket Teams playing on both Saturdays and Sundays. However, this summer predominantly Saturdays will be reserved for Cricket matches and most Sundays will be available for private hire parties or other events.
If you would like to consider hire of this splendid summer venue for your party or event, please contact the Parish Clerk on 07870 807442 or by e-mail on firstname.lastname@example.org