Major Building Developments
Following the major planning decisions, the first of the so-called “reserved matters” applications is working its way through the planning system. These applications show how the site will actually be laid out with what size and styles of housing etc. The architects working with Bellway Homes to build 50 houses off Oakington Road appear – so far - to be listening to local concerns. They seem to respect the design principles set out in Cottenham’s Village Design Statement and brought into our emerging Neighbourhood Plan. The plans are subject to public comment and go before the SCDC Planning Committee for a decision before any building can start.
Village Hall update
Despite the refusal of planning permission for the integrated Village Hall & Nursery, the subsequent permission granted for nearly 400 new homes between Oakington Road and Rampton Road increases pressure for these new community facilities – and brings some financial contributions to their costs. The Parish Council remains committed to the project and approved the architects and Working Party seeking new pre-application reports on revised designs of the access road, Village Hall and Nursery. The recent “7 questions” survey endorsed our approach of separating the Hall from the Nursery and keeping the Nursery close to the Primary School.
Following the planning permissions, the draft Neighbourhood Plan has been revised and further developed. Over 400 residents responded to our “7 questions” survey to help us refine the site prioritisation within the plan while we have a freelance Plan Examiner reviewing its robustness. We have commissioned a Housing Needs Assessment to ensure the plan can allocate enough housing sites, where and how we choose, to deliver all the housing necessary for Cottenham people in the coming years. The working draft of the plan is available on the Parish Council website; do send any comments, including your name and the related policy reference to firstname.lastname@example.org
Community Land Trust
A Community Land Trust is an important means to build and maintain low-cost housing reserved for local people. With help and encouragement from the District Council a group of founder members is setting up such a trust in Cottenham. Look out for more information on this in the coming months.
As we wait patiently for the pavement and crossing improvements around the village “any time now”, we’ve been looking ahead to try to get a zebra crossing installed somewhere near the Post Office next year.
A joint group of residents and Parish Councillors continue to look for ways in which we can improve parking and public transport, reduce through traffic and make the central roads feel safer. Do join one of the discussions.
We’re getting increasing complaints about parking problems. The Highways Code states: “DO NOT stop or park: opposite or within 10 metres (32 feet) of a junction, except in an authorised parking space” AND “Parking on the pavement can obstruct and seriously inconvenience pedestrians, people in wheelchairs or with visual impairments and people with prams or pushchairs.” We urge all residents to be considerate to the needs of other road users and pedestrians when parking your vehicles.
With ever decreasing budgets, we are often asked to source volunteers to do some jobs no longer carried out by the authority. One way you can help is to clean road signs, nameplates etc. If you live near to a sign please feel free to give it a spruce up! Another way is to maintain verges outside or near to your home – cutting the grass, trimming bushes, etc.
We have met several times with our new County Highways Officer who commented:
Gravel – if you have a gravel driveway it is your responsibility to ensure gravel is retained within the boundary of your property. Please sweep stray gravel from footpaths as this can be a trip hazard, particularly for less able-bodied pedestrians.
Bins – it’s an offence to obstruct the highway with wheelie bins e.g. to reserve parking spaces
Hedges – please ensure vegetation on your property does not encroach onto the public highway, causing an obstruction – vegetation should be cut it back to your boundary.
Many thanks to everyone who came along to our event at the end of September. Please see separate article for full details and photos.
Carols on the Green
The popular Carols on the Green event will be held on Tuesday 12th December from 6pm. As usual Father Christmas and his reindeer will be visiting plus we’ll have mulled wine and a BBQ. In addition we have several stalls selling everything from cakes to festive gifts. There is still time to have a stall so please get in contact with us. Furthermore if you would like to help sponsor the event we’d love to hear from you.
Budget setting 2018/19
At our first meeting of 2018 we must set the precept based on the budget for the next financial year. This meeting will be held on Tuesday 9th January at 7.15pm in the Village Hall. The reports pack for the meeting will be published by 5th January and this will contain full background information. As usual this is a public meeting so residents are welcome to attend and make comments.
Every month we get numerous calls/emails regarding a whole range of issues from potholes to missing cats. We log these and the details are circulated within the Council every month. We are now publishing the log on our website (minus contact details) so that residents can get an idea of what we get up to ‘behind scenes’.
Village Hall/Sports Pavilion Hire
If you’d like to hire the Village Hall (up to 120 people) or Sports Pavilion multi-purpose room (up to 40 people) for your birthday party, christening, anniversary celebrations, classes etc. please contact Sam (email@example.com) for rates and availability. You can also check the diary and make provisional booking enquiries via our website. NB: Up to March 2018, we are now offering 50% discount rates for evening hire of the Village Hall for your birthday parties or other celebrations.
Office Opening Hours
The Parish Office is open every Monday between 9.45am-12 noon. Appointments are available outside of these hours by emailing or phoning – details below. The Clerk is contactable between 9.30am- 2.30pm weekdays and messages can be left outside of these hours.
Jo Brook, Parish Clerk
Parish Office - 07503 328401
Bluebell Community Planting Event
On Saturday 30th September a group of approximately 20 volunteers armed with trowels and dibbers set to work to transform an area of WARG Field, off Histon Road, into what is hoped will be a carpet of native English Bluebells come the spring. It was a case of many hands making light work and it took little more than an hour to plant 1000 bulbs.
WARG Field was donated to the village by 4 former residents: Warren Dunnico, Antony Fry, Ray Baldrey and Gordon Nicol, who originally decided to purchase the land on a bit of a whim (over a beer or two!) back in 1991. Since then the grass paddock has acquired numerous self-set trees including an apple and oak, with a copse forming over time at the Oakington Road end; it is this area which has now been planted up.
We were delighted that both Tony and Ray were able to join us for a dedication ceremony of a bench in their honour.
Our thanks to the volunteers for giving up their time, Andrew and Alice King for sponsoring the bulbs, Chris Richards for the bench, Screens & Graphics for the plaque and David Bradley for the original idea.
Response to Phill Ford
In relation to the Village Hall we did indeed get pre-application advice from SCDC. This advice wasn’t ignored and we thought we had found an appropriate solution to the suggestions made by the Case Officer.
We are now in the process of drafting new drawings and are pursuing 3 separate pre-application reports; one for the nursery, one for the VH and one for the access road. We have received positive indications that it is possible to overcome the previous objections.
We sought expert legal advice before and during the legal challenges. The legal costs for the appeal and Judicial Review were £16.5k. The District Council agreed to pay us costs of £2k plus the court fee in recognition that their original decision was flawed and agreed to request that the decision was quashed by the court. The legal activity is now complete.
Despite opposing these three schemes, the Parish Council also engaged with SCDC in the s.106 negotiation process to secure significant developer funds to mitigate some of the harms. This traded some “open space” contributions for a greater payment towards the new Village Hall and successfully argued for nearly £200k of payments towards a Community Transport scheme and provision of additional burial space (we would have lost this if the legal challenge had been unsuccessful). In addition we created the possibility that Early Years and Health funding will contribute to our planned Nursery and Medical Centre.
Actual payments, which are generally for infrastructure improvements, only become due when a certain number of houses have been completed; probably 3 to 5 years in the future.
Bellway - 50h
Gladman - 200h
40% - 20
40% - 160
40% - 50
Early Years education
Transport / Roads
NB: Items in bold will come directly to the Parish.
It is worth noting that the large-scale development applications aren’t compliant with SCDC policy. Very rarely do Parish Councils have the chance to work with developers however we have met with all of them (this is noted in the S106 section of the SCDC Case Officer reports) to understand better what their approach was. Notes from all of our meetings are available on our website.
We have a duty to look after the interests of the community as a whole and sometimes that will involve legal proceedings.
Clerk, Cottenham Parish Council