Meeting Minutes: 25th February 2021


MINUTES of the Council meeting held at 7 p.m. on Thursday 25 February 2021 by means of video conferencing due to the coronavirus pandemic.

PRESENT  Councillors P Seabrook; K Hutchinson; D Poole; Mrs C Jessup; L Farrer ; Mrs D Hellett; Mrs J Stainer ; Mrs R Lloyd;Ms S Mugglestone and Mrs E Milne.

IN ATTENDANCE  County Councillor I Gardener; District Councillor J Gray and C L Thatcher, Clerk to the Council.

16/21  APOLOGIES  None were received.

17/21  PUBLIC FORUM  was not used.


Councillor Mrs Hellett declared an interest in the ongoing matter of Mulberry Cottage stables.

Councillors Mrs R Lloyd; L Farrer and Mrs J Stainer joined the meeting.

19/21   MINUTES

The minutes of 28 January 2021 were read and approved as a true record of that meeting subject to the addition to item 8/21 regarding flooding that –

‘Councillor Mrs Lloyd reported on a resident of Hush Court having contacted her about flooding’. 


  • Neighbourhood Watch.  The Clerk reported that thefts of catalysers from cars continue.
  • Hearse House.   Councillor Farrer said that the work to underpin the building was now complete and warmer weather was awaited before brickwork repairs commence.

The Clerk said that the area around the Hearse House had now had chippings laid and the remainder of the paths in the cemetery need doing.  Some, where vehicles have driven, will need ballast in places, whereas others just need a coating of chippings.  It was agreed to invite quotations for this work..

  • Cemetery Wall repairs.  The Chairman together with Councillor Farrer had looked at the wall and now await quotations.
  • Pound Lane Working Party.  Councillor Farrer estimated the size of a car park to be c1500 sq.m and his cost estimate for that is £76500, being £51 per sq.m.     The roadway upgrade would cover an area of c 100m x 4m and using one skin of 14mm dense material is estimated to cost c £12,000, being £30–£35 per sq.m.    Allowing for contingencies and the laying of services to a new building, this phase could cost between £100,000 and £110,000.    The Clerk will enquire about grant aid.

Councillor Hutchinson pointed out that this work may well require planning approval and the Clerk will enquire.

The Clerk has also asked the Land Registry for information on ownership of Pound Lane so that all those having an interest could be contacted and asked if they have any comments on the proposed works before there is any commitment.

  • Twinning.   Deferred due to Covid situation.
  • Flood Group meeting report.  The Chairman said he thought the meeting to be pretty useful.  The Environment Agency appear to say a lot but do little.  The river below Gimbers End Farm needs cleaning out.      A stockpile of sandbags which could be used by residents when needed was suggested and it is understood that although the Environment Agency will not provide these to individuals, they will do so to Groups.   The Chairman has asked for a supply and for a suitable container which, he thought, could be sited in the Fire Station yard.  He has asked Councillor Gooderham to enquire about this possibility and has been told that he is awaiting a reply.

There is a need to improve the flow of water through the village.  Councillor Hellett suggested that the barrier at Rookery Lane bridge needs cleaning out and it would be useful to be able to open it at flood times.  Councillor Jessup suggested it be replaced with traditional railings.

  • Pedestrian crossing.  No further updates. Anticipated completion April/May 2021
  • Rookery Lane barrier.  The Chairman has measured the width of the Lane which is roughly 16 feet.  He suggested either two bollards or a 10 foot gate.  He favoured the gate, as that would leave the required 5 feet to the side for horses.   A quotation will be obtained for the work.
  • LHI bid.  Councillor Mrs Milne said that she had attended the Zoom meeting yesterday and had presented our case for the MVAS signs.  There was a suggestion that we could manage with one sign rather than two, but she, together with Councillor Gardener had pushed for the two requested.   A further suggestion was that we should undertake Speedwatch to gain evidence of speeding, but it was pointed out that the evidence is already in police hands.   A decision will not be available until the summer.
  • Litterpick.   Councillor Mrs Hellett said this was being arranged for 28 March and pickers will go round in pairs, socially distanced.
  • Internet Banking.  The Clerk has investigated Internet Banking with both Barclays and Unity Trust Banks.    Barclays can only offer authorisation of payments by the originator and one other, but that doesn’t meet our requirements of two authorisers – and the Clerk should not be one of those.  Unity Trust, however, can provide for two authorisers plus the originator (who cannot authorise payments, only prepare them for authorisation) which is exactly what we need.  Many parish and town councils use Unity Trust Bank and he recommended changing to them.   Members asked that he find out about charges and report back.
  • Coronavirus update.  Rates of infection in this immediate area have increased a little, though overall the effects of vaccination are beginning to be felt and hospitalisations are starting to reduce.

21/21  ANNUAL PARISH MEETING.   The Clerk reminded members that the Annual Parish Meeting was scheduled for 4 March.    We had held an APM last year, since it was just before the first coronavirus lockdown, though government had later issued dispensation not to hold one in 2020.  No dispensation had been issued for this year, so we are obliged to hold an APM between 1 March and 1 June.    Holding it by Zoom would not be very satisfactory, so he suggested postponing it until May in the hope that face to face meetings would be permitted by then.    The APM could be held on the same evening as the annual meeting of Council, which is scheduled for 27 May and if face to face meetings are not, in fact, permitted by then, both meetings will have to be remote.

It was agreed to postpone the Annual Parish Meeting until 27 May 2021.



The following application was considered-

21/00211  17 Hatchet Lane, Stonely – single storey extension to side.

               It was proposed by Councillor Mrs Hellett, seconded by Councillor Mrs Lloyd and agreed to recommend approval as appropriate development.

Ongoing Matters

Nothing to report.

A planning appeal had been notified with a response due by mid March, so it was agreed to hold an additional council meeting to deal with planning matters, on 11 March.


Councillor Gray said that this was budget week in the District Council.  There will be no reduction in key services.   The Council is forward-looking regarding economic development in the district and is driving forward regeneration of town centres, in particular St Neots.

Council Tax receipts remain very high as do business rates.  There will be no tax raises this year as reserves are good.


Councillor Gardener said that their budget had been approved and included an additional £20million on footpath maintenance, plus an additional £2.73million on flooding measures.

There will be a 1.99% increase in Council Tax, plus 1% for social care.  The Fire Authority increase will be 2%.

There have been 220 new cases of coronavirus reported over the last 7 days, which equals 126.8 per 100,000 – an increase of 4%.  There were 12 more deaths in the past 7 days.

He said he had attended the meeting of the Flooding Task Group earlier this evening and they are looking at how they can assist parish councils with flood prevention.

The Environment Agency is meeting Huntingdonshire District Council next week to look at co-operation and they hope to get the support of Anglian Water in preventing flooding by foul water.

The new Shire Hall is opening in September and will come in under budget.  Leasing the existing Shire Hall will bring in £40million.

Councillor Hutchinson referred to the proposed improvements to the A141 and asked how these will be funded.  Councillor Gardener said that the funds came mainly from the combined authority and they were putting forward three road options and three transport options.

Councillor Hutchinson said that the proposal to build a new road from Spittals cross country to Sawtry Way would cost a phenomenal amount, when much the same could be achieved by providing a filter left lane at Hartford roundabout.

Councillor Gardener said that the County Council and Huntingdonshire District would like to work with the Flood Group going forward and he hopes to arrange for an officer from the County Council to come and speak on the subject.

Councillors Gardener and Gray left the meeting.

25/21  REPORTS

Allotments.  Councillor Mrs Hellett said the allotments were not looking too bad at present. The Clerk said he was soon meeting JD Garden & Landscaping to show them what work needed doing.

Personnel.   It is time for staff appraisals to be completed.   The Clerk try will arrange for this by Zoom.. 

Village Maintenance.  

A drain cover in Pound Lane is standing proud of the surface and is an Anglian Water cover.

The footpath in London Road requires reinstatement following Anglian Water work.

The pavements in Carnaby, on the Causeway and Stonely Green are very cracked and uneven..


Mandeville Hall.  Councillor Ms Jessup said that there is to be a phased re-opening, with Linda Allen’s dance being the first to re-start.

Kimbolton Trust.  The Chairman said that there have been a number of approaches for assistance to the Trust 

Kimbolton School Governors.  Councillor Mrs Hellett said that the School is expected to re-open on 8 March and the return will be phased over a few days.


The Clerk has circulated the report which, fortunately, has revealed no great problems with the trees for which we are responsible.   One tree by the river near the bridge on the footpath to Ashfield has to come down and a number require deadwood removing.   The survey had also included the trees along the Causeway and they had flagged up the need for the oak tree to have a further tomographic inspection.  The Clerk will advise the Huntingdonshire District Council Trees Officer, who arranged such a survey a few years ago, and leave the matter in her hands.

The Clerk reminded members of the request from Rotary for an area of land where they could plant some ornamental trees.  He suggested that the land off the footpath to Ashfield which is bounded on three sides by the river could be ideal and this area could be made a very pleasant place in which to walk and sit.    Councillor Mrs Lloyd said that she thought that Rotary would like to take this on.

The Clerk will therefore obtain costs of removing and pruning trees in that area as necessary and including clearing undergrowth.


  • Sale of land at Hunters Way.     Notification has been received from the District Council that a householder adjacent to the amenity area in Hunters Way has submitted a request to purchase a part of it.      The area proposed for sale would make it very difficult for access to the land in future and would severely hinder any other use for the remaining land.    It was agreed to recommend that the land be not sold.
  • A Thrapston Road resident has asked that changes be made to the footway in front of his home to prevent water from the road flowing down onto the path, which is below road level, and then into his home.    It was agreed to ask County Highways to assist.
  • A circular of Bedford Borough Council’s Local Development Scheme has been previously circulated and is noted.


  • Invoices for payment.  The following were approved –

K & M Lighting.        Maintenance                £125.48

E Farrer & Son  Hearse house final instal. £2550.00

                       Causeway ruts repaired      £576.00

Anglian Water        Allotment water                £92.29

Fishers                    Groundsman sundries    £12.24

Hayden’s             Tree survey & report      £2016.30

D Eades               February work                 £334.76

Payroll costs       Pay, PAYE & NIC          £2246.15

Postage stamps                  33.96

Fuel for Piaggio                   38.15

Land Registry Search           45.60            £117.71


The Chairman mentioned that car parking is no problem at present due to the School being closed together with what few remaining retails outlets we have, but he wondered whether we could try to regenerate it by introducing a street market, either in High St or East St.  Members thought this a good idea and the Clerk will enquire of the principal authorities just what their requirements would be for such a venture.



Councillor Mrs Stainer asked that planting of shrubs take place in Halls Meadow where the bushes and trees had been removed.        She reported that the ditch along Station Road below the new development was blocked.

Councillor Mrs Milne said that a bridleway in Stonely has had a bird scarer placed close to it, making it unsafe to ride horses along there now.   The Chairman will speak with the farmer.


The next meeting of Council will be for planning and will be on 11 March , followed by the normal monthly meeting which will be held on Thursday 25 March 2021 by means of Zoom.

There being no further business, the meeting closed at 2155 hours.

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