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Blue bin paper caddies could be scrapped

Proposed changes to simplify the kerbside collection of recycling materials for residents have been published by South Cambridgeshire District Council.

A report to be presented at the next Cabinet Meeting recommends a system that would see residents place waste paper directly into their blue wheelie bins, eliminating the need for paper caddies.

The option is being recommended now because the Council is currently reviewing which type of new recycling collection trucks will be needed for use during the next seven years.

If approved, the approach would mean fewer replacement vehicles would be needed than if the paper caddy arrangement continues.

The report states that the recommended approach would save taxpayers around £670,000 during the next seven years, compared with the existing system.

This is mainly because fewer collection trucks would be required.

Gas pipe replacement in Stapleford postponed

Gas pipe replacement in Stapleford has been postponed following the intervention of the Parish Council.

Following the receipt of a letter stating that the Cadent and TRIIO combination were to be working in the village from 4 September to 4 October on the gas pipe replacement, Parish Council Chairman Nigel Pett had conversations about the late notice and lack of consultation. 

As a result the area manager has written that works will not be undertaken until Cadent have had a meeting with the Parish Council to discuss in detail the mains replacement work and provide an opportunity to ask questions. He said he is grateful to the area manager for his co-operation.

"I hope that this alleviates the worries that some villagers had expressed and the Parish Council will keep everyone in touch with developments," said The Parish Council Chairman. "I can only hope that this activity has a better outcome that replacement street lights programme. It echoes!"

If parishioners have concerns then please contact your appropriate councillor who monitors your roads/streets/closes. Alternatively write to Anne Rudge at staplefordparishclerk@gmail.com

Travellers on Stapleford Recreation Ground

The first travellers arrived at the Stapleford Rec on Friday, August 11 at around 5pm. It is believed that there were about 40 families.

The Parish Council, who own the land, served an eviction notice the following day.

The last caravan left the site on Sunday afternoon, August 13, 48 hours after they first arrived.

This article is to provide readers with an accurate account of the issues around the travellers visit and to correct the erroneous details published by the Cambridge News.

The emergency community meeting called by the Parish Council was to explain the action taken and how to look to solutions to secure the safety of the recreation ground. It was NOT a meeting of the Parish Council and was completely legal. The meeting agreed to abide by Chatham House Rule – note rule and not rules – which allowed people to speak freely. Over 80 people attended.

The Council Chairman welcomed everyone and introduced parish councillors as well as county and district representatives. He expressed the thanks of the Council to the many residents who had expressed their thanks for the manner in which the Council acted to remove the travellers. Indeed the meeting commenced with thanks and applause.

The Chairman then explained how the eviction process had been carried out and thanked all who had made this possible within 48 hours. He explained that a working party of councillors and key villagers had met on Sunday after the travellers had gone and agreed initial action. The recreation ground is owned by the parish and along with the pavilion represents the major asset of the village. The Council has a duty to protect these assets of which the buildings represent some six hundred thousand pounds (£600,000). The immediate action of ploughing the Haverhill Road edge is an interim action to provide a barrier; this land can be easily reinstated and grassed. Large shingle bags have been placed to fill small sections and in particular to try and protect the school playing field and Collier Recreation Ground.

The full cost of clearing up and securing the recreation ground is not known. Most of the rubbish – and there was a significant amount but less than 17 wheelie bins - was taken away by SCDC and some of their operatives gave really good support in clearing the Jubilee Playground, which was particularly badly abused with animal and human excrement. The Chairman has written to SCDC thanking them and commending the operatives. The eviction notice, cleaning up the remaining detritus and excrement, repairing the damage to buildings and play ground, replacing and/or repairing equipment plus general costs could amount to some £6000. The parish will have to meet these bills although insurance will meet some costs.

The members of the parish who attended the meeting had the opportunity to question the Council about the action and to comment on future PERMANENT ways of protecting the assets. Proposals such as concrete blocks shaped like seats, a moat along the Haverhill Road side, a mound rather than a moat or a fence, more trees or indeed doing nothing were discussed. is envisaged. Costs of this work are unknown except that height restriction barrier on the car park will be c£1500. Overall the meeting indicated that some preventative action was needed.

Residents with any ideas about how to prevent travellers coming back to the recreation ground are asked to talk to Councillors or to send their ideas to staplefordparishclerk@gmail.com.

Please ensure that you give your name and contact details. If you do not then your idea will not be considered. The closing date for these ideas is 23 August and will then be considered by an emergency meeting of the Council as a consultation with the community before any work is undertaken but it will be done as soon as is possible.

Many thanks

Nigel Pett

One local resident has written to Stapleford Online to share their views about future solutions for the recreation ground.

The Cambridge News wrote an open letter to the Parish Council complaining about the fact that it couldn't fully report on the emergency meeting.

 Housing needs public meeting

Most of you know that your two Parish Councils have agreed to formulate a joint Neighbourhood Plan. There are a number of benefits from doing this, not least that it will give us more control over decisions on planning and development in the two villages, rather than those decisions being taken for us by the District and County Councils. This is crucial for both villages.

The Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group has already conducted extensive consultations with residents. A major part of the jigsaw is the Housing Needs Survey, which was circulated to all residents in the Spring. On 5 September you will have your chance to review and comment on the survey in the Great Shelford Memorial Hall at 7pm. Please do make every effort to come along – it is your chance to influence the way in which your villages develop.

The Housing Needs Surveys are on these websites: http://greatshelfordparishcouncil.gov.uk/ and https://sites.google.com/site/staplefordonline/stapleford-parish-council Also copies in Great Shelford Library. If you need further information or details of the meeting, please contact Mike Nettleton on 721366/07905 356468.

Nigel Pett – Chair Stapleford Parish Council
Mike Nettleton – Chair Great Shelford Parish Council

Read the full Stapleford housing needs survey here

Shelford bus changes

A bus service serving Great Shelford and Stapleford has been saved. It will have a new operator from September. 

Whippet Buses had announced that it is stopping proving the 7a bus service which travels along Hinton Way and Mingle Lane from September 2. 

The 7a will now be provided by A2B. This is the 7a timetable.

 Whippet said that the planned changes have been made in close consultation with Cambridgeshire County Council after six months of careful consideration and dialogue with the Council on ways to keep the affected services running. 

“We recognise the impact this will have on our communities, communities that Whippet Coaches, our drivers and our staff are a part of. However, low patronage and fare collection on the affected services mean they have been operating at a loss for the past two years, with Whippet subsidising the operating costs,” said a statement from Whippet.

Parish Council opposes new garden village 

A new town development of 5,000 homes close to Great Chesterford threatens to put even more pressure on the A1301 through Stapleford as well as rail services to London.

The new development is predicated on most of the residents taking up new jobs being created in and around Cambridge. 

The development is being proposed without any improvements in infrastructure, especially the A1301. The deadline for comments on the development is 4 September. 

Great Shelford Parish Council strongly opposes the proposed development and we would encourage residents to contact Uttlesford DC to register their concerns. More details at http://www.stopnugv.org.uk/ 

Magog Singers 

Great Shelford Mobile Warden Scheme and Cancer Help Centre both benefitted from donations made at the Magog Singers concert on July 4th. In the coming term, we have been invited to sing at two concerts. On Friday November 3rd, we share a platform at St Mary’s Church, Great Shelford, with the ‘Le chœur des Aulnes’ the choir of Verneuil-en-Halatte, the town in France twinned with Great Shelford. The two choirs together will sing John Rutter’s ‘For The Beauty of the Earth’. On Saturday December 2nd we will be in Stapleford with the Handbell Ringers at a concert organised by The Friends of St Andrews. Do put the dates in your diary.

Our new term starts on Tuesday 12th September. We sing in the Jubilee Pavilion in Stapleford on Tuesday afternoons at 2pm. If you enjoy singing, do join us – everyone is welcome, especially those singing tenor and bass! Jacquie McBride our conductor has again chosen an exciting and varied repertoire.

Please contact either Graham (graham.bush@ntlworld.com) or Kathleen (kathleen.foreman@ntlworld.com)

Residential trip to Cumbria

This Summer SSYI (Shelfords & Stapleford Youth Initiative) and Romsey Mill took 12 young people from the Shelfords, Stapleford and Sawston areas on a residential activities trip to Cumbria. Led by youth workers Ollie, Zac and Tina they all took part in a week of Ghyll Scrambling, Kayaking, Climbing, Mining and many other adventurous activities, as well as lending a hand in the cooking and cleaning during the week.

The trip was designed to encourage resilience, communication and self-efficacy skills and the outcomes of this residential have been hugely rewarding. We reviewed their ‘distance travelled’ and 100% of the young people explained they had increased confidence and more hope for the future. All the young people enjoyed themselves rating the trip a of 9.3 out of 10 on average! One young person said that the residential was “the best one ever” and he has “overcome my fears because of these people for encouraging me”. The young people boldly squeezed themselves through a lead mine, slid down a chilly river, and spent most of their time kayaking pushing each other in the lake (including the instructor)!

The residential wouldn’t have been possible without the generous support of many of the local parishes, churches, charities and regular givers to both SSYI and Romsey Mill. We would like to say a huge thank you to you all.

For more information about both charities, to support our work or to see the full report contact Ollie O’Meakin on ollie.omeakin@romseymill.org or visit www.ssyi.club or www.romseymill.org.

Stapleford bus service to end

A bus service serving Stapleford and Great Shelford is ending in September.

Whippet Buses has announced that that the 7a bus service will stop from September 2.

Currently the 7a buses include Mingle Lane, Gogmagog Way, Haverhill Road, Bury Road & London Road in Stapleford.

Whippet said that the planned changes have been made in close consultation with Cambridgeshire County Council after six months of careful consideration and dialogue with the Council on ways to keep the affected services running.

 “We recognise the impact this will have on our communities, communities that Whippet  Coaches, our drivers and our staff are a part of. However, low patronage and fare collection  on the affected services mean they have been operating at a loss for the past two years, with  Whippet subsidising the operating costs,” said a statement from Whippet.

Great Shelford library survey

Great Shelford library is facing an uncertain future according to the Friends of the Library.

The group has has decided to seek the views of those who currently use the library and also those that don't use the library about how the committee can respond to future changes.

You can complete the online survey at https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/H85R9TF 

Surveys can also be found at the library itself. The surveys need to be completed by September 16.

Council could buy Stapleford pub to save it for community

A closed pub in Stapleford,Cambridge could be compulsory purchased by a district council so that a local community group can take it on.

 At a meeting of South Cambridgeshire District Council’s Business and Customer Services portfolio holder today (Friday 7 July), Cllr Nick Wright agreed for officers to look in to the next steps for a compulsory purchase order of The Tree public house – a pub that the owner bought and quickly closed at the end of 2013.

 A financial report looking at the business case for the pub being successfully reopened and run by the community was discussed in private session today due to the commercially sensitive information it included – but Cllr Wright described it as a strong case.

 A community group does not have compulsory purchase powers so Cllr Wright has suggested the Council steps in and provide support if further negotiations fail to convince the owner to sell to the “large and well-organised” community group.

 Cllr Wright said today that protecting community hubs in villages is important and the Council will commit officer time to help The Tree Community Limited. However, he also said today that the community group will need to fund the full cost of the legal process for a Compulsory Purchase Order – something they have set money aside for – if it is needed.

 The owner of The Tree pub has already applied for planning permission to develop the site, which included housing, but he withdrew the plans in July 2015. Since then he has recently submitted a new planning application to the Council for a different scheme that would see homes and a smaller pub built. The community group have objected to the plans.

The recommendations agreed today will mean that Council officers and Cllr Wright will reopen negotiations with the pub owner as a first step. This aims to avoid the need for a legal process to compulsory purchase the pub. Cllr Wright has also confirmed that the legal process should not begin until the current planning application has been determined.

 If the Council reached the position that a compulsory purchase is a viable option, details will need to be presented to a meeting of Cabinet and then Full Council for a final decision.

 South Cambridgeshire District Council listed the pub as an Asset of Community Value in December 2013 following a nomination by Stapleford Parish Council.  The Asset of Community Value scheme is a national initiative administered by local district councils to help give community groups time to form realistic plans to bid for buildings and land in their communities before they can be sold on the open market.

 Cllr Nick Wright, South Cambridgeshire District Council’s Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Business and Customer Services, said: “Pubs are the heart of our communities and there is a very strong will from The Tree Community Limited to get the pub reopened for villagers. The Council would never go into the process of compulsory purchase lightly but I firmly believe the situation here is unique. The pub was purchased and closed quickly, there will not be any eviction as no one is living in it and we have a large and well-organised community group who have significant funding behind them.

“At a recent very well attended meeting in the village there was a clear and strong desire to retain the pub for the community. It is important that the current planning application is determined before we move forward and our planning team will do that by considering the facts in front of them.

“We want to make sure we have thriving communities with good facilities and I think this is the right step to support this village. It is incredibly rare that we would do this and we are aiming to not need to go down that route as we want to make progress with the owner so that the pub can be reinvigorated. I believe there is a good business case for The Tree continuing to be successful if it is reopened.”

Major new housing development proposed for Stapleford, Cambridge and Great Shelford

A major housing development in Stapleford and Great Shelford is being offered online by an Essex developer. 

The 29 acre site with 180 homes would include a care village alongside “low-density residential development”. 

The development on Green Belt is being touted by Essex company Scott Properties.

Their website states: “The site extends to 29 acres and is located to the South of Cambridge, with excellent connectivity into the city by road and rail. We are proposing a low-density residential development alongside a care village to address local demand, as well as new green infrastructure and amenity spaces.”

The proposal does not currently have planning permission.

Scott Properties told Great Shelford Online: “The 29-acre site off Mingle Lane is currently being promoted through the appropriate stages of the Local Plan. The proposals for the site consist of a substantial area of open space and landscaping, a care village and a low-density bungalow development to address local and district demand.

Scott Properties describes itself as “a Strategic Land Promoter to Landowners and Local Authorities in East Anglia.” 

You can read the full details of the proposal on their website here.