Parish News – October 2018
At this month’s meeting the Council were asked about the condition of the hedges along the Brampton Lane. In some places, the growth is such that it restricts free movement for cars and cyclists alike, posing physical dangers as well as damage to vehicles. This is a perennial issue and, as in previous years, the Council will discuss with landowners and or Cambridgeshire Highways. The Brampton end is mostly managed by a voluntary working party and, although there is a question over where the boundary lies, the Grafham end could benefit from similar attention if people are willing. In any event the Council will be in contact with the landowners to seek a commitment to the maintenance of the hedges and the clearing away of fallen branches.
The Chair of the Shop Committee attended the meeting to seek some financial assistance for the shop over the winter months. In a separate article you can read the transcript of the request and the Council’s response to it. (See below)
Two members of the Speedwatch team attended to update the Council on their activities. So far 9 sessions of monitoring have taken place with an approximate 12% of vehicles travelling in excess of 30 mph. Monitoring has so far been confined to traffic leaving the village at the top end. Monitoring traffic coming into the village on Buckden Road is hampered by the height of the verges on that side of the road. It is unclear who would be responsible for the verges and the Council will search its archives to find out who owns the water tower and its land.
The regular monthly reports received from Cllr Darren Tysoe and Cllr Peter Downes can be viewed in full on the village website.
The Council agreed to provide help to the Community Pub by granting £642 towards the purchase of sanitary ware.
The grant application for the resurfacing of the all-weather pitch has been completed. Four tenders have been received and the most cost effective in terms of life span and maintenance came from the original installers at £17,900.00. The Council unanimously agreed to appoint En-Tout-Cas as the contractor of choice.
A quote for the cost of three speedwatch signs and their installation at £367.00 was accepted and agreed. The A14 traffic monitoring device has been installed on Breach Road to monitor numbers and speed. Feedback is expected possibly by the end of October.
Street-lighting as a future topic for discussion has been suggested. Are there too many lamp-posts or too few? Are they in the right places? If you have a view, please let us know.
The next PC meeting is scheduled for 13 November 2018 – 7.30pm at the Village Hall – everyone welcome.
The contact details for your councillors are as follows:
Philip Allingham [email protected]
Jo Dunn [email protected]
Ian Gardener [email protected]
Roy Harold [email protected]
Claire Hodder [email protected]
David Russell [email protected]
Alastair Watson [email protected]
A request for assistance for the Community Shop
Martin Joyner, chairman of the Shop Committee, attended the PC meeting to ask the Parish Council to consider providing some financial support for Grafham Community Shop and he made the following points
The shop has been a success for the village. It was a large effort to establish the shop and it is now in its 5th year of trading. People in the village want a shop as shown by the survey which was part of the parish plan. The shop is beneficial to village community as it gives opportunities to interact with the rest of the village. People who are new to the village are able to meet people and for those unable to travel out of the village it is an important bit of independence. Its presence has been known to have a positive impact on house prices.
However, the financial position of the shop is very fragile and there is a risk that we may not survive the winter months if takings across the winter are similar to last year. The shop made a loss of £1,875.46 in 2017/2018 and takings so far this year are 7% less than last year. Custom from the caravan site has gone down as the site now stocks some basic provisions. Some costs have gone up including wages, pensions and power costs.
In an effort to improve our takings, we have improved signage and advertising (Facebook and leaflets). A recent leaflet has asked people to support the shop in one of several ways including making a monthly subscription to which several people have reacted favourably. We have taken steps to further control stock purchases and costs and we have reviewed our overheads.
We are in the process of applying for community funding. We have an application with the Skipton Building Society (success is subject to a voting process), a new application with Aviva and we are investigating A14 funding.
However, we are in need of guaranteed financial support in the short-term and turn to the Parish Council for assistance, either as a small monthly contribution to our electricity costs which are approximately £250 a month, or as a grant of £3000 to see us across the winter, paid in instalments and subject to monthly reports on progress as provided by the shop management.
Following this request from the Community Shop, the Parish Council gave due consideration to the important role the shop has in providing a convenience to most of the village and a life-line to some. We should remember that the village overwhelmingly agreed that a shop was one thing that the village was missing at the time of the Parish Plan and that most people wanted to have. The shop has provided help to younger villagers in enhancing their life skills and their CVs and helping with their Duke of Edinburgh award schemes. Housebound villagers are able to get out and walk to the shop rather than rely on others to shop for them. New-comers are integrated into the community.
Because of this, the Council has agreed to cover the cost of electricity supplies to the shop until the end of the financial year (31.03.19) at approximately £250 each month. We will receive regular financial updates.
There is still, however, some concern over the long-term viability of the shop and we are seeking your view as to if and how the Parish Council can best help to keep the shop open.
The Council views the shop as a very important part of village life and would welcome your ideas on how we can help it survive and succeed.