Royston and District Committee Minutes

Date:
Wednesday, 2nd March, 2016
Time:
7.30pm
Place:
Committee Room, Royston Town Hall, Melbourn Street, Royston
 
 

Attendance Details

Present:
Councillor Fiona Hill (Chairman), Councillor Bill Davidson (Vice-Chairman), Councillor Jean Green, Councillor Tony Hunter, Councillor Ben Lewis and Councillor Gerald Morris.
In attendance:
Ashley Hawkins - Communities Officer
Susanne Gow - Committee and Member Services Officer
Also Present:
Chief Inspector Julie Wheatley - Hertfordshire Constabulary
7 members of the public, including the speakers for Public Participation.
Item Description/Decision
PART I
40 APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE
Apologies for absence had been received from Councillor Peter Burt.
41 MINUTES
RESOLVED: That the Minutes of the Meeting held on 2 December 2015 be approved as a true record of the proceedings and signed by the Chairman.
42 NOTIFICATION OF OTHER BUSINESS
There was no other business.
43 CHAIRMAN'S ANNOUNCEMENTS
1) The Chairman welcomed those present, including: Chief Inspector Julie Wheatley, Hertfordshire Constabulary, members of the public including those speaking on grant applications and all Members of the Committee and officers;

2) She then advised that the Committee had been supplied with information on Fraudsters Harvesting Signatures, originating from the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau, City of London Police. There is an increase in this crime, with people turning up on the doorstep wearing a fluorescent coat or vest and in the guise of an “official”, asking for a signature which enables changes on the householder’s bank account and fraudulent money transfers. A few copies of the flyers were available for the public attending this Meeting;

3) The Meeting was informed that members of the public and Press may use their devices to film/photograph, or do a sound recording of the meeting, but the Chairman asked them to raise their hand to let her know they are doing this, so that she can inform all present. She asked those present not to use flash and to disable any beeps or other sound notifications that may emit from their devices. In addition, she announced that she had arranged for the sound at this particular meeting to be recorded;

4) The Chairman then read out the following statement: “Members are reminded that any declarations of interest in respect of any business set out in the Agenda should be declared as either a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest or Declarable Interest and are required to notify the Chairman of the nature of any interest declared, at the commencement of the relevant item on the Agenda. Members declaring a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest must withdraw from the meeting for the duration of the item. Members declaring a Declarable Interest which requires they leave the room under Paragraph 7.4 of the Code of Conduct, can speak on the item, but must leave the room before the debate and vote.”

5) It was emphasised that Members should clearly state their reason for declaring an interest and the nature of that interest, whether they will remain in the room, speak and vote and not just declare an interest per se.
44 HERTFORDSHIRE POLICE UPDATE
Chief Inspector Julie Wheatley of Hertfordshire Constabulary introduced herself and gave the Committee a verbal update on policing in Royston and the surrounding area.

She stated that all crime in Royston was up by 96 offences year on year from 1 April 2015 to the current date, which equates to a 16% increase, compared to the Police Force increase of 12%for North Hertfordshire. The al-crime increase is 5%.

Specifically in relation to burglary dwelling for the same time period, there have been 41 offences, a reduction of 3 offences in the year on year comparison. There has been a 56 crime reduction across the North Hertfordshire District and the percentage decrease for the Royston area is 7%.

There have been 47 offences in the Royston area relating to sheds, garages and commercial premises compared to 71 this time last year - a decrease of 34%.

Regarding vehicle crime, thefts of vehicles, from vehicles and vehicle interference amounted to 26 more than last year, a 60% increase. Total recorded crime of this type was 69.

There have been two offences robbery this year, compared to one offence last year during this time period.

Finally, Chief Inspector Wheatley put her thanks on record to PCSO Sarah Lamb, who had served in the Royston area for a number of years. She was grateful for her help and support, and this was endorsed by the Chairman and the Royston and District Committee. She asked the Committee to contact her if they had any problems, and the Chairman thanked her for her update.
45 PUBLIC PARTICIPATION
James Heslam of the Reed Cricket Club addressed the Royston and District Committee, and explained that the Cricket Club had been established in 1956 and ran 7 adult teams and three junior colt teams. The grant application submitted was for funding support to help with the purchase of practice nets, matting and a water hog, which will absorb surface water from the cricket table in adverse weather conditions. This would enable the Club’s teams to play matches which would otherwise be abandoned. All this equipment was required on Health and Safety grounds and was needed for the Club to play in the Saracens Hertfordshire Cricket League. They had won the National Village Cricket Club of the Year in 2012.

The Chairman thanked Mr Heslam for his address and explained that the Committee would consider the Reed Cricket Club’s grant application later on the Agenda of the Meeting.

Laura Mcquillivray and Victoria Green of Royston Rugby Club’s Women’s Team addressed the Royston and District Committee and explained that their team was a newly-formed part of Royston Rugby Club, giving women and girls in the Royston area the opportunity to get involved in playing rugby. They already had 40 women and 20 girls in the Club and hoped to attract even more in the future. Their grant application was to help them pay for at least two members to be trained as female coaches, to purchase new kit and ladies sized rugby balls. They wanted to increase their training from the once-weekly Sundays so that they were in good shape to take part in matches.

The Chairman thanked the ladies for their address to the Royston and District Committee and explained that their grant application would be considered by the Committee later on the Agenda of the Meeting.

Jane Hart of the Barley Playground Refurbishment Committee introduced herself and her fellow Refurbishment Committee members Sam Cockrill and Audrey Norman. She addressed the Royston and District Committee, advising them that the Playground in Barley had been unusable between October and March. She explained that the Playground was dilapidated and does not cater for children over 5 years of age. The Refurbishment Committee wanted to inject life into the play equipment and their Committee had done a lot of fundraising for refurbishment to ensure the Playground catered for all ages. They would like to see balance and climbing equipment installed together with other types of structures, all built to last. However, the cost was enormous. They had found local firms who could provide what they needed and the sum of £35,000 would cover all they required. They had raised £26,000 in a year, but maintenance of the equipment must also be considered. It was explained that steel feet must be fitted on the equipment to prevent the wood from rotting. The items chosen would teach children to safely manage risk from a very young age. The Refurbishment had submitted a grant application for £3,000 and the Barley Parish Council would be asked for the rest.

Members discussed this presentation and commented that with revised costings, the total would be more than £45,000, including the cost of the bases, the equipment and final checks. The Refurbishment Committee confirmed that the equipment would be sited on grass, with matting underneath if. The grass would be strimmed regularly.

The Chairman thanked the ladies of the Barley Playground Refurbishment Committee for their address to the Royston and District Committee and explained that their grant application would be considered later on the Agenda of the Meeting.

RESOLVED:

1) That James Heslam of Reed Cricket Club be thanked for his presentation to the Royston and District Committee;

2) That the grant application relating to Reed Cricket Club be considered later on the Agenda (see Minute 55 below);

3) That Laura Mcquillivray and Victoria Green of Royston Rugby Club Women’s Team be thanked for their presentation to the Royston and District Committee;

4) That their grant application relating to the Royston Rugby Club Women’s Team be considered later on the Agenda (see Minute 59 below);

5) That Jane Hart, Georgina Northen and Samantha Cockrell of the Barley Playground Refurbishment Committee be thanked for their presentation to the Royston and District Committee;

6) That the grant application relating to the Barley Playground Refurbishment be considered later on the Agenda (see Minute 58 below).
46 ROYSTON TOWN-WIDE PARKING REVIEW, INFORMATION NOTE
The Chairman advised that officers had clarified that all roads where issues had been raised by Members and residents, although not all itemised in this Information Note, would be included in the Review. A number came under “existing controlled parking zones” as stated in para 3.1.

As this was an Information Note and there were no NHDC officers present to answer questions, the Chairman proposed and the Committee agreed, that this item be noted.

RESOLVED:

1) That the Information Note on the Royston Town-Wide Parking Review be noted;

2) That Naima Ihsan and Louise Symes be thanked for their ongoing work for the residents of Royston.
47 HIGHWAYS ISSUES
It was commented that proper restoration was still not being done once utility works had been completed in Royston and the surrounding villages. A proposal was made that the local MP be requested once again to bring this subject before Parliament in an effort to solve the problem, by changing the Law in order to make utility companies more accountable. The Royston and District Committee supported this action unanimously.

Royston High Street
The Chairman advised that she and Cllr Hunter, as Herts County Councillors together with their Member of Parliament, have been working with senior Highways officers for some time to investigate options, determine costs and source funding.

Members’ Questions
Potholes/poor surface at the A10/Fish Hill and Fish Hill itself. The Chairman advised that this is being addressed.

RESOLVED: That the local MP, Sir Oliver Heald QC MP, be requested to bring this subject before Parliament in an effort to solve the problem, by changing the Law in order to make utility companies more accountable for making due restoration.
48 OUTSIDE ORGANISATIONS - MEMBERS' REPORTS
Coombes Community Centre - there was no update at this time, as the formal lease for the Centre was still under discussion.

North Herts Homes - running well.

Royston First - a meeting was to be held during w/c 7 March 2016.

Royston Day Centre - a meeting had been held. Suitable volunteers for the kitchen were being sought.

Royston and District Town Twinning Association - there was a forthcoming trip planned to France.

A fundraising quiz was planned in the near future.

The Association was seeking the following members: Chairman, Secretary and further Committee Members.

Volunteer Centre - a quiz was to be held on 22 April 2016.
49 COMMUNITY UPDATE
The Communities Officer (CO) introduced the report of the Head of Policy and Community Services and updated the Committee on the activities with which he had been involved since the last meeting of the Royston and District Committee on 2 December 2015.

The Committee were informed that they could allocate funding specific to projects detailed in para 8.13 and also to ongoing projects such as the Royston Big Tidy Up scheme. Following discussion, it was proposed and seconded that any carry forward be assigned simply to environmental and leisure schemes to ensure flexibility in regard to any future grant applications coming forward.

The CO drew Members’ attention to paragraph 8.11 of the report, concerning the cessation of funding under previous ‘MoU’ agreements. He explained that this was due to the funding pot having expired and that, in future, such groups would need to be funded from the Area Committee’s base budget.

£3,317 would be left in the Royston and District budget, to carry forward to the next Civic Year.

The CO ran through the projects and schemes set out in the report and Members were informed that development of Nuthampstead Shooting Club as a key regional training facility is a “work in progress”.

Highways Matters
As set out in the report, this heading would be included in the Community Update report to promote Committee discussion and enable feedback on any of the proposed or listed schemes.

Grant Funding
The following projects were noted by the Committee as they are in the process, but not yet ready for consideration:

• Funding support to help with costs for running a Royston Hill Climb Cycle Event in 2016;
• Funding support to assist with costs for putting on the Barkway 10k in 2016;
• Funding support to Barkway Village Hall to assist with extension and kitchen refurbishment works;
• Funding support to Royston Town Youth Football Club to assist with equipment costs and the cost of publicity for a new youth team for 4-6 year olds;
• Funding support to Royston Country Markets to help with publicity costs and the purchase of equipment;
• Funding support to the Rotary Club of Royston to help with the costs incurred by their four main events each year, including the Technology Tournament and the Royston Kite Festival;
• Funding support to Corvus Cornix Basketball Club, to assist with equipment purchase and training costs;
• Funding support to Therfield Pre-School regarding a joint venture with Therfield Sports Club, in the provision of a new facility/pavilion on the recreation ground in Police Row, Therfield;
• Funding support to Nuthampstead Shooting Ground to help with a project to establish a training and coaching classroom facility at the venue.

RESOLVED:

1) That the activities and schemes with which the Communities Officer (CO) has been involved, be noted;

2) That the actions he has taken to promote greater community capacity and well-being be endorsed and that he be thanked for his work on behalf of the people of Royston and the surrounding area;

3) That the budgetary expenditure, balances and carry forwards within the Area Committee Development Budget spreadsheet, be noted;

4) That the Committee endorses the release of £1,500 from the Royston and District Area Committee 2015/2016 Base Budget to the Free After 3pm Royston Parking Initiative Scheme.

REASONS FOR DECISIONS:

1) To ensure that the Committee is kept informed of the work of the Community Officer;

2) To inform Members of the financial resources available to the Committee. The report draws attention to the current budgetary situation, assists in the effective financial management of the Royston and District Committee's budget and ensures actions are performed within the Authority's Financial Regulations and the guidance in the Grants Policy;

3) The awarding of financial assistance to voluntary organisations and the use of discretionary spending allows the Committee to further the aims and strategic priorities of the Council;

4) The allocation of funds will improve the services provided by local organisations and groups that are available and accessed by members of the community;

5) Production of this report is a requirement of the 'Priorities for the District', in which the Communities Officer is required to produce a formal report to the Royston and District Committee on four occasions per annum, in line with the Civic calendar.
50 GRANT APPLICATION - ROYSTON AND AREA INTEGRATED CARE CIC
Cllrs Hill and Hunter declared an interest in this grant application as they had contributed via their Herts County Council Locality Budgets.

RESOLVED: That the sum of £380 be granted to Royston & Area Integrated Care CIC to assist with the purchase of publicity and promotional materials for the group to use at workshops and events in Royston to raise awareness of the CIC.

REASON FOR DECISION:

1) The awarding of financial assistance to voluntary organisations and the use of discretionary spending allows the Committee to further the aims and strategic priorities of the Council;

2) The allocation of funds will improve the services provided by local organisations and groups that are available and accessed by members of the community.
51 GRANT APPLICATION - ROYSTON TOWN COUNCIL
Cllr Lewis declared an interest as he is a Royston Town Councillor.

RESOLVED: That the sum of £1,000 be awarded to Royston Town Council for Royston Museum and Art Gallery, to assist with costs for running the Toddler Music and Dance workshops at the Centre in 2016. This will help with publicity costs such as posters and flyers and also equipment costs and a proportion of the fee for hiring a dance teacher to run the sessions.

REASON FOR DECISION:

1) The awarding of financial assistance to voluntary organisations and the use of discretionary spending allows the Committee to further the aims and strategic priorities of the Council;

2) The allocation of funds will improve the services provided by local organisations and groups that are available and accessed by members of the community.
52 GRANT APPLICATION - MAKE LUNCH ROYSTON
Cllr Davidson made a declaration of interest due to the fact that his wife, Royston Town Cllr Lindsay Davidson is on the Committee of this organization.

RESOLVED: That the sum of £700 be granted to Make Lunch Royston to cover room hire costs for 2016.

REASON FOR DECISION:

1) The awarding of financial assistance to voluntary organisations and the use of discretionary spending allows the Committee to further the aims and strategic priorities of the Council;

2) The allocation of funds will improve the services provided by local organisations and groups that are available and accessed by members of the community.
53 GRANT APPLICATION - ROYSTON AND DISTRICT VOLUNTEER CENTRE
The Chairman declared an interest as she has agreed to provide funds for this group from her Herts County Council Locality Budget; Cllr Green declared an interest as she is a Trustee of the RVC; Cllr Davidson declared an interest as his wife, Royston Town Cllr Lindsay Davidson is Chairman of their Management Committee. This left only 2 Members to discuss the grant application so the Committee was not quorate and Cllr Hunter abstained from voting as he is the Executive Member for Community Engagement and Rural Affairs. Although the grant application was agreed in principle, it would have to go to the Executive Member for Community Engagement and Rural Affairs and senior NHDC officers for approval under Delegated Authority.

RESOLVED: That the sum of £1,200 be granted to the Royston Volunteer Centre (RVC) in principle subject to the delegated authority as explained above. The funds were sought to assist with costs for running a series of workshops during 2016 about the benefits of volunteering in Royston and the surrounding villages.

REASON FOR DECISION:

1) The awarding of financial assistance to voluntary organisations and the use of discretionary spending allows the Committee to further the aims and strategic priorities of the Council;

2) The allocation of funds will improve the services provided by local organisations and groups that are available and accessed by members of the community.
54 GRANT APPLICATION - HOME START ROYSTON AND SOUTH CAMBRIDGESHIRE
The Chairman declared an interest in this item as she is a member of Home-Start Royston and South Cambridgeshire. Cllr Lewis also declared an interest, as he is Mayor of Royston and this is his Charity of the Year.

RESOLVED: That the sum of £1,500 be granted to Home-Start Royston and South Cambs to assist with room hire costs at the Methodist Church Hall in Royston and also for material costs for play activities.

REASON FOR DECISION:

1) The awarding of financial assistance to voluntary organisations and the use of discretionary spending allows the Committee to further the aims and strategic priorities of the Council;

2) The allocation of funds will improve the services provided by local organisations and groups that are available and accessed by members of the community.
55 GRANT APPLICATION - REED CRICKET CLUB
Cllr Green declared an interest as her grandson plays for one of the teams at Reed Cricket Club.

RESOLVED: That the sum of £1,000 be granted to Reed Cricket Club to help with the purchase of nets, matting and a water hog which will assist with the removal of water from the cricket table, allowing the teams to play matches during adverse weather conditions, which would otherwise be abandoned.

REASON FOR DECISION:

1) The awarding of financial assistance to voluntary organisations and the use of discretionary spending allows the Committee to further the aims and strategic priorities of the Council;

2) The allocation of funds will improve the services provided by local organisations and groups that are available and accessed by members of the community.
56 GRANT APPLICATION - ROYSTON COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION
Declarations of interest were made by: Cllr Davidson as he is Chairman of the Royston Community Association; Cllr Green, who is a Trustee of the Association; and Cllr Lewis, who is the NHDC representative on this Association. This left only 2 Members to discuss the grant application, so the Committee was not quorate and Cllr Hunter abstained from voting as he is the Executive Member for Community Engagement and Rural Affairs. Although the grant application was agreed in principle, it would have to go to the Executive Member for Community Engagement and Rural Affairs and senior NHDC officers for approval under Delegated Authority.

RESOLVED: That the sum of £305 be granted to the Royston Community Association (RCA) in principle subject to the delegated authority as explained above. The funds were sought to assist with costs for putting on 3 fun activity days for the young people who attend the Burns Road Hangout. This will help with costs for transport, room hire, publicity and equipment costs.

REASON FOR DECISION:

1) The awarding of financial assistance to voluntary organisations and the use of discretionary spending allows the Committee to further the aims and strategic priorities of the Council;

2) The allocation of funds will improve the services provided by local organisations and groups that are available and accessed by members of the community.
57 GRANT APPLICATION - BARLEY PLAYGROUND REFURBISHMENT COMMITTEE
Cllr Hunter declared an interest as he has contributed to this item from his Herts County Council Locality Budget.

RESOLVED: That the sum of £3,000 be granted to the Barley Playground Refurbishment Committee to assist with the redevelopment of the village’s main play area.

REASON FOR DECISION:

1) The awarding of financial assistance to voluntary organisations and the use of discretionary spending allows the Committee to further the aims and strategic priorities of the Council;

2) The allocation of funds will improve the services provided by local organisations and groups that are available and accessed by members of the community.
58 GRANT APPLICATION - ROYSTON RUGBY CLUB WOMEN'S TEAM
RESOLVED: That the sum of £800 be granted to the Royston Rugby Club Women’s Team to assist with purchasing equipment, including ladies size 4.5 rugby balls, first aid kits, cones, bibs, water bottles etc., as well as coaching training for some members of the team. This higher amount than the £500 originally requested, was unanimously agreed by the Royston and District Committee.

REASON FOR DECISION:

1) The awarding of financial assistance to voluntary organisations and the use of discretionary spending allows the Committee to further the aims and strategic priorities of the Council;

2) The allocation of funds will improve the services provided by local organisations and groups that are available and accessed by members of the community.

The Chairman announced that the Annual Royston Town Meeting would be held on Thursday 10 March 2016 at 7.30pm at Royston Town Hall. All Members of the Royston Town Council and the Royston and District Committee were invited to attend.

She thanked all Members and officers for their support throughout the current Civic Year, and thanked the members of the public for their attendance at the meetings.
Published on Monday, 11th April, 2016
9.25p.m