Parish Council may run deficit
Thorney Parish Council is struggling to balance the books this year and may be faced with an overspend of up to £27,000, depending when payments fall due.
Monday’s Parish Council meeting heard that a range of commitments meant the council may have to draw on reserves and the village could face a rise in its precept – the first in many years – in the new year.
Work being funded includes:
:: Extension to cemetery, drainage, landscaping, fencing and hedge/tree planting.
:: Heritage-style street lights for Church Street and Abbey Place.
:: Contribution to play equipment in the park.
:: Legal charges.
:: Roadworks to reduce the pinch-point in Wisbech Road.
:: Grant for structural survey of Bedford Hall.
People on the new Thorney Meadows estate are considering setting up a residents’ association and already have their own Facebook page.
Stuart Francis and Helen Baker attended the meeting to ask if the Parish Council could help put pressure on Larkfleet Homes, the estate developer, to finish work on the park, play area and finishing roads and pavements.
Mr Francis said residents were anxious for the park and play area to be completed before winter, otherwise it would not be ready for use before next summer. All the homes are now occupied and residents want to see roads and pavements finished and no more trucks driving about.
Ray Wood said he hoped Larkfleet would resurface Woburn Drive and perhaps that could be done at the same time as the estate roads.
The Council agreed to write to Larkfleet asking them about progress.
There has been no further progress on Bedford Hall, with Peterborough City Council sitting on a number of actions, it was reported.
Thorney Parish Council has agreed in principle to fund an independent full structural survey and viability study through a grant offered by the Architectural Heritage Fund. This would match funding 50:50 up to a limit of £15,000.
The Council is getting a list of companies able to undertake the work to start a tender process. This is expected to take about six to nine months to complete.
A decision on whether to spend Parish Council money on new road name plates in an antique style for Church Street and Abbey Place has been deferred.
Church Street resident John Richardson, who has been campaigning for the signs, said seven would be needed and funding had been secured for three of those. The name plates would be white on black and would have the appearance of being cast iron.
Plates would be sited at ground floor level (some are currently much higher) and those on posts would be secured to walls or buildings.
He promised to report back with prices at the next meeting.
Peterborough City Council was accused of doing a shoddy job of resurfacing pavements along Sandpit Road, Smithfield and Park Close.
Claudine Lewis said tar had been splashed up people’s walls and the green on Smithfield had been hacked up – it looked dreadful.
Nigel Simons agreed. He’d been to look at the work and said he wasn’t impressed. He said he would take it up with the City Council.
The Parish Council has asked for a “SLOW” sign to be painted on the road along Whittlesey Road where the 30mph limited has been extended.
Dorothy Halfhide said 20mph speed limit signs by the school were contradictory. There were speed limit signs, but another sign stating times the limit was in operation. It was in force all the time.
Margaret Long said one of the 40mph signs as you enter Nene Terrace had fallen off.
A planning application to convert a house on Dairy Drove into a children’s home has been withdrawn.
The Parish Council is to raise the poor state of Green Drove and Whittlesey Road with the City Council. Margaret Long said there was a huge crack in the middle of the road on Green Drove, with the surface crumbling, between Sly’s yard and the pumping station. Ken Parish said he’d had numerous complaints about the state of Whittlesey Road.
There are now only two vacant plots at Thorney allotments. Samantha Godley said, sadly, there had been hardcore and household rubbish dumped on the site and on the field approaching the site.
The level-crossing gates at the entrance to Kingsline Close are rotten and will have to be replaced.
The gates were to be repainted, but have been found to be too rotten. They were put there by the developers as a planning requirement when the estate was built and mark the site of the old level crossing on Station Road.
The Parish Council is to get an estimate for their repair and may have to take them down. There was a suggestion from resident Helen Baker that the work might be undertaken by inmates of the prison as a skills project. She promised to try to get some information.
Dorothy Halfhide said the gates should be retained and it was important to recognise that the railway had run through there.
The gates are not original. When the development took place, the builders found the original gates had rotted and had the current ones built using the original ironwork. The concrete posts are also original.
The Parish Council is also to inspect the village signs after reports that some of them may be suffering from rot.
Additional Parish Council noticeboards may be sited in the village near Thorney Food Stores and opposite the school.
Meanwhile, the council’s Facebook page has attracted 132 people, with posts seen by an average of 115 people.
Ken Parish suggested Thorney might purchase one of the life-size Tommy silhouettes being sold to raise funds for service charities. The council will contact the Royal British legion to discuss the idea.
Canary Cottage (pictured), the old farm-workers home, sited on Knarr Fen to the east of Thorney, may become a listed building, it was reported.
Dorothy Halfhide said English Heritage were considering whether it should be listed after discovering it was much older than first thought.
She said it was one of very few mud construction buildings with thatched roofs to survive.
Thorney now has seven trained Speedwatch volunteers and six more waiting for training.
Organiser Sam Godley reported that more speed surveys had been carried out in Station Road with five vehicles caught speeding – one at 39mph.
She said Woburn Drive had been added to their survey sites and they would also be checking speed of vehicles leaving the village on The Causeway.
The Parish Council is to write to the City Council urging them to clean up the alleyway between St Mary’s Close and Sandpit Road.
The walk-way is overgrown with residents’ hedges and weeds.