Minutes of the 7th meeting – 26 October 2016
Held in the Meeting Room, at The George Inn, Maulden, 20:00hrs
David Bailey (Chair)
Julie Sheppard (Vice Chair)
Simon Barnes (Treasurer)
Alan Plom (Secretary)
Cllr Roger Ball
Cllr Christine Inskip (Observer, Maulden Parish Council)
Madelyne Edwards (Observer)
William Edwards (Observer)
Julian Smith (Guest, MD, Kingshall Estates Ltd)
Apologies for absence
Cllr Jayne Walker
- Welcome and Update from the Chair
(i) DB welcomed everyone to the meeting, and those present outlined their role and interest.
(ii) DB described how the Group is currently putting together a framework to draw in the views of the Community. The Group has no power to direct, only to reflect the collective views of the Community.
(iii) The 3 levels of ‘Plans’, ie ‘Local’ (=County Council), ‘Neighbourhood’ (= statutory, which CC’s are obliged to enforce and appeal) and ‘Community’ or ‘Village’ Plans (= ‘persuasive’ and have value to inform PC and CC’s decisions). NHP’s are still supported by the new Govt/PM.
(iv) Ideally, a Local Plan would be published first, to indicate the number of houses in each area. This would then be supported by NHPs and CP’s. Unfortunately, CBC’s Local Plan had been rejected after an Appeal by Luton BC, but Maulden was likely to be expected to accommodate another 300 houses.
(v) CBC have therefore asked for a Community Plan to be produced asap, as this would be available quicker than an NHP, with fewer questions needed. These would help to clarify the key issues for the NHP.
(vi) Funding has not been confirmed yet. However, no funding is available to produce a CP specifically, whereas a grant of up to £9K is available for producing NHP’s (including use of consultants). DB proposed that a CP be produced as a by-product interim ‘Statement’. It was estimated this would cost ~£1k, and this could be covered by economies in producing the CP, eg by only being available on-line, printing just the 6 copies required for CBC in ‘non-glossy’ format.
2. Minutes of previous meeting (31/8/16)
Agreed and signed by DB.
3. Matters arising and actions carried forward
(i) Item 2: Committee documents – New WG members to be authorised to access the Group’s Dropbox account and restricted membership MNHP website [DB]. Minutes to be sent to members of the extended Steering Group [AP].
(ii) Item 2: Dropbox Demo – DB will provide technical support/demo on 1:1 basis for those that need it. [DB]
(iii) Item 2: Facebook – Agreed posts are needed on Maulden Voice FB page and Maulden Village Community website to raise awareness of the Group. [DB/Cttee]
(iv) Item 2: Printing posters and leaflets – Liquid Designs and All Fidelity Print still to be contacted. [DB]
(v) Item 2: NHP Questionnaires – Ongoing – collect and share any good examples. [All]
(vi) Item 2: CBC Support – Siobhan Vincent, CBC’s Neighbourhood Involvement Officer to be invited to the November meeting. [DB/AP]
(vii) Item 2: Navigus Consultants – Invite to future meeting, when funding arranged. [DB]
(viii) Item 2: ‘Community Plan’ – Cllr Jackson had suggested it would be better to call the ‘Community Plan’ a “Draft NHP”, to avoid confusion. However, as CBC have asked for a ‘Community Plan’ asap, this was inescapable. [DB/WGp leaders]
(ix) Item 2: Comparing other NHP’s – Ongoing:
- a) Continue to monitor development and application of neighbouring villages NHPs. [All]
- b) Working Group Leaders to read Hail Weston and other NHP docs + the Cambridge ‘Community Planning Toolkit’ folder, held by AP. [DB/WGp leaders]
- c) E-copies of Hail Weston’s (draft) Plan, guidance on roles and responsibilities of ‘Action Group’ Leaders‘, and their Village Survey questions have been obtained and circulated to WG leaders. [All to read.]
(x) Item 2: NHP Group Training – Sally Chapman (CBC) to be contacted to arrange training session (at Chicksands) for Steering Group/Working Group leaders on developing an NHP. [DB/AP]
(xi) Item 4(i): MNHP funding – A separate bank account will be set up for the NHP when funding is obtained. Reports will be presented to PC meetings. [DB/SB]
(xii) Item 4(ii): Traffic Calming – MPC to be asked for a report on the recent meeting between S Lakin (CBC), and representatives of MPC, NHP and other relevant local Groups (ie Safer Maulden and Speed Watch) and lobbied to set up a meeting to discuss practical / effective options for traffic calming throughout the village. [AP]
(xiii) Item 4(iii): Safer Maulden’s Survey – The draft Questionnaire will need to be amended to reflect the recent discussions and explain the realistic options. [AP]
(xiv) Item 4(iv): Details of expenditure committed (on the assessment for traffic calming measures) to date by Safer Maulden and MPC still to be obtained from CBC. [RB]
(xv) Item 4(v): Safer Maulden’s funds to be transferred to MPC? [SB]
4. Village Update
(i) Recent and proposed developments in the village were discussed, in particular the proposed development between Duck End Farm (Flitwick Rd) and Moor Lane, and the 50 houses at Old Farm to the north of Clophill Road (opposite Red Hill).
(ii) A ‘Public Consultation Event’ about the latter is being held at the Village Hall on Tuesday 1 Nov, between 14:00 and 18:30. It was agreed this will be a timely and useful opportunity to raise awareness of the Group and to get comments from residents about the area. The Group should be represented throughout – Rota tba by email. [All]
(iii) Julian Smith (MD Kingshall Estates) was invited to give a ‘developers’ view on the current planning system, ‘sympathetic’ designs, and sourcing new plots of land. Inconsistent decisions and opinions between Planning Officers caused some difficulty, so it is important to work closely with them. This led to discussion about design of housing and the need for a range of types, including the increasing demand (and cost!) for ‘affordable housing’ for the young and elderly.
(iv) The plans for the Coop (to be refurbished in the New Year) and the (well-used) weekly ‘pop-up’ Post Office in the Village Hall were discussed. [Apparently the Post Office requires a 3-mile radius between Post Offices.]
(v) Members were surprised to hear that Maulden was actually split into two halves by definition, with the section beyond Clophill Road defined as “small village”.
(vi) DB pointed out that a challenge for the Group was to define the ‘essential characteristics’ of the village in the CP and NHP. It has been said that the village has ‘no defining features’ other than being a long (3km) village, with an ‘eclectic’ mix of housing. The more (and less) ‘desirable’ features of the village were discussed, including the sense of ‘community’, nice surrounding countryside and walks, attractive features (St Mary’s Church, the Millenium Garden, etc), busy allotments, etc.
5. Report from MPC
(i) RB reported:
- The outcome of CBC’s ‘Call for Sites’ should be known by Xmas.
- The A507 could be downgraded.
- The poor condition of road surfaces in Maulden was highlighted as a significant hazard to road users, especially cyclists. [nb. Complaints should be made via the ‘Fix-My-Street’ website: https://www.fixmystreet.com/ .]
- CBC face significant (£14mill??) further cuts.
- Flitwick and Ampthill are considering employing a joint Traffic Warden.
- Next MPC meeting is on Monday 31 October 2016. Several members propose to attend.
6. Working Group update
(i) Key learning points – from presentations at previous meetings (listed in August meeting minutes) were discussed.
(ii) Role of Steering Group Chair – DB agreed with Barry Easom’s (Hail Weston CP) that the SG Chair should be ‘without portfolio’, to maintain independent oversight and coordination. A replacement Chair of the ‘Governance/Regulation/Legal & Crime’ WG is needed. Suggested this position should be advertised on MV and consider again at next meeting.
(iii) ‘Roles and Responsibilities’ – AP has obtained and circulated a copy of Hail Weston’s guidance which could be adopted. [DB/AP]
(iv) DB advised that each Group could have a ‘professional’ Secretary, to assist the Group Leader when paperwork becomes onerous (and if funds are available). These opportunities could be advertised on MV. [DB/AP]
(v) ‘As Is’ Statements – Progress was reviewed. JS had circulated drafts on ‘Social, Education and Welfare’, AP on Infrastructure, for comment. RB said his ‘Housing’ Group need to take account of expected numbers and then design. He needed input from fellow Cllrs on the MPC Planning Cttee.
(vi) DB advised that we need to start finalising these Statements and devising the Questions for the Village Survey. These need to be in a consistent and coherent format. AP reminded members that links to suitable ‘templates’ had been circulated, eg Linfield and he had also obtained hard copies from a number of others. DB to arrange 1:1 meetings with Group Leaders to discuss content and format. [DB/WG Leaders to arrange.]
(vii) Training – CBC’s training session will help with this process too – tba asap [DB/AP]
(viii) Consultants – It was agreed that it would be more cost effective to engage the consultants (Navigus, or similar) after our training, as we would be better informed and get more out of them.
(ix) Contacting Local Businesses – SB’s email to local businesses listed on the Maulden website had not been successful, so he proposed to phone and/or visit them personally. A leaflet is needed for this. [SB/DB]
(i) ‘As Is’ Statements – All members to comment and fill in any missing information in draft Statements. [All]
(ii) Leaflet – A short leaflet is needed for the Consultation Event on 1 Nov, and for contacting local businesses. [DB/JS]
(iii) Permission – To check if we need a ‘license’/approval (from CBC?) to distribute the leaflet/Questionnaire.
7. Communications Update
(i) Publicity – It was agreed that it was time to ‘reach out’, although DB stressed that we needed to ‘build the platform’ (ie structure of the Steering Group and Working Groups, etc) before we could inform and consult the Community. However, there is increasing pressure on us to start the publicity ‘campaign’ – although we do not yet have a recognisable ‘brand’, as recommended by other CP’s. The theme “Your Voice is Important” was suggested. This will be discussed with CBC’S Advisor, hopefully at the next meeting.
(ii) Demographics – We also need to identify the demographics and decide how we can reach all of the population. This could be started via the Questionnaire for the CP. Further discussion needed – CBC’s Training session will be informative too. [DB/All]
(iii) ‘Themed’ village meetings could be held by each WG, eg Social and Community, Local Economy, etc to engage with the community and get a wider input – and hopefully more volunteers.
(iv) e-communications: Social Media and Website –The content on the Maulden Village.org website (http://www.mauldenvillage.org.uk/ ) will be updated asap. All minutes need to be added. SR has expertise in marketing and websites and offered to help. [DB/AP/SR]
(v) Other Publicity Opportunities – Distribution of NHP Flyer and Questionnaire – Either using those who deliver the Parish magazine + other volunteers to cover the entire village, or other methods such as the Scouts (for a donation) or together with free local newspapers should be considered.
(vi) Photocopying – PJ previously mentioned that St Mary’s has a photocopier which could probably be used for a donation, and MPC could match fund NHP for copying. [PJ]
(vii) Oracle article – The Oracle had agreed to include an article – to be finalised. Use of cartoons suggested (SR has a contact). [SB/SR]
Other Outstanding Actions
(i) Articles – DB’s draft to be finalised and used as the basis for articles in the various magazines, websites, etc. Final version to be shared via MNHPSG Dropbox. [DB]
(ii) Film – A short You Tube video had been suggested, describing the benefits of a NHP and what it entails. AP’s suggestion that this would be an interesting project for local schools, eg Business and Media Studies students at Redborne, should be followed up – when we have the money! [DB/JS]
(i) Julian Smith was thanked for hosting the meeting and agreed to our monthly meetings being held in the room. [AP to confirm bookings]
(ii) Next meeting on 30 November in the upstairs Meeting Room at The George – TBC. [AP]
Meeting ended 21:35pm