Sutton Parish Council - AGM 17th May 2022
We have all endured an unprecedented period in history around the globe with the impact of the Covid Pandemic. Over 20% of village residents have suffered with Covid and it was heartwarming how the residents of Sutton stepped up to help one another, continuing with the weekly clapping in support of the NHS, to salute Captain Sir Tom Moore and of course our own socially distant drinks at The Sutton Arms kept spirits high. During lockdown we also saw a significant increase in visitors to the village using our wonderful walking routes, recreation field, access to the river or just cycling through. The vast majority respecting what we have and what we have created. We have had the sad passing of resident Miriam Hill and have said goodbye to a number of former residents who have moved elsewhere, which of course gives me the opportunity to officially welcome newcomers to the village in the last couple of years or so. The council has also seen a major change with the retirement of long standing councillor and chairman Peter Lee to whom we are extremely grateful for his contribution to our village life. There have been a few major issues we have been dealing with these include:
A47 Dualling Project
The A47 Dualling Progress is slow but positive but the effort put in by the former SPC sub committee ACCT has meant many of our initial concerns have been resolved especially moving the route alignment further to the north of the existing A47 avoiding an ancient woodland and lessening the impact on the north end of the County Wildlife site which runs in fields adjacent to the river from the recreation field to just beyond where Wittering Brooke enters the river. We also had success in getting Historic England to move the Scheduled Monument boundary some 9 meters further northwards working alongside the land owner Robbie Reid. This again took the road further out of the County Wildlife site and river valley. We have continued our support to Upton and Wansford with the outstanding matters affecting them and continue to press ahead with 8 of the 9 Designated Fund(DF) applications which are predominantly for environmental and non motorised route improvements. One successful application has been a £10000 grant awarded for window repairs to our own St Michaels & All Angels Church. Today I signed off the Statement of Common Ground for Sutton with National Highways(NH) which basically states the areas of agreement and disagreement with National Highways plans contained within the Development Consent Order(DCO), this should be our final document for examination by the Planning Inspector(PI). We hope. A late change to extend the PI examination timetable by one month has just been received but NH still expect to start construction in late spring 2023 with an 18 month build program for completion in early 2025. This also means we could be seeing The Drift in Sutton being closed to through motorised traffic as early as the middle of next year. As has been the case this last year we will continue to be consulted on any changes and will continue to hold NH feet to the fire as I and others promised when this all began back in 2017. One note of disappointment is that we failed to secure the Station Building for the local community working alongside the Langdyke Trust as NH have awarded the building to Nene Valley Railway. The building will now be dismantled and relocated outside our Parish. We are very unhappy with the decision process, its transparency and robustness, information which NH have to date refused to share. We are awaiting an official information request before deciding our next steps.
Peterborough Cycle West(PCW)
This has been ongoing since 2010 and despite villagers concerns raised during a presentation by PCW in 2019 they submitted a planning application with no amendments of our concerns in early 2021. This application was unanimously rejected by the planning committee with representations against the proposal being made by some residents, our ward councillor Gavin Elsey, with thanks, and myself. Despite our efforts to suggest compromises, which were ignored, PCW went to appeal in March 2022. We have made representation that the appeal be rejected and expect a decision in late June.
John Clare Countryside(JCC)
Habitat Improvement Project This is a project covered by an area roughly bounded by the A1 to the west, the River Welland to the north, Peterborough City to the east and the River Nene to the south. We have signed up to the project and have identified locations around the parish where we could manage and replant to create more biodiversity in and around the village, we have received grants to support this activity and more will be published in the coming months. Recreation Field In regards to the JCC project Sutton Parish is somewhat ahead of the curve on this having planted the small woodland at the north end of the recreation field over 10 years ago. This has created both further interesting short walk areas as well as encouraging a greater diversity of wildlife. To prevent overcrowding of the trees some were removed earlier this year and oaks trees were donated to the parishes of Marholm, Ailsworth and Wansford. Further thinning work will be carried out this autumn. The number of different wild flower and plant species continues to increase, not as spectacular as we would like but positive improvements. We do have a small subcommittee currently led by Peter Lee, which is coordinating progress and activities for Sutton JCC project and continuing recreation field maintenance and improvements. Anyone wishing to join the small team please contact Peter direct. The football area is well used and the gym equipment usage is satisfactory but it seems more from outside the village use it rather than residents. For me the major disappointment, given the demand for such access, is the use of the river access created by the efforts of Cllr Antony Eager and the access permission given across his land by Mr Mark Bishop. The Sutton Paddlers club will be promoted again this year which gives exclusive use of the access point for residents.
Field garden allotments - South allotment field
We have embarked on a process towards the possible sale of parish land that over many years has been incorporated into the gardens of numbers 2,4,6,8 and 11a Graeme Road and would have hoped to come to a conclusion before the end of this year. Unfortunately because of historic land registry complications and the speed at which Land Registry is currently working this will be delayed until at least spring next year. Building works in the village We have had a number of build projects going on within the village which I believe have generally added to the quality of building stock in the parish. However, the downside has been the marked increase in heavy lorries damaging the verges and some walls. Despite asking planners to put in place transport controls the best way is to ask all those intending to start build projects to impress upon tradesmen and material suppliers to comply with the 20mph speed limit and properly evaluate the sensible size of vehicles that the village roads can accommodate.
Speeding concerns in the village
A subject high on my personal agenda, what I regularly see from the position of our cottage adjacent to the Nene Way crossroads, speeding is becoming very common both from residents and certainly from couriers and other delivery vehicles. Please encourage all road users to slow down and respect the 20mph limit throughout the village. There have been a number of close calls in the last 18 months and I really don’t want to be the one to rush out to an injured person, child or animal. Village events These have been limited over the last couple of years due to Covid and lockdowns however, we have managed a few Sutton Arms evenings, the January Sutton Quiz, Coffee Mornings are back, Sutton Sinners and Ginners continues to be very popular with the ladies of the village and of course the regular Church services, carol singing and ever popular Christmas drinks. Planning is currently underway for our own Jubilee celebrations ably managed by our 2 Ann/e councillors and others. Look out for further information.
Other continuing issues over the year are:
• Rabbit population control • Barbed wire fencing in Sutton Meadows • Litter and fly tipping, I have to thank our resident “Wombles of Sutton” for the regular clearing of rubbish • Reading Room replacement • Biosolid stockpiles odour issues
Finally, I am still getting over the shock of road resurfacing along Manor and Graeme Road after so long, what about Nene Way you may ask. No answers forthcoming from Peterborough CC as to when other than “it is in the maintenance schedule”. It is over 25 years, so I am told, since the last full resurface!
Enjoy the summer.
Chair - Sutton Parish Council