Annual Report 2018
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Love’s Farm is well known for its great sense of community and, reflecting on a huge amount that has taken place this year, it’s easy to see why.
Our community plan underpins all we do as a community association and we have made plenty of progress on the commitments we made at last year’s annual meeting, under Ellie Gray’s direction. We’ll be looking for your input tonight as we shape our goals for the coming year.
New neighbouring developments
With over 4000 new homes planned for land immediately bordering Love’s Farm, we have an important job to do to ensure that the new communities get off to the best possible start. We have spent a significant proportion of the past year’s community meetings engaging with developers Urban & Civic (for Wintringham) and Gallagher (for Love’s Farm East). We have been insistent that lessons should be learned from the mistakes made in the development of Love’s Farm and we believe that our voice has made a significant impact on the plans.
A major concern remains with the lack of adequate crossing points on Cambridge Road, particularly given the close relationship between the Round House School and the new school at Wintringham, the number of Love’s Farm children expected to attend the new school, and the significant movement of pupils expected between the two sites. We are continuing to lobby Cambridgeshire County Council and the developers to ensure a satisfactory solution is found
Ensuring adequate school provision
The Round House Capacity Campaign scored a major success last year, securing the early opening of a new primary school in temporary accommodation, to ensure children in our community can attend a local school. With plenty of questions and concerns remaining during the application process, we organised a community meeting to bring together representatives from the local education authority as well as senior staff from the new school. Whilst primary school provision looks secure for the foreseeable future, our efforts turn towards secondary school provision and ensuring adequate quantity and quality of places as our children grow up.
Constructive parking controls
Parking has always been an issue on Love’s Farm, and the completion of the footbridge 4 years ago brought with it the anticipated rash of commuter parking. After some years of campaigning, we finally secured funding last year for a scheme which would bring some much needed safety improvements as well as measures to deter commuter parking. Led by Cllr David Wells, we have been working with Cambridgeshire County Council over the past year to draw up a scheme and to consult with residents. The resulting scheme has been largely positively received and officers have been working hard to make refinements in response to feedback and to address the areas of greatest concern. We are expecting the formal consultation on the final scheme to begin in the next few weeks.
Making our play areas safe
Love’s Farm resident Katie Boldero began a campaign to lobby for proper fencing around the Pirate Ship play area to prevent small children running into the nearby spine roads. With the support of Cllr Nik Johnson, against all the odds, Katie’s campaign led to Huntingdonshire District Council agreeing to fence the play area to a good standard. Another great example of residents making a real difference to the community we live in.
Emma Lovelock continues to lead us in a great variety of successful events through the year, from Friday night quizzes through to Chocolate Bingo and development-wide hunts. Our 10th annual Big Lunch saw one of our biggest turnouts ever. Following the success of our first Great Get Together last summer, Helene Tame led the organisation of another super Great Get Together this year including, in partnership with Love’s Farm Runners, a fun run from the school (via a scenic route!) to Love’s Farm House where we finished with a barbeque. We’re grateful to a brilliant cross section of our community who came and took part, and to the Round House school for hosting.
Keeping Love's Farm SMART and Blooming!
Rain or shine, Helene and volunteers have been out numerous times this year to pick up litter and tidy Love’s Farm on our SMART days. Last year we were given £500 when St Neots in Bloom closed down and Phyllis Hooper has worked extraordinarily hard with volunteers to establish Love’s Farm Blooms - planting bulbs in the woods, tidying and planting the area around the old farm house and improving the area in the south west corner. We’re already seeing the results!
We are continuing to keep in touch with individual streets through our Street Reps - providing a point of contact with each street so that issues can quickly and easily be raised with LFCA and so that we can better communicate with residents. Emma Stevens has been doing the work of coordinating and communicating with Street Reps this year. The majority of our streets have reps but we do still have a few without… if yours is one without then why not get in touch?
Following the consultation last year on the permanent closure of the northern access to all vehicles (including buses and emergency vehicles which had previously been able to use the access) we campaigned hard for the removal of the concrete block which was placed across Hogsden Leys. Eventually, this was replaced with the gate which can be opened by the emergency services. Under pressure from residents led by John Gerrard, the County Council promised to review all possible options for the future of the northern access and officers are currently drawing up costings for these options. We are currently awaiting the outcome of this review.
Spreading the word
Our newsletter, a joint effort with Love's Farm House, goes out to every home on Love's Farm every other month, largely thanks to Ben Pitt and Jenny Bishop, as well as Steve Briggs and our network of Street Reps who distribute them. Our website, Facebook and Twitter continue to be an important hub of our communications - please do sign up on the website to join our mailing list to hear about upcoming events and other news!
Working with our councillors
Following the redrawing of both Town and District Council boundaries which anticipate the new developments on our side of town, we find ourselves with unprecedented representation. 4 residents put themselves forward as independent candidates for the Town Council; Ben Pitt, Caroline Gregson, Stephen Ferguson and Colin Holmes were elected unopposed. Colin has recently stepped down and resident Neil Hook has been co-opted to replace him. Nik Johnson and David Wells were elected to represent us on the District Council - we record our thanks to Ian Gardener and Barry Chapman, our previous District Councillors. Julie Wisson continues to represent us on the County Council.
Crime and anti-social behaviour
We’re fortunate to have a great PCSO who keeps in touch with us and responds quickly to concerns and issues that we put to him. It’s sad to report that there does seem to have been a rise recently in the number of crimes and incidents reported in our community - though this also seems to be reflected across the whole town. We are meeting very shortly with the Police Sergeant for St Neots to discuss these issues and the future of policing on Love’s Farm. Please do pass on any particular concerns that you would like to have aired at that meeting.
We have been operating at a deficit since the end of funding support from bpha and partly due to an increase in the cost of producing the newsletter. However, Gallagher have recently pledged some generous support which secures our immediate future.