I am writing this the day after Cambridgeshire County Council’s Children & Young People Committee voted to publish a statutory notice formally proposing the closure of Great Gidding School, on 31st August.
Although this isn’t a District Council decision, my fellow ward councillor, Marge Beuttell and I were consulted about the closure and both of us attended the meeting held in the school a few weeks ago.
As Great Gidding is in the south of the Stilton, Folksworth & Washingley ward, where I am the first point of contact, I also attended the Parish Council meeting in the village hall and along with County Councillors Ian Gardener and Simon Bywater and 3 local residents, I spoke at yesterday’s meeting – all us urging the committee to keep the school open.
It was interesting and reassuring that all 6 of us expressed some of the same concerns. Whilst our primary focus was the effect the closure of the school would have on the children who attend it, their families and the staff, we highlighted that there were implications for the village as a whole.
Sadly, the committee voted by 10 to 5 to move towards closure but they will have been left in no doubt as to the strength of local opinion.
In terms of District Council matters, at a Full Council meeting in February, there was a majority vote in favour of the budget which raised council tax by 3.1%. There was near uninamous support for the council’s climate change strategy, which I spoke and voted in favour of.
One area of future concern, which was raised in the local press before the meeting, is a proposal for an separate charge (on top of council tax) for emptying the green garden waste bins. I will wait to see the details in ther proposal but instinctively this seems like a retrograde step.
By the time Gidding News is published, I hope the snow and slush we are experiencing in early March will be just a memory and we will be looking forward to a warmer, sunnier Easter.