Harston Residents’ Group Annual Report for Parish Council
The HRG has been revived recently after a concerted campaign on the number 26 bus. Stagecoach had threatened to make the service go to every other hour off peak and many residents, especially those who relied on the bus service, were horrified.
The HRG worked with Stagecoach to try and find a way to keep the service hourly. This was achieved by negotiating a change in the service whereby it stopped at the Park and Ride in Trumpington. This change was of benefit to both users, who then had options to travel onwards to other destinations, such as Addenbrooke's, and for the bus company as it meant they did not need to take the bus all the way into town off peak.
The HRG used a survey (150 respondents) and petition (400 respondents) to get plenty of local support and opinions and as a result Stagecoach agreed to leave the service hourly, which was a great result! Next steps on this will be to keep an eye on how well used the service is and if it continues to be popular to try and get Stagecoach to run it more regularly and later in the evening as this was another request which came out of the survey.
In March the HRG organised a village litter pick. It was a really positive event, over 40 people from the village turned out and got involved and we collected at least 40 bags full of rubbish. We intend to hold another in September and hopefully keep it as a bi-annual event in order to keep the village looking better.
Another important factor of the group is our website, social media and newsletter. We use this to improve communication with the village and encourage a feeling of community. The website currently gets around 600 unique visitors each month (approx 7,000 total in 2016) and we have over 300 people signed up to receive the newsletter. Our Facebook and Twitter accounts each have around 200 followers and growing rapidly.
We have also created a sub-committee who are pursuing the idea of a Neighbourhood Plan for Harston – this would allow us as a village to have greater say in future developments, such as the proposed Co-op, and help to protect the heritage of the village. We are currently speaking to villagers to gauge support for the plan and will be asking the Parish Council for its support.
Going forwards we are trying to formalise the group a bit more – write a constitution and make formal roles. This should allow us to pursue funding for community projects. As ever, we welcome anyone and everyone to our regular meetings on the 3rd Tuesday of each month at the Queen's Head pub in Harston. A full list of dates will be on the website calendar soon.