Harston Speaks!

You came, you saw, you told us what you want.  Welcome to the Harston of the Future!

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More than 100 people attended Harston’s Community Development Day on Sunday 8 October, making it a great success; many thanks to all who turned up and gave their input.  The Village Hall was abuzz with discussion about what Harston needs to make it an even better place to live.  Harston Residents’ Group (HRG) will build on this engagement to formulate and inform current and future campaigns.

Representatives from many of our local voluntary and community groups were also there to provide information on what they do and how people can get involved. The Scouts hosted a busy stall, as did the community orchard group, local football team, churches, history group, lunch club and the Parish Council (PC), giving villagers a glimpse of the existing opportunities in Harston.  A list of groups operating in Harston can be found here.

From HRG’s perspective, the event was about bringing people together and getting residents’ views on a number of key areas: Amenities; Housing and Development; Sport and Recreation; the Environment; Traffic and Transport; and History and Heritage.

As a group, our aim is to give local residents a voice, spearheading campaigns on issues which affect them.  We had a stand to represent each area, with cards and pens for people to leave their thoughts on what improvements they’d like to see in the village.  The comments are as diverse as the people who live here but we’ve boiled them down to a number of actions based on popularity and ‘achievability’:

Local Amenities (shops, pubs, doctors etc)

  • A cafe | Lots of people thought a cafe of some sort would be great for the village and we are going to look into the viability of a cafe and/ or pop-up food events, visiting food vans etc
  • A village event | Something to bring the community together.  One idea was an ‘apple day’ at the orchard, with everyone helping to collect apples, press and bottle juice.

History and Heritage

  • Trees and hedgerows | People were concerned about trees and hedges being cut down for housing and the Group is going to explore getting more Tree Protection Orders in place.
  • Heritage | Many people were in support of the Harston History Group’s heritage strategy which will be presented to the PC.

Housing and Development

  • Housing | Concerns were raised about lack of affordable housing and retirement homes, but also about a lack of new amenities provided to support growth (shops, doctors etc).  We will lobby in support of this.
  • Planning | South Cambs District Council (SCDC) has recently approved a development (new homes to the rear of the Three Horseshoes) which fall outside the Village Framework.  This sets a dangerous precedent for future inappropriate developments.  We cannot undo this planning decision but we want SCDC to justify its decision, which also includes the destruction of a large, mature tree boundary with the paddocks owned by 1 High Street.  We will support residents to be more aware of important planning applications in the village so that they can give their view on proposals.

Sport and recreation

  • A drinking fountain at the Rec | HRG has asked the PC to look into the possibility of having a public water fountain somewhere in the park.
  • Tennis courts | Many people asked for tennis courts.  Hauxton PC has already raised some funds towards reestablishing courts on its grounds near Hauxton Mill.  HRG is supportive of this idea and it will be discussed at the next Harston PC meeting.

Environment

  • Litter | Residents expressed support for bi-annual litter pick.  Some felt more could be done by the shop to prevent litter building up outside and also in the cut-through to The Limes.  Suggestions were for more bins, and also a sign in the shop asking people to take their rubbish home if the bins are full.  We will also find out who empties the bins at the bus stops, as these are frequently full to overflowing. 
  • Air and noise pollution | Residents living close to the A10 were concerned about fumes and noise from traffic.  We will attempt to measure pollution levels to support campaigns to reduce traffic on the High Street.

Traffic and Transport

  • Buses | Lots of complaints about the terrible local bus service.  Now the 27 has been terminated, there is no bus through Harston between 07:34 and 10:16.  HRG will campaign to improve the service.  We will be writing to SCDC, Stagecoach and the Greater Cambridge Partnership (formerly City Deal) to make village views heard.
  • Harston Train Station | Some residents were keen for a train station to be re-opened in Harston.  We support this view and will explore the issue further..
  • A10 | Lots of support for a bypass.  HRG to gather a case.
  • Our meeting on Tuesday 21 November focusses solely on traffic and transport, so please do come along if you care about this!

The Community Day has given us plenty of food for thought, and as a group we will start putting some campaigns into action.  But to really make a difference, we need more help.  If you can get involved in any way, from attending a meeting to just helping us on one issue which you care passionately about, we would love to hear from you.  Are you enraged by the awful bus service? Interested in organising a village event?  Have a few hours to spare to do some research into community grants we could apply for?  If you’d like to get involved, do drop us an email to harstonresidents@gmail.com.

More photos from the day.

We will keep you updated on our progress with campaigns via our newsletter.  Sign up here if you haven’t already.  We'll share the full list of anonymous comments in due course.

Cheers!

HRG