Parish council’s bid to open community office

The plans will be considered by Huntingdonshire District Council.

The plans will be considered by Huntingdonshire District Council. - Credit: Archant

An office where villagers can call in for surgeries and information is set to be opened by the parish council in Fenstanton.

If the move is successful, the office would be a base for the parish clerk and a hub for a time bank and a possible community warden scheme.

It is seeking permission to change the use of a potential building at 6 High Street, close to the village's landmark clock tower, from retail to office use.

Planners at Huntingdonshire District Council are set to consider the bid.

For the last three years the parish council has had an office in St Ives, which is several miles away, which it took on after it found there was no suitable accommodation in the village itself.

A spokesman for the parish council said: "After consulting with residents, not least through a series of focus group meetings earlier in the year, there was a strong desire expressed by residents for the parish council office to be based in the parish.

"The council took the decision to relocate when our current lease runs out at the end of December."

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The spokesman said: "The plan is to make the office, and the new parish clerk, part of the community.

"In addition to encouraging residents to come into the office, for surgeries and information on parish matters, there is also a plan for the newly launched St Ives and Fenstanton Timebank to be based out of the office.

"We are also working with three other parishes to introduce a community warden scheme, funding permitting, which we would support from the Fenstanton office."

The spokesman added: "Obviously, the move is subject to the change of use being approved on 6 High Street, but should this for any reason not happen, we are still committed to moving the parish office into Fenstanton."

A document submitted with the planning application said the building was within the Fenstanton conservation area and was close to listed buildings, including the clock tower, but that there would be no external alterations and the change of use would not increase activity within or outside the building.

It said there would be no impact on heritage assets.