A FORMER parish clerk has called on parishioners to support efforts to maintain the identity of two villages in the face of huge development proposals.

Michael Newman, who has retired from the Stukeleys Parish Council after 38 years in the post, described the challenges presented by the Alconbury Weald plans as "enormous".

Writing in the Stukeleys Parish Magazine, he said: "Please appreciate that your parish council is passionate about the issues involved with such large development proposals right on our doorstep.

"Whilst we are probably unable to stop them, your representatives are in earnest dialogue with Urban and Civic and the district council in a concerted effort to try and ensure that these two villages retain as much of their truly rural identity as is possible.

"The challenges are enormous but I am sure that with the help of Urban and Civic...I am hopeful that resolutions can be found that satisfy both sides."

Up to 5,000 homes and three new schools could be built and 8,000 jobs created at the 1,420-acre Alconbury Weald site, the majority of which was formerly part of RAF Alconbury.

Mr Newman, who is in his 70s, started as clerk in 1975 and served under 45 councillors.

Current chairman, Sue Parkin, said Mr Newman had been the "mainstay and fount of all knowledge for the council for 38 years" and had approached his duties in a "calm and efficient manner".

She added: "With his pride in the villages he carried out many tasks that were not within the remit of the clerk's post, he was in effect the villages' caretaker."

INFORMATION: Recruitment for a replacement clerk is underway and duties include administering the affairs of the council and giving advice on procedural issues.

Anyone interested should send a covering letter and CV to Mrs Sue Parkin, Chairman, The Stukeleys Parish Council, 43 Park View, Great Stukeley, Cambs PE28 4AJ. Or send an e-mail to ken.parkin@btinternet.com

The closing date for applications is Saturday, August 31.