Crow Review of the Year: October-December

Families enjoy the ice rink at Royston Christmas Fayre Families enjoy the ice rink at Royston Christmas Fayre

Matthew Gooding
Wednesday, January 1, 2014
3:01 PM

Part four of our 2013 review

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OCTOBER

The battle to build a new budget hotel on the site of the old Horse and Groom pub continued, as a planning application went to appeal.

Owner of the site, Stewart Findlay, has been trying to get planning permission for a 70-bedroom hotel on the land, which is next to the A505, for the past seven years.

Despite having the support of local councils, his plans keep getting knocked by South Cambridgeshire District Council’s planners, who consider the hotel to be too large.

Mr Findlay said: “A budget hotel is something which is desperately needed in Royston.

“Firms in the town send up to 900 people a year to hotels in Cambridge – it’s ridiculous that there isn’t anything nearby.”

The result of the appeal is expected early in the new year.

Also in the news:

- Retailer group Royston Means Business revealed it was bring an ice rink to Royston for two days during the town Christmas fayre.

- A community rail partnership for South Cambridgeshire, the first of its kind in the region, was agreed.

NOVEMBER

A Royston school hit out at the “flawed” Ofsted inspection process after being served with a notice to improve.

The Meridian School launched an official complaint after being told it needed to improve, despite receiving feedback from inspectors that 80 per cent of the school’s lessons were good or outstanding.

Head teacher Dr Michael Firth said: “Our view is that the report is deeply flawed because they haven’t based it on the evidence they collected or the procedures they are meant to follow.

“We are committed to the Ofsted system, and will accept criticism when it is justified, but we feel hugely let down by a process that should be a process for good.”

The notice to improve was given due to a group of 10-15 high-achieving pupils not making the expected progress.

Ofsted declined to comment.

Also in the news

- Shepreth parish council was forced to back-track on plans to co-opt a new member behind closed doors following a protest from residents. A new member was eventually co-opted in December.

- The A10 corridor cycling campaign pressed for a safe crossing of the A505 near the A10 roundabout, suggesting a new bridge should be built.

DECEMBER

Royston’s new neighbourhood sergeant announced a crack-down on burglaries following a string of incidents in the town.

Sergeant Steve Oliphant, who took over from Jon Vine as the town’s top cop at the start of December, made tackling burglaries one of his top policing priorities after several homes in the area were targeted by raiders.

Sgt Oliphant said: “It’s not acceptable and we want to do something about it.

“We are running a campaign which will see Police Community Support Officers going round houses in the town and carrying out home safety checks.

“I have set them the challenge of going round every house in Royston during the course of the year.”

Also in the news

- Ten-year-old Hannah Bratton, from Royston, set up a scheme which saw children in the town make hand-made Christmas cards to send to military police serving in Afghanistan

- The Old Crown pub in Royston closed, leaving diners who had booked Christmas parties fearing they would be left out-of-pocket.

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