Nether Heyford Annual Meeting 2019 – Phil Bignell SNC
A Great Place to Live
South Northants District continues to be ranked as one of the better places to live in the country. Unemployment is one of the lowest in the country although SNC runs a job club to help anyone get back into work. The waste and recycling record is one of which we remain proud and is the best in the County. We had a successful year as SNC, the Brackley Pool was opened, we had visit from HRH Prince Harry to Silverstone, we had a successful commemoration lunch to mark the 100th anniversary of the ending of WW1. We also held dinners to celebrate the sporting achievements of Mercedes Formula 1 team who won for the 5th successive year, and we celebrated the success of Brackley Town FC who won a fairy tale final at Wembley to bring on the FA Trophy. As we move forward with LGR we are holding regular Parish & Town Clerks Forums, with alternate Forums including PC Chairmen.
Local Government Reform (LGR)
The past year has been dominated by the events at NCC dealing with the fallout from it. As we began the new municipal year in 2018 NCC had just issued a Section 114 Notice, the local government equivalent of a bankruptcy notice. Max Caller had reported in his opinion Best Value was not being satisfied and that such was the mess at NCC it was not possible to recover this in a sensible time period and concluded that the best thing to do was to have two new unitary councils.
The unitary councils would abolish NCC and all the 7 districts and boroughs. He proposed that there should be one in the North encompassing Corby, Kettering, Wellingborough and East Northants and one in the West taking in Daventry, South Northants and Northampton Borough.
SNC Financial Highlights
Funding from Central Government is now limited to the Rural Services Delivery Grant. However, our growth in terms of homes and businesses allows us to continue to balance the books. SNC continue to be one of the best at collecting council tax with 99% of all tax collected. The national average is 98% and SNC remains the 16th best in the whole of England on collection rates. We are considerably higher than the other Authorities in Northamptonshire. The SNC part of the Council Tax bill was raised by 2.99% which is £5.55 a year for a Band D property, making total now £191.33 per year. The increase is in line with inflation. SNC only get to keep 11% of the total bill. Northants County take the biggest share at 71%, PCC 14% and the Fire Service 4%.
New Homes Bonus
Unlike many Councils SNC uses some of the New Homes Bonus it receives from new developments to invest in the local community. Local organisations can bid for grants to help them achieve their objectives. In 2018-19, almost £1.507m of grant funding was awarded to communities within South Northamptonshire across 167 projects to improve their environment and lifestyle. Over the lifetime of the New Homes Bonus Scheme over £3.3m has been re-invested in the Community.
Nether Heyford Bowls Club – relaying of concrete slabs – £4,000
Nether Heyford Parish Council – allotment equipment and shed – £2,586
Nether Heyford Tennis Club – court resurfacing £14,457
Local Plan part 2
After five lengthy years, South Northants completed the LPP2 and submitted it to
the Inspectorate ahead of schedule on the 22nd January 2019. Should issues be
raised by the Inspector requiring attention, they will once again be presented for public consultation and should this be the case, it is likely that the Plan will become ‘statute’ during the winter of 2019.
South Northamptonshire Land Supply
This Council has built up a good reserve of planning land in-hand. We have been
fortunate with growth for both dwellings and employment land in Brackley,
Silverstone, Deanshanger and Towcester. This has enabled us to build to 11.2
years of land supply. (The Governments guide is 5 years plus 20%).
Good Neighbour schemes are established by communities and run by local people to provide day to day support for other residents in their village and community, particularly those more isolated or older residents, who may need help on an occasional or regular basis.
South Northants Council Wellbeing Activity Map, developed by SNCs Community Services Team is now live on our website. You can search for activities near where you live by entering your postcode on the website. Lots of the activities are free of charge and none cost more than £5 per session. They include opportunities for sports, arts, learning and socialising.
Environmental Services Report
Waste & Recycling
We were the 7th best authority in England for recycling out of 345 areas and one
place higher than before. Of the waste we collect, 60.5% is recycled thanks to our residents taking care to make sure the right things go in the right bins – this is good for the environment and keeps costs down.
Our booking system for collecting bulky waste – such as kitchen appliances and
furniture – is now on line. This has seen an increase in the number of collections
made and has proved a great success with 97% of those who have used us happy
with the service. For £34 we will collect up to six items.
Supporting Local Business
This year, South Northamptonshire features in a national league table of local
authority areas as being in the top 40% places in the country. The ranking is a
measure of growth, innovation, social equality, health and happiness. Despite it
being a time of uncertainty, the District continues to be a good place to live, work, invest and grow.
Eighty-three per cent of the working age population is employed, and the District‘s workforce also has an above average level of education, with over ninety per cent qualified to NVQ1 and above. The District has historically experienced high levels of out commuting and low job density, which has impacted on the sustainability of urban and rural settlements. Despite low levels of official unemployment, demand is still high for the Job Club and Job Match Service, which has been running since 2009 and supported 477 people into work.
It has been a year of change and uncertainty and still a lot has to be resolved. I have enjoyed as always representing the village at District level and helping resolve any local issues that I could. Next year may well be the last for SNC but rest assured whatever follows will seek to serve the residents as well or better in the future.
Deputy Leader SNC