Due to government regulations prohibiting public meetings the May 4th, 2020 Parish Council meeting was held online, using the Zoom platform. This is in line with national advice and is the first interruption in public meetings in the history of this parish. At this time there is no indication of how long these conditions will persist, but it is almost certain that the next meeting, will also take place online on June 1st. Parishioners wanting to participate in the Public Session should check the Agenda on the Public notice boards or the Website for the meeting ID on Zoom.
Due to difficulties experienced by Councillors unused to using the internet, a reduced number of Councillors attended the online meeting, but a quorum was achieved and was supplemented by the District and County Councillors and one Member of the Public.
The May meeting is the Annual Meeting of the Council at which the Chair is elected, and councillors’ responsibilities apportioned.
Election of Chairman & Declaration of Acceptance of Office. Charles Kiloh elected as chair.
Election of Vice Chairman and Acceptance of office Lesley Dilkes elected as vice – chair.
Public Question Time Jez Wilson reported on volunteer activities during the emergency, and wondered whether councillors were happy with the website. Councillors thanked him for his efforts with food parcels etc during the last months.
Cllr Adam Brown reported that NCC were looking to re-open tips. He reported a tremendous response to the coronavirus all round, but 200 plus deaths. There had been a severe impact on NCC Finances that they would look to central government for help. On Local Government Reorganisation the first meetings of the Shadow authorities were due to take place. Highway repairs were still being carried out.
Cllr Dave Harries reported that SNC finances had been in good order; but that the Emergency had severely affected all Council incomes and felt central government would have to plug these revenue holes. He expressed concern for Councils who were less well placed.
Cllr Phil Bignell reported that the first virtual Planning meetings had taken place, and re-iterated that no site visits could take place. He encouraged applicants to send photographs with applications.
Annual Parish Meeting. There had been no Annual Parish Meeting due to the Covid 19 Emergency and the meeting was postponed until the situation improved.
Reports. Lights AW reported that it was hoped that quotes from Aylesbury Mains and Balfour Beatty would be forthcoming. AW had consulted the latter regarding “Smart Management” but it was not felt that this would be cost effective in such a small lighting system. NHB scheme had been reopened. DH cautioned that the wording on an application would need to be carefully considered.
Roads and pavements. It was noted that repairs were still being carried out, but that some areas such as Hillside Road were in very poor condition and were not being attended to.
The Green and Play Area Inspection due. The Play Area was still locked up, but it was felt that the inspection should go ahead. CK continued to do weekly inspections.
Allotments Allotments were felt to be in the best condition for years. There were no empty plots now. LE commended DM for work on the wildlife area.
Footpaths Felt to be in reasonable condition; apart from the section between Church lane and the river footbridge which had subsided and was felt to be dangerous.
Churchyard Tree work has had to be paused.
Joint Burial Board There had been complaints about the grass and foliage in the cemetery. CK would check this.
Covid 19 Emergency reports Leaflets had been delivered. It was reported that food parcel distribution was proceeding well and now included Upper Heyford. Medications from Bugbrooke surgery were now routinely delivered. It was felt that village volunteers were on top of the situation. Councillors thanked Jez Wilson and Faye Brassett for their efforts.
Internal and External Audit Clerk reported that the AGAR forms had been received from the External Auditor PKF late because of the Emergency, and that the Internal Audit would take place remotely. It was hoped to keep within the standard timeframe, although deadlines had been relaxed.
Further Grant Funding for Church Roof In light of NCALC advice, the Chair felt that further contributions should not be made; as Council had been advised that it was unclear whether such donations could, or should, be made to a religious organisation. Council were, however, obliged to take responsibility for the Churchyard, and there was a power enabling them to pay for the upkeep of the church Clock.
Reporting Highway and Footpath Issues. The Clerk will report issues that Council is made aware of, but Council would encourage residents to use the FixMyStreet service to report issues themselves as there will then be no time lag and first-hand reports are almost always better than 2nd or 3rd hand reports. The service can be found here: www.fixmystreet.com It is easy to use; you can have your own account and can check up on any issues you have reported.
Parish Council meetings in 2020 will continue to be on the first Monday of each month, (unless a Bank Holiday) and start at 19:30. The next one is on June 1st.
Clerk to the Parish Council: Guy Ravine, c/o Old Dairy Farm, Upper Stowe, Weedon, Northamptonshire, NN7 4SH
Telephone: 07935 931787
For further useful information about Nether Heyford Parish Council and full contact details for the clerk and the Councillors please visit:
Nether Heyford Parish Council Website