Parish Council – July & August 2019 Meetings


The July 1st meeting was held as normal in the  Baptist Chapel Schoolroom.

The Chair thanked all involved in the voluntary efforts to make the green look as good as possible for the fete.

He also thanked Nick Essex and Lee Pratt for the renovation and re- painting of the sign on the Green by the phone box, and for all their efforts with painting and repairing on behalf of the village.

A resident noted recent work on cleaning gutters and hoped more work could be
done voluntarily. Chair felt it would be better to have it done professionally.

The PCSO reported that there had been a few minor incidents, but generally quiet. He reported concerns about the safety of the junction of Furnace Lane with Weedon Road. There will be an additional PCSO liaising with Bliss School.

Village Fete Felt to have gone very well despite being in doubt due to the poor weather. Despite fewer stalls it had brought in more money than the last fete.

New Homes Bonus – to consider applications. A list was considered and a working party of CK, SC and LD formed to look at proposals for Traffic calming lights, a new Play Area and Lighting. It was stressed that Community Benefit should be foremost in the applications.

Neighbourhood Plan There had been no presence at the Fete but there were 2 pages in the next Prattler to update the village. SC was disappointed that SNC had been unable to give much help with progressing the Plan at this stage.

West Northants local Forum report The Clerk gave a report from the recent forum at which concerns were expressed that “Our” Unitary would be much too Northampton centric, and that the process was not transparent at this stage.

The August 5th meeting was held as normal in the Baptist Church Rooms. The August meeting is a shorter than usual in respect of the holiday season.

Public Participation Concerns were raised about the Oak tree next to the Play Area being damaged by children climbing.

Cllr Adam Brown reported that NCC were progressing towards the Unitary deadline, but there were concerns that changes in government might disrupt this if there were to be a General Election. NCC were trying to improve Children’s social services after Ofsted had given adverse reports. Agency workers were being replaced by Council employees.

Geoff Thorneycroft gave a report on the aspirations of the Playing Fields
Association, and the various projects. Problems had been encountered with the
Environment Agency objecting regarding new changing rooms, despite a previous
time elapsed permission having been granted. He felt that concerns raised about
the potential for vandalism and theft at the allotments were unfounded because of the likelihood of pedestrians crossing the allotments to access the proposed new basketball/netball court. He felt that the opportunities afforded to young people and women outweighed any other concerns about problems caused by public access to the allotments. The Chair stressed that Council was in favour of the new facilities but felt that the issues needed raising.

Street name for new houses off Hillside Crescent. All of Council’s suggestions thus far had been turned down. The following suggestions were made. 1. Horsa Court in memory of a wartime glider crash. 2. Meadow View, 3. Canal View.

Cllr Adam Brown has sent this report.

You will be aware that in recent months there has been a spate of sheep killings
across Northamptonshire and neighbouring counties. In response to the livestock
crimes the Police have established Operation Stock which did a number of things:

• Brought all crimes under one investigative strategy
• Appointed a gold/silver/bronze structure to the issue.
• Received investment from the Office of the Fire Police and Crime Commissioner to kick-start immediate actions including overnight patrols of otherwise remote, rural, un-patrolled roads and locations, the production and posting of A1 correx roadside and gateway signs
• Streamlined response to new calls and information created by the public demand
and interest

The NFU has been incredibly helpful as a critical friend and hosted a farmers’ meeting with Police at a barn in Thornby, attended by over 130 local farmers and landowners. It was a tense but productive meeting where Police explained the very basic and elementary strategy, given the lack of witnesses, intelligence or information.

1. Police wanted to raise the awareness and involvement of the farming and rural
community so that, with our help and advice, they could target harden their
2. Police wanted to raise the awareness of the rural community and meat market so that intelligence and information would be more forthcoming.
3. Police intended to mount nightly patrols to be able to respond to farmer’s
requests for visibility and respond to any calls created by 1 or 2. It is not a secret that resourcing levels, reductions in neighbourhood policing, and a proper emphasis on threat, harm and risk, would mean that otherwise, rural communities would not have overnight policing presence, unless part of a response to an emergency call on a rural area.

The road signs have been successful, and the operation has had some notable
successes, falling short of prosecuting offenders (as yet). Of highlight are the
• An unprecedented response to Neighbourhood Alert and media releases. Even a month later, interest and concern is not abating. Last Friday, Northamptonshire Police’s Press team had more media requests in one day than that which usually accompanies a whole major incident. The topic has been covered in the national broadsheets, on national radio, local radio and local television. There has been particular recent interest in deployment of the Police/Fire drone at night time
• Deployment of local farmers patrolling vulnerable areas equipped with front and rear dashboard cameras supplied by the NFU
• Commitment of the Commissioner to supporting particular needs of the policing
operation and response
• Meeting of the Commissioner with representatives of the NFU to receive
feedback and highlight issues of concern
• Meeting of Rural Policing representatives last week at NFU Stoneleigh to discuss tactics, improve communications and cross-flow of information and to plan next steps

Further meetings are planned for this week.

• Daily briefings between police departments to include cross-border information
• Integration of this investigation onto a system known as DAMES – similar to those used in serious or major crimes, to ensure all information and actions are captured and responded to
• Continuation of overnight patrols, press releases and Neighbourhood Alerts. Reports from Neighbourhood Watch and Village Facebook groups that membership is expanding with people asking what they can do, and increased reporting of suspicious incidents (other rural crime has reduced in this time)
• Capture of evidence following forensic investigation of crime scenes. This has yielded some DNA opportunities which have been followed up. A man has been arrested in Portsmouth and interviewed by Northamptonshire officers, with some evidence recovered from his home address. He has been released under investigation.
• Following reports of a suspicious van with the livery ‘Plantation Shuttering’ at a sheep farm in Warwickshire, this appeared on a number of occasions in our
county. A Neighbourhood Alert prompted reports of this van in the villages of
Thornby, Sibbertoft, Kilsby, Long Buckby, Naseby and Arthingworth, all in one
day. Farmers saw and contained the vehicle and its two occupants in Naseby,
and called the police. The van was seized for being suspected used in crime, but
there was insufficient evidence to arrest the occupants, whose details were
confirmed. It has been returned to its owners and continues to attract our
attention, and/or that of colleagues in Warwickshire.
• Work continues with automatic number plate recognition enquiries and the
checking of many vehicles using the county’s country roads at night-time. This
has led to the removal of a number of unconnected vehicles for being uninsured
or untaxed (given the ability of the mobile ANPR system to detect such vehicles).

It is vital that local residents in rural areas, remain vigilant particularly those who live on or close to farmland where livestock are grazing.

Next Meeting
The next Parish Council meeting will be on the first Monday of the month at the Baptist Chapel Schoolroom at 7.30 pm and is, like all Parish Council meetings, open to all Parishioners.

Parish Council Notes by the Clerk; Guy Ravine August 2019

For further useful information about Nether Heyford Parish Council and full contact details for the clerk and the councillors please visit our Nether Heyford Parish Council page.

Roads and Pavements.
Parishioners are reminded that anyone can report a pothole or other highways
problem online to the Fixmystreet service, and this can refer to problems outside the village too.
Alternatively, phone 0300 126 1000 and ask for Streetdoctor.

Neighbourhood Plan – July 2019


The next meeting will be on 25th July at 7:30 pm in the Youth Club. Everyone is welcome to attend.


The next meeting will be on 25th July at 7:30 pm in the Youth Club. Everyone is welcome to attend.




The next meeting will be on 25th July at 7:30 pm in the Youth Club. Everyone is welcome to attend.

For more information on Nether Heyford Neighbourhood Plan visit the website:

Parish Council – June 2019 Meeting


The June 2019 meeting of Nether Heyford Parish Council was held on 3rd at the Youth Club, as a one off event. The July meeting will be in the Baptist Chapel Schoolroom as normal.

Public Question Time. A resident noted recent work on cleaning gutters: and hoped residents might take note and take responsibility for the gutters in front of their houses and remove vegetation and debris. Another resident complained that a Lime in the cemetery had not been pollarded. It had been inspected and was not suitable for pollarding, only crown lifting. It was agreed that a further inspection could take place.

Councillor Adam Brown reported that NCC was working towards a shadow authority, and that elections would come in May 2020. He reported that NCC had made a small profit on last year’s accounts, but would still need to find £30M worth of savings this year. He expressed concerns about social services for children, feeling it would be better if this were dealt with on a county wide basis, rather than by different councils.

Trees. During work dead wooding Robinias on the Green it became clear that 2 trees were hollow, and needed to be felled. A quote from Stowe Tree Services was accepted to fell the trees. A Silver Birch on Hillside Close would be checked for safety.

Allotments. Another plot had been allocated. Some of the New Homes Bonus money had been spent on a shed, which when secure, would house equipment.

Footpaths. No major problems. Broken stile near Wakefield Way removed.

Churchyard. Council to assume responsibility for safety checks on the gravestones in the churchyard.

Joint Burial Board. Meeting arranged. It had been arranged for emergency repairs on metalwork on the gate.

Youth Club. It was reported that the club had reached 50 members, and no more could be accepted with the volunteers available. A waiting list had been opened.

Defibrillators. Both checked and in working order. There was concern that the ambulance service had given out the wrong code in an incident recently. Fortunately, an ambulance arrived promptly, and the situation was resolved positively.

Street naming. Council to recommend the name Hillcrest for the new Affordable Housing off Hillside Crescent. Subsequently SNC informed Council that this name was unsuitable as other streets with the same name have similar post codes.

Neighbourhood Plan. The Neighbourhood Plan team reported on progress towards the next step in the process, Consultation. This process would be started shortly, after another bout of work, to follow 2 years of work done already. A draft/pre submission version of the plan was shown, highlighting the policies within the plan. The policies are the most significant part of the plan; as they will be part of what will become a legal document, that will be referred to by planning departments in the future. The policies are all evidenced by statements from residents, taken from previous questionnaires. Wellbeing is a core or overarching theme throughout the Plan, which is intended to always produce a positive impact. It was also hoped that any future development would be Community led rather than developer led. Attention was drawn to density of development, which should always reflect the character of the area. The village has less than 25 dwellings per hectare – apart from Bliss Close – and it is intended that any future development would not exceed this limit.

A Councillor expressed concern as to the definition of Affordable Housing. This
would be addressed within the plan with reference to the village. Cllr Phil Bignell asked whether disabled access to housing was being born in mind. It was replied that it was.

Play Area Inspection. The annual Play Area inspection had taken place and while no major problems were encountered, there are some low risk issues that will need addressing. Chair felt that the Play Area was showing its age and that Council should be looking at replacing and extending it.

Village Fete. Thanks to all involved in the preparations for this wonderful village event. The Green looked in excellent condition thanks to a lot of voluntary efforts in addition to the contractor’s work. Unfortunately the weather was less co-operative and threatened the day, but relented sufficiently for most of the event to take place.

Local Government Reorganisation. The situation has clarified somewhat now.

“The waiting is over, now the Government has given the go ahead for a new West Northants Council and a new North Northants Council, replacing the current County Council and seven District or Borough Councils. Subject to Parliamentary approval, it’s now full-speed ahead to the go-live date in April 2021.

“I’m pleased that the Government has listened to local voices, and included in its announcement the decision to hold elections in May 2020 for members of first the Shadow Authority (from May 2020 til March 2021), then taking over running each new Council when they go live in April 2021.

“In the meantime, I’ll be pressing ahead with my fellow councillors already elected to the current eight authorities to make all the preparations necessary ahead of those elections next year, as well as continuing to run the services we currently provide as business as usual.

“Here in South Northants, that will mean not taking our eye off the ball in delivering one of the best and most popular waste collection and recycling services in the whole country.

“The publication of this ‘Prospectus for Change’ (see link below) sets out in more detail how we are approaching managing this change, and I am pleased that people can see from it that we really mean business.”

Cllr Ian McCord, Leader of South Northamptonshire Council

Next Meeting
The next Parish Council meeting will be on Monday July 1st at the Baptist Chapel Schoolroom at 7.30 pm and is, like all Parish Council meetings, open to all Parishioners.

Parish Council Notes by the Clerk; Guy Ravine June 2019

For further useful information about Nether Heyford Parish Council and full contact details for the clerk and the councillors please visit our Nether Heyford Parish Council page.

Roads and Pavements.
Parishioners are reminded that anyone can report a pothole or other highways
problem online to the Fixmystreet service, and this can refer to problems outside the village too.
Alternatively, phone 0300 126 1000 and ask for Streetdoctor.

Parish Council – May 2019 Meeting


The May 2019 meeting of Nether Heyford Parish Council was held on the 7th, at the Baptist Chapel Schoolroom

PCSO agreement. The new PCSO that we share with Bugbrooke made his first
report to the Parish Council, and went through a list of crimes and problems
encountered in the village. He has made great efforts to get involved in the village,
and it is re-assuring to have a regular police presence.

Public Question Time. Cllr DH reported that there was no news on the inception of
unitary Councils. He suspects that there will be an election for a shadow council in
2020, rather than for the Unitary. He fears SNC will lose its best officers because of
the uncertainty. Jill Garratt referred to damage to the road sign at the Flore turn, and
reported that the Furnace Lane village sign was loose. She was concerned that
entrance decoration materials put in place by “Entrypreneurs” might be a problem
for Highways. The Chair thanked her for her efforts.

Since Cllr Harries report, the announcement about LGR has at last been made.
Local Government Reorganisation
The long-awaited announcement came on Tuesday 14th As expected, there will be
two unitary councils, West and North. Vesting Day will be 1 April 2021… 684 days
to go! The announcement was interesting for what it didn’t say. We know that all
parish and town councils in Northamptonshire will hold elections in 2020, but we
don’t know for what term.

VE Day 75
Plans are being put together to celebrate and commemorate the 75th Anniversary of
VE Day. 8 May 1945 was the day peace emerged after nearly six years of war, so
the 75th anniversary on 8 May 2020 represents an important milestone in the
country’s history. VE Day 75, will cover the weekend of 8 – 10 May 2020, and will
be an international celebration of peace – a time to remember, reflect and pay
tribute to the millions who played such a vital part in achieving it.
The planned activities over the weekend are as follows:
• The Playing of Battle’s O’er & VE 75 Years
• The Nation’s Toast to the Heroes of WW2
• The Cry for Peace, around the World
• Churches & cathedrals Ringing out for Peace
• Street parties and parties in pubs, and on village greens and in halls etc
• Services of commemoration and celebration in churches, including the reading
of the Tribute to the Millions and the playing of the Last Post

Lights Working Party had nothing to report as Aylesbury Mains were not
responding to queries and requests. Light outside 41 Rolfe Crescent reported out

Quotes to clear the gutters in Furnace Lane between Winston Close and the canal
bridge, and to clear and spray the jitties were accepted.
Clerk had been contacted regarding a memorial bench that had been agreed to in
2017. It was agreed that the Bench could be installed subject to agreement as to the

Playing Fields. Planning permission was being sought for the containers for which
New Homes Bonus money had been requested.

Trees. Permission has been given to pollard Limes in the Churchyard and on the
Green, but it was felt that as the trees were all in leaf now it would be better to do
the work later in the year.

Allotments. It was reported that the shed had been ordered, and would be erected
on May 21st. All rents were now in.

Footpaths. It was reported that wire had been put up along the fence to deter dogs
accessing the water-meadow; the land owner is apparently within his rights to do
this, and has asked dog owners to behave responsibly in the past.

Churchyard. It was reported that cracks in the new North wall had been treated.

Cemetery. Ivy on pines was being treated.

Youth Club. It was reported having to cancel a session for 48 because of lack of
adult helpers, the club needs more adult helpers, and on this occasion was a victim
of its own success.

Internal Auditor report. The Internal Auditor had sent her written report, and has
informed Council that she has no issues to raise.

Roads and Pavements.
Parishioners are reminded that anyone can report a pothole or other highways
problem online to the Fixmystreet service, and this can refer to problems outside the
village too.
Alternatively, phone 0300 126 1000 and ask for Streetdoctor.

Next Meeting
The next Parish Council meeting will be on Monday June 3rd at the Baptist Chapel Schoolroom at 7.30 pm and is, like all Parish Council meetings, open to all Parishioners.

Parish Council Notes by the Clerk; Guy Ravine May 2019

For further useful information about Nether Heyford Parish Council and full contact details for the clerk and the councillors please visit our Nether Heyford Parish Council page.

Parish Council – 2018/19 SNC David Harries Report for Heyfords & Bugbrooke Ward


Heyfords and Bugbrooke Ward – 2018-19

The South Northamptonshire Council (SNC) area continues to be ranked as one of
the best 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.

Reorganisation of Local Government in Northamptonshire
The Government Inspector called in last year to assess Northamptonshire County
Council issued a damning report. The conclusion was that the County Council’s
failures were “so deep and ingrained that it is not possible to promote a recovery plan”. It was recommended that Northamptonshire should be divided into two unitary councils, West and North. In the meantime, Government Commissioners were brought in to oversee the County Council. In a process similar to North Korean elections, the Government then invited local councils to submit proposals on the future of local government in Northamptonshire, but imposed criteria that could only lead to one outcome: the abolition of all existing councils and the creation of two unitary councils – North and West (Daventry, South Northamptonshire, Northampton Borough and the ‘west’ part of the County Council). Having gone through this charade, councils in the ‘West’ are now actively working to create viable unitary councils. The Northamptonshire District and Parish elections have been postponed from 2019 to 2020. Subject to the vagaries of Parliament (who seem to be a little distracted at present) from April/May this year each unitary council will have a Shadow Council comprised of all the members of all the District and Borough councils and those from the County Council who represent the area. This mammoth organisation of over 150 councillors, including those who led the County Council to destruction, will appoint an executive to take vital decisions on setting up a new unitary authority in which they may play no part. Elections will take place in May 2020 and South Northamptonshire Council will disappear from April 2020. In the current chaotic situation of our Parliament, however, nothing is certain. Watch this space!

Separation from Cherwell
Sadly, the reorganisation of local government in Northamptonshire means that one
of the most successful examples of councils working in partnership will have to be disbanded. Work has begun to unpick the joint arrangements with Cherwell District Council that has produced significant efficiencies and saved millions of pounds.

Chief Executive/Senior Management
The separation from Cherwell and the appointment of Yvonne Rees as Chief
Executive of Cherwell and Oxfordshire County Council led to the need for yet
another restructuring of the senior management team. We were fortunate to appoint Richard Ellis, who has considerable experience at South Northamptonshire and beyond, as Chief Executive. In my view the next 12 months of uncertainty will not be comfortable.

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 the total £191.33 per year. The increase is in line with inflation. SNC has always been one of the best councils at collecting council tax, with 99% of all tax collected.

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

Local Plan/Neighbourhood Plans
The Local Plan Part 2 was submitted to the Inspectorate in January. If any issues requiring attention are raised by the Inspector, they will 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, replacing the 1997 South Northamptonshire Local Plan.
Neighbourhood Plans have been adopted for two neighbouring parishes: Harpole
and Kislingbury.
Although some expense is incurred when preparing such a Plan, it is an important
means of protecting our rural villages that should help to avoid speculative
development by promoting development that is locally acceptable.

South Northamptonshire Land Supply
National Planning Policy demands that every council has a bank of planning
permissions granted so that development can take place in that area. SNC has built up a good reserve of 11.2 years of land supply. (The Governments guide is 5 years plus 20%.) The anticipated Unitary Council, with SNC at 11.2 years and Daventry DC at 6+ years failing to compensate for Northampton BC’s derisory 2.3 years, will not meet the average figure required by the Government’s minimum requirement.
This will put greater emphasis on the need to protect our rural villages and should encourage the production of more Neighbourhood Plans.

West Northampton Development– No Secondary School
A joint development of 7,700 dwellings in the area from Kislingbury to Harlestone Heath includes a proportion on SNC’s land known as Norwood Farm. This development will include the usual primary schools (2), health centre, shops, green spaces, sports fields and the Sandy lane Relief Road. I continue to have grave concerns about the lack of a new secondary school to serve these houses and have been lobbying all those involved about it for some years. A failure to build a new school will put an intolerable burden on the existing schools in the area, including Campion, which simply do not have the capacity to cope with thousands more pupils.

Waste Recycling
SNC were the 7th best authority in England for recycling out of 345 areas and one place higher than last year. 60.5% of the waste collected 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.

As an Independent I was pleased to accept the offer to be chairman of the Audit
Committee. It was a demonstration of the Administration’s confidence that their
finances are sufficiently robust to withstand independent scrutiny. And they are! As a member of the Community Funding Panel, I continue to pick up useful information about how to prepare a successful application for grants; and I have been able to support and assist local applications. The Scrutiny Committee of which I am also a member, provides further opportunities to examine the workings of the council in detail. The Moat Lane Project Board continues to meet regularly and produces some interesting issues regarding the regeneration of this part of Towcester.

During the year I have managed to help local people get much-needed housing and provided advice on various planning issues. It is particularly pleasing to help meet some genuine individual housing needs.

Once again, I have managed to maintain an almost 100% attendance record for council and relevant committee meetings.


April 2019


For further useful information about Nether Heyford Parish Council and full contact details for the clerk and the councillors please visit our Nether Heyford Parish Council page.

Parish Council – 2018/19 NCC Adam Brown’s Report for Bugbrooke Division


2018/19 County Councillor Adam Brown’s Report for Bugbrooke Division

It is my pleasure to provide the following report which covers my 2nd year as the County Councillor for Bugbrooke Division. Over the past 12 months I have attended events across the division and met dozens of residents during the course of my work. Whilst the County Council clearly has a long way to go, this has been a year when we have confronted the challenges before us and started to turn things around.

2018/19 at Northamptonshire County Council (NCC) has been defined by the fallout
from the tumultuous events of last year. After the “Best Value” report by Government inspector Max Caller and the departure of Cllr Heather Smith as leader of NCC, Cllr Matt Golby was elected as the new leader of the Conservative group and the Council. In May the Secretary of State announced the appointment of two Commissioners to oversee the finances and governance of NCC, and shortly
afterwards a new Chief Executive, Theresa Grant, arrived at County Hall.
The initial objective of the new team in charge at NCC was to establish the true
extent of financial pressure on the organisation. Consequently a second Section 114 notice was issued by the Chief Finance Officer in July of 2018, warning of a budgetshortfall of approximately £80m. A letter sent to members of the county council by the CFO said that the financial situation the council found itself in was because of “poor or ill-advised decisions taken” between 2014 and 2017. The Section 114 notice prohibited any new spending and the legally imposed restrictions on NCC’s finances were only lifted in March of 2019.
Following the dire warnings in the summer drastic measures were imposed.
Contracts and procurement processes have been reviewed in every department,
automatic replacement of vacant roles has ceased and employment practices
revised to move away from agency staff. Overall a significant package of savings
has been achieved, amounting to around £40m. The vast majority are not cuts, the
process has been about getting maximum value for Northamptonshire’s pounds and
pence. This drive for maximum value means that as we approach the end of the
financial year we are increasingly confident of delivering a truly balanced budget.
It is an inescapable fact that the budget has only been balanced because the
Commissioners have secured an agreement from Government to allow NCC to use
capital receipts to eliminate the historical deficit and replenish reserves.
Approximately £40m from the sale of One Angel Square (the County Council’s HQ)
has been used for these purposes.
While the sentiment that “the County Council has no money” abounds, we are in fact planning to spend a gross budget of £618m in the coming year. This includes a Council Tax rise of 4.99%. Even after this rise the county still has the second lowest county tax rate in the country. The additional funds will provide greater financialstability and provide an opportunity to invest in areas people have said are most important to them. The increase amounts to an additional 75p to £1 a week for the 70% of county residents which live in Bands A-C properties. This raises an additional £5.78m for council. This additional income will be used to:
– Provide greater financial resilience
– Provide a more sustainable financial foundation for any future Unitary Councils.
– Provide extra £475,000 to permanently reinstate the previous winter gritting and winter maintenance of roads.
– Allow us to stop plans to charge for community use of schools by uniformed and
community groups.
– Provide an additional £1.2m for Children’s Services.
– Reverse plans to charge for higher specification community equipment.
– Provide an extra £673,000 towards independent adult social care placements.
As a Conservative I do not take any proposal to increase taxes lightly, especially in the current climate. However given that will remain a low-taxing county and it will enable us to invest or reinvest in areas people have told us are important, I firmly believe this is the right thing to do.

Local Government Reform
Following the Caller report, Government determined that Northamptonshire should
put forward proposals to form two new unitary authorities: one comprising of
Northampton, Daventry District and South Northants, to be known as “West
Northamptonshire; and another covering Wellingborough Borough, Corby Borough
and East Northants, to be known as “North Northamptonshire”. At the end of August councils in Northamptonshire voted in favour of a move to unitary authorities. Of the 8 councils (7 districts + NCC) only Corby voted against the joint bid to split the county into North and West.
It is fair to say that I believe unitary authorities are a better way to run local government than the two tier system we have at present. The success or otherwise of any council depends upon the ability of those running the organisation and the prevailing conditions in which it has to work. In the context of the County Council’s continuing financial difficulties it was therefore not a simple decision for me to support the proposals put before us. The deficit faced by NCC at the time of submitting our bid to Government was £64m with the potential for this figure to rise significantly as auditors continued to clarify the final outturn from the previous year’s budget. Clearly any new authority would be working with one hand tied behind its back were it to inherit that deficit, and therefore I believed that it was an inescapable
fact that Northamptonshire would need special dispensation from MHCLG to use
capital receipts to clear that deficit (a dispensation allowed later in the year as I set out above) if we are to start life as West Northamptonshire with a clean slate.
Debt repayments are also a significant burden on the County Council’s annual
budget but it is the deficit issue that is most pressing. The bid document that was presented to the Secretary of State therefore laid out a number of challenges, and it is these challenges that form the most important element of the bid. They effectively make the local councils’ support for change contingent upon government recognising and rising to these challenges, namely; the aforementioned clean sheet; the provision of additional tools to fund transition costs such as a business rates pilot; recognition of the need for public service reform e.g. in the form of an integrated care system pilot to alleviate the strain place upon councils by adult social care; additional investment in Northant’s infrastructure to compensate for the cut backs on investment in recent years and allow for forthcoming growth. With the bid now with the Secretary of State, the challenges laid out form criteria against which we will be able to judge government’s willingness to support Northamptonshire through our difficulties. Without these challenges and the clear demands for reasonable assistance, I would have been unable to support the proposals, but I have on the record assurances from council leaders that they will be fearless in holding government to account and I will assist them wherever possible. The government has given us one option for a solution to the current difficulties and asked us to submit a bid within that very tight criteria in order to provide local input to the process. It is therefore incumbent upon ministers and our members of
parliament to ensure that their solution is indeed a solution and not greater failure in a different name. At times I was highly tempted to vote against the proposals, and I weighed up very carefully what would be best for residents in the long term. Ultimately my mind was made up by my belief that this is our most realistic chance of resolving the delivery issues being suffered by services that the most vulnerable members of the community rely upon. Voting against these proposals ultimately would have been a futile gesture of protest when having all 8 Northamptonshire Councils around the table arguing the case with government allows us to at least exert some influence over what comes next. We now await confirmation from the Secretary of State that he will be placing the order for the new authorities to be formed. In the meantime there is no time to lose and the West Northamptonshire Joint Committee met for the first time at the end of March. This Committee on which I am serving, will start to decide on the structures of the new authority; how the first Chief Executive and senior officers will be appointed; and how the provisional authority can move
towards permanence without excessively impinging upon the work of current

Despite the well-publicised difficulties that the County Council faces I continue to work tirelessly to ensure that the voices of residents in our Division are heard by the Council’s leadership team. Through my work on the Overview & Scrutiny committee I have been vocal in my support of the “Early Years” providers who have been severely let down by the systems in place at NCC, and I have passed a motion formally positioning the Council against the two proposed Strategic Rail Freight Interchanges near Blisworth and Milton Malsor. I have also highlighted concerns over winter gritting brought to me by residents in several villages, and successfully lobbied out leadership for a reversal of the proposed cuts to Scouting and Guides groups. During that time I visited the Brownies in Pattishall to observe one of their meetings and I was hugely impressed by the hard work of the Volunteers and how much enjoyment the girls got from being part of the group.
If these are to be the last 12 months of Northamptonshire County Council then my
objective is to continue the steady improvement of the past few months and leave
the best legacy possible for “West Northamptonshire”. There is no doubt that we will continue to face challenges as an authority but we must face them with honesty and resoluteness in order to drive the changes that the public wants. I will end simply by inviting all residents to contact me if they have any concerns or opinions, I am always happy to discuss in person, by phone or via email and I wish everyone the best for the year ahead.

For further useful information about Nether Heyford Parish Council and full contact details for the clerk and the councillors please visit our Nether Heyford Parish Council page.

New PCSO Matt Taylor – May 2019


I am your new PCSO and I am responsible for the Bugbrooke and Heyford Ward. I have been a PCSO for Northamptonshire Police for 10 years working both town and rural. More recently I worked on the Early Intervention pilot, a team of PCs and PCSOs who were working with young people and their families to offer support and break the cycle of crime. I am a former student of Campion School and originate from Duston so know the area reasonably well. I live on the other side of Northampton now with my wife and our daughter. Meanwhile if you see me about in either village please say hi. If you need to contact me please email me bear in mind I work shifts so may not immediately respond.

If you wish to report an incident to the Police please call us on 101 or via the online
form at, recommended for less urgent matters.

All emergencies should be phoned in on 999.

Matt Taylor (Police, Police Community Support Officer (C7115) Daventry &
South Northants)