Due to government regulations prohibiting public meetings the April 6th, 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 certain that the next meeting, The Annual Meeting, will also take place online on May 4th. Parishioners wanting to participate in the Public Session should contact the Clerk for details.
At this time there is no guidance on the status of the Annual Parish meeting, which would normally be held before the April ordinary meeting, so it has been decided not to go ahead with it until such time as clarity has been achieved. If this meeting does not take place it may well be the first time in 150 plus years, as it predates the inception of Parish Councils in 1895.
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.
The Play Area It was decided prior to the meeting, and with great sadness, that the Council would have to accept advice to close the Play Area, due to the potential danger of the virus being able to remain viable on metal and plastic surfaces for considerable lengths of time.
Litter Bins Dave, the Linkman, will do his best with the litter bins and we are very grateful to him for doing this thankless task, which I am sure is not one that many of us would relish at a time like this. We can help him by taking our rubbish home and putting it into our own bins. It is particularly deplorable that some people continue to put quantities of domestic waste into these bins.
Dog Waste Bins The contractors will continue to work as normal, but have asked for understanding – as they fear that there may be more usage than normal with so many people being at home.
Lights Our lighting maintenance contractors have shut down for the duration, so I am afraid that any lights that go out will remain out for the time being. There is little we can do about this.
Reports from the District and County Councillors
Cllr Bignell reported that all SNC officers were now working at home, that all planning site visits had been deferred until the emergency subsides, and that a Covid 19 death had occurred in Bugbrooke.
Cllr Brown reported that there would be no Local Government Reform this year, but that the Shadow Councils would still be formed. NCC as the health Authority had been very busy, and was seeking to help all volunteer groups. He had been updating voluntary groups as information became available. A Hotline has been established as a result of which a number of people in distress have been helped. Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) supplies have been secured. Some services have been reduced or stopped.
Reports on effect of Covid 19 emergency. Voluntary groups in the village had rapidly formed and supported the elderly and vulnerable. TADD (Towcester Area Door to Door) drivers had been delivering medication from Bugbrooke surgery, which is looking at video link consultations.
Banking – electronic banking. Clerk to try and expedite as quickly as possible. Cheque book and flash drive to be left with the chair, to enable Council to continue should the clerk become ill. Chair and LD to be given details of G-mail account.
Play Area – to consider replacement/additional equipment. Deferred due to current situation. The Play area has been closed in line with current advice.
To consider a further donation to the Church roof fund. – A further grant towards the church roof repairs had been mooted. Clerk pointed out that the grants policy only allowed for grants of £250 unless there had been a request made prior to the Precept Meeting. Councillors felt that figures needed to be provided before any further grant could be considered. The District Councillors cautioned against donating money to religious institutions: this had been assumed to be allowable under section 137 as a benefit to the whole community that the historic fabric of the church be maintained. Clerk to check legality of such donations with the internal auditor.
Vote of thanks to all those involved in the Community Involvement. Resolved. To thank all residents involved in the support of elderly and vulnerable, and the distribution of food parcels. This is a very hard and anxious time for those in self isolation, especially those who are alone in their houses. To have this support at hand is a great morale lifter. Jez Wilson, Faye Brasset, Sue Boutle, the Rev Stephen, TADD drivers including Tony Paice had all done a great deal. Thanks too to all the staff at the One Stop Shop who have gone above and beyond the call of duty in keeping a vital supply line open, as have Glenn and Helen and all the staff at Heyford Meats. Having their shops open helps reduce unnecessary journeys.
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 May 4th.
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: