Due to government regulations prohibiting public meetings the Sept 2020 Parish Council meeting was held online, using the Zoom platform. This is in line with national advice. There is still no indication of how long these conditions will persist, but it is likely that meetings will take place online for the rest of this year. 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 augmented by the District and County Councillors.
Illness and unfamiliarity with IT have meant that the number of Councillors at meetings has fallen, and the anticipated election in May was postponed until next year, and this may well have bought an influx of new Councillors. We are able to co-opt new members, subject to them being eligible. The Parish Council does need some active new members, preferably familiar with IT – so if you feel that is you – please contact me or the Chair (details overleaf).
Reports from the District and County Councillors Cllr Adam Brown reported that NCC will give a financial report tomorrow that will show a small underspend on the previous year. Northampton had been downgraded from being an area of intervention as regards Covid19. The Greencore situation had improved. As regards LGR (Local Government Re-organisation) – all is progressing, and the schedule is being met. Most Statutory officers have now been appointed.
Cllr Phil Bignell confirmed downgrading of Covid19 situation, and reported that most new cases were in the younger age groups, and that there was some way to go.
Cllr David Harries confirmed Cllr AB’s analysis of the LGR situation. He referred to the failure of Council’s bid for NHB money for lighting. The panel had taken the decision to not support schemes for which Councils were in any case responsible; preferring to support larger schemes. He felt that schemes which helped with climate change should be supported. AW felt that the rules had been changed, and DH agreed that this had not been made clear enough.
Public Participation Tony Clewett reported that the NP (Neighbourhood Plan) had sustained body blows – participant illness and Covid19, which meant no meetings could be held. Strategic Environment Assessments (SEA) was the next task. SNC have said that the NP group have to screen this themselves, whereas most think that the District Council should be doing this. It was recommended that Kislingbury was approached for advice on this and other NP issues. Tom Dodd felt the need for an SEA was low, but that the NP would not be passed unless there is evidence of a strong scoping plan. Whilst the delays were a cause for concern, the whole process has been delayed in that there would be no referenda before May 6th 2021, and funding had been increased as a result. With the Parish Council’s allocation of £3000 for 20/21 and £500 already held, it was hoped that this would suffice. He had distributed a document on costings. The NP group would continue with the screening and to keep in line with SNC’s local plan. It was hoped to submit to the PC in Jan 2021, followed by statutory consultation. It would then go on to a referendum.
Roads and pavements Felt to be in generally poor condition, although it was acknowledged that there had been extensive re-surfacing work on the lane between the Heyfords.
The Green and Play Area The Green was felt to be in good condition, although there had been some storm damage to trees. The Council thanked Dominic Cawley for removing one substantial Robinia limb from the Green. The Tree surgeon had checked and adjusted a number of trees.
Damaged units in the Play Area had been taped off and would be repaired by Wicksteed shortly.
CK felt that funding for a new Play Area was now problematic although it was still possible to go for NHB money, if this was the case the last opportunity would be Nov 20th.
It was resolved to insert an additional litter bin next to the bench at the bus stop. This would be to help deal with the worsening litter situation, which is felt to have been caused by the removal of the bin outside the One Stop Shop. The re-opening of takeaways was fairly obvious as detritus from the various outlets started to appear at the roadside almost immediately. This is particularly noticeable between the Heyfords; however most of the lane is in Upper Heyford, rather than Nether Heyford Parish. There has also been an issue with cars parking around the entrance to the Playing Fields. Police are aware.
Playing Fields LE reported that the Netball Court had proved very popular and was much used. She felt that the use of the fields had increased generally and that there were now more opportunities for women.
Trees Storm Francis had caused a good deal of damage.
Allotments LE reported that there had been an appeal for members to form an Allotments Association committee. There was now a waiting list of 5.
Footpaths LD commented that dog mess was an increasing issue on footpaths.
Churchyard Tree work would be recommenced in Autumn.
Joint Burial Board CK reported that there was a programme for tidying up the cemetery, and that the existing mapping was to be upgraded. There had been damage to some trees during Storm Francis, which was being dealt with.
Youth Club LD reported that she felt it was unlikely that the club could re-open in the near future. Those activities that were recommended by the County Association were not felt to be attractive to the club members and would be stressful and awkward for helpers to implement, nor were outdoor activities practical going into Autumn. The building has been deep cleaned. SNC had sent a tree inspector to look at the issue with the garden in Ridgeway Furlong.
Canal The Furnace Lane bridge had been damaged. Clerk had reported to Highways and an inspection had taken place. No report as yet.
Defibrillators The defibrillators were in working order, but would need new batteries shortly as they had been in place since 2017.
Planning S2020/0428/FUL Land behind Denbrook SNC were unhappy with this application but have not heard back from the agent: so there is no current application. There is an issue regarding the crossing of part of the village green for access for any residence built on this site, as to whether an easement is required. AW had contacted Danny Moody at NCALC who had recommended contacting NCALC’s solicitors Weller/Hedley. County Council to be contacted to consult Register of Village Greens to try and clarify exact boundaries of village green. Cllr PB would check with SNC to clarify ownership.
Consideration of how Council would respond to a 2nd wave of Covid 19. It was felt that, should there be a 2nd Wave of Covid19, it would be straightforward to reintroduce the procedures for distributing food parcels and assisting shielding residents. The “mechanisms” and volunteers were still in place.
Lighting A working party would be formed to discuss lighting issues generally, and a possible application to the Salix agency for funding.
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 ones are Monday October 5th (online) and Monday November 2nd.
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: