Parish Council – September 2020 Meeting

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:  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:

Nether Heyford Parish Council Website 

Sue Corner – Neighbourhood Plan – October 2020


For Sue

It is with great sadness that we learned of the untimely death earlier today, Sunday 20th September, of our friend and colleague, Sue Corner. Sue was our Secretary and Treasurer but, more importantly, our driving force and inspiration. It was Sue, in her role as Chair of the Planning Committee on the Parish Council, that proposed that the village should prepare a Neighbourhood Plan during 2016 and in June of that year oversaw the first meeting of parishioners who had volunteered to join the group.

Sue has been instrumental in getting the Plan developed as far as it currently stands and notwithstanding her illness, still contributed to meetings earlier this year. Just recently, Sue met with us at the allotments, socially distanced as requested, and leaving nothing undone, she discussed next actions for the Group and who could help us to take her ideas forward. Her loss is a body blow to the Group – but be in no doubt, we will use our best endeavours to complete the Plan as she envisioned it.

Thank you, Sue, a lovely friend and a great inspiration.

Tony Clewett, Chair, on behalf of all of the Neighbourhood Planning Group.

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

Neighbourhood Plan – September 2020


Update on our Neighbourhood Plan

Its been a little while since we were able to give an update – lockdown has understandably slowed down communications and the processes we need to push our plans forward. However, the cogs are beginning to turn again and we have been making the most of Zoom meetings with our colleagues!

An important next step is to organise a Strategic Environmental Assessment of our Plan. This SEA is a systematic process for evaluating the environmental implications of our proposed Neighbourhood Plan, providing a means for looking at any cumulative effects of our policies, and how to address them at the earliest stage of our decision making, alongside economic and social considerations. In these more enlightened times, the SEA can provide adequate responses to environmental and climate change problems, which can adversely affect our environmental and climate resilience, and offers opportunities to enhance low-carbon development. Although there are no major issues anticipated, our environment here in the village does determine whether areas of land identified for possible development could be used or not. For example, if the tract of land is in a flood zone from the River Nene or other waterways, the assessment clarifies that it would be unsuitable, or that it may not be cost effective to develop. We also have a conservation area and a number of listed buildings to consider.

It is useful to keep in mind the scope of the Plan. The latest housing needs assessment completed by Midlands Rural Housing (conducting an independent and objective survey), concluded that there is an identified need for 12 affordable rented homes, 6 shared ownership homes and some open market homes. 25 households identified that they would like to move home but remain in the village. 11 of these are deemed as suitably housed in their current accommodation. 17 of the 25 households would like to relocate to 2-bedroom bungalows. A number of respondents said they would be like to ‘self-build’ their next home. These have been included in the number that expressed a desire for open market housing.

On average, 21 market homes are sold in the village each year. The need identified through the survey for open market housing could be met through these sales without a requirement for new build development. This would of course be dependent upon the type of homes sold, and the type required, e.g. the sale of large family homes would be unsuitable for those wishing to downsize to single storey accommodation and vice versa. The full document will shortly be available to view on our website at:

Since our last update, there has also been an independent survey of the sites which were put forward as available to develop. More details on this in our next bulletin, as well as a revised timescale to completion following the impact of the Coronavirus. We are grateful to Tony Williams who has stepped up to become a member of our core group, bringing his knowledge of planning and local systems from his role on the Parish Council.

Tony Clewett, Tom Dodd, Tony Williams and the NHNPG Group

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

Heyford Gardening Club – March 2020


Our February meeting featured the welcome return of Liz Taylor of the Woodland Trust who explained the different types of natural woodland to be found in Britain and their associated flora. She also demonstrated how to tell apart the two types of oak to be found here (sessile oaks have stalked leaves; pedunculate oaks have stalked acorns).

We also held our annual arts and crafts show, which again highlighted the range of talent amongst our members.

The photograph section was won by Mike Langrish, Tom Dodd came second and Tony Clewett third.

Philip Reeve won the visual art section with an exquisite miniature painting of a heron, Jean Spokes’ cross-stitch took second place and I managed a third place.

The craft section was won by Mary Newstead with an embroidered bag, Chris West got second with a quilted wreath, and Lynn Ashbee took third with her cupcake quilt.

Our next meeting will be on the 9th March when we will have a talk on snowdrops from Anita Thorp. The evening will also feature the annual daffodil and narcissus show (assuming that there are still daffodils in our gardens by then!).

I am writing this article whilst the second storm in two weeks is lashing the trees. We have already had a very wet winter although there has been little frost so far. Snowdrops are already over and daffodils are fully out and I notice buds nearly bursting on our lilac. This leaves a dilemma, if the season is so advanced, should I get on sowing seeds now to get an early start, or are we likely to get cold weather in the weeks to come? The soil is so wet now that, even without further rain, it will take a while to dry out so perhaps it would be wise to wait a while.

Speaking of plants in pots, I planted some anemone corms in pans in the greenhouse in the autumn, but some creature has been digging in the pans and nipping the developing buds off, I’m not sure whether this is due to mice or renegade sparrows, but it’s all very frustrating.

Things to do in March
1. Top dress container grown plants with fresh compost
2. Prune roses
3. Lift and divide crowded perennials.

Mark Newstead


For more information visit the Heyford Gardening Club & Allotments page


Heyford Picturedrome – The Horse Whisperer – Thursday 19th March 2020


The next film to be screened in the Village Hall on March 19th will be The Horse Whisperer, by popular request. It stars and is directed by Robert Redford and costars Scarlett Johansson, Kristin Scott Thomas and Sam Neil. It is a 1998 American film about a Montana horse healer (Robert Redford) who helps a girl and her horse who were both traumatized in a bad accident. The film is 2 hours 50 minutes and therefore the start is being brought forward to 7.15pm with doors open at 6.30pm.

Admission remains at £4.00 per person and there is no joining fee. There is free tea or coffee and a biscuit on arrival and there will be a licensed bar for the purchase of wine and soft drinks both before the film and during the interval.

The April film to be shown on 16th will be Peanut Butter Falcon, a 2019 American film which has received excellent reviews and has been highly recommended by one of our projectionists – praise indeed! After running away from a residential nursing home to pursue his dream of becoming a pro wrestler, a man who has Down Syndrome befriends an outlaw who becomes his coach and ally. It stars Shia LaBoeouf, Zack Gottsagen, Dakota Johnson and Bruce Dern. One critic said ‘Go in expecting the best and you’ll come out smiling!’




Tony Clewett – Phone: 01327 341533

Carols on the Green (December 2019) – Update – February 2020

Carols on the Green – December 2019

When I first envisaged ‘Carols on the Green’ I had a picture of villagers singing as in a Christmas card, with the weather ‘Deep and crisp and even’. At 2 o’clock in the afternoon, standing on the green, it was more like ‘Wind and rain and boggy’. The team who came to set up were incredible, completely ignored the weather and got drenched in the process. However, NEVER doubt the power of prayer as by 6.30 it had actually stopped raining and the wind was not as bad – I can’t claim that the green was perfectly dry but we can’t have everything! I would like to say a heartfelt, personal thank you to everyone who turned out to raise their voices to Christmas.

You raised £256.56p towards replacing our Church roof which, considering the conditions, was wonderful. I would also like to thank you all for leaving virtually no litter for me to pick up the next morning.

On behalf of Heyford Singers there are, as always, people who must be acknowledged for their help in the organisation of an evening such as this and I hope you will forgive me if I have missed anyone out!

The Parish Council for permission to use the green and help with insurance arrangements.
Unusual (Rigging) Ltd. for the use of power cables.
PPL PRS for a Charity Music Licence.
The Village Hall Committee for use of the Hall in the case of bad weather.
Alwyne Wilson for her co-ordinating skills.
Tony Clewett for the use of the sound equipment and being so sure it would stop
Geoff Allen for being an incomparable compere.
Peter Squire and Jeremy Rice for fixing the power cables in the rain without
electrocuting themselves (or anyone else)!
Keith Rands Allen, Jill & Mike Langrish + grandsons, Alwyne W and Tony C for
erecting the gazebo despite the wind and rain.
The Rev. Stephen Burrow for his closing prayer.
And Richard Musson for providing the collecting buckets.

I have been told that carol singing on the green used to happen in the past and I would love to hear from anyone who can tell me when this was. It would be lovely to start a new ‘ Village Tradition’ but equally exciting to carry on an old one – especially as Northampton seems to be creeping ever nearer along the A45.

Thank you all for your support; hope to see you again in December.

Mary Rice

Heyford Lodge 01327 340101

Neighbourhood Plan – February 2020


Happy New Year everyone!

This is the year we should complete our neighbourhood plan, and after satisfying an independent inspection, we will offer it to the village through a referendum exercise for its adoption.

Thanks to everyone who filled out the short survey that was sent to every house just before Christmas. This is to update our information about the local housing need, and enables us to consider this in the light of what space is available throughout the village.

People who returned surveys were once again put into our prize draw for £100, and we’re pleased to announce Mr and Mrs Goodman, who live on the Green, as our winners!

Midlands Rural Housing managed the survey, and drew the lucky winners from over 270 returns.


Our Chair, Tony Clewett presented them with their cheque, and we were amazed to find that Mr Goodman had been in the village for 80 years, and the cottage had been in his family since the year of the Great Exhibition (1851), the year that Yale locks, Singer sewing machines and refrigerators were patented!. The property has a fascinating history, and once had a brook flowing through the garden – even some floors had to be dug out so that people didn’t bump their heads on the beams. We hope they enjoy spending their £100 prize.

The village achieved a 38% return rate on the survey, which is considered to be a very good response. We’ll present the findings in detail next month, once the analysis report has been completed by Midlands Rural Housing.

Early findings reflect the need for affordable rented accommodation and the need for small two bedded bungalows for people who already own properties within the village. MRH say that data from their review shows that first time buyers have more or less found themselves priced out of rural areas. They account for 30% of all mortgaged products in South Northants, compared with 53% in urban areas. Affordability is the main reason for this. Also, they found that over the last 5 years, Nether Heyford has, on the whole seen an increase in open market property values, across all property types. Prices have increased by £64,111 on average; a rise of almost 23%. Research suggests that properties come to the market in the village on a fairly frequent basis. 107 sales have completed since December 2014; 21 per year on average. However, MRH found that the house types to have increased in value are mainly terraced homes and flats. Decreasing values have been seen for some mainly terraced homes and flats. Decreasing values have been seen for some detached and semidetached properties.

The Neighbourhood Plan Group will get back up to speed now and prepare the plan for the next steps. We have to review the now completed independent evaluation of the sites available around the village, and see how this fits with MRH’s latest survey of need. We will be able to reflect on any changes since our last survey, and plan accordingly for the future.

Once again, there is an open invitation to any villager who would like to join us in our open meetings usually held on the last Thursday of the month, at 7.30pm at the Youth Club in Robert’s Field.

Tony Clewett, Tom Dodd, Sue Corner and the NHNPG Group

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

Flood Watch – February 2020

The Weather

2019 ended with a final month of excessive rainfall which resulted in another flood event on 21.12.19 bringing the total for the year to five. An analysis of the years rainfall data at local gauging stations in Daventry, Dodford, Towcester, Pitsford and Nether Heyford showed many similar trends, namely Jan-May below average whilst every month from June to December significantly exceeded the monthly averages. In particular June and October witnessed twice their monthly averages and although there were local variations, Nether Heyford recorded the highest yearly level of 826 mm, ie.18.8% above average. In spite of this Northamptonshire remains one of the lowest rainfall Counties in the Country, possibly due to its central location and surrounding elevated terrain.

These seasonal and now annual variations in weather patterns can clearly be attributed to the erratic behaviour of the jet stream and the effect of global warming. The warming in the polar regions have effected both the northern and southern hemisphere jet streams which coupled with increased El Nino activity have contributed to extreme variations across the UK. 2019 saw record July temperature of 38.7 degrees centigrade in Cambridge whilst Scotland recorded 18.7 degrees centigrade in December. Further evidence of global warming was seen in extreme levels of flooding, forest and bush fires, hurricanes and volcanic activity.

Already January 2020 has started with moderately warm weather interrupted by cold winds from storm Brendon and local flooding on 15.1.20 due to moderate rainfall on 14.1.20 falling on an already saturated catchment area. However the longer term forecast for the remainder of January is generally dry and sunny with overnight frosts. Day time temperatures will be nearer to the January average.

In spite of this let’s hope the World’s 2020 weather settles down!


PS: My thanks to Tony Clewett for Nether Heyford rainfall data.

Heyford Picturedrome – Sometimes Always Never – Thursday 20th February 2020


The next film will be Sometimes, Always, Never – a 2018 British comedy-drama to be shown at the Village Hall on Thursday 20th February 2020. The film stars Bill Nighy, Sam Riley and Jenny Agutter and is about an old man who is searching tirelessly for his son who has been missing for years. When a body is found, the whole family’s life is turned upside down and they must all learn how to reconnect with each other. It is an off-beat comedy with lots of dry ‘Brit’ humour.

Doors open at 7pm for a start to the film at 7.45pm.

Admission remains at £4.00 per person and there is no joining fee.

There is free tea or coffee and a biscuit on arrival and there will be a licensed bar for the purchase of wine and soft drinks both before the film and during the interval.




Tony Clewett – Phone: 01327 341533

Heyford Picturedrome – January 2020

The January film, Yesterday is a story about Jack Malik who is a struggling singer songwriter in an English seaside town whose dreams of fame are rapidly fading, despite the fierce devotion and support of his childhood best friend, Ellie. After a freak bus accident during a mysterious global blackout, Jack wakes up to discover that The Beatles have never existed. Performing songs by the greatest band in history to a world that has never heard them, Jack becomes an overnight sensation with a little help from his agent. directed by Danny Boyle and written by Richard Curtis, based on a story by Jack Barth and Curtis.

The film is to be shown in the Village Hall on Thursday 16th January 2020.

Usual arrangements: doors open at 7.00pm for free tea or coffee with a film start at 7.45pm.

There will also be a bar for the purchase of wine and soft drinks.

Tony Clewett – Phone: 01327 341533