Allotment News – December 2020

Welcome
A warm welcome is extended to all new allotment holders (and those who are planning to join us in 2021). It has been heartening to see so many new allotmenteers in recent weeks. Plots that had once been derelict or have become vacant will now be put to good use and enable us to continue making the site on Watery Lane something of which the village can be proud.

Allotment Holders
If you are considering growing your own fruit and veg, act quickly by contacting Lynda Eales on 01327 341707. We have only a few vacant plots left, although two of those are the small “starter plots” that were created two years ago to give people the opportunity for people try out allotmenting free of charge for one year. If tenants like what they have been doing, they can transfer to a proper allotment (and pay rent) the following year. The cost of renting is not expensive and the vast majority of plots range from between £12 and £30 per year. Now that has got to be good value!

Rent Night
It was originally hoped to have our annual rent night in January. With the current uncertainty surrounding Coronavirus restrictions we are not in a position to confirm whether that will take place or whether we will be able to use the village youth club building. Please bear with us. Regardless of what happens, the rent due will be posted to each allotment holder in due course.

Sue’s CORNER
A beautiful commemorative bench has been set in place in our community orchard to remember the life and achievements of Sue Corner. Without her tireless efforts much of what we see on the allotments today would not have come to fruition.

Mike Langrish 

All the flowers of all the tomorrows
Are in the seeds of today and yesterday
(An Indian Proverb)

Parish Council – October 2020 Meeting

And so the Covid/Coronavirus emergency continues on, impinging on all of our lives. Things that we would not have imagined before have become normality after 8 months, and will continue to be for many more months. Due to continuing government regulations prohibiting public meetings; the October 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 at least 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 and an unknown member of the public.

The Chair had the sad duty of reporting the passing of Sue Corner, one of the Council’s most enthusiastic and capable members. He commented as follows:

Sue Corner joined Nether Heyford Parish Council in October 2015. On becoming a Councillor, she listened, appraised, and learned.

Her first responsibility was allotments, joining Cllr Lynda Eales in redesigning, reforming, and modernising a slightly moribund village asset. Between them they have created allotments to be proud of.

Sue’s next task was the Planning responsibility. This task can be complicated, but Sue took it in her stride, sharing issues, and dealing with all applications fairly, and responsibly.

With the Parish Council’s dream of creating a Neighbourhood Plan, Sue took the idea, created an amazing team, and knocked our collective socks off with her drive, and intelligence. Her team came up with ideas and strategies that were advanced, and revolutionary. Who’d have thought of filming Nether Heyford from the air by drone? This created the most fascinating picture of our village I have ever seen, and never tire of watching.

Sue’s intelligence, and drive have been a really great asset to the PC, she will be so very much missed on our team, and by Nether Heyford itself.

C. Kiloh

Mike Brassett has stood down due to pressure of work. This leaves Council 3 members short of its full quota of 11. 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 Bignell reported that a number of SNC officers had been appointed to roles in the West Northants authority, but that SNC were continuing to operate, and had actually improved the rate at which Planning Applications were dealt with. Cllr Harries reported that a Rights of Way consultant had found that a number of footpaths had been changed in 2016 without any consultation. This applied to KS1 Parson’s Close, KS7 Wakefield Way and KS17. This meant that part of them may now be considered Highways. It was felt that this was not an issue for the first two, but enquiries would be made about KS 17.

Public Participation: None.

Reports
PCSO – a brief report had been sent, very few problems or crimes at present.

Lights Progress reports. NCALC had formed a partnership with Clear Utility Solutions to try and lower Parish Council lighting bills. CUS were able to act on Council’s behalf and could secure a 2 year contract with YU Energy, at rate of about 25% less than the 22p per unit Eon were currently charging. This should give a saving of c£2000 p/a now, with further savings when the LED lights were installed.

Roads and pavements Large pothole outside the White House in Weedon Rd. To be reported. Parking in Middle St had been exacerbated by the school staggering collection times and it was felt that Highways should be approached with a view to extending the yellow lines around the school house.

The Green /Play Area The Green was felt to be in good condition, but there was concern that repairs to Play Area equipment had been delayed. These should shortly be carried out.

Playing Fields LE reported that the fields were being well used, especially the netball court. Comments had been made about the gate between the allotments and the Playing Field being locked. The situation would be monitored, as the gate was not supposed to be locked.

Trees There has been further storm damage to trees around the cemetery. STS have been given a list of trees to work on.

Allotments There are efforts to form an allotment committee.

Footpaths Some felt that the Church Lane to the river was overgrown, and the Watery Lane to Middle St jitty.

Churchyard The trimmed hedge and grass were felt to be looking good.

Canal Damage to Bridge 32 should be reported to Canal and River Trust.

Defibrillators In good order. CK to look into replacing the batteries.

Planning. S/2020/0428/FUL Land behind Denbrook. Having received a report from Hedley/Wellers it was felt that the next step would be to consult the NCC Village Greens and Common Land registers. Concern was expressed at reports of building work possibly having been initiated.

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 November 2nd (online) and Monday December 7th.

NetherHeyfordParishCouncilThePrattlerOcotber2020

Clerk to the Parish Council: Guy Ravine, c/o Old Dairy Farm, Upper Stowe, Weedon, Northamptonshire, NN7 4SH
Telephone: 07935 931787
Email: netherheyfordparishcouncil@gmail.com

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 

Allotment News – October 2020

Continuing a legacy
It was with great sadness that we learnt of Sue Corner’s untimely death at the end of September.

Allotmenteers will recall that her illness was the reason we contacted them in the middle of last month to convene an emergency meeting to discuss the allotments. Sue and her husband Bill have, over the last few years, done so much to help regenerate the allotments and create our community orchard, jam patch, flower bed and wildlife area. We did not want that legacy to be jeopardised. The response from plot holders was most encouraging and offers of help, to particularly keep up the maintenance work carried out by Bill, were plentiful. Sadly Sue’s illness progressed much faster than anticipated hence this sad news.

Sue wanted the allotments (and the village – through the development of the Neighbourhood Plan) to develop and grow sustainably. I’d like to think that we will continue that work. And what a fitting tribute for a very special lady.

Covid continued …
I have been determined to avoid that subject in these articles but a piece I read in my morning newspaper has prompted me to sing again the virtues of growing your own fruit and veg and getting outside in the fresh air – whatever the weather. “Bundle up and embrace an alfresco winter” ran the headline. So I reckon that creating a safe space between people, coupled with all that fresh air and exercise is achieved pretty well on an allotment. Added to which you get exercise and grow stuff to eat. If you bring something warm to wrap up in, along with a hearty snack and warm drink, we even have a welcoming outdoor seating area – where you can of course socially distance. What is there not to like?

Autumn
As the growing season comes to an end next spring and summer seem to stretch far into the distance. There is however, still much to do. Preparation of ground and basic maintenance makes work in the new growing year so much easier. How about building a couple of compost bins and putting all that green waste we create to good use. It always strikes me that whilst it is good to see recycling of green waste in the council bins, how much more productive to use that to build up the fertility of our own soil. There is lots of guidance on how to successfully compost your waste. Readers of the Prattler may recall that several years ago we actually ran a series of articles on this very subject. They are all still available.

In addition there are crops that can be grown throughout the winter, often without too much protection. I’ll go into more detail on that subject in next month’s article.

Finally, and of particular importance to those who think that they couldn’t/can’t manage a whole allotment don’t despair. A number of plot holders have rationalised their holding and covered some areas with plastic sheeting or a landscape fabric, cultivating just what they can manage at the moment. When they are ready to extend their growing again they will have clean areas of soil to work. Alternatively, a number of plot holders have turned part of their plots over to flowers. Dahlias grow well on the allotments and have looked quite stunning this year. Other perennial plants like lavender, rosemary or sage don’t mind a bit of neglect, come back every year and smother weed. We have even created a rhubarb hedge on the community jam patch. It just looks after itself and gives an abundant crop every year.

Equipment
A range of equipment is available for allotment holders to borrow when working on the allotment site; this includes mowers, rotavators, wheelbarrows, brooms and watering cans. Many people will own some or all of the above, but for those who wish to get access to such equipment, please contact Lynda Eales (01327 341707) or Mike Langrish langrish_heyford@hotmail.com (01327 341390). We can ensure that you get the equipment you require at a mutually convenient time.

Allotment Holders
If you are considering growing your own fruit and veg, act quickly by contacting Lynda Eales on 01327 341707.

Mike Langrish 

Sue Corner – Neighbourhood Plan – October 2020

NHNHPG_Logo

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:

netherheyfordneighbourhoodplan.org.uk

Letters: Neighbourhood Plan

Many of you will have read the Neighbourhood Plan article in the September issue of the Prattler.

I would like to point out that after reading it I could not believe that there was a glaring gap in the content.

Sue Corner, who happens to be my wife, and who is seriously ill with a brain tumour, has, until this March, worked many hundreds of hours, attending dozens of meetings, both in the village and outside, sometimes as far away as Evesham.

She has meticulously kept all records covering all aspects of this Plan. Not one word of her tireless input to this plan was included in this article.

I am deeply angered and saddened that the “leading lights” have not recognised in print the massive contribution Sue has made to this plan.

Bill Corner

Sue died on Saturday 19th September.

Neighbourhood Plan – September 2020

NHNHPG_Logo

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: netherheyfordneighbourhoodplan.org.uk

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:

netherheyfordneighbourhoodplan.org.uk

Parish Council – June 2020 Meeting

Nether_Heyford_Parish_Council_2019

Due to government regulations prohibiting public meetings the June 1st, 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 July 6th. Realistically, it would seem unlikely that any public meetings will be held before September. The August Meeting is usually restricted to Planning and Finance. 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 Parish Council are very grateful for the work of all the volunteers during this emergency and are proud of the community spirit that it has engendered.

Reports from the District and County Councillors. Cllr Adam Brown reported that the first meeting of the West Northants Shadow Authority would shortly take place on Zoom, with potentially 130 Councillors. This will also be on Youtube. The first meeting of the Shadow cabinet would be on June 9th, as part of the process moving towards the full authority on April 1st, 2021. NCC are expressing concern about the unexpected additional costs of the Unitaries.

Country parks and waste centres are re-opening.

Cllr Phil Bignell reported that SNC were not looking to re-open the Forum for the time- being and could not see normality returning this year.

Reports.

PCSO – reported concerns about groups of people of all ages not maintaining social distancing on the Green.

Lights – Quotes had now been received from Sparkx and Balfour Beatty, and one was expected from Aylesbury Mains. The next stage would be to apply for funding.

Roads and pavements – In poor condition, many repairs needed. Hedge near the canal bridge on Furnace Lane was overgrown. Resident to be contacted. Holes had appeared in the grass around the bungalows in Hillside Rd.

The Green and Play Area – Grass in good condition. Play area not able to be reopened as yet. Play Area had been inspected. There were no items in need of  immediate attention, but a number to monitor.

Playing Fields – In good order. Tennis courts being re-surfaced.

Trees – Some wind damage in churchyard and cemetery.

Allotments – Waiting list of 3, allotments felt to be in good order.

Footpaths – Church Lane to river had been reported as in poor/dangerous condition, but Councillors had walked it and found it in reasonable and passable condition. A tree had been felled blocking the permissive footpath from the canal to Weedon Rd.

Youth Club will remain closed until at least September. Trees had been cut down adjacent to the Youth Club.

Planning – An application for land behind Denbrook was proving controversial and a report had been put in to the Planning Dept at SNC.

Reports on effect of Covid 19 emergency – No additional report, situation much the same as last month. Although restrictions starting to be lifted, but online meetings likely to be the norm for the time-being. Large table could be removed to Youth Club to discourage gatherings.

Internal Auditor report and External Audit. The internal Auditor’s report was positive, and made some minor points that the clerk would endeavour to follow up. Council accepted the report, and agreed the annual general report for submission to the External Auditors.

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 July 6th.

NetherHeyfordParishCouncilMay2020_List

Clerk to the Parish Council: Guy Ravine, c/o Old Dairy Farm, Upper Stowe, Weedon, Northamptonshire, NN7 4SH
Telephone: 07935 931787
Email: netherheyfordparishcouncil@gmail.com

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 

Revitalising the Allotments – July & August 2020

Revitalising the allotments

Sharing

I was pleased to report, in last month’s edition of the Prattler, that allotment holders had been generously sharing their surplus plants with other allotment holders. That has continued throughout June with more and more excess being offered. What a generous group of people we have in our growing community. I am sure that when excess produce is forthcoming later in the season, there will be fruit and veg to hand out too. I won’t even attempt to guess how many oversized courgette’s are likely to appear! An old wheelbarrow now sits proudly in the picnic area and hopefully by the time this article goes to print, there will be a sign attached directing you to place all surplus items there.

It has been encouraging to see more and more villagers making use of the picnic area. It is a tranquil place to sit and while away some time.

We are also encouraging people to visit our community flower patch (clearly signposted) and, if they so wish, help themselves to some cut flowers. Cutting carefully should enable everyone to have a bunch – so bring a pair of scissors or secateurs. Sweet peas benefit especially from regular cutting and will continue to flower all season if that happens. Later in the year we are hopeful that we may have sufficient soft fruit to offer to you as well. Just keep an eye on the notice boards at the entrances to the allotments and on the large shed in the middle of the site.

A spare watering can be found by the sweet pea wigwam, so if you are cutting flowers you might also give the plants in that area a drink. Every little helps.

Links to the past

We were very pleased to accept a donation of old tools from two allotment holders who found them at the back of their parents’ garden shed. They’d once rented an allotment in the village and it was wonderful to think that the tools were “coming home” and again being put to use. If you are a new allotmenteer or just want to make use of some unusual hoes and hand cultivators, let us know. They are stored in the community shed and available to borrow.

If you too have any unwanted garden tools let us know; someone can probably
make good use of them.

Wildlife

One of the joys of working on the allotments is the amount of wildlife you see. Even if we do seem to spend a lot of time and effort protecting crops from greedy pigeons and butterflies anxious to lay their eggs on our tasty greens, the benefits from creating a rich and diverse eco-system far outweigh any small loss of produce. It has been wonderful to see more and more people visiting the allotment wildlife area, created and curated by Dave and Pauline Musson and Mark and Mary Newstead.

An indication of the richness of our eco-system has been the presence of more frogs, toads and hedgehogs on the allotment. They are beneficial visitors to allotments and gardens, hoovering up large quantities of slugs and snails. A note of caution however: try to avoid using larger gauge netting to protect crops as it can snag and trap hedgehogs. One conscientious allotment holder recently spent an hour disentangling one of our prickly friends from a piece of netting before taking him off to the vet! I am pleased to report that the hedgehog made a full recovery and when set free, limped off across the allotment site to find more slimy treats for dinner.

Equipment
A range of equipment is available for allotment holders to borrow when working on the allotment site; this includes mowers, rotavators, wheelbarrows, brooms and watering cans. Many people will own some or all of the above, but for those who wish to get access to such equipment, please contact Bill Corner (sue.corner@sky.com 01327 342124), Lynda Eales (01327 341707) or Mike Langrish langrish_heyford@hotmail.com 01327341390). We can ensure that you get the equipment you require at a mutually convenient time.

Allotment Holders
If you are considering growing your own fruit and veg, act quickly by contacting Sue Corner on 01327 342124 or Lynda Eales on 01327 341707.

Mike Langrish 

I believe in the life enhancing virtues of
pure earth, clean air and blue sky.
Octavia Hill – founder of the National Trust

Revitalising the Allotments – June 2020

Revitalising the allotments

Having spent over forty years teaching, I grew very accustomed to the sound of little people’s voices and since retirement I have missed that more than I realised. The situation has been compounded by the fact that we can’t even hear the cheerful sounds that emanated from village school at playtimes.

So, what has all that got to do with allotments you might be asking?

Well, I am pleased to say that another benefit of having virtually every plot on the allotments occupied is that we have many more young families joining us and they bring children with them. It is refreshing to hear and see them enjoying the outdoors, learning about growing things and appreciating and respecting the hard work of others. With a little guidance it is amazing how quickly children learn where not to tread! A particularly special thank you must go to the young people who have assisted on the community plot, whether that is simply deadheading bulbs that have “gone over” or more strenuous tasks such as digging, watering and moving soil and compost.

The current lockdown meant that a project about growing and sustainability, that we were setting up with the village school, had to be postponed. However, the allotments and the school are not going away and we are hopeful that when the climate is right, the project can recommence. If Coronavirus has taught us anything it is the importance of valuing the natural world and the provenance of food (and so much else we’ve taken for granted). There is so much to look forward to.

Where did that come from?

All that fine weather in April and early May really did convince a lot of people that it was safe to put out tender plants. What a mistake. Nature is nothing if not fickle and I am sure that by the middle of May a lot of allotmenteers were suddenly donning warm coats and saying “Where did that come from?” Beans, potatoes and young sweet corn plants were scorched by late frost. Some plants will recover, but where they won’t I suppose we always have the reopened garden centres. Gardeners learn from experience and dead plants teach us a valuable lesson.

The Community Orchard

Fortunately, the fruit on most of the trees in the orchard had set by the time the cold snap arrived so we are hopeful that this will not have been affected by our inclement weather. Cherry trees have been netted against marauding birds – although we’ll perhaps remove the covers once most of the fruit has been picked, just to give them a little something to snack on.

A big thank you must go to the volunteers who not only keep the grass in the orchard under control, but those who water and weed around the trees.

Sharing

We have a large table in the middle of the community area that has been used to display any plants that people have spare and are quite happy to share. A big thank you to the good souls who have recently left young lettuce, strawberry plants, assorted brassicas and seed potatoes. Where possible we will advertise what is on offer by posting a notice on the blackboard by the shed and on the notice boards at the allotment entrances. Do feel free to add more spare items as well as avail yourself of plants that others have left.

If our amazing growing experiences this season result in an excess of produce and you have nowhere or no one to give it to, do make use of the sharing table. It is good to share and allotmenteers are generally a generous lot.

Pathways

A big thank you to all the allotment holders who are able to keep their pathways mown and tidy and special thank you to Bill Corner for the conscientious way that he strims all those other areas that need attention. It really has been a feature that has changed the allotments so dramatically. Some pathways have, over the years, become increasingly narrow, which means that getting a mower along them is impossible – hence the need for a strimmer. Plot holders can, in a small way assist Bill by trying to ensure that any row markers or cloches are not set right against the path edge, thereby making it easier to strim and avoiding accidental damage to their equipment. If paths could be reinstated to their original width that would be even better, but I think that is an issue for the future and we are not even going there yet!

Equipment
A range of equipment is available for allotment holders to borrow when working on the allotment site; this includes mowers, rotavators, wheelbarrows, brooms and watering cans. Many people will own some or all of the above, but for those who wish to get access to such equipment, please contact Bill Corner (sue.corner@sky.com 01327 342124), Lynda Eales (01327 341707) or Mike Langrish langrish_heyford@hotmail.com 01327341390). We can ensure that you get the equipment you require at a mutually convenient time.

Allotment Holders
If you are considering growing your own fruit and veg, act quickly by contacting Sue Corner on 01327 342124 or Lynda Eales on 01327 341707.

Mike Langrish 

“To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow”
Audrey Hepburn

Parish Council – May 2020 Meeting

Nether_Heyford_Parish_Council_2019

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.

NetherHeyfordParishCouncilMay2020

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.

NetherHeyfordParishCouncilMay2020_List

Clerk to the Parish Council: Guy Ravine, c/o Old Dairy Farm, Upper Stowe, Weedon, Northamptonshire, NN7 4SH
Telephone: 07935 931787
Email: netherheyfordparishcouncil@gmail.com

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