The Prattler – October 2020

The Prattler is run by an active voluntary committee comprising of Sue Boutle, Christine Watts, Vicki Hamblin, Jez Wilson, Nick Essex, Richard Musson and Mary Rice. If you would like to submit articles or have any suggestions for future issues, please contact us.

The newspaper is supported by donations from the Parish Council, the Parish Church, the Baptist Church, Heyford W.I., Heyford Gardening Club, Heyford Singers, the Bowls Club, the Village Hall and Heyford Picturedrome as well as our advertisers.

Thanks are also due to the volunteers who distribute it every month.

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: 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.

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 

The Prattler – September 2020

The Prattler is run by an active voluntary committee comprising of Sue Boutle, Christine Watts, Vicki Hamblin, Jez Wilson, Nick Essex, Richard Musson and Mary Rice. If you would like to submit articles or have any suggestions for future issues, please contact us.

The newspaper is supported by donations from the Parish Council, the Parish Church, the Baptist Church, Heyford W.I., Heyford Gardening Club, Heyford Singers, the Bowls Club, the Village Hall and Heyford Picturedrome as well as our advertisers.

Thanks are also due to the volunteers who distribute it every month.

Parish Council – July & August 2020 Meetings

Due to government regulations prohibiting public meetings the July 6th and Aug 3rd, 2020 Parish Council meetings were held online, using the Zoom platform. This is in line with national advice. At this time there is 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 supplemented 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.

Reports from the District and County Councillors.
Cllr Phil Bignell reported that the Forum has yet to re-open, and that Covid 19 was something of a problem in several wards in Northamptonshire. Further measures were being considered by Government, but action and advice by local health officers has averted this.

Lights.
The required 3 Quotes had now been received and an application made for funding from the New Homes Bonus; the result of that application is awaited.

Roads and pavements.
The jitties between Watery Lane, Middle St and Manor Walk have been cleared up, as has the one between the memorial Green and Church Lane.

The Green and Play Area.
Grass in good condition. Play area has been re-opened and one of the fixtures has been repaired.

Playing Fields. In good order. Tennis courts have been re-surfaced.

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. Whilst there are still restrictions, the lockdown has largely been lifted and most people are back at work. The volunteer effort to distribute food parcels and prescriptions has been largely stood down. All those involved in that effort should take a bow – we can be very proud of them and that this village got its effort together very rapidly and effectively with a mixture of residents and Parish Councillors involved. Indeed, it was so effective that Heyford became a hub for other villages to collect from.

It may be that there will be no further need for such an effort, or we could just be in a pause period before there is a second wave of Covid 19. The Parish Council will look at the readiness of the village to cope with another potential lockdown at the September meeting. The Parish Council are grateful for the work of all the volunteers during this emergency and are proud of the community spirit that it has engendered.

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 an online meeting  Monday September 7th.

netherheyfordparishcouncilAugust2020_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 

The Prattler – Editors Notes – July & August 2020

Editors Note

This Prattler covers the months of July and August. The next one will be published on
September 1st by which time hopefully we will be more or less back to normal with our
clubs and activities.

Thanks are due to everyone that has helped and entertained the villages during the
lockdown. The community spirit of the Heyfords is alive and well.

Sue

The Prattler is run by an active voluntary committee comprising of Sue Boutle,
Christine Watts, Vicki Hamblin, Jez Wilson, Nick Essex, Richard Musson and
Mary Rice. If you would like to submit articles or have any suggestions for future
issues, please contact us.

The newspaper is supported by donations from the Parish Council, the Parish Church, the Baptist Church, Heyford W.I., Heyford Gardening Club, Heyford
Singers, the Bowls Club, the Village Hall and Heyford Picturedrome as well as
our advertisers.

Thanks are also due to the volunteers who distribute it every month.

Advertising in The Prattler

Advertising costs per month:
£5 for a small business card advert
£10 for a quarter page
£15 for half a page
£30 for a full page

For more information and examples of advertising visit: https://heyfordprattler.org/contact

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

Community Wildlife Area – July & August 2020

View from The Wildlife Patch

Dytiscus marginalis (Great Diving Beetle) is a large and voracious predator of underwater life in both larval and adult stages.

Pauline and myself were watching life in the pond and spotted a Newt trying to shake off something that had a hold of its neck. When the newt eventually managed to shake it off, we could see it was a nearly full grown larvae of the above species. At around 50mm long it was maybe half the length of the newt. As we watched it became evident that there were a number of these larvae who were mostly attacking tadpoles but would try for anything that was moving underwater. Always grabbing from underneath with strong jaws around the neck area. I was watching the pond with Mark and watched one of these larva rise from the shallows to grab a good sized tadpole then swim across the surface to hide, with it’s prey under a lilly leaf, no doubt to consume it’s prey out of sight. That pond may look peaceful but underwater it’s a “proper jungle”.

My own first experience of this beetle was when at the age of about 7 years I caught a adult whilst collecting frog spawn. I put it on an old white enamel bowl along with the spawn. By the next morning the beetle had eaten around half of the centres from my Frog spawn. I remember it well as I told my parents that it was eating the yolks and leaving the whites of the eggs. Both adults and larva of Dytiscus are said to deliver a painful bite. Mine did not bite me despite much handling.

On the rest of the patch Mary found and photographed a lovely Scarlet Tiger Moth. This is another large, showy moth that is gradually moving its territory Northward. We found one there last year so could have a breeding population of these. We would love to find Garden Tiger Moths there. Their larvae are the once common Woolly Bears that people over a certain age remember from their youth. They have sadly declined drastically -possibly due our warmer winters. I have not found a Garden Tiger or a Woolly Bear since moving back to England in 2015.

Despite the drought we are seeing some fruits from earlier sowings. New species of Grass, Yellow Rattle (which could be important to our plans) and other plants are gradually showing their heads. Unexpectedly, a few specimens of Night Flowering Catchfly are growing on last years “Annuals Patch”. This is member of the Campion family that was introduced to the UK sometime in the past. It looks quite insignificant in daytime but comes into it’s own when the sun sets, showing intense, almost luminescent, white blooms that fade with the dawn. Undersides of leaves and stems are covered with sticky hairs, hence the name “Catchfly”. We did not knowingly sow this plant and did not see it last year last year. It is an annual and very easily overlooked in daylight hours so it may well have been among the Wildflower Annuals planted last year.

Dave Musson

Davemusson073@gmail.com 07942 674867

 

The Prattler – June 2020

The Prattler is run by an active voluntary committee comprising of Sue Boutle,
Christine Watts, Vicki Hamblin, Jez Wilson, Nick Essex, Richard Musson and
Mary Rice. If you would like to submit articles or have any suggestions for future
issues, please contact us.

The newspaper is supported by donations from the Parish Council, the Parish Church, the Baptist Church, Heyford W.I., Heyford Gardening Club, Heyford
Singers, the Bowls Club, the Village Hall and Heyford Picturedrome as well as
our advertisers.

Thanks are also due to the volunteers who distribute it every month.

 

Community Wildlife Area – June 2020

View from The Wildlife Patch

It’s hard to believe that the year is nearly halfway over. I am still waiting for the spring rains to bring the Patch into life. Of the wild plant mixtures sown, some seeds have germinated but many are still awaiting the right conditions before raising their little green heads. This is a bit disappointing but not a disaster by any means. These are wild plant seeds and adapted to survival in adverse conditions. They will come up sooner or later, sometimes after laying dormant for years.

The pond now has its full compliment of plants and is looking good. Tadpoles are growing and the Smooth Newts are eating tadpoles and laying eggs which will duly develop into “Newtpoles” which are like frog tadpoles but a bit slimmer with external gills. My Wife Pauline, and I were there today removing blanket weed which is a type of algae. It is surprising how many invertebrates are in the pond already. Many like the Great pond snails and Water hog lice – a close relative of Woodlice – and others will have been introduced with the plants. Some insects including several Water Beetle species, Pond Skaters and Water Boatmen have flown in attracted by the sight and smell of the pond.

Whilst we were there, Dragonflies and Damselflies were landing on the water plants. These lovely insects must surely be familiar to everyone. Dragonflies are the large, often huge and colourful four winged insects that sometimes visit gardens, especially if there is garden pond around. Damselflies include the smaller, often brilliant coloured insects that look a bit like bits of blue of green straw floating on air around water margins. There are also larger, often blue bodied damselflies that often have a black band on their wings. These latter are often in abundance on the River Nene in the height of summer. It’s safe to say that Damselflies rest with their wings along the back in parallel with the body, whereas Dragonflies rest with their wings sticking out, often at a right angle to the body also Dragonflies are usually larger.

Both groups are carnivorous in all active stages of development. Dragonflies patrol a “beat” catching insects on the wing whilst damselflies mostly catch smaller prey by sitting on a fixed object and rising to catch small flies etc. All lay eggs in water or on plants above water. I remember watching one of the banded Damselfly species at an old stone quarry in South Warwickshire. They flew joined in pairs. Both would land on a rush sticking out of maybe 4 feet of water. We could watch the female in the crystal water, as she descended the rush stem to it’s base, then deposit an egg there whilst the male waited, sometimes flying a short distance before returning to collect the female as she reached the surface to repeat the process on another stem. Maybe we will eventually see this in our pond. All have highly predatory larvae that develop underwater often taking years according to the species. Some Damselflies were seen last year laying on plants in the area where the pool now sits. Maybe they had a premonition.

Dave Musson

Davemusson073@gmail.com 07942 674867