George Clarke’s recent Channel 4 documentary “Council House Scandal” celebrated 100 years since the Addison Act of 1919 kick started Council Estate building. Sadly since the Right to Buy was introduced properties have not been replaced, hence the current shortage of Council properties for rent. GC has launched a National campaign to encourage Government to build more Council homes and has secured land in Manchester to demonstrate how to build good standard homes at reasonable cost. The programme highlighted a problem with commercial properties being converted to rentable homes under “permitted development” which fail to meet minimum acceptable standards for room sizes. Unfortunately this type of development introduced by Government reduced the power of local Planning Offices to enforce standards and bypass the formal planning processes.
The growth in permitted development could potentially lead to problems during conveyancing on house sale/purchase when the status of each building on site is investigated whether these are new build or change of use. Ideally a Lawful Development Certificate should be produced. To avoid risk to the seller/purchaser the seller can purchase an Indemnity Policy in the name of the purchaser. Not until permitted development is scrapped and the planning process returned to conventional planning application/building control will standards return to normal.
June/July/ August weather has continued to be untypical for this time of the year with short periods of high temperature near 37 centigrade and prolonged periods of heavy rainfall. Surprisingly total annual rainfall to the end of August is only 82% of average resulting from the extremely low rainfall earlier in the year.
Anyone interested in participating in discussions with the E/A over future flood defence requirements and contributing with their own local knowledge of flooding are again invited to contact me directly.
This mosaic artwork is situated adjacent to the River Nene road bridge and footpath as you leave Nether Heyford towards Upper Heyford.
Earlier this year I asked around about its origins but didn’t get much of a response, only educated guesses.
The heading reads “Spiritus Vallis” (Latin for “Spirit of the Valley”) and also depicted is MM (Roman Numerals for 2000)
Obviously the railway, canal and river indicate a local connection, the Roman/Mosaic connection ties in with a wealth of very significant discoveries in the village since the mid 1960’s.
The photograph above was taken in July 2019 and as you can see it has suffered from some decay on the left hand edge.
I have recently discovered more information so thought I would share in a post.
“Spirit of the Valley”
Part of the Northamptonshire’s Millennium Festival – a South Northamptonshire Council funded arts project during 2000.
Based on the Nene Valley and the communities that live along it, the project resulted in many activities including guided walks, photography, performances, writing and visual arts.
- One of the last elements to be completed was the siting of three mosaic-based art works made by groups in three South Northamptonshire villages.
- Guided by Northamptonshire artist Carole Miles.
- SNC Arts Development Officer was Anna Hayward in 2000.
- Harpole Heritage Group, Bugbrooke Arts Society, Heyford Archaeology Group & Youth Club each produced artwork based of the Nene Valley theme.
The 3 pieces were placed at the following sites:
“Roman Way Marker” – Nether Heyford
“Mosaic benches” – Harpole
“Giant Fossils” – Bugbrooke
In October 1939, prolonged and heavy rainfall brought the canal level up dangerously high. A break of sixteen feet wide occurred on the Weedon bank, releasing 300 million gallons of water into an already swollen River Nene. The entire Nene valley became ﬂooded and water levels rose into the villages. There has been periodic flooding in the village from time to time, eased to some extent by the culvert inserted in the mid 1980’s. But the recent flooding during the Easter of 1998 showed us again the damage that can he done. On each occasion it was Church Street that bore the brunt of the disaster as is illustrated in these photographs, all taken in 1939.
Church Street / Manor Walk
Heyford Antiques (formerly Tops of Heyford)
The Jubilee Hall
A view from the top of Church Street
Extract from The Story of Heyford – Volume 3 of 4 – Pages 28 & 29
Flooding issues have hit the headlines with major incidents in Lincolnshire and Tewksbury in a year when climate change has surfaced as a major issue. The E/A’s Emma Howard Boyd and Sir James Bevan have initiated the launch of a review of Flood and Coastal Management Strategy in May 2019 which will form the basis of the Government Statement in October 2019 setting out their long term goals. They claim over 500,000 homes are at risk of regular flooding requiring families to relocate their homes.
Locally 2019 started the year up to the end of May with only 52% of the average rainfall which compares with 106% for 2018. However June has seen almost continuous rainfall currently at 64% above the June average at 88mm compared with 1mm for 2018. The River has coped well rising only 1.1m at its peak on 12/13th May largely as a result of limited run off due to excessively dry land in the catchment area and the effect of the E/A work on the River and Horestone Brook.
In May the Government extended “permitted development” to allow further increase in the size of extensions to properties as part of their policy to improve /increase housing. Many Councils have expressed concerns describing the PD Policy as a planning disaster often causing conflict between neighbours resulting in unsuitable developments over which the Councils have little control. Even more concerning is the lack of protection for the individual through any suitable complaints procedure. Recent experience shows that any so called “Complaints Processes” are ineffective and biased and can only assess following of procedures not change of decisions.
I have recently held several meetings with the E/A to discuss implementation of refusal for permitted development rights under Article 4 to ensure compliance with the legal responsibility of landowners not to impede the flow of flood water as this is a criminal offence under Common Law. Unless this is implemented then building on the floodplain will continue unabated.
As a result of conflict of interest I proposed to close down CFG. However the E/A wished to continue working together especially as a new submission for flood defence funding for the Village is proposed for August/September 2019. Having spent 21 years campaigning for improvements in Nether Heyford I feel its time to step back and invite anyone interested in flooding issues to contact me so that the future of the Village can be secured.