See here for Picture Gallery of Castle Green
Based on O.S. Map. Crown Copyright Reserved.
As shown on the map, Castle Green is a D-shaped open field forming part of the Sulgrave Castle scheduled ancient monument, which is adjacent to Sulgrave Church. The field has been used informally as a recreation area for many years, but in 2003 the owners decided to sell it. The community formed an Action Group under the aegis of Sulgrave History Society and the support of the Parish Council, to raise the funds to purchase it for the village, and save it from possible enclosure or development.
The Action Group, with the support of the residents, were able to obtain grants and voluntary contributions to cover the £26,500 required for the purchase, and in July 2004 ownership of the field was transferred to the Parish Council, who will be responsible for its regular maintenance on behalf of the villagers of Sulgrave.
Sunday 29th August 2004 saw the official opening of the Field. Most village organisations and villagers took part in an extremely successful ‘Celebration Field Day’, and despite the typical August Bank Holiday weather a good time was had by all. Miss Emma Cave officially cut the tape, and the field was re-named ‘Castle Green’ because it is part of the castle site, and will now be the Village Green. Ken Christy, Chairman of the Parish Council, publicly thanked all those who contributed to the success of the fund-raising, and the members of the Action Group who had made the day possible.
A Committee of the Parish Council – to be known as the Castle Green Management Committee - was established to manage the newly acquired site. This comprises at least one Parish Councillor and further co-opted members. All village organisations were invited to appoint representatives to this Committee, whose full terms of reference may be seen here.
The Committee’s first concern was the continuing worries of local residents and other users of Park Lane as to the dangerous condition of the retaining wall around the Green. This, together with the fences which form the other boundaries to the land, has been neglected for over 40 years. Both the wall and fences need urgent repairs and replacement to make them safe. In addition, there are no formal access-points to the field, and nothing to indicate that it is part of our local and national heritage.
The Committee’s programme also includes the preparation of a draft Conservation Statement and Biodiversity Strategy, a Wildlife Survey, a full Management Plan, and the Registration of the Field as a Village Green.
The views of villagers were obtained through a consultation exercise and a Management Plan drawn up to address these problems and opportunities.
The main aims of this plan are:
The detailed proposals are:
These proposals are shown on the map below:
Following a protracted procedure involving the researching of documentary evidence as to the use of the site by the general public over a long period, Northamptonshire County Council has informed the Parish Council of the successful registration of Castle Green as a village green, under section 13 of The Commons Registration Act 1965. Further information on this Act of Parliament and Village Greens can be seen on the web site of the Open Spaces Society at http://www.oss.org.uk/village%20greens/villagegreens.htm
The detailed proposals for the Green also include an Archaeological Geophysical Survey during the coming summer, to determine the origin of the lumps and bumps in the field and how they relate to the Castle Site itself.
The Committee has recently agreed a Field Use Policy, details of which can be seen here.
The latest situation (January 2007) with regard to Project Costs and Funding is as follows:
Funds already promised or received
· In January 2006 South Northants Council (SNC) undertook to underwrite the £450 ‘up front’ cost of preparation of documents and obtaining tenders for the wall repairs, which was a very specialist task.
· Aug 2006 SNC agreed a grant of £15,000 under their Environmental Enhancement and Community Facility headings.
· Alan Evans Memorial Trust awarded a grant of £2,000 in August 06.
· English Heritage has offered to contribute £1,250 to site interpretation.
Grant Applications outstanding:
An application to the Heritage Lottery Fund’s ‘Your Heritage’ was submitted in November, and a decision is expected in February 2007
An application to Trust for Oxfordshire’s Environment for Entrust Landfill Tax funding was submitted, but unfortunately was refused on 23rd November 2006. This was a great disappointment, but an application is now being prepared for a grant from Northamptonshire County Council’s Voluntary Sector Support Unit (VSSU).
Total Project Cost:
Previous total Project Cost: £84,151
Add expected increase* (see below): £2,000
Total: £86,151 (inc VAT)*
Funds already raised £18,250
Funds applied for £46,424
Total ‘In Kind’ contributions: £1,180
Total voluntary contributions: £5,900
Total funds available: £71,754
Grant application to VSSU:
Total Project Cost £86,151 (approx)
Less total funds available: £71,754
Total requested from VSSU £14,397 (approx)
*Owing to certain stipulations made by VSSU, the total project cost will have to be increased. Amended quotes are currently being sought, but it is thought the increase will be in the region of £2,000.