Committee Members:

Martin Sirot-Smith      Chairman
Paul Crowley              Treasurer
Peter Pollack               Secretary
Jo Powell                    Parish Councillor
Christina Shillito
Colin Wootton
Clare Pollak                 Parish Councillor and Project Co-Ordinater

A year of much hard graft from the Committee has been rewarded with considerable success in every aspect of our endeavours.

Castle Green is now formally registered as a Village Green which will protect it from any future development. Jo Powell with help from Graham Roberts and Lewis Thomas successfully led this part of the project. Well done!

Restoration and Improvement Project. I am very pleased to announce that the Committee has been successful in raising all £87,000 required to implement the project. This has come from a number of Grant making sources and is due reward for all the hard work and effort put into preparing and presenting each individual application particularly by Clare Pollak, the Project Co-ordinater.

The funding is as follows:

South Northants Council                    15,000

Alan Evans Foundation                        2,000

Heritage Lottery Fund                        48,000

Northants Voluntary Sector
Support Unit (Provisional)                  15,000

Volunteer Contributions                       6,000

In Kind Contributions                          1,000

                        TOTAL                    87,000

It is planned to begin the various aspects of the project in May with the Repair and Rebuilding of the retaining wall around Castle Green. Co-ordinated with this will be the creation of 2 proper disabled accesses with graded slopes and a path across the Green linking the two. New fencing, gates and seating will then be added. Finally, interpretation panels, leaflets and sign boards will be prepared explaining the site. To help this latter a Resistivity Survey will be organized in the summer. It is hoped that the main works will be completed for the Annual Field Day in September. This latter could double as the official opening.

Wildlife Management. A survey has been completed which includes the Castle Mound and the Churchyard. A selective mowing regime has been designed, a planting session of indigenous species has taken place and the provision of nest boxes etc., for wildlife planned, the maintenance of a rich biodiversity being the objective. Special thanks are extended to George Metcalfe and the Northants Wildlife Trust for their continued help and advice.

Other activities include the production of a Field Use Policy, co-ordinated by Paul Crowley, a Health and Safety Policy (drafted by his wife!) and an Equal Opportunities Policy. All have now been approved and adopted by the Parish Council. Thanks to the Crowleys and the Parish Clerk for all their efforts. We now have a section on the Village Website and our thanks go to Colin Wootton for its management and the excellent quality of its contents. Finally, in February the old and very scruffy hedge between Castle Green and the Castle Mound was superbly laid by Paul Lewis and will not only extend its life but enhance the whole aspect of our Village Green.

Events. The Summer Holiday Play Scheme enjoyed the use of the Green during the beautiful summer weather. I am pleased to say that the Annual Field Day in September for the first time was equally blessed. Many local organisations raised valuable amounts for their funds.

As you can see, a very full and successful year’s activities, but to some extent the ‘real’ work is only just starting. Co-ordinating the various aspects of the project, the administration of the funding with volunteer contribution is going to be quite a task over the coming year. It is intended to keep everyone informed through the Newsletter and the Website of the special days when help will be needed or indeed when specific demonstration sessions have been organised. So watch this space!

Get involved and see the whole project take shape.

Martin Sirot-Smith, Chairman