Councillors Present

Ken Christy,  Clare Pollak, Graham Roberts, Kevin Moore, Ian Cherry and Jo Powell, together with six villagers.

Item 1

1a. Apologies
       Cllr Osborne

1b. Introduction
       The Chair introduced the meeting by congratulating the Clerk on achieving her Certificate in Local Council Administration.

Item 2

2a. Confirmation of minutes of last meeting held on 11th January 2007
       The minutes were agreed and signed as a true record.

2b. Matters Arising
There were no matters arising from the previous minutes.

3.   Declaration of Interest

4.    Councillors Reports
       Both Cllr’s Moore and Powell had nothing specific to report at this meeting.

       Cleaning of Drain Gullies
Cllr Roberts noted that Atkins had cleaned the drain gulllies at the beginning of February.  It appears that a couple may have been missed so Cllr Roberts will check them all and advise Atkins of the ones which have been missed.

       Allotment area
       Cllr Roberts noted the roundup has taken well and there are less weeds.  The ground will be rotivated soon by Philip Daynes, the grass contractor. 

       A letter had been received from Mr Andrews of Manor Road to advise he has now terminated his allotment agreement.  This means there are no existing tenants left now.  Once the outstanding work has been done, Cllr Roberts will be able to allocate the land better and approach the other interested parties.  Cllr Roberts will speak to Philip Daynes about the timetable of events.

       Castle Green
       Hedge laying will take place on the Green this Saturday (3rd March) as part of the Wildlife Enhancement Project. Villagers are welcome to watch.  Cllr Cherry has kindly agreed to dispose of the trimmings.

         Grant Applications – The VSSU application has been sent off but a Health and Safety document must be submitted by the end of March.  A policy is being drafted by Paul Crowleys wife who has HR experience.  It will be circulated to councillors and presented to the council for adoption at the March meeting.  The result of the HLF grant application is expected by the end of this month.

       Following questions raised at last months meeting the Castle Green Committee has met and revisited the Terms of Reference adopted by the Parish Council in July 2004.  The following points were noted:

       Clean Neighbourhood and Environment Act 2005 – Dog Control Orders
       The Chair referred to the recent DEFRA publication and advised that several questions have to be answered before a Parish Council can consider making a dog control order.
       These were - Is there a specific problem with dogs on the area of land that is being considered for the control order?  If it is proposed to ban dogs, are there other areas of land in the parish available to dog owners where they can exercise their dogs?  Is there community support for dog control orders – amongst both the dog owning and the non-dog owning public? The answers to all these questions was yes.   The Clerk would contact Helen Hunt of South Northants Council to seek further advice on the matter.

       Village Website
       Cllr Pollak noted that Colin Wootton has recently paid money out of his own account for charges relating to the website.  The Clerk has asked for copies of payments that have been made and suggested a direct debit is set up for next year.  There may be  a source of funding for the website to come via the local Archaeolgy group.

       Bus Service
       The Chair felt that the main road through Sulgrave should be gritted as there is now a regular bus service.  The Clerk would write to NCC and copy Cllr Ben Smith.

       No of Parish Council Seats
       The Chair noted that a recent document from SNC reviewed the current number of seats on the Parish Council.  A suggestion was made to reduce the number from seven to six in view of the size of this village.  This has now been agreed by SNC and the Parish Council are waiting for the formal order to be sent.

       Post Office Consultation Document
       There is a DTI document which must be responded to by 8th March 2007 on the future of post offices.  The Chair asked the councillors for their views on whether a response should be given.  Cllr Roberts felt that rural post offices are important and the services should be retained.  Cllr Powell suggested that a petition is carried out in the village.  The Chair felt this was a good idea.  Both Cllr’s Cherry and Pollak felt the post office was an essential part of rural life and would be a sad loss if it was to go.  The Parish Council must do everything they can to ensure it stays in the village.

5.   Update on Underground Cabling and street lamps
        Cllr Cherry first referred to a letter dated 11th December 2006 from Central Networks which detailed the forthcoming work in the village. 
As four of the poles support street lighting brackets, it will be necessary for the Parish Council (PC) to provide replacement columns.  Central Networks will provide the electrical service to the column free of charge provided the column is placed within three metres of the original bracket position or a mains underground electricity cable.  As the lighting brackets were left on after previous work was carried out, Cllr Cherry asked why the PC would have to provide replacement columns.  Central Networks replied in an email dated 24th January that once the wires are removed by them, the PC would need to adopt ownership of the pole.  As some of the poles are in poor condition the PC would need to have the poles inspected at least once every two years using the approved testing device of a Mattson Borer which involves excavating around the base of the pole and taking a bored sample for inspection for wood rot.  The PC would also need their own public liability insurance to cover the possibility of the pole falling especially as the stabilising factor of the normal wires will be removed and the pole becomes free standing.  It was felt that although these points were indicated by letter to Parish Councils involved in underground schemes, they were not acted on and as soon as one of the poles falls or snaps the PC’s will try to  pass the repair etc onto the relevant electricity company as it was on an electricity owned pole.  This is important when council members change over time and the agreement becomes a distant memory.

        Cllr Cherry then met with Doug Millard of ABB who identified the four lights that will need replacing.  The cost of each light is £265.00, which is for a basic lamp standard. In the allocated programme of works, Central Networks schedule the work to take place at the end of 2007, possibly in early 2008.  Columns are erected before the underground cabling is done.

        Cllr Powell asked to see a picture of a standard street light.  There are five different types of lamp standard and the village will have to decide what they want.    Cllr Cherry agreed to liaise with Central Networks about the programme of works as there will be financial implications to the PC.  The Clerk will get advice from NALC as to whether the PC can get a public works loan to pay for lighting.  At a later stage the PC will undertake a consultation exercise with the village about replacement lamps.

6.   Update on Action Plan for Pocket Park/Play Area
        Cllr Moore noted the top three priorities for the play area:

The Clerk had received prices for three new signs to read ‘Please Close Gate’, No Dogs Please’ and No Cycles’.  The total cost is £108.31.

Cllr Moore is trying to set up a site meeting with a supplier of rubberised safety surfaces.  He will aim to have the results for the next meeting.  He wrote to the Sulgrave Educational Charity on 10th January  to ask for a grant of £1K.  The trustees have not met yet and another meeting has not been arranged to look at this request.  The Chair noted that the Chair of the Trust wishes to resign but he agreed to speak to him to try and speed up the process.

Cllr Moore then proposed  that expenditure of £240.00 plus VAT be approved and transferred from the Pocket Park fund.  This was seconded by Cllr Pollak. All the councillors voted in favour.

The following cheques were approved for payment:

£234.90 – Parish Clerk (hours)
£21.08 – Parish Clerk (mileage)
£50.00 – float for Parish Clerk
£129.00 – Sulgrave Church Hall (hire of hall for meetings)
£102.00 – NALC Subscription for 2007
£151.48 – Powergen

9.   Planning Applications
The council had received three new applications to consider since the last meeting.
S/2007/0114/PT,  Reduce Tall Stem (upper crown) at Sulgrave House, Little Street.  Cllrs Powell, Cherry, Moore and Roberts and the Tree Warden had all given their approval. The council would advise they had no objections to make.

       S/2007/0095/P, Erection of a replacement conservatory and construction of a pitched roof over existing flat roofed kitchen extension at The Old Vicarage, Magpie Road. The council would need to reply to this by 23rd February.

       S/2006/1675/LB and S/2006/1674/P, Conversion of traditional buildings into three dwellings (revision of S/2005/0884/LB), amended design to proposed barn conversions with changes to external openings and internal layouts at Dial House Farm, Magpie Road.  The PC had objected to the previous application.  Giles English (architect) had called the clerk to try and set up a meeting to go through the proposed changes.  He then felt the meeting was not necessary and he agreed to resubmit the drawings to SNC as necessary.  The PC will await further details from SNC re the application.

A letter dated 13th February 2007 from SNC regarding Application A/2006/0476/LB, Conservatory to rear, part rebuilding of boundary wall at Rectory Farm, Little Street had been received re the appeal against refusal of planning permission. This application has come to council twice before.  A date for the hearing has been set for Tuesday 27th March at 10am at the Council Offices in Springfields, Towcester.  

Item 9 – Correspondence

Item 10 – Open Forum

Item 11 - Next meeting

11a.  Matters for consideration at the next Parish Council meeting

11b.  Date and time of next meeting
       Parish Council meeting on 22nd March 2007
Meeting closed at 9.20pm