Councillors Present

Graham Roberts, Andrew Waite, David Kellett,  Clare Pollak, Jo Powell, Jane Osborne (arrived late), together with three villagers.

Item 1

1a.  Introduction

         The Chair welcomed everyone to the meeting.  Everyone stood for one minutes silence to remember Cynthia Beck and Angela Cherry who had both sadly passed away.

1b.  Apologies

         Joyce Barber, Eileen Roberts, Kenneth and Janet Tattersall

Item 2

2a.  Confirmation of minutes of last meeting held on 4th December 2008

     The minutes of the last meeting were agreed and signed as a true record.  These were proposed by Cllr Powell and seconded by Cllr Waite.

2b.  Matters Arising

The Clerk had not received a response from SNC in relation to the pruning of the apple tree in the middle of the village.  The Chair instructed George Metcalfe to carry out the work when convenient and thanked him for offering to do the work.  Chris Coverley has agreed to help him.

3.   Declaration of Interest

4.   To receive an update on the Castle Green Restoration Project

          Cllr Pollak gave an update. The contractors had been told they could do no further work until the Spring when the frosts had gone.  Work has not been up to scratch and will be reviewed at this time.  The contractors had asked for further funding to help ease their cashflow problems.        The Rhodes Partnership have asked them to prove that the value of work is greater than what has been paid to date.  Some rough figures were provided six weeks ago but are not detailed enough and nothing has been heard since.  The Castle Green Committee (CGC) have considered their request and declined it.  An informal email from Cllr Pollak has been sent advising of this decision.  The Rhodes Partnership have asked the CGC what has been paid but no figures have been agreed between them yet.

         The project completion date should have been 30.04.09.  Cllr Pollak has had to make contact with the Lottery Fund to ask for a two year extension to 30.04.11.

         The benches have been delivered and the positions marked out.  Mr Ratley is to make the concrete bases in the next six weeks.  Colin is making a plaque as he has sponsored a bench.  The CGC have approached the Cave Family to ask if they would like one in memory of Emma.  If they agree, this will be sponsored by the CGC as Emma started the project off.

         Cllr Kellett felt the point should be made known to the contractor that as the project will be not completed this year, it could jeopardise the funding.

5.   Update on grass tenders received and selection of contractor

         A formal notice was placed in the Banbury Guardian in November advising the Parish Council were going out to tender.  Ten initial responses were received although only seven people actually quoted against the spec sent to them which Cllr Waite had put together.  One contractor had declined to quote for the main contract and had just quoted for the churchyard.  There was a common formula across the document and the annual cost of 12 cuts ranged from £2962.00 to £5875.00.  There was a difference in close cutting costs but three were within the same range.

         The Chair felt the council needed more time to consider the quotes in detail but a budget figure for grass cutting had to be set tonight.

         Cllr Kellett suggested that £3400.00 was included in the budget for grass cutting in 2009/10 which was the average figure of the lowest four.  Cllr Pollak felt that a 40% increase on the previous year was a lot although the scope and detail of work had increased. 

         Cllr Waite suggested that a figure of £2600.00, which was halfway between £2K, (what was spent in 2008/9) and £3400.00 be included in this years budget.  The main number of cuts could be reduced to 10 and other areas could be targeted more closely such as Pocket Park and Castle Green.

         From the floor, Mrs Barrett noted that her son cut the grass in Pocket Park quite frequently last year.  It is fast growing grass and needs to be kept short. She asked the council to consider this as a priority area in this years cutting plan.

         Cllr Waite then proposed that the budget figure for grass cutting be set at £2600.00 which represented a 30% increase on last year. This was seconded by Cllr Powell.  All the councillors voted in favour. Cllr Waite would ask the lowest four contractors to requote and focus on the priority areas such as Castle Green and Pocket Park. The other areas will have to fall in line with the budget.  Cllr Waite would make contact with them and would ask for references and note the first year would be on a trial basis.  He was given the authority to proceed within the budget figure of £2600.00 and report back at the next meeting.

6.     Setting of Budget 2009/10

         The Chair had circulated a spreadsheet prior to the meeting which detailed actual spend for 2008/9 to 31.12.08.    A proposal was made that the budget be set this year at £10,067.00 which represented a 5% increase compared to last year.  The council discussed the various areas where money has to be spent.  The allotment area will require fencing and water, money that was available last year has not been spent and the Chair proposed that this be transferred to a contingency fund, which when added to this year’s allocation would make a total of £600 for allotment project.  It was suggested that an allotment association is formed who can then make their own decisions as to how the money is spent to improve the allotment facilities.  The Chair also proposed that the £500.00 allocation for Pocket Park that was not spent last year be moved to the Pocket park account.
         Other areas of expenditure which has increased in 2009 include:-
         One off Legal costs for the shop lease which expires on 30.09.09.
         Employee costs which have to be increased to allow for additional hours and a pension arrangement for the Clerk. 
         Increase in Public Lighting energy and maintenance costs
         Newsletter publishing costs

         The budget for 2009/10 was then presented as follows:



Public Lighting


Village Mowing


Pocket Park Inspection


Pocket Park Maintenance


Communication/Broadband Costs


Village Maintenance




Castle Green




Church Hall Hire


Church Clock Maintenance


Section 137 Subscriptions




Employee Costs (Salary/Travel)


General Admin (Postage/Copying/Fax)


Newsletter publishing 


Web site costs


Other Admin




Annuity payment of PWL for Shop/PO


Sub Total












Mowing Allowance from NCC


Rent from Shop


Allotment Rent


Proceeds from village fete


Grant from Cllr Ben Smith





         The Chair proposed that the precept for 2009/10 be set at £10,067.00.  This was seconded by Cllr Kellett.  All the councillors voted in favour.

         With the budget set for 2009/10 the Chair then proposed that Sulgrave Parish Council approve for the Clerk to join the Local Government Pension Scheme.  This was seconded by Cllr Waite and all the councillors voted in favour.

         From the floor, the Chair asked Mrs Barrett if she would be interested in joining an allotment association and she replied yes. She agreed to speak to the other tenants. 
7.   Councillors Reports

         Pocket Park

         Cllr Osborne has been able to make contact with Ruth Rolls who is the Northamptonshire Pocket Park supervisor and she is sending details of the Grass Roots Grant.   The expiry date is April 2009.   Through this grant, councils can apply for up to £5K for Pocket Park projects but  normally match funding of 75% is required.  Cllr Pollak asked if she will be able to offer any advice on schemes and Cllr Osborne replied that would be welcome assistance.

         NCC Consultation Documents

         Cllr Kellett had looked at the NCC proposals on mineral extractions and there will be no direct impact on the village.

         Community Speedwatch

         Cllr Powell had received the traffic data reports  from the sensor boxes which had been placed near School St/Church St junction.  In respect of the motorists whilst there were no reports of excessive speeds, out of 2877 vehicles, 44 vehicles exceeded the speed limit during the quarter.  The survey will continue and Cllr Powell will ask the police to put the boxes nearer to the Stocks in order to get results from there.
         Stockwell Lane/Drains

         The Chair has tried to meet up with MGWSP to discuss the flooding, drain and water problems in Stockwell Lane.  He will have to rearrange another meeting to fit it in with his own work commitments.



         Cllr Waite has investigated. a cheaper solution to supply water to the allotment area.  Bowsers can be supplied which are a polythene tank in a metal cage.  To supply 1000 litres the cost is £211 & VAT. A consequent delivery of water would cost £211.00. Bowsers can be bought on Ebay for £40.00 but have to be collected in person. A cheaper solution would be to ask someone nearby to fill them up.  Cllr Waite has tried to speak to Andrew Grant at NCC about a grant for the water supply but Sulgrave is outside of this area.  He has suggested speaking to Cllr Ben Smith.

         Spinners Cottages parking

         This is ongoing.

8.     Finance Report

The following payments were approved and cheques raised accordingly.  They were proposed by Cllr Waite and seconded by Cllr Powell:-

The Clerk will ask Sulgrave Manor to resubmit an invoice for the newsletter copying to 31.03.09.  From the floor Mr Metcalfe asked how many copies were being paid for and the Chair replied 260. Mr Metcalfe said it should be 210 and he agreed to speak to the Manor directly.

9.   Update on Planning Applications

          Two new applications had been received since the last meeting.
a.       S/2008/1655P, Two storey rear extension at the Old Post Office, Church St. The council objected to this application as it was felt the design of the extension was not sympathetic to the age of the property and being in a Conservation Area.
b.      S/2008/1712/P, Erection of monument at the Old Windmill. The plans were put out on display at the meeting. To be circulated to all councillors.

10. Correspondence

11. Open Forum


12.     Next meeting

12a.  Matters for consideration at the next meeting

          Update on Pocket Park and Grass cutting

12b.  Date and time of next meeting

          12th March 2009 at 7.30pm in the Church Hall    

            Meeting closed at 9.30pm