Councillors Present

Graham Roberts, Andrew Waite, David Kellett, Clare Pollak, Jo Powell and Jane Osborne,  together with eight villagers.

Item 1

1a.  Introduction

         The Chair welcomed everyone to the meeting. 

1b.  Apologies

         Jill Barrett, Mrs Roberts and Mrs Burke

Item 2

2a.  Confirmation of minutes of last meeting held on 11TH June 2009

     The Chair felt that the minutes of the last meeting reflected the personal views of councillors regarding the application for a wind farm near to the village. The Chairman  felt is was necessary to point out the Parish Council had a duty to remain impartial until such time as all information was available and this would not be the case until the final planning application was referred to the Parish Council for comment.
         Following discussion and reflection on views stated two minor amendments were made to the minutes to reflect more accurately the feelings expressed.

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

2b.  Matters Arising

Renewal of Shop Lease – the document is now ready and will be signed at the end of this meeting.
         From the floor Mr Coverley asked if the Chair was able to give a factual report on his visit to the wind farm.  The Chair replied he is entitled to gather relevant facts and information and pass this onto the village. His visit would be covered later in the meeting.

3.   Declaration of Interest

         Cllr Pollak declared an interest as her land adjoins Castle Green.
         The Chair declared a personal interest as he has an allotment and his property is opposite Castle Green.
         Cllr’s Kellett and Osborne declared an interest as there would be a visual impact if the wind farm proposal goes ahead.


4.      Update on application by Enertrag for Wind Farm

There has been some activity since the last council meeting.  Cllr Roberts visited the wind farm in Norfolk several weeks ago with Colin Wootton and Janet Smith. They were met by the Project Manager and showed around the site. 

The wind farm is situated on a brownfield site, a disused airfield and turkey farm, which is quite different from the proposed site near Sulgrave, and there was limited visual impact from the local village of North Pickenham.   The Enertrag representatives explained issues that arose with construction and building and the parish representatives listened to the turbines which were generating electricity from wind at the time of their visit.  Since then Colin Wootton has been able to generate photos to scale to help the village understand the impact of the issue which are on the village website for information.

An informal meeting was held on 30.06.09 with local villages, Moreton Pinkney, Weston, Helmdon, Culworth and Wappenham to understand the issues that will impact the community of those closest to it and discussions have also taken place with the Planning Officer at SNC, CPRE, English Nature and English Heritage.

An open meeting has been planned for Wednesday 15th July at Sulgrave Manor at 7.30pm.  This will be an opportunity to make public the information that has been collected. The current attendees are Cllr Ben Smith, Planning Officer from NCC, Richard Amor, SNC Planning Officer, Enertrag (although they have declined) and CPRE (unfortunately the rep is very ill).

Cllr Waite asked when would the SNC Planning Officer be writing to Enertrag with the Scoping Opinion?  The Chair replied they have had to consult a lot of people and are currently waiting for replies from NCC Highways and English Nature.  Cllr Waite felt that the Parish Council could influence the Scoping Opinion as they are able to assess the visual impact.  The Chair agreed that the Parish Council would be entitled to draw attention to these issues.  The Parish Council have not prepared any letters yet but could do so after the Open Meeting.  Cllr Pollak noted that this was a recommendation from English Heritage.

From the floor, Mr Prior talked about the Parish Council getting legal advice to see what powers they had and if they could influence the Scoping Opinion in any way. He felt it would be important for the Parish Council to be proactive, understand the processes and their own legal position.

Mr Prior asked what the objectives and outcome of the Open Meeting would be?  The Chair replied that the objective is to impart all the information gained to date to the community and other parties.  It allows a forum for a sensible discussion.  The Parish Council have a duty to the village to inform them of circumstances which could impact their village at a later date.  Cllr Roberts has agreed to act as Chair for the evening as he has to remain impartial due to his position on the Parish Council.

A villager asked about the timescale of the application. The Environmental Impact Assessment could take between 12-15 months to complete as it has to cover the four seasons of the year.  The impact on vision/noise/nature and wildlife would be looked at during this time.  An application is then submitted to SNC who would have eight weeks to respond.  The Parish Council will have three weeks to look at the application and give their response.  An application will also be submitted to put up a meteorological mast which will look at wind speed.

Mr Cockeram reported on a planning meeting that he was involved in some time ago in Redditch.  The Planning Officer has to be impartial but also reports on the legal part of the application.  This particular application went to a council meeting and community members were called upon to make presentations. 

The Chair noted that the Planning Officer will be conscious of his responsibilities in relation to environment/government requirements and targets.  Enertrag have already said that they expect their applications to be refused by District Council’s.  If rejected the application could go to appeal.  The Parish Council may not be involved unless they are called to give evidence.

Mrs Tattersall asked when the feelings of the community could be put across.  The Chair replied that once the planning application is submitted to SNC, the Parish Council will be consulted and they can let their feelings be known then. Until then, the Parish Council must obtain as much information as they can and keep their personal opinions to themselves.

This concluded the discussion on the wind farm and the next step would be to hold the Open Meeting.
5.      Councillors Reports

         Pocket Park

         Cllr Osborne reported that the Pocket Park Committee have met and decided to focus on three main areas, pond and wildlife, play equipment for the under 7’s and play area for the over 7’s.  Someone is coming to see them from Greens Norton as they have been able to obtain funding of £20K.  In their experience Parish Councils are not very successful in securing funding.  The Pocket Park Committee would like to set up a Pocket Park Trust and elect a Chair and Treasurer.  They will be writing to the Parish Council for permission to do this.  Once the trust is set up money raised from the fete will be transferred to the Pocket Park Trust.  Accounts will be reported separately at the Annual Parish Meeting.
          Mrs Coverley had met George Metcalfe who has given good advice about the pond.  He has made a path and cut some trees.  He would like to be involved in the work.  Mr Coverley also saw George who cleared the signs by the gate and pond which were obscured with bushes.  George has suggested that the hedge by the gate is cut to chest height so that people can see over the gate. Mrs Barrett of Towrise was not able to attend the meeting but has agreed to provide a power point.    George has also suggested that the path is widened towards the pond and is made accessible in two places.  Cllr Kellett felt the hedge by the gate should be cut and access to the pond should be made.
          However the water levels are high and banks are soft.  George has offered to give more advice and in the Autumn, a working party could be formed to clear the pond and see where the edges are.  Mrs Coverley spoke of the litter bin as it is currently used to store dog mess.
          The Clerk to pass the recent inspection report of Pocket Park to Cllr Osborne.

         Community Speedwatch

         Cllr Powell has received the ‘Watch Your Speed’ Signs from Northants Police which can be put up between 29th June and 10th August. They can be placed on either lamp columns or trees and must be placed high enough not to cause injury to anyone.   Cllr Powell has walked around the village but cannot find anywhere suitable to place them.  The Chair agreed to walk around with her as he has thought of a few places.                   
         Castle Green

         Wall Rebuilding

         Cllr Pollak was pleased to report that Underwood and Weston have been working on the wall since 17.06.09.  There have been some concerns about the quality of workmanship but they are making a much better job this time.  Some of the new mortar was not protected with layers of hessian and this was noted and raised with Rhodes Partners.   Cecil Rhodes visited the site on 9th July and reports that they hope to finish in a weeks time.  A site inspection is to be arranged to draw up a final snagging list.

         Risk Assessment

John Hicks conducted a risk assessment on the Green on 21st June and has sent in his report.  This will be discussed at the next Castle Green meeting.

         Wildlife Survey

Officers from the Wildlife Trust conducted a survey of the flora and some fauna on the Castle Green, Castle Mound and the churchyard ad they are awaiting the report. It may be possible for them to carry out a survey of the bats as well.  They will make recommendations for managing the various habitats.

         Field Use Survey

         A representative of the Northants Volunteer Service Support Unit will be inspecting the site soon.  There have been 12 responses to the Field Use Survey so far, the deadline is the end of July.  NVSS provided funding for the project and they have to report back on the survey results to the Government.

         Conservation Area Appraisal

         Cllr Waite has now seen the document but is awaiting permission to put it on the village website. 

         Parking on Magpie Road

         Cllr Waite has been in touch with South Northants Homes about the parking problem.


6.     Finance Report

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

£484.00 to Shires Gardening Services
£937.25 to RD Landscapes Ltd
£79.84 to EON (street lighting)
£46.11 to BT (fax line)
£107.64 To John Hicks (Pocket Park inspection)
£124.67 to Bob Woolmer Sales Ltd (repair of goal posts)
          The council discussed the invoice for Shires Gardening Services which had been submitted last month for payment.  Shires had originally charged £544 but it was felt this was too much to pay as there had been a lot of problems with the contractor.  It was agreed that £60.00 would be taken off the invoice as this is the additional charge that Philip Daynes has added to his invoice when he took over the contract in May.  A new cheque for £484.00 would be paid to Shires Gardening Services.

          The invoice from John Hicks included the risk assessment carried out on Castle Green and inspection on Pocket Park. It was agreed the council would pay for the two inspections.

          From the floor Mr Prior advised that he had received the invoice for cutting the churchyard from RD Landscapes.  The price per cut had increased and VAT was charged. He asked if the Parish Council were paying more per cut than last year and if VAT was charged last year.  The Clerk agreed to check last years accounts.

7.   Update on Planning Applications

          There was nothing to report on planning.

8.   Correspondence

9.   Open Forum



10.     Next meeting

10a.  Matters for consideration at the next meeting

          Wind Farm Proposal

10b.  Date and time of next meeting

          10th September in the Church Hall at 7.30pm

            Meeting closed at 9.40pm