Councillors Present

Graham Roberts, David Kellett, Andrew Waite, Jo Powell, Clare Pollak, together with four villagers.

Item 1

1a. Introduction

       The Chair welcomed everyone to the meeting.

1b. Apologies

       Peter Pollak, Jill Barrett

Item 2

2a.  Confirmation of minutes of last meeting held on 15th May 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

       Permissive Path – The final document is available now.  The Clerk was asked to check with  the councils insurers to clarify if there is public liability cover to use the path and they confirmed there is.  Cllr Pollak will need to read the document with her husband and send to their solicitor.  It will then be available for the other councillors to see.

3.   Declaration of Interest

4.    Rights of Way Improvements

       The Parish Council had received a letter and CD from Northants County Council for improvements to the public rights of way and bridleways.  Cllr Roberts passed the letter and CD to Christina Shillito, Footpath Warden who then liaised with Cllr Pollak.  Christina Shillito then reported back in an email which was read out at the meeting by Cllr Pollak.

       The letter is from Richard Hall and his office is Sustainable Transport in Northampton whereas the Rights of Way Team are in Brixworth.      Richard Hall’s group have conducted a survey and they say a majority of people want toilets, car parking, better signage and better surface underfoot ie no mud.  The signing would be on posts giving distances and notices in villages with maps.  CS felt it would be better to tell people to go to the council website where they can download maps of all description and it could be regularly updated at no cost rather than expensive signs with a lot of information on all over the countryside.  People wanted all footpaths changed to bridleways and more access is needed for MPVs, mothers with buggies and disabled people in motorised wheelchairs.  CS thinks they are planning to get of stiles and replace them with either a gap or a gate.  Mixing footpaths with bridleways is difficult for walkers.  Although riders will slow down, the hooves destroy the surface very quickly and can make it dangerous.  They want to have more cycle routes and in CS’s experience, this does not work as cycles come from in front and behind, are fast and a walker does not know where to walk. New paths would be created to link up existing paths, this would be done by paying private landowners for their field edges.   This seems a good idea if it can be done. The idea to widen verges on busy roads so walkers can walk more safely between paths is good as there are places around Sulgrave where this could be helpful.  They want to make gates on bridleways rider friendly.  During 2005/6 £50K was given for thinking of ways to improve the system and more money has been put in over the following years.  At the same time they have cut the number of Rights of Way Officers.  CS feels that more Officers are needed on the ground to help with basic work such as cutting back growth of nettles at gates, small repairs and a quick response to problems.

       CS noted that there is expensive work to be done. There are drainage issues on the Boggy Field by AY8.  Cllr Kellett felt that access to the countryside should be muddy and passable.  Access to gates and stiles should be clear for all walkers.

       In conclusion Cllr Pollak noted that she and CS would set up a working party, take the positive ideas from the CD and welcome ideas from anyone else.  The idea of footpath wardens was introduced by NCC but they don’t seem to be listening to them.  Cllr Pollak agreed to reply to the letter on behalf of the Parish Council.

5.    Copying of newsletter

       Enquiries had been made with Sulgrave Manor about copying the newsletter.  Costs will be split 50/50 between the Manor and the Parish Council and the cost will be £60.00 per issue.  Colour copies would be charged at 6p per sheet and black and white at 2p.  Previously all the newsletters have been produced in colour.  The council recognised the Manors help as they produced the last one at very short notice and thanks was given to them.  The Chair noted that no money has been set aside in this years budget as the service has been free for a few years.

       Cllr Kellett felt there was nothing technical in producing the newsletter.  A new printer could cost £100.00 and he suggested the council think about purchasing  a new one.  The newsletter could then be produced each month for less than £60.00.  The work could be carried out within the council and used for other general copying that is needed.

       Both Cllr’s Powell/Pollak did not agree to this idea as they felt they were doing enough already and more electric would be used.  It would not necessarily be a cost saving exercise.

       A discussion took place whether the newsletter should be in colour or black and white as it would be cheaper to produce in that way.  Cllr Waite felt that people would miss the colour but it was better to have it to read even if in black and white.  The Chair agreed as it provides a valuable community service.

       A note would be put in the next newsletter asking if anyone in the village would be willing to sponsor a printer for the Parish Council.  In the meantime it was agreed the Manor should continue producing the newsletter in black and white for the foreseeable future.  There would still be a colour copy on the internet for everyone  to access if they have a PC.  The following resolution was then proposed by Cllr Kellett:
       “That a total amount of £100.00 be set aside from the budget for a period of three months to be used for the publication of the Sulgrave newsletter by Sulgrave Manor”.  This was seconded by Cllr Pollak and all the councillors voted in favour.

       It was also agreed the dog leaflet would be copied and distributed with the flyer prior to next months meeting.

6.    Councillors Reports

       Community Speedwatch

       Cllr Powell has contacted PC McQuaid as some volunteers cannot make training on 2nd August.  Another session has been arranged for 21st June. The Chair is still to liaise with Cllr Powell about posters.
       Castle Green Restoration Project

       Cllr Pollak gave the following update.

           The Wall

       Cllr Pollak was not able to stay to discuss the wall restoration at the last council meeting and understood that great concern was expressed about the way Rhodes were administering the project.  She then drew the councillors attention to the March council meeting when the following statement was made:

       “They sympathised with the frustration and criticisms expressed at that meeting but reminded me that in August last year it looked as though we might not be able to continue with the wall project.  At that time Graham and members of the Castle Green Committee had a meeting with Cecil Rhodes and reluctantly agreed that the only way forward was to trust Cecil Rhodes to act on our behalf to bring the project to a satisfactory conclusion, so it would not be helpful to try to bring any formal complaints against him”.

       Cllr Pollak pointed out that the wall has been rebuilt and the general appearance is good.  There are problems with snagging and steps/handrails but the Castle Green Committee (CGC) will continue to withhold £13K from Underwood and Weston so they are in a strong position.  The CGC met after the last council meeting and agreed a draft response to the Rhodes Partners.  This letter, an illustration drafted by Andrew, shows the required modifications to the handrails and some explanatory notes were sent to Rhodes by post and email on May 20th.  Rhodes Partners were then on holiday for 10 days and the CGC are awaiting their response.


No cheques have been drawn.


Three benches are being ordered and English Heritage has been approached for permission to set them in concrete.  They have also given verbal permission for the sign board posts to be set in concrete too.  This will ensure they last much longer than if they were placed directly into the soil.

Sign Boards

       The committee are finalising the wording for the main information board for the site and Leigh Dickinson of Church Street has agreed to create a digital design which will be sent to the sign manufacturers.  The committee hope it will be ready in time for the formal opening of the Restoration Project, which is planned for 31st August.

       The discussion was then opened up to the councillors.  Cllr Kellett felt the problem was with the Rhodes Partnership and the  Parish Council should write and state that the work must be finished by a certain date.  Cllr Waite noted that the situation has to be handled very carefully otherwise everything could be lost at the end which would be detrimental to the project.
       The Parish Council must remain firm and the contractors must finish what they started.  The Chair noted that if the Parish Council was a proper business, they could take a different view on it.  However they are not and must keep the job moving forward in the best way possible. They cannot be exposed to any unnecessary risks.   

       It was agreed that the Rhodes Partners must respond to all the points in  the latest letter in a timely manner and by 15th June.  There will be no reason then for them not to give a new completion date.  Cllr Pollak will continue to liaise with them.
       Underground Cabling

       The Chair had sent a list of questions as follows re the proposed work in the village.
       Question:  During excavation work will there be road restrictions and restricted traffic flow?  Answer:  There will be little or no traffic restrictions.
       Question:  Do you expect residents who park on Magpie Road to have that restricted?  Answer:  Residents will not be affected and they will receive a letter in advance.  They will not be able to park  on grass verges, an alternative may be to park in the Church Hall car park.
       Question:  8 weeks is a long time for the work, what is the actual elapsed time for the work? Answer: This is the anticipated duration time including re-instatement.
       Question:  If they excavate the grass area adjacent to the footpath can they confirm re-instatement will include replacing the turf?  Answer:  They will put topsoil down and seed only.

       The Chair is to draft a suitable response.


       Cllr Waite confirmed he has made an application to Anglian Water for a fresh water supply for the allotment area.


       The drain at the top of Towrise/Manor Road was reported to the Street Doctor as it is often wet when there has been no rain.

       Dog Fouling

       It was confirmed that the grass contractor had not actually seen the dog fouling Castle Green as noted at the last meeting.  He had been told by another resident who wished to remain anonymous.    The Parish Council are not sure how accurate this information is and feel unsure about sending a letter someone on this hearsay.  It was felt that if a general letter was sent to all dog owners it would offend the responsible ones who clear up after their dogs.  Cllr Kellett felt that if you are asking people to clear up, then dog bins should be provided for them. 

       It was agreed that the Clerk would resend the drafted K9 dog document, which should have been put in the last newsletter, to the Chair who will amend.  It will then be copied by the Manor and delivered to every house with the flyer prior to the next meeting.

       Spinners Cottages parking

       Cllr Waite has published the survey results  in the newsletter and on the website.  He has circulated dates for the working party to meet and is waiting for their response.

       Water problem in Stockwell Lane

       The Chair and Clerk had received the inspection report from Chris Reynolds (Building Inspector) who visited the site in March.  He found no signs of running water eminating from the grass verge adjacent to the highway.  Most of the water was finding its way into the nearby road gulley but some was trickling down the road.  In his opinion the water is either ground water or a burst water mains.  His recollection of the site when inspecting the excavations was weathered limestone and clay with no ground water.  There was evidence of water in the excavations to the retaining wall adjacent to the highway/ditch.  He has suggested that the Parish Council contact SNC who may be able to advise on the possibility of ground conditions from the geological map and the presence of any spring water to the hillslope.  The Chair agreed to make contact with SNC.                                                                             

7.    Finance Report

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

8.   Update on Planning Applications

The following application has been permitted by SNC:-
S/2008/0271/P, Extension to front of garage at Coombe Cottage, Helmdon Road

         The council has received three new applications to consider:
S/2008/0587/LB, Alterations and repairs to a section of boundary wall at Corner House, Helmdon Road.  The council will approve it.

S/2008/0694/P, Porch to front, replacement car port including pitched roof and timber doors to front.  Replacement shed to rear at Hangland, Manor Road. The council will approve it.

S/2008/0-652/P, Removal of existing conservatory and construction of single storey extension to rear at The Old Stables, Hill Farm Yard, Manor Road. In circulation.  Waiting for a drawing from SNC.

9.   Correspondence

10. Open Forum

11.    Next meeting

11a.  Matters for consideration at the next meeting

          Update on Castle Green Restoration Project
          Update on dog fouling

11b.    Date and time of next meeting

       3rd July 2008 at 7.30pm in the Church Hall  

Meeting closed at 9.30pm