Councillors Present

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

Item 1
1a. Apologies
       Cllr’s Osborne and Moore

1b. Introduction
       The Chair introduced the meeting by asking everyone present to stand and remember Mrs Joan Oakley.

Item 2
2a. Confirmation of minutes of last meeting held on 22nd February 2007
       The minutes were agreed and signed as a true record.

2b. Matters Arising
       Cleaning of Drain Gullies
       Cllr Roberts had walked around the village to check the gullies which had not been cleaned.  These have been emailed to Atkins who will clean them by the end of April.  The new council need to ensure they are cleaned.

       Speeding Boards
       These will be placed in the village by 4th April and have to be returned by 2nd May.   

       Dog Control Orders
       The Clerk is awaiting a response from Helen Hunt, Animal Welfare Officer of SNC.

       Gritting of main road
       This will be carried forward to the next Parish Council meeting.

       Fly tipping up Gated Road
       Cllr Cherry has checked the area and the rubbish has been cleared away.


3.   Declaration of Interest

  1. Cllr Pollak declared that her property adjoins Castle Green.
  2. Cllr Cherry declared that his farm adjoins Dial House farmyard.

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

       Underground Cabling
       Cllr Cherry noted that Sulgrave are definitely in the programme of works for late 2007/early 2008 but he could not obtain more specific dates.   As he was not standing for re-election, he would ensure that all correspondence would be passed to the Clerk.  The Clerk would ask Central Networks for their timetable as there will be financial implications for the new council.

       Cllr Cherry was asked to report the two lights that are not working.

       Allotment Area
       Cllr Roberts noted that Philip Daynes has cleared the area and dug it over.  A past allotment area has removed his fruit trees.  Interest has been expressed by a resident of Towrise and the Clerk is to send him paperwork.  A note will be put in the newsletter/website advising villagers that allotments are available now.

       New Initiative
       Cllr Roberts advised of a new initiative that he had seen advertised in the recent Viewpoint Magazine (supplied via NALC/ACRE) to promote local environment projects such as allotments, registered commons/village and town greens and childrens play spaces. The Clerk has emailed Jane Campion at Northants ACRE for more information and paperwork but is awaiting a response.  She will chase it up.
5.   Approval of Health and Safety Policy
        Cllr Pollak had circulated a draft Health and Safety Policy to all the councillors which was an adapted version of Blaby Parish Councils policy found on the internet and had been written by herself, Peter Pollak and Darryl Crowley (wife of Paul, the Castle Green Treasurer).  The policy document is needed at this time because it is required by the County Council for the Castle Green Committee to be eligible for VSSU grant funding for Castle Green.  The Council has only one employee (the Clerk) and only  requires compliance if there are more than five employees. 
It refers to the Health and Safety At Work Act as that is the main legislation that applies to public open spaces.

        A long discussion took place about the correct wording of the document to ensure that specialist advice was always sought and it was agreed that several amendments would be made to the document which Cllr Pollak made a note of. Cllr Roberts then proposed that the document be accepted with the amendments proposed and this was seconded by Cllr Powell.  All the councillors voted in favour.

        The Chair then thanked Cllr Pollak, Peter Pollak and Darryl Crowley for their work in producing the document.

6.   Newsletter Direction
        The Chair referred to the last newsletter where the editor, Tom Cockeram had said that the content of it was very thin.   He had sent an email asking if commercial adverts should be included in the newsletter and under what circumstances (paid or not) and he asked if the Parish Council could meet during the first two weeks of the month so that their notes would be included in the next newsletter.   Occasionally the notes are missing if a meeting is in the third or fourth week of the month and they are then very old by the time they are put in the next month for everyone to read.         

All the councillors agreed that minutes from their meetings should go in the newsletter as the Parish Council pay for the production of the newsletter.  The latest newsletter was very thin on content and the question was asked how to improve it.

Cllr Cherry has read Chacombe’s newsletter and it is full of advertising.  Cllr Powell suggested that instead of charging for adverts, they are asked to give a donation.  The Chair noted that if the council agree to let local businesses advertise then it will add pages to the newsletter.  At present nobody is paid to collate and deliver the newsletter.  A suggestion was made that perhaps income from this could be used for the collation of the newsletter pages.

        The council agreed that local businesses within the village should be allowed to advertise in the newsletter but the next council should decide if there would be a charge.  There must be a balance between advertising and editorial with more emphasis on editorial.  This would be down to the editor to control.

        The Clerk has received numerous request from South Northants Council and South Northants Volunteer Bureau asking to advertise in the newsletter.  It was felt that if these articles are of benefit and use to the village they must be included.

        Cllr Pollak noted that the current webmaster does not want to charge for adverts to be put on the website.  The next council must consider whether to include local businesses on the website.  Colin Wootton is keen to liaise with Tom Cockeram and put a page from the website in the newsletter each month.  The Clerk agreed to respond to Tom’s email on the above points discussed.

        The council expressed their thanks to Tom in the design, layout  and editorship of the newsletter.

7.   Update on Action Plan for Pocket Park/Play Area
        Although Cllr Moore was absent from the meeting he had sent a written report to be read out.  Sulgrave Charities have confirmed the grant of £1000.00.  An order has been placed for the replacement swings and delivery should be next week.  A site meeting has been held at Pocket Park with the play equipment provider but there were some complications on the original plans. A quote for different options is due soon.

        The Chair thanked Sulgrave Charities for their generous grant.  This item will be carried forward to the next council meeting as the new council will need to revisit the inspection report dated June 2006 and relook at the recommendations given by Cllr Moore in his email dated 9th October 2006.

        The Chair, on behalf of the council gave his appreciation to Cllr Moore for all his work and efforts in the Pocket Park with such a small team of people.

  1. Finance Report

The Clerk had circulated a spend to date spreadsheet and it showed that for the end of year just under £9589.00 had been spent, which was £11.00 under the budget of £9600.00 (including the contingency of £500.00).

A letter had been received from the Audit Commission to advise that BDO Stoy Hayward would cover the audit for 2006/7. 
There are also new fees to operate from 2006/7.  The Clerk was to write and confirm the council’s acceptance of this.

The Chair suggested that the new council should write to Northants County Council to ask for an increase in their contribution for grass cutting.


The following cheques were approved for payment:

  1. £105.60 to Mr Colin Wootton in lieu of payment for website charges to Lycos
  2. £127.38 to Jon Dixon Signs Ltd (three signs for Pocket Park)
  3. £73.41 to ABB (lighting)

       To approve the transfer of £1250.00 from the Community Account into the Burial Ground Fund.  This was money that had been borrowed some time ago to help with the shop renovation work whilst awaiting grant funding.  This was proposed by Cllr Pollak, seconded by Cllr Cherry and all the councillors voted in favour.

9.   Planning Applications
       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.   This has now been accepted by South Northants Council.

       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.   This application has been accepted by SNC but only includes the existing three barn conversions.  New plans are about to be submitted for the two new builds.  The next council will need to give careful consideration to the effect on Dial House Farm as it is the entrance to the village. This development will be the first of a number of  future restricted infills and will set a precedent.  The new builds will need to be handled very delicately so that they do not dominate the area.  If new plans are received by 3rd May, a meeting will be arranged and this Parish Council will have to make a decision on them.  Giles English had sent an email asking if he could attend the Parish Council meeting when they discuss the new plans.


Item 10 – Correspondence
a.     Requiring attention by councillors

  1. The membership renewal for Northants Association of Local Councils is due.  The cost is £102.00  which has increased only slightly since last year.  The Chair felt it was money well spent although the council could make more use of the services that are offered by them.  

Cllr Roberts proposed that this money is spent and this was seconded by Cllr Pollak.  All the councillors voted in favour.

  1. For info
  2. A consultation document on amendments to Model Code of Conduct.  This will be circulated to councillors.
  3. Northants Local Waste Plan.  It highlighted the need to increase recycling and cut down on what is sent to landfill.


Item 11 – Open Forum
Mr Prior felt the newsletter content was thin this month and the matter needs addressing.  He felt that more could be made from skills that are available in the village.  Mrs Barrett added that ‘Now we are 6’ is a good church magazine with lots of advertising and items to read.  The Clerk will ask Tom Cockeram if he receives it.

Mrs Barrett noted that she had seen a villager working on the allotment area but was not sure if he had removed everything that he was supposed to.  She also advised that grass from the greenhouse is all over the place.  Cllr Roberts agreed to have a look at the area.

Mrs Barrett asked if the council had got the new notices for Pocket Park yet.  The Clerk replied yes and they would be given to Kevin Moore this week. Mrs Barrett noted that dog fouling has got worse in the village since Christmas.  The Clerk will ask Helen Hunt, Animal Welfare Officer of SNC to provide an article for the newsletter.

In conclusion the Chair thanked the councillors for all their hard work and commitment as this was their last council meeting before elections in May.  In reply, Cllr Roberts, on behalf of the councillors thanked the Chair for his guidance, professionalism and guided approach.  They had all worked together as a team and they thanked him for his valued experience given to them over the years.

Item 12 - Next meeting
12a. Date and time of next meeting
       Annual Assembly Meeting on  19th April 2007.  This will be a review of the last year from the County/District Councillors, local Police, Community Shop, Castle Green, Website and Sulgrave Charities.
Meeting closed at 9.30pm