Councillors Present

Graham Roberts, David Kellett, Jo Powell, and Clare Pollak together with eighteen villagers.

Item 1

1a. Apologies

       Cllr’s Waite and Osborne

1b. Introduction

       The Chair welcomed everyone to the meeting and noted it was nice to see so many faces on such an awful night.

Item 2

2a. Confirmation of minutes of last meeting held on 6th February 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 Pollak.

2b. Matters Arising

       Water leak in Stockwell Lane – The Clerk had written to Anglian Water as they inspected the area last year. Anglian Water confirmed there is no water mains in Stockwell Lane and the job confirmed that the water in question did not contain chlorine and did not originate from their distribution network.  In their opinion it is believed to be ground water that has possibly become an issue due to a combination of higher than average rainfall last summer and local building work taking place in the area.  The Chair has been able to find out  who the Building Control Officer is for that work and an email has been sent to him to find out if they can help sort out the problem.

3.   Declaration of Interest

4.    Update on Underground Cabling Supplies

       Work on the plinth at the bottom of Helmdon Road has not started yet.  A letter was sent to Central Networks after the last meeting and a reply dated 18th February was received by the Clerk.

       The works for Sulgrave have been planned and issued to a Project Manager for construction.  Their designer, Mr Bob Wilkinson has been in liaison with the Chair of the PC during the planning and he has been provided with diagrams of their proposals.  The scheme has been designed on the basis of replacing the overhead lines, where asset condition requires with underground cables.  The remaining overhead lines will be reconstructed using the modern equivalent conductors (ABC).  Sulgrave has received significant investment including a scheme which was completed three years ago to underground the centre of the village.  When the present scheme is finished the village should not require any further work for 40 years.

       They recognise that ABC has a different visual impact but their investment decisions are based on engineering considerations.  As a regulated company their investments are subject to review and they must demonstrate they have invested within design specifications. If they are found to have invested beyond these levels the works may be disallowed by the Electricity Regulator as such investment places a burden on consumers to pay for the additional work.  The intended works are robust and their designers have ensured that the network will support the required loads.

       A couple of emails have been exchanged since receiving this letter.  Central Networks have agreed to replace the poor unsatisfactory poles. Cllr Pollak asked if the poles had been inspected and felt they should be replaced like for like.  Mr Houlston noted that the pole outside his house was condemned recently by BT as he had asked for a new line to be put in.  The Chair continued by noting that the project seems to moving forward without further consultation.  He will clarify which poles are going to be replaced and with what.  He will also ask Ian Cherry, who was a previous councillor and involved with this work, for an update.  From the floor Mrs Burke asked if the work can be stopped.  The Chair replied that if they did that, the work may never start again.

5.   Update on work on Castle Green Restoration Project

Cllr Pollak gave an update on the Castle Green restoration project.

Wall Restoration Project

There have been no further developments on site since the last Parish Council meeting.

At a meeting with the Castle Green Chairman and Treasurer Cllr Pollak was able to report to them on the points raised by councillors at the last council meeting.
They sympathised with the frustration and criticisms expressed at that meeting, but reminded her that in August last year it looked like they might not be able to continue with the wall project.  At that time the Chair of the Parish Council 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 their behalf to bring the project to a satisfactory conclusion so it would not be helpful to try and bring any formal complaints against him. They pointed out that the wall had actually been built and the arguments were about snags and defects in workmanship.

Rhodes have suggested that a site meeting is held with them and the Chair and Cllr Waite to review the situation.  They will also agree a definitive statement about what is said to Underwood and Weston.

There is still £13K to be paid to Underwood and Weston and this is reassuring that the Castle Green Committee have such a strong hold over them.


No further cheques have been drawn.

Permissive Path

There are no further developments.

6.   Dog Control Measures

       The Parish Council have received a number of complaints concerning dogs recently.  No-one in particular is to blame but people have been bitten and frightened by dogs roaming the village.

       The Clerk contacted SNC to see if they provide a dog warden service.  SNC advised they do not and gave website details of where to buy dog bins and the name of a company in Milton Keynes who collect from bins. A red or green dog bin would cost  approximately £149.00 to purchase. AH Contracts in Milton Keynes would charge £3.50 to collect from each bin either weekly, fortnightly or monthly.

       There is new legislation in place by means of dog control orders so that dog owners can be prosecuted.    Owners can be prosecuted if: 1.  They  allow their dogs to foul and leave the mess.  2.  Dogs are not kept on leads.  3.  If an owner does not put a dog on a lead when asked to.  4.  Dogs are seen in an area where they are not allowed to be.

       From the floor, Mrs Barrett, although not a dog owner, felt that dog bins would be a way forward to solving the problem and should be placed on the outskirts of the village such as on the Weston Road. 

       Mrs Prior agreed and felt that bins should not be put by people’s houses. They would be better placed if people are walking in fields and would be used more.

       From the floor Mr Pollak felt that principles should be established and the Dog Warden should be invited to a meeting.  Mr Prior agreed and if there is no improvement the Parish Council should consider dog bins which will cost.  Dog owners must exercise their own responsibility.

       Mr Henn noted that Middleton Cheney have dog bins and he agreed to speak to the Clerk there to find out more.  He felt that paths are used by dog walkers which is good to keep them being used but dog walkers must consider other people who use them too.

       Mrs Blayney asked if the problem was in any particular area and Mrs Barrett replied that the pavements from Little Street to Rectory Farm were bad as she often walked with her son along there.

       Mrs Barrett asked if dogs would be banned on Castle Green. This area will have to considered as it is not an open field and may need a dog bin too.  It was agreed it is far safer to walk across Castle Green with a pushchair and dog than try to walk around the field on the road.

       The Clerk would obtain a suitable form of words from the Dog Warden which would be put in the next newsletter and the situation would be monitored.
7.   Parking outside Spinners Cottages

       The Chair began by advising that discussions on parking outside Spinners Cottages have taken place at the last few council meetings.  There are more cars to park than actual physical parking spaces.  A letter was sent to all residents of Spinners Cottages after the last meeting asking them to park more carefully but the problem is still there.  Cllr Waite has produced a questionnaire which could be circulated to the village to see their thoughts on taking this project further.  The Clerk had obtained copying costs.  It would cost £87.00 to copy in colour and £15.00 in black and white.  From the floor Mr Henn agreed to colour copy the document.  Cllr Pollak suggested that the last page is changed so that villagers could leave the completed paper either in the shop or at a councillors house and not to be sent to the Clerks home address.   The Chair thanked Mr Henn and agreed to pass an amended copy to him.

       From the floor Mr Henn asked if the Highways Authority would pay for it.  The Chair replied that they had no money in their budget.
       County Councillor Ben Smith is due to come to the Annual Assembly Meeting in April and he may be able to contribute in some way.  The project will need a lot of support from the village and will cost a lot of money to fund.

       Mr Houlston felt that if the cars came off the road, then the traffic would go faster. In Charlton, villagers pay to park their cars in the village hall car park.

8.    Councillors Reports

Community Speedwatch – More people have volunteered to use the equipment since the last meeting but more are needed.  Posters will be put and a note will be put in the newsletter.  Cllr Powell will change the date for using the camera as she is on holiday and is still awaiting contact details from Halse.  Two more villagers (Rodney Henn and Clive Gilmore) from the floor volunteered to help.

Cllr Kellett pointed out that one villager was not happy about the use of the speed gun in the village as there had not been a serious accident in 25 years.  He asked if there was a need for it.  The Chair replied that in a consultation document sent out to the village some time ago, speeding was an issue. Cars do accelerate out of the village at the bottom of Helmdon Road but have to slow down if traffic is parked on both sides of the road.   By having use of the gun, the Parish Council can gather data to see if cars are speeding or if it just a perception.  A note will be put in the newsletter nearer the time to lift the level of publicity.

Village Fete in June – In an email from Cllr Osborne, she confirmed  that the profits will be split between the Church and Pocket Park fund.

Work in Pocket Park – Cllr Kellett reported that the undergrowth around the pond has been trimmed and the pond appears much bigger now.  Slow steady progress is being made.

Wind Generation – Cllr Kellett has looked into this and a project could take five years to complete.To produce cheaper electricity for the village 5-8 turbines would be needed at a cost of half a million per turbine.  There is funding and support available after you get to first base but a lot of work would be needed to get to this point.  At a previous meeting Mr Cave expressed an interest on a private basis.  He would need the support of the community himself and the two could be linked together.

9.   Finance Report

The Clerk had circulated a final spend to date spreadsheet as year end is very close.

Bank Balances are as follows:

Community Account                                       £3043.75
Pocket Park Account                                     £468.50
Bank of Ireland Reserves                              £3094.71
Bank of Ireland Recreational Area Fund         £1146.60
Bank of Ireland Burial Ground Fund                £2786.64

There is still interest to be received on the Bank of Ireland accounts and a rental payment of £750.00 is due from the shop. The Chair noted that the accounts are now looking very strong and robust.  A huge saving was made by the flyers being copied free of charge.  The Clerk is to check the 137 payments made against the previous year.  The following payments were approved and cheques raised accordingly.  They were proposed by Cllr Pollak and seconded by Cllr Powell.


10. Update on Planning Applications

The council had received one new application to consider:-
     S/2008/0212/P, Single Storey Extension to rear at Stone Court, Helmdon Road.  The plans were put on display at the meeting and will be circulated to all councillors after this meeting.

A decision notice had been received on the following application. 
S/2007/1685/P, Single storey extension to the rear at Southlands Cottage, Helmdon Road.  This has been approved by SNC.

11. Correspondence

Cllr Powell felt that Joan Gascoigne had expressed an interest previously and Vera Smith agreed to contact her.  Mr Henn noted that the stickers for windows are a good idea  and if villagers see suspect vehicles in the village they should write down their registration numbers.  A huge vote of thanks was given to Vera for all that she has done.

Item 12 – Open Forum

Item 13 - Next meeting

13a.    Matters for consideration at the next meeting

          Update on Underground Cabling
          Update on  Castle Green Restoration Project

13b.   Date and time of next meeting

       Annual Parish Meeting on 10th April 2008 at 7.30pm in the Church Hall         

Meeting closed at 9.30pm