Councillors Present

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

Item 1
1a.  Election of Chairman
        Cllr Christy, as Chair, introduced the meeting and advised he would stand down once the new Chairperson had been elected.  The councillors were each asked for their nominations.  Cllr Roberts was voted as Chairman.

1b.  Chairman’s Declaration of Acceptance of Office form
        This was duly signed by Cllr Roberts and returned to the clerk for filing.

1c.  Election of Vice-Chairman
       The councillors were each asked for their nominations.  Cllr Kellett was voted as Vice-Chairman.  Cllr Christy congratulated them both and left the meeting.

Item 2
2a. Apologies
       Joyce Barber and Peter Pollak

2b. Introduction
       Cllr Roberts welcomed everyone to the meeting.

2c.  Declaration of Interest

  1. Cllr Pollak declared that her property adjoins Castle Green.
  2. Cllr Roberts declared that his property is adjacent to Castle Green.

Item 3
3a. Confirmation of minutes of last meeting held on 22nd March 2007
       The minutes were agreed and signed as a true record.

3b. Matters Arising


From the last Parish Council meeting held in March the clerk was asked to report light no 4 in Magpie Road, outside the Old Farmhouse which was not working and light no 1 in Magpie Road, outside Dial House Farmyard which was on during the day.  These were both reported to ABB Lighting by the Clerk.

Pocket Park

A letter had been received from Kevin Moore to advise of the work that needs to be carried out in Pocket Park to comply with last years safety inspection.

The proposed work is as follows:-
Parallel Bars – to install safety grass mats beneath the bars.  Cost £844.00.
Two Way Spring Mobile – allowance to dig up from the bark pit and relocate the existing two way spring mobile.  To supply and install the safety grass mats beneath the existing mobile.  Cost £745.00.

It was agreed that £700.00 would be moved from the Pocket Park account to pay for this work and the Sulgrave Educational Charity have confirmed a grant of £1K.  This was proposed by Cllr Pollak and seconded by Cllr Powell.   All the councillors voted in favour.

4.   Councillors Responsibilities for 2007/8
These are as follows:

Cllr Roberts

District/County Council Consultation Documents, Quality Status, Planning and Utilities

Cllr Pollak

Communication, Environment and Heritage/Cultural Activities

Cllr Powell

Heritage/Cultural Activities, Highways and Inter-village co-ordination

Cllr Osborne

Children/Young People, Highways and Utilities

Cllr Kellett

Children/Young People, Environment and Highways

Cllr Waite

Communication, Heritage/Cultural Activities and Planning

5.    Update on Quality Council Status

Cllr Roberts noted that the Parish Council are able to proceed with gaining quality council status.  They thought that an election had to be held recently to qualify but the criteria, read out by the Clerk, is as follows:
“On accreditation 80% of the members of the council must have been elected.  ‘Elected’ means that the member has been nominated and stood as a candidate for election.  Where an election was not held , ‘elected’ means those councillors who stood for election and were elected unopposed’.

At the recent election, the  council had 100% members of the council elected.  Therefore they qualify in this section.  Most of the work has already been done by this council.  The main outstanding item is the production of an annual report which will have to be completed and published by 30th June 2007.  Cllr Pollak noted that Colin Wootton has put a lot of information on the website and this would be easy to print off and use in the report. The Clerk, Cllr Waite and Cllr Roberts agreed to help produce the document. Another  meeting would be arranged for the councillors to look at this item only.

6.    Update on Grass Cutting
Cllr Roberts in the past has organised the work of the grass cutting contractor.  The contractor has  a schedule of what has to be done but this is very dependent upon the weather.  He carries out eight main grass cuts during the year and two strimmings in both Little Street and Park Lane/Church Street.  He also cuts the churchyard which the Parochial Church Council pay for.  Some concerns have been raised recently about his work and this was opened to the floor for discussion.

Cllr Pollak advised there are specific areas within the village such as Pocket Park, the churchyard and Castle Green where the grass has to be kept long at certain times of the year.  These areas were not cut last year and are very long now.  She suggested that an advert is placed in the newsletter to look for a grass cutting warden who could be around during the week to liaise with Philip Daynes.  This was felt to be a good idea as there is a tree warden and footpath warden.  An advert will be put in the newsletter to this effect.

From the floor, Mr Metcalfe noted that the council have two choices.  Either to cut the areas now where the grass is long and lose the wildflowers or leave the grass until the correct cutting time.  This was overlooked last year by Philip Daynes in error and the grass is very wet now.  Mr Metcalfe also noted that the cowslips are thinner than in previous years but some flowers can thrive in long grass.

Mrs Barrett noted that  the grass in the play area is very short and the children have been able to play football.  The grass always seems to grow very quickly in this area.

The council agreed to look at what areas need cutting now and advise Philip Daynes accordingly.

7.    Councillors Reports
       Castle Green Restoration Project
       Cllr Pollak gave the following report. 

The funding required for the project has been secured and the committee are working to get the project underway.  Final signing of contracts with the funding bodies, Heritage Lottery Fund, Northants County Council and South Northants Council will take place at a Finance sub-committee meeting on Friday evening with Paul Crowley, Martin Sirot-Smith and Cllr Pollak.

The treasurer Paul Crowley is setting up a separate Castle Green project account to receive all the funding, so that it can be kept separate from the normal account.

Contracts are being drawn up for all the contractors, and these will include topics such as insurance cover, statutory regulations, health and safety and equal opportunities etc.

The committee intends to use Underwood and Weston to carry out the repairs to the wall.  This part of the project will be managed by a professional company, the Rhodes Partnership.  The path and fences will be undertaken by a very experienced company recommended by South Northants Council, F J Morris Contracting.  The Resistivity Survey will be carried out by Northants Archaelogy.  This is planned for August, weather permitting.

There are trees growing along the line of the wall, and these will need to be removed, so a site meeting has been held with Ian Lorman, the South Northants Tree Officer.  The exact details of which trees he has recommended to be removed will be on the agenda of the next PC meeting.  Another site meeting will be held with residents immediately adjacent to the Green, so that they will know exactly what is planned.

Cllr Roberts asked if the council could see the contract documents but Cllr Pollak noted these were not available yet. A contract for FJ Morris Contracting is being drafted based on a Minor Works Contract and including the very detailed specification in his Tender document. He has offered to start work on the path on Tuesday 29th May.   Cllr’s Waite and Kellett offered to advise on the first draft of the contract. They will also advise on the contract for Underwood and Weston who are doing the work on the wall. This contract is being drafted by the Rhodes Partnership and will be available shortly. The total value of the project is £89,000 including the value of voluntary work. Cllr Pollak warned that there will be disruption in the village while the works are being carried out, and roads will have to be closed from time to time.

Cllr Pollak then put forward the following resolution:
“The Castle Green Management Committee would like the Parish Council to authorise the Chairman and Project Co-ordinator to sign the necessary contracts with funding bodies, and with the selected contractors to the value of the funding already secured”.  This was proposed by Cllr Osborne and seconded by Cllr Kellett.  All the councillors voted in favour.

Cllr Pollak agreed to bring as much additional information as she could to the next meeting.

       Allotment Area

There are currently two allotment holders.  The ground has been cleared and work is ongoing to improve the area overall.  Cllr Roberts is in the process of getting quotes for new fencing around the allotment area.  2 quotes have been received and the council are awaiting a third.  The PC will write to the brewery to ask if their land can be tidied up.

8.    Update on Litter Pick
Unfortunately due to the council changing members recently, this has not taken place.  The grass is too long now to carry out a litter pick at present.  The next one will be done in the Autumn.

9.    Finance Report

The Clerk had circulated a spend to date spreadsheet prior to the meeting.

a)  The following cheques were approved for payment:

- £141.52 to Wicksteed Leisure (play equipment)

  1. £751.36 to Allianz Cornhill (council insurance policy)
  2. £236.07 to Parish Clerk (hours and mileage)
  3. £50.00 to Parish Clerk (float)

b) To consider a request from the Clerk for her to join the Society of Local Council Clerks at an annual cost of £18.33. The Clerk noted that by joining this society she would be kept updated on government legislation which is changing constantly.  It is cheaper to join on behalf of the three councils that she works for and her other two have already agreed to contribute £18.33 each.  The council agreed that she could join.

10. Planning Applications
Decision notices had been received about the following applications:
Application S/2007/0114/PT,  Reduce Tall Stem (upper crown) at Sulgrave House, Little Street.  SNC have approved the application.

Application A/2006/0476/LB, Conservatory to rear, part rebuilding of boundary wall at Rectory Farm, Little Street.  The Planning Inspectorate made a site visit on 27th March 2007 and has dismissed both appeals.  A copy of the report is available via the Clerk should anyone wish to see it.

       The following new applications had been received:    
Application S/2007/0491/PT, Crown lift by 2 metres at The Thatched House, Manor Road.  The  Parish Council replied they had no objections to make.

Application S/2007/0378/LB, Installation of new internal secondary glazing to 11 existing leaded light casement windows at Yew Tree House, Manor Road.  The Parish Council replied they had no objections to make.

Application S/2007/0526/LB, Removal of existing UPVC conservatory and construction of new single storey garden room extension at the Old Stables, Manor Road.  This is currently in circulation within council.
Application S/2007/0331/P, Amended plans for Two dwellings and detached car shelter at Dial House Farm, Magpie Road.  The Parish Council have approved this application. This is going to be considered by the Development Control Committee on 24 May at 2pm.  SNC’s recommendation is for approval of full planning permission.

Item 11 – Correspondence
a.     Requiring attention by councillors
       The Clerk had received an email from a resident of Spinners Cottages, Magpie Road asking if they can put a path across the grass to the road.   The Clerk had contacted Cllr Ben Smith to ask if any money was available in the County Council budget but NCC advised there is not any money as this type of work does not meet any of their Local Transport Plan targets.  If the residents wished to carry out the work they would need permission from NCC as the Highway Authority to carry out the work.  The layby is currently used by people who live there but it is only half the length of the houses.  The grass is destroyed by people who park their cars on it already.  Cllr Waite felt there is a practical need for people to reach their cars but the council had to be mindful of how it would look in a conservation area.  It was agreed the Clerk would ask NCC Highways to come out and inspect the area and try to get a councillor to meet them at the same time.

  1. For info
  2. Atkins Rep Review
  3. Northants Healthcare NHS Trust
  4. NCC, PC Conference on 24th May
  5. CPRE, Northants Events
  6. Atkins Partnership Day on 30th June 2007 11-3pm
  7. Communities and Local Government (The Local Authorities Model Code of Conduct Order 2007)
  8. Northants Police – Providing public reassurance and supporting the democratic process
  9. Volunteer Centre Brackley – support for community and voluntary organisations in Daventry and SNC districts
  10. SNC Newsletter
  11. SNC Landlord News and Views
  12. Post watch, Post Office Closures


Item 12 – Open Forum

  1. Mr Metcalfe asked which councillor was responsible for looking after Pocket Park. 

The Chair replied this was the responsibility of Cllr Osborne and Kellett.    The other assets such as the Stocks, allotment area would be reviewed later on.

  1. Mrs Barrett noted there is excess rubbish down Stockwell Lane and this area should be included in the next litter pick.  The Parish Council will ask the shop to remind school children not to drop litter outside.
  2. Mrs Barrett reported the bar in the children’s play area which is corroded.  Cllr Osborne agreed to have a look.
  3. Mrs Barrett reported the rubbish bin in Pocket Park which she empties regularly. It is full of nappies and extremely messy to empty.  The current bin is a wire basket within a wooden frame but it was felt that a large black wheelie bin would be more appropriate.  Mrs Barrett offered to wheel the new bin onto the road each fortnight for collection by the refuse lorry.  The Clerk will ask SNC if they can provide a black wheelie bin.
  4. Mrs Barrett noted that as Chair of Sulgrave Charities, she requires a letter from the Parish Council outlining  how the money is going to be spent in Pocket Park before the cheque for £1K can be released.  The Clerk agreed to write a letter to her.
  5. Mrs Barrett noted that there is a possible transfer to a Housing Association in July for the residents in the council houses which would include some of  Spinners Cottages.  The ballot is to go in favour of the transfer and the booklet states that there will be improved parking for residents.  Mrs Barrett agreed to pass a copy of the document to the Clerk.
  6. Cllr Waite reported a smell coming from the drain outside Bentleys Farmhouse.  This would be reported to SNC.
  7. Mrs Roberts asked if the wall around the Castle Green would be built to the level of the field.  Cllr Pollak agreed to ask the contractor.

Item 13 - Next meeting
13a. Matters for consideration at next meeting
       Fencing quotes for allotment area
       Update on progress of annual report for quality status
       Castle Green update

13b. Date and time of next meeting
       Parish Council Meeting on  14th June 2007. 

Meeting closed at 9.30pm