Councillors Present

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

Item 1

1a.  Introduction

         The Vice-Chair welcomed everyone to the meeting. 

1b.  Apologies

         Cllr Roberts and Mrs Barber
Item 2
2a.  Confirmation of minutes of last meeting held on 8th October 2009

     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

Drains – The Clerk to check that the drain outside Nashes Yard has been reported.  In a separate note from MGWSP, they have advised the gulleys will be emptied in November. The Clerk to report the drain outside Barbara Burkes house.

3.   Declaration of Interest

         Cllr Pollak declared an interest as her land adjoins Castle Green.
4.      Councillors Reports

   Beech Trees on the Green

         Cllr Waite had emailed Ian Lorman at SNC and he has agreed to look at the trees when he next passes through the village. He does not think that thinning the trees by more than 15% will be necessary.  The benefits of thinning are debatable when you are relieving the weight over parts of a tree supported by a weak union because it is the weight at the tips of the branches that provides the forces at the union. Reducing the crown of a tree overall by shortening the ends would achieve the desired result but should only be considered in exceptional circumstances especially with mature beech trees that do not like being reduced.

         Cllr Waite has other people to contact for quotes but will wait for advice from Ian Lorman before proceeding any further.

         Parking outside Spinners Cottages, Magpie Road

         South Northants Homes (SNH) have visited the site and are awaiting costs from the Design and Build Contractor.

         From the floor, Mrs Barrett advised that her father-in-law who lives in Spinners Cottages has applied to Social Services to put a path across the road to the grass.  The request has been turned down as SNH have said that there will be parking there before the end of the financial year.

         Cllr Pollak asked if a design had been shown to the Parish Council.  The Vice-Chair advised that SNH will use their own design and build contractor but planning permission will be needed.  To have the plan designed and approved and the parking in place by the end of March is quite optimistic.

         Community Speedwatch

         This has now finished.  6 vehicles were caught speeding.  Thanks was given to the three volunteers involved. The Slow Down and Watch Your Speed Boards can stay up until 14th December.  They can then be put up between 15th February and 29th March 2010.    The boxes to record speed can be placed near the Stocks.
         Castle Green

         Cllr Pollak gave the following update.

         Wall Rebuilding

         Last month it was reported that the repairs to the wall around the green were completed and the Castle Green Committee (CGC) would discuss the Rhodes Partners’ recommendation that they should accept Practical Completion.  The Committee agreed that the work was of a sufficiently high standard and there were no major outstanding issues. Underwood and Weston have been paid £5860.33 which was the amount remaining of the contract sum less 2.5% retention which will be held for 6 months.

         The CGC also discussed figures produced by Rhodes Partners that included extra amounts that Underwood and Weston claim are owed to them.  Some of these were agreed at various times over the last two years so the CGC are happy to accept them but there are others which they do not agree with.  For example they are claiming extra work on the steps, but all the extra work that had to be done was as a result of their bad workmanship.

         Risk Assessment

         In a report produced in June, John Hicks recommended that some of the trees along the northern boundary of the Green should have their crowns lifted.  This would involve removing a few of the lower branches to improve the sight lines.  The committee agreed that this would be a good thing to do so Martin is going to discuss the idea with the Tree Warden, George Metcalfe.  None of the trees are protected by a TPO.

         Pocket Park

         Cllr Osborne thanked everyone who helped  with the tidy up.  It was a great success and a clear walkway was made around the pond.  Thanks was given to Mr and Mrs Coverley for their work prior to the day and on the day.  The largest funding application has been completed now and the committee are waiting for a response.


         Work has been carried out by the MGWSP gang.  They have cleared the drains and gullies in Little Street and Park Lane, demossed the footpath above Sulgrave House in Little St, cleared vegetation from the footpath at top of Little St, replaced reflective posts on the sharp bend by the shop, cleared overgrown verges at the top of Helmdon Road,  treated the bus shelter with preservative, cleaned and treated the bench by the church gate and repainted the signpost at Little Street and Helmdon Road.
         With regard to the edge damage in Church Street and Park Lane, a 28 day works order to repair this has been raised.  A works order has also been raised for the installation of additional granite setts in front of the green but the work will have to wait until the next financial year.
         Street Lighting

         The Chair had carried out a lot of research on street lighting following on from the comments made at the last council meeting.  The report was read out by Cllr Kellett.

         There are 24 street lights which are 80 watt mercury vapour lamps and mounted on poles.  The cost of maintenance is £80 per quarter and the cost of energy is £209 per quarter.  This totals £1150 each year.  All fittings are controlled by light sensitive photocells that switch the unit on at dusk and off at dawn.  The light fittings are twenty years old and were originally on time switches. These were proved ineffective and expensive and were changed to dusk to dawn settings.

         There are four possible solutions:-

         The costs are as follows:

         From the floor it was felt that with the lights on at night there was better security.  Cllr Pollak suggested that automatic lights could be installed and could only come on when there is movement nearby.
         In conclusion the Parish Council need to decide if the project needs further investigation or alternatives.  It will be put on the agenda for discussions when agreeing and setting the  budget for 2010/11.
5.     Finance Report

Cheques for approval

The payments were approved and cheques raised accordingly.  They were proposed by Cllr Waite and seconded by Cllr Osborne.

6.   Inclusion of Parish Council meeting minutes in newsletter

The Parish Clerk apologised that meeting minutes had not appeared in several newsletters over the last few months.  This was due to an oversight.  Minutes are always available to see by prior notice to the Chair or Parish Clerk.  The meeting dates for 2010 which are yet to be set, will be  set for the first week of the month to allow plenty of time for the minutes to be typed, checked and ready to be put in the newsletter.

7.   Update on Planning Applications

Decision notices had been received on two older applications.

External Alterations including refurbishment of shop front and replacement and alteration of doors and windows. Internal alterations including the removal of the existing staircase and some fixtures, the installation of a replacement staircase and the subdivision and alteration of the existing floor plan at ground and first floor levels at Old Sulgrave Stores, School Street (renewal of S/2006/0736/P).  
This has been approved by SNC with 18 conditions which should give SNC greater control over the future work that is carried out.

8.   Correspondence

      Two notices have been received to be put on the notice-board. The first is from Towcester  Area Door to Door (TADD) who are looking for voluntary drivers to help local residents who have difficulty in accessing their medical appointments.  The second notice is from SNC who are asking if anyone would be interesting in helping count at the next General Election which will be held within the next 6 months.

      An email had been received from the police to advise there have been a spate of break-ins in the south of the county.  Villagers are asked to be vigilant and look out for a blue BMW reg W259 HES and two white males.

9.   Open Forum

          Thanks was passed to MGWSP for putting the posts outside Mrs Burkes cottage on the bend.

          Mrs Barrett asked if District Councillor Ashley Warren would be invited to the next informal meeting on 8th December. The Clerk agreed to invite him.

          The Clerk was asked to report the drain in Towrise near to the garages.

10.     Next meeting

10a.   Date and time of next meeting

          8th December in the Church Hall at 7.30pm

            Meeting closed at 8.20pm