Councillors Present

Graham Roberts, Andrew Waite, David Kellett, Jo Powell, Jane Osborne (arrived late), together with six villagers.

Item 1

1a. Introduction

       The Chair welcomed everyone to the meeting.

1b. Apologies

       Cllr Pollak, Barbara Burke and Joyce Barber.

Item 2

2a.  Confirmation of minutes of last meeting held on 2nd October 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

There were no matters arising.

3.   Declaration of Interest

4.   To receive an update on the Castle Green Restoration Project

       As Cllr Pollak was unable to be present the Chair gave an update.  Progress is ongoing and the contractors have made a repeat visit.  There are still problems with the wall, frost damage to the mortar and looseness of the stones.  Remedial work is to be done. A site meeting is due to take place within the next week with The Contract Administrator; The Rhodes Partnership.  Consideration will need to be given to whether or not it is possible to carry on with the remedial work now due to the cold weather and it is possible that further work will be postponed. An alternative contractor has been approached to provide a price for completing the work in case the current contractor is unable to complete the works satisfactorily and in case an alternative is required.  A quote from an alternative Contractor has been received. Works would include taking off existing cappings, replace capping using a fine and soft mixed sand and cement mortar, and to tidy up all waste and cart away. 
       Cllr Waite asked if clarification could be given to the mortar which should be as specified by the Rhodes Partnership.  The Clerk will contact the Contractor on this point. 
       Cllr Waite suggested that advice is taken from the contract administrator about the poor performance of the Contractor and the correct Contract procedures to deal with this situation.  The Final Acceptance is not signed off and payments are being withheld from the contractor.

       Cllr Powell advised the meeting that the Castle Green Committee would not wish to see the completion of the works handed to another Contractor.

       From the floor, Mrs Barrett asked if the guarantee would be affected if another company did the work.  If the terms of the contract are invoked correctly it may not.  The matter will be reviewed with the Contract Administrator.

5.   To discuss Pocket Park

       Discussions had taken place since the last meeting and Cllr Kellett outlined a summary of the discussions.  Cllr’s Kellett and Osborne are trying to get a committee of people together who have the time to help with various improvements.

       Cllr Osborne has been successful in getting a few people together to join a committee.  She has produced a leaflet asking what the village want to see but has only been able to distribute to a few families.  From the floor, Mrs Barrett offered to help distribute the rest.  Once the responses come back they will be able to see what is wanted and set up a first meeting.  There is money to spend in this area which is an incentive for people to be involved.

       From the floor, Mr Metcalfe felt that new people to the village may not know what a Pocket Park is and it needed to be publicised more. A Pocket Park Warden is still an important link between this one and the office in Northampton.  The Chair replied that once a committee are set up, there may be someone within that group who is willing to take on that role. Mr Coverley asked if the £4K raised at the village fete had been spent yet.  Cllr Osborne replied no and very careful consideration would be given as a lot of hard work had taken place by the village to raise the money in the first place.  County Cllr Ben Smith has also pledged £750 to be used in Pocket Park.  Mrs Coverley offered her help again on the committee as she felt quite strongly that the Pocket Park was for the whole of the community.  The Chair thanked her again.

6.    To discuss the maintenance of trees and shrubs

       The Parish Council have been discussing how overgrown some paths are becoming due to plants belonging to residents (especially down Manor Road), which may be dangerous.  A suggestion was made to write a letter to the owners but many houses down this road are rented out.  A polite note will be put in the newsletter first. The apple tree on the small triangle in the centre of the village is very overgrown and needs pruning.  It has a TPO on it.  The Clerk to write to Ian Lorman at  SNC to give six weeks notice to prune it.

       Mr Metcalfe offered to trim the shrubs by the seat outside Queens House.  A note would be put through their letterbox.

       Cllr Waite spoke about the general grass cutting.  It was felt that to send out a questionnaire to everyone was not the best solution.  Instead a consultation document will be sent out advising which areas are going to be cut and when and comments will be invited.  The existing contract has now finished and the council will need to go out to tender.  The cost of a public notice is £126.00 & VAT.  Cllr Waite proposed that this money be spent and this was seconded by Cllr Kellett.  All the councillors voted in favour.  This notice will be put in the Banbury Guardian by the middle of November asking interested parties to write to the Clerk before the beginning of December.  Cllr Waite to put together a schedule.  The Clerk to contact R & D Landscapes to ask if they want to quote again.  From the floor Mr Bates advised that where he used to live the District Council used to be responsible for the grass cutting.  The Chair replied that this does not apply in Northants and the annual grant is paid by Northants County Council.

7.   Councillors Reports

       Community Speedwatch
       Cllr Powell is still awaiting the reports from the boxes which were placed on the poles.

       Spinners Cottages parking
       County Councillor Ben Smith and District Councillor Ashley Warren have both confirmed they cannot help with funding for the feasibility study.  The project is still live and the Parish Council will continue pursuing it to get funds for the study.

       The rotting street sign for Manor Road has been reported (347174), inspected and referred to SNC.

       The footpath opposite Wisteria Cottage has been reported (350415) to the Street Doctor and they advise there are no plans at present for any additional kerbing.  The Clerk to email Trevor Gray to advise it is a trip hazard and the edging has gone.  Cllr Kellett to take photos which could be forwarded to him.
       Underground Cabling
       An update has been received from Central Networks to advise the works in Magpie Road are nearly complete.       They are awaiting contact from the last customer who has to have an existing meter change prior to them changing the service.  Once this is done they can return to remove the overhead line and any redundant poles.  They have not scheduled the remaining works in for the rest of the village but envisage the overhead rebuild works for the rest of the village to start early 2009 and the remaining cable works in Helmdon Road to start around February 2009.

       The formal request from 13 Spinners Cottages asking if the pole situated outside their property could be moved was forwarded to Central Networks for their comments.  They advised that the initial request to move a pole has to be made via themselves and the costs are charged to the customer as there is no legal reason for the pole to be moved. As they are removing the equipment pole it becomes the property of the Parish Council and the decision becomes theirs.  The Parish Council decided not to replace the poles as they could not get the right ones for the right price.  The Clerk to write to Mr Sinclair to advise of this.

8.    Finance Report

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

        Approval and Acceptance of Annual Return 2007/8

The Annual Return had been received back from the External Auditor.  The document was presented to the council by the Clerk and approved and accepted by them.  There were no issues arising from the audit.  The appropriate notices would be placed on the notice-board for fourteen days.

9.   Update on Planning Applications

One new application had been received. The plans were put out at the meeting.
S/2008/1474/P, Single Storey side extension at Pease Furlong Cottage
        The plans would be circulated within the council first.

        The Chair spoke about consultation letters which have been received from SNC about a planning policy for the County. 
        The councillors have discussed the matters for consultation and whether or not the Planning Authority should adopt another policy approach, however, it is quite a complex matter and more time is required to consider the issues. It was noted that the village already has a conservation area, and further discussion concerned the possibility of the Parish developing a village design statement (VDS).
        Such a Design Statement would be taken into account by the Planning Authority when Considering Applications for new development which would affect the Village.

        The Clerk did invite Andy D’Arcy (Lead Officer Planning Policy) of SNC to a meeting but he has advised that reorganisation is taking place in January within SNC and asked if discussions could be postponed until then.  This is a good opportunity for the Parish Council to raise awareness but they will need their support to put it in place.       Cllr Waite concluded the discussion by noting there are two issues here, the VDS and to respond to the consultation documents which must be kept separate from each other.

10. Correspondence


11. Open Forum


12.   Next meeting

12a.  Matters for consideration at the next meeting
        Grass Cutting

12b. Date and time of next meeting
        4th December 2008 at 7.30pm in the Church Hall    

          Meeting closed at 9.00pm