LATEST PARISH COUNCIL NEWS

See Agenda for the Parish Council Meeting on Thursday 1st February

Summary of the Parish Council Meeting: 11th January 2018

It was good to see the first Parish Council meeting of the year being well attended by villagers. During public participation, it was noted that works to the hedges in the Pocket Park had been completed and three trees felled. The mower for the Pocket Park has been purchased and stored. It will be used to provide additional mowing for the park during the growing season. The ongoing relationship between the Sulgrave Village Shop and the Parish Council was also discussed. An in-principle profit sharing agreement has been struck between the Shop Committee and Parish Council which will ensure that the shop’s rent will remain unchanged into the future, while the Parish Council will share in 10% of the shop’s profits, capped at £350 per year. The Parish Council and Shop are excited to enter this new phase in our relationship and to enhance our shared interests in each other’s success.

The Council also offered a vote of thanks to the organisers of the village Christmas Advent Windows. Council also wants to thank everyone who decorated their windows or attended the openings. We look forward to the offerings in 2018!

Bus Shelter Project Consultation – Council received a report on the recent consultation on the bus shelter project. Council received 17 submissions during the consultation. Of these, 20% (3) of the submissions were in favour of a Public Works Loan (PWL) to replace the existing bus shelter; 70% (12) of submissions were against the replacement of the existing bus shelter and funding through a PWL while 10% (2) of submissions did not provide a clear indication of either support or opposition. While there had been support in the community for the project, with around a third of households in the village participating in the choice of a replacement bus shelter, this most recent consultation showed significant push back from parts of the community towards the proposition of paying for a replacement shelter through a PWL.  On this basis, Council would not be able to evidence the necessary community support for a PWL application.  As a result, Council agreed that it would not seek to progress the bus shelter project.

Church Hall Consultation – The recent consultation regarding renovating the Church Hall received a favourable response from villagers. This project would see the Parochial Church Council, with support from the Parish Council, apply for a grant from HS2 to renovate the Church Hall. Although there was some misunderstanding as to what could and couldn’t be done with the Church Hall, there was overall support for the project. The Parish Council agreed that it will continue to work with the Parochial Church Council and further engage with Church Hall neighbours, the community, builders and architects to develop a strong grant proposal.

HS2 Community Liaison Group – The most recent HS2 update received by the Council indicated that it is unlikely that there will be detailed plans of the part of the route which includes Sulgrave until 2019. Council also noted that the Road Safety Fund for the South Northants section of the project will only amount to £1.65 million over 10 years. A further Liaison Group meeting will be held on 9 February where the HS2 grant funding administrators will provide an update. Should any villagers have specific questions regarding HS2, please contact Cllr Anna Faure.

Council’s HS2 Communications Strategy – Council has adopted and is implementing its strategy to keep villagers updated on the progress of HS2. Although there is limited information on HS2 at the moment, information will be posted on the under a HS2 section currently being constructed for the Sulgrave Village website as well as on the Council notice board outside the village shop, as it becomes available.

NCC Budget Consultation – The Council has received a consultation request from the Northampton County Council on its second phase of budget cuts. This phase sees budget cuts being made mainly in NCC administration and social care. However, it also indicates that from April 2018, Council Tax will increase by 4.98%. Councillors are currently working through the consultation document to see what impact these proposals will have on residents. A response from the Council will be drafted and sent to the NCC in the near future.

Neighbourhood Watch – In the last newsletter, the Council sought a volunteer from the village to act as our Neighbourhood Watch Coordinator. Luckily, Council did receive an enquiry about the position. Following clarification of the role from the regional Neighbourhood Watch people, we hope to have a new Neighbourhood Watch Coordinator and scheme for the village.

Grit Bins – Council noted that Northamptonshire Highways had, possibly mistakenly, replaced a grit bin on Manor Road. Council also received correspondence from Northants Highways that that they had assessed the destroyed grit bin on Helmdon Road and has determined that it did not require replacing. Council will write to Northants Highways to again highlight the poor state of this grit bin and request that this bin also be replaced. Council noted that as part of their recent budget consultation, NCC is proposing to cut grit replenishment services. Council agreed that keeping the grit bins replenished was essential for the village during winter and committed to include this in the 2018 budget.

Grass Cutting – Council received 3 tenders for the village grass cutting contract. These varied significantly in cost, but nearly all exceeded the amount Council had previously budgeted for grass cutting. As a result, Council agreed to work with the tenderers to seek a better deal and to increase the budget amount for grass cutting (by reducing budget allocations in other areas).

Council also agreed to contribute £150 to support the servicing of the church clock.

Budget – The Council budget for 2018 was also greed. This will see the Council’s precept increase by 2.5% to £13,800. This modest increase is in line with inflation and will help the Council to meet the increased grass cutting costs, the cost of replenishing the grit bins next winter and the cost of repairing and maintaining some of the village assets.

Other Matters – The Council will be organising a village ‘Clean Up Day’ in the coming weeks to help shift leaves, pick up litter and tidy the village before Spring. More information on this will soon be available on the village website and on the Council notice board. Finally, to help villagers get to know their Parish Councillors, we will be placing short biographies of each Councillor, including their picture and contact details, on both the village website and in the Parish Council noticeboard outside of the shop.

 

Summary of the Parish Council Meeting: 2nd November 2017

To keep villagers updated on the work of the Parish Council, we will publish a summary of each meeting in the following month’s newsletter.

The November meeting was well attended by villagers who raised a number of issues during public participation. In particular, a concern was raised that there were a number of places in the village where plants and trees were overhanging footpaths creating safety issues. With the cold weather and shorter days already here, villagers are asked to cut back overhanging tree branches and plants so that pedestrians do not have to walk on the roads or slippery verges.

Council business discussed at the meeting included: Replacing the bus shelter; Pocket Park maintenance; grass cutting; HS2; Neighbourhood Watch; and the 2018/19 budget.

Replacing the Bus Shelter – The existing shelter has been in place for over sixty years and will become structurally unsafe eventually. Its replacement has been an agenda item for the Council for a number of years. In July, villagers chose a new shelter to replace the existing one. Council discussed the cost of replacing the existing shelter and agreed to apply to use the remaining New Homes Bonus Grant to part fund the new shelter, while the Sulgrave History Society offered to contribute financially to the project. It was agreed there are insufficient reserves to draw upon and the whole shortfall cannot be added to the precept. It was agreed that Council would investigate funding the remaining costs through a public works loan. Councillor Daniels continues to lead on this project.

Pocket Park – Councillor North provided an update on maintenance carried out at the Pocket Park. It was agreed that the hedging work carried out by Mr Richard Fonge last year would be continued and would commence in December. Council agreed to a proposal by Mr Fonge to purchase a mower and fund more regular grass cutting for the Pocket Park. The total cost of acquiring the mower and grass cutting will be added to the Parish Council’s 2018 budget.

Grass Cutting – The grass cutting contractor has advised they will be unable to continue with the contract from the end of the season. Council will now undertake a tender to appoint a new contractor.

HS2 – Following the successful HS2 consultation visit to Sulgrave in October, Council discussed and adopted a strategy to ensure that villagers were kept up to date with HS2 developments throughout the design and construction process. Council will keep villagers up to date through this newsletter, the village website and on the notice board as information on the progress of HS2 becomes available. Once more information comes to hand, Council will arrange another information event. Counsellor Faure will attend the SNC HS2 Liaison meetings. The Parish Council is strongly committed to working with villagers to try to mitigate the impact of HS2 on the village.

Neighbourhood Watch – Council discussed and agreed the benefits of a Neighbourhood Watch scheme in the village. While it was noted that Neighbourhood Watch schemes are moving more online, if we are to establish a scheme in the village, we will require a Neighbourhood Watch Coordinator. To date, there have been no volunteers for the position of Neighbourhood Watch Coordinator. Council will be seeking a Neighbourhood Watch Coordinator over the coming weeks.

Other business – Council discussed setting the 2018/19 budget. Council agreed to keep the 2018 precept as low as possible by limiting increases. The 2018/19 budget will be decided next meeting.

As there is traditionally no Parish Council meeting in December, the next meeting will be in January 2018. At this meeting, Council plans to receive an update on the bus shelter project, set the precept for 2018/19 and receive an update on HS2 and Improvements to the Church Hall.

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