A Summary From The Signpost
At this year’s Parish Meeting on Tuesday April 24th 2018, the Parish Council and other groups provided reports on activities relating to the village over the last year.
(Note from the Signpost Editor: this is my personal report, attending as a member of the public. The official minutes of this meeting will be approved at next year’s Parish Meeting and will then be published here. Last year’s minutes are available at the bottom of this post.)
Chairman of the Parish Council, Kay Coles, started the meeting by publicly thanking PCSO Carl Barton for his help recently when her car was vandalised. The PCSO’s report pointed to a slight rise in reported crime in the village (up to 32 incidents from 27 the previous year, mostly relating to criminal damage) but still felt that overall crime levels were low for a village of our size. His activities are now paid for full time by the village and will include local speed prevention, support of the Neighbourhood Watch and Park Watch schemes as well as providing talks to the school and his more regular tasks of responding to local issues. He is moving from the Library to the Co-op for meeting sessions. Carl encouraged residents to sign up for the on-line Neighbourhood Alert service to get updates on crimes reported in the area.
The recently appointed head of Woodford Halse CE Primary School, Ed Newton, was pleased to report an increase of the numbers of pupils on roll, reversing previous trends with the school being almost at its capacity this year. SATS results are expected to improve this year, although there is till more to do. The almost £1M refurbishment project is almost complete with only a few outstanding snagging issues. The school is planning to bid for further funding for improvements in electrical and heating systems. Mr Newton thanked the village for their support during the recent schools cross country, when 800 pupils from 28 schools across the county took part.
For the Parish Council, Kay Coles, reported on the public meeting that led to the decision to fully fund the PCSO and that the football club was now running the pavilion and would soon have a lease formalising the arrangements. The Neighbourhood Development plan had been completed, approved by the Examiner and is to be the subject of a local referendum in May. A new footpath warden had been appointed. The damage to the Ryfields play area had been repaired at a cost of £3000, covered by the parish’s insurance. With regard to the recent announcement of a poll for parish councillors, only 10 candidates were nominated, so there was no election. Four vacancies remain on the Council, and members of the public interested in serving are asked to approach the Chairman or the Parish Clerk.
For the County Council, Robin Brown provided a detailed report regarding the situation at Northamptonshire County Council (published in full here). Under Government proposals the County and Districts will merge into two new, unitary authorities.
For the District Council, Liz Griffin advised that the planning application for the new Byfield Medical Centre had still not gone to the Council’s Planning Committee. Council tax had risen for a Band D property by £0.10 per week. A Settlements & Countryside Plan for the District (which will sit alongside the Woodford Neighborhood Plan) is in progress. New refuse collection arrangements commence in June. She pointed out that with the introduction of a unitary authority the role of the Parish Council becomes more significant and encouraged all residents to vote in the forthcoming election and the referendum on the Neighbourhood Development Plan.
As Chairman of the Woodland Management Committee, Paul Blackwell reported on a successful first full year of operation. Highlights included creating a ten year management plan for the woodland and commencing improvements in both safety and access. The Woodland had received considerable support including funding from the County Council (for safety barriers and signage) and the Central Government (covering the costs of the Management Plan), skills and effort from many local residents, from the Community Payback Team and from Cummins Diesel. He reiterated the intention for the Woodland to be run without placing a burden on local taxpayers, seeking grant funding and making management work self funding wherever possible.
Jim McDermott, the new Footpath Warden, provided his first annual report to Council. There were access and signposting issues with footpath FN2. On FN33 there is a need for sign and the landowner has agreed to install a post to carry one. FN24 continues to be very boggy in wet weather, without any real solution. Other paths are well marked and stiles in good condition. The only report of a dangerous stile turned out to relate to an adjacent parish.
Kay Coles reported on the Eleemosynary Charity. This was started during the Second World War to help people in need of support but now supports local organisations.
Representatives of the Garden Club and the WI reported on their activity programmes and, encouragingly, healthy levels of membership and support.
The meeting approved the minutes of the previous meeting on 25th April last year, which are available here:-