2019 Annual Parish Meeting Report

A Summary From The Signpost

At this year’s Parish Meeting on Tuesday April 23rd 2019, 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.)

Parish Council

Chairman of the Parish Council, Kay Coles, provided a summary of some of the key issues of the year. The Neighbourhood Development Plan, which helps provide a planning framework for the village, was approved in the parish referendum and subsequently “made” by Daventry District Council. The Parish Council has commented on 25 planning applications in the last year. The Council has organised to better handle its responsibilities with working committees handling parish estates (the halls and other property), the woodland and the library. A new on-line booking system for the village halls has been introduced and new Halls Booking Clerk, Beverley Blackwell, appointed. The cafe is proving a valuable village asset. Villagers have expressed concerns about the development going on across the “Red Road” but it will be reinstated as a public right of way. The Council has a single vacancy which they hope to fill shortly, bringing the Council to its full complement.

County Council

For the County Council, Robin Brown provided a report regarding the efforts of the Commissioners appointed by the Government to resolve the financial situation at Northamptonshire County Council. The current expectation is that a single unitary authority combining the work of the District and County Councils will cover the Woodford area with elections in May 2020. A full copy of Robin Brown’s report is available here.

District Council

Planning for the new unitary authority also involves the District Council as Liz Griffin advised, this may place greater responsibilities on the Parish Council. Other activities by Daventry District Council included the planning permission for the development of Mulberry Place, expected to provide restaurants and a cinema and the relocation of the library to improved premises. The three-box recycling system introduced in 2018 has allowed much more food waste (for energy production) to be collected and an increase in recycling generally.

Other Parish Activities

Chairman of the Woodland Management Committee, Paul Blackwell reported on the second year of the Council’s ownership of the Woodland as it progresses with its ten year Management Plan. The major focus has been on the tree thinning and safety works intended to make the Woodland trees healthier and safer. although this had been delayed and complicated by the irresponsible actions of some children that had prevented the use of harvesting equipment. Paul Blackwell paid tribute to the support given from local firms including Cummins Diesel, Gulliver’s Tree Solutions and Mainline Timber as well as to those villagers that had supported volunteer activities. The coming year should see the completion of the Memorial Area, further improvements for access and the start of enhancing the area’s environment with coppicing, sapling planting, wild flower seeding and further thinning where needed.

Jim McDermott, provided his report as Footpath Warden identifying work done on improving the parish’s footpaths and places where problems exist with providing clear and usable access. Concerns over the accessibility of some bridleways are to be forwarded to the County Council by the Highways Warden.

PCSO Carl Barton’s Police report highlighted a substantial fall in reported crime in the village, down from 32 incidents in 2017/18 to 19 this year. It is felt that the full time police presence has helped achieve this, although there has been a slight increase in anti-social behaviour and parking issues and speeding remain a problem.

Patricia Darby provided an report from the Library, explaining that the Library will be able to continue  as a Community Library with the County Council providing the book stock and the library management system if this is approved by the County Council at its meeting in May 2019.

Kay Coles reported on the Eleemosynary Charity. Grants had been made to Church Lands, Rural Wheels and the Air Ambulance.

Unfortunately there were no reports from the Church, the school or from local groups.

The meeting approved the minutes of the previous meeting on 24th April last year, which are available here:-

2017-18 Annual Parish Meeting Minutes