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Parish Council Minutes - September 2005

Minutes of the meeting of the Helmdon Parish Council
Held on Wednesday 28th September 2005
In the Reading Room, Church Street, Helmdon at 7:30 p.m.

Present: Councillors Burns, Brookhouse, Bearman, Earl, England, Gittens, Moody, Smith, Spendlove, and three members of the public, and the two speakers for section 5 (see below).

1. Apologies:

The Clerk sent apologies for her absence: she told Councillor Spendlove she thought the Chairman would much rather she did not attend with so young a baby, although she was herself sure the child would be no distraction, nor an impediment to her doing her job there. The Chairman said he had left the matter to the Clerk's own decision.

2. Minutes of the Council meeting on July 27th 2005:

These were amended in details, approved as a true record on the motion of Councillors Moody and Earl, and signed.

3. Matters arising from these:

The few matters referred to were either later on the agenda or they could not be dealt without the information from the Clerk.

4. Open Forum:

i) Sue Lidgley said the Hardimans have chosen bulbs from her catalogue for the pump garden. The Chairman assured her the amount already budgeted for that would pay for them.

ii) Audrey Forgham congratulated the Clerk on the detailed agenda, though public attendance was none the greater for that.

She related an incident in which parking on the pavement near the top of Field Way very narrowly did not cause an accident to a woman crossing Wappenham Road with a buggy and walking toddler.

She said she had seen evidence of an external notice being forced into the notice-board in the Square and apparently damaging it. Councillor Brookhouse said the Clerk's husband had not replaced the lock as she said he would/and that he would do it himself.

iii) Sue Lidgley complained of the buddleia blocking most of the pavement opposite Rex Jessett (who lives at 24 Church Street).

iv) Brian Short complimented Jeffs on maintaining footpaths across and round Wicket Mead. He regretted the County Council's indifference to speed in the village and wanted the illuminated flashing signs installed in Syresham. The Chairman explained that when we had to choose one plan of increased safety we had opted for the work near the school. Councillor Brookhouse, supported by the Chairman said we should ask again.

v) Sue Lidgley asked that the 'Station Road' sign lying by the War Memorial be put back in the proper place. Councillor Moody offered to report it to the Street Doctor.

5. 'Safe 'n Sound' project

Barren Walton (of South Northants Volunteer Bureau) attended to explain the
'Safe 'n Sound' project, which is looking for volunteers among neighbours to visit people whose homes may be less than safe from fire, burglary, accidents, cold and other health hazards. This is to extend the take-up of help being offered, such as freely installed smoke alarms, and advice from the police on security.
Alan Isaac for the Energy Saving Trust (which finances 'Safe 'n Sound') spoke about grants up to 100% to the elderly for improvements, and advice to keep their homes warm and reduce the consumption of fuel and bills for it.
Some questions were asked and suggestions made, and the speakers were thanked.

6. Finance:

Balance as at 28th September 2005
  Current Account
  Savings Account
  Depreciation Account
Accounts Payable
Pay To
  Website - D.Moody
  Softbase Limited
  Clerk's wages
Accounts Received
  Village of the Year prize
  Total Received

Councillor Gittens said the depreciation account had not been done. The Clerk needed to explain a banking difficulty. Payment of the accounts was proposed by Councillor Earl, seconded by Councillor England and agreed unanimously.

The £100 prize was for the Website. Councillor Moody suggested leaving it until the next stage of the competition.

7. Correspondence:



Full Electoral Register and monthly updates
Strategic Housing Scheme
Burial Grounds Survey 2005


Posters regarding new mobile library times
Bus Timetable updates x 10, September 2005
Public Transport Guide x 10, September 2005
Provisional Local Transport Plan 2006/7-2010/11
Provisional Local Transport Plan 2006/7-2010/11 Consultation
NCC/Atkins-Annual Parish Questionnaire (2005)
NCC/Atkins - Local Parking Controls
NCC/Atkins - Forthcoming Footway Works, Wappenham Road/Field Way - no date
Draft Rights of Way Improvement Plan
Letter reply from Michael O'Garro ref Playing field lease
Public Rights of Way - 2005 Definitive Map and Statement


Update report including
Notice of Annual Meeting - 13'" October 2005
Local documents & records - how long to keep them
Village Viewpoint
Special Offer Voucher for Charles Arnold Baker book - £30.00
NALC Internal Audit Service - £68.00 for 2005-2006 with application form


Congratulations letter for success in Village of Year competition - £100 prize money for ICT
VOY Score breakdowns


Letter- Mr. Gibbins re Sign for 3-11 Wappenham Road
Invoice - Website £100.00
Posters regarding new mobile library times
Glasdon UK Limited - Information on bins
Northamptonshire Criminal Justice Board - New Witness Care Scheme
Invoice - Softbase Limited - £507.51 for monitor and printers
Community Directplus Information and application pack
The Countryside Agency- Conclusive map of registered common land
Yorkshire Bank - statement for July & August
Northamptonshire Police Authority-Annual Report 2004/5
Towcester Police Station - Introduction from new Sector Commander - Erica Last
Clerks & Councils Direct
SNVB literature
Rural Rides Newsletter
Wicksteed Leisure - Brochure on equipment

The items commented on were:

Burial Grounds Survey. Councillor Spendlove said she had filled in the Home Office enquiry in April, if this item referred to a second stage she should deal with it.

NCC/Atkins Annual Parish Questionnaire (2005). Councillor Gittens see if he could do this.

Special offer voucher to buy the Charles Arnold Baker book at £30.00. This should be accepted as agreed at the last meeting.

Mr. Gibbins's letter about a sign on the main road indicating the way to 3-11 Wappenham Road. He should be told that the County Council could provide the correct style of sign: but the Parish Council would not pay for it.

Councillor Earl mentioned the letters Mr. Lipson sent to individual councillors about his daughter's travel to school. The Chairman had referred him to the County Councillor.

8. Explanation of terms of reference for committees:

Councillor Smith had asked for this, at the Annual Meeting. Councillor Brookhouse explained that the only committee with delegated powers was the Planning Committee, to which the Parish Council in 2003 delegated its power to comment on applications: and that this meant the whole Council retained none of that power.

9. Village of the Year: update, and preparation for next year:

Councillor Moody said that the Website was in the Central England group of counties for the regional competition. He and Audrey Forgham had been checking that the Website is up to date for the inspection (by 19th November), and had sent a written submission as requested. On December 6th, a dinner is held for the regional winners to be announced, and two tickets had been sent. The Council agreed he and Audrey Forgham should attend it, and take their fares out of the £100 prize already won.

Preparation for next year's competition should be on the January agenda.

10. School Playground update. Lease, and insurance claim.

Councillor Smith for the committee reported that because teenagers used (or misused) the play area in the evenings, and the school restricted little children's access, the committee suggested we replaced it by one accessible to smaller children at any time. She hoped the Council would seek a donor of land for this. It was agreed the most desirable site would be a small piece of John Williams's land by the stile opposite the school. An approach to him was discussed but none could be made until the playground committee worked out exactly how large a space was wanted and we could afford to fence and equip. Meanwhile the school field should be leased still (though the usefulness of the main field was disputed). Councillor Brookhouse proposed that the Council should offer to rent the field at £300 a year plus half the legal costs, by an agreement to rent it for one year at a time. This should be the answer to Mr. O'Garro's last letter. This proposal was generally agreed.

Without the clerk there was no information about the insurance for the tyre burned. Councillor Brookhouse was concerned about some danger in the remains, and it was agreed that the chain on it should be removed altogether.

11. Hedges and footpaths. Roses at the War Memorial.

Apart from some routine letters about some overgrowth on paths. Councillor Spendlove would like the Clerk to write to Charles Heaton at 73 Wappenham Road asking him to cut back his garden growth right to the railings to restore the full width of the path at this steepest part of the bank on the bend, where a fall off the path could be very dangerous. The buddleia in Church Street opposite Rex Jessett also needed an emphatic letter.

Councillor England complained of growth masking 30-signs. The Clerk should write to the County Council about these.

The War Memorial roses. Councillor Moody reported that Paul Hardiman would advise but did not want to take over that garden. However, Mrs. Mechen at 11 The Green would very much like to have that extra garden to look after, unpaid. The Clerk should write to accept this offer gratefully, stipulating that Mrs. Mechen should talk to Sue Lidgley about it.

12. Quotations for benches and notice-boards:

None had been received, although three people had been approached.

13. Internal auditor:

The Clerk found that NALC would provide this for the year 2005-6 at £68. So we need Mr. Potter still and she had not written to him as previously instructed.
Councillor Moody proposed we take the NALC offer. This was generally agreed.

14. New bank recommendation from the Clerk.

Councillor Gittens liked it; but Councillor Bearman thought some might dislike the choice of charities. Councillor Moody said we need not use that service. Councillor Brookhouse wanted more information, and the matter was referred to the Finance Committee.

15. Annual Parish Meeting:

Nomination of a committee to plan it was deferred to the November meeting.

16. Training requirements:

Councillor Moody had applied for one on budgets and precepts and one two-evening one called a 'master class': but he did not know the cost, which he thought the Council should pay. The Chairman thought Councillors should pay their own costs. Councillor Gittens said that now Councils have more to do and to understand about their role it was not quite reasonable to insist they paid to do a public service better. There was sympathy for this point of view. Councillor Smith suggested referring it to the Finance Committee, and said Councillors should pass on to their colleagues what they learned. Councillor Spendlove replied to talk of grants that these courses are in fact subsidised and do not cover their full cost from fees.

17. Car parking on footpaths:

Various bad places were mentioned as well as the top of Field Way already referred to. Councillor Spendlove thought Councillors' notes had effect. Councillor Moody said the police would provide printed cards which might give complaints more authority.

18. Councillors' questions:

Councillor Earl asked for Councillors' contributions of £3 each for wreaths for Remembrance Day. Councillor Spendlove said the service time had been misprinted in the church newsletter. The service in the church would be at ten o'clock, and the congregation would follow the Scouts down to the War Memorial at the bottom for the service to begin there in time for the two-minute silence to be at eleven. Parish Councillors should be there before 10.55.

The meeting closed at 9.48pm.

The date of the next meeting: November 23rd 2005.

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