Report from Councillor Alan Chantler, Assistant Cabinet Member for Planning and Rural Affairs
West Northamptonshire Council (WNC) continues to manage and organise the area formerly covered by NBC, SNC and DDC, together with those parts of former NCC which are relevant here. The major effort this month has been in the production and approval of the budget for next year. It is a legal requirement that this is completed before the end of February and our budget was approved by Council on 24th February. There is much in the budget which is of limited interest to the everyday lives of most of us but the greatest interest obviously lies in the setting of the Council Tax for the next twelve months.
The Council Tac is made up of a number of contributory items. WNC basic Council Tax has been increased by the allowed maximum of 1.99 percent to which must be added an increase in Adult Social Care, the demands of the Police and the Fire and Rescue services and the Parish Council precept. For the coming year the figures for a Band D Property in Yelvertoft are as follows:
Basic WNC £1,422.20; Adult Social Care £173.32; Total WNC £1,595.52; Parish Council £89.00; Police £278.04; Fire and Rescue £68.20; Total £2,030.76 (Last Year was £1,740).
The WNC Average Total will be £2,040.59 so we are just below the average.
A brief meeting was organised to discuss the flooding problems with the Environment Agency, Severn Trent Water, Warwickshire Wildlife Trust, WNC and your three Ward Members. This was a disappointing meeting as everyone was agreed that there is a serious problem but no-one would commit to doing anything about it. We shall continue to pursue this matter.
Other notable achievements of WNC include a commitment to assist with the homing of refugees from Ukraine and the successful prosecution of some fly tippers. As we approach the end of our first year we are pleased to end the year with a balanced budget and a small surplus to carry forward.
Remember that we are here to serve you and should you seek clarification or guidance on any local matters please get in touch.
Cllr Julie Cottle Report
I am pleased to report that Fields in Trust are happy with the proposed plans for the KGV Field and have assured us that there is nothing in the plans that require their consent. They also confirmed that they would be writing along those lines to the resident who had expressed their concerns in the past.
The KGV Field working group will now develop the proposal to establish costs, potential sources of funding, suppliers and a programme of works.
I attended the meeting on 17 February 2022 with our three County Councillors, representatives from WNC Flood Team, Environment Agency, Severn Trent and Warwickshire Wildlife Trust. Notes of this meeting were taken by Councillor Rosie Humphreys and she is happy for me to include them in this report –
‘Thank you for organising this meeting. I have made a brief note of the issues discussed yesterday and agreed options, please let me know if there are any omissions.
The report on the 2020 flood will be available next month and the EA will suggest recommendations based on the findings.
Jon Saner (EA) indicated that the cost of upgrading the FSA to give Yelvertoft maximum protection would be around £7 million, self evidently too great a sum for the EA to commit here. The cost might be reduced by around £2 million if the area of an enlarged storage area was reduced (this would of course also impact on its storage capacity). The community could also reduce the cost by using local services, e.g. a farmer using his own equipment to excavate and remove spoil.
Jon also mentioned that 50% match funding might also be an option, should WNC be able to fund, ML also suggested that the Parish Council might be able to borrow up to £1 million. The EA has been considering the option of protection for individual properties vulnerable to flooding (27 in the village), this grant in aid funding (up to £1 million) could be allocated to enlarging the FSA instead.
Nicola Edgar (WWT) and Peter Bowman (ST) updated on engagement with local landowners carried out in the last 12 months. About half a dozen in the catchment have been delivered, others are being held up by administrative delay re obtaining licences and different grants. Current funding is ending in April, but Nicola is intending to seek a continuation and Peter advised that Severn Trent is happy for him to continue his work in the catchment. WNC can be approached for financial assistance with NFM interventions, cost is in thousands rather than millions needed for work on the FSA.
Julie Cottle mentioned that flood alleviation plan at KGV has been approved at this month’s Parish Council meeting.
This will help demonstrate how NFM operates, Jon Saner commented that community engagement and support is vital, particularly if making a business case for future NFM funding.
Peter will contact the Solar Farm developer (needs contact details) to ask if drainage can be reconsidered to improve rather than merely neutralise the impact of the development. Prologis could also be approached, especially if DIRFT 4 to the east of the M1 goes ahead. Ruth Burnham (WNC) asked if any landowners supply Weetabix or Nestle as these companies have funds for environmental improvements.
The water leak in Church Walk is still running and affecting the footpath. Anglian Water have given notice of 30 days to fix the repair to the household concerned.
I have spoken to the contractor who was chosen to repair Tarrys End and he is happy to relinquish the contract.
Queens Platinum Jubilee
A meeting was held on 28 February 2022 to discuss how Yelvertoft can celebrate the Queens Jubilee. There were 15 residents present and a basic plan was agreed. Another meeting has been arranged on 7 March 2022 to look at arrangements in more detail and to decide on any funding that may be required.
No progress to report on the clearance of the rubbish.
I attended the Climate Change Event at Harlestone Village on March 5 with members of YEG.
Yelvertoft Environment Group (YEG)
YEG have produced a website which has now gone live. I encourage everyone to visit https://yelvertoftenvironmentalgroup.org
Cllr Chris Bolton Report
- Hillmorton Lane – an electrical short took place on Weds. 2 March in the evening resulting in a continual shower of sparks from one of the power cable posts on Hillmorton Lane. Thanks to a resident the incident was reported and an emergency crew resolved the problem that evening. The short was due to water infiltration.
- Potholes – are a particular problem at this time of year and there have been some quite serious incidents. Please ensure any potholes or highway issues are reported as soon as possible via Fix My Street
- Community Fund – the draft agreement was informally reviewed and it has been decided that this requires a formal legal opinion before a formal response is made.
Housing development – Hillmorton Lane
- No update this month
Speed Sign Project
- The solar powered VAS (vehicle activated sign) has been installed and is now working. Informal feedback from residents has been positive. There have been reports that the radar is picking up people walking down the hill although none of these have been ‘clocked’ at over 30mph.
- The VAS data will be downloaded, analysed and reported on in the coming weeks
Cllr Nigel Mercer Report
I have endeavoured to start up the local Whatsapp group but have not had time over the past month. This SHOULD be up and running by W/E 13th March. Hopefully, over the next few months I’ll be able to report back on how useful it has been.
Looks as though it is at the ‘end’ of all our options. Samantha has chased the person that we hoped to replace the person who has disappeared off the radar with. They appear to have gone quiet as well.
My suggestions are:
To find a third option which is unlikely.
The Tarmac option is too costly unless we can persuade the stables to contribute. They would be unlikely to do this I guess as the road is unadopted. However tarmacking would essentially give them a free driveway and I do not think we could endorse that as there are other areas in the village that probably need doing as well.
I am going to ask a friend of mine who does this type of thing (although on a much larger scale) for advice.
Tree Policy and Strategy
Trying to get my head around this. I think, at it’s core, the idea is to review existing areas where planting has been carried out. Also to maintain and also find new areas for tree planting throughout the county.
They have had the meetings and hopefully having some more before collating and looking at implementing a policy. (They seem to be running a few months late).
I will contact Cllr Janice Duffy who is on the Task and Finish group, for an update.
One burial this month which is taking place in March.
Quotes have been requested from contractors to carry out the extension works to the cemetery path and to the cremated remains plaque area. The volunteer who helps maintain the cemetery believes there may be some issues with drainage pipes in the vicinity of those two areas so a site visit with the volunteer, the preferred contractor, and the Burial Officer is being arranged.
Ongoing maintenance of footpaths/alleys is going well and no resident complaints have been received for a long time.
The small claims court application has been placed against the previous contractor who is holding our signs. He has texted to say he will drop the signs off to me but nothing received so far. Chasing.
February issue has gone to print and will be with residents around 10th March. Due to the flood meeting that Julie and Alan attended, and waiting for everyone’s availability for the resident meeting, the newsletter will be delivered late.
I have spent most of my time this month trying to organise the 2022 Speedwatch. Please see the separate report and agenda item for an update and proposal to discontinue the scheme.
A lot of my time is spent chasing up people – councillors, residents, contractors etc. Over the past few months this has got a lot worse. Not sure why.
I placed the resurfacing works with C2C Build but he has now messed me around. He said he could do the work before the year end but now I cannot get a response from him. Council need to revisit how this work is going to be carried out as there is no interest whatsoever from contractors. I am liaising with Nigel concerning this.
I am working on making all the cemetery correspondence electronic. Scanning it all is taking a lot of time but it will be a worthwhile exercise and add to efficiency in the future. Cloud back up has been improved and regular back ups take place still. Once done, I intend to scan everything so we can reduce paper use and have everything stored electronically.