It has been a very difficult year 2020 in the light of the Covid-19 pandemic and the formation of the new unitary authority for west Northamptonshire. Not being able to hold face to face council meetings and continuing restrictions on our day to day lives.
Old Stratford Parish Council have still continued in its day to day dealing with Parish business.
 
When the initial lockdown was first introduced and the Government stopped face to face council meetings, the Parish Clark, myself, vice-chair felt that the best way to continue with the day to day business of the Parish was to suspend standing orders and delegate powers to the Parish Clerk, this action was adopted by the full council and since April this is how we have conducted our business. The Parish Clerk and I have been in daily contact with each other and where appropriate the vice-chair has been involved also. At all times the council has been informed of any actions taken.
 
In conjunction with the Clerk, I have written a suspension of Standing Orders document which formerly allows the Council to continue its business in this way, this document states that the Council would be run under delegated powers for a period of five months this period is now up and the Clerk and I have reviewed our procedures and have adopted this document for a further five months taking the running of the Council under delegated powers until April 2021 or sooner if the Government allow the Parish Council to have face to face meeting again. All councillors have been kept informed of all actions taken under these delegated powers and all n the necessary documentation is in place to ensure compliance with this document.
 
I would like to thank ALL the villagers who volunteered during this pandemic to support the vulnerable people of Old Stratford, you all know who you are and MANY THANKS TO YOU ALL. I would like to make a special mention to Alan Holloway, Nicky Laurence and Stephanie Merriman for the sterling work to initially set this support group up (Old Stratford Help). I would like to thank you on behalf of all those who received help and support from your team of volunteers. A special mention should also be given to Gale Knox who took on the role of food parcel co-ordinator and for all the work she did to make this successful, not only for the residents of Old Stratford but those from the outlying villages, once again many thanks.
 
To Parish business:
We have been fairly busy during this period of troubled times. In the spring the Parish Council had to deal with a sensitive issue regarding a sign which was removed by our Clerk and this action appeared to cause some concern to some members of the Parish, on investigation the sign was too large for the position it was sited and had to be removed for highway safety reasons.
 
Overhanging trees in Hall Close, this is being dealt with and should be completed early next year.
 
Bus service; the bus service provider informed us that due to the Department of Transport delay in support payment the bus operator felt that he had no other option to discontinue the bus route which provided a bus for Old Stratford. The Clerk and I contacted our County Councillor and our local MP Andrea Leadsome to support our fight to keep the bus for our village. This was successful and the bus will continue as usual.
 
Rubbish at Arnold Cottage, again this has been an issue with bags of rubbish not only stacked into bins left at the front of the property but bags of rubbish all over the footpath. We contacted our District Councillor who intern asked Towcester Environmental team to contact the letting agency and visit the site. This they did and the issue was resolved. The letting agency have informed Towcester that if it happens again then Towcester should clear it and invoice the letting agency.
 
I am in no doubt that you will have been informed that while decorating the Memorial Hall Mr Peach sustained a cracked hip when he fell from his step ladders. This happened when the foot of one of the stepladder went through the floorboard of the hall floor. I am relieved that the problem has now been resolved and our and Mr Peech’s insurers have been in communication with each other and the matter has now been concluded.
 
Memorial seat/benches, the Parish Council have been asked if a resident could put up a seat/bench in memory of their late husband in Oxfield Park. It is now evident that the Parish may be asked if these types of memorials can be installed; for that reason the Clerk, vice-chair and I have developed a set of guidelines for any resident who wish to put up a memorial.
 
I would like to thank all Councillors for their continued support during these difficult times and I would like to wish you all a happy Christmas and hope we have an improved new year.
 
Tony Pateman
Chairman