All posts that refer to news either about the Parish or directly relating to the Parish

Devolvement of MKC Non-Statutory Services to Parishes

MKC has a £56m budget funding gap until 2020. It cannot raise its government-capped council tax  without a referendum.  MKC officers have opened a dialogue with town and parish councils about handing over responsibility for ‘non-statutory services’; potentially by the 2017-2018 financial year. These services in Old Woughton Parish could include street cleaning (currently £4,646 p.a), landscaping (currently £12,410 p.a) and play area maintenance (currently £1,000 p.a). The implication for us would be a likely tripling of the precept and additional administrative burden.  City-wide, the loss of efficient central procurement would result in higher costs to parishes and variable quality across the board.

The consultation process is still at an early stage and so far no evidence of Ward Councillor involvement has been detected. However, in the next couple of months we will probably be involved in wider discussions with MKC and other parishes. Your opinion is thus very important to us. You can button-hole your local parish councillor in the street, email anyone of us or give your comments to the Clerk by phone or post.  Please don’t leave it too long to let us know your views; this matter is important to us all.

Let us know your thoughts on the possible devolution of services

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Budget 2017-18

We are proposing a budget roughly in-line with last year’s.  There will be no increase in the precept (£9,104) which we have kept at this level for the last 3 years.  It is also significant that the Allotments will be close to breaking even for the first time.  All this is due to our continued attention to maintaining low operating costs and tight control over our expenditure.  The downside is we have accumulated over £60,000 in reserves and the external auditors have passed comment on this two years in a row.  Accordingly we plan to create a capital projects list which will be earmarked against the reserves.  It will represent a wish list that contains prioritised, costed, parish enhancements which we will tackle in the future.   

At the January PC meeting we will finalise and agree the budget and launch our capital projects plan.  You can have your say in both because the details are on the website and on the noticeboards.  Do let us know what you think.

Let us know your thoughts on the Budget for 2017-18

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Canal Towpath Repairs

Village Green Status Granted

On Tuesday the 5th July 2016 at a meeting of the MKBC Regulatory Committee held in the Civic Offices, Village Green Status was granted to 2 parcels of open space land in the parish of Old Woughton, south of Passmore and between Foxton and Castle Rose in Woughton Park. The applications had been made within the guidelines of the 2006 Act of Parliament. No objections were made by members of the public or the landowner (MKBC).
MKBC had been advised by their officers not to grant this status, having obtained legal advice on a disputed point in law, upon which they were unable to give evidential proof. Objections to this decision were put forward by councillors Judith Howson and Mike Blomley from Passmore and Stuart Bennett, retired councillor from Woughton Park.

Patch Allotment Open Day

Sizzling sausages, bacon and burgers were much in demand at the Patch on Saturday 16th July.   A steady stream of guests joined plot-holders from 10am until 4pm to catch up on recent developments as well as sharing news around their local areas.  Chickens, bees and a scarecrow were inspected.

One hundred and five visitors were counted in, including eight children; a few more are known to have sneaked in with approaching lunchtime!  A gardening border set of a fork & spade was won in the Free Draw by Janet Wales, a Tinkers Bridge resident.  Registrations showed that just over half the visitors were residents scattered around MK6 and the rest spread more widely – one was welcomed from London!

There was complimentary alfresco food and refreshments in the marquee, all supplied through the generosity of members and friends and well matched with some financial support from the Association and Old Woughton Parish Council.  The raffle, with its usual abundance of donated prizes, raised £75 towards running the event.

The weather was on its best behaviour: no rain, a pleasant, cooling breeze in intense sunshine after a rather cloudy early start. Allotment plot holder, Helen Plimmer was judged to rent the “Best Kept Allotment – 2016” by visiting judges Brian and Barry from Conniburrow Allotments – the trophy will be presented at the Association’s AGM next March.

Falconhurst School summer visit to the Patch

P1010867 emailThere was a second visit of year 5 students from Falconhurst School in Eaglestone, to the Patch Allotments on the 14th July. This was a follow up to the last excussion to the Patch in February when the allotments were still largely dormant. On this occasion the children were able to see the allotments in full bloom with the results of the allotment tenants hard work in evidence. The children were challenged to identify the different crops growing on the plots. Some of the answers were surprising!

P1010873 emailOf course high in the list of things to do at the allotments for the children, was an opportunity to feed the chickens. This allowed them a close up view of the ever inquisitive birds and a chance to pet them  Taking advantage of the sunny summer weather on the day, the children brought picnic lunches to have at the seating area by the Allotment shop.

The visit was again hosted by the Chair and the Secretary of the Patch Allotments Association (PAA), Les Burgess and John Such. The visit will be used to provide material for classroom projects for the students.

Annual Strawberry Fayre at St. Mary’s Church – 2 July 2016

20160702_134917 crIn spite of an uncertain weather forecast, the decision was taken to set up the majority of stalls and attractions outside. Apart from one short sharp shower the weather was kind to us.

Our usual area of display was deemed to be too wet underfoot and the visit by 20 steers from the adjoining field a couple of weeks before didn’t help the state of that part of the churchyard.

A new approach was to have the stalls sited along the main pathway and that seemed to work well.

20160702_134928 crIt was good to welcome both regular and new visitors to the event and to the church. All had the opportunity to enjoy BBQ food, purchase plants, cakes and honey, and enjoy the anticipation of the tombola and raffle. The china smashing stall was a challenge for both young and mature visitors.

The toy and craft stalls proved popular for the purchase of gifts for all age groups.

Of course the main focus of the day was the serving of strawberry teas enjoyed by many in the surroundings of our beautiful church and to musical accompaniment.

All proceeds go towards the day to day running of the church and upkeep of the church fabric.

Thank you to everyone who contributed in any way to the success of the day.

Annual Parish Meeting

Falconhurst School visit to the Patch Allotments

Falconhurst 1Two groups of year 5 students from the Falconhurst School in Eaglestone enjoyed a field trip to the Patch Allotments on Thursday the 25th February. The visit was hosted by the Chair and the Secretary of the Patch Allotments Association (PAA), Les Burgess and John Such. The visit started with a “class room” session in the PAA hut where Les explained some of the history of allotments in his usual jocular fashion. He then got the children to design a layout for an allotment and identify what they would like to grow in it.

The children then got a chance to walk around the allotments and, of course, Falconhurst 3to head for the chicken run. Here they had an opportunity to meet the chickens first hand and to feed them. At the same time Les was able to field the avalanche of questions about them from the children.

The visit was concluded by a visit to the bee enclosure for more questions and answers about the bee’s life cycle and what is required to maintain a healthy bee population. Fortunately the weather was fine, but still much too cold for any bees to want to venture out.

A follow up visit in June is under discussion so that the children will be able to see the allotments in full bloom and in warmer weather.

Community Car Service

CCS ImageSince opening its doors on 28th September 2015 the Pilot CA:MK Community Car Service and its 12 volunteer drivers have provided over 200 journeys to residents across Milton Keynes covering over 1600 miles! We have registered 34 passengers and have undertaken the most journeys to a Day Care centre 39.6%, with 18.4% visiting the GP and 13.7% visiting the hospital.

See the February 2016 update below.