Hardingstone Parish Council is here to serve local residents.
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Posted: Thu, 13 Dec 2018 12:26 by Sally Willis
The Parish Council phone is now working again.
Apologies for any inconvenience this has caused
Posted: Thu, 13 Dec 2018 12:26 by Sally Willis
Visitors to Northampton town centre can take advantage of a £1 return park and ride service from this Saturday through to Christmas Eve.
Northampton Borough Council has worked closely with the University of Northampton and Uno Buses to put this special Christmas timetable in place. All partners are hopeful that residents and visitors will make the most of this great value offer. There are even buses running right up until 7pm on Christmas Eve. More »
Parking at the Sixfield's site in the Claret car park in Edgar Mobbs Way is free and return bus tickets are priced at just £1. Any children aged 16 or under travelling with a fare paying adult can travel for free.
Cllr Jonathan Nunn, Council leader, said: "Town centre Christmas traffic can be very busy so we've worked with the University and Uno Buses to offer drivers an alternative.
"Park and ride is an excellent way of making a relaxing start to a town centre visit and, at just £1 per adult, the bus trip offers good value for money.
"Of course, those who prefer to drive into town can still take advantage of our weekend parking offer at just £2 for the day, and we still offer two hours free parking in the week for those able to take advantage of it."
Jim Thorpe, managing director for Uno Buses, said: "It's great to all come together this Christmas to help keep Northampton moving. We're so pleased to be a part of it! The park and ride offers such a frequent service and it's fantastic value for money, we hope to see lots of shoppers join us on board."
The park and ride service will be in operation from Saturday 15 December until Monday 24 December inclusive and buses will run from 5.30am to 10.30pm. Timings are as follows:
- Mon to Friday – ten-minute frequency up to 7pm and every 20 minutes thereafter
- Saturday – half-hourly to 9am, every 15 mins thereafter until 7pm and then every 20 minutes
- Sunday – half-hourly until 7pm then hourly
Those who still choose to drive into Northampton town centre have a number of car parks to choose from. Full details can be found at https://www.northampton.gov.uk/directory/3/car-park-directory » Less
Posted: Thu, 13 Dec 2018 12:22 by Sally Willis
There seems to be so much going on in Politics at present, both at National and at County level; but I will attempt to be as brief as I can on the County front!As a bit of background in case some are not up to date:At the beginning of the year a "Best Value for Money" inspection was undertaken by Max Caller. As a result of the negative findings on this; 2 Commissioners were brought in by Sajiid Javid (part time ) to oversee the finance and governance of NCC. They are assisted by a senior civil servant to work as their chief of staff ( not paid for) and have brought in support from the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA ...also not paid for)I am sure you will all be aware that NCC has been in a perilous state and was issued with a Section 114 notice. It is by no means the only Council in such a difficult financial situation. That is not to excuse to what has happened at NCC, but to explain the gravity of our County politics and which is something I only came into a year and half ago. What a time to join!The LGA are also offering considerable free support and Theresa Grant has been appointed as our Chief Executive Officer. This makes up a now significant body of experts to assist the transition to 2 Unitary Councils and which will see NCC and all seven district and borough councils cease to exist in 2020. Our Auditors have also been changed for this financial year to Ernest and Young, and a new Chief Financial Officer, Ian Duncan joined recently.The 2 Unitary Councils will comprise of an organisation in the North merging Kettering, Corby, East Northants and Wellingborough, together with services provided by the county council, and an organisation in the west comprising Daventry, The Borough of Northampton, South Northants (which is currently disentangling itself from its Cherwell alliance) and again services provided by the county council.A stabilisation plan has now been put forward by the Commissioners which seeks to identify how transformation will take place. More information will follow.In terms of day to day activity, all spending above a certain level has to be signed off by a strategic spending panel. Any spending is scrutinised at a level not experienced before. You will have seen in the papers that streamlining of some services is taking place. However as far as the libraries are concerned, there has been a reprieve and most libraries will be kept open.Moving onto some of the other challenges occuring; I have recently attended 2 big public meetings about the 2 Rail Freight applications for my area. These were open meetings to allow residents to submit their views and ask questions. In attendance was Andrea Leadsom MP for South Northants and Chris Heaton Harris MP for Daventry and whose area dovetails into Milton Malsor. Mark Redding and Rod Sellers; "chairs" of the 2 action groups were also on the panel. Please refer to my Facebook page where full updates are provided.The 2 applications; Ashfield Land's Rail Central project to the one side of Collingtree and Roxhill's Northampton Gateway project is just over the M1 atjunction 15. The implications are enormous given the A45's current capacity issues and the negative environmental impact aswell. Furthermore we have very very low unemployment in the Nene Valley ...less than 4%, so that will mean massive increases in traffic for those commuting in to work. There is no doubt that building more rail freight terminals is a good strategy; to get the ever increasing number of lorries off the road; but the benefits of doing this are seen more at the Sea terminals.The Ashfield land application was initially turned down by the new Secretary for State; James Brokenshire and the Planning inspectorate. It however has been resubmitted answering all 80 pages of questions.At the above meetings it was highlighted that both MP's are supporting a call for a review of the Governments National policy statement on Strategic Rail Freight Terminals ( SFRI) This is because current modus operandi seems to work on a developer led approach, rather than looking at the Strategic requirements for the Country with a proper national plan. It is hard to make the argument that so many rail freight terminals are needed in the middle of the Country and that they can be classed as Strategic when this applies more to the ports.The Borough Council have also sent a letter to Government, calling for an urgent review.I recently attended a Finance Scrutiny meeting on changes within Adult Social Care finances. This being one of my main interest in the County, it is worthy of a brief update. The Government " Green paper" on "Social Care funding" has been put back again with the likely launch in the New Year. This is very frustrating for us all; I understand it is ready for launch but the Government want to make sure it is given a high profile when it is out and because Brexit is on everyones minds this would not be the "right" time.Probably the biggest challenge today and even more than elder care funding, is the escalating costs of supporting young adults transitioning out of children's care services. There has been a massive escalation of costs with the increases in more babies surviving at birth; who in years gone by would not have survived. This is a difficult area to discuss, because advances in medicine are such a wonderful thing. Meeting these escalating costs is however ever more challenging and something being looked at by Government. The budget for Learning Disability alone within NCC ASC is £60 million. Currently, there are 104 young adults under NCC's responsibility, with an average care package costing £132,000 each as well as three very complex clients who cost over £200,000 each with one at £280,000. This is against a back drop of traditionally low wages for care staff and which I am keen to see rise significantly.NCC's Adult Social Care budget until this year was almost the lowest in the UK. It did have a significant boost in March of c£23m which I fought for, but coming from a base of low funding, has meant staffing levels particularly in Commissioning ( negotiating contracts ) has been very low and hence the manpower to review and renegotiate contracts has been limited. The Treasury is working with us to try and resolve the historical inherited PFI contracts, which are incredibly inflexible and no longer fit for purpose. These are just some of the many challenges the team are contending with and my sincere gratitude goes to Anna Earnshaw and her department for persevering in such a difficult climate.As we live in such changeable times and if you have issues you wish to be resolved, I would urge you to attend Parish Council meetings when you can. You are very lucky with your PC team at Hardingstone, who work tirelessly on your behalf and who have considerable drive and expertise in many areas. I am in awe of the work they do so diligently. The team are often looking for volunteers to sit on the Parish Council as are Wootton, Collingtree and Great Houghton ...all part of my Nene Valley remit.I continue to meet many residents across the Nene Valley to discuss concernsand want you to know, that I am committed to getting the best service for you all in these very difficult circumstances. I am available 24/7 should you wish to talk or meet.If anyone is interested in inputting or becoming more involved with the running of your County then do let me know. We need more residents to engage with us.If you would like to attend our Cabinet meetings, they run on a monthly basis at the county council offices at One Angel Square in Northampton and I would be delighted to sit with you at those meetings and to talk through how it all works.Do also go and follow my Facebook page Lizzy Bowen ...Cllr Nene Valley for regular updates!And finally best wishes to you all for the forthcoming festive season. I remain hopeful that 2019 sees a more stable picture on the political front!Lizzy xCounty Councillor.. Nene Valley.