Posts by Pam

The Precept

The Facts
The Whole Facts
And Nothing But The Facts

Actually, the ‘Whole Facts’ might be a bit difficult, unless we allow this Post to fill the website with gigabytes of information, so let’s just say, the ‘Basic Facts’.

For many years, Kettering Borough Council gave the Parish a sum of money in the form of a grant. This was for the Parish Council to spend on the general running of the three Parishes – Geddington, Newton and Little Oakley. In 2007, KBC announced that they would stop giving the grant, at that time £10,900, but to help Parishes come to terms with this, the grant amount be reduced over a number of years. The difference would have to be made up by the villages’ rates payers and it would appear on the annual Northamptonshire County Council Tax Demand, that we all receive in March. This, then, is the precept. The amount that each of us rate payers pay, depends on which Rate Band we are in.

As the grant was reduced, so the Parish Council has gradually increased the precept from the original £3000 to £9000 in 2015.

At the January 2017 Parish Council meeting, a proposal to increase the precept from £9000 to £20,000 was made and passed.

This raises two basic questions:
1. Why now?
2. Why this amount?

The simple answer to question one, is ‘Capping’. All tiers of government have a cap on their spending, and the amount they can ask their rate payers. All tiers except Parish Councils: they have no cap.

A Private Members’ Bill to introduce Parish Council capping at 2% was raised in Parliament in 2013, but it failed to get through. However, it is seen by many that it will passed in the near future.

What happens when a cap is in place? If there is not enough money in the Parish Council’s bank accounts, the Parish Council would have to seek funds to pay for any projects that the village would like them to undertake. There are a number of ways to deal with this, amongst them:

  • Grants aids, from businesses etc
  • Borrow the money
  • Ask the villages if they can raise the precept (this would be done via a referendum)
  • Reduce the number of projects
  • Proceed with smaller projects

This brings us to question 2: why this amount?
The Parish Council have used the information passed on to them from the Parish Plan committee, in which there were three projects proposed for the immediate/long term future (to see these read the Minutes on the Parish Council page.) Although there are no costings for these projects in the Minutes, the precept increase would help to increase the Council’s reserves, so that future projects can be successfully completed.

In a Freedom of Information Request, concerning the proposed precept increase, the Parish Council said:

“The current thinking (of the Parish Council) is that we increase the precept from £9000 to £20,000. This will give the Council the funds over time to complete the projects without putting an unnecessary burden on residents to complete the work in one year.”

January’s News from the County Council

The Northampton County Council have produced the following guidelines during the winter weather, with appropriate links

School closures
Schools have in place arrangements to keep parents informed should they need to close due to the weather. Please check the website of your child’s school for further information.

Staying safe
Safety is the priority – to watch our video and find useful links for information and advice on staying safe in winter, visit our Emergency Planning section.

For advice on how to stay healthy during the cold weather, visit the Stay Well This Winter website.

Adult learning
If adult learning courses are disrupted, we will update the adult learning page.

On the road
Take care when driving during wintry conditions. To report a hazard or problem on the roads or highways, use our Street Doctor website.

For information about gritting and grit bins, see the Northamptonshire Highways gritting the county’s roads page.

Keep up to date
You can also check Twitter for updates to our services.

A Call for Actors

Here’s an unusual call for help – for actors who need only read the script! But I won’t give too much away, just read John Padwick’s plea.


 Captain Pouch’s Dream

In 1607 a series of riots led by John Reynolds, known as ‘Captain Pouch,’ exploded across Northamptonshire, Leicestershire and Warwickshire. The cause was the enclosure of land which resulted in many people being evicted from their homes and losing their land and animals. ‘Pouch’ was a charismatic and strange figure who inspired the angry peasants to take things into their own hands by digging up the hedges and throwing down the fences which the new landowners had erected. The riots affected many local villages such as Cotesbach, Haselbech and Withybrook and culminated in a huge battle at Newton in which over 50 people were massacred.

‘Captain Pouch’s Dream’ is a play written by local author Len Holden and is based on the real historical events, which we commemorated by the pageant in Newton in June 2007.  The Cotesbach Educational Trust – based at Cotesbach, Leicestershire, at the junction of the A14/M6/M1, and where another of the riots took place that summer – is hosting these performances.

The play is to be performed as a reading, in that there is no need to learn lines but will be performed reading from the prepared script.

The performance will take place in Cotesbach Stable Yard on

Friday 9th and Saturday 10th June

and hopefully later that month in Geddington or Newton.

Actors both men and women are needed:
you do not have to have wide acting experience,
and enthusiastic amateurs are welcomed.

If you are interested contact for a chat:
John Padwick – Tel: 0758 121 0454/ email:
Len Holden – Tel: 01858 446067/ email:
Sophy Newton – Tel: 07720 761285/ email:

Budget Time

It’s that time of year when the Councils must consider what level of taxation they need to make for the next financial year. This decision has to be made by all levels of government – be it Westminster, Borough, Town or Parish.

Northamptonshire County Council’s  proposals for the  budget and council plan have been published and, following consultation, a report will be presented to Cabinet in February. Approval will then be given at a meeting of the Full Council on Thursday, 23 February.

The NCC invite you to
Have your say, by looking through the full proposals and draft council plan on their website.” The Council continues, “We encourage you to take part in the consultation, which is open until 24 January, to have your say on our proposals.” To see the proposals, click on this link:
second year of our four year budget and council plan 

Kettering Borough Council will also be discussing their proposed budget for the forthcoming year at this month.  The Council will be holding a Budget Consultation meeting at 7.00 pm on Thursday, 26th January in the Council Chamber, Municipal Offices, Bowling Green Road, Kettering. The meeting will provide an opportunity to be briefed on the Council’s budget position, key issues, timescales and the challenges the Council will face, post April 2017. Members of the public, as well as local organisations, are welcome to attend.

Geddington, Newton & Little Oakley Parish Council will be deciding its precept for the forthcoming year at the regular monthly Parish Council Meeting on Monday, 9th January at 7.30pm in the Village Hall Lounge, Queen Street, Geddington. Members of the public are welcome to attend.

The Squirt Endured

Once again, the GVFB produce a wonderful show for all the visitors, and residents of Geddington, on a splendid cool Boxing Day.

Engines lined up, ready for duty!

Engines lined up, ready for duty!

The event starts at the Volunteer’s Fire Brigade’s HQ in Grafton Road, their Fire Station, with a gathering of the Geddington team, the Kettering team and their worships, the Mayor & Mayoress of Kettering, Cllr Scott Edwards and his wife, Eve.

Mayor & Mayoress of Kettering, Cllr Scott and Eve Edwards

Mayor & Mayoress of Kettering, Cllr Scott and Eve Edwards

On enquiring about their apparent lack of waterproof clothing, Cllr Edwards told, “I don’t mind getting wet!”

Naturally, some fortification for the battle ahead was needed and some rally-crying of traditional songs and music.

Then the parade down Grafton Road to the Queen Eleanor Cross, where His Worship was introduced to the teams. Then came the traditional march to the former Chief’s grave, that of Mr M J Harker, in Geddington churchyard.

Tradition then led them back to the Cross where Christmas Carols were sung, then finally down Bridge Street, to where the ford led across the River Ise.

Those in the know, had already chosen their place on the bridge and were suitably dressed for the drenching that was to come. Once the teams were in place, Cllr Edwards then started the battle.


Although gamely battling, the Geddington team were unable to withstand the onslaught from Kettering and after five battles, allowed victory to be claimed by Kettering. Again.

And there was more sportsmanship to come! Hearing that the presentation of the trophy was to be made in the middle of the battleground (ford), Cllr Edwards took off his shows to wade in and present the trophy – he really meant it when he said he didn’t mind getting wet!.


Finally, the morning ended with drinks – served by Eric, Nigel and Colin – and a barbecue, at the Cricket Club’s new pavilion.



The Annual GVFB Squirt

It’s that time of year again when
The Geddington Volunteer Fire Brigade
invite you to the highlight of their calendar –
the 2016 Annual Boxing Day Squirt.

For those that haven’t been to a Squirt before, it is when the GVFB take on a team from Northamptonshire Fire & Rescue Service at ‘a competition of skill, bravery and wits.’  A beer barrel is suspended from a wire across the River Ise and both teams take their place at either side of the Ford.

When the whistle is blown, the two teams raise their hoses and attempt to push the barrel over the heads of their competitors to score a point.  The first team to 3 points wins.

The Squirt begins at 12noon on the Bridge, however, they invite you to join them at the Eleanor Cross at around 11:30(ish) to see the parade and be inspected by the Mayor of Kettering.  Some food will be available from outside Askews and all the local Public Houses will be open before and after the Squirt – including the new Cricket Club Pavilion.

On their website, the GVFB say “Traditionally, Geddington are announced the victors by around 12:30!”

They might not be professional firemen, but they still have to practice:

The trusty Thorneycroft Nubian Fire Tender

The trusty Thorneycroft Nubian Fire Tender or, as it is known, The Queen Eleanor.


The Winter Solstice

10.44GMT on Wednesday 21st December marks the Winter Solstice for 2016.

Forgetting the science for the moment, this means that this is the shortest day of the year. We will have 7 hours, 49 minutes and 41 seconds of daylight in Great Britain.

Here comes the science.

The winter solstice happens every year when the Sun reaches its most southerly declination of -23.5 degrees. In other words, when the North Pole is tilted furthest – 23.5 degrees – away from the Sun, delivering the fewest hours of sunlight of the year.

Usually, the solstice falls on the 21st, but the time can vary each year, due to the slight discrepancy between the time that we use and the solar time – a variation which is rectified every four years, when a leap year occurs and we get an extra day on the calendar. This is the reason Winter solstice in 2015 took place on 22 December. Solstice officially happens when the sun is precisely over the Tropic of Capricorn – the latitude stretching across the southern hemisphere.

The good news is that from Thursday 22 December, the days will get longer.
The bad news is that it will be a month or so, before we can see any benefit.

But something good to look forward to after Christmas!

And the weather for the Winter Solstice –

will be the warm(ish) weather we’ve been experiencing and it should continue with temperatures around 9C (48F). However, later in the week, the blizzard conditions in New York may reach us, depending on whether the jet stream passes north or south of us. If the latter there is just a chance that it could look as lovely as the Christmas cards!


The Meadows

– although to give this piece of land its correct name, it is The Walter Buccleuch Meadows, for in 1976, the 7th Duke of Buccleuch gave this piece of land to the village in memory of his father, Walter.

But, like any other part of this village, its history started long before that. For centuries it has been part of the Boughton Estates and it was land that was recognised as a flood plain, as it still is, including the land upriver towards Newton and downstream, beside and beyond the recreation field.

It is, of course, no accident that the village was built around a fordable part of the river. As it was described in Whellan’s Northamptonshire in 1849: “The village of Geddington, which is rather large, is seated on low ground, on the river Ise, which runs through it about 5 1/2miles E. by N. of Rothwell and 3 1/2miles N.E. of Kettering.”  (Interesting how Rothwell is given more importance that Kettering, despite the latter being closer.)


Described in the 1911 local paper as a ‘Motor Smash’. Vicarage wall on left, Stamford Road going right.

1885-road-mapThe introduction of motorised vehicles during the latter part of the 19th and early 20th centuries, increased the traffic exponentially.  The original Kettering to Stamford highway ran right through the heart of the village: Kettering Road curving right, into what is now known as Queen Street, then over the bridge or a dash through the ford, up to the Cross, before turning a sharp left onto West Street, then a sharp right onto Stamford Road, as the vicarage wall and grounds extended to the dyke on the far side of what is now New Road, then up Chase Hill where there was once a toll gate. (Note the ‘Z-shape’ of the red-dotted road.)

The 700 year old bridge was therefore, as vital a link in the national communications, as it was to the village. However, a traffic census in 1925 revealed: 529 tons of commercial lorry traffic, 262 tons of omnibus or charabanc and 731 tons of other traffic, passing over the bridge every day. And it was the urgent need to close the bridge for repairs that forced the building of the New Road and bridge.  The cost of the repairs was estimated to be in the region of £1500. The old bridge was closed on 25 February 1926 for the rest of the year.

So, the single event of the 20th century that had the most far-reaching effects on the village, was the building of the, unimaginatively named, New Road and bridge over the River Ise. Not only did it extend the housing on Grange Road, but it encouraged the post-war building of Skeffington Close (1948-1955) and of course, enclosed the land between the two bridges – what we now call the meadows. It was only natural for residents of Skeffington Close to use the path through these meadows in order to get to the village. An act that eventually encouraged the Parish Council to create the paved path that we see today.

It was in the 1950s, after another severe flooding, that it was decided to change the course of the river, leading water directly to the bridge, rather than meander through the meadows. (Note ‘U-shaped’ loop, or to give it its proper geographical term, meander bend, of river in the map.) The river bed downstream was also widened to accommodate the water.

This created the meadows as we know them today and in 1972, the (at times) soggy patch of land was donated to the village by the 7th Duke of Buccleuch. (For more of this story, see The Walter Buccleuch Meadows in the History column of this website.)

The Walter Buccleuch Meadows, boundary of gifted land.

The Walter Buccleuch Meadows, boundary of gifted land.

In 1992, Kettering Borough Council commenced their Dog Fouling Initiatives.  The project was intended to create dog exercise areas throughout the Borough, but they started with just two as experiments, in town and village.  Initially it was suggested that it be in the Recreation Field, but the Parish Council suggested the Meadows as a better site. The Parish Council agreed, subject to the sign’s wording, and an offer by KBC to fence the area and keep the grass cut, at no cost to the PC, was readily agreed and finally accepted in March 1993. One of the issues raised at that time by those who were opposed to this project, was the possible problem of parking by those attracted from outside the village. As it turned out their fears were not realised for two reasons: the A43 an obvious place not to park along and the extra visitors just weren’t attracted to the Exercise Area in the numbers feared.

It was during shortly after the land was donated to the village, that the pond was created. There are a number of natural springs both in and near the meadows and if you have walked that path after heavy rain in the spring, you will have seen the water running over the path from the field which now contains horses. One other natural spring rose under the pond area and without the concrete surround, that area would remain soggy and muddy throughout the year. With Nature constantly feeding the pond with clear, clean fresh water, it was no surprise that watercress used to grow there.*  Wildlife will find and use it, as it has for decades.

Residents remember picnicking and playing games in that area, but it could only have been in dry months as, when heavy rain came, the water backed up and flooded the area as it does to some extent today. The building of the berm in 2000/01, greatly reduced this problem, but hasn’t entirely solved the flooding problem.

The work being done by the GVFB is just the latest in many attempts at keeping Nature at bay. 2016, as many gardeners will acknowledge, was one of the best years for growth, be it bush, shrub or tree. Without management, natural growth would cover every one of man’s buildings – a list of Northamptonshire’s lost villages will attest to this. (Their sites are now designated as Ancient Monuments.) The area around the pond has not been regularly managed and perhaps should have been.

* Standing at the river end of the pond, fresh water can now be seen running over the edge. Next step watercress?


A further article will follow later this week on the GVFB and the “paddling pool” controversy, following the Wildlife Trust’s visit.



Scout Post 2016

Let the Scouts deliver your Christmas cards!

Post your cards from 28 November to 13 December.

Cost per card is 25pscoutpost-1

Scoutboxes can be found:
Near the Cross
Skeffington Close
Near the Post Office
Geddington School
Newton &

Cards are delivered to:  Barton Seagrave    Braybrooke    Broughton    Burton Latimer    Cranford    Cransley    Desborough    Geddington    Grafton Underwood    Isham    Kettering    Little Cransley    Loddington    Mawsley    Newton    Old    Orton    Pytchley    Rothwell    Rushton    Warkton    Walgrave  and  Weekley.

scout-post-areaPlease do not post cards for places not on this list, or outside the red line on this map, as the Scouts are unable to deliver them.



Address cards with:
Recipient’s name
Number of house
Name of street


A14/A43 Junction Traffic Works & Closures

Resurfacing work will be carried out at the roundabout junction of the A14 and the A43 (junction 8), near Kettering this month.


Because of the scale of the works and to protect the public and workforce, some road closures are needed on the roundabout over two weekends.

1. The first closure will be from 8pm on Friday,18 November to 6am on Monday 21 November.

2. The second closure will be from 8pm on Friday 25 November to 6am on Monday 28 November.

1. The roundabout closures will be phased with the east side of the roundabout closed on the first weekend (Kettering side). The slip roads, both on and off the A14 eastbound will also be closed.

2. The west side of the roundabout will be closed on the second weekend (Broughton side). The slip roads, both on and off the A14 west bound will also be closed at this time.

A fully signed diversion route will be in place whilst the closures are in place, including the A14 messaging signs.

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