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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.

Precept (Council Tax) Update

Mark Rowley, Parish Council Chair recently wrote via Facebook that several projects had been suggested for 2017/18 and would require precept (Parish Council Tax) funding. These were as follows:

An extension to the Village Hall car park, upgrade to the path connecting the Village Hall to the tennis and bowls clubs, and improving the entrance to Newton, to make it safer. This provoked a fierce debate with one resident indicating that the precept element of Council Tax bills would rise by 222% as a result. The balance of opinion was that:

The extension to the Village Hall car park was unnecessary, as overcrowding only happened very occasionally when significant Bowling and Cricket events coincided. The path to the Bowling club was better than many paths throughout the Borough and that the only tripping hazard was the grass growing between slabs.

While there did appear to be some support for the improvement of the sight lines at the Newton junction, the work was considered to be appropriate to the Highways Agency and therefore covered by Council Tax already paid to the County Council. Significantly Boughton Estates, had previously stated that they would be carrying out work to move the banks and hedge and to re-fence.

The Facebook debate also highlighted that the Parish Council account reflected a balance in excess of £20K without any major spend for the rest of this year.

At the recent Parish Council meeting it was stated by a member of the public that reserves at April 2017 would be 3 times the average annual Parish Council spend for the past two years and therefore, with no tested requirement in place for any projects, asked whether any increase in precept was required. Mark Rowley, Parish Council Chair, whilst conceding there were no costed projects approved for action, stated that the reasons for increasing precept included projects he considered would be expensive, e.g. the Newton junction at £30K to £35K, 
the preference to increase funds was over a period rather than hit residents with a large one off charge. understands that the precept can only be used to raise funds for specifically researched and costed projects and not to build reserves.

He (Mark Rowley) went on to say that it was rumored that in future precept increases would be limited to 2% which would essentially freeze the Parish Council budget at current levels.

Further public comment questioned the logic of raising funds for possible spend on untested projects, emphasising that the need for no project had yet been proved, accurate costs for none had been established and most importantly the level of residents support for none had been established.

The Chair, Mark Rowley conceded that none of the projects had been subjected to investigation, evaluation or approval, and that this would need to be done before proceeding with projects. He added however that there had been a previous claim from tripping on the path to the Bowls Club which had not been pursued. He also added that Boughton Estates had changed their mind about carrying out the work to the Newton junction. He did not however elaborate on the reason for the commitment withdrawal.

A discussion followed on possible other needs which had been highlighted in the Parish Plan, including traffic calming measures and verge maintenance etc. After the lengthy discussion no vote was taken, no new information made available and no agreed actions relative to the final decision on the 2016/17 precept due to be decided at the January 2017 Parish Council meeting.

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.



Meadows – Councillor Batchelor takes the lead!

Our last article mentioned that both the Wildlife Trust (WT) and the Parish Council were seeking to advance proposals that would address any inadvertent damage caused by the Meadows pond clearance. Councillor Batchelor who took the lead at the visit of the Wildlife Trust has produced a comprehensive and positive report that proposes a programme of work to achieve this. His full report can be found at the end of this article.

He writes, however, “That the main emphasis of the WT was to recommend expediting the planting of certain wetland plants within the pond’s interior, and on the south-west bank. This would encourage wildlife back in and give refuge and a location for larvae“.

In terms of future ‘pond clearance’, the WT’s recommendations were clear: tackle a third of the pond in four year intervals, in the early winter months“.

A small working party is to be convened in January, to discuss and agree the transplanting programme and timelines over the following few weeks. The working party would consist of Parish Councillors, GVFB officers, residents who have previously shown concern; the Gardening Club and/or Brickyard Garden team are also to be approached for advice. This assembly will be advertised by the Parish Council in early January.


The GVFB Commanding Officer, Darryl Foulds has published a statement on their website, where any lack of contrition in what he says, is made up for with a clear desire to address any inadvertent damage to the Meadows pond area.

And for those concerned with the Willow trees that were ‘trimmed’, the images below show how resilient Willow can be.


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.


Geddington – a life in words and memories – December

As the winter solstice passes and with Christmas in the offing, it is interesting to realise that the same issues took up the Holding sisters’ thoughts in 1929 as they do ours today. Thoughts of the cold and harsh weather to come, preparations of food to keep children fed or to add to celebrations, party frocks to make, the end of a school term and exams, the postman and what he might bring….

Here are Daisy Holding’s memories of a Geddington December in 1929


..And lastly December..

1st December

Queen Alexandra’s birthday..and also Auntie’s.

sea-shell-spoonAs we salt the vegetables we admire Cousin Flo’s idea of a sea shell spoon. We brought a number from Hunstanton and use them also in the soda and sugar. Today we had spiced shin of beef and veg in the casserole accompanied by suet roll, potatoes, brussels and blackcurrant jam!

I am reading ‘Show Boat’. I love it, especially the parts referring to Queenie’s delightful cooking!! That spiced ham! I can almost taste it. That reminds me how once Grannie Furniss told me the first time she ever stayed all night with Gt. Grannie Croft, they had stuffed and spiced home cured bacon for supper. ..she ate so much it quite alarmed dainty little Gt Aunt Esther who thought she would never stop eating!

Grannie Furniss loves what she calls ‘reesty bacon’ ..not a dictionary word I think but I know what she means. Auntie likes old ‘mealie’ peas and broad beans with tough skin! She wouldn’t thank you for luscious ‘marrow fats’. Little Sister and I ,much to the children’s disgust, always take sugar to soup. Funny creatures aren’t we all?

When days seem full of just juggling with pots and pans, preparing meals that vanish out of sight with startling rapidity, I just think of those women who make housewifery ideal and even holy.

4th December

The children (the boarders at the school) have colds this morning and all look off colour. Exams have started. The little ones had their English paper yesterday. Out of a choice of subjects for composition Joan has selected ‘The Cat’ and has written the life story of Muffy and her family.

Hastily clearing up after dinner we don our outdoor togs and get out for a walk before tea. The winter sun is setting rosily in the west and high in the sky the new moon is rising…  At the Lodge by the gate,the blue smoke curls lazily among tsunset-over-the-crosshe bare beech trees. I always imagine the busy housewife who lives here and opens the gate into the Park has just made up the fire against her husband’s return. Jean and Chassie, little neighbours of ours are out for their airing with Nannie. We stop and chat with them. Now rushing along and hooting at the Park gate comes the Red Mail van. We all greet our friendly postman but he passes us by! Had he any letters for us he would pull up and hand them out with much ceremony.

We have promised our girlies a sweet making orgy one evening. They bring their pennies to save for Mummies and Grannies’ Xmas Boxes which are to be boxes of sweets. They have already started to make wondrous table decorations for me from twigs, pine cones and beech nut husks.chestnuts

The (radio) announcer warned us of a terrific gale and rain, yet as we went to bed all was quiet, clear and bright. Scarcely had we gone to bed when the wind began to howl and the rain pattered on our window. Rapidly it increased in violence. We were restless and alarmed. Quite early we got up for the water was pouring in and we were helpless to prevent it…We stumbled about in the darkness almost in tears.

A cup of tea worked wonders and we set to work with a will to tackle a sink full of dirty pots and pans. There is almost a Christmassy air about these dark mysterious mornings. Piles of brightly coloured sewing, almost tawdry, and breakfast while it is still dark, speak of the Xmas rush.

7th DecemberImage result for 1920s evening dresses

d054 Caroline Holding business cardAfter a wild and stormy night, we gladly greet the morn. Little Sister has three delightful evening gowns in hand. This particular creation is black satin beauté trimmed with diamanté. The bodice is low and sleeveless, pointed at the waist with shaped skirt, short in front and flowing at the back. It is all picôt edged. On the shoulder is a handmade flower with a brilliant ornament in centre. Another delightful little frock is blue georgette trimmed with silver tissue. Perfectly plain tight bodice, skirt dipping at the side and a large, soft silver tissue bow at the hips.

12th December

Just after dinner came the Mole Trapper. I cannot put him up this year.

honestyThe leaves I pressed under the carpet are a great success. They look very lovely arranged in my pottery vases with silvery honesty from the garden, sprays of fir cones and painted beech nut husks.

30th December

It is my Birthday and since writing the above Christmas has come and gone. This has been a busy happy day.

Now I must return to those hectic days before Xmas. As the hols approach the children get restless and excited. Exams are the order of the day and they come home tired and spent. However the thought of hols helps us along. There is so much that must be done, I have no time to prepare cakes, puddings or mincemeat.

We enjoy the breaking up party at St Albans and the children do their play ‘Sleeping Beauty’ very nicely.

marzipan-fruitsOne night we devote entirely to sweet making. We carry the stove into the house-place and give up ourselves completely to this sticky orgy. Oh! You ought to have seen them scraping up the cooking boards and basins.  Next morning we pack up the fondants, marzipan fruits and flowers, toffee-three kinds; creme de menthe, turkish delight and so forth. Mummies, Grannies, Grandpas, Misses Sykes and Sheffield get ornate boxes, all tied up and dressed with ribbons and Xmas labels.

We are all delighted with the gifts and greetings we have received from kind friends. Calendars, Pork pies, Wine, chocolates and sweets!! They all helped to make our Christmas a very happy one. Dainty hankies and serviette bands from a dear friend in China, as well as those from nearer ones, will tell us of kindliness and thoughtfulness throughout the year. But what of those necessaries from loved ones who knew just wellington-bootsexactly our needs? I mean sturdy shoes and stockings, Wellingtons and gloves!

Thank you everyone and may the Good God reward you all.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

Margaret Alice Holding.


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!


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