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Welcome to Castlethorpe

Castlethorpe is a village with a population of around 1,100 set in rolling countryside seven miles north of Milton Keynes city centre and close to the boundary with Northamptonshire. It lies on the northern edge of the Tove River Valley, which is designated as being landscape of Special Character. 
The surrounding area is thought to have first been inhabited in the Bronze Age but the village itself started out in life as a Norman castle belonging to the lord of the manor of nearby Hanslope which was destroyed in 1215 during the Barons' Revolt against King John. 

The parish church is dedicated to St Simon and St Jude, and dates back to Anglo-Saxon times, though the present church is of mainly Norman design. There are a number of other listed buildings in the village, some dating back to the 15th Century, with fine examples of homes from the 18th, 19th, 20th and 21st centuries as well. 
You can click here to find more information about the history of the village, including pictures and a video, and there's even more on the Milton Keynes Heritage Association website at www.mkheritage.org.uk/cv (opens in new window).

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The village's weekly refuse collection day is normally Friday, even after Bank Holidays. The only change is over the Christmas and New Year period. All three household recycling centres in Milton Keynes are open seven days a week but entry is still by appointment only and anyone without an appointment will be turned away. To book your slot you must phone 01908 252811 or apply online here.

For detailed information on the latest developments in the COVID-19 pandemic and how to keep yourself safe go to the COVID-19 page on this website, the Government website or milton-keynes.gov.uk/ coronavirus

Update on Maltings 2 development

A number of residents and councillors have expressed concern at the start of work on the site we call ‘Maltings 2’ opposite Paddock Close. Both the Parish Council and our Ward Councillors have been pressing MKC to understand what is happening.
MKC have not been very responsive but we have now had a statement.
Let me briefly recap on Maltings 2. The land was made available for development in our 2017 Neighbourhood Plan which, after passing at referendum, became part of MKC’s Planning Policies which means it is the default position when any planning application is considered.
We had three main conditions; on design, on the provision of open market housing especially for ‘downsizers’ and starter homes and finally on planning obligation payments. These payments are for contributions to the First School, to Hanslope Surgery, to the police and fire service, to Anglian Water, to MKC and to the Parish Council for social improvements in the village. The percentage of affordable housing (31%) and the planning obligation payments form a contract called S106 between MKC and the then owner, Carrington Estates.
Carrington Estates applied for ‘outline’ planning permission which just designated the site for 31 houses and specified the access route along Fox Covert Lane.
They then sold the site to a social housing provider called Stonewater but the S106 obligation continues with the planning permission so binds Stonewater. Stonewater then submitted a ‘Reserved Matters’ planning application which specified the detail of the site layout, housing design, sewage disposal and landscaping. Neither the Parish Council nor MKC were happy with the house design which didn’t, in our opinion, meet to requirement to echo the design of Paddock Close which it faces and the application was rejected.
However, Stonewater went to Appeal and the Inspector decided to allow it but the S106 Agreement was part of the original outline application and remained in force. Stonewater have also said that they want to build 100% affordable homes and not pay any planning obligations.
At the beginning of July, MKC, after many email enquiries, told us that Stonewater had formally asked to stand down the S106

Agreement and MKC asked us to re-justify the schedule of planning obligation payments which we did.
There has been some earlier work resulting in the large mounds of earth. This was an archaeological survey which was a condition of the original planning permission but that was completed some time ago.
Now work has started apparently on the development itself. There are only two possibilities; Stonewater are working at risk or MKC has agreed to set aside the S106.
I have written to the Director of Planning and received his written assurance that MKC have not agreed anything with Stonewater.
At present, they are still trying to get responses from all consultees on the S106 before deciding whether legally they need to consider Stonewater’s request.
If they do consider it, any decision will be made at Development Control Committee where our Ward Councillors, the Parish Council and indeed any resident can speak.
I would point out that, quite apart from the fact that the Parish Council expects the new development to make a fair contribution to village facilities which the new residents will enjoy, we have to create places at the school for the additional children, we have to provide for additional capacity at Hanslope Surgery and there is no other source of funds.
It is also the case that there is an MKC Planning Policy which says that affordable housing should normally not exceed 50% of a development and also that affordable housing should be pepper-potted in groups of 12 to integrate new developments and avoid creating ‘sink’ estates.
In the meantime, the Director of Planning has asked his Enforcement Officer to ascertain that Stonewater are not exceeding their planning permissions.
He concludes “I hope the above provides the comfort that you seek at this time, and helps to reassure the community that we understand their concerns when observing activity now taking place on site.”
I will let you know of any further developments.
Philip Ayles
Chairman, Castlethorpe Parish Council

Council may bid for EV charging points

 The Parish Council will decide at its next meeting on Monday 6 September whether to put in an application for two double public electric vehicle charging points in the village.
Milton Keynes Council has teamed up with BP Pulse to use Government funding to install EV Charging Points across the Borough in conjunction with Parish Councils to serve electric vehicle drivers in areas which lack off-street parking for residents.
The chargers are “fast” 7KW chargers which are best suited for overnight or work day charging. Unfortunately, “rapid” chargers (50KW or greater) are not included in the Government scheme.
As you probably know, the Government has already announced that all new vehicles from 2030 have to be zero

 emission which effectively means electric, so, although there are relatively few EVs in Castlethorpe at the moment, we can expect to see a much greater number as we approach 2030.
There are some housing areas in Castlethorpe where residents do not have off-street parking which is needed to install a private charger and we would like to make some provision so that these residents are not left out.
The houses that come to mind are 37-63 Station Road and a number of properties in South Street and New Road.
Potential sites for the chargers are to put one (serving two vehicle bays) in the stoned parking area on Station Road and another (also serving two bays) at the east junction of South Street with North Street.

 There will be a Traffic Regulation Order to prevent parking in these bays by non-charging vehicles but initially only one bay at each location would be restricted with the other remaining for dual use until there is more demand for EV charging.
This is a great opportunity to get public charging bays installed at no cost to the parish providing the locations meet the requirement of the Government scheme which is currently being assessed.
If you have any views, please don’t rely on comments on Facebook necessarily being seen by the councillors but give them to a parish councillor or the Clerk. Our contact details are on the Parish Council page of this website.
Philip Ayles and Russell Forgham
Castlethorpe Parish Council

Huge backing for ultrafast broadband bid

Almost a third of households in Castlethorpe have expressed interest in the Parish Council’s move to get ultrafast full fibre broadband brought to Castlethorpe.
The Government is encouraging the roll-out of fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) broadband. We currently have fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC - the green boxes like the one by the Triangle) and then our previous copper, steel or aluminium wires from the cabinet to our homes.
We currently get broadband speeds between 20Mbps (in Shepperton Close) to 80Mbps (in North Street) but FTTP should give us options from 100Mbps to 1Gbps and also be more reliable.
The broadband suppliers are, not surprisingly, concentrating on the high-density population areas first because they are most profitable.
The Government requires Openreach, which is the wholesale provider for about 30 retail suppliers including BT, TalkTalk, Sky, PlusNet and Zen, to reach most UK households but this will go quite slowly. We believe that Hanslope will be upgraded by December 2026.
Separately, the Government is providing funding through its Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme in which it provides a voucher worth £1500 for each household and £3500 for each business which commits to taking an FTTP service.
We have made an initial enquiry and encouraged households to make an expression of interest without commitment. 157 households have expressed an interest which is a fantastic proportion of the 480 households in the village. I have now sent the list to Openreach and expect to receive a ballpark quote within the next 28 days.
If you are interested but didn’t send me your details, don’t worry. Openreach will quote for all the postcodes which expressed an interest and basically every street in the village had someone who expressed interest so the quote will be for the whole village.
I will be keeping those registered with me up to date so, if you are interested, please contact me by email and I will add you to the list. (Under our GDPR policy, I will delete the list when the process is complete.)
After sending the quote, Openreach will open a special website for us and this will be the time when you will need to commit to 

buy a fibre service within 12 months of it becoming available. It will take Openreach about 12 months, we understand, to upgrade us to FTTP so we are probably talking about commitments to switch to FTTP between, say, mid 2022 and mid 2023. When you commit, your voucher is pledged to offset the money Openreach has quoted.
Fibre to the home contracts are normally a bit more expensive because the broadband speeds will be much faster and be more reliable - particularly important for those of us connected over steel and aluminium lines.
You can see costs by contacting your supplier or looking at competitors. The timescales are sufficient that, even if you have just committed to an 18 month new contract, you will still be able to commit and, in any case, your existing supplier will almost certainly allow you to upgrade.
To answer some of the questions I have had:
1. Residents will be able to continue with their existing suppliers as Openreach is a wholesale supplier to BT, Sky, TalkTalk, Plusnet, Zen etc who then offer a service to residents.
2. Another supplier, Gigaclear, is installing fibre broadband in Northants including Cosgrove. They would require us to terminate our existing broadband contracts and start a new one with them which some residents might not be happy to do. Nevertheless, I have enquired about installing in Castlethorpe but have not had a response from them.
3. Openreach will make a new fibre connection to your house with a new master socket for the new service. You plug your broadband router into that.
4. Residents have asked if they can wait until it is installed and then decide. All I can say is that the costs of this upgrade are so high that it is unlikely that the Parish Council will be able to make much of a financial contribution.
We have between £5,000 £10,000 to invest each year,which is the equivalent of 7 houses.
If we don't do it now with the vouchers in this scheme, we will have to wait until it eventually comes to us which could take over 5 years.
I will give regular updates both at the monthly Parish Council Meetings and also to those registered with me.
Philip Ayles, Chairman, Castlethorpe Parish Council

New editor wanted for Castlethorpe News

Calling all the village's budding writers . . . Russell Forgham is stepping down from editing Castlethorpe News, the village newsletter, after eight years and the Parish Council is looking for someone to take over.
As you may know the News is A5 size, between 12 and 16 pages (including the adverts) and is published every quarter, at the beginning of March, June, September and December. It's been published as a PDF available online during the pandemic but will be printed and distributed now that lockdown is lifted.
If you're interested please let Russell know as soon as possible - his email is russell.forgham@ castlethorpe-pc.gov.uk. He will give you any training and help you need, as well as answer any questions. And the necessary editing and publishing software will be provided.

Open Gardens raise £2,172
for Parish Church fund

This year's Open Gardens event has raised an amazing £2,172 for the Church Renovation Fund.
The bi-annual event, which was held this year on 17 and 18 July, attracted visitors from all over Britain.
“It was amazing how many people braved the heat to walk round and so lovely to see the village come alive again”, said Committee member Melissa King.
“We would like to thank everyone who took part and helped in any way. Every one of you has helped to raise this much needed money”.

New village Pre-School
has spaces available

Village Pre-School has spaces for youngsters for new term
Ducklings Pre-School in Castlethorpe has spaces for youngsters.
The Pre-School is open in the Village Hall from 8.30 am to 12.30pm every weekday during term-time.
The Pre-School offers a natural learning environment with room for children to build on their imagination and areas to explore first hand.
For more info phone manager Jaime McGuane on 07754 352365 or email ducklingscastlethorpe@

Huge majority for new
Neighbourhood Plan

The Castlethorpe Neighbourhood Plan, which has been modified to keep it current, went to a public referendum on 22 July and there was a majority of 230 in favour.
The voting on the question "Do you want Milton Keynes Council to use the Neighbourhood Plan for Castlethorpe to help it decide planning applications in the neighbourhood area?" was:
Yes: 244. No: 14
It is now part of Milton Keynes Council's planning policy.
You can download or read the Plan here.

Village gets two life-saving defibrillators

Castlethorpe now has two defibrillators which the Parish Council has obtained with funding from the Milton Keynes Partnership Foundation.
One is located outside the Village Hall and the other on the Cricket Pavilion at the Sports Ground. 
Both are in code locked cabinets which are registered with the emergency services and show up on their equipment maps.
You can also see their location on the Save a Life app. 
In the event of an emergency, such as 

someone having a heart attack, always call 999 first and stay with the patient. The emergency operator will determine whether there is a need for the defibrillator and, if there is someone else available to fetch it, direct them to the nearest cabinet and give them the code to open it.
At the same time, the operator will alert other Emergency Services as necessary, such as a First Responder or an ambulance.
Richard Bradley, our local First Responder, will provide training courses

on using the Defibrillator when it finally becomes COVID-safe to do so.
However, the defibrillator is fully automatic and will '”speak” to the user to tell them exactly what to do. It can also detect whether it is being used correctly and will not operate if not correct or not required.
Don't hesitate to use it if you are directed to do, so even if you haven't been trained. Hopefully, the defibrillators will never be needed but having them nearby may save a life. 
Councillor Darren Merritt 

Live travel updates

Click on the images below for the latest information

Changes to 33 bus timetable

There have been some slight changes to the 33 bus timetable. You can download a PDF version of the revised times by clicking on the timetable below. 

MK Connect is a Demand Responsive Transport (DRT) service available to bus users who don't have access to the weekday daytime routes. It is not restricted to previous timetables or routes, and picks up passengers from their chosen destination to their required drop-off point when they want to travel.
It works like a minibus that comes when you want, where you want — book a ride straight from your phone, get picked up in minutes, and be dropped within a short walk of your destination.
Passengers with a wheelchair or disability will always be matched with a fully accessible vehicle and the service is

accessible to passengers with vision, hearing and other requirements.
The service is available on evenings across MK, operating from: 6am to 11pm Monday to Saturday and 9am to 6pm on Sunday. You can book your journey by smartphone app, web or phone.
Price: £3.50 during peak hours (7am-9am, 4.30pm-6.30pm), £2.50 at all other times. Concessionary passes under the ENCTS scheme will still be valid for free travel as it is on buses, as will the All-in-One £1 fare.
For more information go to ridewithvia.com/mk-connect

Castlethorpe statistics

Population                    1,047 (2011 Census)
OS grid reference       SP795445
Latitude/longitude    52.093°N   0.840°W
Civil parish                   Castlethorpe
Unitary authority       Milton Keynes
Ceremonial county    Buckinghamshire
Region                           South East
Post town                     Milton Keynes 
Postcode district        MK19
Dialling code                01908
Police                             Thames Valley
Fire                                 Buckinghamshire
Ambulance                   South Central
UK Parliament             Milton Keynes North