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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 Baron’s 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).


Castlethorpe Parish Council is supporting Armed Forces Day, an annual event celebrating
the service of men and women in the British Armed Forces. It’s everyone's chance to show
their support for the men and women who make up the Armed Forces community, from currently serving troops to Service families, veterans and cadets.

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.


Lockdown rules relaxed ... but take care!

Step 3 of the Government’s Covid-19 Roadmap came into force on 17 May. From now on:
• The rule of six is extended to indoor areas, which means groups of six or larger if they are from just two households can meet in people’s homes. 
• Domestic overnight stays are permitted, so long as they follow the same rules. 
• Groups of up to 30 will be allowed outdoors. 
• Some large events can resume. Indoor events will have a capacity of 1,000, or 50 per cent, whichever is smaller. 
• Outdoor events will be capped at 4,000 or 50% capacity. 
• Outdoor seated events, such as football matches, are capped at 10,000 or 25% capacity. 
• Pubs, restaurants and other hospitality venues are allowed to open indoors, with the rule of six in place inside, and groups of up to 30 outside. Venues will still be table service only. 
• Indoor entertainment venues like cinemas, theatres and bingo halls can reopen, with social distancing measures in place. 
• Organised indoor adult sport, such as badminton and indoor tennis, can resume, and some gym classes will be allowed again. 
• Up to 30 people can attend weddings, receptions, funerals and wakes. This limit will also apply to other types of significant

life events including christenings and bar mitzvahs
• Domestic holidays have been allowed in household groups from 12 April, but from 17 May this has been extended to the rule of six.  
Rapid testing in MK 
COVID-19 rapid testing is available to everyone in Milton Keynes over the age of 16. Visit Central MK Library for a free on site test. No need to book. Results will be sent to you within around 45 minutes. 
You can also collect up to 14 free lateral flow tests from the Central MK Library. No need to book, show ID or register - just ask a member of staff. 
The centre is open weekdays from 9.30am to 4.30pm, and on Thursdays until 7pm. 
You can also order lateral flow tests from the Government website at gov.uk/order-coronavirus-rapid-lateral-flow-tests
The main symptoms of COVID-19 are: 
• a high temperature 
• a new, continuous cough 
• a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste 
If you have any of these symptoms please self-isolate and get a test. Anyone you live with or in your support bubble will need to isolate and be tested too. 

For more detailed information on the regulations go to the COVID-19 page on
this website, the Government website or milton-keynes.gov.uk/coronavirus

What to do at outdoor gym and playgrounds

The Outdoor Gym at the Sports Ground is now open again, along with the playgrounds at Thrupp Close and the Fishponds, subject to Government guidelines on how you must use the equipment.
• All equipment is used at your own risk. Please supervise children and others in your care. 
• Follow the social distancing guidelines and do not use the equipment if this  

cannot be maintained. In particular be aware of pieces of equipment where others may also be using them.
• Bring your own hand sanitiser with you to sanitise your hands before and after using the equipment. Pay particular attention to ensure children remember to do this.  
• Remember not to touch your face and to cough and sneeze into a tissue or an arm. 

• No food or drink can be consumed in the playgrounds or around the outdoor gym equipment.
• Take all your litter,  including any protective wear such as masks, home with you.  
• If you or anyone in your household are showing any symptoms of Coronavirus, do not use the equipment and follow the Government's advice to self-isolate. 

Huge backing for bid to get ultrafast broadband

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, 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 £10,000invest 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 

ROADWORKS ALERT: The road from Castlethorpe to Hanslope will be closed completely 24 hours a day between the sewage pumping station in Hanslope and Cuckoo Hill Farm from 5th to 9th July while Western Power install new electricity cables to the new houses being built there. The work involves digging up the road to lay the cables.

Neighbourhood Plan Referendum set for 22 July

The date for the Public Referendum on the Modified Castlethorpe Neighbourhood Plan has been set for Thursday 22 July. You can cast your vote in the Village Hall between 7 am and 10 pm. Postal and proxy votes will also be available. 
The Parish Council has been preparing a Modified Neighbourhood Plan (NP) to update the original 2017 Neighbourhood Plan. This was necessary because, since then, Milton Keynes Council has produced a new Local Plan (Plan:MK) and Neighbourhood Plans have to fit within the relevant Local Plan.
In fact, the three documents that decide planning decisions in Castlethorpe are the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), Plan:MK and the Castlethorpe NP. 
Making a Modified NP also gave Castlethorpe protection even should MKC fail to meet its housing targets and lose the protection of its Local Plan as happened at Hanslope. 
The Modified NP tightened some design policies, gave additional protection to some of the historic houses in the village which are not ‘Listed’ and included an initial policy on climate change. 
We again sought the designation of Gobbeys Field as a Local Green Space (LGS) which would protect it for the informal recreational activities that characterise its use alongside 

grazing. However, the independent Examiner, in our view wrongly, ruled that it didn't meet the conditions for designation. MKC supported his view despite strenuous efforts by the Neighbourhood Plan Steering group to convince them otherwise including the ‘call-in’ appeal procedure supported by our Ward Councillors.
Some residents, supported by the Parish Council, sought a judicial review but were told by their barrister that it would not succeed as all MKC had to demonstrate was that it had behaved ‘reasonably’ - all the more galling because there was sufficient evidence for them to have behaved ‘reasonably’ in designating Gobbeys.
Reluctantly, we have to accept this.  
We urge you to support this, even without Gobbeys as an LGS, as it refreshes our Neighbourhood Plan, gives it more authority in planning decisions, and gives protection to all our boundaries including Gobbeys for a further period regardless of whether MKC continues to meet its housing targets. 
Please vote in favour of the Castlethorpe Neighbourhood Plan on 22nd July. 
Philip Ayles 
Chairman, Castlethorpe Parish Council 

The question which will be asked in the Referendum is:
"Do you want Milton Keynes Council to use the
Neighbourhood Plan for Castlethorpe to help it decide
planning applications in the neighbourhood area?"
You can find full details of the Referendum and links
to the Plan and other  associated documents
on the Milton Keynes Council website at:

Extended dates for MK International Festival

IF: Milton Keynes International Festival has announced its dates, extended to 21 days this year from Saturday 10 to Friday 30 July.
There’s a focus on free and family events, performances and art installations, pop-ups and digital work including a series of ‘virtually live’ concerts.
Watch out forpop-up robotic woodpeckers, a ‘breathing’ walk-through sculpture, a sea of silk flags made in Milton Keynes, births and deaths commemorated in a public artwork, and monumental Earth and Moon sculptures exhibited together in a UK city for the very first time. For more information, click here.

New village Pre-School
is up and running

Ducklings Pre-School is up and running in Castlethorpe Village Hall from 8.30 am to 12.30pm every weekday during term-time. They plan to extend the hours later.
The pre-school is registered for 24 children with an age range from 18 months to 5 years and offers a natural learning environment with room for children to build on their imagination and areas to explore first hand .
This is a very welcome addition to the village for anyone with young children.
For more information email the manager Jayne Foster at ducklingscastlethorpe@

Open Gardens set to
bloom om 17-18 July

This year's Open Gardens is set for the weekend of 17-18 July and will be raising funds to help install a kitchen and toilet in the parish church, to broaden its use as a community space.
The bi-annual event always brightens up the village as hundreds of people from all over the country (and beyond) tour the gardens in the village and often share their ideas.
If you would like to open your garden or help out call Sara Montague on 07812 070537 or email soldierblue4@hotmail.
Your garden doesn't have to be immaculate as all gardens are interesting - large, small, neatly manicured or just a bit messy! 

Duck Race postponed
until June next year

 The Castlethorpe Duck Race and Fun Dog Show committee have made the difficult, but necessary, decision to postpone this year's planned event until Sunday 5 June 2022.
After careful consideration of the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown and the uncertainty when large events would be able to proceed, the team decided that for the event to go ahead as we all know and love it is best to postpone it.
The committee would like to thank everyone for all the support especially to those have who volunteered to help. 
For information on the Duck Race follow them on Facebook and Instagram.  

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

All change on the buses as the 33 turns blue!

There are major changes to many bus routes in Milton Keynes. Some services have been withdrawn and replaced by a Demand Responsive Transport (DRT) system and there are changes to many others.
Castlethorpe’s service, the 33, is now operated every 90 minutes by Arriva instead of Z&S and off-peak journeys will have a slight route change in Wolverton. 

These services have ceased to operate and are replaced
by DRT or a route change on another service: 9, 17, 18, 23,
24, 25, 30, 31, 37, 80, 300, 301 
There are route and/or timing changes to these services: 1, 2, 3, 4/14, 5, 6, 7, 8, 11/12, 21,  33/33A, F70/F77, X60.  
You can find out more on Milton Keynes Council’s website by
clicking here.

You can download a PDF version of the new timetable for the 33/33A bus service through the village by clicking on the timetable below. The service is now operated by Arriva and there is a slight change of route in Wolverton for off-peak 33A services.

The new DRT service, called MK Connect, is provided by Via. 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 runs from from 6 am to 11 pm Monday to Saturday and 9 am to 6 pm on Sunday. 
DRT is available by smartphone app, web or phone booking. Just call 

for a vehicle a few minutes before you want to travel.
Fares are £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.    
Further information on the new service is available  on YouTube at https://youtu.be/sUG8YXDrolU

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