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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).

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Village votes Yes to Neighbourhood Plan

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.

Due to reduced staff numbers because of COVID-19 and self-isolating and to protect the weekly collection of black and clear sacks, Milton Keynes Council has suspended all food and garden waste collections until further notice. Food waste should be placed in your black bag and garden waste stored or composted until the green bin service resumes. All three tips remain open, which you can book in advance at www.milton-keynes.gov.uk/hwrc. Black bag waste and clear recycling sacks will continue to be collected on your regular collection days.

Covid: England moves to Step 4 - but take care

Most legal restrictions to control COVID-19 were lifted at Step 4 on 19 July. This means that:
You do not need to stay 2 metres apart from people you do not live with. There are also no limits on the number of people you can meet.
However, in order to minimise risk at a time of high prevalence, you should limit the close contact you have with those you do not usually live with, and increase close contact gradually. This includes minimising the number, proximity and duration of social contacts.
You should meet outdoors where possible and let fresh air into homes or other enclosed spaces.
The Government is no longer instructing people to work from home if they can. However, the Government expects and recommends a gradual return over the summer.
The requirement to wear face coverings in law has been lifted. However, the Government expects and recommends people to wear face coverings in crowded areas such as public transport.
There are no longer limits on the number of people who can attend weddings, civil partnerships, funerals and other life

events (including receptions and celebrations). There is no requirement for table service at life events, or restrictions on singing or dancing.
You should follow guidance for weddings and funerals to reduce risk and protect yourself and others.
There are no longer restrictions on group sizes for attending communal worship.
COVID-19 has not gone away, so it’s important to remember the actions you can take to keep yourself and others safe. Everybody needs to continue to act carefully and remain cautious.
Although most legal restrictions have been lifted at Step 4, and many people have been vaccinated, it is still possible to catch and spread COVID-19, even if you are fully vaccinated.
If you are worried about going back to a more ‘normal’ life, there is information from the NHS on how to cope with anxiety about lockdown lifting by clicking here.
If you are yet to have your vaccination and need to know how to book, you can find out more on the BLMK website: www.blmkccg.nhs.uk/.

Be careful at the 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. But please take care and be safe as the Covid-19 Delta Variant is extremely virulent.
• 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. 

For more detailed information on what Step 4 means go to the COVID-19 page on
this website, the Government website or milton-keynes.gov.uk/coronavirus

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.

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

Lots to see at the MK
International Festival

IF: Milton Keynes International Festival is now on and runs until 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 for pop-up robotic woodpeckers, a ‘breathing’ walk-through sculpture, a sea of silk flags made in Milton Keynes and births and deaths commemorated in a public artwork. Plus there are monumental Earth and Moon sculptures exhibited together in a UK city for the very first time. 
For more information, click here.

Village Pre-School has spaces from September

Ducklings Pre-School in Castlethorpe has spaces for youngsters when the new school year starts in September.
The Pre-School is open in the Village Hall from 8.30 am to 12.30pm every weekday during term-time.  
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.
For more information phone the manager Jaime McGuane on 07754 352365 or email her at  ducklingscastlethorpe@
gmail.com
.

Open Gardens raises £2,172 for 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”
If anyone has  photos of the event, especially the gardens, the Committee would love to see them.  

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.  

Governance and Accountability Return

Each year the smaller authority’s Annual Governance and Accountability Return (AGAR) needs to be reviewed by an external auditor appointed by Smaller Authorities’ Audit Appointments Ltd. The unaudited AGAR has been published with the notice above. As it has yet to be reviewed by the appointed auditor, it is subject to change as a result of that review.
Any person interested has the right to inspect and make copies of the accounting records for the financial year to which the audit relates and all books, deeds, contracts, bills, vouchers, receipts and other documents relating to those records must be made available for inspection by any person interested. For the year ended 31 March 2021, these documents will be available on reasonable notice by application to:
Clerk to the Parish Council, c/o 63 Thrupp Close, Castlethorpe, Milton Keynes MK19 7PL
commencing on Thursday 1 July 2021 and ending on Wednesday 11 August 2021.
A copy of the AGAR can be downloaded 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

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