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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 www.mkheritage.org.uk/cv.

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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. For more information about what to pit in each sack and your green bin click here
All three household recycling centres in Milton Keynes are open seven days a week, except for Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year's Day, but entry is by appointment only (same day appointments are available) and anyone without an appointment will be turned away. To book your slot 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

Parish Council meeting on Monday

The next monthly meeting of the Parish Council will be held in the Village Hall on Monday 3 October, starting at 7.30pm with a Public Forum at which residents can raise issues of concern with the councillors.
 The meeting will be livestreamed on the village Facebook page

and the Castlethorpe Parish Council YouTube channel.
If you wish to raise something you will need to attend the meeting in person or contact the clerk by noon on Monday.
The agenda and the minutes of last month's meeting can be downloaded here.

Ultrafast broadband switch-on gets close

Gigaclear gave a presentation at the Village Hall on Saturday 14 May to update the village on how their new ultrafast broadband roll-out is proceeding. I had previously worked with the Gigaclear Community executive to produce a Q&A sheet which you can download here.
At the presentation, there were some further questions and the answers may be of interest. I should stress that these answers are my understanding and you should check with Gigaclear before you commit to a contract with them if these factors are important to you.
They are now expecting service to become available very shortly. The delay is because apparently because some equipment, used by all fibre suppliers, is manufactured in Ukraine. It is still supplied but with a delay and Gigaclear are fulfilling communities where they have built the infrastructure and delaying others until equipment is received. Fortunately, Castlethorpe is fully built!
It isn't possible to place a pre-order yet but registering an interest on the Gigaclear website means we will be contacted as soon as pre-orders start. It typically takes 6-8 weeks from order to start of service.
There was a question from a resident about why it takes so long when one can change from, say, BT to Sky in a day. The answer is that Gigaclear are installing a new physical line to your house and not just switching over to a new service supplier on the same line.
If you are in contract with your existing broadband supplier, you will either have to wait until the contract ends or pay an early exit penalty. Once you are out of contract, your supplier is obliged by law to provide service on a monthly rolling basis (ie one months notice). You do not have to commit to a new annual contract.
You should therefore keep your existing service until you have a firm installation date - personally I'm not going to cancel my

existing supplier until I am happy the new service is working properly.
There were questions about how the fibre reaches your home. There are three methods. 
Using an existing BT duct to your home. If the fibre is to be underground, there will be a small black 'POT' (Point of Termination) box on your property boundary. Gigaclear will hand dig a shallow and narrow trench to your house to install the fibre connection. You will be able to discuss this with them beforehand.
They say 95% of such installations are free but there may be a cost if particularly difficult. However, this would be agreed at survey. 
If the current BT line is delivered from an overhead pole, the fibre will be delivered in the same way. You should be able to see the black POT box at the top of "your" pole.
Finally, there were questions about the WiFi within your house. The broadband brings service to your house, WiFi provides it within your house though the router has got two ethernet connections if you want to connect your computer directly. Looking online, I can see that the router is built specially for Gigaclear by Linksys. If the WiFi signal from the router is not strong enough to reach all rooms, you can get additional "nodes" which extend the range of the router.
The more expensive Gigaclear packages, currently 600Mbps and 900Mbps, provide one additional node but, if you need extra nodes, they cost £3pm each - these create a "mesh" network so your computers and devices just see a single WiFi network wherever they are in your house. If you already have a mesh network (eg BT Wholehome), Gigaclear says you should still be able to use it.
Let me know if you have any further questions and I will do my best to get answers from Gigaclear. Also let me know if you don't want to receive any further emails from me on Broadband.
Philip Ayles, Chairman, Castlethorpe Parish Council
philip.ayles@castlethorpe-pc.gov.euk.Mobile: 07595 715374

Latest police crime report for the village

The latest crime report from our PCSO Dave Huckle is now available to view here. There were three incidents reported in Castlethorpe  between 12th August and 26th September - one Concern for Safety, one ASB and one report of a suspicious person.

Station Road parking plan 'not workable'

As the residents opposite the parking area in Station Road know, the Parish Council was asked to investigate whether more off-road parking could be created and a site visit was subsequently arranged with MKC Highways. This is their response which we have just received.
Two options were considered one was to extend the parking area for extra parking spaces at the southern end. Due to the ditch, there is not enough space to allow for the creation of more bay parking. MKC looked at the possibility of adding one space as

 parallel parking. However, this also proved difficult as there was not enough space to allow for car users to come out of their vehicles safely.
MKC concluded it was therefore not feasible to allow extra parking to be created at this location.
The second option was to clear the shrubs and debris in the centre of the parking spaces around the telegraph pole and create an additional space. Unfortunately, MKC has concluded that it is not feasible to create an additional parking space around this area.
Parking guidelines dictate one metre 

clearance from the telegraph pole. There is also apparatus on the ground which the utility will require access to. Their engineer has said that the area around the utility is not sufficient to create into an additional parking space.
As a result of representations made by residents, the Parish Council had previously decided not to submit a request for a public EV charging point in this area so the parking arrangements will remain as current.

Philip Ayles
Castlethorpe Parish Council

Update on the Carrington Arms

The owner of the Carrington Arms, Simon Hill, has revealed that he is planning to sell the pub and is willing to sell it to the village “as is” for the “conservative” market value.
Mr Hill attended the Open Forum before the last Parish Council meeting held on 7 March in order to update the village on his development plans, which include the Station Yard and the bungalow he has bought in South Street.
Mr Hill bought the Carrington in 2007, originally to turn it into a gastro pub and fish restaurant which would have been run by his wife, However they have now lost interest in this project and he intends to sell it. He asked if the village would be interested in acquiring the pub. We said that we would consult the village and come back to him.
The Carrington closed in 2008 just before the financial crash. In 2010, some of us formed a Pub Action Group to look at ways in which the pub could be reopened including acquisition by third parties. I also explored various grants that could be made available to Mr Hill for rural pubs. However, Mr. Hill did not want to proceed at that time.
The Parish Council maintained periodic contact with Mr. Hill who subsequently acquired the Station Yard and said that he would redevelop the pub at the same time as he developed the Yard in order to obtain economies of scale. He said that he was having extreme difficulty negotiating with Network Rail which was delaying both projects.
The Parish Council has continued to pursue the poor state and safety of the Carrington Arms building itself with both Mr Hill and MKC. Some enforcement action has had to be taken, though it remains of concern.
The way forward
The village has always wanted the pub to be reopened. It is in the centre of the village and accessible by foot. It is also a “signature” building and Grade 2 listed.
But there are some serious considerations if the village were to acquire the pub:
• In 2010, the Pub Action Group estimated the cost of acquiring, refurbishing and equipping the pub would be of the order of £750,000. This figure could be significantly wrong but I personally think there is more of a risk of it being higher than lower. To put this in perspective, that is £1,500 for each and every household in the parish and the interest alone would double our precept. S106 money, as below, would help somewhat though may not be available in Mr Hill’s timescale.
• The Parish Council does not have the statutory powers to undertake this project. This is the same reason why a separate shop association had to be formed to build and equip the village shop so a “Village Pub Association” would have to be formed to raise the money and manage the project. By way of reference, the shop association raised donations and personal loans of 

£16,000 in 2007, which was incredibly generous of the villagers but is only a fiftieth of what would be needed for the pub.
• Parking at the pub is extremely limited and this would almost certainly affect the viability of a pub/restaurant/B&B – food is generally regarded as being essential for financial success.
Like most people in the village, the Parish Council has been doubtful that the pub would reopen and has considered alternatives. The most viable would be a clubhouse at the Sports Ground between the cricket pavilion and the hard courts.
• This would be subject to ensuring the village supported a clubhouse and also that there was no nuisance caused to the residents of Thrupp Close.
• It is not as convenient a location as the village centre but there is plenty of parking.
• Preliminary planning indicates that the costs would be between £150-200,000, much of which should become available from S106 payments from the Carrington Close development.
• It would probably have limited opening hours perhaps Friday evenings all day Saturday and evening and Sunday daytime. There is an existing customer base from the parents of children playing youth football on Saturdays and from cricketers on Sundays. Obviously, there would have to be a lot of discussion to get the opening formula right.
• As with the pub, it would have to be run separately from the Parish Council by a Castlethorpe Pub Association.
• Mr Hill would presumably then sell the Carrington Arms and a new owner might apply for a change of use but, in any case, the exterior of the building would be protected through its Grade 2 listing.
Station Yard
In addition to the nine houses currently being built in Station Yard, Mr Hill says he intends to apply for planning permission for four more terraced houses and he expected the development to be completed in about a year. He also identified the brick tunnel as a storm water culvert that would be retained.
South Street bungalow
He said he had acquired a bungalow in South Street and intends to make a planning application for a further house in its garden that would be accessed through the gap in the stone wall between the Buff Room and the back of the Carrington Arms on North Street.
• We will deliver a newsletter to all houses after the Annual Parish Meeting (7pm on Monday 11 April in the Village Hall) with a survey asking which option you prefer. In the meantime, if you have views, please come to the Parish Meeting or write or email the Clerk or any councillor.

Philip Ayles
Chairman, Castlethorpe Parish Council

Volunteers wanted to help stop speeding

As many residents know, Councillor Dave Hinds and I operate the Speed Indicator Device (SID) which we move around the village.
The results are passed to the police who do enforcement as resources permit and, incidentally, they have told me that they will be coming to Castlethorpe again sometime in the next few weeks though of course they don’t tell us when or where!
The SID is coming to the end of its life and we will be returning it to Milton Keynes Council and it will either be refurbished or the Parish Council may replace it, hopefully with a grant.
However, the new Police and Crime Commissioner, Matthew Barber, has launched a new Community Speed Watch (CSW) programme which can be seen at thamesvalley-pcc.gov.uk/ news-and-events/thamesvalley-pcc-news/2021/10/launch-of-community-speedwatch-scheme-across-thames-valley.
Some of you may remember that a group of us - parish councillors and residents - ran an earlier version of CSW between 2010 and 2015 until it was replaced by the SID.
The new CSW uses a speed gun operated by volunteers and details of vehicles exceeding a threshold, usually the speed limit plus 10% plus 2mph, are entered into a national website and the

vehicle owner is then sent a warning letter by the police. If a second offence occurs anywhere nationally then the owner is visited by the police.
If an area shows high levels of speeding, then the police will take enforcement action as, of course, only police officers can issue a penalty notice. CSW say that 90% of drivers sent a warning letter do not reoffend.
The speed gun, which will initially be loaned by the police, has to be operated by a team of three volunteers, one to hold the gun and the other two to collect the details of the vehicle. Volunteers are covered by the Thames Valley Police insurance and there is no need for a PCSO or PC to be in attendance. Volunteers must wear high visibility bibs and complete some basic training - basically watching six two minute videos.
CSW is a very visible deterrent to speeding drivers.
If you would like to volunteer to be part of CSW, please send your name and contact details to: Steve Bradbury, Clerk to the Parish Council at clerk@castlethorpe-pc.gov.uk or phone 01908 337928 or by letter to 63 Thrupp Close, Castlethorpe MK19 7PL.
Philip Ayles
Chairman, Castlethorpe Parish Council

Maltings 2 is named Carrington Close

The new housing development currently being built at the bottom of Fox Covert Lane is to be called Carrington Close.
The Parish Council was invited to submit a name for the new development, formerly known as Maltings 2, and we, in turn, invited residents to give their ideas. These were considered at a Meeting on 13th December and Carrington Close was selected by a clear majority vote.
Lord Carington owned much of the village in the early 20th Century and gave land for the construction of many of the Edwardian terraces in the village as well as building the original school, now the village hall, and the “new” school.
The naming is to recognise his contribution to the village and, indeed, Carington Estates continues to own land around the village including the South Street paddock. We know that Carington strictly should have one ‘r’ but it is generally spelt with two so we have gone with that.
We have continued to liaise with Milton Keynes Council about the development and Parish and Ward Councillors held a meeting in November with MKC Planning to discuss a number of issues including this development.
The two big issues that residents regularly raise with us are the percentage of social housing and the monetary payments to various bodies including the Parish Council under the Section 106 contract signed when the original planning permission was given. These issues have been resolved though not satisfactorily:
The S106 Agreement
• The Neighbourhood Plan says that there should be some open market homes for “downsizers” (to free up larger houses whilst the owner can remain in the village) and for first time buyers who may not qualify for affordable housing.
Stonewater is a social housing social housing provider and is intending to build 100% social housing. Some of these will be shared ownership. It is MKC policy that social housing should not normally exceed 50% of a development and that social housing should be “pepper potted” in groups of no more than 12 houses. However, when the S106 Agreement was signed in 2017, the obligation was to build 30% social housing which was regarded as a minimum.
Unfortunately, it did not anticipate or set a maximum and MKC have taken legal advice following our meeting and do not believe that they can now prevent 100% social housing being delivered.
• The S106 Agreement set some monetary payments necessary for the development. Stonewater had applied to have these “stood down”. These have been re-validated over the summer with the Parish Council and other interested parties and the 

request to ‘stand down’ has been refused by MKC. The sums will therefore remain payable according to the original schedule.
There are several other matters of concern to us which are the various conditions set on a development. These have to be agreed by MKC Planning Officers in what is called the Discharge of Conditions. Progress can be seen on the MKC Planning Portal under the references 21/02213/DISCON and 21/02217/DISCON.
Although some of these Conditions have been agreed, Stonewater have not had many of them discharged and are proceeding at their own risk.
Discharge of Conditions for the Development.
• Choice of house brick. The Neighbourhood Plan said that the design should echo Paddock Close and then Parish Council has asked MKC to ensure that the bricks are a close match as the original proposal was orangey rather than red. Snowden have now proposed ‘Anglian Red’ bricks as the nearest available match and MKC Planning have agreed. In fact, if you look at the construction as best you can, it seems to me to be a good match.
• Anglian Water have approved the sewage connection. The Parish Council had expressed concern about capacity along South St but, now it is approved, it will be Anglian Water’s responsibility to fix any problems.
• Surface water is to be contained in a concrete chamber which will hold the water after heavy rainfall and release it in a controlled manner onto the railway. Network Rail require an application to be submitted in a particular way which has not yet been done although the chamber design is on the website.
• MKC is also the ‘Lead Local Flood Authority’ and it has not approved plans for the site.
• MKC Highways have also not approved plans.
• The Archaeological Survey which was meant to have been submitted before work began has now been submitted to MKC. However, the Survey is deficient in a number of respects and the missing sections have been requested. It should be added that MKC regards the onsite excavations as having been satisfactorily completed so this is only a matter of completing the report. The Condition has therefore not been discharged.
It should be said that none of these issues are "showstoppers" and most of the comments from the approvers are requirements for information to be submitted in a required format or with more detail. It is likely that this will be done in due course.
On behalf of the Parish Council, may I wish all our residents best wishes for Christmas and a healthy New Year.
Philip Ayles
Chairman, Castlethorpe Parish Council

Get the latest info direct to your inbox

How would you like the latest news and information about what's happening in Castlethorpe to be sent straight to your email inbox? The Parish Council has launched an email News Alert system to keep local people updated on things like road closures and traffic delays, problems with services like buses or the bins, traffic delays, events coming up shortly and much, much more. All you have to do is to click here and fill in the form with your name and email address. You can unsubscribe at any time just by letting us know.

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 required, such as a First Responder or an ambulance.
The defibrillators are 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.

Live travel updates

Click on the images below for the latest information

Salcey Forest now on 33 bus route

The 33 bus through Castlethorpe now calls at the main car park in Salcey Forest. This has meant a slight revision to the times in Castlethorpe. You can download a handy PDF timetable 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