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John Riches our Village Correspondent writes weekly reports about the village for the local media.  We are pleased to place them on our web site in order that those interested in Abthorpe can access the latest village news from anywhere in the world.

This page will keep the latest 3 or 4 reports.

On the Archive page we will store past articles and other pieces of particular interest.

Also, our newsletters can be downloaded on the Newsletters page.


17th September
A worrying time!

Itís a worrying time for our local farmers as the harvest seems to have ground to a halt. In the fields round Abthorpe the principal arable crops are oil seed rape, barley and wheat. The rape was the first crop to be harvested and this largely occurred without too many problems. The first part of the cereal harvest took place with only a few delays caused by rain. But, one local farmer exclaimed, once the children went back to school  there seemed to be rain shower after rain shower so that the crop never dried out.

He took me onto one of his fields where his contractor had cut a swathe of wheat about 30m wide right round the perimeter leaving a huge area of untouched crop in the middle. An idle combine was parked at the edge of the field waiting for the weather to change. He walked me across the stubble to the standing crop, plucked an ear of wheat and expertly rolled it in his fingers to reveal the individual grains. They were damp but he was pleased that as yet there were no signs of the grains sprouting.

He estimated that the contractors with their huge, fast machines could harvest his remaining wheat in just a few hours. But unless the weather changes soon it could be a disaster for our local farmers. Our thoughts are with them.


10th September
Romanies appeal.

In August 2016 an application was made to South Northamptonshire Council for a change of use at the small gypsy site in Abthorpe parish. It was to change the use of land from agriculture to an extension of the site including the stationing of two caravans, the erection of a replacement amenity building and the laying of a hard standing.

A large number of comments were sent to the council Ė mostly by local people. The majority opposed the application. One comment suggested ....... perhaps it is time we asked something of them to please cut the hedge down so that traffic approaching from Towcester can be seen before another person is killed at this junction.

Another stated that the last planning application was refused for all the right reasons and the occupants we assume were given notice to quit ? It makes a mockery of the whole process if the occupants can keep putting in different planning applications and not be removed from the site. As advised previously with many others the occupants need to be removed and placed on a travellers site and for the close boarded fence to be removed (this was a condition) and is still there plus the mobile homes removed together with the other debris on site and for the same to revert to a small holding.  

The applicantís agent in supporting the application stated that one of the (already) permitted touring caravans is occupied by the applicantís daughter and her two young children. The applicantís sister-in-law died recently and he has taken her two children into his custody.

Additionally the agent commented that there are no vacant pitches on authorised traveller sites in South Northamptonshire and the council has not allocated any land for the provision of traveller sites in its Development Plan. The absence of alternative sites ......................... and the councilís continued failure to meet the identified need for travellersí sites ........................... carry weight in favour of the applicantís case.

A decision by South Northamptonshire Council to refuse the application was made on 11th November 2016. An appeal has recently been made to challenge the Councilís decision and this will be considered on Tuesday 9th January 2018 at 10:00am in the Committee Room of The Forum in Towcester.

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