Local Government

District Councillor update

January 23, 2020

Hello and Happy New Year! We hope that all the residents of Blewbury enjoyed a peaceful and restful Christmas break.

Due to purdah rules during the General Election at the end of 2019, we were unable to publish news relating to policy developments at the council, so that is the focus of this month’s newsletter.

Council motions

In December, the council voted to approve motions on agreeing the council’s commitment to exploring planning polices which encourage sustainability, updating the council’s equality policy and support for the voting age to be lowered to 16. In October, the council voted to adopt the Vale’s Local Plan Part 2 (LPP2), and motions were passed covering EU citizens’ rights, investments in low carbon funds, the A34 and changes to working with regional development organisations. Hayleigh spoke on LPP2 to highlight that despite our reservations about the plan, adopting it was the best option to prevent more speculative development, which we know that the villages we represent have hugely suffered from in the past.  Sarah used her maiden speech at Council to propose a motion to mitigate adverse impacts of the UK leaving the EU on the rights of non-UK EU nationals, including sending an open letter from the Leader of the Council to all the non-UK EU nationals in the Vale. The letter can be found on the Vale website and in this edition of the Blewbury Bulletin – please share the letter with any friends, family, neighbours or colleagues who might be affected.

Climate Emergency

Hayleigh is a member of the Vale’s new Climate Emergency Advisory Committee, which had its first meeting in October. The committee listened to several speakers from across the Vale and agreed recommendations to commission work to be done by officers and to establish a communications plan to engage the community. The major outcome was the committee setting target dates for a carbon neutral council by 2030 (75% by 2025) and a carbon neutral district by 2045 (75% by 2030).

Didcot Garden Town Project 

Throughout 2019, council officers have been working hard to move ideas for the Didcot Garden Town from the visionary stage to real-life project plans. As all the parishes we represent lie within the Area of Influence of the Didcot Garden Town, we are actively interested in the project and we intend to keep parish councils and residents up to date about the next steps and upcoming meetings that will support the garden town. At the time of writing, a new simplified governance structure for the project is about to be reviewed, which includes three Sounding Boards: a parish council board, a business board and a resident board. This should provide an opportunity for Blewbury residents and the parish council to provide their views on the plans for Didcot Garden Town, which we very much welcome, and we will provide further updates as this progresses.

EU Citizens in UK

Please click the link to read an open letter from the Vale of White Horse District Council to EU nationals from countries outside the UK. The letter explains what affected residents need to do to remain in the UK after the UK leaves the EU, and signposts them to further information. For data protection reasons, the council was not able to send individual copies of the letters to all affected residents, so Hayleigh and I would like to request that it is published in the Harwell News, as a way of reaching as many residents as possible.

Remember, if you have any queries or issues you’d like to raise with us, please do not hesitate to get in touch – our email addresses are hayleigh.gascoigne@whitehorsedc.gov.uk and sarah.medley@whitehorsedc.gov.uk. We also have a dedicated councillor Facebook Page: Cllrs Hayleigh Gascoigne & Sarah Medley.