Parish Council

Oxford-Cambridge Expressway – Further Update

October 20, 2018

Further to our update in last month’s Bulletin, the Parish Council has received an update from Highways England clarifying the different maps used in the press release announcement of the preferred route for the proposed new motorway between Oxford and Cambridge. Above is a map of the ‘preferred corridor’, which is the area chosen to develop the new road. Blewbury is not included in this map, which ultimately means the village is NOT being assessed as part of the route options for the new road link.

The intention is for the new road to connect to the existing network at some point in the areas identified as ‘common corridor’ on the map below:

Highways England has told us that the common corridor will be subject to a ‘separate package of interventions and upgrades to the existing network’ that will connect to the new road link. That is, the common corridor (which includes Blewbury), is the area under consideration for connections to existing infrastructure. We have been told that this area may narrow further as routes are subject to further analysis.

Public consultation on the full plan is planned for autumn 2019. On 23rd October representatives from the PC will attend a meeting of the Expressway Action Group, which is campaigning against the road and its wider effects (including houses and supporting infrastructure) – the changes this proposed road will affect all of us living in Oxfordshire. We will report on this meeting in the next Bulletin.

Anyone who wishes to contact Lynne McWilliam, Stakeholder Manager of the Oxford-Cambridge expressway, directly can email her on

OxfordToCambridgeExpressway@highwaysengland.co.uk

Oxford-Cambridge Expressway Update

October 7, 2018

On 12th September the Government announced its chosen ‘corridor B’ for the proposed motorway between Oxford and Cambridge.

The other routes, corridor A (via Thame and Aylesbury) and corridors C1, C2 and C3 (via Bicester and NE to Milton Keynes) were rejected. According to the Expressway Action Group (EAG), corridor B2 has also been rejected by the Government, leaving a choice of B1 (west of Oxford, following the A34) and B3 (south of Oxford through the green belt and roughly following the River Thame).

Will Blewbury be directly affected?

Above is the map issued by Highways England and the Dept of Transport to illustrate its press release accompanying the announcement. Note that the southern boundary of the area under consideration for the Expressway appears to hug the southern outskirts of Didcot. (Link to pdf of map here)

However the map above is marked ‘indicative only’, and another map on Highways England’s site shows a common corridor south of the two possible routes (outlined in orange and green) that most definitely includes Blewbury, and stretches south to junction 13 of the M4.

(Link to detailed pdf here – map on page 19)

While it seems most likely that the new road will make best use of an upgraded A34, a major new road east of Didcot cannot be discounted. The Parish Council has made several calls to the Dept of Transport and to Highways England but, as the Bulletin went to press, had not heard back with clarification on which map should be used. We will issue a stop press as soon as this is confirmed, and a course of action will be proposed in the next Bulletin. Please also see the PC section of the Blewbury website for updates over the next month.

Even if Blewbury is outside the marked common corridor boundary, the village will undoubtedly feel the impact of this major infrastructure development. The housing promised along the Expressway corridor – 300,000 more homes and up to 900,000 more residents – will transform the county in years to come.

The EAG is providing a co-ordinated response on behalf of many villages and towns affected, and making the collective voice of those opposed to the new motorway heard. If you would like to hear directly from the EAG please contact peter@peterrutt.com, who will put you on the email list for updates.

What’s next?

Highways England will now start a year-long study of potential routes within the two corridors. They will release a shortlist of 5-6 routes in Autumn 2019; these will be put to public consultation. According to the EAG, consultation will be a series of open meetings across the counties affected, at which residents, businesses and environmental groups can put their views to Highways. The EAG believes that the consultation will be led by Highways officers rather than by local councils.

Blewbury Parish Council

September 2018

 

Energy Recovery Facility at Ardley

July 18, 2018

As Parish Councillors we are sometimes offered the opportunity to join a tour of the Ardley Energy Recovery Facility operated by Viridor.

Two of your current councillors have taken advantage of this offer and found the tour and learning about the plant  interesting and worthwhile.  In Oxfordshire all the domestic waste that would have in the past gone into landfill now is taken to the Ardley facility where it is turned into electricity.  There is much controversy and concern about the construction and operation of such plants so it is helpful to go and see for oneself.  Any individual or organisation can take advantage of the free tours offered by Viridor so if interested please find more information using this link  https://viridor.co.uk/our-operations/energy/energy-recovery-facilities/ardley-erf/

New management of Clubhouse and Melland Room

June 28, 2018

The Blewbury Village CIC (BVCIC) has been exploring with the Parish Council a more viable way of managing The Club House and Melland Room.

We have had a proposal from two people living in the village to run the building enabling use by the community as well as developing a greater utilisation of the building and facilities to maintain the high standard of facility available.

The BVCIC will remain responsible for the overarching management of the Clubhouse but as of 1st June 2018 the day to day operational management will be carried out by David Flynn and Mike Evans who will be the main contact for  all use of the building be it regular sports clubs or one off bookings.

Dave and Mike will be offering bar and catering facilities if you require this and hope to organise events throughout the year including screen of the World Cup matches and other events.

Any queries please do contact Dave and Mike on blewburyvillagecic@gmail.com or 07969 526084.  Directors, BVCIC

General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR)

May 20, 2018

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), comes into force on 25 May.

What is GDPR?

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) applies to every EU based organisation, including Parish Councils, that processes personal data, and ensures that you know what organisations do with your data and how they protect it.

The law recognises that your personal data should belong to you, and GDPR will set out new rules on how organisations can view, collect, use and store your personal data.

The Freedom of Information Act tried to free up public information to public scrutiny, the purpose of GDPR complements this by ensuring that private information stays private and is within the control of the individual concerned.

Relevant documents will be posted on the Parish Council pages in support of these changes by the deadline date.

Two things you may not know about food waste

June 1, 2018

Last month a parish councillor visited Agrivert’s ‘anaerobic digestion’ facility in Wallingford, which processes 20,000 tonnes of food waste from our area each year.

Caddy bags are delivered by lorry, then fed into a machine which mechanically removes the waste from its packaging. It is then macerated and digested anaerobically in large sealed tanks. This process creates enough energy to power 4,800 homes (via biogas, converted in gas engines into electricity). It also creates enough nutrient-rich fertiliser to cover 2,500 acres of local farmland. The whole process captures 4.5 million m3 of methane every year, which is equivalent to removing 71,000 cars from the road.

There were two clear messages from the visit: firstly, there is no benefit to using compostable bags in your food waste bin (the process isn’t warm enough to compost the bags, and the plant is designed to remove all packaging, so you might as well use whatever bag you have to hand, including any plastic ones lurking in your cupboard). Secondly, there is still a huge amount of food waste going into black bins in our area. The waste from our black bins is incinerated (an energy-hungry process), whereas this plant converts our waste and effectively recycles it for a new purpose, so please do your bit and chuck your food waste in a caddy!

Community Orchard – News from the Coggers

November 21, 2016

After months of planning and consulting, we are almost ready to start planting!

The first 20 or so trees have been ordered, stakes, labels, tree guards and posts have all been specified and planting will take place in December. It will take a few years for the trees to become established and to bear fruit, but you should then be able to pick a Warwickshire Drooper for your breakfast (it’s a plum) or a Reverend Wilks for your supper (it’s a cooking apple).

A number of people have kindly volunteered to help with the planting. If you would like to add your name to the list then please contact John Ogden (jogden@blewbury.net). For those who can help it would be very useful if they could bring along a spade and perhaps a large board or groundsheet – and a wheelbarrow could be useful to help with mulching around the trees. The weekend of the 3rd December is one possible start date but we will be in email contact with all volunteer COGGERS before then.  John Ogden

 

Blewbury Footpaths

September 27, 2016

One of the joys of living in Blewbury is the ability to navigate the village and its environs through the network of footpaths, bridleways and byways, commonly known as public rights of way.

Gone are the days when the paths were kept clear by flocks of sheep and labourers who worked for local landowners. In these times the maintenance of footpaths has to be planned and paid for.

The Parish Council regularly receives complaints/comments about the state of the footpaths and we act where we can. However we would like to clarify some rights and responsibilities.

The duty to maintain public rights of way rests with the Highway Authority, in our case Oxfordshire County Council through their Countryside Access Team. The Oxfordshire Parish Guide to Countryside Access reads as follows: ‘the County Council has a duty to maintain the surface of rights of way. It must be recognised that they are essentially countryside paths, usually with an earth surface, and so, depending on the type of soil, some mud should be expected, particularly during winter months. The County Council will seek to maintain rights of way in a condition suitable for their use by the public, i.e. a footpath in a condition for use by walkers. In this it is assumed that the user will wear appropriate clothing and footwear (for example walking boots, or wellingtons in the winter’.

Parish Councils have a right to maintain public rights of way and Blewbury, in common with many other villages, has undertaken the maintenance of footpaths within the built area of the village. This work is carried out by our lengthman, with the assistance of volunteers and Council members on some occasions, and paid for through the parish precept element of the council tax. The amount of time and money we have available for this work is finite.

Responsibility for vegetation along the side of footpaths and roads in the village lies with the residents whose boundary lies along the public right of way. Many of our residents keep these boundaries well trimmed back – others are not so conscientious.

At the moment OCC has limited resources as does the PC. Grass cutting by the local authority has been reduced to a minimum and the PC is reviewing how to continue the previous level of maintenance as parishioners have complained about unkempt undergrowth.

It would be most beneficial if all residents would pay attention to the land, paths, pavements and verges outside their homes. Clearing leaves, cutting grass or just clearing litter from a small area would help enormously. Two Village Clear Up days a year are scheduled and organised between Sustainable Blewbury and the Parish Council – more volunteers to clear leaves and occasionally help spread gravel on these days would be very helpful. We are well aware that many parishioners already do their bit to maintain and improve the village and that pressures on people’s time have never been greater. But most of us love what Blewbury is – a charming, vibrant village. It will not stay that way if we don’t collectively make an effort to maintain the features that make our village unique.

Update on the Vale Local Plan

June 9, 2016

The independent  inspector’s report of the Vale’s Local Plan is quite encouraging for Blewbury as it might put a stop to major development in the AONB.

The interim report of his findings has been published and in particular the examiner refers to two sites around Harwell and Didcot (which includes Blewbury) and says

The Plan envisages that housing allocation sites 12 and 13, which are located within the North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), would be developed for around 550 and 850 dwellings respectively. This would be major development, which the Framework indicates should be refused except in exceptional circumstances and where it can be demonstrated it is in the public interest…….. I conclude that modification of the plan to delete sites 12 and 13 is thus necessary. This would be a reduction of 1400 planned houses but more importantly set a precedent for future incursions into the AONB.

In appendix 1 he states that the Five Year Housing Land Supply Outcome assuming deletion of housing allocation sites 12 and 13 from the plan still exceeds requirement.

His interim results can still be challenged but they are encouraging. They cannot , unfortunately, be applied retrospectively.

The full pdf document can be found here.

 

PUBLIC RIGHT OF WAY BETWEEN WOODWAY (WHITE SHOOT FARM) AND BOHAMS ROAD

March 22, 2016

The PC was extremely pleased that Beeswax Farming has created a Permissive Pathway across its land between the top of Cow Lane and Rubble Pit Lane.

They responded positively to our request and we are grateful to them. However a Permissive Path is made at the discretion of the landowner and in order to ensure that we retain a public right of way the PC intends to submit an application to make the track from the top of Woodway to Bohams Road a Bridleway/footpath. This will take a considerable amount of time but we are starting to collect evidence in support of this application now.

We would like all users – dog walkers, walkers, cyclists, horse riders etc – to fill in the evidence form which could be obtained from the Post Office or downloaded here. Guidance on how to complete the form can be downloaded here.

To see which area will be covered by this application, you can consult this map.  Please identify the stretch of the path for which you can provide evidence and mark it on the map.

Please return the signed hard copy of the form and the map to Jane Gibson – 5 Westbrook Green or the Clerk, 83 Dibleys. Remember that you can provide evidence not only of your own use but that of others using Question 12 on the evidence form.

The more evidence we can provide the better and we must be able to cover a period of 20 years or more. Both current and historic evidence will be most useful.

Image above and maps:
© Crown Copyright and Ordnance Survey Rights
Parish Council PSMA OS Licence No.100041147