Minutes September 2015

Of the Meeting of the Parish Council
held in the Vale Room on Wednesday 8th September 2015 at 7.30 p.m

Councillors present: Mr C Lakeland (Chairman)(CL), Ms J Gibson (JG), Ms V Fox (VF), Ms Miriam Jacobs (MJ), Mr M Penington (MP), Mr M Shayler, Mr M Blythe (MB). Also present: Mrs Elaine de Ridder (clerk), District Councillor Waite and 2 members of the public

Matters resolved:

  1. The annual return was presented to the Council, and was approved and accepted
  2. It was agreed to proceed with Option 1 of the NEST pension scheme for the clerk
  3. It was agreed that no more than £200 could be spent on the bus shelter
  4. All payments were approved.
Actions arising from the meeting Target date
1.      Clerk to investigate the ownership of the Eastfields green. By October meeting
2.      JG & Clerk to write to CEO of Sovereign Vale re the right to buy on an exception site
3.      Clerk to contact RBC and put them in contact with the croquet club By October meeting
4.      CL to proceed with NEST pension scheme for the clerk By October meeting
5.      JG, MB and Richard Farrell to meet re a DMMO application for the top of Cow Lane. By October meeting
6.      CL and clerk to compare new cemetery map and existing graves and update it accordingly By October meeting
7.      Clerk to set up a meeting with John Clark re TFF Playspace By October meeting
8.      Clerk to contact St Michael’s PCC re loose grave stones As soon as possible
9.      Clerk to contact Matt Phillips re bonfire night risk assessment and insurance. By October meeting
Actions brought forward
1.      CL to review tree register By October meeting
2.      Clerk to review document register By October meeting
3.      CL & Clerk to review effectiveness of internal audit By October meeting


  1. To receive apologies for absence. Apologies from Ms Lydia Inglis (LI), Ms Charlotte Cameron (CC), District Councillor Shelley, County Councillor Lilly, David Holllick (Lengthman).
  2. To record declarations of interest. No declarations made at the start of the meeting.
  3. To approve the minutes of the Parish Council meeting on 8th July and 20th August 2015. The minutes were accepted and signed as a true record.
  4. To receive the County Councillor’s report. No  County Councillor present.
  5. To receive the District Councillor’s report. The District Councillor’s written report was circulated prior to the meeting. See Annex A
  6. To receive the Lengthman’s report. See Annex B.
  7. Open Forum.

Nothing discussed.

  1. Neighbourhood Plan (NP). It was reported that various aspects of the plan are now complete. The final version is being collated. A consultant will be assessing the plan. Open spaces in the village will be listed, including those in Parish Council ownership. Action: Clerk to investigate the ownership of the Eastfields green.
  2. Matters arising.
    • 11/02/14 To receive an update on works at the TFF Playspace. Remedial work has been completed apart from the improved drainage under the double swing. Item closed.
    • 02/06/15 To explore the implications of “the right to buy” on exception sites. The clerk contacted Sovereign Vale. Stephen Methven no longer works there. Action: JG & Clerk to write to CEO of Sovereign Vale re the right to buy on an exception site. Item closed
    • 09/09/15 To decide on a response re the change in prescription deliveries to Blewbury.  The Parish Council has written to Woodlands Surgery. Item closed.
    • 09/09/15 To decide on a response to the recent RBC invoice. A note about this invoice relating to a building control completion certificate for the Croquet Club’s disabled loo has been circulated. It was decided that the PC should not accept liability for this invoice. Action: Clerk to contact RBC and put them in contact with the croquet club.
  3. Village hall redevelopment
    • To receive an update on the progress of the working party and fundraising. The planning application has been submitted but amended plans have not yet been forthcoming.
  4. Recreation Ground.
    • 12/11/14 To receive an update from the PC representative on the BVCIC. There has been no meeting but discussions are on-going re the heating system. MP has requested quotes for heaters and on-demand water heating. It is recommended that the Trend system be decommissioned but the CIC are still investigating changing the current system instead of replacing it.
  5. Planning & Housing
    • 12/11/14 To receive an update on speculative approaches. The Woodway application has been submitted (see below). Landmaze has not yet submitted an application.
    • 02/02/06 To receive the planning committee report. See Annex B.
    • 08/11/12 To approve responses to current applications

     P15/V1944/O  Land west of Woodway Road.  Outline application for the demolition of existing agricultural building and erection of up to 40 no. dwellings (Class C3), with new access off Woodway Road (all other matters reserved).

Blewbury Parish Council objects. See Annex C

     P15/V2005/HH  Clevedon, Church Road.  Erection of new detached carport.

Blewbury Parish Council has no objection but might submit a comment about the roofline if a majority of councillors agree.

     P15/V2004/HH  Bridus Cottage, South Street.  Demolition of existing buildings. Erection of new single storey 2-bay coach house/garden store.

Blewbury Parish Council has no objection

     P15/V1507/FUL  1 Downside, Westbrook Street. Change of use of existing outbuilding to a one bedroom dwelling.

Blewbury Parish Council objects.

     P15/V2093/FUL  Winterbrook Farm, Bessels Way.  Erection of a general purpose agricultural storage building on the site of a former agricultural building.

Blewbury Parish Council has no objection

  1. Finance & Administration
    • To approve and accept the audited annual return. The clerk received the notice of the conclusion of audit and which are being displayed on the parish notice boards. No matters were brought to the auditors’ attention and no further action was needed. The annual return was presented to the Council, and was approved and accepted. Item closed.
    • To approve and apply for the Clerk’s pension scheme. It was agreed to proceed with Option 1 of the NEST pension scheme for the clerk. Action: CL to proceed with NEST pension scheme for the clerk.
    • To approve an increased sum for the purchase of a replacement mower. It was agreed to put this on hold until a better deal could be achieved which may mean including some of the cost in the budget for next year.
    • To approve payments to be made under ancillary powers and within budgeted amounts
Description Amount
E de Ridder (salary and expenses) £899.26
D Hollick (salary and expenses) £667.56
BT Payment Services Ltd (direct debit) £23.98
White Horse Horticulture £200.00
Biffa Waste Services Ltd £56.83
Came & Company £4,959.19
ORCC (re-issue of lost cheque) £65.00
Blewbury Village Hall (Post Office grant) £300.00
Payments relating to Village hall refurbishment
West Waddy ADP £1,063.13
Payments relating to Neighbourhood Plan
E de Ridder (expenses – planning inspector’s report) £102.00
TOTAL  £ 8,336.95

All payments were approved.

  1. To receive an update on any issues relating to Footways, Footpaths, rights of way and open spaces.
    • To receive an update re an application for a new DMMO. MB spoke to Gillian Ghosh re a DMMO. Forms and information were sent to him. Action: JG, MB and Richard Farrell to meet re a DMMO application for the top of Cow Lane. Item closed.
  2. To receive an update on any issues relating to roads, road safety and public transport.
    • To consider quotes to redecorate the bus shelter. It was agreed that no more than £200 could be spent on the bus shelter. Item closed.
    • To receive an update on the meeting with Highways re traffic calming measures in the village. Councillors will meet with a highways officer to discuss traffic calming in the village.
  3. Cemetery
    • 02/06/15 To receive an update on the cemetery mapping software and training. The map has been received. Action: CL and clerk to compare new cemetery map and existing graves and update it accordingly.
  4. Village Hall Management Committee. To receive an update from the VHMC. CL reported that the VH is running smoothly at the moment. A meeting is scheduled in the coming weeks.
  5. Ladycroft Park update. To receive an update from the Vale about Ladycroft Park issues. The clerk has been trying to arrange a meeting with the emergency services re access to the park.
  6. Risk Management
    • 08/07/15 Review of effectiveness of internal audit process. Action brought forward: Clerk and CL to review internal audit.
    • 09/09/15 To decide on changes needed to safety checks at TFF Play Space. It was agreed that changes should be made to the safety checks. Action: Clerk to set up a meeting with John Clark.
    • 09/09/15 To receive the risk assessment for the Churchyard event. Risk assessment received. Action: Clerk to contact St Michael’s PCC re loose grave stones. Item closed.
    • 09/09/15 To receive an update on tree work on FP24. Some dead trees were identified and reported to Highways.
    • 09/09/15 To request the risk assessment for the BVS bonfire night. Action: Clerk to contact Matt Phillips re bonfire night risk assessment and insurance.
  7. Correspondence
    • Items requesting a reply & consultations
      • OCC Consultation about Household Waste Recycling Centres Strategy. JG’s draft response was circulated. A response will be submitted.
      • Request to use Village Hall car park by Oxford Play bus. Noted.
      • Vale of the White Horse Chairman’s Community Awards. It was agreed that a nomination should be made.
    • Items for information that have been circulated
      • OALC update. Noted.
  1. Any other business

MP had a survey done of the Cleve and offered a copy to the Parish Council.

It was mentioned that LI might speak on behalf of the Parish Council at the Vale’s planning committee re Borlase.

MJ will be putting a note in the Bulletin about reinvigorating the Neighbourhood Watch.

  1. To set the date of the next meeting

The next meeting will be held on 14th October in the Vale Room.  


Meeting closed 21h36


Annex A

 Blewbury Parish Council

Notes for Parish Councillors on Wednesday, 9th September 2015

from Cllr Janet Shelley & Cllr Reg Waite


Cllr Janet Shelley tenders her apologies for absence due to another commitment.

Residents urged to air concerns over recycling centre proposals:

Oxfordshire County Council is once again considering the closure of recycling centres across the County, and has launched a public consultation into plans they have to save £350,000 by reducing the number of their Recycling Centres and their opening hours.

Whilst we recognise the financial challenges faced by the County Council and that improved kerb-side collections in recent years have changed the way we and residents use recycling centres they remain valued community facilities.

Whilst this is a matter for the County Council the Vale reiterates its support for the retention of recycling centres in the district for the benefit of all householders.

Please encourage as many residents as possible to visit the website and respond to the consultation.  It is important as many people as possible consider how the closure of some of these sites would affect them bearing in mind the reduced hours and the subsequent additional visitors to the recycling centres.  Furthermore many residents would drive longer distances to dispose of their waste.

One must also bear in mind the possibility that fly-tipping could increase and its removal would be an additional cost to the Vale.

The consultancy closes on Monday, 5th October.

New Recycling Services on their way shortly:

The launch date for our new recycling services will commence here in the Vale from week commencing Monday, 5th October.

Residents will learn about this through some bin hangers which will be appearing on their bins in the next few weeks.

From next month residents will be able to leave out broken/disused small electrical items next to their grey bin, and any tatty clothes or textiles that aren’t good enough for charity next to their green bin.  They will be picked up by Biffa and taken away to be recycled.

This is of course in addition to the used domestic batteries which can be placed in a clear plastic bag and left on top of the green bin.

Sunday trading laws – please have your say:

The government is thinking about giving local councils the powers to decide the opening hours of larger shops on Sundays.

Later this month the Vale and South Oxfordshire District Councils will submit a joint response to the proposals but we want to hear from residents and businesses have to say about this and how it could affect them.

At the moment, large shops can only open for up to six hours between 10 am and 6 pm on a Sunday, while smaller premises are free to open as long as they want.

Please let the Vale know how you think it will affect your community, but if you could also spread the word about the consultation to your residents and businesses that would be great too!  Feedback is required by Thursday, 10th September – have your say on http://tinyurl.com/sunday-trading-hours

Voter registration update:

The Vale is currently sending a reminder to every household which has not yet confirmed their voter registration.  Action is sought urgently otherwise someone will be calling on the dwellings to ascertain who is resident.

Responses can be made online as well as by returning the forms.  In case of need residents can contact the Electoral Registration team on 01235 540351.

Chairman’s Community Awards 2015:

This year the Chairman’s Community Awards will be presented at the Beacon in Wantage on Saturday, 28th November starting at 12 noon.

Cllr Mike Badcock is seeking nominations for the awards and nominations can be of any age.  We do hope there will be nominations from each village in our ward and it will be helpful if they could be submitted by no later than mid-October – a firm date for entries will be advised shortly.

Please do not hesitate to contact Janet or myself and we will have nomination forms available for you.

Are you receiving a copy of the Vale’s monthly newsletter to Parishes?:

The latest copy covered the following topics –

  • Air your concerns over recycling centre proposals
  • Have your say on Sunday trading laws
  • Guidance on affordable home contributions
  • Have your say on subsidised bus services
  • Calling all community groups
  • A new home for South and Vale carers
  • Putting a CAP on underage drinking
  • News for you and your parishes
  • Now you can recycle even more from the kerbside
  • Extra garden waste collections coming up
  • Compost giveaway
  • Have your say on the future of Botley’s shopping area
  • Safety checks for electric blankets

Are you able to record any news from this on your website?

Are you able to place some of this news on your village Notice Board?

Have you any suggestions or ideas how we may spread this news to an increasing number of residents?

Annex B – Lengthman’s report

July/August 2015


All footpaths are generally in good order except for encroaching hedge growth from residents properties. A notice has been included in the Paris Council Report in the Bulletin.


Good condition with grass regrowth improving after the weed treatment in June.

I have pruned a considerable amount off the trees as they were restricting the pathways.

TFF, Car Park & TFF Playspace

TFF main field in good condition

Car park continues to be a bit of a litter problem especially on weekends.

Trees in centre of car park have been pruned.

The play area has had a considerable amount of work done this last two months with construction of a ‘giant picnic table’ , a new spring braking system for the zip wire instead of tyres and several items of swingwear being replaced for safety reasons. All units are now fully operational and in good condition.

Village Hall KAP Area

All in good condition

Storage Buildings

No issues


Tractor and topper mower- no issues

Ferris Mower- this has an engine problem and is currently at Mark Shayler’s workshop for repair (29.8.15)

Orec Mower – The gearbox has gone completely and a quote for replacement and repair is in excess of £800. The mower is now awaiting disposal.

Annex C

Planning report for Parish Council  – September 2015

Planning Applications

All Blewbury planning applications, decisions  and Parish Council responses, including items under consideration, can be found in the ‘Parish’ section of the Blewbury website
(http://blewbury.co.uk/parish/planning/), which is updated once a week. Links are also provided to the main Vale Planning site, where full details can be obtained.

Responses from the Parish Council: 

P15/V1883/FUL – Blewbury Village Hall – Extensions and alterations.  BPC fully supports this application.

P15/V1944/O – Land West of Woodway – See below. Annex D.

Decisions from the District Council: None this month.

Enquiries regarding planning in the parish may be sent to blewburypc@gmail.com

Annex D

Blewbury Parish Council objects to application P15/V1944/O on the following grounds:-

In particular, as this is a major development, our objections relate in the main but not solely to paragraph 116 of the NPPF.

Paragraph 116 of the NPPF states:- Planning permission should be refused for major developments in designated areas such as AONBs except in exceptional circumstances and where it can be demonstrated they are in the public interest.  The site is in open countryside outside the built up area of the village contrary to the Vale Local Plan saved policy GS2. The site would be outside the boundary of the southern edge of the built environment with access to the core across a busy highway. This will result in increased vehicular traffic.  The site is in the AONB contrary to the Vale Local Plan saved policy NE6  There has been no assessment of the scheme against the emerging draft Neighbourhood Plan other than a reference to the landscape assessment and housing needs survey which are published. Scant regard has been paid to their content. A response from Hankinson Duckett who produced the landscape assessment is at Annexe 2  The cost of, and scope for, developing elsewhere outside the designated area, or meeting the need for it in some other way has not been assessed. Paragraph 116 of the NPPF

The detrimental effect on the environment, the landscape and recreational opportunities, and the extent to which that could be moderated has not been considered adequately. Paragraph 116 of the NPPF

The need for the development has not been demonstrated adequately, exploiting the absence of a 5yr housing supply statement. There is insufficient evidence of exceptional circumstances to allow it, in terms of national considerations, or of its impact on the local economy. Paragraph 116 of the NPPF

The application is contrary to paragraph 115 of the NPPF which states that it is necessary to weigh the benefits of a proposal against the great weight afforded to conserving the landscape and scenic beauty of the AONB.

In compiling this objection, reference is made at Annex to the Barton Willmore Planning Statement August 2014 and other sources.

Annexe 1

  1. Great weight is given by Barton Willmore in paragraph 6.1 and 6.2 of the report as to why this application should not be treated as a major development. If it is not, then they could sidestep the more rigorous application of the rules concerning AONBs. The credibility of their argument needs studying.
  2. Across most planning authorities, developments of 10 or more dwellings are regarded by councils to be major.
  3. Barton Willmore state that ‘the recently approved development at Chailey House, Blewbury which increased the size of the settlement by 4.2% was not considered by the District council to be major development in the AONB’.

The truth as to whether Chailey House was considered a major development is plain to see from the officer’s report to committee, below, on the Chailey development.



SITE Chailey House Bessels Way Blewbury Didcot, OX11 9NJ

PROPOSAL Erection of 30 dwellings OFFICER Stuart Walker


2.1 The proposal is a major development submitted to help address the council’s current five year housing land deficit.

  1. The 5.6% proposed increase in dwellings in addition to 4.2% at Chailey House would result in a 9.8% overall increase.

A recent case with similar circumstances came to the following conclusion on appeal

In APP/P1615/A/13/2204158, Land off Reddings Lane, Staunton, (Coleford) Gloucestershire (decision of 23 June 2014), 15 residential units were proposed with public open space within an AONB.

The Inspector found that the development would cause substantial harm to the AONB. He then noted as follows: “20. There were differences of views at the inquiry on whether the proposal represented a „major‟ scheme in the context of paragraph 116 of the Framework and the appellant referred to a number of decisions in support of their argument that it was not major. However, relative to the limited size of Staunton and to the location and extent of development in recent years, I regard the proposal to represent a major scheme for which planning permission should be refused.”

  1. Barton Willmore refer to the leafleting of the village and to the results of their three question survey. The questions were
  2. Do you support the principle of residential development, including affordable properties, in Blewbury?
  3. What type, size and tenure of new housing should be included within the proposed development?
  4. What should the open space within the site be used for? ( i.e. play areas, wildlife, allotments, other).

Including ‘affordable’ in question 1 misled a proportion of the respondents who understood this to mean social housing. Questions 2 & 3 were dependent upon a positive response to question 1.

Consultation Results

740 houses were leafleted. A total of 190 responses to the consultation have been received to date, which represents approximately 26% of properties in the consultation area.

27% of respondents agreed that there is a need for new housing in Blewbury. 62% disagreed and 11% were either unsure or did not respond to the question.

What this means is that 50 out of 740 (7%) saw a need for housing and we would hazard a guess that a fair percentage of those thought that what was meant was social housing when the word affordable was used . It must be noted that Chailey House had not been finally approved at the time of the survey.

  1. Barton Willmore state

6.1 Blewbury is identified as a Large Village in both the adopted and emerging Local Plans. As such, it is considered to be a sustainable settlement. Within the South East Vale Sub – Area, ‘Larger Villages’ are considered to be the most sustainable

settlements after Wantage (Market Town). As such, it is likely that they will be required to accommodate much of the remaining 220 dwellings to be allocated within the Sub-Region through the Local Plan Part 2, in accordance with Section 3 of the NPPF which seeks to boost the economy of rural areas.

These assumptions made by Barton Willmore have no substance. They are presupposing what will be written in a future document. VWHDC local plan part two previously stated a shortfall of 56 houses to be taken up by all the larger villages over the period of the report. Assuming this is now 220, it would still be the total for all the villages over 20 years and we are already committed to 30 at Chailey House.

Annexe 2

Blewbury – response to planning application at Woodway Road by Hankinson Duckett


The proposal is within an area of negligible / low capacity as set out in the neighbourhood plan character assessment. The site is part of an extremely open and expansive landscape. The fields in pasture are divided by fencing, which is permeable and the whole area reads as one. Isolated farms and agricultural buildings are present within the character area and form part of the rural edge to Blewbury. The sensitivity of the site is further heightened by its inclusion within the North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

Fundamental issues

The impacts on character as assessed by the application LVIA are Moderate Adverse impacts, reducing to Minor Adverse impacts after 15 years. The application therefore would not preserve or enhance the character of the AONB. This analysis also underplays the sensitivity and magnitude of effect of the proposed development site. Using the HDA methodology for LVIA, the effects on the landscape character of the site are judged to be substantial. The site boundary is an arbitrary line, not related to any landscape structure. The site has a high landscape value, due to its inclusion within the AONB and its consistency with the wider countryside to the south. The susceptibility of the site to a housing development is also high, as the inherent character is that of openness and rurality. Therefore any proposed development would alter the baseline situation. The overall sensitivity of the site character is therefore high. The magnitude of effect would also be high, particularly at construction and immediately after completion as an open and rural parcel of land would be replaced with housing. The combination of high sensitivity and high magnitude of effect would lead to substantial adverse impact on the existing site character. The proposed landscape scheme would soften the views of the proposed development but remain inconsistent with the existing landscape character

The proposed changes to the site would be highly visible from sensitive visual receptors, including the residents of adjacent properties and people using local recreational routes, particularly footpaths 135/21/20 and 135/19/40 and the area of open access land to the south of the site. The visual sensitivity of these local viewpoints would be high. The magnitude of effect for these viewpoints would also be high as the proposals would constitute a major alteration to the existing view, particularly from the northern 40m of footpath 135/21/20. There would be substantial adverse visual effects on the visual receptors using footpath 135/21/20, particularly at construction and immediately after completion.

There are no housing allocations for Blewbury within the emerging Local Plan.

The outline application is for up to 40 dwellings, with only the access being fixed at the application stage. All other matters would be decided at the reserved matters stage. The landscape and visual assessment hangs on an illustrative masterplan that may bear no relation to the reserved matters application. No parameters plans have been provided to secure the green space to the west and south of the site, which forms an integral part of the argument put forward within the LVIA and Design and access statement. Notwithstanding any agreement to the provision of the open space or planting the new housing would be an intrusion into an open, unbounded landscape and would form an incongruous extension to the village.

Inconsistencies with the application analysis

The southern settlement boundary of Blewbury runs parallel to London Road and is well defined. This is in contrast to the ‘stepped edge’ described in the application LVIA.

Emphasis is made about views from the escarpment down to the village, but little is discussed with respect to the views of the escarpment from the village. There are existing glimpsed views of the escarpment between the existing dwellings on London Road, which adds to the rural character of this part of the village. These views would be blocked by the proposed development.

The viewpoints chosen along footpath 135/21/20 are not necessarily representative of the experience a person using the path. For example viewpoint 1 is located immediately adjacent to Downside Farm. Site Appraisal photographs D, E and F are more representative of the general perception of the landscape from the footpath and would be more sensitive to changes within the proposed site. The LVIA also assesses views from the footpath as ‘transitory’. While footpath users would be moving, they would still have time to appreciate the open and expansive views from the footpath.

Rebuttal against comments on the neighbourhood plan LCA

Para 2.95 of the LVIA states that: ‘The Assessment does not acknowledge that the sensitivity of the Character Area would vary within the Character Area,’

Paragraph 1.4 of the Blewbury LCA clearly states that landscape character may vary across a character area. In the case of character area 9 (which includes the application site), the open and expansive nature of the character area means that landscape character is consistent across the area.

Paragraph 2.96 states that no definition of large scale development. Appendix 2 of the Blewbury LCA sets out some expectations of medium and low landscape capacity. A landscape of Medium Capacity in the context of a village settlement, such a Blewbury, has been assumed to be up to approximately 30 houses. Therefore an application of 40 houses within an area with a low/negligible capacity, would be inappropriate.

In conclusion, as a major intrusive development in the AONB , we request that this application is refused.