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Monthly Archives: June 2021

Blewbury Pre-School is 50

June 17, 2021

Due to Coronavirus restrictions in force at the time, Blewbury Pre-School unfortunately had to postpone its 50th Anniversary Party on 17th July.  We will let you know the new date as soon as possible.

Since lockdown last year we’ve been unable to do any of our usual fundraising events – that’s the best part of two whole academic years where we’ve been unable to fundraise as normal.

We’ve therefore devised the Blewbury Pre-School Lottery to raise funds in a COVID-friendly way, and we’re delighted that the first two draws went ahead as scheduled in July and August. The next draw is due on Thursday September 2nd and the last day for new sign-ups to be eligible for this is Sunday August 22nd.

If you would usually have supported one of our big evening events, or perhaps bought a few raffle tickets or some of our merchandise, could we ask you to please consider joining our Lottery? There are still plenty of numbers available, and if you sign up now you will be eligible for draws from September onwards.

Draws are held on the first Thursday of every month. Forms and full T+Cs can be obtained at the Post-Office or downloaded from Queries can be directed to

For those of you not aware of how the Lottery works, for £5 per month members will be entered into a monthly lottery with a chance to win one of three cash prizes. There will be a 50:50 split between prize and fundraising money.  It’s an annual membership, and we plan to sell a maximum of 200 lottery numbers each year.

We have been genuinely heartened by the positive response to the Lottery so far, and it is clear that so many of our community are committed to ensuring that this pre-school will continue to survive way into the future. Thank you to everyone who has already joined. We look forward to welcoming more of you!

Malthus Trust Grants

June 28, 2021


Once again, we welcome grant applications from Blewbury residents under the age of 25 who are attending universities and further education colleges, or taking up apprenticeships. Application forms will be available from the Post Office from MONDAY AUGUST 2nd and will include instructions on how and when to complete them.

The Malthus Trust exists for the benefit of young people resident in Blewbury. Trustees are directed to apply surplus income as follows:

  1. In awarding grants for further education at schools, universities, colleges and educational institutions.
  2. In providing financial assistance with reasonable expenses, instruments, books etc as part of an educational course.
  3. In helping applicants prepare for (or enter) a profession, trade or occupation on leaving school, university or other educational establishment.
  4. In assisting individuals with fees, or by covering travel, subsistence or maintenance costs connected with training.

The grants are awarded at a meeting of trustees held in early September.

Completed applications must be returned to the Post Office ON OR BEFORE CLOSE OF BUSINESS ON TUESDAY AUGUST 31st. Applications received after the above date will be considered by trustees at their March meeting, when grants are often lower because the financial requirements for the rest of the year are unknown.


Assistance is also available, at the discretion of trustees, to provide science-related scholarships to assist applicants to further their scientific studies.

Bell ringing news from Blewbury Tower

Sadly, we, like many others, are having to rethink following the extension of the Covid restrictions; our looking forward to ringing again has been put on hold until July.

The ducks were getting excited about taking to the water for the Duck Race they are now waiting in anticipation for the new date of September 5th. Tickets are still available from Blewbury Post Office and will be valid in September.


Minutes of the Blewbury Parish Council Meeting March 2020

June 16, 2021

Minutes of the Blewbury Parish Council meeting held on Wednesday 11th March 2020 in the Melland Room.

In attendance:- Cllrs C Lakeland (CL/Chair), M Penington (MP), M Blythe (MB), L Inglis (LI), V Humphries (VH), J Gibson (JG), P Kilroe (PK). Miss E Cooper (Clerk/EC), Mr D Hollick (Lengthman/DH), District Cllr H Gascoigne (HG)

1.      Apologies for absence

Cllrs M Jacobs (MJ), M Shayler (MS), County Cllr M Fox-Davies (MF-D)

2.      Declarations of interests relating to this meeting

None declared.

3. Co-opt a new councillor to the vacant post

Mr Phil Kilroe was duly co-opted to the council and completed his Declaration of Office and Register of  Interests forms.

4.   County Councillor’s report (see Appendix B below)

5.   District Councillor’s report (see Appendix C below)

MP & JG questioned why carbon neutral new housing specifications were not being applied now, instead of  a target date of 2025. HG agreed to enquire further.

JG also asked for confirmation of what minimum standard space standards were being applied to new  housing? HG to find out.

HG stated the next District Council meeting had been moved to 15th April.

PK asked about car charging points in Oxfordshire. HG stated there were no concrete plans from the District Council as yet.

PK asked what the District Council was doing to improve the running costs of its offices? HG to find out.

HG to look into Climate Emergency money (C£20k) & what kinds of climate change initiatives could be funded.

6.   Lengthman’s report (see Appendix A below)

DH stated the Cleve barrier was planned to be repaired on 12th March.

CL added that the new Cleve map was close to being finished.

DH stated he was waiting for the weather to change to start grass cutting.

7.   Open Forum

No members of the public were present.

8. A short presentation on the work of Beeswax Dyson

This was postponed to a future meeting. However, the council suggested that updates could be given on a

regular basis, rather than wait for a presentation. EC to contact James Dawson.

9.   To approve previous minutes

Minutes of the BPC meeting 12.02.20

The minutes were approved with no changes & signed by the Chair.

10.  Outstanding Actions from this and previous meetings:-


No. Actions from March 2020 meeting When
1. EC to propose standard email sign off for all BPC email accounts. Actioned
2. EC to contact James Dawson re regular Beeswax updates Actioned.
3. LI to check the planning approved for the Lime Walk Gospel Hall development, in relation to light at night any hedges provision within the application. Actioned
4. VH to look at remedial work required at KAP. C’fwd until further notice
5. EC to check when annual play area inspection is due. Clerk’s note:- Based on assumption that all inspections are off until further notice. Email sent 24.3.20

HG to find out:-

1. Why carbon neutral new housing specs are not being applied now?

2. What is the DC doing to improve the running of its offices?

3. What kinds of climate emergency initiatives might receive funding?

By email
7. CL to check on ownership of Heather Way footpath. By email
8. CL to write to CIC re surrender of Clubhouse lease. By email
9. CL to consider timing of Clubhouse deep clean, heating & services review. By email
10. EC to look into new Clubhouse signage By email
11. CL to speak to Sustainable Blewbury re village wide ‘pond life’ survey By email
12. LI to respond to OCC letter regarding Science Park funding for cycle path. By email


No. Actions arising from February 2020 Meeting When
1. MF-D to identify Cycleway representative at County for a response to cycleway Blewbury/Upton queries Cleared
2. MF-D To confirm parameters of speedwatch/village signs etc to VH Cleared
3. To write letter to Secretary of State Jenrick re takeover of SODC local plan Cleared
4. Forward A. McEwan-James correspondence re BOAT to M-FD Response rec’d 10.3.20
5. All to consider questions for Beeswax representative for March Meeting & forward to Clerk Cleared
6. Clerk to work out Blewshed proportion of electricity usage & inform Blewshed for payment C’fwd email response only
7. Clerk to respond to requestor re siting of new bench on pound. Cleared
8. Clerk to confirm to internal auditor agreement for 3-year deal Actioned 17.2.20
9. CL to write to Alex Musson re Bulletin entry on poo bags. Actioned 16.2.20
10. Clerk to respond to Didcot Garden Town sounding board email Response 19.2.20
11. CL to write acceptance letter to Complete Tree Services re village tree survey. Actioned 13.2.20
12. Clerk to pursue Santander/Lloyds switching process Cleared
13. CL to explore alternative environmentally friendly electricity suppliers for the Clubhouse/Melland Room and Scout Hut. C’fwd email response only
No. Actions arising from January 2020 Meeting When
9. Clerk to obtain information on raising PC profile on social media (FB/BVS) Actioned 10.3.20


No. Actions arising from December 2019 Meeting When

Bus stops along Bessels Way – Clerk to chase OCC.


Aw info Cllr MF-D
No. Actions Arising from October Meeting Target Date
1 Is funding available for Community Action Groups, working on (for example) climate emergency initiatives. Clerk email to Cllr Hudspeth 7.1.20 Aw info Cllr MF-D
5 CL also asked the S106 representative if ‘football’ allocated money could be used for football activities at the school. C’fwd email response only


11.   Planning & Housing

11.1 Planning committee report

LI to check the planning approval for the Lime Walk Gospel Hall development in respect of the

amount of light at night and hedge provision.

11.2 Approve responses to current applications

P19/V3253/FUL Rumseys Barn, Blewbury

Amendment no.1 to conversion of garage & swimming pool in               to accommodation.

Deadline noon 16.03.20

BPC agreed to object to this amendment with its concerns                        regarding the parking situation.

11.3 P20/V0263/FUL Methodist Chapel, Blewbury

Variation of condition 2

Deadline noon 19.03.20

MP declared an interest. BPC agreed no objections to this                        application.

11.4 P20/V0561/HH Church End House, Church End, Blewbury

Demolition of existing garage & replace with new garage                           adjoined to house with front dormers & rear rooflights. New                   flat roof above kitchen/dining space.

Deadline noon 26.03.20

BPC agreed no objections to this application.

12.    Finance & Administration

12.1 Update on CIL or S106 contributions and approve planned expenditure

CL to check & confirm expected CIL sum for 20/21.

Clerk’s note:- Confirmed as c£2268

VH stated that the KAP area was in need of some remedial action (sign at the gate,  holes in the fence, dips in the ground). VH to look at potential costs of remedial work in conjunction with DH.

12.2 Update on financial arrangements

12.2.1 Online banking update

Due to the inadequacies of the Lloyds Bank switching process, this had now largely been achieved by the Clerk contacting individuals and changing direct debit details, and by transferring (via cheque) a sum of £35000 from the Santander account to the Lloyds Bank account. This left a small amount of c£1500 in the Santander account.

12.3 Approve payments to be made under ancillary powers and within budgeted amounts

All payments were approved by council & checked by two signatories.

Clerk’s note:- Barclays payments of £5000 and over require three signatures.





Description / Power to spend


E Cooper / D Hollick Clerk & Lengthman’s salary and expenses for February



NEST Clerk’s pension DD February £69.43
HMRC PAYE Clerk & Lengthman payment February £68.80
Biffa Waste Services Ltd Waste services DD February £88.13
BT Clubhouse line rental DD February £33.00
DFAME Melland room booking BPC February £20.00
DFAME Melland room booking Autumn Leaves February (2 meetings) £40.00
Radii Skatepark Repairs Skatepark refurbishment (paid 17.2.20 – to be ratified) £2995.00
OALC Annual Subscription 20/21 £342.22
OPFA Annual Membership 20/21 £42.00
DAC Beachcroft VAT payment on insurance fees following claim £77.90
Total £4741.66


Major Receipts Dec 2019



Paid in to Lloyds bank 29.2.20 2019 allotment fees £470.00
Paid in to Lloyds bank 30.1.20 Chadwicks Funeral Directors £285.00
Total £755.00


Barclays Bank Payments



26.2.20 Ridge continued professional services to date for the refurbishment of Blewbury Village Hall including post-contract administration & project management £1800.00
14.2.20 Salus Building Control & Fire Safety Consultants – Approved inspector service, building regulation fee stage 2 £690.00
28.2.20 MD Group – Refurbishment of Blewbury Village Hall Valuation 1 £47502.84
Total £49,992.84


12.4 Sign of end of month reconciliations for Lloyds/Santander & Barclays banks

These were signed by the Chair and Clerk.

12.5 Consider any donations requests

Only one donation request was received from Home Start South Oxfordshire. Council agreed that  with money in the budget, a donation of £50 would be made.

13.    Village hall refurbishment

CL stated that the current scheduled completion date was 20th May, although additional items were under  consideration as funds would allow (ie car park and drains).

Heather Way footpath. CL to check ownership of footpath & if Highways to raise request for repairs.

14.    Recreation Ground / Clubhouse

14.1 Update on the recreation ground and car park (TFF)

Nothing to report this month.

14.2 Update on the Clubhouse (inc. cricket pitch, Melland room & car park)

Council agreed that the CIC was failing in their management of the Clubhouse and Lease. CL to send letter to CIC regarding surrender of Lease. The Parish Council will take over management until other arrangements can be made. MP stated that this management fell in to two categories; the management of bookings and arrangements regarding the Melland room, and the management of the whole building.

CL stated that a trial of an online booking system had been running for 3 weeks & was working well.

The council agreed that an online system requiring upfront payments was required to improve cashflow & general management. This be linked to the booking of the village hall post      refurbishment, for a single venue booking system.

Council agreed that as a matter of urgency that the heating system be reviewed due to its high costs, and that the relationship with DFAME be reviewed at the earliest opportunity.

CL stated that the Clubhouse was in need of a deep clean and this would be arranged at the earliest convenient time.

Clerk’s note:- Melland Room now closed to all activities due to COVID-19.

 15.    Risk Management

15.1 Update on the claim relating the Clubhouse incident

This was proceeding through the insurance company and assessors, with an expectation of no liability.

EC to look at the costs of installing signage at the top of the slope to the Clubhouse.

15.2 Update on village play spaces (TFF / KAP) in relation to risk

EC to check when next annual inspection is due.

15.3 Update on Compliance

EC reiterated the strong recommendations for all councillors to have a BPC email address.

EC to propose a standard email sign off for all to use.

  16.   Update on any issues relating to the Environment

16.1 Report on any recent Sustainable Blewbury meeting

Sustainable Blewbury reported that the Repair Café on 29th February worked well.

16.2 Receive an update on the OGB & ONPA

No update this month.

16.3 Discuss & agree on any actions relating to pond life in the village (emails 28.2.20 refer)

Council agreed that a range of constituent elements, including climate change and interannual  variability of rainfall were responsible for the changes in population levels of flora and fauna around the village. CL to speak to Sustainable Blewbury to encourage village wide survey at a suitable time in the future.


17.   Update on any issues relating to Footways, Footpaths, rights of way and open spaces

17.1 Update on the fence encroachment on footpath 24

OCC Enforcement said fence must be removed by the end of March.

17.2 Discuss & agree on repairs required to the footpath barrier over the Cleve at the end of Chapel Lane

DH reported that barrier repairs will shortly be underway.

17.3 Update on Coffin Way / Cycle Path (email from LI 5.3.20 refers)

LI had been in correspondence with Paul Harris (OCC Rights of Way team) about approaching the owners of the two fields between Upton and Blewbury for permission to provide a cycle path. LI to    keep Council updated.

LI had received a letter to OCC regarding potential funding from the Science Park. LI to respond.

17.4 Update on any other issues relating to the above



18.   Update on any issues relating to roads, road safety and public transport

18.1 Discuss the conditions of local roads and decide on any course of action

Nothing to report this month.

18.2 Update on the Blewbury Speed Watch group

At a recent meeting with the PCSO & Upton PC representative, it was stated that warning signs for               Speedwatch which incorporate the Thames Valley Police logo may not be available, but this will be pursued. The cost of equipment is now likely to be reduced to c£1000. It was agreed that the most            likely site for Speedwatch equipment was the Pound. A training day will be organised at a suitable point in the future.


19.   Correspondence – To consider items circulated/requiring a reply / consultations


20.   To set the date of the next meeting of the PC

        Clerk’s note:- Due to recent Government announcements, no physical Parish Council meetings will take place for the foreseeable future and are therefore cancelled until further notice.

The meeting finished at 9.20pm.






Due to adverse weather conditions no grass cutting has been done.

Some tree work along Boham’s Road has been done to try to remove the ivy growth and preserve the health of the trees.

Also, maintenance on some of the lawn mowers has been completed ready for a change in the weather.

We have not had any significant tree damage during the storms, just a few dead branches.







A busy month dealing with storms and flooding

Our Emergency Planning, Fire and Rescue and Highways teams have had a busy February dealing with the local impacts of the storms and flooding that have made national headlines.

Storm Ciara and Storm Dennis hit the UK on consecutive weekends in mid-February and with river levels already high as a result of much higher Autumn and Winter rainfall than the average, the Environment Agency issued scores of Flood Alerts and a number of the more serious Flood Warnings.

Highways teams dealt with more than 150 incidents as a result of Storm Ciara and more than 100 stemming from Storm Dennis. The Storm Ciara incidents largely related to high winds (fallen trees blocking roads, debris) whereas Storm Dennis was also about flooding with some roads closing and surface water causing issues.

Oxfordshire offers new ways to repair and reuse small electrical items

Oxfordshire County Council has launched a new trial service to residents with a way to ensure their unwanted small electrical items can be repaired and reused, reducing what the county would otherwise send to waste.

There are already many ways to recycle small electrical items that are beyond repair either at the kerbside or a recycling centre. Funded by Valpak, the council is trialling drop off points for unwanted small electrical items that are still in good condition at a number of participating Oxfordshire libraries.

The trial is to run at Banbury, Bicester, Kidlington, Witney, Carterton, Oxfordshire County Library, Headington, Cowley, Littlemore & Blackbird Leys libraries.

Bicester revealed as start location for prestigious women’s cycle race

Bicester is to host the start of the prestigious Women’s Tour professional cycling race, which will pedal from the town on Monday 8 June, it has been announced.

Oxfordshire pro-cyclist, Katie Scott, joined community cycling groups and local children from Bicester’s Longfields Primary School and The Cooper School (secondary); at the official announcement in the town’s Garth Park. Katie, 18, is a CAMS–Tifosi team rider, from Faringdon; she hopes to be one of around 100 women taking part in the gruelling six-stage tour later this summer.

This is the second year that Oxfordshire has hosted the Women’s Tour. The district councils, Oxford City, and County Council are working in partnership with race organisers Sweet-Spot to deliver the event, in a three-year commitment which began in 2019. Different routes are planned each year to showcase the county’s diversity to a national and international audience.

This year, the county will host the prestigious opening stage, with Bicester having the honour of starting the race.

Seven recycling centres to close for Spring clean in March and April

 This March and April seven of Oxfordshire County Council’s Household Waste Recycling Centres will be closing for two days to carry out a deep clean and essential maintenance at the sites.

The work forms part of the council’s planned approach to maintenance, and is designed to keep sites safe, looking clean and fresh and helping improve the customer experience when using these important environmental facilities.

Only one site will be closed at any one time and all other sites will be open on those days. Residents are asked to plan for these closures, ideally holding on to your waste until the site reopens or if that is not possible visiting one of the neighbouring sites.

Site closure dates:

Alkerton 3rd & 4th March 2020; Redbridge 10th & 11th March 2020;

Ardley 17th & 18th March 2020; Dix Pit 24th & 25th March 2020

Oakley Wood 31st March – 1st April 2020 ;Stanford 21st & 22nd April 2020

Drayton 28th & 29th April 2020

 Becoming a dementia friendly council

Oxfordshire County Council is implementing plans to become a dementia-friendly organisation. The aim is to develop further awareness, understanding and support for vulnerable residents and staff who are impacted by the health condition.

The number of people with dementia in the UK is expected to rise to 1 million by 2021.  About two in every 100 people aged between 65 to 69 have dementia, and this rises to one in five for those aged 85 to 89.  Oxfordshire has an ageing population and the number of residents aged 85 and over is forecast to increase.

This means that more people in Oxfordshire are likely to be affected by dementia, either by having a diagnosis themselves or through someone they know with the condition. More people may develop dementia whilst still in employment; others will be combining work and a busy lifestyle with being a carer for a person with dementia. Therefore, awareness is key to understanding the lifestyle changes, choices and challenges that will occur with an individual’s diagnosis.

Oxfordshire County Council aims to help people who live with dementia to stay independent and live well in their communities for as long as possible.  The council’s plans are part of a wider Alzheimer’s Society initiative that aims to create a network of four million Dementia Friends across the country.

As the first step to becoming more dementia friendly, the Alzheimer’s Society held an event for staff and councillors at County Hall on Tuesday 25 February to complete a ‘dementia friends’ training session to improve awareness and learn about dementia friendly communities in Oxfordshire.

The next step in the plan is to help to develop dementia friendly communities across Oxfordshire to help to reduce isolation and support people to be aware of and understand dementia.  This will enable people living with dementia to live well within their local communities for as long as they are able.



Report from District Councillors Cllr Hayleigh Gascoigne and Cllr Sarah Medley

Our News

COVID-19 Coronavirus Update from the Vale of White Horse

As you may be aware there is increasing number of confirmed cases of Coronavirus both across Europe and UK. This is expected and the NHS and local organisations are well equipped to deal with this. We have been informed that two Oxfordshire residents have tested positive for the Coronavirus. Both had recently travelled to Italy and Public Health England are working with the individuals concerned to identify close contacts and take necessary action. The advice from Public Health England remains the same – the risk to the general public remains low and we’re in constant contact with partner organisations across the county who are doing everything they can to stop the virus spreading and ensure the people of Oxfordshire are protected. Please be assured that we will let you know if the situation changes. Current evidence indicates that most cases appear to be mild, with patients experiencing flu-like symptoms. Older residents or those with weakened immune systems or long-term conditions may experience more severe symptoms.

If you are concerned, you can find out more information on the Public Health website, which is kept up to date daily. You can help protect yourself and those around you by taking the usual precautionary measures that would help slow the spread of almost any germs, including Coronavirus:

  • Always carry tissues to catch your cough or sneeze
  • Bin used tissues as quickly as possible
  • Wash your hands often with warm water and soap

Severe weather advice

The Vale website has a Severe Weather page for anyone looking for advice on where to find assistance or more information on floods, snow and ice, loss of utilities or storm damage: During the winter months, the pages are kept up to date with any latest information, including any disruption to our waste collections.

Climate Emergency Advisory Committee

The Climate Emergency Advisory Committee (CEAC) has not met since our last report, however the next meeting will be held on Monday 30th March 2020 at 6.30pm at 135 Eastern Avenue, Milton Park, OX14 4SB. The agenda and information pack will be available on the following page:

To find out more about what the council is doing to tackle climate change visit the website pages

New: Leader’s Blog

Cllr Emily Smith, Leader of the Vale of White Horse District Council, has started a new Leader’s Blog to give residents more of an idea about all of the things the District Council is involved in. Her first blog post discusses International Women’s Day, the recent Big Botley Green Day, Grove Station and Climate Change. Click here to read the Blog. District Councillor Report Blewbury Parish Council Wednesday 11th March 2020

C’Local News

Cornerstone Artist Exhibition

Cornerstone will be hosting an exhibition from local artist, William Cotterill, from 24 March for three weeks, in the centre’s gallery.Cotterill, who lives and works in Oxford and London, will be showing his traditional style landscape paintings as well as his works on paper and new sculptural pieces. He has also invited composer Laurence Dunn to respond to his sculptural works with a sound installation, which will be playing throughout the exhibition.For more information on this exhibition and future artworks set to be displayed in the gallery, head to the Cornerstone website.

Vale News

Survey on planning consultations

We’ve launched a public consultation to find out what residents, businesses and community groups think about how we can run our planning consultations in the future. Once adopted, our Statement of Community Involvement will form part of our Development Plan and will set out how communities will be able to influence new planning policy documents, such as the Local Plan. It also sets out the ways in which residents can comment on planning applications. The consultation is open for comments until 5pm on Thursday 9 April. You can find more information on our website here.

Tackling violent crime and supporting vulnerable young people

The Community Safety team recently hosted a conference to raise awareness about how partner organisations can work to tackle violence in our districts, particularly those involving people under the age of 25. Thames Valley Police delivered presentations on youth intervention in schools, and on how they are using local policing to tackle exploitation and county drug lines. Local charity SOFEA (South Oxfordshire Food & Education Alliance) spoke about how they help young people by combining educational programmes with work, focusing on boosting self-esteem and emotional intelligence. The team also manage a monthly ‘Joint Tasking Meeting’ to tackle complex cases that need to be considered by more than one agency. This brings together staff from district councils, police, social care, mental health teams, drug and alcohol services, and housing providers. The aim is to provide targeted support for vulnerable people who may be a victim of county drug lines, sexual exploitation, domestic abuse, and anti-social behaviour, whilst dealing with any offending behaviour. This work, and the feedback provided at the conference, will feed into the South and Vale Community Safety Partnership Plan 2020/21, which will be published this June and is likely to have a strong focus on reducing violent crime.