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Draft Minutes from the Blewbury Parish Council meeting held on Wednesday 13th July 2022 at 7pm in the Melland Room in the clubhouse.

In attendance: - Councillors L Inglis (LI) Vice Chairman
M Penington (MP)
L Robinson (LR)
V Humphries (VH)
C Burrow (CB/via Zoom)
Also attending: - E Cooper (EC) Clerk / RFO
G Kirby (GK) PCSO

1.     To receive apologies for absence

County Cllr S Povolotsky, Parish Cllrs D Mathias, M Blythe, M Shayler, Lengthman D Hollick, District Cllrs H Gascoigne & S Medley

2.     To record any declarations of interests relating to this meeting

MP – expenses payment.

3.     To receive the County Councillor’s report from Cllr Sally Povolotsky

Sent in advance of the meeting & at Appendix C.

4.     To receive District Councillor’s report from Cllrs Hayleigh Gascoigne/Sarah Medley

Sent in advance of the meeting & at Appendix D.

5.   To receive the Lengthman’s report from David Hollick (see Appendix B)

6.   To receive a report from the PCSO

PCSO G Kirby attended the meeting & reported no crime of note in the village. He reported that the Rural

Task Force was in operation & that any incidents of a crime in progress should be reported by calling 999.

Clerk’s note:- Council agreed to bring the Speed Watch/Speed Reduction Measures items 16.2 & 3 forward to this point.

7. Speed Watch / Speed Reduction Measures

7.1 The Speed Watch report for June was issued to the Council on 11.07.22.

7.2 The Council Parish Council acknowledged again that there is an issue with speeding and safety through Blewbury, and that action is needed. The Council wished to thank the Speed Watch team for all their efforts in collecting & sharing such useful data.

7.3 The Speed Reduction Measures report was issued to Council on 04.07.22.

CB gave an introduction to the report, which highlighted the different speed reduction measures available & asked for the Council’s support or otherwise for specific measures. Council agreed that at this stage it would broadly support the measures listed below.

Some measures (crossings, chicanes, and changes in speed limits) are dependent on a survey from Oxfordshire County Council Highways, and decisions are made by them, but it was felt important for the Parish Council to state formal support for the measures.

Some measures (roundels, SIDs, white line removal) will only be implemented by Oxfordshire County Council Highways if formal support & funding is provided by the Parish Council.

– Speed roundels – Supported by BPC. OCC to fund.

– Village gates – Supported by BPC, OCC to fund.

– Speed indicator devices – Supported by BPC. BPC to fund devices, OCC to fund pole installation. CB to email Speed Watch team regarding where best to site 6 poles.

– Pedestrian crossing on the London Road – Supported by BPC, OCC has allocated funds for this (cApril 2023)

– Pedestrian crossing Bessels Way – Supported by BPC but funds not yet allocated by OCC.

– Central white line removal – Supported by BPC if it’s a valuable measure. OCC will do this if and when other works are taking place.

– 20mph in the village – BPC support already given & action underway.

– 20mph on the main roads – BPC support but to be assessed and decided by OCC team

– Chicanes or buildouts – BPC support only after assessment of how other measures have worked first.

Review after 12 months.

Council raised concerns about the need for lighting at crossings as Blewbury is a dark village & this is enshrined in the NDP. This will be highlighted to the OCC Highways team for their consideration – they make the decision on location and design of crossings.

The Speed Reduction Measures report can be found online at Blewbury.co.uk/parish/parish council meetings.

7.4 The PCSO added that there was not enough resource to cover all ‘community concern sites’ through all the villages. He confirmed that speed watch information is passed to the police. Repeat offenders are sent two letters. A third offence is followed up with a police visit.

8.   Open Forum

To receive representations from members of the public if present.

No members of the public were present.

9.   To approve previous minutes & report on any matters arising – All Cllrs

Minutes of the BPC meeting held on 8th June 2022

Clerk to make changes to the minutes as follows:- Add LR to the list of attendees. Move 15.1.1 to 14.2, move 15.1.2 & 15.1.3 to 15.2. The Community Artwork Project has its own heading from this meeting.

There was no specific update from Sustainable Blewbury in June.

Council agreed that changes should be made & signed off at the next meeting.

10. To hear the Planning Committee Report & Ratify/Agree Planning Responses – Cllr Lydia Inglis

 

10.1 To agree the Council’s response to the following consultations

10.1.1 P22/V1513/HH Pilgrims Rest, Pilgrims Way, Blewbury

Erection of two-storey rear extension & associated internal reconfigurations. Erection of single-storey ancillary annex. Amendments to dwelling boundary with neighbouring property.

Deadline 27.07.22

Council agreed no objections to this consultation, but with additional narrative as follows:-

‘Blewbury PC has no objection to the extension of Pilgrim’s Rest, but asks that the ancillary accommodation proposed remains clearly attached – and subordinate to – the main house. The PC believes separation of the annexe from the house would be an undesirable sub-division of the plot, resulting in inadequate standards of amenity and privacy. The current application appears to remove parking access from Pilgrim’s Way to King James House on London Road, which was one of the conditions attached to the       original planning permission for this building. The PC believes this access is important to reduce parking on the very busy main road through Blewbury.’

10.2 To note planning permissions received / withdrawn during the month

10.2.1 P22/0975/LB St Michaels, Church Road, Blewbury

LB consent 30.06.22

10.2.2 P22/V0974/FUL Westbrook Farm, Westbrook St, Blewbury

Planning permission 14.06.22

10.2.3 P21/V1975/HH Bohams House, Westbrook St, Blewbury amend 2

Planning permission 22.06.22

10.2.4 P22/V0664/LDE Millbrook Cottage, Blewbury

Planning permission 14.06.22

10.2.5 P22/V0412/FUL Winterbrook Farm, Blewbury

Application withdrawn 30.06.22

10.2.6 P21/V1626/FUL Ridgeway, Bessels Way, Blewbury amend 1

Planning permission 15.06.22

10.2.7 P22/V1140/HH Fieldside, London Rd, Blewbury.

Planning permission 8.7.22.

 

10.3 In addition LI reported the following:-

10.3.1 An extension northwards at the PFS/Garage does not have permission and has been reported to the enforcement team at the Vale.

10.3.2 Close boarded fencing has been erected without permission at the northern boundary of the former Westbrook Farm site, along the boundary with Coffin Way. This has been reported to the Vale’s planning team, who referred it to the enforcement team. The owner has agreed to install post and rail fencing at the end of the development, as agreed on the landscape plan. LI to check.

10.3.3 Methodist Chapel – the discharge of certain conditions has not yet been decided by the Vale.

Conversations between the owner and a tree surgeon about cutting back trees (some of which were not in the care of the owner) were overheard by a councillor. It was agreed to monitor this in case of a planning breach. LI to check.

11.    To hear an update on Finance & Administration from the Clerk

11.1 Financial updates

11.1.1 End of month reconciliation sent in advance of the meeting to the Chairman.

Agreed & signed by the vice-chair at the meeting.

11.1.2 Lloyds Bank account funds as of 30.06.22:-

£95,742.97

This sum includes reserves of:-

  • £11,909.51 village hall remaining refurb funds
  • £15,273.28 CIL funds

Net funds available £68,560.18.

The Clerk also reported that Q1 reports were with LR for scrutiny.

11.2 Administrative updates

11.2.1 2021-22 Audit update

11.2.1.1 Internal Audit feedback

The Clerk updated Council on the IA feedback as follows:-

  • Signing the last page of minutes & initialling others
  • Tighter recording of quarterly scrutiny of accounts
  • Keeping employee pay confidential
  • Asset register to reflect cost basis
  • Correct recording of loan cap&int.

11.2.1.2 External audit update

Submitted to EA 9.6.22. One query to date. No conclusion to date.

11.2.2 To hear an update from Cllr VH & adopt the LGA Model Councillor Code of conduct 2020 – All Cllrs

VH stated there was nothing contentious in the new Code of Conduct & recommended that all support its adoption. Council unanimously agreed. Clerk to issue new Register of Interest forms which include the Code of Conduct.

11.2.3 To hear an update on the Notice of Casual Vacancy issued due to the resignation of Cllr Gibson on Friday 24th June.

Notice issued on Monday 27th June. Expires on Friday 15th July. Clerk to update Councillor Job Advert.

Clerk’s note:- No responses to notice confirmed 19.7.22. Council is free to co-opt.

11.3 To agree authorisers for this month’s payments – All current signatories

LR & DM

11.4 To approve payments to be made under the general power of competence and within budgeted amounts as detailed in the table below – All Councillors

Council agreed to include an expenses payment for MP of £299.96 (Clubhouse outdoor tables), 2nd  quarter grant of £300 to VHMC for the PO. Council was also informed that the delivery of a new bin for the recreation ground car park was imminent & a payment of £373.14 would need to be made when delivery was confirmed. Clerk’s note:- New bin delivered & paid 19.7.22.

 

PAYEE

Description

Amount

E Cooper/D Hollick/

E Holroyd

Clerk, Lengthman & Hall Administrator salaries & expenses for June £1557.26
NEST DD Clerk’s pension June £92.09
HMRC PAYE Clerk, Lengthman, Hall Admin June £370.00
Biffa Waste Services Ltd DD Waste services July £131.34

 

BT DD Clubhouse line rental July £40.66
Scottish Power DD Clubhouse electricity 01.06.22 £300.00
J Newman Clubhouse cleaning June £216.00
Car Crash Solutions Car Bumper Repair (paid to be ratified) £366.90
Playground Facilities Balance TFF Play Space remedial work (paid to be ratified) £9257.89
White Horse Horticulture Cutting Churchyard, Play Close & Pound June £200.00
M Penington Clubhouse outdoor tables £299.96
VHMC PO 2nd quarter grant £300.00
  Total £13,132.21

 

Receipts

Description

Amount

Howard Chadwick Funeral Services Affleck double ashes burial £315.00
HMRC 29.06.22 2021/22 VAT Repay £3980.90
  Total £4,295.90

12.    To receive an update from VHEMC

No update this month.

13. To receive an update on the Community Art project – Cllrs CB & LI

A meeting was held and agreement was reached on the brief. Cll for submissions from local artists will be published in the Bulletin in September. The sculpture must be durable, easily maintained & involve the community in some way (design, construction or after installation). The next update would be in October 2022.

14.    To receive an update on the all things relating to the operation of the Clubhouse & the recreation ground – Cllrs M Penington, Lengthman D Hollick

           14.1 Clubhouse

14.1.1 Outdoor furniture update

20 outdoor chairs borrowed from M Blythe. To be used with new outdoor tables.

14.1.2 Any other updates on any aspect of the Clubhouse

14.1.2.1 MP reported a potential intrusion at the Clubhouse between the previous Saturday  & Sunday. Although it has been difficult to ascertain what may have happened. EC                   to speak to the security contractor to discuss the possibility of changing the locks.

14.1.2.2 Clerk reported that the water heater would be connected within the next two weeks.

Clerk’s note:- DH confirmed that the heater was connected on 14th July.

14.2 Recreation ground

No update this month.

15.    To receive an update on all aspects of TFF & car park – Cllrs L Robinson, M Shayler & Lengthman D Hollick

15.1 Play Space update

The play space was open, but no swings are installed.

15.2 Any other updates – TFF/Car Park etc.

16.    To receive an update on Risk Management & Compliance – from the Clerk & Cllr V Humphries

16.1 Update on TFF incident on 1.5.22

16.2 Speed Watch Update                                             ) Items brought forward &

16.3 Speed Reduction Measures                                   ) discussed above at item

Speed Reduction Measures Report issued 4.7.22 ) 7.

16.4 Village defibrillators update

VH confirmed the proposal for 3 defibs in the village (village hall, Clubhouse, Blueberry), with the Clubhouse one being funded by the Amazons football team. VH submitted a report which proposed   pursuing the Community Heartbeat proposal. Council unanimously agreed.

16.5 Any update or information on risk management & compliance

None.

17.   To receive an update on issues relating to the Environment – from Cllr C Burrow

17.1 Information from Sustainable Blewbury

No update this month.

17.2 Any other environmental issues

None.

18.   To receive an update on any issues relating to Footways, Footpaths, rights of way and open spaces – from Cllrs M Penington, L Inglis, M Blythe

18.1 To receive an update on any future tree work

18.1.1 Tree ref.1098, Copper Beech, Pound

Site visit by CTS scheduled for Monday 18th July. LI stated any work would require planning

permission as the tree was in the conservation area. Clerk to confirm with CTS.

18.1.2 Any other tree updates

None.

18.2 Play Close Footpaths & ecology update

LI & CB met with the PCC. PCC confirmed they own the Play Close & will applying for funding from TOE to help with costs of widening the footpaths and laying a hedge in the north west corner.

18.3 Any other update on Footways, Footpaths, rights of Ways & open spaces in & around the village

None.

19.   To receive an update on any outstanding consultations – All Councillors

19.1 BPC’s response to Vale/SODC Joint Local Plan was completed by LI, agreed by Council and submitted by LI.

20. To agree the date/venue of the next meeting(s) of the Council – All Councillors

20.1 Next Parish Council meetings:-

Planning & Payments only Wednesday 10th August 2022

Councillors to attend: LR, LI, DM. Start time 6pm

20.2 Next full council meeting Wednesday 14th September at 7.00pm in the Melland Room.

 

The meeting finished at 8.30pm.

 

Appendix A

 

No. Actions from July meeting When By
1. CB to speak to Speed Watch people re where to site c6 poles for SIDs September
2. LR to complete scrutiny or Q1 accounts. ASAP
3. Clerk to update Councillor vacancy advert Actioned
4. Clerk to issue new Register of Interest forms which include the Code of Conduct. Actioned
5. Clerk to speak to the security contractor to see what can be done re Clubhouse. Actioned
6. VH to pursue the Community Heartbeat defib proposal September
7. Clerk to confirm with CTS re planning for work to tree on Pound Actioned
8. LR, LI, DM to attend Planning & Payments meeting Wed 10.8.22. Start time 6pm 10.08.22
No. Actions from June meeting When By
2. Clerk to create Sustainable Procurement Policy from information provided by Cllr Burrow on 11.5.22 C’fwd
3. Cllr Inglis to lead on Red Lion Asset of Community Value application, together with Andrew Jarvis C’fwd

 

No. Actions from May meeting When By
9. Mark Shayler to build lockable cover over TFF standpipe. C’fwd
No. Actions from April meeting When By
13. Mark Blythe to speak Mr Kauntz re potential for hedge planting alongside concrete path C’fwd

 

Appendix B – Lengthman’s Report – June 2022

Nothing out of the ordinary to report this month. All footpaths and play areas have been cut. The fencing from TFF play area has been taken down but not removed by contractors yet.

The cemetery has been cut and is looking good again.

There are no problems with equipment or buildings, i.e. tractor shed and scout hut.

It has been a very dry month so not too much grass growth.

The Hedges seem to be romping away and will need serious treatment when we are able to get them cut in the autumn. Could an early cut be an option? Perhaps the hedge laying group could advise us or get involved.

David Hollick, Lengthman. 

 

Appendix C – Count Cllr Sally Povolotsky – 11 July 2022

Climate Action Oxfordshire website to launch

Thank you to everyone who completed the Oxfordshire climate change survey a few months ago. Working from what we discovered, we’re excited to launch a new website offering practical advice for people in the county who want to reduce their carbon footprint.

Climate Action Oxfordshire lists measures people can take and rates them according to effort, impact, and cost. It also gives people an idea of what financial savings they can make and includes tips and links on how to get started – from large projects such as home insulation to simple things like turning off lights when not in use.

The website is part of a collaboration between all of Oxfordshire’s councils, as well as Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (OxLEP), to help Oxfordshire fulfil its commitment to reach net zero carbon emissions before 2050.

The site launches officially this coming TODAY (11 July). Please let your friends, colleagues and other networks know about it by sharing our announcement on our social media channels, which will go out at 11am on TODAY.

We have also created a Climate Action Oxfordshire communications toolkit for you with messages and graphics all ready to be posted on social media.

Additionally, if you know of content which could make the site even better, please email antonio.ferrara@oxfordshire.gov.uk with your thoughts.

Our plant-based food initiative showcased as best practice

The Climate Change Committee has highlighted our decision to serve plant-based food at councillor catered events (page 309) as an example of local authorities developing their own policy in the absence of central government guidance relating to dietary shifts to low-carbon alternatives. The committee is an independent statutory body made up of internationally recognised climate scientists and sector specialists who advise the government on tackling climate change. It’s a huge achievement to be recognised by the committee and in such a high-profile report.

Recognition from Michael Gove for our partnerships

Last week, Michael Gove singled us out as an example of local government ‘service at its best’ during a speech at the Local Government Association’s annual conference. It was in recognition of our work during the pandemic to pool resource between us and the district councils to establish a comprehensive system, which ensured a coherent and holistic approach to COVID-19 compliance and enforcement. You can read the speech in full online.

Face mask guidance updated at Oxford University Hospitals (OUH)

From 6 July 2022, the guidance around wearing face masks at OUH has changed. Patients must wear masks in the following areas and under certain conditions:

  • if you have symptoms of COVID-19, or have tested positive for COVID-19
  • if you have symptoms of a respiratory illness
  • in clinical areas, such as on wards.

You do not have to wear masks in other areas, but you are encouraged you to do so, and you will be supported if that is your choice. Visitors must wear masks in all clinical areas.

Further information can be found on the OUH website.

Consultations

We are currently running one major consultation for residents on east Oxford low traffic

neighbourhoods (until 30 November). Please encourage your constituents to have their

say by sharing the link. For details of all other live consultations, visit Let’s Talk Oxfordshire.

A round up of useful links to help you:

Signposting

A reminder, you can direct general Ukraine queries to:

 

Local Roundup

Fairly slow week, I am chasing / working on the following;

  1. Dates on when Harwell new scheme goes to consultation, and final designs
  2. Chilton Road / Upton / Cycle Network – updating chair.
  3. Additional speed / traffic surveys on Hanney Road (Rowstock is in now!)
  4. Managed to help out East Hanney, so their 20mph scheme now the same time as West (anticipated end of 2022 completed)
  5. HEG Community larder moving from 18th July to Snells Hall, East Hendred due to size / demand (thanks to all who have helped make this happen)
  6. Rowstock Relief, next steps / new timeline
  7. Steventon bridge update given at Parish Council, full report by end summer for Steventon, but no changes any time soon!

 

Appendix D

Monday 11th July 2022 – Monthly Parish Update

Vale of White Horse District Councillors

Cllr Hayleigh Gascoigne and Cllr Sarah Medley

Hello! This month we were delighted to attend the official opening of the District Community Centre on Great Western Park. It was great to see all the local groups offering activities and classes at the centre, and to meet some of the fantastic young people at Didcot TRAIN.

The event included a ceremony awarding three former district councillors the honorary title of Aldermen, in recognition of the service they provided to the council and the district. Congratulations to Jerry Patterson, Jim Halliday and Reg Waite for receiving this honour.

It was great to see the progress being made on the new Extra Care facility next door to the community centre. It is just over a year since construction started for these 80 new affordable extra care homes, funded with support from the District Council.

The Extra Care building is directly opposite the allocated site for the long-awaited GWP Health Centre. Representatives from NHS Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (OCCG) and Woodlands Medical Centre attended the Great Western Park Residents’ Association public meeting on Monday 13th June to provide an update. We have summarised the key points in our report, and the good news is that progress is being made at last! Hayleigh is asking for a further update on the GP surgery from the cabinet member for development and infrastructure at the next Vale Full Council meeting on Wednesday 13th July.

We use these monthly updates to keep you updated on our activities, general council news and any COVID-19 developments. We also post regularly on our councillor Facebook Page: Cllrs Hayleigh Gascoigne & Sarah Medley Please do not hesitate to get in touch with any issues or concerns, either via Facebook message or email: hayleigh.gascoigne@whitehorsedc.gov.uk and sarah.medley@whitehorsedc.gov.uk.  

Community Support

The Council Community Support Hub

The Community Support Hub, originally set up by the council in 2020 in response to the pandemic, is still available for anyone in need of help: if you have COVID-19, or if you are struggling financially due to the cost of living crisis, or if you are just finding life difficult due to the pandemic. Whether it’s practical support or just advice, get in touch. Call: 01235 422 600 (Mon to Thurs 8.30-5pm and Fridays 8.30-4.30pm) or visit www.whitehorsedc.gov.uk/communityhub.

Council tax rebate
As of the end of June, more than 90 per cent of households (around 35,000 in Vale) who are eligible for the Council tax energy rebate have now either received their £150 payment or have already applied.
Everyone else who is eligible, if they pass the verification checks, will receive their payment by 4 July.

Financial Support Helplines

With rising energy prices and the cost of living increasing, it is a difficult time for many residents. Anyone who is struggling financially can contact Citizens Advice on 0808 278 7907, Vale Community Impact on 01235 765348 or the council’s own community support hub – details below.

Ukraine

Here’s the latest system-wide response to the government’s Homes for Ukraine scheme.

Unaccompanied children

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) has written to local authorities confirming that the Homes for Ukraine scheme will begin processing existing applications from unaccompanied children.

Scheme outline for unaccompanied children

The scheme will allow eligible children and minors under the age of 18, who have already applied for a visa and who are not travelling with or joining a parent or legal guardian, to come to the UK in carefully defined circumstances.

Sponsors will be asked to commit to hosting the child for up to three years, or until they are aged 18 (and the sponsorship placement has lasted for a minimum of six months) – whichever is soonest. This is in recognition of the need to provide greater security to these children.

There will be a crucial role for local authorities to ensure that robust safeguarding processes are put in place and to undertake extensive checks prior to any visa being granted. DBS checks must be completed on the sponsor and adults in the sponsor household, before any visa is issued by the Home Office.

Funding and support payments

Families hosting a child under the Homes for Ukraine scheme will be offered £350 a month as a thank you payment, for as long as the guest remains in their accommodation for up to three years. Oxfordshire County Council will continue to administer these payments as it does under current arrangements for the scheme and the government has confirmed it will allocate additional funding to councils for this. As outlined above, this payment can only be made when all checks have been completed. The DBS checks are currently taking time to be processed by government, which can slow things down a little.

Better Leisure support for refugees

Our leisure provider, GLL, is offering refugees a free three month Better Health Centre membership, or a subscription to a course or lesson. More on their website.

For more information

General Ukraine queries:

For housing and community support in South and Vale:

Email: communitysupport@southandvale.gov.uk

Local News

Didcot & Villages Healthcare Update

Representatives from NHS Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (OCCG) and Woodlands Medical Centre attended the Great Western Park Residents’ Association public meeting on Monday 13th June to provide an update on the long-awaited GP surgery planned for the site next to the pharmacy. The good news is that progress is being made at last! We have summarised the key points below.

Woodlands Medical Centre will be operating the new building as a new branch surgery. The new surgery will serve the Didcot Primary Care Network – this covers Didcot and the surrounding villages, and includes Blewbury, Harwell, Chilton and Upton. Woodlands have identified an appropriate medical developer for the new building and they have submitted for pre-application planning advice. Dr Alex Hart from Woodlands showed us all some designs of the building – great to see what it will look like!

Next steps are to apply for planning permission, the value for money to be determined by the government-appointed District Valuer, and then the affordability to be determined by the new Integrated Care Board (Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Berkshire – BOB).

Clearly this is a long process, and the OCCG could not specify exact timescales, but they emphasised that both they and the Vale of White Horse District Council are committed to delivering the healthcare centre as soon as possible. Dr Alex Hart stated 2025 as a viable target, especially as the construction of the 3300th home on GWP triggers a two-year deadline for the developer funding.

OCCG recognise the existing pressure on Woodlands and the other GPs in Didcot, and highlighted that the Oak Tree Health Centre on Ladygrove has now converted some of its facility into additional consultation spaces – see the news story from South Oxfordshire District Council.

In the meantime, the OCCG are working with Woodlands and the Vale to determine how to accommodate the current demand. They are exploring the use of an area of the new District Centre on GWP, determining the cost and viability of this being adapted to a suitable clinical grade. The OCCG confirmed that any temporary solution will not impact the plans for the permanent new healthcare centre.

The new GWP centre is expected to meet the projected local demand in the Didcot Primary Care Network by 2027. This will inevitably include some initial residents from Valley Park, although please note that there is an entirely separate healthcare funding agreement with the developers for Valley Park. As a reminder – the Valley Park legal agreement states that the developers are to provide either £3.2 million towards local healthcare provision in the area surrounding Valley Park, or a dedicated 0.25 hectares of land for a new GP health centre on Valley Park with £2.8 million towards its construction. The new Integrated Care Board needs to decide which of these options to pursue, but in any case the legal agreement specifies that all funding is to be ringfenced for healthcare provision in the local area around Didcot only.

Residents can take immediate practical steps to assist the existing Didcot GP surgeries. Firstly, reduce pressure on GPs by choosing the right NHS service. Secondly, join the Patient Participation Group (PPG) at your GP – this is an invaluable way to provide input into the new health centre and to shape the future of healthcare in the Didcot area.

As your district councillors, we know how frustrated everyone has been with the delay in this much-needed facility. We have been pushing on this issue for the past few years, working with the GWPRA and PPGs to put pressure on the OCCG, and inviting them to provide public updates. We are very encouraged to see that there is now an open dialogue between the OCCG and the council and that they are working very closely together on delivering the new healthcare centre on Great Western Park.

Thank you to the GWPRA for your hard work on keeping the community informed via the public meetings. The full recording of the meeting can be accessed via this link. Please keep an eye on the GWPRA website and Facebook Page for information about future meetings with further healthcare updates. We will of course also publish any further healthcare updates we become aware of via our Facebook Page and parish council reports.

Valley Park Update

There are currently several live planning applications for Valley Park, following on from outline planning permission being granted last year. However, permission for these additional applications cannot be granted until the Strategic Design Code for the site is approved. The application containing the Strategic Design Code was rejected by planning officers on 4th July 2022 – see the list of reasons on the Vale planning portal.

Below is the list of current planning applications for Valley Park. Some of these are ‘discharge’ applications, as they contain detailed information on how the planned development will discharge (satisfy) one or more conditions from the outline planning permission. There are also ‘reserved matters’ planning applications, which give additional detail not provided in the outline planning permission – for example the appearance and layout of the specific parcels of housing. The initial consultation for these reserved matters applications has closed, however they will all be re-opened for consultation once a Strategic Design Code is agreed.

As the development of Valley Park progresses over the coming years, there will be an increasing number of planning applications relating to the development. We always endeavour to keep you updated with the key news relating to Valley Park, including highlighting opportunities to comment on the applications. In the meantime, valleypark.uk is an excellent informal resource, listing all of the information and planning applications relating to the development. Thank you to David Marsh from Harwell village for putting together such a useful website!

Reserved Matters Applications

  • P22/V0539/RM – Taylor Wimpey’s first housing phase – 246 dwellings
  • P22/V0907/RM – Persimmons first housing phase – 161 dwellings
  • P22/V0604/RM – infrastructure details for the first phases of development

‘Discharge’ of conditions:

  • P22/V0643/DIS –– surface water and foul drainage details for Taylor Wimpey’s (TW) first phase
  • P22/V0796/DIS – Framework plan for TW’s first phase
  • P22/V0868/DIS – Strategic Design Code, phasing plan, housing delivery document and noise
  • P22/V1208/DIS – framework plan, construction environmental management plan, landscaping, tree protection, foul and surface water drainage and ecological construction plan for Persimmon’s first housing phase
  • P22/V1482/DIS – community employment plan

Getting families active

The councils have just just launched YouMove – a new initiative providing low-cost or free activities for children and families who receive benefits-related free school meals in Oxfordshire.

Activities available so far include cricket, swimming and badminton. More on our websites at southoxon.gov.uk/youmove and whitehorsedc.gov.uk/youmove

The Big Screen at The Beacon

Cinema returns to The Beacon this summer with a variety of popular award-winning movies for all ages.
In July don’t miss ‘The Duke’ starring Jim Broadbent and Helen Mirren.

For children, Monkey Mayhem, our pre-school stay-and-play session, is on every Monday 9.30–11.30am (excluding bank holidays) with bouncy castles, a ball pit and lots of toys for under 5’s to enjoy.
To find out more visit beaconwantage.co.uk.

Climate & Environment News

Litter pickers urged to join the councils’ litter mapping project

Vale of White Horse and South Oxfordshire district councils have launched a joint litter mapping project aimed at identifying where and what type of items are littered, this information will then be used to target those areas.

Climate Emergency Advisory Committee

The most recent meeting was held on 11th July, the agenda and minutes are on the Vale website, and the recording of the meeting is on our YouTube channel. If you have any questions regarding something on the agenda, or another climate related topic, please reach out to Hayleigh, who is the chair of the committee. Remember, that any member of the public is also permitted to speak at public council meetings (virtually or in person, where applicable) and just needs to register by emailing Democratic Services at democratic.services@southandvale.gov.uk

Council News

Government pledges £100,000 of support for two local garden villages

The government has allocated £100,000 for two garden communities based in South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse districts. Berinsfield Garden Village will be receiving £50,000 towards the costs of work to help develop the village. The other £50,000 will go to Dalton Barracks Garden Village to help put together a masterplan for a new community to be built that includes a variety of new homes, shops and business buildings, community facilities and green spaces that will help to enhance local wildlife.

Alderman honour awarded to three ex-councillors

Three former Vale of White Horse councillors who served the district for a combined total of 52 years have been honoured as Aldermen. Jim Halliday, Jerry Patterson and Reg Waite were awarded the title at a recent special Council meeting in recognition of the service they provided to the council and the district.

More help for people to pay food and energy bills

More help is on the way for people who are struggling to pay their food, energy and other related bills. Vale of White Horse and South Oxfordshire district councils have opened a voucher scheme to support households who can’t afford to pay for life’s essentials.

Revised focus for Didcot Garden Town 

Revised plans to help improve the lives of residents living in and around Didcot Garden Town have been approved at two Cabinet meetings. South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse District Councils have approved a renewed, ambitious delivery plan for Didcot Garden Town. It will focus on providing community benefits, a special retail recovery strategy, encourage healthy lifestyles and help to tackle climate change.

The Didcot Garden Town Advisory Board worked together to simplify priorities, which will bring significant community and environmental benefits to the area. While reprioritising the delivery plan, the advisory board also took into consideration feedback received from their Residents, Business and Parishes Sounding boards.

Work can now progress on looking at what improvements can be made to existing community open spaces and public walkways to create more attractive areas using plants and public art. A cycling network plan will be delivered to build more connections between various existing routes and to look at where new paths can be built. This will help reduce congestion and make residents feel safer while travelling between home, the town centre, business parks and surrounding villages.

New Design Guide website adopted to help create high-quality, sustainable development

An online guide that helps create high-quality and sustainable development in South Oxfordshire and the Vale of White Horse has been improved and extended following feedback from users. The Joint Design Guide is an up-to-date, innovative, concise, engaging and interactive document that acts as a tool for anyone undertaking a development to ensure it fits with the character of the local area.