Minutes of the Blewbury Parish Council meeting held virtually on Wednesday 12th January at 7.30pm.
1. To receive apologies for absence
Cllr J Gibson in advance of the meeting.
The Chairman announced that Cllr M Jacobs had submitted her resignation with immediate effect. On behalf of the Council, the Chairman wished to thank Cllr Jacobs for her time on the Council and her overall contribution. In particular he wished to thank her for her excellent knowledge of biodiversity, her advice on the use of toxic materials and for pushing the Council forward in these areas.
2. To record any declarations of interests relating to this meeting
3. To receive the County Councillor’s report (see Appendix C below)
SP to confirm latest Steventon Reservoir situation.
SP also raised an SEN consultation. LI to share SEN link with Council. LI also to speak to Blewbury School head teacher re communications links with the Parish Council.
4. To receive District Councillor’s report (see Appendix D below)
HG highlighted changes to planning enforcement rules which should focus attention & reduce backlog of cases. LI raised concerns for Blewbury area appraisal adoption by the Vale, due to known delays elsewhere. HG will review this process.
HG also stated a Climate Grant Fund would be open from the end of February for applications & would forward further information when it is available. Total fund c£50k.
5. To receive the Lengthman’s report (see Appendix B below)
DH reported that the recreation ground car park light were fixed. 2 A-frame wooden structures had been removed from TFF, with the wood being used for repairs on other play equipment. All wood repairs were now complete. DH also reported materials had been purchased to rehang the gate at the entrance to TFF. MS to assist in the gate work.
DH confirmed that E Hall was happy to assist in hedge cutting.
6. To receive a report from the PCSO
The PCSO reported via email:-
‘We continue to get reports of off-road vehicles being used in an anti-social manner causing criminal damage in the Lowbury Hill Ridgeway area. 4 persons were arrested in December after vehicles were used on private land causing criminal damage. The investigation is ongoing. We continue to patrol the area and encourage people to report anything like this to us.’
7. Open Forum
To receive representations from members of the public if present.
8. To approve previous minutes & report on any matters arising
Minutes of the BPC meetings held on 8th December 2021 (full council) & 14th December 2021 (Finance meeting).
Council unanimously agreed that the minutes were a true record of the meetings.
9. To hear the Planning Committee Report & Ratify/Agree Planning Responses
9.1 To agree the council’s response to the following consultations
9.1.1 P21/V3457/FUL 2 Treble House Terrace, Ickleton House, London Road, Blewbury
Erection of one foaling box, one stable & one tack room adjacent to the current building.
Council agreed no objections to this consultation.
9.1.2 Council agreed to include a more recent planning consultation:-
P21/V3563/HH Spur Tree, Bessels Way, Blewbury
Removal of roof to existing bungalow side extension & raising of ridge level.
Council agreed no objections (with comments) to this consultation.
9.2 To ratify any planning responses made during the month: –
P21/V3417/HH Westbrook Farm, Westbrook Street, Blewbury
Variation of conditions.
Council agreed no objections 23.12.21
9.3 To note planning permissions received during the month
9.3.1 P21/V2965/HH & P21/V2966/LB The Cottage, South Street, Blewbury
Planning permission 17.12.21
9.3.2 P21/V2964/HH 21 Chailey Gardens, Blewbury
Planning permission 06.12.21
9.4 To note any planning permission refused during the month
P21/V1068/LDE Cert of lawful development for static caravans at Blewbury Centre, Bessels Way, Blewbury.
Certificate of lawful use or development refused 17.12.21
10. To hear an update on Finance & Administration
10.1 To receive any updates on planned expenditure from contributions held on CIL / SBRR.
CIL annual spend report returned to VoWHDC by 31.12.21. Total funds held £15,273.28.
SBRR reserve (Clubhouse) £3501.
10.2 To hear all other financial & administrative updates
10.2.1 End of month reconciliation sent in advance of the meeting to the Chairman. Agreed & to be signed at a later date.
10.2.2 Lloyds Bank account funds as of 31.12.21 were £145,601.09 (inc. £42,552.80 village hall refurb funds). Net funds available £103,048.29.
10.2.3 Clubhouse finances update
As at 31.12.21: Receipts £6072.50 (inc. booking fees Oct-Dec £3425), Payments (all areas) £10,502.05. Reserves £3501.
10.3 To hear & ratify financial recommendations from the Finance Committee meeting held on 14th December.
10.3.1 Recommended precept application for 2022/3 of £75,000, based on budgeted amounts for 2022/3 as recommended by the Finance committee & issued to Council for information in advance of this meeting.
Council unanimously agreed to the proposed precept.
10.3.2 To ratify recommendation to continue to support the following:-
i. Council agreed to maintain Village Post Office grant in the sum of £1200 pa
ii. Council agreed to increased donation of £500 to CAB in April 2022
iii. Council confirmed an increase of £2ph for the Lengthman wef 01.04.22
iv Council confirmed Clerk’s salary at NALC SP26 wef 01.04.22.
v. Further information is being sought by the Clerk regarding the DVTG donation of £400.
10.4 To agree authorisers for this month’s payments
Cllrs Gibson & Inglis.
10.5 To agree a new signatory to the Lloyds Bank account
Cllrs Robinson & Blythe agreed to be new signatories.
10.6 To approve payments to be made under the general power of competence and within budgeted amounts as per table below. Council also agreed to the following payments that arose post issue of the agenda:-
- Walters Electrical £812
- Chris Lewis-Alarms £234
- AJ Tables/Trolley £826.80
- U Grealy-Cleaning £90
- Clerk confirmed P Tanner invoice at £70.
Description / Power to spend
|E Cooper /
D Hollick / E Holroyd
|Clerk, Lengthman & Hall Administrator salaries & expenses for December
|Clerk’s pension December
|PAYE Clerk, Lengthman, Hall Admin December
|Biffa Waste Services Ltd DD
|Waste services December
|Clubhouse line rental December
|Scottish Power DD (01.01.22)
|Councillor Fundamentals Course – LR
|PW505556 VH repayment
|Timber, screws etc
|Post Office quarterly grant
|Remedial carpentry work on TFF play area
|Burial & memorial
|Clubhouse bookings Oct-Dec 2021
11. To receive an update from VHEMC & on the Village Hall Refurbishment
11.1 VHEMC update (DM)
No update this month as no response to request of change to articles.
11.2 Village Hall refurbishment update (JG)
No update this month.
12. To receive an update on the all things relating to the operation of the Clubhouse & the recreation ground
– New tables. These are on order, awaiting delivery date.
– Cleaning. A a new cleaner was appointed from 05.01.22
– New heaters
– Melland room heaters. Clerk reported these were difficult to source, but would continue to find a supplier.
– Water Heaters. MP stated that a plumber was required. DH to source potential plumbers.
12.2 Recreation ground (MP/DH)
No update this month.
12.3 Any other updates
Clubhouse electricity bill. MP reported a reduction in costs due to the different electrical heating & a subsequent reduction in the direct debit amount to £266pm wef 01.02.22.
13. To receive an update on all aspects of TFF & car park
13.1 Play areas upgrades update (LR/DH)
13.1.1 Matting replacement
LR produced a synopsis of quotes to date. To finalise requirements & ask contractors to confirm their quotes. Council confirmed requirement for replacement rubber matting, with additional substantial subbase as required. LR also to ask contractors if they carry out regular maintenance.
13.1.2 Wood repairs
All work on wooden structures at the TFF play area were complete.
13.2 Any other updates
14. To receive an update on Risk Management & Compliance
14.1 Any update or information on risk management & compliance (VH)
Following an examination of the Risk Management document, VH recommended no changes & Council agreed to ratify for a further year.
14.2 Cemetery paths update (EC)
The Clerk had finalised a specification for 2 major paths in the cemetery & would invite existing contractors to review their quotes accordingly.
15. To receive an update on issues relating to the Environment
15.1 Information from Sustainable Blewbury
No update this month. See latest newsletter on the Blewbury web site:- Environment/Sustainable Blewbury/Latest Newsletter.
15.2 Any other environmental issues
16. To receive an update on any issues relating to Footways, Footpaths, rights of way and open spaces
16.1 To confirm the pending tree work at the Cleeve (DH/MP)
16.1.1 Mixed trees on bank of Cleeve
MP Confirmed that ash is to be cut back on the north & south banks, plus a sycamore at the end. One ash is to be removed. J Ogden is looking at grants towards this work.
16.1.2 MP to speak to C Burrows re potential CPF of £500 towards increasing biodiversity & life in Cleve. Also to discuss TOE grant application.
16.1.3 TFF car park trees pruning & Cemetery Trees
The Clerk reported that Complete Tree Services had been engaged, as per their quote, to carry out remedial work to the trees in the TFF car park & the cemetery. Awaiting confirmation of a start date.
16.2 MB to write to landowner where a bridleway/byway has been ploughed out.
MB also to establish landowner of Lid’s Bottom & discuss open access.
17. To receive an update on any outstanding consultations
18. To set the date/venue of the next meeting of the Council
Next full council meeting Wednesday 9th February at 7.30pm in the Melland Room.
|Actions from January meeting
|LI to speak to Blewbury school head teacher re attending BPC meetings. LI also to share SEN link with Council.
|EC to follow up new bus service proposal with J Lakeland & M St John Nicholle
|DH to obtain details of plumbers for Clubhouse water heaters.
|MB to feedback to LI re vehicles on Woodway.
|HG to look at process for Vale conservation area appraisal to ensure no delays for BPC submission.
|EC to continue to source suppliers of heaters for Melland Room.
|LR to follow up on Council’s agreement to use rubber matting replacements in TFF play area, together with substantial sub base in identified areas, & finalise quotes. Also to include regular maintenance if possible. All woodwork to be removed from quotes.
|MP to spk C Burrows re CPF application for £500 towards increasing the biodiversity & life in the Cleve
1. Write to landowners of ploughed out bridle/byway.
2. To establish landowner of Lid’s Bottom & discuss open access.
|Actions from December meeting
|Clerk to spk C Whatmore re publishing of CC/DC reports under Parish Council tab on web site.
|VH to see how links to CC/DC reports can be on Facebook
|DH to spk electrical contractor re external lights in recreation ground car park & obtain quote.
|Clerk to order standalone heater for Melland room.
|MP to investigate standalone water heaters for Clubhouse toilets – plumber required.
|MP to spk B Gibson re heaters in the village hall.
|JG to obtain spec for heaters for DH to spk Walters electrical
|JG to contact BlewShed re design of new bench(es).
|MS to provide specification for major footpaths in cemetery. Clerk wrote spec & agreed with MS.
|Clerk to obtain final quotes based on specification for footpaths.
|Council unanimously agreed to proceed with quote for tree work. Clerk to contact contractor.
Appendix B – Lengthman’s Report – DECEMBER 2021
Virtually nothing to report out of the ordinary.
We have had a couple more quotes in for the remedial work at the TFF play area for matting repair/ replacement.
I have also met with a carpenter (Phillip), a contact through Dermot. He has agreed to do the work needed on the wooden structures with my help. The timber has been bought and hopefully the job will be done soon, weather permitting!
All other areas are OK.
Appendix C – County Councillor Report
|Update for Parishes: 9th January
|This week there is several COVID-19 updates as we continue to respond to increasing case numbers, locally and nationally. This includes information about the availability of testing and an update on vaccinations, including the resumption of walk-in vaccinations at the Kassam Stadium.
In other news, we bring you an update on two consultations: the special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) consultation, launching on Monday; and the draft Local Transport and Connectivity Plan (LTCP), which opened earlier in the week. I am also excited to share details of an electric vehicle charging point pilot scheme being trialled in Oxford and Cherwell and news from our trading standards officers who made their biggest haul of illicit cigarettes just before Christmas – well done to all involved! Lastly, there’s an overview of works taking place at Steventon Bridge.
|COVID-19: public health data
In the seven days up to 31 December, there has been a total of 10,258 confirmed new COVID-19 cases in Oxfordshire. This is an increase from 8,475 new cases in the previous week and is equivalent to a weekly rate of 1,472.0 per 100,000 residents. Cases in the over 60s have increased from 702 to 1,285, which is equivalent to a weekly rate of 762.0 per 100,000 residents. You can view the latest figures on our COVID-19 dashboard.
Cases of COVID-19 by district
Data correct as at 4pm on 4 January.
|COVID-19: government guidance and communications
|Continuation of Plan B
Earlier this week the government confirmed the current ‘Plan B’ measures will be retained until at least 26 January. These include working from home if you can, wearing a face covering in most indoor settings, and using an NHS COVID-19 pass or proof of a negative lateral flow test to gain entry to nightclubs and large capacity venues.
Changes to testing rules
From 11 January, people in England who test positive from a lateral flow test and do not have symptoms will no longer be required to take a follow-up PCR test. They should self-isolate immediately and report their result on gov.uk. Following this, NHS Test & Trace will contact them to identify their close contacts. Anyone who tests positive will be able to leave self-isolation seven days after the date of their initial positive test if they receive two negative lateral flow test results, 24 hours apart, on days six and seven.
Face coverings in schools
From 4 January, the government has recommended that in those schools where pupils in year 7 and above are educated, face coverings should be worn in classrooms, corridors and communal areas. This does not apply in situations where wearing a face covering would impact on the ability to take part in exercise or strenuous activity, for example in PE lessons. These pupils and students must also wear a face covering when travelling on public transport and on dedicated transport to and from school.
In primary schools, the government recommends face coverings should be worn by staff, adults, and those aged over 11 (including visitors) when moving around in corridors and communal areas. Health advice continues to be that children in primary schools should not be asked to wear face coverings.
Latest international travel advice
The prime minister has announced that, as of Friday 7 January, people will no longer be required to take a pre-departure COVID-19 test to enter England from overseas. The rule to self-isolate on arrival in England until receiving a negative PCR test result will be replaced with a requirement to take a lateral flow test on day two (those who test positive will need to self-isolate and take a further PCR test to identify any new variants). Please check gov.uk for the latest information about travelling overseas from the UK and entering the UK from overseas.
We are continuing to run regular messaging highlighting the new rules to reduce the spread of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 and supporting our NHS partners in sharing messages about vaccinations and boosters.
|COVID-19: testing availability
|NHS Test & Trace PCR test update
The emergence of the Omicron variant has created unprecedented demand for testing and resulted in staff shortages in laboratories. This is causing delays in the processing of some PCR tests.
NHS Test & Trace is working hard to process the current backlog of tests and to reduce the turnaround time. There is recognition of the impact this is having or could have in care settings. NHS Test & Trace continues to advise that anyone who is symptomatic should continue to self-isolate while waiting for a PCR result. It also advises that staff who work in care settings who are a contact of a positive case should continue to wait for a negative PCR test result before returning to work (ie a non-virtual environment where they may come into physical contact with people).
Availability of lateral flow tests
The national supply of lateral flow tests continues to be under considerable pressure. Delivery slots on gov.uk do regularly open up and pharmacies are being restocked. Please keep trying to obtain tests as required either online or from a local pharmacy.
We retain a reserve stock to support frontline services, and our partner organisations, who work with vulnerable residents. In the event that their normal supply has been interrupted, members of staff can speak to their head of service to access these reserves. Please note we are unable to supply members of the public with tests at this time.
|COVID-19: vaccination update
|Latest government advice
The prime minister reiterated the importance of people getting fully vaccinated again this week. 90 per cent of those currently in intensive care with COVID-19 have not had their booster jab, and it remains the best way to protect yourself and those around you.
Walk-in vaccinations at Kassam Stadium
The mass vaccination centre at the Kassam Stadium in Oxford is resuming walk-in vaccinations from Monday 10 January. This means that anyone eligible – including 12-15 year olds – can get a jab without the need for an appointment. It is anticipated that this offer will be available between 9am and 7pm most days, except when Oxford United is playing at home at the weekend.
Residents are advised to check opening times on the NHS Grab A Jab website before travelling to the stadium. The website lists vaccination sites that offer walk-ins and opening times. People can also continue to book appointments at the Kassam by visiting the NHS website.
Vaccinations for 12 – 15 year olds
The NHS is now offering a second dose to young people aged 12 – 15 years 12 weeks after their first dose. Young people or their responsible adult can book using the NHS website or, if they are unable to use the online service, by calling 119. There are also walk-in options, which you can find on the NHS online vaccine walk-in finder. Please visit the NHS website for further information about vaccinations.
Everyone over the age of 18 is entitled to a COVID-19 booster vaccine and you are strongly encouraged to take up your booster if you have not already done so. You can book on the NHS website or search for local walk-in options.
As always, your help in promoting these vaccination messages to residents is much appreciated.
|News in brief
|Special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) consultation
Earlier this week all councillors were sent a briefing about two interlinked consultations on plans to develop a more inclusive approach to supporting children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) in Oxfordshire. Our proposals include making more high-quality SEND education available closer to home, reducing reliance on out-of-county provision, and improving educational outcomes for children through closer partnerships between the council and schools. The consultations will launch on Let’s Talk Oxfordshire on Monday 10 January and will be live until 10 March. This is really important given the issues many of our residents face locally and no provision for SEN dedicated school until Valley Park!
Have your say on the future of transport in Oxfordshire
We are asking people who live, work in, or visit Oxfordshire to have their say on a plan to deliver a zero-carbon transport network by 2040. The draft Local Transport and Connectivity Plan (LTCP) was approved last October, which – among its many ambitions – aims to cut car journeys by a quarter by 2030 and reduce them by a third by 2040. We also have plans to increase the number of cycling trips from 600,000 to one million by 2031. Let your constituents know they can have their say on the plan until 16 March by visiting Let’s Talk Oxfordshire. You can also read more in our news article.
Pilot of new electric vehicle charging points
For people without a driveway to charge their electric vehicle (EV) safely on the street, a new charging solution is being tested by OxGul-e to use residents’ home power supply. The project is being led by us and ODS (a local authority trading company owned by Oxford City Council), with funding provided by the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles (OZEV) and Innovate UK. The Gul-e is a specially designed cable gully, allowing a driver to run a cable from a home charge point unit to their vehicle. The cables are safely underground when in use, which avoids trip hazards and keeps pavements accessible.
Over 650,000 illegal cigarettes seized from Banbury property
Our trading standards officers have made their biggest seizure of illicit cigarettes yet, smashing their previous record set just weeks earlier. A joint operation with Thames Valley Police, on 29 November, saw another residential property in Banbury being raided, resulting in the record haul of 680,380 smuggled and some suspected counterfeit cigarettes being seized. Their illegal market value is estimated at between £150,000 and £200,000. Find out more in our news story.
Traffic restrictions brought in at Steventon Bridge
Traffic restrictions have been introduced to the High Street in Steventon due to the deterioration of brickwork on Steventon Bridge, which is owned by the council. We have narrowed the B4017 across the bridge and brought in a traffic priority system following a review of the structure’s load carrying capacity. An inspection will be carried out as soon as access can be gained onto the railway to review the condition of the brickwork in more detail. As many of you will know I pushed hard for the surveys and have worked with officers all over the Christmas period on this issue, despite some public voices around the priority lane, its functioning well, and we want to avoid signalisation on the request of residents and the Parish. More details as they come, but it won’t be a quick fix sadly as I explained to Steventon Parish Council last week.
So here we go, RAPID have put the SESRO scheme into Gate 2 despite a coordinated campaign of objections and extensions for the schemes submission documents. Frankly OFWAT are a joke, and we are working hard with GARD. This week I wrote to MP Layla Moran and David Johnston as well as District and County political leads to coordinate a meeting about strategy and next steps. Please do get in touch with Derek Stork the chairman of GARD about how we can be a force of objection together – email@example.com
You can find the letter and details here – https://www.ofwat.gov.uk/regulated-companies/rapid/the-rapid-gated-process/gate-one-submissions-and-final-decisions/
Valley Park – 5 Arm Roundabout
I have yet again raised issues with the 3 cabinet members responsible around the insanity that this brings to more traffic and the local area. I have requested a 4 arm scheme and a South Side LTN. I will let you know if I manage to get anywhere at all and plan to take it to Cabinet in March.
Thank you to everyone who took part, I am being debriefed this week so will know more then around what the plans are. The budget goes to our February Full Council meeting for voting.
I may have finally cracked a nut on some of the roads we have major issues with on A4130 and A417 and we are in Scheme 1 roll out consideration for areas such as Hendreds, Harwell, Rowstock, Blewbury around reductions. The SIDS have helped us considerably with the data sets and thanks to Hendreds and Harwell for this data (well done Patrick)
HGV and Freight Strategy
I am pushing to get eyes on the first draft as this has huge impacts on some of our parishes, will feedback when I know more!
Full Council Motions – December
It’s been an incredibly active time for me on Full Council, as a backbencher and as Group Vice Chair and Group WHIP. I have seconded a motion and in December I presented my first motion on COP26 which you can find here…
We had to amend as it was originally due for November but we lost time then and was rescheduled. Working alongside my Green colleagues and I will keep pushing on this with our leader and cabinet member on climate. We cannot achieve anywhere need what we have to on climate and carbon reduction and other schemes for climate justice unless central government pulls their finger out. So far its all words and greenwashing!
You will also notice I had an agenda item on here around Trans and Equality, which I have resubmitted to our March Full Council. Even within our own Division we have members of the Trans community isolated and targeted, I am a firm believer in equality and our council services should not exclude anyone. I have, however, been on the rough end of rather a lot of hate mail and trolling. But thankfully the May election prepared me for such behaviours and as such onwards we go.
I supported Cllr Bulmers motion on HGV’s and cited Rowstock and Steventon in my speech. Which is why I am pushing the cabinet member to be a part of that working party, and also it will come to Place Scrutiny upon which I sit as well!
Rowstock – Esso Application and Residents Association
I have spent a lot of time with the RA and helping on this application on many fronts and we have an officer presentation from OCC next week to talk through the scheme and questions have been presubmitted to make the most value of the time we have.
Upton and Blewbury Cycle Path
Discussions have begun and I chaired a meeting between parish chairs, Highways and our Public rights of way officer. There is now a monthly date in the diary for updates and current actions sit with both Parishes. I do hope we can make this a reality over the coming term, as it would make such a huge difference to the local community.
Hendreds / Ardington and Route 1
Ive had several reports over the past few months about mud bikes (motorbikes) and scramblers, even today we had another complaint with photographs. Its super frustrating these bikes aren’t registered as we cannot track down those tearing up the natural environment and committing a crime on the cycle path. I have today written to the estate about the Golden Mile and the police as well as Highways again about barriers to Route 1 that prevent motorbikes. Not sure what can be done, but if incidents are witnessed please do dial them into 101 so we can get get on the radar as I am getting very little luck on all fronts.
Ardington – A417 School Crossing signs
I am still chasing and getting to the point I will escalate to further up, as I have seen other infrastructure installed – and we have been waiting since October 2021!
Ardington Toad Crossing Signs
Discussion this week with officers, and I will be out again with TOR for 2022 helping our little amphibians over the road (and other creatures like Newts)
Chilton Fields adoption
Chased again, still with Land Registry
Chased again, and its starting to feel like a game of hide and seek and today I have escalated my concerns and the lack of response from officers.
Chilton Road – Sustrans work is on Green light, and should be started (could have as haven’t been down there yet this year) – so keep me in the loop!
The High Street consultation has finished and I am waiting for the lead officer to come back from Christmas break. We have had some late submissions but I have sent them onto the officer in charge, including one from RBL about Memorial access.I have concerns about the Hart corner into Burr Street as well and will talk through with officers soon. Meanwhile Grove road works should be imminent.
There is of course the ongoing case work with individual residents, and I do keep my Facebook page upto date with adhoc announcements as does the County Council, which is a great source of info for your own social media pages
Vaccine Manufacturing and Innovation Centre
I have written to our MP and he assures me he is speaking to Ministers about it and also I was on BBC South Today on Friday speaking about it….
Could I please ask for a copy of the email address for ALL the local newsletters? I have got into a bit of a pickle and want to create a group email so I can more efficiently use my time. As I am sure you can all imagine I am pretty busy on all fronts.
It’s been my pleasure to serve you all in 2021, and now 2022 it’s time for more and rapid change and a stronger voice for our community.
|Council meetings and information
In line with the current government health measures, we are continuing to work with the chairs to take a pragmatic approach to holding our formal meetings to protect public health and to minimise risks. I totally under stand whatever decisions your Parish Council makes and just keep me in the loop so I don’t end up sat outside an empty venue!
I do have a very effective speaker phone machine you can link to a laptop should anyone want to Hybrid and I can lend it to you.
I have sent an invite out to join me to discuss opportunities around the Comet Scheme for rural / local transport, this may be a solution for some of the parishes who have had service cuts in the past, details sent to Clerks.
Hendreds and Harwell Sustainability Chat
We had a great first meeting and Cllr Bob Johnston joined as well as OCC Ecology Lead Nick Mottram. Regular meetings have now been put in the diary and was great to have had representation from HUGS (Upton) and HEG (Hendreds) although sadly no other parish or local eco groups came. Hopefully the regular timing and invites will help more attendance. We discussed several themes including Community Food Larders, Nature Recovery Strategy, Rewilding Verges, New Environment Act / Local Authority powers, and Steventon Reservoir.
Councillor Priority Funding Spend
I am have also got £500 committed to Harwell PC and £1000 committed to a Zero Carbon Transport Concept, meaning I have £3,110 left in my funding. Which of course won’t return until 2023 thanks to the previous administration changing the funding. So if you want funds please do discuss with me in the first instance, the project and local / county benefits.
|Staying up to date
For the latest information about the council’s response to COVID-19, regularly check your emails as I do send to Clerks, visit the council’s website oxfordshire.gov.uk and follow our social media accounts.
All the best, please stay safe and well.
Monday 10th January 2022 Monthly Parish Update
Vale of White Horse District Councillors – Cllr Hayleigh Gascoigne and Cllr Sarah Medley
Hello! Happy New Year to all our residents. We hope that everyone had a restful break with family and friends, and that you are keeping healthy and safe during the recent rise of the omicron variant of COVID-19. If you haven’t had your booster vaccine yet, we encourage everyone to get their booster as soon as possible – you can book an appointment or find a walk-in centre via the NHS national booking system.
Our last full council meeting of 2021 was in December. As always, we were pleased to see motions passed on a range of issues, including retrofitting homes and opposing the proposal for the new reservoir in Steventon. However, we are particularly proud that the latest meeting took very positive steps forward in terms of addressing diversity and inclusion at the council – something that we are very passionate about.
Sarah proposed a motion – which passed – on supporting the transgender & non-binary community. Council also formally adopted a new parental leave policy for councillors. We think this is excellent news, as it goes a long way towards making the role of councillor more accessible and ultimately more representative of the community.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.
Get your booster vaccine
- Getting vaccinated and boosted remains the best thing you can do to protect yourself, your family and friends against getting seriously ill from Covid-19.
- There are plenty of appointments across several sites this week. Please go to the National Booking Service to book a slot or you may be able to bring your appointment forward that you had previously booked.
- If you’ve had a positive COVID-19 test, you need to wait a number of weeks before getting any dose of the vaccine. You need to wait:
- 4 weeks (28 days) if you are aged 18 years old or over
- 12 weeks (84 days) if you are aged 12 to 17 years old
- 4 weeks (28 days) if you’re aged 12 to 17 years old and at high risk from COVID-19
- If you are unable to attend your vaccination appointment for any other reason, please cancel or rebook it at soon as possible so your space opens for someone else.
- Information on the walk-in clinics available in Oxfordshire are available here.
The latest COVID-19 figures are updated on the county council’s interactive dashboard on a daily basis. We continue to encourage residents to test regularly and, if you feel unwell, book a PCR test.
Funds available for local businesses
The new Hospitality and Leisure Grant announced by Government on 21 December will support the hospitality and leisure sectors that have been affected by the latest pandemic variant, Omicron. Visit our dedicated webpage for further details.
Small and medium-sized businesses will be able to claim money from the government through the Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme. Find out how you can claim.
Our Winter Support Grants are now closed for applications. Check out our anticipated timeline for administration.
Contact the Community Support Hub
A reminder to all residents that the councils’ Community Support Hub continues to operate for anyone who needs any assistance, either as a result of COVID-19 or just for anyone who needs signposting towards the appropriate support channel. There are multiple ways to get in touch with the Community Support Hub:
- Call: 01235 422 600 Monday to Thursday 8.30-5pm and Fridays 8.30-4.30pm
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Online Form: whitehorsedc.gov.uk/communityhub
- Website whitehorsedc.gov.uk/covid19
Residents can also contact:
- Citizens Advice – 0808 278 7907
- Vale Community Impact – 01235 765348
Household Support Fund Available for anyone in need
- The government’s Household Support Fund (HSF) is now open, offering a very important lifeline for households who may struggle to afford life’s essentials over winter.
- The money will primarily be used to help pay for food, energy, and water bills for residents, but other costs can also be covered.
- The fund is open to any resident who is struggling and can’t afford basic household essentials.
- To find out about the scheme or seek help, call Citizens Advice on 0808 278 7907.
- See more information here.
If you or someone you know are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless, please click here for advice.
Do you feel like you are walking on eggshells? Are you afraid of your partner? Are you worried about someone you know being controlled?
- Oxfordshire Domestic Abuse Service Helpline: 0800 731 0055 (Mon-Fri 10-6 Sat 10-4)
- Find help and advice at Reducing the Risk’s website org.uk
Council leaders urged people to get their Covid booster jab as they praised the people delivering the vital vaccine at a clinic in Faringdon.
Residents are being asked to help make areas of Abingdon and Didcot safer at night. South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse District Councils want to hear from anyone who has felt unsafe in either town on a night out, or when returning there after an evening out elsewhere, such as Oxford.
Climate & Environment News
Wondering what to do with your waste post-Christmas? Take a look at the Vale’s site.
If you have a garden waste collection, you can leave your Christmas tree out with that. If not, take a look at a list of our collection sites. Be sure to check the last date to leave trees.
Vale of White Horse Full Council was held on 8th December at the Milton Park Offices. You may catch up with the content here. The full agenda is here.
For more information on outcomes, see press releases below.
Changes to enforcing planning rules will allow two district councils to focus on cases with the most potential to cause harm to local communities much more quickly.
Cllr Emily Smith, Leader of Vale of White Horse District Council, delivered her Leaders Statement to Council at the meeting on 8 December 2021.
Leader Emily Smith will write to Whitehall to urge the government to establish a programme for domestic retrofitting.
The War Pension scheme was established to compensate those veterans who suffered injured or illness while serving their country, while the War Widow(er)’s Pension is for those whose spouse died while serving.
More research needed before Abingdon reservoir plans can be approved
More evidence has been demanded by Vale councillors over the need for a reservoir in Abingdon and its environmental impact.
Vale of White Horse District Council – a trans inclusive council
New parental leave policy for councillors
Our new Parental Leave Policy sets out councillors’ entitlements to maternity, paternity, shared parental and adoption leave and relevant allowances.
The policy aims to provide a positive environment for members with family responsibilities. It will help to ensure members are representative of our community, contribute towards increasing the diversity of experience, age and background of councillors, and also help us to retain experienced councillors and make public office more accessible to those who might otherwise feel excluded.
Work to protect vulnerable residents and those who are most at risk from criminal activity has been recognised by councillors in South Oxfordshire and the Vale of White Horse.
Public services could be at serious risk if the government fails to provide long-term financial support, the Leader of Vale of White Horse District Council has warned.