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Blewbury Parish Council Meeting April 2021

In attendance:- Cllrs M Blythe (Chair/MB), M Penington (MP), M Shayler (MS), V Humphries (VH), J Gibson (JG), L Inglis (LI), M Jacobs (MJ). E Cooper (Clerk/EC). D Hollick (Lengthman/DH)

1.     Apologies for absence

Cllr P Kilroe

2.     Declarations of interests relating to this meeting

None.

 

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

Cllr MF-D reported that he had 4 weeks left before stepping down. MB thanked MF-D on behalf of the council for all his work.

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

MJ asked what really happens to recycling? HG confirmed recycling is sorted & sold. Also, that non-recyclables were burnt. HG to provide an official answer & send details of the next meeting on this subject to MJ.

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

DH stated litter remains a problem, particularly around the skate park.

DH will replace a corner post at the skate park.

A compressor has been purchased following council approval last month.

6. Report from the PCSO

The PCSO provided an annual report this month, which will be made available separately.

7.   Open Forum

To receive representations from members of the public.

7.1 Mr D Long – Blewbury Croquet Club facility extension

Mr Long presented ideas on the expansion of the croquet club following a bequest to the club.

JG to draft council’s response.

7.2 Mr P Savage – spoke in support of the alterations to Lyvennet. See Planning 10.1.1 below.

8.   Approve previous minutes

Minutes of the BPC meeting 10th March 2021

Minutes were unanimously agreed by council.

9.   Outstanding Actions from previous meetings and any matters arising

Confirm whether actions are cleared, carried forward or cancelled.

 

No. Actions from April meeting When by
1. Cllr M-FD to source contact for OCC/School lease ASAP
2. JG to speak to cleaner re preopening clean at Clubhouse. Before 1.5.21
3. Cllr HG to source official answer to what happens to recycling in Oxfordshire & to send details of next meeting to MJ. May meeting
4. DH to replace corner post at skate park. ASAP
5. JG to draft response letter to Croquet Club ASAP
6. EC to speak to loss adjusters re overtime claim ASAP
7. EC to send details of leases to MP ASAP
8. MP to send previous report on Cleve to Sustainable Blewbury. May meeting
10. LI to take over responsibility for BPC entry in Bulletin June edition

 

 

No. Actions from March meeting When By
1. JG to check with BG re addendum to Lease (OCC/VH) following changes regarding the school. Cleared
2. Clerk to speak to DH re Heather Way sign re remedial work Cleared
3. EC to email PCC re flag Cleared
4. EC to email best practice from new ‘Good councillor’s guide to cyber security’ to council Cleared
5. JG to write to Biffa re bin collections in the village Cleared
6. MP to speak to RSS re cricket club arrangements C’fwd May meet
7. JG to obtain formal quotes for KAP remedial work Cleared
8. DH to spk PK & report back on proposed lych gate cleaning actions. C’fwd May meet
9. DH & MS to prepare a proposal on the clearing of the cemetery footpaths C’fwd May meet

 

10.   Planning Committee Report & Ratify/Agree Planning Responses

10.1 Agree the council’s response to the following consultations

10.1.1 P21/V0537/HH Lyvennet, Bessels Way, Blewbury

Loft conversion with hip to gable alterations & elevated roofline, single storey side extension.

Deadline 15.4.21

Council agreed no objections to this consultation.

10.1.2 P21/V0652/HH 7 Millbrook Close, Blewbury

Erection of new rear single storey extension. Partial conversion of existing storge space in to  en suite.

Deadline 17.4.21

Council agreed no objections to this consultation.

10.1.3 P20/V3300/HH Amendment 1, Huntsgrave Farm, Woodway Road, Blewbury

Erection of wooden hut, non-attended shop ‘Honey Hut’.

Deadline 24.4.21

Council agreed no objections to this consultation.

10.2 Ratify the council’s response to the following consultations

10.2.1 P21/V0431/HH Grove House, Bessels Way, Blewbury

Proposed single storey rear extension

Deadline 26.3.21

BPC no objections – ratified.

10.3 Note planning permissions received during the month

10.3.1 P21/V0141/HH Beorg Lodge, Bessels Way, Blewbury.

Permission granted 24.3.21.          

11.     Update on Finance & Administration

11.1 Updates on contributions planned expenditure (S106, CIL, CPF, SBRR).

Council agreed to use CIL money on remedial work to KAP.

11.2 Approve end of month reconciliations for Lloyds & Barclays banks.

Sent in advance of the meeting to the Chairman. To be signed at a later date.

11.3 Agree authorisers for this month’s payments

JG & PK (PK agreed in advance of the meeting).

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

 

 

 

PAYEE

Description / Power to spend

Amount

E Cooper / D Hollick

Clerk & Lengthman’s salary and expenses for March

(LGA1972 s112(2))

£1203.95
NEST DD Clerk’s pension March (LGPSR2013 (SI2013/2356) £71.33
HMRC PAYE Clerk & Lengthman March (LGA1972 s112(2)) £229.63
Biffa Waste Services Ltd DD Waste services April (LGA1972 s137)

£110.16

 

BT DD Clubhouse line rental April (LGA1972 s137) £35.04
Scottish Power

Clubhouse electricity February (ratify) (LGA1972 s137)

March (LGA1972 s137)

£61.15

£410.54

ONPA Membership (ratify) (LGA1972 s137) £50.00
Chris Lewis Clubhouse Alarm Service (ratify) (LG(MP)A 1976 s19) £538.32
PWLB PW497831 repayment 29.4.21 (NLA 1968 s3, PWLA 19665 s2) £4522.50
DVTG Annual Donation (TA 1985 s106A) £400.00
VHEMC PO 1st quarter donation (LG(FP)A 1963 s5) £300.00
CAB Annual Donation (LGA 1972 s142(2A)) £150.00
Total £8082.62

 

Major Receipts

Description

Amount

08.04.21

First half precept

£34,125.00

Total £34,125.00

 

11.5 Ratify the council’s decision for the Lengthman to purchase a new air compressor on the council’s behalf in the amount of c£170. Duly ratified by council.

11.6 Agree an overtime payment for the Clerk for Clubhouse work following the flood on 14th

             February (to end of March) in the amount of 12 hours.

Council agreed to pay additional hours & asked if any could form part of the insurance claim. Clerk to find out.

11.7 Agree whether to continue membership of Community First Oxfordshire wef 1.4.21 for £70.

Council agreed to this payment.

11.8 Update on the Casual Vacancy Notice issued on 18.3.21.

A casual vacancy arose due to the resignation of the Chairman, Chris Lakeland. The council wished Chris well in his new found freedom & expressed their thanks for his many years with the council,  & as chairman, & for all the good works he has carried out for the village & it’s residents.

The casual vacancy notice expired on 9th April & the Returning Officer confirmed there was no response. Council discussed the expressions of interest received, with which MB would now deal,       with a view to co-option at the May meeting.

12.    Village Hall Refurbishment & VHEMC

12.1 Update on the Village Hall Refurbishment & VHEMC

JG confirmed that the village hall would be reopening for children’s activities & as a polling station next month. The final bills from MD Group & Ridge remain outstanding.

12.2 Agree the addition of a councillor to attend VHEMC meetings on the Council’s behalf

LI agreed to become the additional councillor on the VHEMC.

12.3 Update on the OCC/PC/VH lease

Cllr MF-D will provide a name of the person dealing with leases in the County Council.

Clerk to provide copies of all leases to MP.

13.    Clubhouse & recreation ground / TFF & car park

13.1 Update from the Clubhouse Working Group

13.1.1 Clubhouse post flood remedial work update

All post flood remedial work complete, with the exception of the replacement smoke detector. The contractor is arranging this replacement.

13.1.2 Clubhouse open for use update

13.1.2.1 Clubhouse sundries shopping list

Now on order & goods being received for use within the clubhouse.

13.1.2.2 All other clubhouse opening considerations

MP asked JG to speak to his cleaner re cleaning at the clubhouse.

13.2 Update on Tickers Folly Field recreation ground and car park

JG had updated the TFF usage policy. Council agreed to the principle that any requests for ‘events’  on TFF were given individual consideration, that the space is public & that contributions to wards upkeep may be requested. JG to issue final draft for sign off.

Concern was also expressed about use of the car park in general & when an organised event may occur. The PC is solely responsible for the car park & perhaps consideration ought to be given to a         contribution to car park upkeep.

14.    Risk Management

14.1 Update on village play spaces (TFF / KAP) relating to risk

Remedial work to play equipment already discussed.

14.2 Any other updates on Management of Risk

None.

14.3 Update on Compliance

Clerk had issued key points from the Good Councillors Guide to Cyber Security to all councillors.

14.4 Latest advice on COVID-19 response.

No update.

15.   Update on any issues relating to the Environment

15.1 Update from Sustainable Blewbury

MJ reported on behalf of SB.

MP to send Cleve report re water quality to MJ.

The Repair Café would reopen in July.

The produce stall would start from this coming Saturday.

The Climate Action group would meet in September.

MJ reported that oak trees are available for free for planting. MJ to find out what trees grow best in clay soil.

Ash die back is happening throughout the village.

15.2 Update on the OGB & ONPA

No update. LI asked that this be removed from the next agenda.

15.3 Any other issues relating to the environment

LI attended the PC forum on Didcot Garden Town.

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

MB questioned a particular Permissive Rights of Way, which was clarified by JG.

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

None.

18. Update on any outstanding consultations

None.               

19.   To set the date of the next meeting(s) of the Council

19.1 To agree a date & venue for the resumption of face-to-face meetings, in light of the removal of  legislation to hold virtual meetings wef midnight 6th May 2021 & current COVID guidelines. With particular reference to both the annual meeting of the council on 12th May and the June meeting, currently scheduled for 9th June.

The Clerk explained the current situation with regard to virtual & face to face meetings. Council unanimously agreed to hold the May meeting virtually, as safety concerns were voiced by several councillors. The holding of the June meeting will be discussed in May.

19.2 Next full council meeting will be the annual meeting of the council & will be held on Wednesday 12th  May at 7.30pm via an e-conference system.

The meeting finished at 9.15pm.

Appendix A

LENGTHMAN’S REPORT – MARCH 2021 

Grass cutting has started on the footpaths but the Recreation ground and TFF are not moving yet.

Play areas are being very well used but are creating lots of litter.

Equipment has all been serviced now with no issues to report.

Work is ongoing at the Clubhouse. Plastering and new ceilings all done.

Decorators are in over the Easter weekend, which just leaves the electrical work to be done.

David 

 

Appendix B

REPORT BLEWBURY PARISH COUNCIL APRIL 2021

FROM CLLR MIKE FOX-DAVIES 

Oxfordshire update 

In the seven days up to 2 April, there has been a total of 229 confirmed new COVID-19 cases in Oxfordshire. This is a decrease from 288 new cases in the previous week. This is equivalent to a weekly rate of new cases of 33.1 per 100,000 residents and a reduction of 20 per cent over the past seven days. 

The figures are summarised in the table below. This includes the number of new cases for this week compared to the previous week (up to 19 March) across the county and its five districts. You can also access daily statistics using the COVID-19 dashboard on our website.

Cases of COVID-19 by district

 

Cases in 7 days up to

26/03/21

Rate per 100,000 population

Cases in 7 days up to

02/04/21

Rate per 100,000 population
Cherwell 37 24.6 26 17.3
Oxford 85 55.8 61 40.0
South Oxfordshire 70 49.3 55 38.7
Vale of White Horse 41 30.1 43 31.6
West Oxfordshire 55 49.7 44 39.8
Oxfordshire 288 41.6 229 33.1

 

Data correct as at 5pm on 6 April.

Getting into the habit of twice-weekly testing will help us all play our part in keeping our families and communities safe and enable the easing of lockdown to continue.

Testing and test centres
There are two types of testing available. Symptom and symptom-free testing.

If you have symptoms of COVID-19, you must self-isolate and book a PCR test as soon as possible. More information is available on our symptom testing pages.

A reminder of the county’s symptomatic test sites:

  • Oxford Parkway, Water Eaton Park & Ride, Oxford Road, Oxford (OX2 8HA)
  • Woodgreen Leisure Centre, Woodgreen Avenue, Banbury (OX16 0HS)
  • Osney Lane, Oxford (OX1 1NY)
  • Woodford Way car park, Witney (OX28 6JS)
  • Fuller Building Restaurant, Oxford Brookes University, Headington (OX3 0BP)

As well as the above testing sites, there are also a number of mobile testing units operating in the county. The latest dates and locations for these are below. Booking is required for all testing sites. 

Carterton Pavilion, Monahan Way, Carterton, Oxfordshire, OX18 3AN

  • April: 14, 21, 28.

Chinnor Rugby Club, Rectory Pavilion, Kingsey Road, Thame, Oxfordshire OX9 3JL

  • April: 15, 16, 22, 23, 29, 30.

Dalton Barracks, Abingdon, Oxfordshire OX13 6JB

  • April: 12, 13, 14, 15, 19, 20, 21, 22, 26, 27, 28, 29.

Wheatley Campus, Oxford Brookes University, College Close, Oxfordshire, OX33 1HX

  • April: 11, 12, 18, 19, 25, 26.

If you don’t have symptoms, you can book free rapid lateral flow device (LFD) tests at one of four symptom-free sites across the county, access tests through your workplace or school, collect home test kits from any local testing site (symptomatic or symptom-free) across the county or order test kits for home delivery. All the symptom-free testing information is available on our website.

A reminder of our symptom-free sites and opening hours:

  • Spiceball Leisure Centre, Banbury (OX16 2BW): 7am – 7pm (Mon – Fri); 8.30am -12.30pm (Sat)
  • The Beacon in Wantage (OX12 9BX): 8.30am – 7pm (Mon – Fri); 8.30am – 12.30pm (Sat)
  • King’s Centre in Oxford (OX2 0ES): 8.30am – 7pm (Mon – Fri); 8.30am – 12.30pm (Sat)
  • Brownes Hall in Carterton (OX18 3JH): 8.30am – 7pm (Mon – Fri); 8.30am – 12.30pm (Sat)

Symptom-free testing expansion
This week, the government announced that everyone in England can now access free, rapid lateral flow tests (LFDs) twice a week. One in three people with COVID-19 do not experience any symptoms and may be spreading the virus without knowing. Rapid testing detects cases quickly, meaning positive cases can isolate immediately and help stop the spread.

The expanded regular testing offer for people without symptoms will be delivered through five options.

  1. Secondary school and college testing on-site or through home test kits provided.
  2. Community testing at symptom-free sites.
  3. Collection of home test kits from any local testing site (symptom (PCR) sites 2.30pm – 8pm and symptom-free sites during opening hours).
  4. A home ordering service, which allows people to order lateral flow tests online to be delivered to their home.
  5. Workplace testing programmes, on-site or at home. 

Large majority of Oxfordshire parents and children offered first school choice

Parents and children across the county have been offered their first choice of secondary school for 2021/22 in the vast majority of cases. A total of 89.99 per cent (6,371) of applications have been awarded their first choice, and our school admissions team has done an excellent job in achieving this. You can read more about this in our news story on our website.  

Target for cutting greenhouse gas emissions exceeded

Oxfordshire’s aim of becoming a zero-carbon county by 2050 has received a boost with news that our target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions was exceeded last year. We cut our corporate carbon emissions by eight per cent from April 2019 to March 2020, beating our target of six per cent. The replacement of boilers and streetlighting with more energy-efficient models, the installation of solar panels and the purchase of more electric vehicles were all factors in the reduction and more savings are soon on the way with the rollout of LED street lighting. The full story is published in the news section of our website. 

Topping the table for recycling and composting

Residents in Oxfordshire have helped the county top the table nationally when it comes to recycling and composting for the seventh year in a row. I am delighted to say that  Oxfordshire County Council has once again been named the best performing county council waste disposal authority in England, according to new government figures released on 3 March 2021. For more information and the statistics, read the news story on our website.

Oxfordshire libraries set to reopen this spring

Our library service is busy preparing to reopen its doors, taking every precaution to keep visitors and staff safe.

Subject to the government’s announcement on 5 April, libraries reopening from week beginning 12 April include: Oxfordshire County Library, Abingdon, Banbury, Berinsfield, Bicester, Blackbird Leys, Botley, Carterton, Charlbury, Chinnor, Chipping Norton, Cowley, Didcot, Eynsham, Faringdon, Goring, Headington, Henley, Kennington, Kidlington, Sonning Common, Summertown, Thame, Wallingford, Wantage, Watlington, Wheatley, Witney, Woodcote, Wychwood.

Libraries reopening from week beginning 19 April include Adderbury, Benson, Deddington, Grove, Littlemore, North Leigh, Stonesfield. Burford. Old Marston will reopen with a click and collect service only due to the difficulties of social distancing in small spaces.

Unfortunately, some libraries must remain closed. These are: Bampton and Hook Norton (closed pending ongoing building work), Barton (closed pending the reopening of the Neighbourhood Centre), Woodgreen (closed pending reopening of the leisure centre) and Woodstock (closed pending reopening of the Oxfordshire Museum).

Visitors are advised to check the opening times on the libraries’ webpage as library hours will be temporarily limited for safety reasons. Please be assured no library customers will be penalised as a result of having to self-isolate or being unable to travel to return library loans, they just need to contact their nearest open library. Click and collect will continue to operate at our larger libraries, in addition to Burford and Old Marston.

 

Appendix C

Blewbury Parish Council – Wednesday 14th April 2021

Report from District Councillors – Cllr Hayleigh Gascoigne and Cllr Sarah Medley

His Royal Highness Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh

We are deeply saddened to learn that His Royal Highness Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh passed away peacefully on Friday morning (9th April) at Windsor Castle.

On behalf of South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse District Councils, the councillors, staff, and the districts’ residents, we offer our heart-felt condolences and sympathy to all members of The Royal Family.

We extend those condolences to everybody touched by this sad and solemn occasion and we join the people of the United Kingdom in this period of national mourning.

His Royal Highness was a great statesman, husband, father and grandfather. His absence will be felt by many people across the country including in South Oxfordshire and the Vale of White Horse.

As a mark of respect the Union Flag is flying at half-mast outside the councils’ office at Milton Park as we join our residents and the nation in mourning. The period of national mourning is from 9 April until 17 April – the day of the funeral.

You can find details of the official Book of Condolence at royal.uk Please note that our offices remain closed to the public and so we will not be providing our own Books of Condolence.

Coronavirus Update and Community Support

Community Support Hub

The Community Hub continues to be available to help people access support and essentials during the lockdown if they have nobody else to turn to and can be contacted on the usual details below. The councils’ Housing Needs team are available to help people who are at risk of being made homeless or who are sleeping rough – for more details visit whitehorsedc.gov.uk/housing. Support is also available to residents who are experiencing financial difficulties – or call 0345 302 2315. to find out more please visit whitehorsedc.gov.uk/benefits. If you are having difficulty paying your council tax please visit whitehorsedc.gov.uk/counciltax

To contact the Community Support Team: call: 01235 422 600 Monday to Thursday 8.30-5pm and Fridays 8.30-4.30pm email: communitysupport@southandvale.gov.uk

fill in an online form at: www.whitehorsedc.gov.uk/communityhub

Remember, for the most up-to-date coronavirus information relating to district council support and any changes to services, please take a look at the dedicated Vale webpage for updates: www.whitehorsedc.gov.uk/covid19

Whilst those currently shielding are no longer required to from 1 April, help is still available through the Community Hub. The new government guidance states that while there will be no additional rules for people who have been shielding outside of the national restrictions, they are advised to take extra care and precautions. Advice includes to work from home if they can, visit shops or pharmacies at quieter times and take care when socialising with friends and family according to national restrictions. Priority supermarket shopping slots continue until 21 June.

We’ll continue to assist everyone, including anyone who has been shielding. Anyone who is in difficulty or needs help should contact our Community Hub who can signpost to help or assist with supermarket vouchers if they have financial concerns. We’re also now shifting our focus onto providing continued support for those who need to self-isolate following a positive diagnosis – this in turn will hopefully encourage people to continue to get tested regularly.

We remain vigilant and on stand-by for any future re-introduction of shielding. The possibility that shielding will be reintroduced cannot be ruled out, particularly in the winter period depending on any issues with variants, how vaccines are responding or if there are any local outbreaks.

COVID-19 rates across Oxfordshire

  • Infection rates across the county remain a little unsteady, increasing and decreasing week by week, but the general trend seems to show that it has levelled out. Since our update last week, the infection rate per 100,000 of population has fallen slightly in South from 46.5 to 43.6 and Vale from 31.6 to 32.4
  • Last week a further 4,585 vaccinations took place in South and 4,303 in the Vale.
  • Included in those totals last week are 1,483 more jabs for under 50s in South Oxfordshire and 1,471 in the Vale
  • That takes the overall totals to 72,486 in South Oxfordshire and 65,004 in the Vale.

. The latest figures are updated on the county council’s interactive dashboard on a daily basis.

Public testing roll-out

Alongside following the rules and the rollout of the vaccine, regular testing forms an essential part of the government’s roadmap plan. From Friday 9 April, everyone in England will be able to access free, rapid lateral flow device (LFD) tests for themselves and their families to use twice a week.

One in three people with COVID-19 do not experience any symptoms and may be spreading the virus without knowing. Rapid testing detects cases quickly, meaning positive cases can isolate immediately and help stop the spread.

The expanded regular testing offer for people without symptoms will be delivered through: • Workplace testing programmes, on-site or at home • Secondary school and college testing on-site or through home test kits provided • Community testing at council-run symptom free testing sites in Banbury, Carterton, Oxford and Wantage. • Collection of home test kits from any local testing site • A home ordering service, which allows people to order lateral flow tests online to be delivered to their home. If testing at home, individuals need to register their results online or by calling 119.

Anyone who tests positive will need to self-isolate immediately and book a second PCR test. A self-isolation information pack is available to provide advice and support.

If you test negative, you must continue to follow social distancing guidelines, wear a mask in public and regularly wash your hands. Anyone with symptoms of COVID-19 should book a test online or call 119.

Transportation Grant Scheme

We have some government funding available that you or your local voluntary and community organisations can apply for to help with the costs of arranging and providing Covid-safe transportation for residents. This could include activities like:

  • transporting people to medical appointments, including to get their Covid jabs
  • getting people to the supermarket to do their essential shopping
  • delivering medical or food supplies to people.

Groups can receive funding of between £1,000 – £15,000 and it can go on revenue costs like paying for petrol as well as capital costs like PPE supplies or wear and tear on vehicles.

We’ve attached the full details of who is eligible and what the funding can be used for. The deadline to apply is Friday 14 May. For more information, please contact grants@southandvale.gov.uk

The first phase of leisure centre opening from 12 April

Following government advice that leisure centres can start to reopen from 12 April, we are working with our contractor GLL on phased approach to re-opening our centres across the districts.

As the centres vary in size and offer different facilities, they will be independently assessed in line with Covid-19 guidelines before they can open. How the centres then operate and what facilities are available when they open will reflect these guidelines. This is similar to the approach we took last year for re-opening after the first lockdown.

Centres, facilities, and activities are only opening where it is possible to do so and maintain social distancing. The capacity and procedures in place will be kept under constant review.

As ever, the most up to date information on the centres and what’s available when is on GLL’s “Better” website

Outdoor pools update

We will also be taking a phased approach to re-opening our respective outdoor pools, at Abbey Meadow in Abingdon, and at Riverside in Wallingford. Last year both pools remained shut as a result of the lockdown restrictions.

The current plan is to open the pools for the summer season. This is subject to continued progress towards the government’s roadmap out of lockdown. We expect to confirm the exact opening dates in the coming weeks, along with the dates for the splash parks at Abbey Meadow, Riverside and at Manor Park Memorial Gardens in Wantage.

When the pools do re-open, to help keep everyone safe, staff and swimmers will need to continue to follow government safety guidelines.

Restart Grants

The Restart Grant is a one-off grant for rate paying businesses that predominantly deliver in-person services for the general public. It will pay up to £6,000 for non-essential retail businesses, and up to £18,000 for hospitality businesses, accommodation, leisure, personal care and gym or sport business premises.

We’re doing everything we can to get these grants out to businesses as soon as possible but a change in government guidelines means it’ll take a little longer than we were hoping.

As soon as we can offer more information on how businesses can apply for the scheme, we will send out details via our South and Vale Business Support newsletter. Businesses can sign up to our newsletter here.

Once the scheme is available, the applications will be open until 30 June 2021 and final payments will be made by 31 July.

Test and Trace £500 payments

The government recently expanded the scheme to pay £500 to eligible people who lose income having been told to self-isolate through the Covid test and trace system – it now includes eligible parents and guardians who lose income if their kids are sent home from school due to positive cases among students or staff. A revised application form will be available on our website soon.

Business support during the pandemic

For more details about the grants available to businesses visit svbs.co.uk.

Council News

Full Council – 24th March Agenda for meeting is here. As of 9th April, the minutes have not yet been published. Note that both motions passed! Other items from the meeting are covered later in this report.

Councils agree to develop a joint South and Vale Local Plan

The two district councils in South Oxfordshire and the Vale of White Horse have agreed to develop a joint Local Plan for the area to reduce costs and help the councils meet their ambitious targets for making the two districts carbon neutral.

Local Plans are used to help determine planning applications and set out how and where new housing developments should take place, along with identifying the infrastructure needed to support them. They also set out policies on what kind of housing is appropriate and acceptable; what the local requirements for affordable housing are; and can even set requirements on the energy-efficiency levels of new developments.

These are all key themes and aspirations that are addressed in both councils recently adopted new Corporate Plans, which set out their visions for their districts. Both councils have also committed to do everything they can to address the climate and ecological emergency, and officers advised that the consensus on these issues makes this a rare opportunity to create a joint Local Plan

The proposals on creating a joint Local Plan were agreed at Vale Council meeting on 24 March and the South meeting on 25 March. The reports had previously been considered by both councils’ Scrutiny Committees and Cabinets.

The reports set out the advantages and disadvantages of a joint plan. The advantages include the planning issues in the two districts are quite similar, like the need for carbon reduction, affordable housing and new and improved infrastructure, and so a joint plan would be able to address these issues in a co-ordinated way.

A joint plan would also benefit the residents of Didcot where the boundary separating the two districts runs through the town. Under the current arrangement, on some roads, development on one side of the street is covered by South planning policies, while development on the other side must abide by Vale policies.

There will also be cost-savings by producing one plan for both districts because there would be one set of evidence studies, one local plan examination and one Planning Inspector not two.

The Councils also approved the timetable for the new Joint Local Plan, which involves key public consultation stages in summer 2022 and summer 2023, followed by independent examination, and then adoption in autumn 2024.

Cllr Debby Hallett, Cabinet Member with responsibility for Planning Policy at Vale of White Horse District Council, said: “This has worked in other areas even when the councils involved had very different challenges to address. The challenges South Oxfordshire faces are similar to ours, particularly around the need for affordable housing and infrastructure, so it makes a lot of sense to work together to address these issues.”

Other council areas that have successfully adopted joint Local Plans include one at North Devon and Torridge, and another at Plymouth and South-West Devon.

A new community lottery is coming to the Vale of White Horse

Local charities and good causes in the Vale of White Horse will soon be able to get a funding boost from a brand-new community lottery being launched by the district council this summer.

The forthcoming new White Horse Community Lottery will allow players to choose which local charity their money benefits. Similar community lotteries elsewhere raise tens of thousands of pounds for charities every year.

The lottery will have a weekly jackpot of £25,000 and will be available for residents to play online. The draw will take place every Saturday, with a jackpot going to anybody who matches a sequence of six numbers. The other prizes are £2,000, £250, £25 or three free tickets.

The district council will not receive any of the proceeds, although some will go into a central community fund, all of which the council will distribute to good causes in the district’s voluntary and community sector.

Later in the spring, the council will be inviting community groups and charities across the district to a launch event to explain how they can get involved and benefit from the money raised.

Residents can get involved by buying tickets which will cost £1 per week with 60p going towards the player’s chosen local good cause. 20p of the remaining money goes into the central community fund, 17p towards the administration of the lottery, and 3p on VAT. Cllr Bethia Thomas, Vale District Council Cabinet Member for Community Engagement said: “The voluntary sector has played an absolutely crucial part in helping our communities through the past year. Working with them so closely has made us realise how many great local causes there are in the district and we’re really pleased to be able to do something that will help them raise some extra funding.”

Vale of White Horse to give £344,000 towards building affordable homes in Botley

Vale of White Horse District Council has agreed to allocate £344,000 to help build eight new affordable homes at Dean Court on Eynsham Road, Botley, which falls within Cumnor Parish.

Members agreed to provide the funds to the Oxfordshire Community Land Trust (OCLT) using Section 106 contributions – money that developers have paid as part of agreements to build new developments in the district.

OCLT is seeking to use the money towards building eight energy efficient homes. The apartments could include high levels of insulation and PV solar panels to reduce carbon emissions and to help reduce the running costs for its occupants. The one and two bed apartments will be available for an affordable rent with priority given to residents living in or having connections with the local area.

Cllr Andrew Crawford, Cabinet member for Finance and Corporate Assets, said: “Now the OCLT application has the go ahead, it will mean that we are a step closer to helping to provide genuinely affordable homes for our local residents that use sustainable materials to help us to tackle the climate emergency – these are two of our main aims for the council over the next few years.”

Bob Colenutt, Chair of OCLT, said: “The Oxfordshire Community Land Trust (OCLT) is delighted by the decision by the Vale to support the development of new affordable housing at Dean Court in Cumnor. By holding the land in trust, OCLT will be able to provide permanently affordable cooperatively run housing for those in housing need in the Vale.”

Applications for Section 106 funding reopen

The Vale have begun to accept new Section 106 funding applications, after pausing them earlier this year to help with our Covid-19 responses. While we’re able to work on new applications, as we are still providing Covid 19 support, it may still take slightly longer than usual to approve the funds. You can find details on how we allocate our S106 funding on our website.

Town and Parish Forum

Please save the date for the Town and Parish Councils forum which will be taking place Monday 24 May 2021 from 6-8pm on Microsoft Teams.

Following feedback on topics for the forum, this year’s event will be on the climate emergency: ‘Climate Action – how can we take action together?’. The event will be an opportunity to hear about the climate action work in the Vale of White Horse, to feed back on the themes of the Council’s draft Climate Action Plan, and to discuss how we can work with our communities to meet our climate targets. We will also hear from a local organisation on biodiversity and nature work in our communities.

More details will follow, including an Eventbrite link to sign up to the event and workshops but for now please mark this date in your diary. We are looking forward to discussing climate action and working together on this going forward.

If you have any questions in the meantime, please email Elizabeth.kingdom@southandvale.gov.uk

Vale Leader’s statement on the Expressway project cancellation

The Leader of Vale of White Horse District Council has welcomed the announcement that the government’s proposed Oxford to Cambridge Expressway has been scrapped, calling it a success for local campaigners.

Cllr Emily Smith, Leader of Vale of White Horse District Council said: “This is welcome news, and I would like to congratulate and thank the many groups and individuals across the county who have worked alongside us to campaign against the project since it was first announced. This is a real demonstration that local pressure can pay off if everyone is pulling in the same direction.

“The work going on to develop the economy in the area offers real opportunities to bring forward efficient, modern and innovative public transport systems, instead the government proposed a huge carriageway to carve through the countryside, which would have had a massive impact on CO2 emissions and destroyed vast areas of rural land.

“While we welcome this news, we note with caution that the government has indicated that it will look at localised road projects instead – we will work with our partners to ensure any proposals are to the benefit of our residents, and that alternative more sustainable transport improvements are also given significant consideration. We will also seek specific reassurance that any future projects aren’t just a way of bringing forward the expressway under another a name.”

Cllr Roger Cox

It’s with great sadness that we can confirm that Roger Cox, the former Leader of Vale of White Horse District Council, passed away on Saturday. He represented his local Faringdon ward for many years and served in a number of different Cabinet positions before becoming leader. It was while he was Leader of the council in 2019 that he announced his retirement and didn’t stand at the subsequent election.

Cllr Emily Smith, Leader of Vale of White Horse District Council, paid tribute to Roger who preceded her as council leader: “On behalf of everyone at Vale of White Horse District Council, I would like to offer our sincerest condolences to Roger’s family and friends, and to the people of Faringdon where Roger served as ward councillor for so long. I was personally extremely sad to hear this news too. Roger was a dedicated and committed councillor – he was a popular figure and hugely well respected among councillors and officers as well. I got to know Roger when he was leading the council and I was leader of the opposition. We had some enjoyable conversations about council business, as well as his grandchildren – who he clearly thought the world of. Roger was committed to doing his best for the people of Faringdon and the Vale. He will be missed by us all.”