Blewbury Parish Council Minutes January 2021
1. Apologies for absence
2. Declarations of interests relating to this meeting
3. County Councillor’s report (See Appendix B below)
4. District Councillor’s report (See Appendix C below)
The chair asked if S106 & CIL funds could be combined for PC expenditure? HG to find out.
HG to check Valley Park planning for Car home versus Allotment planning.
HG stated that it was currently hard to push environmental standards as these come from central government. Building & environmental standards apply at the time of the build.
5. Lengthman’s report (See Appendix A below)
In addition DH stated a kissing gate post at the cemetery is due to be replaced.
6. Open Forum
To receive representations from members of the public if present. Maximum 15 minutes (3 minutes per person). None present.
7. Approve previous minutes
Minutes of the BPC meeting 9th December 2020
Finance Committee Meeting Minutes 17th December 2020 (attendees only to approve)
Both sets of minutes were agreed as a true representation of the meetings.
8. Outstanding Actions from previous meetings and any matters arising
Confirm whether actions are cleared, carried forward or cancelled.
|No.||Actions from this meeting||When by|
|1.||JG to obtain costs for remedial work at KAP.||Feb meeting|
|2.||HG to find out if S106 & CIL funds can be combined.||Feb meeting|
|3.||HG to check Valley Park Planning – Care Home versus Allotments?||Feb meeting|
|4.||DH to replace kissing gate at the cemetery||Feb meeting|
|5.||CL to apply for grant for non-use of clubhouse (if applicable)||Feb meeting|
|6.||CL to send details of decarbonisation scheme to MP||Feb meeting|
|7.||CL to respond to ‘wilding’ enquirer||Feb meeting|
|8.||Clerk to chase for date for Velux Windows work||Feb meeting|
|No.||Actions from December meeting||When By|
|2.||Clerk to confirm issue of draft emergency plan to all.||Sent email 17.12.20|
VH to speak to Savages regarding the level of lighting after dark.
Confirmed lights on motion sensors& not on all the time.
|4.||PK to speak to PCC re lychgate repairs. To gather information regarding war memorials in village for council.||Jan meeting.|
|5.||LI to continue to chase electrician for work in Clubhouse.||Feb meeting|
|No.||Actions from November meeting||When By|
|3.||DH to check basket swing post at TFF||Actioned|
|No.||Actions from October meeting||When By|
|7.||MJ to finalise spraying signalling system with Beeswax contact & follow up with signage.||Feb meeting|
|No.||Actions from July meeting||When By|
|6.||MJ to write to Hayleigh Gascoigne on the use of pesticides etc.||
|No.||Actions arising from February 2020 Meeting||When|
|13.||CL to explore alternative environmentally friendly electricity suppliers for the Clubhouse/Melland Room and Scout Hut.||C’fwd until further notice|
9. Planning Consultations & Other Planning Matters
9.1 Planning committee report – see below
9.2 To ratify council responses to planning consultations
9.2.1 P20/V3122/HH Pembroke, Westbrook St, Blewbury
BPC agreed no objections.
9.3 To agree the council’s response to the following consultation
9.3.1 P20/V3290/HH The Garden House, rear of Ashbrook House, Westbrook Street, Blewbury
First floor addition to provide master bedroom suite.
BPC no objections.
9.4 To note planning permissions received during the month
P20/V2640/HH 3 Berry Lane, Blewbury. Permission granted 22.12.20.
9.5 To note planning consultation withdrawals during the month
P20/V2625/FUL Abners, Church Road
P20/V2630/LB Abners, Church Road
10. Finance & Administration
10.1 To resolve to agree the precept for 2021/2022
Finance Committee proposal to increase precept by 5% to £68,250 was unanimously accepted & agreed by council.
10.2 To resolve to agree the budget for 2021/2022
Council unanimously accepted & agreed the budget for 2021/2022.
10.3 Updates on contributions planned expenditure (S106, CIL, CPF, SBRR)
10.3.1 CL requested information from S106 contact as to whether S106 money used at Parish Council level, together with CIL.
Possible proposal outlined to use S106 & CIL to fund solar panels for Clubhouse (if carbon reduction grant unsuccessful). CL also to apply for grant for non-use of Clubhouse (if applicable).
10.3.2 Update on the new Business Support Grant dated 4.1.21
CL confirmed grant applied for in relation to installation of solar panels at the Clubhouse.
10.4 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.
10.5 Approve payments to be made under ancillary powers and within budgeted amounts.
Council unanimously agreed to all payments, with the addition of a payment to OALC for a training course.
Description / Power to spend
|E Cooper / D Hollick||
Clerk & Lengthman’s salary and expenses for December
|NEST||Clerk’s pension DD December (LGPSR2013 (SI2013/2356)||£71.33|
|HMRC||PAYE Clerk & Lengthman payment December (LGA1972 s112(2))||£344.03|
|Biffa Waste Services Ltd||Waste services DD December (LGA1972 s137)||£110.16|
|BT||Clubhouse line rental DD December (LGA1972 s137)||£35.04|
Membership fee (Total £140 paid by UPC. BPC share £93)
|CAB||Donation [LGA 1972 s142(2A)]||£150.00|
|PWLB||PW505556 [NLA 1968 s3, PWLA 1965 s2]||£3448.75|
|Blewbury PO||Quarterly donation [LG(FP)A 1963 s5]||£300.00|
|Winterbrook Farm||Annual allotment rent [LGA1975 s137]||£300.00|
|St Michael’s Church||Annual allotment rent [LGA1975 s137]||£150.00|
|OALC||Cemetery management training course [LGA 1972 s111]||£120.00|
|21/24.12.20||Cemetery Fees (burial & memorial)||£360.00|
Barclays Bank Payments
Ridge and Partners
Completing a Fire Risk Assessment of Blewbury Village Hall as per our emailed fee proposal (and your subsequent instruction) of 26 November 2020.
|30.12.20||Springbuild – Various Carpentry, snagging and guttering works||£3733.99|
10.6 Ratify the Blewbury Parish Council Community Emergency Plan (issued by email 17.12.20)
Unanimously ratified by council.
11. Update on the Village Hall Refurbishment
CL confirmed that there were small areas of decoration & touching up still to do. The final bill is still awaited from MD Group. The village hall is also under consideration for the decarbonisation scheme.
CL to send details to MP. The surgery area is complete, but not in use.
12. Recreation Ground / Clubhouse
12.1 Update from the Clubhouse Working Group
12.1.1 Clubhouse electrics
Awaiting dates from electrician.
12.1.2 Scottish Power continuity of supply & options
Council agreed it would like to move to an environmentally friendly supplier. Octopus was suggested. Scottish Power agreement is due to expire in February 2021.
12.1.3 Velux window repairs
Clerk to chase for dates from contractor.
12.2 Update on Tickers Folly Field recreation ground and car park
Concerns had been raised regarding the level of activity here under lockdown. As the play areas are not closed, it is down to the public to make sure they are observing lockdown rules when using public areas.
13. Risk Management
13.1 Update on village play spaces (TFF / KAP) relating to risk
No update other than users must observe lockdown rules in public areas.
13.2 Any other updates on Management of Risk
13.2.1 Lockdown 3 actions
The council agreed that as there was no requirement to close play areas, it was up to users of such to observe lockdown rules.
13.3 Update on Compliance
None this month.
14. Update on any issues relating to the Environment
14.1 Update from Sustainable Blewbury
MJ confirmed that thermal imaging of properties was still being carried out.
A new board for the Cleve is underway.
There was both a Guided Nature Walk & Project to Plant Trees in development.
MJ to ask SB to highlight their activities to the village.
14.2 Update on the OGB & ONPA
LI confirmed she had resigned from the ONPA executive committee, but will keep up to date with progress.
14.3 Any other issues relating to the environment
An enquiry was received regarding the wilding of green areas. The council was in favour of the principle, but only on land that it owned. CL to respond to the enquirer.
The problems of people driving vehicle over the gallops were acknowledged. Also reported by the PCSO (see Appendix D below).
15. Update on any issues relating to Footways, Footpaths, rights of way and open spaces
15.1 Update on Footpaths requiring remedial work/gravel laying
Gravel laying recently took place on areas of footpaths worst affected by the weather. Further work will take place later in the year.
15.2 Update from the Cobb Wall Committee
LI confirmed that further remedial work is underway on the cob wall.
15.3 Update on any other issues relating to the above
15.3.1 Update on the war memorial (PK)
PK confirmed that the Lych Gate is now registered with the War Memorial Trust.
Also he had completed a pre-application for a restoration grant.
Confirmed there is no German pilot buried in the old cemetery.
15.3.2 Agree an approach (if any) to the state of the old cemetery
PK had approached the PCC in relation to this.
16. Update on any issues relating to roads, road safety and public transport
16.1 Agree any future response from the council to the closure of Chilton Road, Upton
Council agreed to wait for the official consultation to be issued.
16.2 Discuss the conditions of local roads and decide on any course of action
The Chairman expressed his disappointment at not being able to proceed with SpeedWatch activity in the village at present.
17. Correspondence – To consider items circulated/requiring a reply/consultation
The recent CIL consultation had been circulated.
18. Date of the next meeting of the Council
Full council meeting Wednesday 10th February at 7.30pm via an e-conference system.
The meeting finished at 9.10pm.
LENGTHMAN’S REPORT – 2021
Nothing really to report this month. Footpaths are a bit wet and muddy in places. We still have the badly leaning fence on Moreton Path at the far end of the mobile home park. The play areas are a bit soggy in places. That’s about it. Happy New Year to all. David
REPORT BLEWBURY PARISH COUNCIL JANUARY 2021
FROM CLLR MIKE FOX-DAVIES
In the seven days up to 1 January 2021, there has been a total of 3,591 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Oxfordshire (equivalent to a weekly rate of 519.2 per 100,000 residents). This is an increase from 2,190 new cases in the previous seven days ending 25 December (equivalent to a weekly rate of 316.6 per 100,000 residents). The government figures are summarised in the table below. This includes the number of new cases for this week (up to 1 January) compared to the previous week (up to 25 December) across the county and its five districts. The COVID-19 dashboard published on the county council website provides daily statistics.
Cases in 7
days up to
Cases in 7
days up to
|Vale of White Horse||341||250.7||527||387.5|
As above, the latest COVID-19 statistics for Oxfordshire make for sombre reading, with a doubling of cases in the space of a fortnight. In the last week alone, the number of cases increased by 64 per cent and this follows a substantial increase from the previous week. In the over 60s age group, case numbers have more than doubled (from 266 to 566). The number of COVID-19 patients in hospital has increased significantly over the last week and sadly the number of deaths is also increasing. Further information is available at www.oxfordshire.gov.uk/stopthespread.
National lockdown restrictions announced this week by government mean people in Oxfordshire and elsewhere must stay at home.
A reminder of the measures:
You must stay at home, except for a legally permitted reason. This includes activities such as essential shopping, education and childcare, work which cannot be done from home, medical needs, exercise, and communal worship.
If you do leave home for a permitted reason, you should stay local in the village, town or part of the city where you live.
You must not meet socially with family or friends, unless they are part of your household or support bubble.
You can leave your home to exercise once a day. You can exercise in a public outdoor place with members of your household or support bubble or, when you are on your own, with one person from another household.
Primary, secondary and special schools will remain open for vulnerable children and children of critical workers. Remote working will take place for all other children until February half term. End of year exams will not take place this summer.
Early years settings such as childminders and nurseries can stay open.
Higher education provision will remain online until mid-February for all courses, except those for future critical workers such as medicine and dentistry.
Pubs, restaurants, and non-essential shops and businesses must close, although hospitality venues can provide delivery and takeaway services – but not takeaway alcohol.
People who are clinically extremely vulnerable should only go out for medical appointments, exercise or if it is essential. They should not attend work.
If you have any coronavirus symptoms, you must self-isolate immediately and call 119 to book a test or register online. And if you have been abroad to a country that is not on the exemption list then you must, by law, self-isolate for 10 days.
For a full list of the guidance, please go to gov.uk/coronavirus/national-lockdownstay-at-home, for 22 pages of detail and other links if needed.
COVID-19 vaccination programme
In positive news, the first vaccinations using the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine on Monday 4th signalled another key milestone in our fight against the pandemic. It was wonderful to see the first doses of a vaccine that had been developed in Oxford delivered at the city’s Churchill Hospital.
The Oxford vaccine represents a major addition to the UK’s vaccination programme, which continues at pace with almost 1.5 million people in the UK having now received at least one dose of the COVID vaccine. In Oxfordshire, 18 GP-led vaccination sites and one hospital hub are now delivering the vaccine to our most vulnerable residents and frontline health and social care workers (a more detailed vaccination update is below). I am delighted to report that, as of Wednesday 6th, 22 per cent of care home residents and 23 per cent of care home staff in the county have received the vaccine.
By the end of this week (15 January), 22 sites across Oxfordshire will be offering vaccinations to the top two priority groups. Good progress has been made in vaccinating approximately one third of residents aged 80 and over so far.
The first vaccinations were delivered to patients (aged 80 and over), care workers and frontline NHS staff on 8 December at the Churchill Hospital. Since then vaccination services have opened in a phased approach, led by GPs, including the local sites at:
Malthouse Surgery, Abingdon
Wallingford Community Hospital
Clifton Hampden Centre
Didcot Civic Centre
Wantage Health Centre.
Plans are also underway for the Oxfordshire Vaccination Centre to be operational by the end of January, which will be the Oxfordshire site for mass vaccinations and provided by Oxford Health.
Our local NHS is working hard to deliver the vaccinations as quickly as they can and as quickly as supplies of the vaccine are made available. Because a phased approach is being taken, some people are waiting longer than others. Everyone in the priority groups, registered with an Oxfordshire GP practice, will be invited in due course.
We would be very grateful for your continued support in asking residents to be patient and to reassure them that they will be invited for a vaccination as soon as possible.
COVID-19 vaccine scam
Please warn residents in your area to be on their guard against scammers using the promise of a coronavirus vaccine to con them out of money. Criminals across the country are contacting people out of the blue with offers of a coronavirus vaccination.
These approaches have been made by text or from a recorded voice message on the telephone.
In each case the recipient is required to respond by clicking a link in the text message or by pressing 1 when receiving the call. They are then asked to give personal information, as well as financial details to book their vaccination. However, these are scams, with criminals exploiting the pandemic to attempt to steal personal details and people’s money.
The NHS is currently offering the COVID-19 vaccine free of charge to people most at risk from coronavirus. These people will be contacted by the NHS. More information about the COVID-19 vaccine scam and advice from trading standards is in our news story.
Changes to services
Now Oxfordshire is once again subject to a national lockdown, some of our services are affected, although many will continue to deliver an online service:
Household waste recycling centres remain open. However, they are very busy and so we are advising residents that the sites may close temporarily to relieve traffic congestion and to maintain social distancing.
The Oxfordshire Museum and Oxfordshire History Centre are closed.
The county’s libraries are closed for browsing, but 14 library branches are providing a limited number of services, including IT access, which must be pre-booked, online services, home library visits and click and collect.
In line with national guidance, the county council’s registration service will only be conducting wedding or civil partnership ceremonies in exceptional circumstances, such as the illness of a couple or member of the family due to attend the ceremony.
This week the Chancellor announced one-off top up grants for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses worth up to £9,000 per property to help businesses through to the spring. A £594 million discretionary fund was also made available, at a national level, to support other impacted businesses and this comes in addition to £1.1 billion further discretionary grant funding for local authorities, local restriction support grants worth up to £3,000 a month and the extension of the furlough scheme. To read more about the Chancellor’s announcement visit GOV.UK.
The government’s business support webpages also set out the COVID-19 support available to businesses such as loan schemes designed to support UK businesses that are losing revenue and seeing their cashflow disrupted as a result of the pandemic.
In Oxfordshire, the four Districts and the City council are responsible for distributing grant funding. As throughout, they have been doing a fantastic job and update their support for business webpages on a regular basis.
For the first time the UK, the census will be digital first. From mid-January onwards communications activity will start with residents, focusing initially on awareness of the census and its role. Into February, communications will start reinforcing each individual’s responsibility and the penalties for not doing so.
These will be delivered through the county council’s channels, partner channels across the districts and city councils, as well as voluntary organisations and networks.
If you have any questions, or would like to get in touch, contact email@example.com or on 07452 942723 (Cherwell, West Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse) and Sinead Leach firstname.lastname@example.org or on 07452 948074 (South Oxfordshire and Oxford City).
New year present for bus passengers in Oxfordshire
Bus services across the county are set to be improved thanks to our work with local bus operators and major employers to revise bus services and frequencies to help support the region’s recovery from the pandemic.
Among the changes are more frequent services between Milton Park and Didcot, with improved links to the site from Wantage, Grove, Abingdon and Oxford thanks to a new partnership between Milton Park and Thames Travel. Abingdon will once again be linked to Oxford station by service X2; and service X3 will operate through to the John Radcliffe Hospital, while also serving the new Barton Park development and Barton. A higher frequency will be introduced between Abingdon and Oxford city centre on Mondays to Saturdays. To find out more, read the news story on our website.
District Councillor Report Blewbury Parish Council Wednesday 13th January 2021
email@example.com Page 1 of 5 firstname.lastname@example.org
Blewbury Parish Council
Wednesday 13th January 2021
Report from District Councillors
Cllr Hayleigh Gascoigne and Cllr Sarah Medley
Happy New Year to the Blewbury Parish Council and residents. Although we weren’t expecting to start this year in another national lockdown, the data clearly shows the need for everyone to play their part and stay at home – protect the NHS – save lives. However, hope is very much on the horizon, now that the mass rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine has begun – we are delighted to hear that local residents have already started to receive their first vaccine dose at the Didcot Civic Hall. The organisers are seeking volunteers to help aid the process – more information and contact details have been posted on the website of the Harwell campus: https://www.harwellhub.com/Jobs/2021/January/Volunteer-Marshals-Needed-for-Covid-19-Vaccination?fbclid=IwAR3oMsz3XzJ-tZsNOsJ78mqeVBd_RNFIZ4iiq8e8ejsF1dke4YZKzmoECaQ
Coronavirus Update and Community Support
Thank you to parish councils and community volunteer groups for all you’re doing to support our efforts to make sure the most vulnerable members of our communities get the support they need through lockdown. Our Community Hub continues to be available to help people access support and essentials during the lockdown if they have nobody else to turn to. With the shielding programme restarting, we’re expecting to see an increase in the amount of support the hub will need to provide. It sometimes takes a day or two for support to reach people, so anybody who thinks they’ll be in need should not wait until they’ve run out of supplies before getting in touch.
To contact the Community Support Team: call: 01235 422 600 Monday to Thursday 8.30-5pm and Fridays 8.30-4.30pm email: email@example.com
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 The Community Hub is not the only support we’re providing to residents. 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 – 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 or call 0345 302 2315.
To help stop the spread of the virus, the councils continue to support Oxfordshire’s local contact tracing team to get in touch with those who have recently tested positive for COVID-19 but have not been reached by the national NHS test and trace system. Those contacted can receive advice, on how to self-isolate and how to access local financial or social support.
The councils Covid Compliance Marshals will also continue to be on duty in our town centres and busy areas to engage, explain and encourage businesses and members of the public to adhere to COVID-19 guidelines to help keep everyone safe.
Rising Covid-19 rates in the Vale
Covid-19 cases continue to rise in Oxfordshire with a total of 3,202 cases reported in the Vale up until 7 January.
The figures below taken from the Government’s coronavirus dashboard are the number of new cases per 100,000 people in the seven days up to and including 3 January, with the week before shown in brackets for comparison. The breakdown of the figures by local authority area is:
The breakdown of the figures by local authority area is:
- Oxford – 551.6 (up from 356.2)
- Cherwell – 947.5 (up from 512.9)
- Vale of White Horse – 444.8 (up from 298.5)
- South Oxfordshire – 563.2 (up from 352.7)
- West Oxfordshire – 459.1 (up from 258.5)
For comparison, the figure for England is 619.1 (up from 429.2). Oxfordshire County Council has an interactive dashboard showing the latest covid-19 figures for the county and the Vale, and graphs like the one below showing the steep rise in cases, largely down to the new more transmissible strain of the virus.
Garden waste collections suspended
Our garden waste service is usually suspended over Christmas and New Year to allow crews to concentrate on household waste collections. Unfortunately, low staffing levels at this time due to Covid-19 has meant the suspension of the garden waste service must continue until further notice. We are also not taking on new garden waste customers at this time. We are sorry for any inconvenience this will cause, particularly for customers who wished to use the service to remove their Christmas trees. However, there are collection points available where all residents can drop off their real Christmas trees for recycling. The details are on these pages. The county council’s Household Waste Recycling Centres are open and also accept garden waste. Details of opening times are on their website here. We will update you when we have more information about the reinstatement of the service.
Covid-19 response councillor grant scheme – still open for applications
Are you directly helping your local community with their Covid-19 response?
Every Councillor has up to £2,000 to make discretionary grants to community groups and other appropriate organisations delivering community initiatives aimed at stopping the spread of the virus, protecting residents and supporting people’s wellbeing, particularly working with vulnerable residents.
Please contact your district councillor directly or email firstname.lastname@example.org to check if they still have any budget remaining and whether your project is eligible under this scheme. You can find the information about your district councillor on our website here. If you’ve already received a Covid-19 grant from your councillor, you may still be able to apply again with a different project or to extend the work that your original grant supported.
Examples of projects include:
- Supporting the delivery of food and/or medication
- Offering an online or telephone befriending service to the elderly / people in social isolation
- Measures to open-up community facilities such as village halls, day centres, local sporting clubs, and playgrounds in a Covid-19 safe way
- Initiatives combatting loneliness and isolation, including volunteer driving schemes
Note from Hayleigh and Sarah – we do have a very limited amount of funding remaining, so please contact us directly if you wish to apply.
We know that this is a particularly hard time for many businesses. Our Business Support team will continue to support businesses over the coming months that have been affected by the restrictions and will provide advice about new grant funding as soon as it comes available locally. Each time the government announces a new grant it can take some time for them to provide us with the specific details we need before we can open the scheme for applications. We are doing our best to open the applications as quickly as possible and appreciate people’s patience while we wait for this information to reach us.
We urge businesses to visit our business support website at www.svbs.co.uk to find out more about the various support and grants available, and sign up to the mailing list, if they haven’t already done so, to ensure they keep up to date with the latest news about the financial support available to them during the ongoing restrictions.
South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse District Councils are currently administering a number of government-funded support grants which cover the periods during national lockdowns and localised tier restrictions, as well as further support for pubs. The website also includes lots of advice for businesses as well as links to further support.
The following grants are currently open for applications from businesses in South Oxfordshire and the Vale of White Horse:
- National Restrictions Support Grant (Closed) – currently available for the national lockdown period 5 November to 1 December – this grant provides up to £3,000 for rate paying businesses only, which were either required to close, or where the substantive element of their business had to close. For instance, if a pub or non-essential shop could only offer a click and collect takeaway service during this time.
- Local Restrictions Support Grant (Closed) – currently available for Tier 2 restriction period 2 December to 25 December 2020 – this grant provides up to £2,751 for rate paying businesses only that were temporarily required to close, or where the substantive element of their business had to close while local restrictions applied.
- Local Restrictions Support Grant (Open) – available for the period from 2 December to 25 December 2020 – this grant provides up to £1,800 for any business from the hospitality, accommodation or leisure sectors that remained open while we were under local Tier 2 restrictions but whose trade was severely impacted during that time.
- Christmas Support Payment for Wet-Led Pubs – this is a one-off grant which provides £1,000 to pubs which receive less than 50 per cent of their income from food sales. Applications for this grant close on 31 January 2021, so please apply as quickly as possible. You can receive this grant in addition to the other grants available.
Tier 4 and national lockdown funding update:
The councils are currently waiting for further information from the government regarding the grant funding for the period from 26 December 2020 (Tier 4 Restrictions) and the new national lockdown from 6 January.
To receive notifications about when these grants become available please subscribe to the South and Vale Business Support newsletter – sign up at svbs.co.uk.
Environmental award for Science Vale cycle route
The Science Vale cycle route from Wantage to Harwell Campus has won “The Green Apple Award for environmental best practices”. The awards are part of an annual campaign to recognise, reward and promote environmental best practice around the world. Construction of this route was completed last month, with the exception of a few remaining bollards and signs, which are scheduled to be completed in the next few weeks. You can find out more about the Oxfordshire Science Vale cycle network on the County Council website.
Cycling – Chilton Road closure to vehicles
Chilton Road is a missing link is an otherwise traffic-free or low-traffic cycle route from Didcot to Harwell Campus and is part the National Cycle Network (NCN) Route 544.
Following feasibility investigations, undertaken thanks to the Department for Transport funding awarded to Sustrans (the Charity making it easier for people to walk and cycle), Oxfordshire County Council (OCC) are proposing to transform Chilton Road into a safe walking, cycling and wheeling environment by re-routing vehicular traffic, from Chilton Road, on to London Road (A417) and Hagbourne Hill.
Whilst the scheme has been progressing and in line with the UK Government’s guidance, we have ‘fast-tracked’ the closure of Chilton Road to vehicular traffic on a temporary basis. The funding was to provide greater space for people to walk, wheel and cycle in line with Covid-19 restrictions. The closure has been in place since 19th August 2020 and has been delivered by a Temporary Traffic Regulation Order (TTRO). The TTRO will remain in place for 18 months.
OCC will be undertaking a formal consultation in the new year to allow for the safe use of Chilton Road for walking, cycling and wheeling with a permanent closure for vehicles. As part of the consultation we will also include the creation of a Toucan crossing on the London Road. The formal consultation will provide an opportunity for residents, stakeholders and the wider public to express their views on the scheme.
At present, we are expecting the consultation to start in the middle of January 2021 and will send out link to consultation to ensure that residents do not miss it.
Planning appeal – Land at A34 Chilton Interchange, Chilton
On Christmas Eve, the planning inspectorate issued their decision on the appeal for the planning application at Land at A34 Chilton Interchange, Chilton (P18/V3052/FUL). The appeal is dismissed and planning permission is refused.
The case can be found here: https://acp.planninginspectorate.gov.uk/ViewCase.aspx?caseid=3244645
“The harm found in this case with regard to the location of the development and the effect on the Council’s strategy for the location of roadside services such as that proposed would not accord with Policy DP19 of the VWHLP P2. I have not been able to identify material considerations of sufficient weight to indicate that the determination of this appeal should be made otherwise than in accordance with the development plan. Accordingly, and having regard to all other matters raised, I conclude that the appeal should be dismissed.”
During the current national lockdown, most of our council services are currently still running, although our leisure centres remain closed and garden waste collections have also been suspended for the next two weeks – more details above. While our front-line services aren’t currently too badly affected, dedicating staff to the pandemic response and supporting our health partners will likely mean we have to ensure our resources are focused on our business-critical services first. We’ll keep you up to date on if this has any impact on our front-line services during what is once again a fast-changing situation.
Renewal applications for taxi drivers
In view of the current situation with Covid-19, the licensing team are prioritising renewal applications for taxi drivers and will not be conducting new driver licence appointments and knowledge tests until further notice. All drivers who had appointments have been contacted and their applications will be processed remotely where possible.
Full council and Climate Emergency Advisory Committee
The last meeting of Full Council was on Wednesday, 9th December, 2020. The agenda papers and draft minutes can be found here. The Climate Emergency Advisory Committee met on 14th Dec, the minutes are not yet published but the agenda can be found here.
Measures to tackle illegal parking could be introduced in the Vale next year following Cabinet approval
Vale of White Horse District Councils’ Cabinet has agreed to move forward with proposals for Civil Parking Enforcement (CPE). The move could see responsibility for parking enforcement transfer from the police to a new team managed by Oxfordshire County Council by the end of 2021.
Enforcement for on-street parking in the Vale is currently carried out by the police, however this can put unnecessary extra pressure on police resources and leave parking problems unresolved as the police focus on more serious crimes.
Local councils can apply to the government to take on powers for Civil Parking Enforcement which allows them to fine motorists who park illegally or drive in bus lanes.
Vale of White Horse District Council has been working alongside Oxfordshire County Council, South Oxfordshire District Council and Cherwell District Council to investigate the feasibility of implementing CPE arrangements within their three districts.
Following approval by their respective Cabinets, the proposals will now move forward and the district councils will ask Oxfordshire County Council to submit a joint CPE application to the government for approval.
If the application is approved by the government, a new team managed by Oxfordshire County Council would be launched to enforce on-street parking. It is hoped that CPE could be introduced in the Vale by the end of 2021. Enforcement for off-street car parks in the Vale will continue to be managed by the district council via its contract with Saba.
Cllr Neil Fawcett, Cabinet Member for Strategic Partnerships and Place at Vale of White Horse District Council, said: “I know road users and pedestrians will welcome the changes to the way in which parking enforcement is carried out with the introduction of this new system. Our proposal for Civil Parking Enforcement follows significant work with the other councils and so I’m very pleased that we have now all agreed to move forward and jointly apply to become a CPE area.”
Census 2021 needs your help
Your help is needed with the Census 2021 – households across Oxfordshire will be asked by the Office of National Statistics to take part in the survey of England and Wales this spring. If you haven’t done so already, please complete this simple survey for town and parish councils in the Vale to inform the Census team about your local needs and resources.
The information from the survey will help the Census organisers understand your communities and key groups that may need support so alternative or adjusted arrangements can be made, as well as identifying any local resources that could be used to help. This year the Census will be “digital first”. All households will receive a letter in early March with a unique access code, allowing them to complete the questionnaire on 21 March on their computers, phones or tablets. For some residents, this will make things easier, but we understand that for others it could be challenging and so there is a paper option for people unable to do it online.
The Insight and Policy team are the link for the councils so you can email the team at email@example.com if you have any questions.
Appendix D PCSO Report
From the 1st September 2020 – 7th January 2021
I have looked at crimes of note for Blewbury and one of interest is the burglary to the service station in December. Enquiries are ongoing into this.
The issues mentioned about the criminal damage to the gallops were in the Blewbury area.
Locally over the past few months there have been reports of hare coursing and poaching both during the day and the night. We have been conducting various operations to target this activity and will continue to do so. Arrests have been made and vehicles and dogs have been seized with some of the dogs being rehomed.
During the end of last year there were some issues with vehicles using the Ridgeway and restricted byways in an anti-social manner and some have caused criminal damage to the private gallops. We have issued several Sec. 59 warnings to some of these people which means that if they or the vehicle is used in anti-social manner the vehicle can be seized.
In light of the new national lockdown due to the pandemic there have been lots of people visiting the local beauty spots for their daily exercise. There have been some occasions where parked vehicles have been targeted and broken into. So please if you do visit any of these areas do not leave anything on display!
If anyone has any issues or concerns that they wish to inform me about please feel free to email me.