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Minutes of the Blewbury Parish Council (BPC) meeting held at 7.30pm on Wednesday 9th June 2021 in the Blewbury Village Hall.

In attendance:- Cllrs D Mathias (DM), V Humphries (VH), M Penington (MP), J Gibson (JG), M Shayler (MS), L Inglis (LI), M Jacobs (MJ), P Kilroe (PK), M Blythe (MB). E Cooper (Clerk/EC). County Cllr S Povolotsky, District Cllr H Gascoigne.

1.     To elect a chairman

MP proposed DM to be chairman, seconded by VH & all were in favour. DM is duly elected to be the Chairman until the next annual meeting.

2.     To receive apologies for absence

MB sent apologies in advance as he would be 15 minutes late.

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

JG declared her expenses.

4.     To receive the County Councillor & District Councillor Reports

      4.1 County Councillor’s report (see Appendix B below)

SP stated her intention to instigate 1:1s with PC Chairs at least quarterly.

4.2 District Councillor’s report (see Appendix C below)

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

DH reported that matting needs to be replaced & there is some A frame rot.

DH also confirmed that he will now carry out weekly fire alarm tests.

6.   To receive a report from the PCSO

None this month. Clerk to speak to PCSO regarding potential 6-monthly in person updates.

SP stated that the PC Commissioner lives in Steventon. Any concerns should be reported via 101 or logged on the TVP web site.

7.   Open Forum

No members of the public were present.

8.   To approve previous minutes

Minutes of the BPC annual meeting held on 12th May 2021 were agreed as a true record.

9.  To report on 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. Clerk to examine IA feedback & report to council. July meet
2. Clerk to provide DM with tree survey & work done to date. Actioned.
3. Clerk to speak to PCSO re meeting attendance July meet
4. LI to report on clubhouse heating efficiencies. July meet
5. MP to liaise with girl’s football contact re use of the facilities. July meet
6. Clerk to issue letter of engagement to party carrying out clubhouse cleaning. Actioned.
7. PK, MP, JG to meet to discuss job description for administrator for Clubhouse bookings & all this involves July meet
8. LI to include in next Bulletin note on resident’s overgrowing vegetation affecting roads & footpaths Actioned
No. Actions from May meeting When by
2.

Clerk to send invoice to OCC contact.

 

Action cancelled
3. PK to establish what contribution may be required for booking administration. Actioned
4. EC to source Clubhouse keys for MP & PK. Actioned
5. LI to arrange for a specialist to view the workings of the Clubhouse & advise on operational options accordingly, in conjunction with DH & MB (plus MP & DM if available). Actioned

 

No. Actions from April meeting When by
8. MP to send previous report on Cleve to MJ. Actioned
No. Actions from March meeting When By
9. DH & MS to discuss options for the clearing of the cemetery footpaths Sat 12/6

 

10.   To hear the Planning Committee Report & Ratify/Agree Planning Responses

10.1 To agree BPC’s response to the following consultations

10.1.1 OCC reference MW.0072/21 Chilton Recycling Facility

To allow time limited operations to continue to 31st December 2032

Deadline 24.6.21

BPC agreed no objections.

10.1.2 P21/V1397/HH Hoofprints, Bessels Way, Blewbury

Proposed rear & roof extensions.

Deadline 18.6.21

BPC agreed no objections.

10.1.3 BPC agreed for the following planning consultation to be included:-

P21/V1324/HH Winterbrok Farm, Bessels Way, Blewbury

Erection of pool outbuilding over existing pool.

Deadline 30.6.21

BPC agreed no objections.

10.2 To note planning permissions received during the month

10.2.1 P21/V0537/HH Lyvennet, Bessels Way, Blewbury.

Permission granted 12.5.21.

10.2.2 P21/V0652/HH 7 Millbrook Close, Blewbury

Permission granted 11.5.21

10.2.3 P21/V0646//FUL Huntsgrave Farm, Woodway Road, Blewbury

                          Permission granted 18.5.21

10.2.4 P21/V0801/HH 32 Eastfields, Blewbury

Permission granted 11.5.21

10.2.5 P21/V1029/HH The Bungalow, South Street

Permission granted 1.6.21

11.    To hear an update on Finance & Administration

11.1 To receive any updates on contributions planned expenditure (S106, CIL, CPF, SBRR).

Other than CIL money being used for KAP work, no other updates.

11.2 To approve end of month reconciliations for Lloyds & Barclays banks.

Sent in advance of the meeting to the Chairman. These were approved & signed at the meeting.

11.3 To agree authorisers for this month’s payments

All three signatories to share the authorisations to ensure procedure work for all three.

11.4 To approve payments to be made under the general power of competence and within budgeted amounts.

 

PAYEE

Description / Power to spend

Amount

E Cooper /

D Hollick

Clerk & Lengthman’s salary and expenses for May

 

£1785.23
NEST DD Clerk’s pension May £78.67
HMRC PAYE Clerk & Lengthman May £199.04
Biffa Waste Services Ltd DD Waste services May

£95.95

 

BT DD Clubhouse line rental June £37.20
Scottish Power DD Clubhouse electricity

£142.98

 

Chandlers Parts Parts (paid to be ratified) £52.53
Pear Technology Cemetery mapping software annual fee £102.00
Radii Skate ramp annual inspection (paid to be ratified) £425.00
SSE DD Scout hut electricity £30.33
Jane Gibson Expenses (clubhouse sundries) £79.47
OALC DM Course £120.00
BHEMC Hall booking June 21 £27.50
VoWHDC DD Annual subscription for garden waste service for 26.5.21 – 25.5.22 51.50
Total   £3,227.40

 

Major Receipts

Description

Amount

24.05.21

Village Hall refurbishment account with Barclays closed & funds transferred to Lloyds.

£42,952.80

13.05.21

Corderoy memorial

£75.00

Total   £43,027.80

 

11.5 To hear an update on the audit process for 2020/21

11.5.1 Internal audit conclusion

The Clerk confirmed that the internal audit was complete & reports received just prior to the meeting. Nothing major had been highlighted prior to the receipt of the reports & these                    would be looked at in more detail & reported to council accordingly. Action Clerk

11.5.2 Approval of all audit documentation to be signed & forwarded to the external auditor, Moore Stephens.

11.5.2.1 BPC received copies of audit documentation ahead of the meeting & agreed unanimously to accept the information as presented in the annual Governance                                   Statement & Accounting Statements for 2020-21.

11.5.2.2 Confirm Notice of Public Rights publication dates of 11.6.21-22.7.21 (must include first 10 working days of July)

Duly confirmed & agreed by all present.

11.6 To confirm the renewal of appointees to the United Charities

Appointments of Sheila Loy & Jackie Maguire to be extended for 3 years to May 2024.

BPC unanimously agreed. Clerk to confirm to United Charities.

Clerk’s note:- Clerk subsequently informed that J Maguire had resigned as a trustee.

12.    To receive an update on the Village Hall Refurbishment & VHEMC

JG confirmed that the hall was in use, although small snags remained, & final invoices were outstanding.

The parish council wished to record it’s huge thanks to all of those involved in the refurbishment process for their continued hard work in bringing it all to a successful conclusion.

13.    Clubhouse & recreation ground

13.1 To receive an update from the Clubhouse Working Group

13.1.1 Clubhouse open for use update

Bookings for use of the Melland Room &/or sports facilities are being made.

An approach was made by a girl’s football club for use of the facilities. MP to liaise with contact.

13.1.2 To agree appointment of weekly cleaner, hours & hourly rate

BPC formally agreed to the appointment of a cleaner for the Clubhouse for 2 hours a  week at an agreed rate. Clerk to issue Letter of Engagement accordingly.

13.1.3 All other clubhouse considerations

13.1.3.1 The flood damaged fire detector has been replaced. The assessor confirmed that out of pocket expenses equalled the policy excess, so there is nothing for the council to pay.

13.1.3.2 PK, MP, JG to meet to discuss job description for administrator for Clubhouse bookings & all this involves.

13.1.3.3 LI reported that an electrician & an eco-heating specialist had been asked to gather information about how eco-friendly the existing heating system is & how it may be                                run more efficiently in future.

14.    TFF & car park

14.1 To receive an update on Tickers Folly Field recreation ground & car park

See Lengthman’s report.

15.    Risk Management & Compliance

15.1 To receive an update on village recreation & play spaces relating to risk

Nothing to report other than that reported under other points.

15.2 To hear any other updates on Management of Risk

Nothing to report.

15.3 To receive an update on Compliance

Nothing to report.

15.4 To discuss the latest guidance on COVID-19 & how this may affect the council.

CC & DC COVID related updates issued during the month & included in monthly reports below.

16.   To receive an update on any issues relating to the Environment

16.1 To receive an update from Sustainable Blewbury

MJ reported that is SB organising litter pick at 2pm on Saturday 12th May starting at the Pound.

MJ recommended a meeting with J Ogden & MB re Cleeve support.

MJ is organising a visit to an organic farm run by Helen Browning (CEO of the Soil Association).

Anyone wishing to attend should contact MJ.

16.2 To receive an update on the OGB & ONPA

No update.

16.3 To hear any other issues relating to the environment

None reported.

17.   To receive an update on any issues relating to Footways, Footpaths, rights of way and open spaces

17.1 To agree a policy for camping in the Chalk Pits this summer

LI to include guidance on the use of the Chalk Pits for camping in the next Bulletin.

17.2 To agree to issue a notice to all Blewbury residents regarding any overgrowing vegetation from properties affecting footpaths & roads

LI to include guidance with respect to resident’s overgrowing vegetation in the next Bulletin

17.3 To agree a new councillor responsible for the tree survey work

DM asked the Clerk for copies of the tree survey & work done to date.

18.   To receive an update on any issues relating to roads, road safety and public transport

No update. MB asked that this item be removed from future agendas & BPC agreed. Issues can be raised under risk management if necessary.

19.   To receive an update on any outstanding consultations

None.               

20.   To set the date/venue of the next meeting(s) of BPC

Full council meeting on Wednesday 14th July at 7.30pm in the main hall of the village hall.

The meeting finished at 9.10pm.

Appendix A

Lengthman’s Report – May 2021  

Very busy month with grass growing like mad.

All footpaths are in good condition.

Cemetery is in good order except for the paths.

KAP play area is good and should be re-painted starting at the end of July.

TFF play area has a couple of issues but nothing serious. There is considerable wear to the grass area after the very wet weather.

I have had to replace a broken light on the tractor and also a drive belt on the Ferris mower. All equipment is running well.

There are not any problems with the buildings.

Recreation ground is now being used by the cricket club on a regular basis.

David 

 

Appendix B 

Focus on Parishes with Cllr Sally Povolotsky (Hendreds & Harwell) June 2021

Welcome to my monthly update. Going forward I will be sharing a regular update in the first week of every month. In the interests of transparency and sharing good ideas I will be sharing this update publicly as well as with parish councils in Hendreds & Harwell division, as well as snippets on my Facebook and Councillor Website. I believe change and transparency is needed in local and national politics, and I will be organising a 1:1 with all Parish Council chairs. The purpose is we will have a quarterly catch up and also I will copy all Chairs and Clerks into officer emails / escalations / communications on specific ‘RED LIST’ issues so that if I should be unavailable for any reason your empowered with contacts and data to help move things forwards. Also on a matter of ‘process’ please just call me Sally, time for formalities to end.

In May I got to attend the Blewbury, Upton and Harwell Council meetings but sadly due to the timescales on the election and count I missed the others. My regular local meetings will be…(as well as the OCC meeting schedule) Monthly Parish Council Meetings – Monthly Sustainable Harwell, Blewbury and HUGS meetings as well as Hendreds Environment Group and Ardington Toad / Wildlife Group. – Monthly Great Western Park Residents Association & Rowstock Residents Group – Monthly Hendreds & Harwell Youth Assembly – LAUNCH 6th June 2021 If there are meetings you would like to request my presence please get in touch: sally.povolotsky@oxfordshire.gov.uk **************************************************************************

OCC news: Lib-Dems and Greens form alliance with Labour: Following the spectacular results of the May elections to Oxfordshire County Council, the Lib-Dems and Greens have formed a single political group, with 24 seats in total in the council chamber. Together with the support of Labour, we have formed the Oxfordshire Fair Deal Alliance and form a majority administration. Liz Leffman, Lib Dem, has been selected as leader of the council. Please note there is still an outstanding disputed seat in Banbury given incorrectly, this is now being raised at Electoral Court. Cllr Sally Povolotsky focused on serving residents: As a first time councillor I have chosen not to put myself forward for a cabinet position and focus all attention on serving the residents of Hendreds & Harwell division, given the huge amount of work needed locally and the Valley Park development. As part of the Oxfordshire Fair Deal Alliance I am sitting on the Performance Scruitiny Committee and also am the delegated Spokesperson for Climate / Environment Councillor Priority Fund now open: Applications to the Councillor Priority Fund are now open. This is a fund of £15,000 to be used over two years on projects in Hendreds & Harwell division. My approach to using this fund will be to encourage applications early and spend the money as soon as possible. I see no point in eking out the fund over two years when it can be doing good in the community now. Sadly this used to be annual, but the previous budget approval has meant a change in priority funding, we hope this will change at the next budget and I have made my thoughts clear about the importance of this for grass roots organisations and groups to the Cabinet Member for Finance. PUBLIC HEALTH / COVID Please see attached Vaccine Report Fire & Rescue – please see attached report **************************************************************************

Parish round up Not all parishes are covered – below are the main updates I have received / been working on. More parishes will be added as I attend meetings next month. Rowstock • Noise / Vibration / Traffic: I have received many emails from concerned residents around the issues in and around Rowstock, I have also met with several residents to discuss this in person. The Priority points for now are

1) Milton Park Interchange remove the Harwell Campus sign so all traffic comes through Chilton Sliproad.

2) Need for regular communications between HPC and EHPC, have requested a quarterly residents meeting.

3) Noise and Vibration – speed consultation needed and in areas around the hamlet.

4) Truck Festival concerns (a meeting has been requested by me to the organisers and I will engage Rowstock and Steventon in this.

5) Worries over the ‘Smilies’ and new speed logging devices locally.

Steventon • I really enjoyed my 1:1 with the Chair of Steventon PC and we meet on 1st June, there is a list of outstanding issues, including the ‘Spring Water Leak’ which must take a priority due to the tardiness of resolution and another winter cannot go by as risks of a serious accident.

Highways • State of Highways: I have also had allot of emails around the state of our roads and will be promoting Fix My Street as the first point of call, and also for Parishes to really get behind logging issues on the app / desktop page and even looking for ‘Super Users’ – Harwell has just got its first Super User

Harwell • Harwell Village and Grove Road Speed Changes: At cabinet on Thursday, and checked with HPC and they are happy with the proposal – however I will be asking for a traffic survey / speed survey and to look at enforcement and possible calming measures on Grove Road. 20 is plenty in all our villages and I hope you will join me in trying to get all our villages as safe as we can!

Valley Park • Outstanding Matters: The parish council and other stakeholders and councillors attended a developers meeting about outstanding matters. I felt this was a good start, although compromises will be needed and I await the official Parish and District responses. I held a meeting with OCC Highways over traffic flow concerns and am still pending a copy of the Traffic Audit – as these seem high which makes me wonder on other developments in the next 20-30yrs – I am still trying to explore this.

Traffic Calming • Traffic calming: a Fellow Cllr attended a meeting with the main topic of discussion being an innovative trial of traffic calming measures in Cuxham village that will focus on narrowing the road in certain places with the use of planters and extending verges, and a 20 mile an hour limit. I am following this trial closely to see how other parishes can replicate it within our Division.

Featherbed Lane / Esso Planning: • State of Play: I would advise all residents concerned to discuss with their local District Councillor and to file an objection or a support through the Vale of White Horse Planning Portal – the case is P21/V1171/FUL

Truck Festival • Concerns: I have received several concerns by elderly residents about Truck and Covid transmission risks, I am meeting with organisers next week to discuss. • Congestion and Traffic / Noise: This is also on the list to discuss with organisers next week.

Travellers Incursion • GWP: Last week a group of travellers took up residence on the H&H side of GWP, thanks to some swift team work from residents, the GWPRA, OCC travellers team, myself and the Police, we had enough to get Taylor Wimpy to Evict within 29hours! • Prevention: I am trying to get a meeting with Taylor Wimpy & GWPRA to discuss preventative measures previously bought fords to prevent this weak spot being used again.

Upton • NHS / GP Services: Huge concerns over wait times and lack of provision. The GWP / Valley Park issue was discussed and I am asking for a meeting with the Cabinet Member for Health to look at a roaming service using local village halls / community centres to ease the concerns until new facilities are built, staffed and in use. Please do download the NHS app – this is very handy for e-consult and your Covid vaccine records and pharmacy requests.

  • Nature Garden: I am a huge supporter and as such have advised the group to apply for funding from my priority pot for a Micro Orchard END As I am sure you can imagine there is much more than this, but no one needs War & Peace! Speak soon Sally 

 

Appendix C

Monday 7th June 2021Monthly Parish Update

Vale of White Horse District Councillors

Cllr Hayleigh Gascoigne and Cllr Sarah Medley

Hello from Hayleigh & Sarah

Hello! As lockdown restrictions continue to ease, it has been lovely to see residents out and about enjoying the warmer weather. Great news that local markets and community events are starting up again – in the past month we have enjoyed visiting the Hive Market, seeing the renovations in the Harwellian club and litter picking on Great Western Park. We are delighted by the news that the new tennis courts on Great Western Park are finally open and available to hire through the Boundary Park Sports Association. June is Pride Month, so it is great to see the Boundary Park Pavilion flying the rainbow flag in support of the LGBT+ community.

Remember that Covid-19 still presents a real risk, particularly with the emergence of new variants, so please do keep following the hands – face – space guidance and exercising caution as lockdown restrictions ease. We will use these monthly updates to keep you updated on our activities, general council news and of course the COVID-19 roadmap. We also post regularly on our councillor Facebook Page: Cllrs Hayleigh Gascoigne & Sarah Medley – please do not hesitate to get in touch with any issues or concerns, either via Facebook message or email: hayleigh.gascoigne@whitehorsedc.gov.uk and sarah.medley@whitehorsedc.gov.uk.

COVID-19 Support

Community Support Hub

The last year has been tough for many residents across Oxfordshire due to the pandemic. Households have been hit financially by redundancies and furlough and have found themselves with a day to day struggle to afford food and manage the costs of fuel bills.

We urge any resident struggling financially to contact the councils’ Community Support Hub – details below. The support is there for all households: residents needing help do not have to be in receipt of any government benefits and can be given financial support through this funding more than once. Additionally, any residents struggling to get to their vaccination appointment can contact our community hub team who will work with them to find transport.

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

Residents can also contact

  • Citizens Advice – 0808 278 7907
  • Vale Community Impact – 01235 765348

Cases Data

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

Business Support

A reminder that the Restart Grant is open for applications until 30 June and final payments will be made by 31 July. More info at svbs.co.uk/restart-grant. For more details about the grants available to businesses visit svbs.co.uk.

Safety measures for landowners

It’s important that landowners are up to date with the current Covid safety regulations for hiring out their land now that we’ve reached Step 3 of the government’s roadmap out of lockdown. This includes town and parish councils.

  • Landowners must help ensure that the hirers of their land are fully aware of their roles and responsibilities under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and the current coronavirus regulations.
  • Landowners should refer to the latest version of the working safely sector guidance, which includes ‘visitor economy guidance’ for fairgrounds, events and shows.
  • Event holders and landowners should get in touch with our Licensing team as soon as possible about their planned activities to ensure they are managed in a Covid secure way.
  • Guidance on all types of events and information about the Safety Advisory Group can be found on our websites, along with lots of other useful links and guidance: Vale website / South website
  • Landowners can also get advice for any events held on their land by emailing events@southandvale.gov.uk

Local News

Local Elections May 2021

You can read all the elections results across South Oxfordshire and the Vale, including details of Neighbourhood Plan referendums (all of which were approved by voters), using the following link: whitehorsedc.gov.uk/may2021elections

Sports facility opens on Great Western Park

Boundary Park Sports Association has leased tennis courts and a multi-use games area on Great Western Park from Vale of White Horse district council. The sports association, which looks after Boundary Park opposite the new courts and games area, will be making the new and exciting facilities available to local sports groups and the wider community for various activities and games.

The floodlit fenced courts have various markings outlining four match sized tennis courts and two official netball courts to enable local sports clubs to hire and play their official matches as well as being bookable by residents for tennis.  The games area is marked for a wide range of sports activities including mini tennis, netball, basketball and five-a-side football for community groups and residents to use and hire.

The sports association has also been successful in applying for funds towards floodlights for their grassed pitches at Boundary Park.  Vale of White Horse district council was able to allocate £25,000 using funds from Section 106 contributions from new developments being built in the Harwell, Blewbury and Milton parishes. The new lights are already installed and are helping training sessions take place for the men’s, women’s and junior rugby teams now that national restrictions have eased for organised outdoor sports.  The park’s two training pitches will now be able to be used all year round and will allow the match pitch to be kept in better condition for official matches.

Cllr Hayleigh Gascoigne, Local ward member for Harwell Parish, said: “The new tennis courts and sports area are set to be a very popular facility on Great Western Park and will play a vital role in helping our residents lead active and healthy lifestyles. I can’t wait to see them in use!”

See link for the full press release: https://www.whitehorsedc.gov.uk/uncategorised/sports-facility-opens-on-great-western-park/

Cornerstone Arts Centre to open again to the public

South Oxfordshire District Council is delighted to announce that Cornerstone Arts Centre in Didcot will begin opening to the public again this month and is promising that a fantastic line-up will greet visitors when it’s fully reopened in September – a line-up that the public can help to influence.

The centre’s café bar Nourish will be the first part of the centre to reopen on 21 June with a brand-new menu of locally sourced baked goods and great coffee in a light, open and welcoming space for all the family to enjoy. The council aims to reopen the centre fully on 7 September. As always, audiences can expect first class service and a diverse arts scene on their doorstep in Didcot from September. In the coming months Cornerstone will release a line-up of shows, concerts and events in its theatre, along with plans for its gallery, and returning classes for all ages within the coming months.

In the meantime, the council is calling on everyone who has used the centre in the past, and those that haven’t, to help plan that exciting new programme for the September re-opening. It has launched a public survey inviting everyone for their thoughts on what kind of events they would like to see at the centre and how they would like to use the centre in the future: survey.southandvale.gov.uk/s/CornerstoneArtsCentreSurvey. See link for the full press release: https://www.southoxon.gov.uk/south-oxfordshire-district-council/cornerstone-arts-centre-to-open-again-to-the-public/

Council News

Council Meetings

The AGM of the Vale of White Horse District Council was held in person at 135 Milton Park on Tuesday 18th May. This was the first in-person meeting of Full Council since February 2020, due to the recent legislation change requiring councillors to be present in person in order to vote. However, the meeting is held in a new hybrid format where it is conducted and broadcast online, and members of the public can choose to attend remotely or in person. Councillors can also attend remotely but are not permitted to vote. At the AGM, Cllr Margaret Crick and Cllr Jerry Avery were re-elected as Chair and Vice-chair of the Council. The meeting agenda can be found here. The minutes of the previous meeting on 24th March can be found here.

Vale Scrutiny Committee met virtually on 27th May to review the Performance Management framework for the corporate plan. The papers can be reviewed here.

Members of the public and ward councillors are able to participate in meetings remotely, as well as in person and via written statement. If you wish to speak at any council meeting (full council, cabinet, committees etc), you just need to register in advance with Democratic Services. democratic.services@southandvale.gov.uk

Councils welcome call on climate action

South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse District Councils have welcomed a call from Oxford Friends of the Earth for all Oxfordshire councils to do everything they can to tackle the climate emergency, while highlighting the positive work that is already taking place. Oxford Friends of the Earth published a report entitled ‘In case of emergency…’ that looks at what the six Oxfordshire councils have done in the two years since they all declared a climate emergency.  The report is the first independent analysis of climate action by councils and shows that they have all set ambitious targets and carried out positive work, and that there appears to be genuine commitment to act, but it says more needs to be done if those targets are to be met.

In February 2019 both councils declared a climate emergency and since then have published have new Corporate Plans which put tackling the issue at the forefront of their councils’ work. The Vale launched its own Climate Emergency Advisory Committee, while South Oxfordshire also declared an Ecological Emergency and introduced a Climate and Ecological Emergencies Advisory Committee (CEEAC).

Both councils have set targets to become a carbon neutral council by 2025 for south and by 2030 for Vale, and a carbon neutral district by 2030 and 2045 respective. South Oxfordshire has also published updated Air Quality Guidance for Developers. There are some exciting new projects just around the corner too, both districts are working closely with Oxfordshire County Council on a park and charge scheme which aims to install electric vehicle chargers in the district.

New Community Lottery

The Vale of White Horse District Council’s new lottery, the White Horse Community Lottery will launch in June with a special virtual event. Organisations from the district’s voluntary and community sector will be invited by the council to attend the online event on Monday 14 June to find out how they can benefit from income raised through the Vale’s new community lottery. 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.

Residents can get involved by buying tickets which will cost £1 per week with 50p going towards the player’s chosen local good cause. 10p of the remaining money goes into the central community fund, 20p to the prize fund, 17p towards the administration of the lottery, and 3p on VAT. Proceeds from the White Horse Lottery central community fund will be spent on providing vital support to a wide range of local organisations and community initiatives which have a beneficial impact on the local community.

The first draw for the White Horse Community Lottery will take place in September. Any community groups and charities operating in the Vale of White Horse wanting to register their interest and find out more are being asked to email communityenablement@southandvale.gov.uk.See link for the full press release: https://www.whitehorsedc.gov.uk/vale-of-white-horse-district-council/new-community-lottery-to-launch-in-the-vale-of-white-horse-next-month/

We’d like to say a big “thank you” to all the volunteers across southern Oxfordshire

During the 37th annual Volunteers’ Week, which takes place from the 1-7 June, the leaders of South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse district councils have offered their thanks and gratitude to the thousands of volunteers across both districts ahead of volunteers’ week; highlighting the invaluable contribution volunteers make to community groups and voluntary organisations across South Oxfordshire and the Vale.

This time last year England had started to come out of its first lockdown. Voluntary organisations and community groups had stepped up to help in any way that they could with some people volunteering for the first time. The councils Community Hub team worked with hundreds of volunteers as part of their Covid-19 response co-ordinating emergency food deliveries, collections of prescriptions and providing calls and a voice to speak to for those in need. Many council staff also took on new voluntary roles as part of their Covid-19 response throughout the last year.  Whilst the pandemic has put a spotlight on the work of volunteers and their positive impact on our communities, the councils have worked alongside voluntary groups and organisations across the districts for many years. They are a vital resource to help connect council services to those who are vulnerable and in need.The councils are supporting Oxfordshire’s Covid-19 Heroes awards. The new High Sheriff for Oxfordshire, Imam Monawar Hussain, is inviting award nominations to honour those who have played an important role in the county’s local response to the pandemic. Residents can nominate people via an application form, and the judging will take place in June, with an awards ceremony in July. See link for the full press release: https://www.whitehorsedc.gov.uk/vale-of-white-horse-district-council/wed-like-to-say-a-big-thank-you-to-all-the-volunteers-across-southern-oxfordshire/

HGV drivers needed for bin crews

Like many parts of the UK, the districts are facing a shortage of HGV drivers for their bin crews due to several factors. This is currently affecting a number of rounds in the districts where residents’ waste collections have been disrupted, and so the councils’ waste contractor, Biffa, is on a proactive recruitment drive to prevent it becoming a wider problem. Biffa is currently managing the situation by providing staff the opportunity to work Saturdays and Sundays as overtime to catch up with missed collections, but this is not sustainable in the long term either financially or for the bin crews’ wellbeing. It also inconvenient for residents.See link for the full press release: https://www.whitehorsedc.gov.uk/waste-and-recycling/calling-all-hgv-drivers-we-need-you-to-drive-our-bin-lorries/