Blewbury Parish Council Minutes February 2021
In attendance: – Cllrs C Lakeland (CL/Chairman), M Penington (MP), M Jacobs (MJ), J Gibson (JG), V Humphries (VH), P Kilroe (PK), M Blythe (MB), M Shayler (MS), L Inglis (LI). E Cooper (EC/Clerk). County Cllr M Fox-Davies (MF-D). D Johnston MP.
1. Apologies for absence
District Councillors H Gascoigne, S Medley
2. Declarations of interests relating to this meeting
- County Councillor’s report (see Appendix B below)
MF-D left the meeting at 8.07pm.
4. District Councillor’s report (see Appendix C below)
5. Lengthman’s report (see Appendix A below)
DH reported a small issue with the KAP bridge slide platform which he would address. Also the cemetery
kissing gate post would be replaced. In the summer he would look at cleaning the (new) lych gate.
- PCSO report (see Appendix D below)
7. Open Forum
To receive representations from members of the public if present.
David Johnston MP joined the meeting & answered questions from councillors (see Appendix E below). DJ
left the meeting at 8.07pm.
- Approve previous minutes
Minutes of the BPC meeting 13th January 2021
Council unanimously approved previous minutes as a true record.
9. Outstanding Actions from previous meetings and any matters arising
Confirm whether actions are cleared, carried forward or cancelled.
|No.||Actions from February meeting||When by|
|1.||DH to address wooden platform issues on bridge platform at KAP||ASAP|
|2.||DH to replace kissing gate post at cemetery||ASAP|
|3.||DH to look at new lych gate & assess cleaning requirements||Mch meeting|
|4.||PK & JG to authorise payments through Lloyds Bank||11.2.21|
|5.||Clerk to contact PCSO re speed watch||Mch meeting|
|6.||CL to look at addendum to Lease (OCC/VH) following changes regarding the school.||Mch meeting|
|7.||MJ to continue endeavours regarding spraying signage||Mch meeting|
|8.||JG to include in Bulletin entry explanatory difference between Bridleways, Byways & Footpaths.||Next Bulletin entry|
|9.||VH to look at CPRE article on 8. above (Countryside Code?) & post online||Mch meeting|
|10.||CL to prepare a proposal on the clearing of the cemetery footpaths in consultation with DH & MS||Mch meeting|
|11.||Clerk to look at Heather Way sign to see if remedial work is required||Mch meeting|
|12.||Clerk to place order for two new noticeboards||ASAP|
|No.||Actions from January meeting||When by|
|1.||JG to obtain costs for remedial work at KAP.||Ongoing|
|3.||HG to check Valley Park Planning – Care Home versus Allotments?||Carried f’wd|
|2.||HG to find out if S106 & CIL funds can be combined.||Actioned|
|5.||CL to apply for grant for non-use of clubhouse (if applicable)||Actioned|
|6.||CL to send details of decarbonisation scheme to MP||Actioned|
|7.||CL to respond to ‘wilding’ enquirer||Actioned|
|8.||Clerk to chase for date for Velux Windows work||Actioned|
10. Planning Committee Report & Ratify/Agree Planning Responses
10.1 To ratify council responses to planning consultations
10.1.1 P20/V3300/HH Meliaha, Chapel Lane, Blewbury
BPC agreed no objections.
10.1.2 P20/V3327/FUL Tennis Courts, Recreation Ground, Bohams Rd, Blewbury
Installation of 8m green steel floodlighting columns etc.
BPC agreed no objections.
10.1.3 P20/V1580/HH Amendment 1 – 4 Chailey Gardens, Blewbury
Change garage in to accommodation.
BPC agreed no objections.
10.2 Agree the council’s response to the following consultation
10.2.1 P21/V0141/HH Beorg Lodge, Bessels Way, Blewbury
Combination greenhouse & shed. Brick base, timber frame greenhouse, brick based, timber
BPC agreed no objections.
10.3 Planning permissions received during the month
P20/V3122/HH Pembroke, Westbrook St, Blewbury. Permission granted 25.1.21.
P19/V3253/FUL Rumseys Barn Appeal. Appeal granted January 2021.
11. Update on Finance & Administration
11.1 To agree in principle to the purchase of two new noticeboards, (one for the PC, one for the VH) at
Council agreed to the purchase of the two new noticeboards. Clerk to place order.
11.2 To formally agree to appoint IAC as the council’s internal auditor for 2020/21.
Council unanimously agreed.
11.3 To receive any updates on contributions planned expenditure (S106, CIL, CPF, SBRR).
CL confirmed that S106 & CIL funds could be combined. Also no bids for S106 money currently
being accepted. Do qualify for SBBR Covid-19 grant c£2k for clubhouse.
11.4 To 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.
11.5 To approve payments to be made under ancillary powers and within budgeted amounts.
Cllrs JG & PK agreed to authorise payments online.
Description / Power to spend
|E Cooper / D Hollick||
Clerk & Lengthman’s salary and expenses for December
(LGA1972 s112(2)) Corrected from £778.37 on agenda.
|NEST DD||Clerk’s pension January (LGPSR2013 (SI2013/2356)||£71.33|
|HMRC||PAYE Clerk & Lengthman payment January (LGA1972 s112(2))||£197.23|
|Biffa Waste Services Ltd DD||Waste services January (LGA1972 s137)||
|BT DD||Clubhouse line rental January (LGA1972 s137)||£35.04|
|Kit Davis (Master Thatchers)||
Cob Wall repairs (LGA 1972 s137)
Paid 25.01.21, to be ratified
|Scottish Power||Clubhouse electricity (estimate) ((LGA1972 s137)||£23.11|
|SSE||Scout Hut electricity (LGA1972 s137)||£2.53cr|
|Home Start Oxfordshire||
(LGA 1972 s137)
|11.01.21||MacDonald Giles Stone Masons||£75.00|
11.6 To ratify the Blewbury Parish Council Training & Development Plan (issued by email 03.02.21)
Council unanimously agreed to ratify the training & Development Plan.
12. Update on the Village Hall Refurbishment & VHEMC
12.1 Update on relationship with Blewbury Primary School
VHEMC will meet with the school governors re the relationship between the school & the village
hall. The Oxford Diocesan Schools Trust now runs the school. The lease with the OCC will
require an amendment relating to the school. CL to action.
12.2 Minor outstanding works have been carried out by SpringBuild. There is no new on the final
settlement with MD Group.
13. Recreation Ground / Clubhouse
13.1 Update from the Clubhouse Working Group
13.1.1 Clubhouse electrics remedial work
LI confirmed electrician unavailable as yet to carry out work.
CL confirmed could not switch on the heating to carry out a trial on usage/cost.
13.1.2 Scottish Power continuity of supply & options
CL confirmed that the current contract ends in April. He is looking at alternative suppliers.
13.1.3 Velux window repairs
Contractor to confirm a date w/b 22.2.21
13.2 Update on Tickers Folly Field recreation ground and car park
Following an email regarding a loose puppy in the play area, council agreed the control of all dogs
was the responsibility of their owners & whilst constantly under review, no action would be taken at
14. Risk Management
14.1 Update on village play spaces (TFF / KAP) relating to risk
DH to repair platform on climbing frame.
14.2 Any other updates on Management of Risk
14.3 Update on Compliance
The Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA 2018) continues to apply.
The ICO will remain the independent supervisory body regarding the UK’s data protection
The principles of the EU GDPR have been incorporated in UK Data Protection law.
14.4 Latest advice on COVID-19 response
As per updates from both the County & District Councils.
15. Update on any issues relating to the Environment
15.1 Update from Sustainable Blewbury (if available)
Efforts are being made by a land owner to prevent vehicles from accessing the Ridgeway.
MJ continues to make efforts to speak to Ed Hall regarding signage for spraying.
15.2 Update on the OGB & ONPA
No update on OGB or ONPA. LI mentioned Oxfordshire Open Thought was moving on to the next
stage of working towards the county Plan 2050 & invited council to view and comment further on
15.3 Any other issues relating to the environment
An increase in litter left in the chalk pit was reported.
16. Update on any issues relating to Footways, Footpaths, rights of way and open spaces
16.1 Update on Footpaths in general
16.1.1 JG to include in Bulletin entry explanatory difference between Bridleways, Byways &
16.1.2 VH to check CPRE article on Countryside Code & publish online.
16.1.3 MB stated that land edged in orange on OS maps was ‘open access land’ giving a right of way
for all to use.
16.1.4 Council agreed not to appeal the decision on FP19.
16.2 Update from the Cob Wall Committee
All current remedial work completed.
16.3 Update on any other issues relating to the above
Clearing of cemetery footpaths – CL to discuss with MS & DH & prepare a proposal for next meeting
VH stated a road sign for Heather Way had appeared. Clerk to investigate.
17. Update on any issues relating to roads, road safety and public transport
17.1 Ratify the Council’s decision not to submit a combined response from the council to the
consultation on the closure of Chilton Road, Upton
17.2 Any matters relating to local roads
CL had reported the state of part of Bridus Way to Fix My Street. This already has a priority to be
18.1 Confirm there are no outstanding consultations
19. Date of the next meeting of the Council
Full council meeting Wednesday 10th March at 7.30pm via an e-conference system.
The meeting finished at 21.21.
LENGTHMAN’S REPORT – JANUARY 2020
Nothing to report except wet conditions everywhere. Also smart meter fitted in the Scout Hut.
REPORT BLEWBURY PARISH COUNCIL FEBRUARY 2021
FROM CLLR MIKE FOX-DAVIES
For the week ending 29 January, there were 1,311 new confirmed cases in Oxfordshire, compared with 2,045 the previous week, a reduction of 36 per cent.
The current weekly rate in Oxfordshire is 189.5 per 100,000 people, which is more than double the rate of 83.7 per 100,000 recorded for the week ending 4 December. Case numbers are being driven by the highly infectious new UK variant, which accounts for 90 per cent of new cases in Oxfordshire, compared with 2 per cent in November.
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 22 January) across the county and its five districts.
Cases of COVID-19 by district
|Area name||Cases in 7 days up to 22/01||Rate per 100,000 population||Cases in 7 days up to 29/01||Rate per 100,000 population|
|Vale of White Horse||337||247.8||206||151.5|
There is now a COVID-19 dashboard on our website where you can access daily COVID-19 statistics
24 vaccination centers are now operational across the county. This includes 21 GP-led local vaccination sites, two hospital hubs – the Churchill Hospital and the Warneford Hospital – and the mass vaccination centre at the Kassam Stadium. Residents aged 75 and over are being contacted by letter and phone via the national booking system to make an appointment for their first vaccination at the Kassam. The centre opened its doors last week, to members of the public who have a booked appointment and it will be open seven days a week, from 8am to 8pm.
To support the new centre at the Kassam, our transport teams have worked with Oxford Bus Company and Stagecoach to enhance services and provide crucial daily links every half an hour to the stadium. The revised timetable started on Monday 1 February from 6.25am (7.30am on Saturday and Sunday) to 8pm, seven days a week for up to six months. This will be through the Oxford Bus Company city 3A and Stagecoach 3A services. The services will also be extended to serve Oxford rail station and Cowley Centre via Greater Leys and Blackbird Leys, to further improve connectivity to the centre.
Winter Support Grant available until the end of March
Please remind residents and community groups in your division that financial help is still available for people struggling to feed their families or heat their homes this winter as a result of the pandemic. Together, the county council, the district / City councils and Citizens Advice are offering support to vulnerable residents through a Winter Support Grant. Oxfordshire was awarded £400,000 by the government in December to fund the cost of food, electricity, heating and other essential items, and the financial help is available for households to claim by 31 March 2021.
For assistance, contact : Vale of White Horse : whitehorsedc.gov.uk/winter-grant
Households with children can claim up to £350, while those without children can receive up to £175. Funding is providing through supermarket vouchers and/or to cover costs for pre-payment meters, or to make sure that a heating or water bill is paid. The council teams administering the scheme will carry out appropriate eligibility checks. Please note that if someone has received a food voucher from a previous scheme, they may also be eligible for the Winter Support Grant.
Rain and snowfall have led to higher river levels than normal in Oxfordshire over a prolonged period of time this winter. This means that watercourses are very sensitive to the further rainfall that is forecast in the county in the coming days and we know this will be of concern to communities. Our flooding news page provides a range of links to important information to help Oxfordshire residents monitor the situation. The Oxfordshire flooding toolkit gives advice to residents, business and landowners on how to prepare and respond to flooding.
The rest of the report is focussed on the County Council Budget proposals for 2021/22
FRONTLINE SERVICES GIVEN PROTECTION WITH NEW INVESTMENTS
Frontline services are being given high levels of protection and new investment as part of OCC’s budget proposals for 2021/22. This includes a proposed 1.99% rise in basic council tax rise, plus an extra 1% specifically for adult social care, making a total of 2.99%.
The council’s Cabinet met on 19 January and formally proposed the budget ahead of the annual meeting of all 63 county councillors on 9 February when the budget will be agreed and set.
Next year and beyond, the council is committing to strengthening its approach towards climate action, an enhanced focus on addressing inequality, developing its youth offer and delivering its COVID-19 recovery strategy.
A total of £19.6m of savings are being proposed in total across all services. £14.6m of these savings were already planned and are centred on the transformation of services to make them more efficient while protecting the frontline.
The council is also dedicated to investing in services that will have positive long-term impact for local communities. The budget proposals reflect this with more than £25m of additional funding included. Some of this funding has been previously agreed but £9.5m of this is newly proposed for 2021/22 to help meet additional demands, including within adult social care.
Each year as part of its budget process the council identifies any new pressures that need to be funded and new priorities. The council needs to meet annual inflation costs and plan for the increase in demand for adult social care due to continued rises in life expectancy and long-term population growth.
Proposed investments include:
A total of £1m long-term funding would be invested in expanding the youth offer in Oxfordshire. A study is due to report in the Spring on the needs of young people and how the wider partnership of the voluntary, community and public services can best provide support. An additional £500,000 of one-off accelerator funding will also be provided to develop sustainable long terms approaches and help tackle the impacts of the pandemic on young people.
- An extra £4m will be added to the adult social care budget for 2021/22. This includes a total of £1.35m for managing risks such as provider sustainability.
- The Better Care Fund (BCF) is a programme spanning both the NHS and local government. It seeks to join up health and care services so that people can manage their own health and wellbeing and live independently in their communities for as long as possible. For 2020/21, the county council agreed with health partners that £1.2m of the improved BCF for Oxfordshire would be used to support activities agreed to deliver better outcomes over the winter period in the county. However, it was one-off funding. The council is proposing to continue the funding for 2021/22, which would be used to support measures to help people be discharged from hospital and enable new ways of working and better outcomes for residents.
- The number of adults of working age with physical disabilities has increased in 2020/21 and there are forecast overspends for both care at home and for residential care. While this is being managed within pooled resources between the NHS and council in 2020/21, it is not anticipated that this can be maintained in the longer run. Pending a review of the needs and activity for these service users, £750,000 has been proposed to support expenditure on assessed care needs from 2021/22.
- OCC has been part of a joint partnership to procure and manage services for single homeless people in Oxfordshire since it was formed in 2017. A further one-off contribution to the partnership of £500,000 was included in the budget, with £250,000 of this allocated for 2020/21 and the same in 2021/22. The council is proposing to continue the council’s support for the partnership from 2022/23.
- During the period of the pandemic, more people have chosen to take up drugs and alcohol residential rehabilitation services and this has led to the council proposal to put £50,000 more into existing services.
- An extra £400,000 is proposed for highway maintenance focused on additional resource for vegetation and drainage clearance plus supporting the roll out of a trial currently being undertaken enabling parish councils to implement 20mph schemes in their villages.
- A £300,000 fund to support innovative community-developed projects and activities that improve people’s health and wellbeing in Oxfordshire is proposed. A total of £150,000 of this will be new funding and £150,000 will come from existing public health budgets.
- An extra £330,000 will be invested into children’s services on increasing early intervention services, increasing the skill base of children’s social care workers and special educational needs related services.
- A total of £100,000 would be invested in issues linked to digital exclusion.
- A total of £81,000 would be invested in domestic violence services and £150,000 into apprenticeships.
Some of the proposed savings at the start of this year’s budget are listed below. The council does not set its final budget until February 2021. These proposals may change once further financial information is received from the government and consultation responses from the public have been considered.
- The council proposes to carry out more checks to make sure companies who have been granted permits to carry out roadworks finish on time. This will ensure that late finishers are fined (up to £10,000 per day). This should generate £225,000 in 2021/22.
- The council is carrying out a review of its winter service. This would save £100,000. This would not change the current network of roads treated and there would be no change for the winter of 2020/21.
- For adults with care support needs, the council intends to focus on maximising the use of existing contracted capacity and looking at creative ways to meet needs at a lower cost. This would be done while also helping residents to live as independently as possible. It is anticipated that it will be possible to save £1m (around 1 per cent of the total budget) in each of the adults with care and support needs and Better Care Fund pooled budgets in 2021/22.
- A £430,000 increase was planned in the waste management budget in 2021/22 due to the forecast rise in the number of homes in the county. It was expected this would to lead to more waste. However, new homes have not been built at the predicted pace and this investment can be deferred beyond 2021/22.
- A set of projects are underway to focus on outcomes for children the county council cares for to improve the ability to meet their needs through local placements, particularly children with complex needs. This includes two projects – one looking at providing the right type of foster placements for children and the other looking at the provision of small residential homes (two to three beds). The aim is to be able to provide the placements within Oxfordshire wherever possible. This would save £1.02m.
- Funding was originally allocated for growth in demand for school transport, based on new build housing. However, housing hasn’t been developed as quickly as anticipated. As such the council can save £700,000 in 2021/22.
- The county council will benefit from £1.66m of savings it has been able to make through the retendering of its insurance contract. This is based on an analysis of amounts that have been required in recent years.
- Based on activity in 2020/21 and looking forward to longer-lasting changed ways of working in 2021/22, the council estimates it will be able to save £750,000 on staff travel budgets and £100,000 on printing. This would be closely monitored throughout the year.
- The county council’s property team will save £1.95m in 2021/22 rising to £3.3m in 2022/23. The focus in 2021/22 will be on joint working with Cherwell District Council to blend the two property teams and jointly find more efficient ways of working.
The council’s annual net budget in 2020/21 is £474.6m. In 2021/22, taking into account all savings and investments, it is currently forecast to be £485m.
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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 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 contact the Community Support Team: call: 01235 422 600 Monday to Thursday 8.30-5pm and Fridays 8.30-4.30pm
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
Winter Support Grant Scheme
There has already been a lot of demand for the new Winter Support Grant Scheme that the councils launched in January. This grant is available for any families or households across the districts who need help to buy food and/or heat their homes this winter. Even if they have had vouchers from a previous scheme, they can access more through this grant to help provide a meal for their family.
Residents can contact their local accredited Advice Centre (see details below) to discuss their needs. The centre can arrange payments that could be a combination of supermarket vouchers, top up fuel vouchers (for those with prepayment meters) or direct payment of fuel bills. The Winter Support Grant scheme will close on 31 March 2021.
In the Vale of White Horse residents can contact either:
The Citizens Advice Centre on 0300 3309042 or via their website:
Wantage Independent Advice Centre 01235 765348 and visit their website:
Covid-19 rates across Oxfordshire
Oxfordshire cases of Covid-19 are continuing to decrease, but at a much slower rate than they increased. These numbers are still significantly higher than they were in December. The latest weekly Covid-19 rate for South Oxfordshire in 142.2 cases per 100,000 population, and 151.5 in the Vale. With our hospitals remaining under tremendous pressure the message continues to be – cases may be dropping but people should continue to follow the rules closely and to keep themselves and their families safe. A reminder that residents can also refer to Oxfordshire County Council’s new interactive dashboard showing the latest covid-19 figures for the county and the Vale.
Vaccinations in Oxfordshire latest
Invited members of the public over the age of 75 have begun receiving their jabs at the community vaccination centre at the Kassam Stadium. Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the centre, began the roll out of public appointments having initially used the location to vaccinate priority frontline patient-facing NHS staff first.
Whilst the message from our health colleagues is that the roll out has been running smoothly, they have asked for everyone’s help in reiterating to residents that appointments are by invitation only and not to turn up to the stadium without a booking.
The vaccinations that are being delivered via GP surgeries and other healthcare locations in Oxfordshire are also progressing well and on track to meet their milestones. So far Oxfordshire is not experiencing any issues with nonattendance.
The councils are all sharing messages to encourage people to get the vaccine, along with warnings against vaccination complacency. The science currently shows that it is likely people who have had one or both parts of the vaccination can still spread the virus to other members of the public, even thought they’re more protected against contracting the disease themselves. This means that anybody who has had the vaccination must still adhere to the lockdown rules and all social distancing measures, including wearing masks where required. We’re also working with our colleagues across Oxfordshire to see what we can do to help increase take up of the vaccine among our BAME communities, as there are national concerns that those communities might include groups less likely to get vaccinated.
Mobile Testing Units for those with symptoms
To test people with symptoms, the Mobile Testing Units continue to rotate around various locations in the county.
They are for pre-booked appointments only and will be at Milton Park and on Dalton Barracks in February. This is for your information only. Testing at these sites is only available for people with symptoms, so anyone with a high temperature, a new continuous cough, or a loss or change to their sense of smell or taste, should book a test at nhs.uk/coronavirus or by calling 119.For information on booking tests see the current DHSC guidance.
Garden waste collections suspended
We are still currently unable to resume our garden waste collections. We may have good news for you next week, although this is dependent on us having fewer staff shortages than we currently have. We’ve had to delay the restart of the service as many of our bin crews are off sick or are having to self-isolate due to COVID-19. In the meantime, we’ll provide a weekly update on our website. Please help us spread the updates about our garden waste service in your communities, particularly using any channels you have for reaching residents you have for reaching residents you have that don’t have internet access. This will help us get the message out to as many people as possible.
Business support during the pandemic
We continue to 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.
Christmas Support Payments (Wet-led pubs) deadline extended!
The application deadline for the Christmas Support Payment for wet-led pubs that have been severely impacted over the Christmas period due to temporary local restrictions has been extended by a month to 28 February 2021. This one-off grant provides £1,000 to pubs that receive less than 50 per cent of their income from food sales. Please encourage businesses who have not yet applied to do so via www.svbs.co.uk
Additional Restrictions Grants for businesses – The latest Additional Restrictions Grant scheme for businesses is now open for applications. This is the discretionary scheme to provide financial support to businesses who have been excluded or unsuccessful from other government grant schemes. processing applications on a first come, first served basis, so please encourage businesses to apply immediately. To find out if they’re eligible and to apply for the grant, local business owners should visit the Additional Restrictions Grant page of our business support website.
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The decision to approve or refuse the Valley Park Planning Application will be made at the Vale of White Horse District Council Planning Committee next Tuesday, 16th February at 6.00pm. The YouTube link to watch the meeting, and agenda papers (including the planning officers’ recommendation report) are all on the following page:
As your ward councillors, we (Hayleigh and Sarah) will be allocated time at the meeting to speak on the application, so please let us know if there is anything specific you would like us to raise. We will do our best to represent the views of the community, although please be aware that we will only have a short time slot in which to speak. We are very aware of residents’ concerns relating to the proposed design for the 5-arm roundabout, and we have been lobbying Oxfordshire County Council to push for further changes, as this is within their remit. As a result of this, a report on the engineering constraints around the roundabout design has been published on the planning application see the document 10219 TN32 Rv0 – Southern Roundabout Cycle Facilities DRAFT.pdf in the folder 2020-12-14 Revised Plans on the Planning Application.
Cycling Chilton Road closure to vehicles
Last month we provided information about the background of the closure of Chilton road to vehicles, and gave notice of a formal consultation on this to come. The consultation has now opened and can be accessed on the link below. As stated on the notice, any objections or other representations on the proposal should be submitted by Friday 19th February 2021:
2021/2022 Budget at Full council 10th February
The next meeting of Full Council is o Wednesday 10th February the agenda and link for viewing online can be found at http://democratic.whitehorsedc.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=108&MId=2722
The key agenda item for discussion will be the proposed budget for 2021/2022. The council is setting out budget plans which protect front line services, continue to support local residents and businesses through the pandemic and help stabilise the council’s finances for the medium term. The proposed budget would result in an increase of less than 10p per week on Band D Council Tax. Annual council tax will be £141.69 for services provided by the district council, up from £136.69 this year. The Vale currently has the 15th lowest council tax in the country for a shire district and significantly lower than the national average of £194.22.
Since the pandemic began, the district council has re-allocated significant resources in order to provide vital support for residents and businesses across the district. This has included: administering more than 3,300 Covid-19 grant payments to local businesses totalling £21 million. We provided the new Community Support Hub, supporting 5,208 vulnerable residents, including providing direct assistance for 785 people. It is currently expected that this work will need to continue well into 2021. The council’s income also remains significantly affected by the Covid-19 restrictions.
Like many councils, the Vale still faces significant financial challenges which have been caused by years of reduced funding from government, and the lack of clarity about the future of local authority financing. Along with the other Oxfordshire councils, the Vale has repeatedly called on the government to urgently provide additional funding to help ensure the future of vital public services.
To see the full press release on the budget proposals, please visit
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First tenant moves into new housing project for homeless people in southern Oxfordshire
A former rough sleeper has started the new year by moving into a new home thanks to a new housing project for homeless people in southern Oxfordshire. Six new long-term homes have been provided for former rough sleepers in the south of the county and following the success of a pilot project called ‘Housing First’ run by South Oxfordshire District Council and Soha Housing in partnership with Aspire Oxfordshire. Housing First offers former rough sleepers with complex needs the opportunity to be rapidly rehoused into suitable accommodation where they receive intensive and long-term support provided by Aspire Oxfordshire. To see the full press release, please visit
£240,000 for newt conservation
Developments in South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse districts have generated £240,000 over three years to help create new great crested newt habitats. The great crested newts are a European protected species, and so far, 13 developments (five in South and eight in Vale) have been authorised by our councils, which has resulted in 23 high quality ponds and 116 hectares of terrestrial habitat. Great crested newts are a European protected species.
The councils have a Natural England licence allowing us to authorise developers to undertake work that may impact the newts in exchange for the developer investing in off-site compensation schemes, monitoring and long-term habitat management.
Councils launch a dog fouling awareness campaign
Vale of White Horse and South Oxfordshire district councils have put together dog fouling maps of local towns and villages showing the areas with the highest number of complaints about owners not picking up after their animals. Using the maps, the councils want to highlight the issue of dog fouling and remind owners that it is an offence for a person in control of a dog an owner or dog walker – not to clean up immediately if the dog has fouled on public land. a £50 fixed penalty notice to someone who fails to clean up after their dog. If the case goes to court this could cost the owner or person in charge of the animal up to £1,000.
Low carbon leisure centres
We’ve applied for a government grant of £ 361746 to make Faringdon leisure centre more environmentally friendly. With £52,000 of Section 106 funding already in place, the grant would mean we can fully meet the cost of £413,746. If the grant application is successful, we’ll fully refurbish the heating system, replacing the gas boilers with air source heat pumps. The pumps will be powered by new solar panels. We’re looking at other sources of funding to carry out similar projects at other leisure centres.
Government response to funding letter
In early November, Oxfordshire council leaders wrote a joint letter to Robert Jenrick MP, calling for better financial support in light of the pandemic and the pre-Christmas lockdown. As well as Covid-19 responses, the letter asked the government to ensure there is enough funding for council to provide their day-to-day services for communities in the longer term. We have received a response from Luke Hall MP, the Minister for Regional Growth and Local Government. The Vale of White Horse District Council has also responded to the governments consultation on Covid-19 funding in 2021-2022, highlighting that the proposed funding is insufficient.
Government consultation on National Planning Policy Framework revisions
Government is seeking people’s views on draft revisions to the National Planning Policy Framework and views on the draft National Model Design Code. Please submit your comments directly using the above link by 27 March.
Among the changes, the government is looking to incorporate feedback from a report about the use of high quality design for new developments. It is also looking to update the code that informs how we make and review documents like design guides.
District Councillor Report Blewbury Parish Council Wednesday 10th February 2021
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Right to Regenerate consultation
MHCLG sent a press release out at the weekend about new proposals to help communities to turn derelict buildings into homes, businesses or community assets. The ‘Right to Regenerate’ proposals say they would make it easier to challenge councils and other public organisations to release land for redevelopment helping communities make use of public land and bring unused buildings back into use. The consultation can be found here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/right-to-regenerate-reform-of-the-right-to-contest and will close on 13 March.
Anyone for (table) tennis?
With an eye on getting the public up and active once lockdown is over, we’re working with Table Tennis England to promote some funding available to town and parish councils. Table Tennis England will match-fund town and parish council investment in tables and equipment in locations that already have table tennis clubs, organised activities, or where they can demonstrate a community need.
If you think your parish would benefit, why not get in touch with our Leisure Development Officer, who can help them apply. Contact Cath Dale via email or call 07801 203551.
Regarding crime in the Village, there is little to report.
We have still had some issues with people “off roading” along the Ridgeway and on some occasions accessing private land. We have been and continue to work with the local landowners who have and are target hardening their property to restrict access as much as possible.
We have been patrolling and responding to calls about this activity. Some of these people have been dealt with by having their vehicles seized, reported for criminal damage and several Covid breech tickets have also been issued. We will be continuing to patrol the area.
Wantage and Grove Neighbourhood Police Team
Non emergency number: 101
David Johnston MP Questions & answers
- Planning for the Future Document progress?
- MHCLG does not want to see NDPs disappear. DJ thinks worries on NDPs will prove unfounded in the end.
There should be local area design codes.
‘Building beautifully’ to be defined.
Intention to protect ANOBs (no housing at all?)
BPC – planning system is not the problem. Developers sat on land with planning approval.
- Houses should be built with decent size rooms & to quality standards.
- Eco aspects are being addressed.
Space considerations are contentious & more complicated.
- Cycle paths – require landowners to agree to give land for cycle paths if to pursue this objective.
- DJ to make this point at Transport Committee.
- Green Homes Grants Scheme – extended to March 2022. Geared towards new properties, not old, too
superficial. Also traders in short supply – have to join trade body & pas on cost to client. LI stated 2/3rds
UK houses pre 1919 & must be properly dealt with.
- DJ to take away.
- New builds – why aren’t net zero given priority?
- A development at Southmoor was given as a good green example. DJ to push government on issue.
Other comments from BPC:-
There should be legislation in house space standards.
Planning controls for solar panels should be removed.