Draft Minutes of Meeting 27th November 2017

Minutes of the meeting of Upton Parish Council (UPC) held at 6pm on Monday 27th November 2017 in the village hall meeting room.

Present:- Stuart Fraser (Chairman/SF), Liz Cooper (Clerk/EC), Duncan Reid (DR), Stuart Norman (SN), Cllr J Shelley (JS), Cllr M Fox-Davies (MF-D), Brendan Heneghan (BH) 

  1. Apologies for absence

Apologies were received and accepted in advance from Carl Pettman, Karen Marshall, Cllr Waite and Police Community Support Officer Kirby (PCSO).

  1. Declarations of interest

None recorded.

  1. The following minutes were approved and signed by the Chair:-

– UPCX 12th October 2017

  1. Co-opting of new Parish Councillor

It was resolved that Brendan Heneghan be co-opted as a new Parish Councillor with immediate effect.  

  1. Clerk’s Financial Report

The updated and reconciled cashbook had been circulated in advance of the meeting.

The first draft of the budget for 2018/19 had also been circulated prior to the meeting.  A few minor amendments were discussed and the document would be re-issued for signing off at the January 2018 meeting.

The Transparency Fund application had also been circulated in advance of the meeting. It was agreed that this be completed and signed off.

EC noted that the Precept application form had been received. As the deadline was before the UPC’s meeting in January, EC would apply for an extension.

ACTION EC 

  1. Representations from the public

No members of the public were present at the meeting. 

  1. Reports from District & County Councillors

JS took the UPC through the paper. The UPC noted:-

  • batteries should not be put in recycling bags but kept separate; and
  • free parking dates over the Christmas period had been announced.

MF-D  Discussed his report and confirmed that the A417 Action Group would meet in January.

  1. Report from PCSO

The UPC had received a communication from the PCSO that there had been no crimes of note between 1st September to 27th November.

  1. Communities Fund Application for use in Upton

SN reported that he would prioritise the paperwork, in order that an application could be submitted before the end of the year.

ACTION SN

JS reported that a Community Grant fund might be available in the event that the UPC needed assistance with something specific for the community. SN agreed to look in to this.

ACTION SN 

  1. Litter bins on the Upton Rec.

The Chairman reported that he had successfully arranged for Biffa to add the red bin on the Rec to the collection round. DR reported that this bin needed to be re-secured to the ground. SF agreed to investigate and arrange repairs as necessary.

ACTION SF 

  1. Replacement toddler swings

The UPC agreed the purchase of two new swings for the toddler play area, following the RoSPA report earlier in the year. It was agreed to proceed with the quote, provided by Amazon. However, UPC did not currently have facilities by which to pay for items from Amazon. EC agreed to investigate whether a business account might be set up with Amazon.

ACTION EC

  1. Tree cutting around the Village – SF

It was agreed to carry this item forward to January’s meeting. 

  1. To discuss how changes to the Data Protection Law will affect the PC – Clerk

EC highlighted that new data protection laws would change in May 2018, and might affect UPC. Oxfordshire Association of Local Councils (OALC) would be providing a training course in the near future, after which EC would have more information. 

  1. Right of Way – Safety & Obstruction Concerns

A discussion was held following an email received from an Upton resident concerning the right of way access, across a field that connected with Moor Lane. The resident was concerned that access was being blocked by cattle congregating at two recently erected kissing gates.

SF had viewed the area where the gates were installed and had spoken with Arthur McEwan-James, the County Council Officer for Public Rights of Way.  It was agreed that the gates were not causing an obstruction; the farmer had taken care to install quality gates and signage to help protect both livestock and walkers.  The UPC was pleased the issue had been raised with Oxfordshire County Council (OCC) by the resident as it had resulted in repairs to the wooden bridges along the footpath.  OCC confirmed that no further action was required and the UPC was of the same mind. EC took an action to draft a response to resident.

ACTION EC

  1. Siting of the WW1 Memorial (from the old Methodist Chapel)

SF updated the UPC as to the current status of the re-siting of the WW1 memorial currently situated in the old Methodist chapel.  Discussions were underway as to whether the memorial could be re-sited in either the village hall or St. Mary’s Church. It was believed that the memorial could not be sited outdoors, even under cover, but further investigations would confirm.  DR would update Mr Robinson, the new owner of the Methodist Chapel.

ACTION DR

  1. Chairman’s Statement in relation to Oxford to Cambridge Expressway

The Chairman had issued a comprehensive statement on his own investigation in to the Oxford to Cambridge Expressway. MD-F said that he would keep UPC informed and when any new information became available.

  1. Expenditure

Clerk expenses for the period 19.9.17 to 27.11.19 for £22.30 were approved.

Kalehurst invoice for £59.90 was approved for payment.

  1. AOB

EC stated that three planning applications had been received and agreed to organise a planning meeting prior to the earliest deadline date of 8th December.

ACTION EC

DR advised that certain areas of the play area might require some attention (e.g. zip wire platform, the two towers and the, ball wall). DR / SF agreed to investigate further and report back to the next meeting.

ACTION DR / SF 

It was noted that the pump track required resurfacing.  SF to speak to the organisers of “Uptonogood?” for potential suggestions.  

ACTION SF

Note:- No decisions can be made under AOB. This is for information only or items for the next meeting.

The meeting finished at 7.50pm   

   Date of next meeting:-

   Monday 15th January 2018, 6pm in the village hall meeting room.

APPENDIX TO UPTON PARISH COUNCIL MINUTES OF 27TH NOVEMBER 2017

REPORTS PRODUCED FOR THE MEETING:-

Chairman’s Statement

Oxford to Cambridge Expressway

This statement is to address some of the concerns raised in an article published in the November edition of Upton News entitled “Oxford to Cambridge Expressway”.   There has since been a follow up article on 17th November with more detailed and informed information supplied, some of which may be duplicated in this statement.

As part of my preparation for this document I spoke with representatives of:

  • The District Council (DC) including Matthew Barber, leader of the Vale of White Horse (VOWH) DC, Janet Shelley, our local District Councillor, and James Gagg, Senior Planning Policy Transport Officer for South Oxfordshire District Council (SODC);
  • The County Council (CC) – Mike Fox-Davies, our County Councillor; and
  • The Preservation of Rural England (CPRE) – Michael Tyce – Trustee.

I would like to thank all of the above for their time and openness in sharing their knowledge and opinions with regards to the Oxford to Cambridge Expressway, in particular Mike Fox-Davies, who supplied the Parish Council (PC) with the final presentation to the stakeholder reference group dated October 2017. https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/657244/A1-east-of-england-stakeholder-presentation-oct-2017.pdf

This presentation contains the most recent information available, some of which is referred to and included in this statement.

The map that was published in the first article in Upton News was provided by the CPRE.  It was their interpretation of a map published in June 2017 by the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) as part of an information brief for a competition.  This map is, however, no longer available anywhere on the NIC or dedicated competition websites.

The competition brief was:

What is your vision for future development, and related development typologies, across the Cambridge – Milton Keynes – Oxford growth corridor, which creatively links existing, planned and proposed infrastructure with place making?”

Competitors were encouraged to “form multidisciplinary teams of urban designers; architects; planning, policy and community specialists; landscape designers; development economists; and others with local knowledge and general insight. Submissions from international teams and students were welcome.”

https://competitions.malcolmreading.co.uk/cambridgeoxfordconnection/

If you look at the four short listed finalists of the competition none of them has any detailed routes.  You will also note that the above brief and the shortlisted presentations (if you read/watch them) are a high level overview of the project as a whole through to 2050 and are not considering route specifics.  Rather, they are looking at suitable corridors and infrastructure.

Attention should be drawn to the two maps below as they are currently the maps being discussed at all levels and in most reports.  They were issued by Highways England (HE) and the NIC at the start of the process and continue to be the maps included in the latest briefing presentation to the major stakeholders.  You will note that all routes are to the north of Didcot and do not pass through or near to Upton.

For a clearer image of the maps, click on the above or refer to pages 7 and 41 of the Oxford to Cambridge Expressway Strategic Study, stage 3 report, issued by Highways England in 2016:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/571353/oxford-to-cambridge-expressway-strategic-study-stage-3-report.pdf

You will also find the maps in other reports and documents that are referred to in this statement, including the aforementioned (and most recent) presentation given in October 2017.

The map and documentation contained within the various reports discuss potential corridors, not routes.  The reason for this is to establish which corridor between Oxford and Milton Keynes would be the most suitable for the necessary housing and infrastructure that will be required for such a major project.

There are three corridors marked on the map: blue (option C); purple (option B); and green (option A).  More detailed information can be found in the above linked reports, including the criteria for choosing routes.

Once the corridor has been agreed upon, then the route within that corridor will be the next item for consideration.

The current timeline from corridor-to-route selection is:

  • corridor selection by July 2018;
  • route within selected corridor by July 2019;
  • shortlist of options selected for Public Consultation by Autumn 2019; and
  • preferred route announcement in Autumn 2020.

The DC has commented on a map, below, which it produced with potential routes to the south and west of Oxford.

The following points should be noted with regards to this map.

  • The routes are the VOWH planning officers’ interpretation of potential options rather than firm proposals.
  • The DC is against Routes 3 (nearest to Upton), 4 and 5. The reason for the objection to Route 3 is that it runs through Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).
  • The DC prefers Routes 1 and 2, commenting that Route 2 “would be the least damaging as there were already strategic housing sites and an employment site allocated along this route”.
  • Matthew Barber, leader of the Vale of White Horse District Council, has written to:
    • Lord Adonis, Chairman of the NIC, copying in Sajid Javid MP, Secretary of State for Communities and local Government;
    • Greg Clark MP, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy;
    • Layla Moran MP; and
    • Ed Vaizey MP

voicing the DC’s objections to Routes 3, 4 and 5.

The DC’s position, as stated in the first Upton News article, regarding their favoured route, was based on third party information and was incorrect.  It is now clear that the DC is opposed to Route 3 (nearest to Upton), given that the route would go through an AONB.

For more information on the above comments by the DC, please read the agenda reports pack: item 7 (pages 23-34), and the draft minutes of the VOWH DC Scrutiny Committee meeting held on 26 October 2017.

http://democratic.whitehorsedc.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=103&MId=2375&Ver=4

Mike Fox-Davies, our County Councillor, is also against any route going through Upton, and has offered his help and assistance.  To date, this has included giving the PC a copy of the HE presentation to Stakeholders issued October 2017 mentioned earlier.

During a conversation with Michael Tyce, a Trustee for CPRE, I asked what we can do as a Parish.  His answer was simple, there is nothing we can do at present to influence the route as it is too early in the process.  However, CPRE are pushing for a Public Enquiry and asking people to write to their Member of Parliament (MP) requesting that they support the CPRE’s position.  More information is available on their website, www.cpreoxon.org.uk

It was suggested in the first article in Upton News that a Parish Meeting was needed.  In the follow up article, it was stated that a “Parish meeting would serve no useful purpose at this time”.

I agree fully with this.  At this stage, it is too early in the process to draw any conclusions as to which corridor is going to be chosen, let alone where the final route is likely to go.  That said, should new information become available that shows there is a possibility of a route going through Upton, then a meeting may be sensible at that time.

I am sure you will appreciate that it is very difficult to condense all of the information currently available into a statement of this size, which is why all of the information contained within this document has been supported with a link to the relevant source.  Please note that you may need to download some of the documents if you wish to see the maps in greater detail.  If for any reason a particular link does not work, or you still have concerns, please feel free to contact the PC at ku.oc.egallivnotpunull@licnuoc.hsirap and I will supply a copy of the relevant document or a working link.

It is my sincere hope that the information contained within this report is of use.

Stuart Fraser

Chairman

Upton Parish Council

23rd November 2017

REPORT TO UPTON PARISH COUNCIL NOVEMBER 2017

FROM CLLR MIKE FOX-DAVIES

GENERAL OCC REPORT

THE RACE IS ON FOR DRIVERLESS CARS

News that ground-breaking transport technology being pioneered in Oxfordshire has won a share of a £51million government prize has been welcomed by two council leaders. Oxfordshire is home to Science Vale UK and some world leading science and technology companies who are blazing a trail towards more energy efficient and road safety. Organisations based in the Science Vale are working on pioneering projects such as autonomous cars and smart traffic management systems needed to support people travelling around the county. Remote Applications in Challenging Environments (RACE), which is based at Culham Science Centre in Oxfordshire, is to receive £6.9m from the Department of Transport towards their £10million project to set up a range of different test areas mimicking increasingly realistic city driving environments, where automated vehicles can be tested before being taken onto public roads. They are one of a number of companies that Oxfordshire County Council and South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse District Councils works with to drive progress on future transport technology.

APPLY ONLINE FOR PRIMARY SCHOOL PLACES

Applications for children due to start primary school in September 2018 can now be made online. Families with children born between 1 September 2013 and 31 August 2014 are urged to visit the primary school admissions pages on the county council’s website to find out how to apply for places for next year. The council still accepts postal applications but recommends families apply online where possible, as this helps speed up the applications process. It also means families receive an automatic response confirming their application has been received and can be quickly notified if further information is needed. Those who apply online will also receive an email on allocation day, 16 April 2018, informing them of the outcome of their application. Postal application forms are available from all Oxfordshire schools and from reception at County Hall in Oxford.

SNIFFING OUT ILLEGAL TOBACCO

Oxfordshire County Council is launching a series of events to tackle sellers of illegal tobacco. Trading Standards Officers and sniffer dogs will take to the streets to ask for the public’s help and crack down on this criminal activity. The council also aims to educate the public about how to spot illegal tobacco, what the dangers are, and how to report sales. The Illegal Tobacco Roadshow will start in Banbury and go around the county. Illegal tobacco makes it easier for children to start smoking, as it is sold at cheap prices, and it also makes communities more attractive to criminals, who may have links to organised crime groups. Reports suggest that illegal tobacco is an important part of Organised Criminal Groups’ portfolios. Far from being a victimless crime, this illicit trade is connected to drug trafficking, money laundering, firearms and other crimes that threaten communities and endanger lives. Pocket money prices pose threat to children and communities. Anyone wishing to report the selling of illegal tobacco can do so anonymously online to Trading Standards at www.stop-illegal-tobacco.co.uk or call the Illegal Tobacco Hotline on 0300 999 6 999. For more information check: http://www.stop-illegal-tobacco.co.uk/

HELP SOMEONE GET ONLINE – BE A DIGITAL HELPER AT YOUR LOCAL LIBRARY

Oxfordshire County Council recently launched a campaign to recruit ‘digital helpers’ in libraries to boost the confidence and skills of those who need extra help to get online. Volunteers able to give up just a few hours a week are being sought at branches across the county to provide one-to-one support for people with little or no experience of using computers or the internet. The aim of the campaign is to help people:

  • access services online – including council services
  • access employment or training opportunities
  • become more independent
  • reduce isolation

To find out more or to sign up as a Digital Helper visit: www.oxfordshire.gov.uk/digitalhelper

OXFORD’S NEW WESTGATE CENTRE OPENS

Traders welcomed a bumper weekend at Oxford’s new Westgate as thousands of people packed the shopping centre on its first weekend in operation. Shops and restaurant chains said interest from customers had exceeded expectations, with business more brisk than at any other opening they had experienced. Some 60 out of 125 shops and restaurants at the £440m shopping centre opened on Tuesday 24th October, with others opening since, and thousands of people took advantage of their first opportunity to have a look around. Councils, transport operators and Westgate have been working closely on a coordinating travel plans aimed at making it as easy as possible to visit the Westgate and minimising journey times into the heart of Oxford. The best way to travel into the city centre is to use the park and rides or public transport wherever possible. New variable message signs have been installed on the outskirts of Oxfordshire to update people on space availability on the park and ride sites nearby and to direct them there. There are also temporary signs within the ring road which give directions, for those who have chosen not to use the park and rides, to city centre and Westgate. There’s more information on travelling to the Westgate at:

https://westgateoxford.co.uk/your-visit/getting-here

Upton Parish Council

District Notes for Parish Councillors on Monday, 27th November 2017

from Cllr Janet Shelley & Cllr Reg Waite

-Apologies:

Reg Waite sends his apologies for non-attendance as he is on annual leave.

Enforcement Investigations:

VE17/496 – The Gate House, Reading Road, Upton OX11 9HP

Reported: 24 August 2017

Alleged breach: Breach of conditions 3 & 5 on planning application P16/V1903/FUL (tree protection and turning area).

Case Officer: Zoe Spring

Site visits: 21 September 17 and 5 October 17

6 week target date – 5 October 17.   12 week target date – 16 November 17.

Still under investigation.

VE17/279 – The Gate House, Reading Road, Upton OX11 9HP

Reported: 22 May 2017

Alleged breach: Landscaping not in accordance with the approved plans for P16/V1903/FUL.

Case Officer: Clare Merritt

Site visited: 12 June 2017.

Case now closed.   Decision:  No breach.

VE17/160 – Plot 29, Warren Place, Upton

Reported: 30 March 2017

Alleged breach: Without planning permission the material change of use of land for residential purposes.

Case Officer: Susannah Mangion

Site visited: 5 April 2017 and 1 May 2017.

6 week target date – 11 May 2017.   12 week target date – 22 May 2017.

Case closed: Voluntary compliance.  Expected to be cleared by end of 2017.  However gate to site is unlocked; children and young people have visited creating increased rubbish; considered to be health and safety issue.  Reported to Susannah Mangion.

Didcot Garden Town – an exciting opportunity to get involved:

Please note the following sessions organised for 21st November were postponed but will be re-scheduled in the New Year.

However, please register your interest in attending in due course and do not hesitate to notify formation of a working group or becoming a member of one.

The Didcot Garden Town team is asking residents, businesses and community group leaders to join and become actively involved in shaping the whole garden town area.

The exciting opportunity comes out of the garden town delivery plan’s unique governance structure which includes the chance for people, groups and individuals with an interest in the area, to participate and form various working groups.  We are inviting local people, groups and businesses from Didcot and surrounding villages, to advise on where community facilities such as open spaces and new pathways are introduced to support the housing and population growth expected as well as other community led initiatives.

You can find out more information on how to join the working groups by registering to attend a presentation on 21 November at Cornerstone Arts Centre, Didcot.  The event will have two sessions 12 – 2pm and 6.30 – 8.30pm.

Working groups will be formed for different sectors within the garden town plans such as environment, leisure and culture, science and innovation, education and health.  They will be self-directing with their ideas and suggestions helping to form the garden town strategy.

To register your interest in attending one of the sessions on 21 November, please email ku.oc.nwotnedragtocdidnull@ofni or call 01235 422473 by 14 November.

More information can be found in the Didcot Garden Town Delivery Plan at www.didcotgardentown.co.uk .

 ‘Don’t bin your batteries’ call following waste and recycling truck fires:

Residents in South Oxfordshire and the Vale of White Horse have been urged not to put batteries or other items which could cause a fire in their waste or recycling wheelie bin.

Recently two small fires started in rubbish while it was being transported in waste and recycling trucks.  Both were potentially very dangerous incidents to the crews, other road users and pedestrians.  They also caused delays to collections and could have resulted in significant damage.

The first incident took place while a waste truck was travelling on the A417 in Wantage.  The crew were escorted to a layby by two fire engines where they emptied part of the load so the fire service could extinguish the fire.

The second fire was detected in a recycling load collected in Radley. The fire service attended as crews tipped the load at Biffa’s depot in Culham.  A gas canister was found in the load meaning that, had the fire spread, it could have exploded causing significant damage or injury.

The fires were caused by items residents had put in their bins, most likely to have been standard lithium-ion batteries – like the ones found in most mobile phones.

Batteries should be put in a clear plastic bag and left on top of the green recycling bin, while small electrical items (that may also contain batteries), can be put out in a carrier bag alongside the grey refuse bin for separate collection.

If you need to throw out electrical equipment or batteries don’t put them in either of your wheelie bins.  Please check on our websites or give Biffa a call on 03000 610610 if you are unsure what to do.

Underpass revamped at Milton Park:

Work leading to the reopening of a disused underpass on the edge of Milton Park is now in its final stages, with the next phase of the project set to be completed this month.

The redevelopment of Backhill Tunnel – adjacent to the A4130 in west Didcot – will firstly see a pedestrian and cycle link beneath the existing railway embankment, linking the A-road into Milton Park.

The County Council will now undertake the final phases of works with pedestrian and cycle connections west along the A4130 towards Milton Gate. The final element of the project will see the creation of a crossing for pedestrians and cyclists across the A4130, adjacent to the tunnel.

The completion of the tunnel will enable several thousand people based at Milton Park, to either cycle or walk to-and-from work. In turn, this will reduce demand on the road network and support more healthy, active residents.

The tunnel will give workers at Milton Park better access to amenities on Milton Gate, including the recently announced four star Milton Marriott hotel which is due to open in summer 2018.

Local Plan Part 2 consultation completed:

Vale of White Horse District Council published part 2 of its Local Plan and invited residents’ comments by 22 November.

The comments will now be submitted along with the Plan to the Secretary of State in the New Year.  It will then be examined by a planning inspector later next year.

The council adopted part one of the Plan in 2016, which deals with the main strategic housing sites for the district, and identifies the main infrastructure that would be needed to support the new communities.  Part 2 deals with more detailed policies the council will use to decide planning applications over the life of the Plan.

This is a more technical stage of the process and the planning inspector will give more weight to comments based on the technical “soundness” of the Plan – the council has created a short video and a guidance note to explain what this means, to help residents provide effective comments.

The Plan, video, guidance notes and details on how to comment were available at www.whitehorsedc.gov.uk/LPP2

Business action plan launched:

More support will be provided to the small and medium businesses in our district thanks to the Vale4Business action plan.

The economic development team launched the action plan at their first forum, which was attended by more than over 30 local businesses and education providers.

Please keep your eyes on the Vale’s website for further announcements.

Woman fined for running a pet shop without a licence:

A woman from Ashbury in the Vale of White Horse has been ordered to pay £1,630 after being found guilty of running a pet shop without a licence.

Helen Moorey, 55, of Idstone Road, Ashbury, appeared at Oxford Magistrates’ Court on Thursday 2 November when she was found guilty of breaching Section 1 of the Pet Animals Act 1951.

In court six witnesses gave evidence that Ms Moorey had been involved with puppy sales between August 2016 and May 2017.  Given the frequency that puppies were available for sale, and the fact Moorey refused to let anyone into her property to allow them to meet the puppies’ mother, it was clear this was a commercial operation and would therefore have required a licence.

Ms Moorey, who had previously refused to be interviewed under caution, did not provide any evidence at the trial.

In sentencing the District Judge took Ms Moorey’s limited means into account, along with other recent convictions for fraud relating to the sale of puppies, for which she was serving a prison sentencing.  He ordered her to pay a fine of £600, a victim surcharge of £30 and a contribution towards prosecution costs of £1,000.

The case was prosecuted in court by Vale of White Horse District Council following an animal welfare complaint investigation by the council’s Environmental Protection Team.

The Vale takes the welfare of animals very seriously.  It is extremely important that anyone who makes a living from their sale is properly licensed and maintains the standards required.  Our environmental health officers will not hesitate to take action against anyone who is suspected of flouting the law in this way.

Jail for man who fly-tipped twice on the same day:

A man has been sentenced to eight weeks in prison after admitting carrying out two fly-tips in Oxfordshire on the same day.

Paul John Tidbury, 29, of Burchell Road, Newbury, appeared at Oxford Magistrates’ Court on Friday 3 November when he pleaded guilty to two offences of breaching the Environmental Protection Act 1990.

The District Judge heard how, on 4 October 2016, a PCSO witnessed Mr Tidbury dumping building sand in East Challow at the site of the former Challow Country Club.  The vehicle used to dump the rubbish, a white transit van, was stopped the same day in Wantage. Environment enforcement officers at Vale of White Horse District Council were then called to investigate and Mr Tidbury admitted being responsible for the waste and of failing to have the required waste carriers licence.

Police then received a report of a fly-tip off Bury Lane near Chilton.  This time the incident had been captured on CCTV which had been set up by a landowner who had experienced ongoing issues with the crime.  The footage, recorded on 4 October, the same day as the East Challow fly-tip, showed the same van being used to dump similar rubbish.

Details of the second case were then passed to district council’s enforcement officers to investigate.

In an interview under caution Mr Tidbury confirmed that he was the person seen in the CCTV footage and that it was his van.  He also accepted dumping some of the material found at the site.

Following a number of adjournments, Paul Tidbury finally appeared in court on Friday 3 November when he was sentenced to eight weeks in prison for each offence, to be served concurrently.  He was also ordered to pay £200 costs and a victim surcharge of £115.

This was the first time that someone has been jailed for fly-tipping in the Vale of White Horse.

Fly-tipping is a serious crime which costs significant public money to clean up and investigate.  This deliberate act spoils many rural areas and is potentially dangerous for any person or animal who comes into contact with it.

The Vale works very hard to tackle fly-tipping and will not hesitate to prosecute anyone we suspect is committing this crime.  I also urge people to keep an eye out and report fly-tips and anyone they believe might be involved with illegally dumping rubbish.”

If you suspect that someone is involved with fly-tipping please contact 01235 422403.

Waste update:

Households will receive the bags to encourage separating leftover food from general waste and to promote that people can use plastic bags to line their caddies rather than having to purchase special bags.

Christmas street celebrations – our recycling officers are attending the Didcot Street Fayre on 30 November and Abingdon’s Christmas Extravaganza on 2 December to provide residents with further information on how and what they can recycle.

Tour of energy recovery facility – the Vale has arranged a tour of the energy recovery facility at Ardley on 13 December at 10.30am – 12.30pm.  The facility produces enough electricity to power 38,000 homes by burning the waste from our grey bins.

If you would like to go along to the tour and find out how it’s done, please let Reg know.

Christmas parking update:

Motorists in South Oxfordshire and the Vale of White Horse can park for free in district council car parks on selected days in the run up to Christmas. The annual free parking tradition is provided by South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse District Councils to encourage people to shop locally for their Christmas presents.   The free parking days allocated to each area are agreed with the individual town councils depending on which day would best suit local traders. Free Christmas parking days also means people don’t have to pay to park if they wish to catch up with friends and family in the great pubs, cafés and restaurants found across southern Oxfordshire’s towns during the festive period.

Drivers will be able to park for free in South and Vale car parks on the following days up to 24 December:

  • Abingdon – Saturdays from 2 December
  • Didcot – Fridays from 1 December
  • Faringdon – Saturdays from 2 December
  • Goring – Tuesdays and Saturdays from 28 November
  • Henley – Tuesdays from 5 December
  • Thame – Saturdays from 2 December
  • Wallingford – Thursdays from 30 November
  • Wantage – Fridays from 1 November.

On the above days there’s no need to display a ticket. Free parking days give people that extra incentive to spend more time in their local shopping area and also helps to encourage visitors from elsewhere. We already offer periods of free parking at certain times in our car parks however we are keen for people to visit our local independent shops and make the most of their nearest town centre in the run up to Christmas. We have a great selection of independent shops offering very different and original gifts which would make the perfect Christmas present.  We already offer two hours free parking each day but in the run up to Christmas we want to make it even easier for people to shop locally. In Abingdon we will also be opening the Charter multi-storey cark park on Sundays so there’s more parking available in the town centre – this will initially be run on a trial period during December until Christmas.

For details on parking in southern Oxfordshire visit southoxon.gov.uk/parking or whitehorsedc.gov.uk/parking.

 

JS & RWW 22 November 2017

Record Poppy Collection

A huge thank you to everybody for your generous donations to the recent Poppy Appeal. We collected a record amount in Upton, £531. 88, which is an amazing amount for a small village. None of this would be possible without the band of collectors, who brave all weathers to cover as many houses as possible, a very special thank you to each and everyone of you.

Helen Weston. ( Poppy Appeal Organiser, Upton)

Plea from Edna Napper

Some years back I lent 4 volumes of books called “Didcot and Villages. Peoples Photographs” to Henry Bucknell. Sadly they were not found when his house was cleared. I have since discovered that they were passed on to friends of his, one of whom has kindly returned volume 2 to me. Unfortunately this is the only one still in print.

If anyone has volumes 1.3.or4 could they kindly let Yvonne Collins (01235-850989) have them. I shall be extremely grateful to get them back as there is so much of my family history there, going back to the 1800s.

Sincerely – Edna  Napper

 

Blewbury Post Office Information

We are having some new equipment installed on 26th September, so we are expecting to be closed between 9am and 11.30am.

We will be CLOSED on Wednesday 25th October.

The last posting dates for surface Christmas mail are, 27th September to the Far East, Australia and New Zealand, mid-October for the Americas, Canada and Asia, and late October for Europe and BFPO’s, we have lots of leaflets, or information is available on the Royal Mail website.

New “Star Wars” stamps will be on sale on 11th October. New £10 notes have started to come in. The old style “round pound” coins cease to be legal tender on October 15th, we will still take them if you find any lurking in a jar!

Please note that we do not accept post after our official LAT, (Last Acceptance Time), this is 4.30pm or 11.30am on our half days, (although the official time given is 9.30am on half days), this is the time that our postman calls to collect, not the time we close.

The last 15 minutes of every day is very busy for us, we do like to leave on time, at 12 noon or 5pm, we don’t get paid any overtime whatsoever, so please don’t come in at the last minute with eleventy billion parcels!

Karen & Maggie

News from Blewbury Post Office

We will be closed for the Bank Holiday on Monday 28th August, any allowances paid on that day, will be available on the Friday before.

Pretty new stamps include “Landmark Buildings” and “Classic Children’s Toys”, while sometime in September, we will have “Ladybird Books”.

We will also continue to accept any old style £5 notes, we have until October for the old £1 coins!

Sadly, this is the month that our lovely Angela flies away to a new life in Canada, I thank her for her hard work and dedication to our village life, (and for coming to work in the post office too of course), I wish her every success, and hope we get to see her in the future!

I have managed to coax Maggie from Upton to come back to work on Mondays so I can have a day off, and to cover for my holidays!

Karen & Angela

September Events at Earth Trust

More information about the events listed below can be found on our website www.earthtrust.org.uk.  All events take place at the Earth Trust, Little Wittenham, OX14 4QZ unless otherwise stated.

Discover and Play – Friday 1st September, 10am-12pm

Forest School for the under-5s. Join us for a morning of play and discovery in our woodlands. £4 suggested donation per child, accompanying adult(s) free. 

Sunday Drop-in: Fantastic Foraging – Sunday 3rd September, 10am-1pm

Drop in to find out what food is growing around the Earth Trust Centre and learn what yummy things you can cook over the campfire. £4 suggested donation per child, accompanying adult(s) free.

Drawing from Nature – Sunday 3rd September, 2pm-5pm

Take a walk around Little Wittenham Wood with your sketchbook and get top tips on how to perfect your drawings from artist Gareth Lloyd an Oxford-based artist working primarily in pencil and paint. His work is typically based around endangered and protected species, and he welcomes the opportunity to work with conservation organisations to help preserve the animal kingdom through art

£20; booking essential: 01865 407792 or online at www.earthtrust.org.uk/whatson (incurs a booking fee).

Bat Walk – Saturday 9th September, 8.30pm-10pm

A guided walk with the addition of bat detectors to find out more about these marvellous mammals. £6 per adult, £3 per child; booking essential: 01865 407792 or online at www.earthtrust.org.uk/whatson (incurs a booking fee).

Children’s Fun Run – Sunday 10th September, 10am start

A 1km race around the Wittenham Clumps for kids! Please register online and bring a donation on the day. £2 suggested donation per child, accompanying adult(s) free.

10k Run – Sunday 10th September, 11am start

After a break last year we’re pleased to announce that the 2017 10K Run will take place on Sunday 10th September.

The Earth Trust 10K is a unique cross-country run that meanders through wildflower meadows, woodland, farmland, along the Thames and ends with a challenging hike up (and down!) the iconic Wittenham Clumps.

Whether you’re a seasoned athlete, a novice runner taking on their first race or a Nordic walker looking for a new challenge, all are welcome!

This is a chip-timed race. Advance entry: £15 adult, £12 child (aged 14-17). On the day entry: £18 adult, £15 child (aged 14-17).

Wildlife Photography Walk – Saturday 16th September, 8am-10am

Join photographer Andrew Walmsley for a morning stroll around the nature reserve. Check out our beginner and intermediate workshops too. £20; booking essential: 01865 407792 or online at www.earthtrust.org.uk/whatson (incurs a booking fee).

Foraging Walk – Sunday 24th September, 11am-3pm

Discover the autumn bounty in the local area and use what you find to make something delicious. £17; booking essential: 01865 407792 or online at www.earthtrust.org.uk/whatson (incurs a booking fee).

 

Improve your Computing Skills at Astons Online

Astons Online is a free-of-charge drop-in workshop for the residents of Astons, Blewbury, Chilton, Cholsey, Goring, the Moretons, Streatley and Upton aimed at improving your online skills and keeping you safe using the internet. The next meeting is Tuesday August 15th from 10.00am to 12.00pm in Astons Village Hall.

You’ll find a warm welcome, the atmosphere is friendly, engaging and inclusive. Astons Online is the place to bring any problems you may have using your computer, tablet, smartphone, email or browsing the internet.

On our website we have our Broadband and Home Wifi guide to help you make the best of your Internet service. Astons Online is in the ‘Community and Services’ section of www.theastons.net  You’ll also find the Thames Valley Police “Little Book of Cyber Scams” on our pages to help you avoid on-line fraudsters.

Contact us using moc.liamgnull@enilnosnotsaeht  or Tel. 07780 958249

Whats on at Earth Trust in August

All events take place at the Earth Trust, Little Wittenham, OX14 4QZ unless otherwise stated. More information can be found on the Earth Trust website www.earthtrust.org.uk

Pond Dipping – Sunday 6th August 10.00am-1.00pm

Using nets and trays, get a closer look at the creatures that live in our pond.

Woodland Adventure – Tuesday 8th August 10.00am-12.00pm

An expedition for 5-8 year olds to explore, build and play in the woods.

Night Safari – Tuesday 8th August 8.00pm-10.00pm

A night-time expedition to discover Wallingford Castle Meadow’s wildlife.

Wildlife Wednesday – Wednesday 9th August 10.00am-12.00pm

Play and learn about your local wildlife at Wallingford Castle Meadows .

Little Explorers – Thursdays 10th and 31st August 10.00am-11.30am

Sensory buggy/sling walk for babies and toddlers.

Discover and Play – Friday 11th August 10.00am-12.00pm

Forest School for the under-5s. A morning of woodland play and discovery.

Meteor Shower Walk – Friday 11th August, 8.00pm-10.00pm

A starlit walk around the Clumps and then settle down to enjoy the show that the annual Perseid meteor shower provides.

Fruit Tree Pruning and Grafting – Sat. 12th and Sun.13th August 10.00am-4.00pm

Two workshops covering both the theory and practice of fruit tree pruning and grafting.

Song Writing – Sunday 13th August, 11.00am-12.00pm

For 6-11 year olds, make some music with singer-songwriter David Gibb.

Night Safari – Tuesday 15th August, 8.00pm-10.00pm

Join us for this night-time expedition to discover Mowbray Field’s wildlife.

Wildlife Wednesday – Wednesday 16th August 10.00am-12.00pm

Come out and play and learn about your local wildlife at Mowbray Fields.

Family Bushcraft – Thursday 17th August, 10.00am-4.00pm

Bring the whole family and go wild in the great outdoors.

Beginners Wildlife Photography – Sunday 20th August, 10.00am-3.00pm

Professional photographer Andrew Walmsley will help you get to grips with your camera and provide guidance on capturing images of wildlife.

Clumps Club – Monday 21st-Friday 25th August, 9.00am-5.00pm

Experience some wild adventures in this holiday club for 7-11 year olds.

Woodland Adventure – Wednesday 30th August 10.00am-12.00pm

An expedition for 5-8 year olds to explore, build and play in the woods.

 

Village Fete – Plans and Preparation

The fete this year will be held on Saturday 2nd September starting at 1.00pm on the recreation ground. So keep the date free – it will be worth it! For the first time the fete will be raising funds for both St Mary’s Church and UVHAT (the Upton Village Hall Amenities Trust).

We’re pleased to announce some exciting new ideas – donkeys, a cartoonist, a car boot sale and a bake – off competition. The bake off will comprise:

A pizza baking challenge – we need the loan of a pizza oven; can anyone help? If so, please let Kieron know (moc.liamgnull@hpmuhnoreik)

Cake decorating – a master-class from Fliss then try it yourself! If you’d like a go, please let Kieron know (contact above)

Kids blindfold baking competition! – 5 pairs of children to take part, in the ring. Volunteers please!

And we won’t forget the old favourites – teas, a book stall, white elephant, preserves, plants, raffle, bottle tombola, and a fab gifts tombola. There will be a barbeque from 1.00pm, so you can start off with lunch and then enjoy the rest of the afternoon!

Entertainment will include a dog show (entries on the day or to Gloria Smith (850683)), gymnasts and the children’s popular entertainer, Juggling John. Music will be by Blewbury Brass Band and local musicians. Entrance is via a lucky programme, price £1.00.

Donations will be welcomed for:

White Elephant; deliver to the Village Hall on the evening of Friday, 1st September, between 6.00 – 8.00pm.  All donations will be much appreciated – kitchenalia, household items, pictures, toiletries, toys, jewellery, ladies and men’s toiletries, etc. Also, small items of furniture (if you have any larger items we’ll be happy to show off any photos on a sheet). No clothing or shoes but happy to take handbags and other accessories. Also much appreciated if all items donated are in a saleable condition so nothing broken or dirty. If anyone would like items collected please call Giulia 07789 777381.

Books; please leave with, or ring for collection, Judy and Ian on 850179.

Raffle; donations of prizes to Lesley Shaw, or bring to the hall on the Friday.

Gifts Tombola; leave with Clare Lightfoot or bring to the hall on the Friday.

Bottle Tombola; leave with Brian Rippon, Gloria Smith. Clare Lightfoot or bring to the hall.

Children’s Tombola; leave with Clare Lightfoot or bring to the hall.

And not forgetting the famous teas; Rosemary de Wilde will be there at the hall from early morning ready to receive all those amazing homemade cakes that Uptonians so generously make.

Contact Jessie 851206 or moc.sepahseulbnull@eisseJ or Brian 850158 or ten.noppirnull@nairb

 

Short Mat Bowls at Upton and Harwell

Harwell Short Mat Bowls Club are staging two free 2 hour taster sessions for people interested in taking up the game. The sessions are being sponsored by Vale of the White Horse District Council’s program Go Active Gold as part of their health and fitness initiative for the over 60s.

If you would like to give it a try just turn up at Harwell Village Cherry Hall on Tuesday 5th September at 2.00pm or on Thursday 7th September at 5.00pm. Flat soled shoes need to be worn, bowls will be provided as will tea and biscuits.

There is the opportunity to play Short Mat Bowls at Upton Village Hall in the winter season, September to April starting on 6th September. Sessions are held Wednesday evenings 7.45pm – 9.45pm, except the third Wednesday of the month, when the wine club use the hall.

There is no annual membership fee, just pay per session.

For more information about  bowls either.at Harwell or Upton please contact Joan or Tony Durbin Tel. 850035 or Email moc.tenretnitbnull@mah_oj