Minutes of the meeting of Upton Parish Council held at 7.00pm on Tuesday 15th March 2022.

In attendance: – Cllrs B Shaw (Chairman/BS), P McLaughlin (PM), N Thorp (Vice-Chairman/NT), D Beckles (DB), B Heneghan (BH). Also present: – E Cooper (Clerk/EC),

K Fletcher (Nature Garden/KF), County Cllr S Povolotsky (SP).

 

  1. To note or receive apologies for absence

District Councillors H Gascoigne, S Medley

 

  1. To note any declarations of interest in the items on the agenda

None.

 

  1. To approve the minutes of the previous meeting & note any matters arising: –

3.1 UPC 18.01.22

Unanimously agreed as a true record.

3.2 To agree an amendment to the minutes from 16th November 2021 as follows:-

Item 9.3 – it has subsequently been confirmed that the Nature Garden group were

to pay 40% (£335.44) of the plant hire in September, with UVHAT & UPC each

paying 30% (£251.56).

Unanimously agreed as an amendment to the November minutes.

 

  1. To hear a report from the County Councillor

Report received & distributed in advance of the meeting.

SP confirmed the A417 crossing was scheduled to start in the next 3 months.

Also the formal process of applying for bridleway status on Coffin Way had begun.

The CC had opened a climate grant scheme where any small group could apply for a

grant on climate change activity.

SP had pushed back on the LCTP5 consultation as there was no consideration for rural

communities, only Oxford City.

 

  1. To hear a report from the District Councillor

Report received & distributed in advance of the meeting.

 

  1. To hear a report from the PCSO

PCSO reported via email that there were no incidents of note in the area.

 

  1. To hear representations from the public

None present.

 

  1. To hear an update from the UVHAT representative

Not present. The UVHAT AGM will take place on Wednesday 23rd March. Council

agreed BS should speak to UVHAT re notice of the AGM.

 

 

  1. To hear an update from the PCC representative

BS had attended a PCC meeting. The PCC will scale back on its plans for improving

facilities in the church. The funding falls short of that required. Alternatives will now be

considered.

 

  1. To hear an update on the Upton Nature Garden Project

10.1 Working Group report

10.1.1 Received and distributed in advance of the meeting. KF asked Council for

approval in principle to:-

  • the purchase of a wooden seat
  • the purchase of seeds from meadowmania
  • the purchase of the sign (once copy & artwork approved by Council)

The purchase of plants from Rupert Gooddy & a gate & associated items from Oxford Fencing were approved by council.

KF also asked for next TOE fund contribution form to be completed.

 

10.1.2 And in addition from KF:-

Since the last parish council meeting, the Upton Nature Garden project has

held two successful volunteer days. At the first January event the trees,

shrubs & hedging were planted; at the second March event the perennials

were planted – 400 in an hour! The mid-morning tea break became the end

of planting celebration. The project planting plan is back on track. The

information sign design has been finalised after research on similar project

signs around this area. R Traynor has painted original artwork for the

board. The remaining tasks for this garden creation phase of the project are

to commission the sign, the wooden bench, to sow the wildflower meadow,

& install the new meadow entrance gate by the bus stop. The project costs

are well under control. The TOE grant budget was £3624; to date £2388

has been reclaimed. The overall project budget has £3130 remaining

(allowing for perennials & gate order recently placed). Remaining planned

expenditure March – April on benches, signs & seed mix of c£1355. The

balance after this provides towards the ongoing costs of maintenance &

garden development.

 

10.1.3 And from BH as part of the working group & on behalf of the Council:-

The Nature Garden team have done a really good job of design & planting.

Even in the rough, you can visualise how good it is going to be when the

plants start to grow & bloom. So thank you to the team for a great project.

BH also requested a forecast from KF for the Nature Garden maintenance

plan by the UPC July meeting.

 

10.2 Receipts to 28.02.22 £6641.25

Payments to 28.02.22 £3591.76

Balance £3049.49

 

  1. To hear updates on outstanding actions carried forward from previous meetings: –

See Appendix A below

 

 

 

  1. To ratify or agree the council’s response to the following planning applications: –

12.1 To agree:-

P22/V0524/HH South Spring, Stream Road, Upton

Amendment no.1 – double garage

Deadline 29.03.22

UPC agreed no objections, but with comment.

 

12.2 To ratify:-

P22/V0168/HH Rowlands, Church St, Upton

Replace existing single storey extension with single & two-storey extensions.

External & internal alterations & a proposed detached garden room.

Deadline 09.03.22. UPC no objections.

 

12.2 To note Planning Permissions (or otherwise) received:-

12.2.1 P14/V2873/O Great Western Park Development

Planning permission 21.02.22

12.2.2 P21/V3107/FUL Land to the south of Main Street, West Hagbourne

Application withdrawn 26.1.22

12.2.3 P22/V0087/HH Lonicera, Station Road, Upton

Planning permission 10.3.22

 

  1. To receive an update on UPC Finances and Administration

13.1 To hear an update on Lloyds Bank: –

13.1.1 As at 28.02.22 Treasurer’s Account £6956.31

As at 28.02.22 Business Bank Account £13073.66

13.1.2 Debit card application

Currently on hold.

 

13.2 Receipts

13.2.1 Bank interest February 11p, March .10p.

13.2.2 SSE annual payment £2 (pole on rec)

13.2.3 Payment from UVHAT of £251.56 for share of plant hire.

 

13.3 To sign off bank reconciliation to date

Provided in advance of the meeting & signed by the Chairman at the meeting.

 

13.4 To hear any other financial or administration updates

13.4.1 UPC Internal Audit 2021/22

13.4.1.1 Council to confirm exemption from external audit

Council unanimously agreed that it is exempt from an external

audit & that a certificate of exemption should be issued by the

Clerk to the external auditor as soon as possible after the end of

the financial year.

13.4.1.2 Council to confirm internal auditor

IAC confirmed they would carry out the internal audit for a fee of

£285 + vat. Council unanimously agreed. Clerk to inform IAC.

 

 

 

 

13.4.2 SLCC/NALC Clerk’s Pay Increase

OALC confirmed in an email dated 01.03.22 that following a national pay

award agreement, the Clerk’s pay (remaining on SCP26) would increase

by 1.75% with effect from 01.04.21. This will be applied, with back pay, from

March 2022.

 

13.4.3 Risk Management Policy & internal audit controls review

The Council unanimously ratified the updated version of the Risk

Management Policy, including internal audit controls.

 

13.4.4 Following a training seminar from the Oxford History Centre on the storage

of Council documents (attend by the Clerk & Cllr Thorp), the Clerk asked for

agreement in principle that all Council papers suitable for storage should be

removed to the Oxford History Centre at a point to be agreed in the future.

Council unanimously agreed.

 

13.5 To agree the following payments & who to authorise.

Council agreed to all payments below. Clerk confirmed payments awaiting

authorisation through Lloyds. PM to authorise.

 

Date Payee £
28.02.22,

28.03.22

Clerk’s salary SO

[LGA1972 s112(2)]

*Not publicly disclosed
15.03.22 Clerk’s expenses [LG(FPA)1963s5] £210.17
Feb/Mch HMRC PAYE SO (£88.60 February, £TBC March (+ back pay)     * £88.60
24.02.22, 29.03.22 Microsoft Office365 Dec/Jan DD @£3.80pm

[LGA1972 s111]

£7.60
15.03.22 Expenses PM (revised from agenda) £117.26
15.03.22 OALC course EC & NT £12.00
16.03.22 Krystal Hosting – 1328201 9.59
16.03.22 Krystal Hosting – 1316674 9.59
  Paid to be ratified:-  
17.02.22 OALC course BH 66.00
17.02.22 Mr P Zagyva – installation of new noticeboard 90.00
08.02.22 Krystal Hosting – 1303536 9.59
09.02.22 Mark Harrod – goal nets & wheels 377.20
16.03.22 OALC annual subs 150.00
  Payments sub total £1147.60
11.02.22 Rupert Gooddy – nature garden plants 1166.65
17.03.22 Oxford Fencing (confirmed post meeting) 153.46
Nature Garden sub total £1320.11
TOTAL        £2467.71

+ * above

 

 

  1. To hear an update on the recreation ground Play Areas

14.1 Toddler play area

BS reported that the play area was in good order.

14.2 Adventure play area

Remedial work to the play area was highlighted by Kompan in their January 2022

inspection report, although this was not received by the Council until March. The

Clerk is in touch with Kompan regarding the works.

14.3 Pump Track

Remedial work to the pump track scheduled for 22/23.

Council are considering a proposal to tarmac the pump track to improve & extend

it’s usage & await a quotation. Estimate £5-10k.

 

  1. To hear an update on the maintenance of the recreation ground

15.1 Motor mower repair/service (BS)

The Council awaits recommendations from Kalehurst on the repair or otherwise

of the motor mower, which was damaged during usage.

15.2 Any other updates on the recreation ground maintenance

The Council is disappointed by the amount of damage to the recreation ground by

vehicles driving over the grass. Council is therefore considering the installation of

posts & a chain to stop this activity. Council voted 4 for with one abstention (due

to a conflict of interest) to look at this option. A quote for the potential installation

of posts & a chain is expected from BH.

15.3 PM reported that the goal posts have new wheels & with the new nets yet to be

installed. BS will invite the Commissioner of Police (following funding) & the

Amazons football teams for a photo op.

 

  1. To hear any update on UPC IT (PM)

Office 365 back up in place & domain names secured for another year.

 

  1. To hear any update on Speed Watch & 20s Plenty for Upton (BH)

BH requested that information be included in Upton news regarding the training of

volunteers for Speed Watch.  BH to provide copy to NT.

 

  1. To agree the council content for the next online Upton News (NT)

– Speed Watch information (see 17 above)

– Goal posts wheels & nets

– Plans for 22-23

– Move to stop driving on the rec

– resurface pump track

– village blocked storm drains & big pot holes all reported to fixmystreet by BS

& PM

 

  1. To agree the date of the next meeting

19.1 Annual Parish Meeting – Council to agree date & arrangements

Council agreed to a provisional date of 28th April. Clerk to check hall availability &

start process to arrange meeting at 7pm in the village hall.

Clerk’s note:- 28th April may not be available. Other dates under consideration.

 

 

19.2 Next full council meeting

Annual meeting of the Parish Council Tuesday 17th May 2022, at 7.00pm, in the

village hall meeting room.

 

 

The meeting finished at 9pm.

 

 

Appendix A – List of Actions

 

 

No. Actions from March meeting By when
1. BS to speak to UVHAT re notice of their AGM ASAP
2. Clerk to complete next TOE contribution form. ASAP
3. KF to produce Nature Garden maintenance plan. July meeting
4. Clerk to complete EA exemption form at earliest opportunity. After end of financial year
5. Clerk to confirm IAC as internal auditor. Actioned
6. Clerk to confirm with Kompan plan for play area works ASAP
7. BH to provide quote for rec ground posts & chain. ASAP
8. BS to invite Commissioner of Police for photo op following funding for new nets & wheels on goal posts. ASAP post installation
9. BH to provide copy to NT for Upton News re speed watch volunteers ASAP
 No. Actions from January meeting By when
2. BH to provide details of equipment & materials to repair play area surround. Actioned
4. BS to provide BH with previous list of potential Speed Watch volunteers Actioned
5. BH & BS to discuss upgrading existing speed signs Actioned
No. Actions from December meeting By when
5. BS to formally present details of grounds maintenance proposal. Actioned
6. Clerk to confirm new bin requirements & order. C’fwd
8. BH to write an article for the next Upton News on Speed Watch for Upton. Actioned
No. Actions November meeting By when
7. BS to 1. put together a welcome pack proposal & 2. look at ways of engaging volunteers. Also spk PM & NT re technical options. Ongoing
8. BS to look in to engaging other local chairs to meet informally Organised by SP
19. Recreation ground northern boundary fence – BS to approach contractors Actioned

 

 

 

Appendix B

County Councillor Briefing 8th March 2022

Welcome to your latest news briefing, apologies for a few days delay, it’s been rather busy on the reservoir front, or as I now call it a ‘Megavoir’. I am hoping to start surgeries as of April, in main places in every village, and will let each Parish know and communicate of course through facebook and emails.

 

Today is IWD and I am pleased to have instigated this small video and want to thank all women members, chairs and clerks for #breakingthebias this year and pushing for gender equality.

The video is available for your viewing pleasure at https://vimeo.com/685802506/9797582bc8

 

Covid 19: Information & Advice

Latest public health advice

On 21 February, the prime minister set out his plan for living with COVID-19. As our Director of Public Health, Ansaf Azhar, has emphasised, this doesn’t mean the virus has gone away. He sets out three simple steps we can all take in the coming months that will make a difference:

  • Be considerate – if you feel ill, you should stay away from others and remain at home while you have symptoms.
  • Be aware – there will be many in our communities and work places who will be extremely nervous about the recent news, so be conscious of other people’s situations and adjust your behaviour accordingly.
  • Be cautious – make sensible decisions, such as wearing a face covering in crowded places and letting fresh air into indoor spaces.

 

You can listen to Ansaf’s advice in his latest video.

 

Communications campaigns

We are now focusing on reinforcing the ‘be cautious and considerate’ message, in line with changes to rules around self-isolation and testing. We are also supporting our NHS partners in sharing messages about vaccinations and boosters.

 

COVID 19: The statistics

You can view the latest figures on our COVID-19 dashboard.

 

 

 

Latest News

Storm Eunice response

This week we have said a huge thank you to staff across the council who were involved in the response to storm Eunice, as well as all those who continued to deliver services for residents in extremely challenging conditions 2 weeks ago.

 

A number of teams were involved in our response, but we would like to name a few specifically. The customer services team dealt with an exceptionally high number of calls that day – four times the usual volume – while the highways team responded to more than 180 incidents on Friday alone. These included removing fallen trees and large branches, which were blocking roads and footpaths.

 

A significant council-wide team effort also supported our schools – helping with communications, ensuring our school transport was safe, responding to property damage and making phone calls to headteachers. And a special mention also to the emergency planning and communications teams, who co-ordinated our response and kept our website and social media channels updated.  We are still running behind on standard jobs in the pipeline, but we are getting there!

 

Bad weather is the perfect storm for rogue traders

Our trading standards team is warning residents to be wary of cold callers or leaflets offering to do work on roofs after the recent storms. The team believes it’s a perfect opportunity for rogue traders to take advantage of residents who have a leaking roof or broken tile. Many traders will be booked up, so the advice is to be wary of traders who can arrive to start the work the following day and push for a quick agreement to use them. Find out what to look out for in our news story.

 

Oxfordshire’s climate action heroes recognised

Some of Oxfordshire’s inspirational climate action heroes were honoured at an awards ceremony on Monday. Eighteen groups, social enterprises, individuals, businesses and other organisations picked up the High Sheriff’s Climate Action Heroes Awards for their schemes, ranging from wildlife restoration work to renewable energy projects. Read all about it online.

 

Our bid to deliver 159 electric buses

This month we applied for £32.8 million from the Zero Emission Bus Regional Areas (ZEBRA) scheme. Along with £6m from the council and £43.7m from bus companies Go Ahead and Stagecoach, the scheme could deliver 159 electric buses and the infrastructure to charge them in a package worth £82.5m. If successful, the electric buses would operate in an area stretching from Kidlington in the north to Sandford in the south, and from Cumnor in the west to Wheatley in the east. They would save an estimated 9,200 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions each year – the equivalent of taking more than 6,000 cars off the road. Find out more in our news story.

 

Proposal to improve consistency of parking enforcement

We are planning to bring consistency to highway parking enforcement around the county by taking over responsibility for fining motorists who break the rules in West Oxfordshire. West Oxfordshire District Council currently carries out parking enforcement on our behalf in the area. Go online to read the full story.

 

Budget passed invests in residents: In February, the first budget of the Oxfordshire Fair Deal Alliance was passed. The Conservatives failed to present any amendments to the budget. The budget increases investment to support some of the most vulnerable residents in our county, including in SEND provision, adult social care, and youth and children’s services. Other priorities to receive boosts were the climate emergency, buses, traffic enforcement, and road safety. The budget also takes into account a backlog of underfunded major infrastructure projects. The budget deals with the hospital pass from the Conservatives, who had failed to fully cost major projects, including replacement of the Kennington Bridge and projects around Didcot.

 

Government support extended after OCC demands: Buses continue to be under financial strain, with passenger numbers down on pre-pandemic levels. Following Lib Dem calls to the government extend pandemic grants, the government announced additional funding. Bus companies will still face a potential cliff edge in 6 months’ time however, unless passenger numbers begin to rise or the government steps in again.

 

Oxford Zero Emissions Zone (ZEZ) pilot launches: A pilot of a small area of central Oxford has begun to test out the technology that will be used for the Zero Emissions Zone. The full ZEZ will come into force in 2023 (subject to a public consultation)

 

Police and Crime Commissioner grant applications close: The Community Fund, administered by the Police and Crime Commissioner has closed for applications. This appears to have been badly promoted, however, applications open twice a year. Sign up to the mailing list here: opcc.comms@thamesvalley.police.uk

 

Councilor Priority Fund: Upon being elected, I said I wanted to see the councilor priority fund for Hendreds and Harwell Division being used early in the community. The £15,000 has now been fully allocated, supporting amazing projects across the division, I will be doing a roundup and news on them all in May 2022.

 

Consultations close soon:

  • SEND: 10th March
  • Local Transport and Connectivity Plan: 16th March
  • Libraries: 18th March

 

Consultation & Engagement Activities

The following consultations are currently live. Please encourage your constituents to have their say by sharing the relevant links for further information.

 

 

Consultation Link to consultation Closing date
Special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) Let’s Talk Oxfordshire 10 March
Library and heritage services Let’s Talk Oxfordshire 18 March
 

WRSE

 

WRSE Page

 

14th March

 

Local Information

Rowstock Relief

Affected Parish Councils contacted around a meeting, communication has been poor and complaints raised to officers and senior managers.

 

Verges Biodiversity experiment

We have identified some zones, one of which is the Oxfordshire County Council Highway between East and West Parishes. We are working with the Highways and Ecology teams, as well as local environment group HEG for the civic ecology side. To ensure any invasive species like Ragwort are still pulled during this experiment.

 

SIDS – East Hendred / Rowstock

The SID Data is showing a very positive turn, and the speed reduction is clearly notes, and alongside the implementation of more speed reductions with the 20mph scheme is definitely key to continue to make our communities safer and reducing speeds, without us ending up with signage every 20m!

 

ESSO Application

I worked with local residents on this case and spoke at the Planning Committee, of course its probably well known that now that it was refused, but many believe it will come back through appeal so we need to watch this space. Well done to all local groups, local businesses, parish councils and the Rowstock residents association for work on this.

 

Pension Committee

As a new member on the pension committee I am very pleased to announce we heard from Brunel Pension Partnership and they are working to divest from Russian entities, and the committee endorsed this action.

 

Harwell High Street works

I attended the CMD for Highways as was hugely concerned officers, despite constant communications from my side, had pushed through for a CMD on the works despite Parish comments. Final decision is here

 

FrogLife / Ardington and Lockinge Crossing Signs

You may have noticed the signage warning of our amphibian friends crossing the roads, patrols are in full action currently and there is allot of action already thanks to some warmer days and wetter evening!

 

Steventon – Reservoir

Link below in consultations and thank you to those Parishes who have already submitted, every response to the reservoir counts, you can even send two per household with different email addresses. Any questions please come back to me or email – gard.secretary@gmail.com

I did attend the Public meetings run by GARD in Steventon and East Hendred and spoke to residents to urge the response, also to voice my concerns. I also attended the Thames Water meeting and was very disappointed but I guess not hugely surprised that not a single straight question was answered, if there was ever a call to arms to respond and make voices heard that time is now!

 

HEG Community Larder

I am pleased to announce that we have now had our second larder and already we have moved on 467kg of Food Waste, with around 40 members actively, and we are constantly communicating alongside the support of East Hendred Parish Council what we are doing. Our local scheme is in partnership with Didcot Based SOFEA, and if your interested in creating a Larder in your Parish you can read more about it here – www.sofea.uk.com

 

The second annual Food Waste Action Week begins today and will highlight the huge impact household food waste has on climate change.

Oxfordshire County Council – along with the district and city councils in Oxfordshire – is supporting Food Waste Action Week, a national campaign set up by the charity WRAP (Waste and Resources Action Programme). It runs from Monday 7 March until Sunday 13 March.

The campaign will share practical advice, food savvy behaviours and tips on how people can easily reduce the amount of food that is wasted in our homes.

 

The UK throws away 6.6 million tonnes of household food waste a year. This food waste is responsible for nearly 25 million tonnes of CO2 emissions, equivalent to 5.4 per cent of the UK’s territorial emissions.

The majority, 4.5 million tonnes, is food that could have been eaten and is worth approximately £14 billion (or £60 a month an average family with two children). It requires an area almost the size of Wales to produce all the food and drink currently wasted in the UK.

Throughout the week the campaign will be sharing tips to make the most of leftovers, how to defrost frozen food, store food properly and how to shop more effectively by planning your meals.

 

Councillor Pete Sudbury, Oxfordshire County Council Cabinet Member for Climate Change Delivery and Environment, said: “The average family wastes the equivalent of eight meals every single week. Reducing food waste can save families an average of £700 per year, reduce the amount of edible food that ends up in our bins to be disposed of, and fight climate change.

“The Food Waste Action Week campaign will highlight simple actions we can all take to reduce the amount of food we throw away each week.”

Look out for videos and messages which will be released during Food Waste Action Week on Oxfordshire Recycles Facebook and Twitter. The Replenish Project – run by Oxfordshire’s community action groups – will be running a competition to win ‘The Canny Cook: freezer & store-cupboard meals on a budget’. Oxfordshire residents are encouraged to share their #RescueRecipes ideas to be in with a chance of winning one of five of these books! People are encouraged to use the hashtag #FoodWasteActionWeek when they get involved.

Everyone can make a difference, and something as small as saving your leftovers to eat for lunch the next day and encouraging friends and family to do the same means you’re doing your part. Visit Love Food Hate Waste to find out how you can get involved, help the planet – and save money too. Look out for its great video at the beginning of the week, which will be posted and shared on social media, and to find out who its celebrity is!

Think you’re pretty good at eating what you have at home? Help reduce food waste even more, by using your local community fridge, or apps like Too Good To Go and Olio.

Click Sign up to hear from us and receive the latest news and updates thanks to our fortnightly newsletter, Your Oxfordshire.

 

A Few Last Reminders

Support for Ukraine

Information about help relating to the situation in Ukraine. We undertook a small collection in East Hendred at the weekend, which has gone straight to a distribution centre 80km from the Polish / Ukraine Borders. However our advice now that humanitarian aid is kicking in is as follows;

Our thoughts are with the Ukrainian people at this time. Like all councils and communities throughout England, we are ready to help people in Ukraine and any refugees that may come here.

 

We will be guided by central government as to the best ways that we can help as the situation continues to develop. In standing with the people of Ukraine we and partner organisations will support and give a warm welcome to refugees locally should our help be needed.

 

Government support schemes

Guidance on government support available to Ukrainian nationals and their family members, including the Ukraine Family Scheme.

 

Making a donation

Many people in the county want to do whatever they can to help, and one way is to make a donation.

The Disasters Emergency Committee, a coalition of 15 leading UK charities, has launched a collective appeal to provide emergency aid and rapid relief to civilians suffering during the conflict.

Many registered charities are also helping to provide vital life-saving services to those caught up in the conflict, including those forced to flee to neighbouring countries. These include:

 

 

Staying up to date

For the latest information about the council’s response to COVID-19, regularly check your emails, visit the council’s website oxfordshire.gov.uk and follow our social media accounts.

 

With best wishes,

 

Sally Povolotsky FRSA

Hendreds & Harwell Division

 

Appendix C

Monday 7th March 2022 Monthly Parish Update

Vale of White Horse District Councillors

Cllr Hayleigh Gascoigne and Cllr Sarah Medley

 

Hello! Firstly, we just want to say how deeply saddened and shocked we are by recent events in Ukraine.

The Vale of White Horse District Council stands in solidarity with the people of Ukraine in these horrific times. Council leader Emily Smith has issued a statement giving further information on what we can do to support those people caught in this conflict or escaping from the area. We have been heartened to see the efforts of many local residents in donating and collecting essential items for those affected – once again, our kind and caring community stepping up to help in times of crisis.

 

Locally, we are very aware of the many issues faced by residents in accessing healthcare in the Didcot area. Working alongside the Patient Participation Groups of the three medical centres, we have been calling on the Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning group (CCG) to provide transparency and clarity on the timescales for delivering the long-overdue healthcare centre on Great Western Park. We are pleased to say that the CCG are now engaging, and they have kindly agreed to provide an update for the public at the Great Western Park Residents’ Association Meeting at 8pm on Monday 9th May. The meeting will be held in a hybrid in-person and online format, at Boundary Park Sports Pavilion and on Zoom. Please keep an eye on the GWP Residents’ Association website for more details, and note that this meeting will also be their AGM, for anyone wishing to volunteer with this excellent community organisation.

 

We use these monthly updates to keep you updated on our activities, general council news and any COVID-19 developments. 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 & Community Support

Keep up to date with latest government guidance via gov.uk/coronavirus. The latest COVID-19 figures are updated on the county council’s interactive dashboard on a daily basis.

Contact the Community Support Hub

A reminder to all residents that the councils’ Community Support Hub continues to operate for anyone who needs any assistance, either as a result of COVID-19 or just for anyone who needs signposting towards the appropriate support channel. There are multiple ways to get in touch with the Community Support Hub:

Residents can also contact:

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

 

Better Housing Better Health offers support and advice for those struggling to stay warm and well at home and can refer people to services which offer free home energy advice visits and financial and benefit advice. For more info see bhbh.org.uk

Omicron Hospitality and Leisure Grant

On 21 December 2021, Government announced the introduction of a one-off grant support scheme for hospitality and leisure businesses in England. The Omicron Hospitality and Leisure Grant (OHLG) scheme is now open for applications from eligible businesses – Vale of White Horse businesses apply here. Please note that the closing date for applications is Friday 18 March 2022. Applications will be processed, and checks made until the final payment date of 31 March 2022.

Local News

The Harwellian Club reopens after £47,500 makeover

The Harwellian Club has recently reopened after receiving £47,571 from the Vale of White Horse District Council for a major refurbishment. Harwell residents are flocking to see the changes made to the club since they applied for developer contributions via the district council.

Boundary Park’s tennis and games area officially opened by local MP

Hundreds of keen sports players can enjoy new facilities on Great Western Park after they were officially opened recently by David Johnston local MP, Vale councillors and Boundary Park Sports Association for local families and sports groups to use.

Great British Railways Headquarters could be built in Didcot

South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse District Councils will be entering a bid for Didcot to be the home of the new Great British Railways headquarters.

Refusal of former Esso site planing application

A brief note from us (Hayleigh & Sarah) to inform residents that the planning application for the distribution centre at the former Esso site on Milton Hill was refused by the planning committee in February. Although this site is not directly in our ward, we know this application caused concern for many Harwell and Rowstock residents, particularly due to the increase in HGV traffic it would cause. Sarah wrote to committee members in advance of the meeting, highlighting the concerns of local residents. At the meeting itself, the combined efforts of the Roads to Rowstock Residents’ Association and local councillors at parish, district and county levels succeeded in persuading the committee – well done to all involved. Visit YouTube to watch the meeting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Climate & Environment News

£50,000 fund to boost community climate action in the Vale

Communities in the Vale of White Horse looking to tackle climate change could soon receive support from a new council grant. Vale of White Horse District Council’s new Climate Action Fund will offer a total of £50,000 to help local groups, with up to £5,000 on offer for individual projects.

Work on major EV charging scheme in the Vale is close to completion

The installation of the Park and Charge Electric Vehicle charging scheme in Vale of White Horse looks close to completion as work is due to start on the last car park later this month.

More than 150 volunteers support major tree planting effort

More than 150 volunteers joined a major tree planting event in Abingdon over two sessions on Saturday 26 February to help tackle climate change. Members of local community group Abingdon Carbon Cutters and other volunteers from across the area planted 420 trees at Rye Farm Meadow.

Council News

Vale’s 2022/23 budget protects frontline services, ensures important environmental, leisure and safety improvements and keeps Council Tax increase to under the rate of inflation

Despite a 6.2 per cent reduction in funding from government, Vale of White Horse District Council is set to agree a balanced budget for 2022/23 and, for the first time in several years, is projecting to have surplus general reserves at the end of its 5-year reporting period.

Leaders Statement – 16 February 2022

Cllr Emily Smith, Leader of Vale of White Horse District Council, delivered her Leaders Statement to Council at the meeting on 16 February 2022.

Important changes for Vale car parks to start on 4 April

Motorists parking in district council car parks in Abingdon, Faringdon and Wantage are advised that from Monday 4 April:

  • Free parking will still be available but reduced to one hour a day
  • New fees will apply if you want to stay for more than one hour
  • Other fees will go up by 40p
  • New and renewed permits will be valid for the specific car park they are issued for and will not be transferable.

Sessions to help hair and beauty staff support victims of domestic abuse

Free training is now available to help ensure hair and beauty staff know what to do if they suspect a client or colleague is at risk of or suffering from domestic abuse.

Vale gives more than £300,000 to build affordable homes in the district

Vale of White Horse District Council has pledged to provide grant funding of more than £300,000 towards the cost of creating affordable homes in Botley, in the parish of Cumnor.