Minutes of the Annual Meeting of the Parish Council held in the meeting room at the Upton village hall on Tuesday 17th May 2022 at 7.00 pm.

In attendance:- E Cooper (Clerk/EC), B Shaw (BS), P McLaughlin (PM), N Thorp (NT). Also in attendance K Fletcher (KF), PCSO G Kirby (GK), District Cllr S Medley . B Heneghan joined the meeting at 8.10pm.

 

  1. To elect a Chairman

Ben Shaw was nominated, seconded & all in favour to carry on as Chairman of the Parish Council.

 

  1. To elect a Vice Chairman

Neil Thorp was nominated, seconded & all in favour to carry on as Vice-Chairman of the Parish Council.

 

  1. To complete Declaration of Acceptance of Office forms

BS & NT duly completed their acceptance of office forms.

 

  1. To complete the Register of Members’ Interests forms

BS & NT confirmed no changes to their member’s interests.

 

  1. To receive apologies for absence

          County Cllr S Povolotsky, Parish Cllr D Beckles

 

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

BS declared an interest in the Nature Garden as he is a neighbour. Otherwise, none declared.

 

  1. To receive the County Councillor’s report

Received in advance of the meeting & circulated to Council.

 

  1. To receive District Councillor’s report

Received in advance of the meeting & circulated to Council.

 

  1. To receive a report from the PCSO

PCSO Gary Kirby attended in person. He reported no crimes of note in Upton & no ongoing issues in the village. He is still carrying out patrols in the village. BC reported that the previous anti-social behaviour in the car park & recreation ground had reduced. GK reported that further afield they continue to deal with rural crime: farm breaks & car break ins. There is now a Rural Crime Task Force in action. GK advised if there was anything to report to call 101 or go online.

 

  1. Open Forum

To receive representations from members of the public if present.

None present.

 

 

  1. To hear an update from the PCC

Paul Batho had confirmed to the Clerk there was no update following the report issued at the APM.

 

  1. To hear an update from UVHAT representative(s) on village hall operations

          No apologies or report were received from UVHAT.

 

  1. To hear an update from the Nature Garden representative on progress

13.1 KF asked for the following update to be included:-

The initial garden creation phase is complete save for commissioning the sign. Work commitments

of the volunteers are delaying the final copy, which will be circulated asap.

The meadow is shown and watered. The gates into the garden are completed and the fire escape

path has been realigned to improve safety. There have been regular maintenance visits during

April and May by the Nature Group members to water the new plants and shrubs, and a volunteer

day where the meadow area was prepared for seeding and the areas around the new plantings

were weeded.

A social celebration event for all the volunteers is being planned.

The five-year maintenance plan for the garden is in preparation, drawing on best practice

documents from conservation and horticultural bodies.

The nature group would like to thank the Parish Council for their support over the past year, and

look forward to next.

13.2 BS asked as an immediate neighbour of the nature garden that the compost area be moved from

the other side of his fence, due to the smell & increased level of insect affecting his property. KF

agreed to arrange this.

13.3 NT raised concerns about the large amount of cow parsley that appeared to be overtaking much of

the garden. He was particularly concerned that this would restrict the growth of other items

planted. KF to report back the Nature Garden group.

 

  1. To approve the minutes of the Parish Council meeting held on:-

UPC 15th March 2022

The minutes were approved as being a true representation of the meeting.

 

15.    Planning

15.1 To agree / ratify the council’s response to the following consultations

15.1.1 P22/V0899/FUL Dulcina, Newmans Close, Upton

Erection of dwelling & sub-division of existing plot

Deadline 15.05.22

Although this deadline had been missed, Council agreed a response of ‘no objections’ should

still be submitted, along with a comment as to the siting of the condenser.

15.1.2 P22/V0802/HH Winterset, Newmans Close, Upton

Proposed replacement porch extension, first floor addition to front elevation, new dormers,

changes to windows & doors, 2 storey rear extension etc.

Deadline 28.04.22

Although this deadline had been missed, Council agreed a response of ‘no objections’ should

still be submitted.

 

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

Double garage

Deadline 29.03.22

UPC no objections, plus comment.

 

15.2 To note planning permissions received during the month

15.2.1 P22/V0105/HH Jasmine, Chilton Road, Upton

Single storey extensions & alterations.

Planning permission 15.03.22

 

16. Finance & Administration

16.1 To receive an update on the Audit preparations for 2021-2022.

16.2.1 To receive an update on the internal audit

EC reported that the IA continued to ask for documentation & no feedback had as yet been

received.

16.2.2 To agree the accounting statements

The accounting statements were sent to Council ahead of the meeting & all agreed that they

should be signed off. Clerk & Chair duly signed the appropriate documents.

16.2.3 To note the start of the period for the exercise of public rights

EC explained the parameters around the Notice of Public Rights & intended to issue this as

soon as the IA had completed their report.

16.3 To agree the authoriser for this month’s payments.

EC confirmed all payments awaiting authorisation through Lloyds Bank. PM to authorise.

16.4 To approve payments to be made noted spending powers and within budgeted amounts

Council agreed to the addition of the last 9 payments listed.

 

DATE

Description /Payee Amount
28.4.22 / 28.5.22 Clerk’s salary since last meeting

[LGA1972 s112(2)]

Not publicly disclosed
28.4.22 / 28.5.22 HMRC PAYE £180.00
27.4.22 / 27.5.22 Microsoft subscription [LGA1972 s111] £7.60
16.03.22-17.05.22 Clerk expenses [LG(FP)A 1963 s5] £35.64
18.05.22 P McLaughlin expenses [LGA 1972 s37] £43.92
18.05.22 Kalehurst – Motor Mower service [LGA 1892 s8(1)(I)] (paid to be ratified) £758.12
18.05.22 Siochi – cemetery fence repairs labour only (paid to be ratified) [LGA 1972 s214 (6)] £208.32
18.05.22 Gallagher local council scheme insurance (yr3 of 3yr agreement) [LGA1972 s111] £727.02
04.05.22 PBC Plant Ltd – Pump track top soil (paid to be ratified) [PHAAA 1907 s76(1) £300.00
10.05.22 MP Property Services – bus shelter refurb [LG(MP)A1953s4/PCA1957s1] £1362.00
18.05.22 Webbs Fencing – fencing supplies (cemetery fence – paid to be ratified) [LGA 1972 s214 (6)] £176.33
13.04.22 Rustic Summerhouse – banana bench for nature garden (paid to be ratified) [LG(MP)A 1976 s19(3)] £792.00
14.04.22 R Traynor expenses (paid to be ratified) £15.58
31.03.22 B Rippon expenses (paid to be ratified) £94.50
31.03.22 Krystal Hosting (paid to be ratified) £59.99
18.05.22 SCS Pump track resurface £9366.00
18.05.22 OALC – course BS W2108 £132.00
18.05.22 OALC – course BS W2109 £66.00
18.05.22 OALC – course BH W2120 £132.00
18.05.22 OALC – course BH W2121 £66.00
18.05.22 OALC – course PM W2135 £66.00
Total   £14,589.02

(plus salary above)

 

Receipts Description Amount
VoWH Precept 1st half £12163.00
Lloyds Interest (April/May) .24
Total   £12163.24

 

 

16.5 To sign off bank reconciliation to date

Provided to the Chair in advance of the meeting & signed at meeting

16.6 To hear / agree on any other financial or administration updates

Treasurers Account balance at 28.04.22 £15,405.79

Business bank instant balance at 28.04.22 £13,073.88

Total funds held as at 28.04.22 £28,479.67

16.7 To hear & consider a case for a deputy Clerk (in training) & Lengthman to be employed by the Council

16.7.1 BS explained how work levels for the Clerk had risen & the difficulty in completing the Clerk’s

tasks in less than one hour a day. Together with the shortage of trained Clerk’s, BS proposed

that a ‘Clerk in Training’ be sought by the Council who would be trained to take over from the

existing Clerk at some point in the future. Council unanimously agreed to the proposal.

BS & EC would work on a job description & advertisement.

16.7.2 BS explained how the work previously carried out be a single volunteer, largely on the

recreation ground, but also around the village, was no longer being carried out. A volunteer

mowing rota was in operation for the recreation ground. It has become clear that the level of

work required cannot be carried out by volunteers (no matter how willing) & a contractor(s)

would need to be engaged. BS proposed to the Council that a Lengthman, similar to the

person employed by Blewbury PC, should be engaged by Upton PC. Council unanimously

agreed.

BS & EC would work on a job description & advertisement.

 

  1. To hear an update on any aspect of the recreation ground play areas

17.1 Toddler play area

Minor repairs recently completed by the play area contactor.

17.2 Adventure play area

Minor repairs recently completed by the play area contractor.

17.3 Pump track

The resurfacing of the pump track was recently completed.

 

  1. To hear any updates on the maintenance of the recreation ground

       18.1 The volunteer mowing rota is suspended during May to support ‘no mow May’.

18.2 The new nets are due to be fitted to the goal posts. PM to organise.

18.3 Discussions have taken place regarding the use of the recreation ground for the Uptonogood?

Mountain Bike Challenge on Saturday 18th June & a full event management plan is in place.

 

  1. To hear and consider proposals for upgrading the car park extension & for discouraging parking on the

       recreation ground

       The Parish Council will be setting up a working group to cover all elements of parking for the village hall

& recreation ground.

 

  1. To hear an update from PM on UPC IT

       PM confirmed that all is currently working well.

 

  1. Risk Management

21.1 To receive an update on Compliance & GDPR

No update this month.

21.2 To receive any other updates relating to risk

An incident involving the motor mower, the gate to the recreation ground & a car is being dealt with

by the Council. This was considered to be an unfortunate incident & no further action to mitigate             risk is required.

 

  1. To agree the content for the next council update for Upton News

Council agreed to highlight all play area actions, Council meeting updates, Bus shelter repainting & car

park working group.

 

  1. To set the date and venue of the next full council meeting & next year’s AGM.

Full council meeting Tuesday 19th July at 7.00pm, meeting room in the village hall

AGM (provisional) Tuesday 16th May 2023 at 7pm, meeting room in the village hall

 

 

The meeting finished at 8.30pm.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Appendix A – Actions from previous meetings

No. Actions from May meeting By when
1. KF to arrange removal of NG compost area to elsewhere on the site away from neighbour’s fences. ASAP
2. EC to complete Notice of Public Rights at earliest opportunity. June
3. BS & EC to work on Clerk in Training  Lengthman job descriptions & ads July
4. PM to organise fitting of nets to goal posts June
5. NT to ensure all agreed PC items are included in Upton News  
No. Actions from March meeting By when
3. KF to produce Nature Garden maintenance plan. July meeting
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

 

 

Appendix A

County Councillor Report

Weekly update for councillors: 16th May  
 

This week, we bring you news of some changes to senior roles in environment and place, share that we are providing food vouchers for eligible young people this May half-term and link you to resources to support residents this Mental Health Awareness Week. As usual, we update you on progress for the Homes for Ukraine scheme, including an internal news article with reflections from individual colleagues about their contributions. 

 

Finally, we have attached the latest vaccination programme update from the Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire West (BOB) integrated care system.

With regards to the division, it’s been a busy time the last few weeks and some changes happening ahead of our Full Council tomorrow. However my focus the last 2 weeks has been highways, and escalated the following;

11.        Chilton Footpath issues / surface / ownership

12.        Hagbourne Hill

13.        Steventon – Didcot cycle path next steps

14.        Hanney Road – multiple issues

15.        Harding Vale footpath (again) and estate entry / S278 works

16.        Steventon Hill Speed limit now changed on an eTRO from 60mph to 40mph and 30mph to 20mph as communicated within the community

17.        Mill Lane East Hendred – surface

18.        Pot Hole repair time

19.        Training for FMS for community member ‘super users’ – still escalating

20.        TVP and Speedwatch kit – communication with PCC

21.        Byway 16 Steventon – surface review

22.        Thames Water issues (throughout division)

23.        Stonebridge Road / Path

24.        This week the sidings on A4130 Rowstock to Packhorse are underway

25.        Harwell High Street engineering works – design and Active travel concerns – also chased the 20mph roll out

Remember you can check any permits anytime at https://one.network

Ive also had a few enquiries about Rights of Way, and you can check these anytime at – https://publicrightsofway.oxfordshire.gov.uk

 
Homes for Ukraine  
 

We continue to evolve our partnership approach to responding to the government’s Homes for Ukraine scheme and that includes acting on new guidance or finding solutions to better ways of working. Overall, accommodation and safeguarding visits are working well with, this week, proof of residency letters beginning to be issued to guests. This enables guests to open bank accounts and relieves pressure from GPs being the only route for providing this confirmation.

 

We are currently putting into place arrangements for the city and district councils, in addition to us, to hold pre-paid payment cards that are used to issue £200 payments to guests. This is part of our collective approach to supporting those in need quickly through whoever has the first face to face contact with our guests. The process for issuing the £350 thank-you payments to hosts will be in place as of today. As mentioned last week, we expect to receive the first grant funding from government for these payments in June.

 

We are also working at pace on a proposed process and procedure for rematching guests with hosts following the guidance we shared last week. This requires a system wide approach and will only take place where it is unviable or unsafe for the sponsorship relationship to continue.

 

Applications for school places are being successfully progressed with additional resource helping to process these quickly. The process is in line with government guidance and is the same for all children requiring a school place. A reminder has been sent to schools who manage their own admissions to inform the county council if they have accepted, or plan to accept, any Ukrainian children onto their school roll.

 

We are working on identifying activities, and accompanying funding support, for those waiting for a school place. Children who are eligible to receive free school meals will be able to access any activities funded through the government’s Holiday Activity Fund. This will include children in hosted families.

 

Our work with Asylum Welcome to expand the community liaison officer resource available in each district and the city is going well. Shortly, these additional officers will all be in place across the county to coordinate, advise and refer guests to the support that is available to them, including across housing, education and health.

 

We are also beginning to see community organisations and groups offering meeting spaces for hosted families in all districts and Asylum Welcome is working on coordinating and promoting these offers.

 

As always, we will keep you updated on progress.

 

A reminder, councillors can direct general Ukraine queries to:

·         Website: www.oxfordshire.gov.uk/ukraine

·         Oxfordshire Ukraine helpline: +44 1865 966444 / 01865 966 444 (opening hours: 8.45am – 5pm, Monday to Friday. Closed weekends and bank holidays).

·         Email: ukraineresponse@oxfordshire.gov.uk

 

 
Food & Energy Poverty – Working Together in Hendreds & Harwell  
The Food and Energy Crisis continues to worsen, and I am picking up more cases and needs by the week. In response to this, apart from raising my voice at County Hall around concern and action, we need to be pragmatic on the ground.

26.        We have the HEG Community Larder, people can sign up for this and working together (like we are in Steventon) we can get a network of distribution drops sorted for those in need – just contact me for more information

27.        Please see the news below about the £15 food vouchers for half term, although £15 is hard to stretch these days.

28.        The wonderful Emma from East Hendred has a brilliant You Tube Channel, and she has a meal voucher menu planner here – https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLZw0bNAGKwni_cM1OkdsfM70nlpQE8WvE

29.        I am looking into funding streams and financial help packages that may be available at District or County Council and will share asap when known.

30.        The £150 rebates from Council Tax at VOWH have started to appear for those on Direct Debits, I am informed for those without bank details stored, the Districts are corresponding accordingly, please liaise with your District Councillor.

31.        Knowing who is in need is something that Parish Councils have done so well since Covid restrictions, and maybe check in with those individual’s and see how they are ?

32.        There is some helpful information here – https://www.moneyhelper.org.uk/en/everyday-money/budgeting/what-to-do-if-worried-about-energy-bills-rising

33.        More news to come….

 

 
Latest news  
Celebrating recognition for our zero emissions zone

Six years of collaboration is set to cut pollution levels, increase active travel and improve the environment thanks to our work to set up the UK’s first zero emissions zone in Oxford. The ambitious project contributes directly to our vision to work in partnership to make Oxfordshire a greener, healthier and fairer county. It has now been recognised as an example of sector best practice with an article in the Local Government Chronicle, which you can read online.

 

Foster care fortnight from Monday 9 May

Foster care is an important topic throughout the year. People often rule themselves out before they have even spoken to the fostering service, but our recruitment team is on hand to answer questions and provide further information about fostering. Read our news story to hear from one of our residents who has been fostering for the county council for 35 years and you can check out our refreshed webpages, which help people navigate through any questions they might have.

 

Halfterm food vouchers for eligible young people

This May half-term we are again providing resources to early years settings, schools and further education colleges for eligible children and young people to receive £15 free school meal equivalent support. In most cases this will be provided as a supermarket voucher.

 

In other news:

·         Climate action survey – closing on 13 May

·         Our partnership with The Care Workers’ Charity to provide grants

·         New technology could support Oxfordshire residents with additional needs

·         Plans to improve cycle safety.

 
Consultation and engagement activities  
We are currently running two major consultations for residents. Please encourage your constituents to have their say by sharing the relevant links. For details of all other live consultations visit Let’s Talk Oxfordshire.

 

Consultation Link to consultation Closing date
Parking Spaces – Disabled Changes https://letstalk.oxfordshire.gov.uk/southvale_dppp2022
20 May
Keeping safe in open water Let’s talk Oxfordshire

 

31 May
 
COVID-19  
Latest statistics

At 7 May, the weekly case rate for Oxfordshire was 119.4 per 100,000. You can view the latest figures on our COVID-19 dashboard.

 

Vaccination update

There are still 64,000 people who are eligible for the spring booster but have yet to come forward and they are encouraged to do so as soon as possible. Boosters are available through the national booking service at various locations including GP-led sites, community pharmacies and the large vaccination centres. To book visit the NHS website or call 119 free from mobiles and landlines. Lines are open every day from 8am – 8pm, and 119 can provide support in 200 languages. You can read more in the attached update from the Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire West (BOB) integrated care system.

 
Council meetings and information  
Upcoming meetings

The following are scheduled next week:

·         Tuesday 17 May, County Council, 10.30am

·         Wednesday 18 May, Confirmation Hearing for Chief Finance Officer of the PCC, Thames Valley Police and Crime Panel, 10.30am

·         Thursday 19 May, Health Improvement Partnership Board, 2pm.

 

 
And finally…  
Professor Irene Tracey has been nominated as the next Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford. A renowned neuroscientist, Professor Tracey is currently Warden of Merton College. The professor has led the college since 2019. She is also Professor of Anaesthetic Neuroscience in the Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences, a department she led for several years. She will take up her new role in 2023 – you can read more in the University of Oxford’s press release.

 

For the latest news and information from the council, check your emails regularly and keep an eye on our website. You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram and sign up for our residents’ newsletter, Your Oxfordshire.

 

With best wishes,

 

Sally Povolotsky

Hendreds & Harwell Division County Councillor

 

 

 

Appendix B

 

Monday 9th May 2022 – Monthly Parish Update – Vale of White Horse District Councillors

Cllr Hayleigh Gascoigne and Cllr Sarah Medley

 

Hello from Hayleigh & Sarah

We hope everyone enjoyed the extended Easter weekend, and had the opportunity for some family time, time to relax or time away – however you please! And ‘Eid Mubarak’ to those who were fasting over the month of Ramadan and celebrating Eid.

The month of April was a reasonably quiet one for council meeting, but the work of the council officers carries on and we have included the latest press releases in this update as well as some more information on how the council is supporting Ukrainian refugees, and a link to the latest planning application for a parcel of homes on Valley Park (please submit your comments!).

The next full council meeting is our AGM on 18th May. Should you wish to speak at this (or any) meeting, please email democratic services democratic.services@southandvale.gov.uk by 12noon on the working day before the meeting. You can also attend meetings in person or watch the stream on YouTube – details about this are here.

Hope the month of May brings everyone some sunshine and some fun as we look forward to the Queen’s jubilee celebrations locally, and the start of summer.

Council tax rebate

All households living in properties which are in council tax bands A-D are entitled to a £150 payment. The government is providing this money, also known as the ‘council tax rebate’, to help people with the rising costs of energy bills with the payments being made by local councils. The Council can pay the money directly to someone’s bank account if they are the person responsible for paying council tax at the property. A letter will be sent to all remaining eligible households (those not on direct debit, or whose bank account can’t be matched to those liable for the council tax at the property) asking them to complete an online form to confirm their bank account details so they are able to receive the money. Anyone who is not able to complete the form online will be able to call a special customer service team for assistance.

Community Support

The Community Support Hub, originally set up by the council in 2020 in response to the pandemic, is still available for anyone in need of help: if you have COVID-19, or if you are struggling financially, or if you are just finding life difficult due to the pandemic. Whether it’s practical support or just advice, get in touch. Call: 01235 422 600 (Mon to Thurs 8.30-5pm and Fridays 8.30-4.30pm) or visit www.whitehorsedc.gov.uk/communityhub.

Financial Support Helplines

With rising energy prices and the cost of living increasing, it is a difficult time for many residents. Anyone who is struggling financially can contact Citizens Advice on 0808 278 7907, Vale Community Impact on 01235 765348 or the council’s own community support hub – details below.

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.   Vale and South Oxfordshire councils step up to support Ukrainian refugees

The system is working and in full swing across Oxfordshire to support the government’s Homes for Ukraine scheme.

Whilst, there is still limited government guidance in some areas, all partners across the county are working together to find solutions and put guests at the heart of any action required. The accommodation and safeguarding checks are progressing well, with the backlog of home checks almost completed, and with no significant concerns raised.

The government is providing funds to provide support to families to rebuild their lives and fully integrate into communities, which the councils will be the administrators of.

The county council has continued to process school place applications and is recruiting an additional admissions officer to manage demand and avoid administrative delays.

You may have also seen that the Department for Work and Pensions has laid emergency regulations so those arriving in the UK from Ukraine, as a result of the Russian invasion, can access Universal Credit and jobs support immediately. Families can therefore claim for free school meals in the usual way under the usual eligibility criteria.

And as we approach half-term, the council are working to identify what holiday activities could be offered for children and also activities for children waiting for a school place.

For more information

General Ukraine queries: · www.oxfordshire.gov.uk/ukraine

  • Oxfordshire Ukraine helpline: +44 1865 966444 / 01865 966 444 (opening hours: 8.45am – 5pm, Monday to Friday. Closed weekends and bank holidays). · Email: ukraineresponse@oxfordshire.gov.uk

For housing and community support in South and Vale: · www.southoxon.gov.uk/ukraine · www.whitehorsedc.gov.uk/ukraine

  • South and Vale helpline: +44 1235 422600 / 01235 422600 (press option one). Opening hours: 8.30am-5pm Monday to Thursday, 8.30am-4.30pm Fridays, Closed weekends and bank holidays. Email: communitysupport@southandvale.gov.uk

Finally, as we work hard to support the government’s Homes for Ukraine scheme, it’s important to recognise that we are continuing to work collectively across the county to support people of all immigration status, including refugees, whatever their country of origin.

In recent years, all councils across Oxfordshire have established specific support arrangements for those from Syria and Afghanistan working together with our voluntary and community sector partners to deliver wrap-around support for those temporarily accommodated in hotels. We will all continue to support relocating refugees and work with Thames Valley Police and other agencies to identify and prevent modern slavery.

Local News

Valley Park Update The planning application for the first ‘parcel’ of 246 homes on Valley Park has now closed for consultation on the online planning portal – reference P22/V0539/RM. The decision will take at least 6 weeks as the planning officers at the Vale read all the comments submitted, and look at how the application complies to national as well as local planning policies. They may go back to the developer with changes to make, meaning the decision could take longer.

In the meantime, another planning application for a parcel of houses by Persimmon as been submitted, and can be viewed and commented on here – reference P22/V0907/RM. The deadline for a response here is 1st June. Witness the thrill of elite cycling in Oxfordshire

People will be able to witness the thrill of elite professional cycling when the Women’s Tour returns to the Vale of White Horse on Saturday 11 June.

Following successful events in 2019 and 2021, this will be the final year that The Women’s Tour will visit Oxfordshire, following a three-year partnership with race organiser SweetSpot. For 2022, the county will host the sixth and final stage of the Tour in what promises to be a spectacular finale.

On the day, you will be able to see the riders pass through Harwell and Didcot. The full timetable will be published closer to the time.

Communities across the district are being encouraged to mark the occasion – this could be as simple as lining the route to cheer the riders on, putting up bunting, flags, or cycling inspired artwork, creating a cycling themed window display or having cycling themed events. To learn more visit whitehorsedc.gov.uk/womenstour.

New cinema nights at The Beacon

New film nights will start at The Beacon from Saturday 21 May with a matinée of Encanto and an evening screening of Belfast. Later screenings include Sing 2 and West Side Story. More info here.

Cornerstone’s summer of fun

Cornerstone’s summer programme is now in full swing with a line-up of shows and activities from science extravaganzas to live blues music. With classes, workshops, and gallery exhibitions including ‘Oxfordshire Artweeks: Inspired By Nature’ from 3 May – there’s something for everyone. More here.

Climate & Environment News Councils to let wildflowers bloom during No Mow May

Wildflowers could bloom in more public areas next month after South Oxfordshire and the Vale of White Horse District Councils pledged their support for No Mow May.

The two councils already designate wildflower meadows which they only cut two to three times a year but this year they will trial leaving several additional areas of land uncut for No May Mow, a national campaign which encourages people to not mow gardens and public areas during May.

For more information about how the council carry out grass cutting visit whitehorsedc.gov.uk/NoMowMay For more information about No May May, visit the Plantlife website.

Council News Didcot Garden Town

A wide range of improvement projects and facilities in the Didcot Garden Town area will be prioritised to ensure climate change and pandemic recovery are tackled first.

The Didcot Garden Town Advisory Board discussed the actions set out in 2017’s Delivery Plan to identify the projects they thought were the most important to bring more community improvements and assist recovery for the garden town area following the pandemic. More information on the Didcot Garden Town can be found here. You can read the full minutes of the Didcot Garden Town Advisory Board meeting here. Have your say on a new technology park development in Didcot Garden Town

Residents and businesses can give their views on how greener commercial buildings can be built at a Didcot technology park.

Hill Farm, in Appleford and near to Didcot, is the site of a proposed Local Development Order (LDO), something that local planning authorities use to set out the overall design of a site. It also helps speed up the planning process for preferred types of development there, such as industrial buildings with energy efficient measures. This LDO design includes a data centre, waste management, a wood recycling organisation and a battery storage facility. The formal consultation is now open until midday 25 May 2022 via this link to the planning application page. Street naming consultation

The government is asking people to comment on proposals to alter process for changing street names. This includes replacing the current system with a single requirement for a residents’ vote on any changes to street names and some changes to regulations and statutory guidance for councils. To find out more and to have your say visit the government’s consultation