Minutes of a Meeting of Standlake Parish Council, held by Zoom, on 8th March 2022 at 7.30pm
Mr. B. Parnham Chairman
Mr. J. Rippin Vice Chairman
Mrs. L. Burton
Mrs. J Macdonald
Mrs. A. Knipe
Mr. D. Bevan Clerk
OCC Cllr. Mr. D. Levy, Mr. S. Grace, Mr. C. Maynard, Mr. B Smith, Mr. D. Miles (First and Last)
1. APOLOGIES –WODC Cllr Ms. L. Nicholls, Mr. Jeffcoat.
2. DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST – There were no declarations of interest.
3. PUBLIC ITEMS – Mr. Miles (First and Last Mile – Bus 418) reported that he was satisfied with the performance of the service but there were still challenges with getting drivers and the company has had to employ paid drivers. Mr. Parnham said the council had received the request for funding and asked Mr. Miles for a sight of the company’s business plan so it could be discussed at the next meeting. Mr. Miles said he was pleased to do that. The clerk asked if the ever-increasing price of fuel was included in the plan. Mr. Miles said that it was, and to some extent, support for that was available from government. The clerk also asked what level of support the company was looking for from the Parish Council and Mr. Miles confirmed that this was hundreds rather than thousands of pounds; typically, a small council would offer circa £500, and he confirmed to Mr. Parnham that this was an annual grant. Mr. Parnham thanked Mr. Miles for his updates and looks forward to receiving the updated business plan which the council would discuss at the April meeting.
4. COUNTY & DISTRICT COUNCILLORS’ REPORTS
WODC – see Cllr. Nicholls’ report attached to these minutes.
OCC – see Cllr. Levy’s report attached to these minutes. Cllr. Levy said he was pleased to see the 418 service was working successfully with the Bartholomew school students and he remarked the OCC were looking again at support for school transport especially where catchment boundaries produced anomalies – such as in Standlake. Cllr. Levy also stressed that although OCC take responsibility for managing on-street parking , this would in no way affect the current arrangements for off street parking, which will remain under control of WODC.
5. PLANNING –
22/00171/FUL: Change of use of land to equestrian use and erection of a stable block: Land To The Rear Dormer House Aston Road Brighthampton: Mr & Mrs Keane. No objection, but comment on lighting, management of manure and restriction on commercial activities.
22/00172/FUL: Proposed construction of an all-weather Menege: Land To The Rear Dormer House Aston Road Brighthampton: Mr & Mrs Keane. See above.
22/00129/FUL: The replacement of an existing fence with 7m fencing: Oxford Downs Cricket Club Abingdon Road Standlake: Mr Nicholas Owens. No objection.
22/00365/LBC: Internal and external alterations to kitchen/dining area and front entrance hall. Florey's Barn Brighthampton Witney. No objection.
22/00364/HHD: Internal and external alterations to kitchen/dining area and front entrance hall.: Florey's Barn Brighthampton Witney. No objection.
6. MINUTES - Minutes of the Meeting held on Tuesday, 8th February 2022, copies of which had been previously circulated to all members, were agreed as a true record, and were signed by the chairman.
7. MATTERS ARISING
Sewage/Flooding - Mr. Parnham reported the following: Thames Water: The loose manhole on High Street by Woodlands needs the chamber to be re-built. As a road closure needs to be put in place work is scheduled for the 29th May. The other manhole opposite number 16 and on The Downs/Church Mill are under investigation. Mr. Maynard asked what the issue in Standlake was and Mr. Parnham briefly explained the problems. OCC: nothing to report and we will continue to monitor Woodlands
Roads/Traffic/Speedwatch – Mrs. Knipe reported the following: Now that Speedwatch has been fully operational in the village over the past month, there have been 12 roadside sessions held at different locations around the village. 32 offenders have been reported and will be receiving letters from Thames Valley Police. Disappointingly, at least 2 of those reported are known to be village residents. The maximum speed reported was 44mph which is totally unacceptable in a 30mph zone and shows the importance of Speedwatch. We now have 7 trained operators with another who attended the briefing last week expected to come on-board. There is a further briefing tomorrow evening (9th March) at the Youth Club Hut and hopefully more will come forward; 4 residents are coming along to the meeting. A big thank you to those who have stepped up so far - your help is really appreciated. It is disappointing, considering the number of complaints of speeding in the village that have been reported to the Parish Council, that so few have come forward to help despite details of the meetings being published on the Parish Council Web Site, Standlake News and Facebook. The more volunteers we have the more roadside sessions can be held. A roadside session only lasts 30 minutes so we are not asking for a lot of commitment!
On other issues, a meeting was held between Brian Parnham, David Bevan and Dan Levy (Oxfordshire County Councillor) on the 15th February and the following initiatives are being explored:
1. Solar SIDS (Speed Indicator Devices) on the A415 / Abingdon Road. 2. Pedestrian Crossings at different locations on the A415 and Aston Road. 3. 20mph zone on High Street, Rack End and Church End to the Downs. 4. Reduction from 60mph to 50mph from the A415 Downs Road into the village. 5. Speed reduction chicanes at different entry points into the village, for example Aston Road, Downs, Rack End and Abingdon Road. Of course, all of these will require not only support from residents but also funding. Further updates will be given at Parish Council meetings and through our normal channels.
Mr. Parnham added his disappointment at the low number of volunteers for Speedwatch considering the number of complaints of speeding in the village to the council and on social media.
Playground/Recreation Ground & Maintenance – Mr. Parnham said that vandals had broken the fence between the village hall car park and the recreation ground; the vehicle had then been driven around the multi games area and adjacent grass. The damage to the fence cost £46.80 to repair and the police have been informed. Otherwise, there is little to report, and before the end of March Mr. Parnham and the clerk will meet with Mr. Pascoe and discuss the spring maintenance requirements.
Environment – Mrs. Burton said she had nothing particular to report, but a meeting had been held to examine improving biodiversity at the school.
Aston Rd. Village Gates - Mr. Parnham said these are awaiting delivery.
Willows by church – Mr. Pascoe still has a problem with some equipment but will carry out the work as soon as possible.
Jubilee 22 – Mr. Rippin reported that a well-attended meeting had been held in the Black Horse and an outline of the events was agreed: church service on the Thursday, lighting of beacon on Friday, street party on Saturday and private arrangements on Sunday. Mr. LeHuray was coordinating actions and minutes were taken. Mr. Parnham said he was awaiting costings for commemorative mugs, and he would pass this on to the committee in due course. The clerk said that the council would purchase bunting for the street party and the cost (£109.90) would come from the £1000 budget set aside in the budget for FY 22/23 for the Jubilee celebrations.
Martins Lane - Mr. Parnham is in contact with OCC and they have confirmed that it is an unadopted road with a bridleway and they do maintain it to a ‘reasonable standard’ which was not specified. Mrs. Macdonald asked if the offer from the fishing club to contribute to the filling of potholes could be taken up. Mr. Parnham said that he had asked this question and was awaiting an answer but, as far as he was concerned, any work would not be under the auspices of the Parish Council.
418 Bus – See Public Items.
May Elections – The clerk has distributed the nomination papers to councillors and, in reply to a question from Mrs. Macdonald, he confirmed that councillors could ask him or WODC for the Electoral Roll numbers of their proposers and seconders. He stressed that councillors should look again at the PDF document from WODC explaining the process, and also note the time window for returning the papers to WODC (28th March – 4th April).
8. CORRESPONDENCE – There was no significant correspondence.
9. ACCOUNTS – The clerk reported that, approaching the end of the current Financial Year, the council’s financial situation was healthy and, considering likely further expenditure before 31st March, he expected the final balance would be comfortably in excess of the 21/22 Budget closing forecast of £15,117.55. The clerk also confirmed that the OCC grant towards the Aston Road ‘gates’ has been paid.
The following accounts were approved for payment:
PWLB - car park loan repayment 2142.96
Standlake Youth Club – hire for Speedwatch meetings 16.00
D C Bevan – clerk salary and expenses 1519.50
10. DATE OF NEXT MEETING - Mr. Parnham said that the clerk would be away for the normal 12th April meeting and he, himself, would be away for the next available Tuesday 19th April; this is also the day after the Easter Bank Holiday. He therefore proposed delaying the meeting until Tuesday 26th April, and therefore delaying the May meeting until Tuesday 17th May. This was agreed. Mr. Parnham said that, unless circumstances changed, future meetings would be held in the Youth Club.
11. There being no further business, the meeting closed at. 8.30pm.
Chairman .................................................................... Date …………………………………………………
OCC news 8th March 2022- Cllr. Dan Levy
A bit of a transport heavy report this month.
The County Council passed its budget at the February full council meeting. Among other things, we will see a restoration of youth services after years of cuts, and feasibility studies on the expansion of rail services, including the potential one between Carterton, Witney, Eynsham and Oxford, for which I have been campaigning for a long time.
The Oxfordshire Fair Deal Alliance is committed to encouraging public transport and active travel. Work has already begun on a feasibility study for the cycle and walking path between Eynsham and Hanborough Station; the cost of the path will be found from the Section 106 payments from the developers of the Garden Village. It will join the cycle track which will extend all the way from Witney to Bladon along the A4095, currently being built. Blenheim Estates are working closely with the County Council to try to find ways round the pinch points under the railway and at the corner in Bladon. We need to make sure that as many places as possible can have active travel facilities that are safe and direct – this is clearly more difficult and more expensive in the more rural areas, but I, and other councillors with similar divisions, will continue to remind the council of the importance of the whole county.
I am pleased to say that the First and Last Bus service between Standlake, Stanton Harcourt, Eynsham, Freeland and Hanborough has now been running for two months, is well used, both to take pupils to Bartholomew and for the general public, and the money for the buses came via S106 money from the County Council. You may have seen that the timetable has been amended to fit the demands on the service. Unfortunately, the government has decided not to keep the payments it made during lockdown to keep buses going, and those services which have relied on both subsidy and fares are under threat.
We inherited two deeply flawed large scale road schemes from the previous administration, in which money from Homes England, relating to building a huge number of houses, has been aimed at building new or widened highways. My view is that building roads is no way to combat climate change and discourages people from using better forms of transport than the private car, and that car use always expands to fill the roads made available. However, we may find it impossible to prevent these schemes because of the way they are funded, even though any cost or time overruns – and these things always overrun - are likely to lead to cuts in County Council spending on things we do want to do.
People here know about the HIF2 scheme, to dual some of the A40, up to the west of Eynsham, and build bus lanes along the A40 from Eynsham to Wolvercote Although there are some benefits to the scheme, such as sorting out the mess that is the junction by Cassington, they are outweighed by the costs to the environment, the dangers to people who have to cross the road, especially in the Salt Cross/Eynsham corridor, and above all by the likelihood that the new scheme won’t actually reduce congestion or increase bus use. These points were all made forcefully by my predecessor Charles Mathew too. The scheme will shortly go to planning committee at the County Council. I have put in an objection, as I know have many residents and parish councils. It is more likely than not that, primarily because of the way funding has been fixed, it will have to be approved. I will continue to try to get more improvements in the scheme, on top of the ones that have already been gained since the scheme was first devised.
HIF1 is, if anything, even more problematical. It involves building a new road from the A34 near Didcot, across the site of the old power station and then round Culham. New roads aren’t the correct approach at a time when we have to treat climate change as an emergency. Many of us believe that we should unlock the 12000 proposed homes without building a major new road, especially in a site so close to a major train junction.
On the topic of cars, and closer to home, the County Council is likely to give notice that it will take on-street car enforcement back in house. It is currently done very badly by WODC, which loses £400k of council taxpayer money each year but doesn’t deliver an adequate service. You will have noticed how rarely we see parking enforcers here in Standlake, and that means dangerous parking at junctions, such as in the centre of the village. Some places are likely to request Residents Parking Zones. Woodstock will probably be first, because residents have a real problem with finding spaces near their houses, because of the influx of visitors. There will only be RPZs if residents request them.
For the avoidance of doubt, WODC will retain control of its own car parks, including the ones in Witney. It is entirely up to WODC whether it charges for car parking. You may have seen petitions and rumours coming from political mischief-makers, suggesting that the County Council will charge for off street car parks. They are utterly unfounded.
There is a review of school transport under way, with the intention of making it fairer to families, more efficient, and less polluting. There are a number of anomalies in the current arrangements which we intend to address. Standlake is a village in which this is a particular concern.
Finally, a plea for everyone to be neighbourly. Covid hasn’t gone away, and the rates in Oxfordshire remain stubbornly high. Although the government has ended all Covid related laws, advice remains to isolate if infected and to take appropriate heath measure like mask-wearing.
The appalling events in Ukraine are on everyone’s minds. There are many people who are themselves from Ukraine and Russia or who are second generation immigrants from there who live in our communities. They need our support and compassion and I am sure will get it..
As ever, please contact me with any issues, comments or suggestions. Dan.firstname.lastname@example.org
WODC report 8th March 2022- Cllr. Lysette Nicholls
The WODC budget was approved at Full Council.
West Oxfordshire District Council awarded £7,000 in community activity grants across the District
14 community projects have benefitted from grants of up to £500 to support projects that foster community cohesion, build relationships and organise activities that benefit residents’ health and wellbeing across the district. Hopefully, Standlake will look at applying for grants in the future.
Queens Jubilee: West Oxfordshire District Council is providing advice for residents who want to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee by holding a street party on the first weekend of June this year. Advice for safely hosting street parties to celebrate the Jubilee, including applying for temporary licences and road closures can be found on – https://www.westoxon.gov.uk/jubileestreetparty
3920 parents and children got their skates on in West Oxfordshire. Nearly 4,000 residents took to the ice for free in the district thanks to Love West Oxfordshire
Marriotts Walk in Witney and Market Square Carterton were transformed into Ice Skating arenas, as residents from across the district hit the ice for free over half term. Ice skating sessions took place in Witney and Carterton as part of the “Love West Oxfordshire” campaign.
The project was funded from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of its Welcome Back Fund. The fund has been provided to encourage people back to the High Street and support business as a result of restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic.