Minutes of the Meeting of Standlake Parish Council, held in the Youth Club, Church End, on 8th November 2022 at 7.30pm
Mr. B. Parnham Chairman
Mr. J. Rippin
Mrs. L. Burton
Mrs. J. Macdonald
Mr. D. Jeffcoat
Mr. J. Clements
Mr. D. Bevan Clerk
OCC Cllr Mr. D. Levy, WODC Cllr. Ms. L. Nicholls, Mr. C. Francis (LWTC) Mrs. S. Garrett, .and 7 members of the public.
Mr. Francis spoke on behalf of the Lower Windrush Tennis Club in support of the application for a building to provide changing room/viewing area for use by members of the club. Mr. Francis said the facility was needed to support the club in its aim to encourage engagement in the sport and, in particular, it would allow parents to watch children being coached in the game of tennis.
Mrs. Garrett spoke on behalf of residents unable to attend the meeting regarding the application for changes to the proposed building at The Bell. The main objection was that any relocation of the two proposed buildings would likely go beyond the natural building line of adjacent properties and without a plan showing the wider area including adjacent buildings it was impossible to decide. Mr. Parnham said this would be taken into consideration when the council discussed the application.
Sewage/Flooding - Mr. Parnham said that there was nothing of note to report and he will continue to monitor the situation as we enter the winter period.
Playground/Recreation Ground & Maintenance – Nothing to report at this meeting.
Environment – Mrs. Burton said that the bird box project was so successful it was oversubscribed, so another 20 boxes were required at a cost of £100. Also, there was evidence of barn owl activity in the vicinity of St. Giles church, and Mrs. Burton proposed that a survey by Barn Owl Conservation Ox be carried out which would identify the optimal placing for a box; the total cost would be £75. It was agreed both these projects should be funded from the Nature Recovery Network budget.
Buses/Bus Stop/Shelter – Mr. Jeffcoat said the council been approached by local resident Brenda Smith on behalf of a number of people who catch the bus to Witney regularly from the stop in the High Street opposite Lincoln Farm Park. There is currently no shelter at this stop which means that it is quite exposed to the elements, especially in the winter. This is due to the prevailing westerly wind direction along the road.
Mr. Parnham has measured the grass verge adjacent to the existing stop and Oxfordshire County Council (OCC) Transport Department has confirmed that there is sufficient space for a shelter to be installed. They are prepared to cover the cost of supplying and erecting the shelter.
There was a proposal to install a shelter on this site several years ago, but this was never progressed due to the lack of funds at the time. It is understood that the owners of the single-story property next to the site also objected to the proposal. It is not clear why, but potentially it was because the shelter would obstruct the view from the front of their home and also a lack of privacy due to passengers staring at their house. Therefore, it would be advisable to consult the owners before asking OCC to go ahead. Mr. Jeffcoat added that he would be prepared to approach them on behalf of the Parish Council if it is decided to do so. This was agreed.
Mr. Jeffcoat confirmed that the bus stop, currently outside The Bell, will be relocated opposite the existing Witney – bound stop at Woodlands.
The following accounts received were approved: (paid*)
Dan Levy County Councillor Report, November 2022
Cost of living
Cost of living support for low-income pensioners and families: OCC are sending a one-off payment of £85 to 11,000 lower income pensionable households to support with energy bills. Eligible residents will receive an Oxfordshire-branded letter from the 2 Post Office, redeemable for cash at Post Office branches. Schools and colleges will provide children entitled to free school meals with a £15 voucher.
£100K pot to help community organisations with energy bills: Applications for grants between £250 and £3000 can be made through the Oxfordshire Community Foundation. Expected to be popular - deadline is 21 November 2022.
Council Tax: WODC has agreed a new exceptional hardship scheme on top of the statutory council tax discount scheme that goes to WODC Cabinet next week. OCC has agreed to match the WODC discounts, which is important because the bulk of council tax receipts go to the County Council.
Council votes to request more energy support for off-grid residents: Many residents in rural areas live without access to mains energy and instead use heating oil, bottled gas, or other forms of fuel. That is certainly true in many parts of rural Oxfordshire including many households in the division I represent. The leader of the council will write to government to request off-grid residents receive the same level of support (£400) as on-grid residents.
Rather surprisingly Conservative councillors abstained on the motion on the basis that local authorities shouldn’t “interfere” in central government decisions.
OCC supports care business start-ups: OCC is supporting new ‘micro enterprises’ to become established care providers, helping local businesses to grow, and develop greater local choice for people looking for additional support. The Community Catalysts’ programme takes people through the standards, so that new micro-enterprises have a thorough understanding of what it takes to deliver quality care. Over one hundred people have signed up and have the combined capacity to support one thousand people in the county.
Renewed call on government to fund Special Educational Needs & Disabilities (SEND): OCC is appealing to the government to urgently address the national funding issues facing all local authorities providing SEND services for children and young people. The county council has also submitted to the Department of Education bids for two further special free schools.
Environment and transport
Tree services team successfully bids for funding: OCC tree services team has been successful in a bid to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA). Funding will be used to provide two new community tree and woodland planting officers who will work to increase tree cover across the county.
More sustainable streetlights policy: OCC has approved a new policy for streetlights to reduce impact on climate change and the environment. The policy considers the impact of light pollution on nature and dark skies in assessing where lighting should be added. When new lighting is necessary, dimming and reduction in operating hours will be used to preserve the night sky.
Parking standards for new developments: Developers will need to follow a revised set of guidelines when they consider parking provisions for new developments. New standards place much more emphasis on cycles, shared car clubs, and public transport than on multiple cars per household. A graduated approach is taken to allow for increased need for parking in rural settings.
Cheaper Park and Ride tickets up and running: Passengers can now buy a combined ticket covering both parking and return bus travel for £4 for a car with only 1 adult and £5 for a car and 2 adults. With both options, up to three children under 16 can travel for free. Drivers are encouraged to purchase a combined ticket through the RingGo parking app, or at one of the onsite ticket machines. You may have seen that work has started on the Eynsham Park and Ride.
Oxford traffic filters: Public consultation closed on 13 October 2022. The next step is for the cabinet to take a decision on 29th November 2022, where the cabinet will consider the outcomes of the public consultation and the closure of Botley Road for a year by Network Rail to accommodate improvements to the railway. Network Rail’s decision is unwelcome, although the station improvements are needed and the bridge under the railway does need replacement. As a reminder, there will be nowhere in the city that cannot be reached by car. The filters just make the route different, to speed up buses.
Salt Cross Garden Village. The consultation on the planning inspector’s amendments to the WODC Area Action Plan has now closed. The County Council, along with many residents and groups, and along with WODC itself, has strongly called for the obligation for new housing to be Net Zero to be put back into the plan.
Freight strategy. The cabinet member responsible has suggested that the new strategy is being prepared. I will continue to press for heavy traffic to be routed away from villages and for proper enforcement – the use of APNR cameras on Newbridge demonstrates their effectiveness.
Policing. I met last week with the Police and Crime Commissioner and with the head of the Thames Valley roads policing team and reminded them that speed management is an important part of their responsibilities. They are of course strapped for resources and reliant on Speedwatch volunteers, but that isn’t good enough.
As ever, please contact me with comments, queries, and suggestions.