Minutes of the Meeting of Standlake Parish Council, held in the Youth Club, Church End, on 9th May 2023 at 7.30pm
Mr. B. Parnham Chairman
Mr. J. Rippin
Mrs. A. Knipe
Mrs. J. Macdonald
Mrs. L. Burton
Mr. D. Jeffcoat
Mr. J. Clements
Mr. D. Bevan Clerk
WODC Cllr. C. Maynard 1 member of the public (Mr. B. Smith).
Mr. Parnham stood down as chairman. Mr. Rippin assumed the chair and asked for nominations for chairman.
Mr. Jeffcoat proposed Mr. Parnham as chairman, seconded by Mrs. Macdonald; passed unanimously.
Mr. Parnham signed his acceptance of office and re-convened the meeting as chairman: he then called for nominations for Vice Chairman and Responsible Financial Officer.
Mrs. Macdonald proposed Mr. Rippin as vice chairman, seconded by Mr. Jeffcoat; passed unanimously. Mr. Rippin then signed his acceptance of office.
Mr. Parnham proposed Mr. Bevan (Clerk) as Responsible Financial Officer to the council, seconded by Mr. Rippin; passed unanimously.
Mr. Rippin agreed to act as the council trustee on the Poor's Allotments Charity, agreed unanimously.
Mr. Jeffcoat agreed to act as the council representative on the Village Hall committee.
23/00301/FULL: Erection of five industrial units with associated parking and service areas and access road: Lakeside Industrial Park Cotswold Dene Standlake: Mr Glen Coffey. Object: if surface water drainage was to be connected to the public sewer network as suggested in the applicant’s Flood Risk Assessment. Otherwise, no objection.
23/00700/FULL: Construction of new dwelling and detached garage building with attached store and room above. Alterations to existing access to provide for new and existing dwelling: Weavings Farm 101 Abingdon Road Standlake: Mr Simon Booth. Object: back building and not in keeping with character of the area.
23/00973/HHD: Proposed porch to front elevation, flat roof single storey rear extension (amendments to previously approved 21/00150/HHD): 83 Abingdon Road Standlake Witney: Mr and Mrs Owens. No objection.
23/00907/FUL: Change of use from egg packing plant to flexible Class B2 use (general industry), Class B8 use (storage and distribution) or Class E g ii use (industrial processes). Cotswold Farm Standlake Witney. Cotswold Farm. No objection, but request the following be considered: concern re current level of light pollution from external lights and, future use should be sensitive to the rural location of the site.
Sewage/Flooding – Mr. Parnham reported the following. Thames Water: rattling manholes have been addressed so hopefully that is closure on that issue. I am waiting for an update from TW who are investigating infiltration issues in The Downs area and also what investigation of the sewer system has been carried out on Rack End where a resident reported an issue.
OCC - High Street Flooding/Drainage: I have heard from OCC who have advised that they will arrange for another survey of the drainage, just to establish whether any blockages exist in the surface water system.
Environment – Mrs. Burton had nothing to report at this meeting.
Buses/Bus Stop/Shelter – Mr. Jeffcoat said that, following further problems with the hardstanding, he was pleased to announce that the shelter at Lincoln Farm Park was now in operation. However, installation of the seats is still awaited but is expected shortly. The clerk will arrange for the shelter to be added to the regular (quarterly) cleaning schedule of the other three shelters.
Coronation – It was agreed by all that the Coronation Tea Party at the Village Hall and Recreation ground was an unqualified success, helped by the good weather. Mr. Parnham thanked all the volunteers who contributed to the success of the event. He also said that the commemorative mugs were proving very popular, and he had increased the order to fulfil orders received at the Tea Party. A total number of 100 mugs had been ordered to date. It was decided that profit from the sale of the mugs would be divided equally between Friends of Standlake School (FOSS) and St. Giles church. Various options for commemorative planters were now being considered and will be discussed at the next meeting.
The clerk presented the Annual Governance and Accountability Report, previously circulated to councillors, and asked that the chairman sign the relevant sections. This was agreed unanimously and duly signed by the chairman.
The clerk noted that the future quote for the new year’s insurance premium was £1321.89 - an increase of 25%. He explained that this was following the completion of a 3-year fixed price premium; the new premium reflects a new 3-year fixed price. Mr. Jeffcoat queried the basis on which the valuations for insurance purposes were made and asked if any savings could be made in that area. The clerk conceded that, in accepting this quotation, he had only ensured that the cover provided was at least as good as the previous cover. However, he will obtain advice as to any action that could be taken to reduce the cover to reflect the true replacement value of the assets insured. He would look again at what is insured to see if any savings can be made. It was agreed that the new premium should be paid subject to the outcome of the clerk’s enquiries.
The following accounts were approved: (paid*)
Amazon – batteries £9.27*
Abs Sols - playground repairs £754.39*
Baker Ross - crown kits £116.25*
Absolute Solutions - grass cut for football £135.00*
C Cleland - churchyard cutting £372.50*
Absolute Solutions – mowing £370.00*
Gallagher - insurance premium FY23/24 £1321.89
10. DATE OF NEXT MEETING - Mr. Parnham said that the next meeting will be held in the Youth Club on Tuesday 13th June 2023 at 7.30 pm.
11. There being no further business, the meeting closed at. 8.40 pm.
Dan Levy, County Councillor Report, 9 May 2023
A brief report this month. As you will know, there have been elections in many parts of the county for district and town councils, and that necessitated some reduction in activity at the County Council in areas that could be described as political.
Standlake did not have elections, because you have two district councillors, each on a 4 year term, and therefore have a “no election” year once every 4 years.
Clearly activity that is not party political carried on.
Roads and transport.
We had a brief window of improved weather, and the County Council’s contractors have been making good progress on filling some of the worst potholes. There is not enough money or manpower to be able to make our roads perfect, but there is an awareness of the importance of this area.
The closure of the road under the railway has commenced, so that National Rail can rebuild the station. This current closure will end in October this year. The road will then reopen until a second closure between March 24 and October 24. The railway continues to operate, although the line from Oxford to Didcot will be shut until the summer, as the viaduct over the Thames at Nuneham Courtney was found to be cracking. A salutary reminder of the importance of maintaining infrastructure.
So far, the closure of Botley Road has not caused excessive traffic elsewhere. People are choosing not to drive into the city. Stagecoach are running the S9 and an Eynsham-Osney special E1 service to Osney, from where people can walk into the city. The S1 is running along the A40 and down Woodstock Road, to the station.
A40 Shores Green
The “Access to Witney” Shores Green junction decision was deferred from the April planning committee, as the plans had failed fully to consider the effects of the new junction on South Leigh and other places to the south of the A40. I would expect it to reappear at the summer meeting.
As ever I am always pleased to hear from residents. Dan.firstname.lastname@example.org
District Councillor update for Standlake Parish Council, Charlie Maynard, 9th May 2023
Local election results
West Oxfordshire District Council (“WODC”) elections were held last Thursday, 5th May. WODC operates on a four-year cycle where a third of the 49 council seats are elected each of the first three years, with county council elections occurring in the fourth year. This year, neither of your two councillors in your Standlake, Aston and Stanton Harcourt ward were up for election.
The Liberal Democrats had some good results. We won three seats, which resulted in the Lib Dems becoming the largest party on WODC for the first time in 27 years. The Lib Dems also won control of Carterton Town Council, the first time it has fallen out of Tory control since the council was formed in 1984.
Thames Water sewage update
I’ve spent this afternoon with Thames Water and am happy to report that overall we are making good progress. On a district wide scale Thames Water have:
1. accepted many of our arguments about how they calculate the capacities of their sewage treatment works. This will result in larger capacity increases when they upgrade works.
2. just released additional data on their sewage map (https://www.thameswater.co.uk/edm-map) giving more visibility of what works they are planning in which location. Some of their planned expansions such as Witney and Bourton-on-the-Water look an appropriate size to accommodate future growth out to at least 2030, many don’t and / or require more information. We will stay on the case.
3. accelerated the roll-out of their smart meters. They are stating that they will complete this roll-out by December 2024, two years faster than they have previously indicated.
4. Launching soon a “fix my sewer” equivalent to “fix my street”. This should stop residents wasting hours of their time reporting problems over the phone (thanks Lucy & Colin)
5. They are weighing up whether to change their rules about insisting on visiting sites, even in the cases of repeat problems where it makes no sense to do so (thanks again, Lucy & Colin)
6. Agreed to work on their responsiveness to planning applications. Despite months of working on this, the response is still too often “no problem” when there are obvious problems that they should be reporting.
Standlake specific sewage problems
Standlake sewage treatment works and network remains a black spot. As I write this, the works has been dumping sewage for 14 hours straight. Here are some excerpts of the feedback we have received from Thames Water.
The short summary is that they are still trying to figure out the infiltration problem. They are hopeful to have more information in a few weeks. “Massive amount of investigation” carried out over 1.5km via look and lifts and CCTV surveys before lining work below. Manhole sealing in Rack End was completed with ten chambers sealed against visible infiltration. Several covers have been changed to stop water ingress when the road floods due to highways issues. Project team installed around 1036m of lining. Project team lined the wet well at the High Street SPS. TW have fitted no return valves on some properties on Abingdon Road. protect the property from flooding from the sewer. However, the properties can’t use their toilets or baths when the system is full. This is not good enough.