Minutes of a Meeting of Standlake Parish Council, held on Zoom on 14th December 2021 at 7.30pm

Present:

          Mr. B. Parnham               Chairman

          Mr. J. Rippin                   Vice Chairman

          Mrs. L. Burton

          Mrs. A. Knipe

          Mr. T. Ward

          Mr. D. Bevan       Clerk

Ms. A. Stribany, Mr. D. Miles (First and Last Mile CIC). OCC Cllr. Mr. D. Levy, WODC Cllr. Ms. L. Nicholls (at 7.45pm)

1.      APOLOGIES – Mrs. J Macdonald

2.      DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST – there were no declarations of interest.

3.      PUBLIC ITEMS – Ms. Stribany introduced Mr. David Miles, a director of First and Last Mile CIC, to give an update on the new bus service serving Standlake and Eynsham. Mr. Miles said that the new bus service was on track to start on 4th January 22, had received OCC approval and was currently being reviewed by the Traffic Commissioner. Sufficient drivers had been recruited, but more volunteers were welcome, and familiarisation runs would start soon with timetables being placed at bus stops in due course. Mr. Miles said that, so far, 12 Standlake parents had signed up for the transport to Bartholomew School. Mr. Rippin asked if there was a minimum number of parents required for the service and Mr. Miles replied that there was no required minimum as capacity (16 seats) would be allocated at school times with another bus for the general public.  Mr. Parnham thanked Mr. Miles for his update and Mr. Miles and Ms. Stribany left the meeting.

4.      COUNTY & DISTRICT COUNCILLORS’ REPORTS

In the light of Cllr. Nicholls’ and Cllr. Levy’s unavoidable late arrival in the meeting, Mr. Parnham asked the councillors that any report not of an urgent nature be left until the January meeting. This was agreed and Cllr. Levy’s report is attached to theses minutes.

5.      PLANNING –

21/03607/FUL: Construction of replacement dwelling and detached garage together with associated works including relocation of vehicular access: Touchdown 108 Abingdon Road Standlake: Cruikshank.  No objection.

21/03883/HHD: Demolition of side extension, single storey rear extension, internal changes: 19 Manor Crescent: Mr D Bleach. No objection.

6.      MINUTES - Minutes of the Meeting held on Tuesday, 9th November 2021, copies of which had been previously circulated to all members, were agreed as a true record, and will be signed by the chairman at a later date.

7.      MATTERS ARISING

Sewage/Flooding - Mr. Parnham reported the following: Woodlands – the work by OCC is now underway. TW – work will be undertaken on the manholes at the junction of Woodlands and High Street; TW have been made aware that the surface finish at the High St. pumping station is not considered satisfactory. Mr. Parnham will continue to ensure TW monitor the situation in Standlake.

Roads/Traffic/Speedwatch Mrs. Knipe reported the following:  Robert Maxwell has continued working very hard and we are now officially registered as a Community Speedwatch Group.  Robert and Brian have both successfully completed the online training and passed.  All the sites that will be used by the group have been registered (down to longitude and latitude!) and submitted to TVP.  Photographs of the sites also need to be uploaded which Robert is arranging for final TVP approval.  So, everything is proceeding in the right direction.  Thought is that because TVP will be providing Public Liability Insurance this is why the set-up procedure is so involved but hopefully we will be fully live soon.  Again, thanks must be extended to Robert for all his work. Mr. Parnham added his appreciation of Mr. Maxwell’s work, and this was echoed by the councillors.

8.      CORRESPONDENCE – There was no correspondence.

9.      ACCOUNTS – The clerk reported that the financial situation was essentially the same as last month.

For approval/payment:

Absolute Solutions - bus shelter                                          £374.26

Absolute Solutions - mowing/repairs                                  £495.00

C Cleland - churchyard mowing                                           £352.50

Absolute Solutions - Hornsway clearing                                £60.00

Volunteer Link Up – donation                                                £50.00

D C Bevan - clerk salary & exp                                           £1519.70

These payments were approved.

10.   BUDGET 2022/23 – The clerk reported that the budget document circulated to councillors was, apart from the format, the same as that discussed at the November meeting. The clerk said that he had approached Mark and Gary Pascoe and asked if there would be an increase in the Absolute Solutions charges for grass cutting as this had not changed for several years, and they have declined to do so. Mr. Parnham said thanks were due to the Pascoe brothers for this and their willingness to carry out urgent work for the council at short notice. The clerk then proposed that the budget be accepted, and the FY 22/23 Precept be set at £25000 – the same figure as last year; this was seconded by Mrs. Burton and passed unanimously.

11.   DATE OF NEXT MEETING - The next meeting will be held on Tuesday 11th January 2022 at 7.30pm. Depending on the COVID status the meeting will be held on Zoom.

12.   There being no further business, the meeting closed at. 7.50pm.

 

Chairman   ....................................................................  Date …………………………………………………

 

OCC news 14 December 2021- Cllr. Dan Levy

I need to start with Covid.  Rates in Oxfordshire are high and rising, and the new, Omicron variant is a great worry, and we can see that because Oxford is a centre of travel both nationally and internationally, that are seeing more cases locally, on top of the ones already announced.   So it is vital that people are sensible, follow the rules about masks, and take care.   There are local drop in centres for boosters in Witney and Kidlington, unfortunately with significant queuing, made much worse by the recent announcements from 10 Downing St which gave no notice to those providing vaccinations.

The main activity at County Hall at present relates to the budget for next year.  This is now out to public consultation, and you can find it on the County Council website along with lots of detail Council proposes investments in greener and fairer priorities and plans to meet future funding challenges (oxfordshire.gov.uk)   

Although consultation weariness has probably set in among most of us in the area, I would urge people to contribute.

It has been a challenging task to create a balanced budget given the very large number of things we want to do and the very limited available funds. There clearly are lots of things that we have to improve in key areas like adult social care and children’s services. It is incredibly frustrating that we are having to spend the money that the government has awarded as housing infrastructure funds on a set of road changes that we don’t think will be effective when we could spend it elsewhere, but we are unable to change these commitments made by the previous administration. 

One area of spending that will be challenged, but of great significance to people in Standlake, is home to school transport, and I would urge residents to make their voices heard.  There is a “deep-dive” review of Home to School transport being undertaken, and a number of rural areas have similar issues with the rules and their application to those in Standlake, eg that the nearest secondary school isn’t the one that most pupils are encouraged to attend.

The HIF2 arrangements – better known as the A40 changes – are likely to go for formal planning permission early in the new year, which will herald a formal consultation period, and residents and parish councils will be able to have their say.  My view is that the officers have done a good job of improving what was originally proposed, and that given that we are unable to change the project fundamentally, we can at least look forward to better placed bus stops, easier road crossings and some bus and cycling improvements, even if there are significant areas that should be changed even more.   

Oxfordshire County Council has taken over parking enforcement in Vale of White Horse and South Oxfordshire, and has increased the amount of enforcement to keep roads and pavements clear.   It would be good if WODC, which runs enforcement here, also put effort into ensuring that parking is legal and considerate.   I see many complaints from all of the villages in the Eynsham division about dangerous parking.  I have no doubt that active parking enforcement would be a big improvement on what we currently have.

The final piece of funding to enable the First and Last Mile bus service to start on Jan 4 is now in place.  It will be fantastic for people in Standlake to be able to get a bus to Eynsham (and if they want, on to Oxford or Witney or Hanborough), without needing to drive.   I very much hope people will opt to take the bus.  There will be space for pupils to use the service to get to school in Eynsham.   I attended a meeting recently at which some parents said that they would prefer to set up a parent-contracted service, for reasons which I sympathise with and have passed on to the relevant people at County Hall.   I hope that service goes well too.

An alternative route to Eynsham is by electric vehicle.  The first set of EV charging points are currently being installed in Back Lane car park.

You will have observed the ongoing work in Standlake to raise the level of the road in Woodlands to assist in drainage.  This is on top of the lining work done by Thames Water.  We will see what the effect is when it rains, but I am hopeful that things should be better – please let me know.

20 mph zones are being rolled out across the County, and I hope to see parts of this parish down to 20.  Sign only schemes will be covered by County funds – any additional infrastructure will have to be paid for by the parish. In addition, there is substantial work going on to develop a new HGV policy and relevant enforcement, in order to assist residents who live on roads where HGVs ought not to travel. Announcements in the new year.

I was honoured to be at two community events recently, that show what fantastic communities we have.   The new social club for seniors in Aston and Cote opened, and I was pleased to cut the ribbon on what will be a fantastic weekly event.  And I took part in a climate change workshop held by pupils from all the schools that are part of the Eynsham Partnership Academy Trust, with students of all ages from Bartholomew Sixth Formers to youngsters from the various primary schools including Standlake.  It was very impressive to hear well-argued cases for practical things that they thought the schools could do to address climate change, and there was commitment from the assembled head teachers to implement a number of them.

I hope everyone has a good Christmas and New Year.

Please contact me by phone 07852 748362 or email dan.levy@oxfordshire.gov.uk