Minutes of the Meeting of Standlake Parish Council, held in the Youth Club, Church End, on 14th February 2023 at 7.30pm


          Mr. B. Parnham               Chairman

          Mrs. A. Knipe

          Mrs. L. Burton

          Mrs. J. Macdonald

          Mr. D. Jeffcoat

          Mr. D. Bevan                   Clerk

1.         APOLOGIES –Mr. J. Rippin, Mr. J. Clements, OCC Cllr. D. Levy, WODC Cllrs. C. Maynard, L. Nicholls.

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

3.         PUBLIC ITEMS – no members of the public were present.

4.         COUNTY & DISTRICT COUNCILLORS’ REPORTS – see Cllr. Levy’s and Cllr. Maynard’s reports attached to these minutes.

5.         PLANNING -

Naming of development of 5 dwellings behind 77 Abingdon Road 'The Meadow'. No objection.

22/03475/FUL: Erection of dwelling and detached garage along with creation of parking area and amenity space.: Gaunt Mill Standlake Witney: Chris Glynn. No objection but comment re potential flooding issue.

6.         MINUTES - Minutes of the Meeting held on Tuesday, 13th December 2022, copies of which had been previously circulated to all members, were agreed as a true record, and were signed by the chairman.


Sewage/Flooding - Mr. Parnham reported: There have been no reports of flooding, sewage issues or tanker activity. This is very encouraging especially with the high rainfall we have experienced and even though some fields were flooded, the river was running high, and the ditches were about 75% full. Hopefully the various remedial and clearance works are having a positive impact. Disappointingly though, some of the recently replaced manholes (by the Church and Old Rectory) are rattling again.  This has been reported to Thames Water who are investigating, and the situation will continue to be monitored.

Roads/Traffic/Speedwatch – Prior to the meeting, Mrs Knipe circulated a detailed report to councillors. In summary:

It is 1 year since the Speedwatch group commenced operations in Standlake at Thames Valley Police (TVP) approved locations and some 1239 offenders have been reported to TVP. Thanks are extended to the 15 volunteers on the group. However, more volunteers are required and can contact the group at speedwatch@standlakepc.org.uk.

OCC has confirmed that the re-lining works at the junction of Abingdon Rd/Witney Rd/Aston Rd (Golden Balls) has been done. While hoping this will improve safety at the junction discussions regarding other improvements at the junction are ongoing. Mrs Knipe also requested the sum of £37.48 to purchase manual counters to record numbers of vehicles and extra-large hi-visibility to cover winter clothing. This was agreed.

The council has received a copy of a letter that has been sent to the School Governors and Head Teacher regarding the parking situation outside the school during drop-off and collection.  The Parish Council has been in contact with the Police who will be increasing patrols at such times to educate and advise drivers accordingly.

20 mph restrictions - Mr Parnham presented to the council a paper outlining his proposals to OCC regarding the introduction of 20mph zones and traffic calming in Standlake and Brighthampton.  This paper was prepared following a request for input from residents using social media (Standlake News, PC Web Site etc) and some 46 responses were received which is approx. 8% of the dwellings in the village.  Further input was also received from the Speedwatch Group.  In summary, the findings are as follows::

20mph will be welcomed on – Brighthampton Road from ‘Golden Balls’ heading to Aston with the zone being extended beyond the village gates; High Street including Woodlands and Manor Crescent; Rack End with the zone being extended beyond the Village Hall to the ‘straight mile’ junction; Church End to The Downs.

Other considerations - A415 Abingdon Road: from the feedback received there is no desire to see a 20MPH zone along this stretch as it is felt it will lead to more aggressive driving. However, consideration to the following is requested – SID devices indicating speed/smiley face etc as Kingston Bagpuize etc.; Pedestrian Crossing/Safe Refuge points – by the garage, The Orchard, between ‘Goldens Ball’ junction and leaving the village heading towards Witney (again a notorious overtaking place so would slow traffic); Average Speed Cameras.

Downs Road: make this a 40mph or 50mph zone– currently coming come from the A415 heading to the village the limit goes from 50mph to 60mph then 30mph entering the village which makes no sense; Chicanes (as per Bampton) –; coming into the village on Aston Road and Downs Road at the very least.

The proposal was discussed at length, and it was agreed that this should be put to OCC.

Playground/Recreation Ground & Maintenance – Nothing to report at this meeting.

Environment Mrs. Burton said It has been relatively quiet over the winter period. However, in March we intend to assist the Cubs in the making of bird nest boxes. Many thanks for funding this community event. Looking forward to the spring weather.

Defibrillator at School – Mrs. Macdonald reported that the defibrillator has failed its most recent check. Professional examination has shown that the machine is close to the end of its expected operational life and cannot be repaired. A loan machine is now in place to ensure that a defibrillator is available at that location. Mrs. Macdonald has examined various options for replacement and the cost would be £871 plus VAT. She suggested that this was an essential facility serving this area of the village, complimenting the other defibrillators at the Village Hall and the Cricket Club, and as such should be replaced out of council funds. It was unanimously agreed that it should be replaced and funded from the community reserve fund. Mr. Parnham said he was looking at other sources of funding and suggested that this matter be dealt with at the next meeting: this was agreed.

Buses/Bus Stop/Shelter – Mr. Jeffcoat said that the planned January installation of the bus shelter opposite Lincoln Farm Park and moving the stop at The Bell to opposite Woodlands has been delayed with work expected to start in week commencing 20th February.

8.         CORRESPONDENCE – There was no significant correspondence.

9.         ACCOUNTS – The clerk reported that the accounts remained in a satisfactory state and were within budget.

The following accounts were approved: (paid*)

BNBG - bird boxes                                             £50.00*

B Parnham chair expenses                                £53.40*

C Cleland - bike rack installation                    £148.52*

CPRE – annual subscription                              £36.80*

Cottsway – Windrush Way ground rent            £10.00*

Abs Sols - Hornsway clearing                            £60.00*

Darke & Taylor – resite defibrillator box        £150.00*

10.       STANDLAKE WI – Request for financial support of flower tubs at Post Office. It was agreed that support should be given for the excellent work that the WI do here which is much appreciated by residents. The sum of £50 was agreed.

11.       VILLAGE LITTER PICKING - Mrs. Macdonald has been asked by the WI to coordinate the annual village litter pick on 18th March. This would be run with the support of the WI, Standlake and Brighthampton Nature Recovery Network, and the Parish Council. To that end, Mrs. Macdonald asked for approximately £35 to purchase 12 litter pickers. Members welcomed this initiative, and the purchase was agreed.

12.       CORONATION – The forthcoming coronation of HM King Charles III and village celebrations of this event were discussed. Mr. Parnham stressed that, as at the celebration of the late Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, the initiative must come from the villagers themselves with the parish council providing financial support. Central Government advice is that as the Coronation occurs on Saturday 6th May, it is suggested that any celebrations should take place on Sunday 7th May. A number of ideas were discussed, but the consensus was that any lunch/party should be based around the Village Hall/Recreation Ground rather than the High Street. The clerk will advertise the council’s thoughts on Standlake News, Facebook and the Village Website and ask villagers for their ideas and support. A provisional booking on this date will be made at the Village Hall.

13.       DATE OF NEXT MEETING - Mr. Parnham said that the next meeting will be held in the Youth Club on Tuesday 14th March 2023 at 7.30 pm.

14.       There being no further business, the meeting closed at. 8.35 pm.


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


Dan Levy, County Councillor Report, February 2023


The County Council budget for 2023-24 is being finalised, and will go for approval to the next full meeting of Oxfordshire County Council on 14th Feb. There are huge pressures in key areas, caused by inflation and by increasing demand. The County Council is responsible for adult social care (in which HM Govt has suspended its reform of financing), children’s services including supporting Special Educational Needs, and highways.

The settlement from central government was reasonably generous, but there is still far less money than we would need to be able to do all the things that residents ask for.

The County Council (like all other councils) is permitted to increase council tax by only 2.99% (or £5 if that is higher) and in addition has been told by HM Government to charge a precept of 2% for adult social care.

Assuming that the budget is approved, then the following will be put in place:

Children’s Services & SEND: I am delighted to say that children’s services will see an inflation busting boost of 12.3% (£18.8m). In this climate, providing a real terms increase (+1.6%) to children’s services, including for special educational needs and other vulnerable children in care, has been difficult to achieve, but reflects the priorities of the administration. £500,000 will be spent to speed up needs assessments (EHCPs) for children with SEND.

Adult social care: Accounts for approximately half of OCC’s budget and is particularly sensitive to inflation due to the labour intensive nature of care. Because of the size of the budget, it is difficult to provide an inflation matched rise, however, adult social care will get a 6.8% (£14.4m) increase to support its work, which will soften the impact of inflation. The ‘Oxfordshire Way’ reforms, to help people remain in their own homes where appropriate, also support more efficient use of budget.

Highways and travel: We will be investing an additional £1.6m to reduce flooding on roads – clearing ditches and cutting through red tape (riparian rights!) that prevent action on the ground. Monies will also be used to clean signs and improve road markings. By investing in flooding prevention, we can reduce damage to road surfaces and save taxpayers money. However, it remains the case that successive grant reductions from government means that we have too little money to manage such a large network.

Climate: It’s easy to talk the talk on climate – but walking the walk is much harder. Amongst other initiatives, there is increased funding for trees planting (essential not only for carbon capture, but also localised climate resilience). Voluntary organisations, libraries, and other services: Library services will be supported as they account for the loss of income from DVD rentals etc. Voluntary organisation will also again be given a year’s rent holiday where they pay rent to OCC.

Highways maintenance and developments.

I am sure anyone who walks, cycles or drives will have noticed the huge number of potholes, following the rain and frost. They are being fixed as fast as is possible with the limited number of people available to do the work. Please do keep reporting issues on Fix my Street.

Work is going on to revise the A40 plans, to ensure that they can be fitted within the pot made available by central government. The original plans, drawn up several years ago, exceeded this limit because of the recent inflation pressures.

The Access to Witney scheme, to make the junction at Shores Green better, with access to and from the A40 heading west, will be going to the planning committee within the next few months. Assuming it is approved, it may have an effect on the quantity of traffic coming through villages south of the A40 - South Leigh PC (and I) are keen that this be restricted as much as possible, via 20 mph speed limits and through the introduction of a weight limit in South Leigh.

Botley Road closure at the station.

There is still no news from Network Rail about when the bridge under the station will be shut, even though they have been going ahead with the work to demolish the buildings which to be removed to permit the building of the new station.

The closure of Botley Road to cars and buses will have huge impact on residents, and has a knock on effect on all the other roads, and on plans to make bus journeys quicker.


First and Last Mile, who run the service from Standlake, Northmoor and Stanton Harcourt to Eynsham and from Eynsham to Freeland and Hanborough, have just had their first anniversary of being in service. It is an invaluable service, not least for the large number of pupils who use it to get to Bartholomew School.

They are always in need of more drivers to go on their roster, and would be delighted to hear from any volunteers.

Meanwhile, the government gave money to the County Council, on the back of its commitments to improve bus travel times, to provide electric buses to be used in Oxfordshire by Stagecoach and Oxford Bus Company. The first of the 159 electric buses should be in service in September.


Charlie Maynard, WODC Councillor Report February 2023

Sewage / Thames Water

Have a look here for Thames Water’s new sewage map - https://www.thameswater.co.uk/edm-map. Standlake STW (which also takes Northmoor’s sewage) is the single worst performer in West Oxfordshire in 2023, with the STW dumping sewage non-stop for 23 days.

Lidia Arciszewska and Alaric Smith (fellow district councillors) met with them on January 6th and on February 3rd. Here are some of the actions we are pursuing:

1.       WODC has now implemented a “Validation Check List” which requires all developments to check with Thames Water what is the capacity status of the relevant Sewage Treatment Works (“STW”).  This will result in the status of the STW at the start of any planning application The Forest of Dean and Cotswolds have followed us in taking this action.

2.       We are seeking to apply a condition on all new housing so that if the STW is below capacity, there is an obligation for the STW’s capacity to be increased before occupancy is permitted. We are pushing hard for the capacity to be increased by the full amount of any shortfall, but that is not in the bag. We’re also working to ensure that buyers and their solicitors are fully aware of this condition in all instances.

3.       We are working with Thames Water to question their STW capacities. The capacity of a STW is calculated using some of the following inputs: catchment population, per capita consumption and infiltration rates. We are taking each of these components apart to seek to verify whether the STWs are indeed at sufficient capacity or not. In most cases they are not.

4.       The above is useful up to a point, what is more useful is Thames Water sticking their hand in their pocket and actually paying for the capacity upgrades. We will be doing all we can to increase pressure on Thames Water. Here’s a story I contributed to last week - https://www.theguardian.com/society/2023/jan/31/water-firms-in-england-urged-to-upgrade-sewage-works-for-new-homes

The Moors, Ducklington

The national planning inspector over-ruled WODC’s councillors and has given outline planning approval for 120 homes to be built on this field which has a terrible track record of flooding. The key problem here is that the Environment Agency, in its wisdom, in 2010 redesignated this site as being in Floodzone 1 (the least bad) from Floodzone 3 (the worst). This is despite the fact that according to the EA’s own flood data, the flooding on the Windrush is increasing both in severity and frequency. We are doing all we can to bring some sense to bear.

Upper Thames Hydro – www.upperthameshydro.com

Last year I commissioned a study on the hydropower potential of the weirs on the Upper Thames. The report by Renewables First is available at the above website. David Jeffcoat, a Standlake parish councillor, and I are seeking to build a team to take this project forward. Our goal of the project is to work step by step towards constructing community funded hydropower plants where feasible on the Upper Thames.