Minutes of the Meeting of Standlake Parish Council, held in the Youth Club, Church End, on 14th June 2022 at 7.30pm
Mr. B. Parnham Chairman
Mr. J. Rippin Vice Chairman
Mrs. J Macdonald
Mrs. A. Knipe
Mr. D. Jeffcoat
Mr. D. Bevan Clerk
OCC Cllr. Mr. D Levy, WODC Cllr Ms. L. Nicholls, Mrs. S. Garrett, Mr. B Smith,
1. APOLOGIES – Mrs. L. Burton, WODC Cllr Mr. C. Maynard.
2. DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST – There were no declarations of interest.
3. PUBLIC ITEMS – Mrs. Garrett asked general questions regarding the planning process. These were answered by the clerk, Cllr. Nicholls and Cllr. Levy. Q: What is the definition of ‘rounding off’, ‘infilling’ and ‘back building’? A: There is no specific definition it is subject to the interpretation of the planning officer. Q: What is density, and does it apply to the proximity of adjacent, existing houses? A: Density refers to the number of units on a specific area of land and has nothing to do with proximity to other buildings. Q: Do the number of objections to an application have any bearing on the decision? A: No, this is not a valid planning reason for refusal. Q: Can anything be done to stop landowners removing trees, hedges, etc. prior to an application being made. A: No, unless there is a Tree Preservation Order on a tree the landowner is entitled to do this on their land. Mrs. Garrett thanked the council for the clarification.
4. COUNTY & DISTRICT COUNCILLORS’ REPORTS – see reports attached to these minutes.
Cllr. Nicholls added that the disruption to refuse collection services was a combination of the Jubilee public holiday and a change in shift patterns. WODC were well aware of the problems and working hard to rectify the situation.
5. PLANNING –
22/01299/HHD Erection of 1.7m high natural stone wall to replace existing fence and hedge. 54 Abingdon Road Standlake: Mr. Jon Austin. No objection.
22/01456/FUL: Change of use to allow existing residential swimming pool to be used to operate a swimming school business: Dormer House 26 Aston Road Brighthampton: Mrs. Theresa Harvey. No objection but approval should be conditional on: confirmation of sufficient off-street parking arrangements, definition of operating hours and suitable arrangements to minimize disturbance to neighbours.
6. MINUTES - Minutes of the Meeting held on Tuesday, 17th May 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 said that he was still awaiting a response from Thames Water regarding the ground work at the High St. pumping station.
Roads/Traffic/Speedwatch – Mrs. Knipe reported the following. We now have 13 trained operators. Thanks are extended to all operators and our coordinator Robert Maxwell who works out the availability and schedules. The results below show the extent of the problem and the importance of the Community Speedwatch.
In May, 13 sessions were held at various approved locations in the village. 99 offending vehicles were reported, top speed being 49mph which it totally unacceptable in a 30mph zone. So far in June, 6 sessions have been held with 52 offenders being reported, two over 50mph. At one session Thames Valley Police were also in attendance.
Since operations commenced in February, a total of 314 offenders have been reported. As we approach summer apart from morning and afternoon sessions, evening sessions will also be held, the first being between 7pm and 8pm yesterday at our TVP approved location on the A415 coming from Witney approaching the 90-degree bend (Golden Balls junction as many will remember it). During this session 25 offenders (> 36mph) were recorded with the highest speed of 54mph. 14 were over 40mph and 2 over 50mph, all this on the approach to the 90-degree bend just days after a major incident when a car crashed over the junction and through the wall by Chervil Cottages. Discussions are already underway with OCC and TVP regarding traffic calming measures and speed reduction in the village and following this latest incident an on-site meeting is being arranged for later this month to take this forward.
All residents share the view speeding is a major problem and it is not a case of 'if' but 'when' there will be a fatality. The more volunteers that can join Speedwatch the more sessions can take place and help support the works underway with OCC and TVP. A call for action will be sent out. Anyone interested should drop an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with their contact details.
Cllr. Nicholls suggested that the Speedwatch groups in South Leigh, Stanton Harcourt and Standlake should, on occasion, arrange to work in a coordinated fashion to cover drivers who regularly transit through all three villages. This was welcomed and arrangements will be made to initiate this suggestion.
Playground/Recreation Ground & Maintenance – Mr. Parnham said he had checked both playgrounds on 14th June and there were no outstanding issues. The clerk said that Mr. Pascoe has reported that a tree on the boundary hedge was leaning over the No.1 tennis court’s fence; the clerk has authorised Mr. Pascoe to make it safe and remove the tree if necessary. Mr. Jeffcoat said that he had attended his first meeting as council representative on the Village Hall committee and was made most welcome.
Environment – Mrs. Macdonald said the Standlake Nature Recovery Network display at the church was well received and generated a lot of interest. Mrs. Macdonald said that a bat survey has been conducted around the exterior of St. Giles church and another one is planned shortly. In addition to these, a plant survey has been conducted on the wildflower bank at the edge of the Village Hall field, with the help of Lucy Kennery (Lower Windrush Valley Project). A wide variety of species were recorded, following the successful sowing of seeds and plants in the spring.
Jubilee 22 – Mr. Rippin reported that all the events had been well attended and enjoyed by all. Mr. Parnham said it was well done and extended the council’s thanks to the committee and all involved in making the celebration a success. Mrs. Macdonald and the clerk said they had been approached by people who had seen the mugs at the church display and wished to purchase one. After discussion it was agreed that Mr. Parnham will order a further 30 mugs, to be sold at £5 per mug at the Standlake School Fete on 25th June. Mr. Rippin volunteered to be the salesman.
418 Bus – The grant of £250 has been paid to First and Last Mile.
Co-option of new councillor - Mr. Parnham said that two parishioners had put their names forward – Mr. J. Hardy and Mr. J. Clements – and their applications have been circulated to councillors. Mr. Parnham suggested that the candidates be interviewed in private via Zoom and this was agreed. It was further agreed that this should take place in the week commencing 27th June and Mr. Parnham will coordinate.
Litter Picking - Mrs. Macdonald had nothing further to report at this meeting. Mrs. Macdonald received 10 HiViz jackets from Mr. Rippin and said she will borrow the litter picking equipment. It now remains to see how this initiative will take off.
8. CORRESPONDENCE – no significant correspondence.
9. ACCOUNTS – The clerk said the council’s financial position continued to be healthy and in line with the 22/23 budget.
Received – LWTC rent £750.00
UK2 - web host renewal £85.49
Absolute Solutions - mowing £370.00
Gallagher - ins premium £1067.21
First & Last - grant £250.00
C Cleland - churchyard mowing £352.50
AGM - Hi Viz jackets £55.00
AGM - jubilee mugs £520.20
Peter Kidd - jubilee entertainer £215.00
Cottsway – Windrush Way playground rent £10.00
Absolute Solutions - mowing £370.00
C Bowden -jubilee prizes £19.09
K Soame - jubilee prizes £204.85
D C Bevan – salary & expenses £1544.70
10. DOG/LITTER BINS – The clerk said he had been in email correspondence with WODC regarding the removal of dog bins. The clerk said that not only had the dog bin been removed from the bridge opposite Church Farm Close but the litter bin opposite the church had also been removed. These had been replaced by a combined bin against the Church Farm Close wall but that had also been removed as WODC discovered this was private land; they do not have any plans to re-site the bin. The clerk suggested, and councillors agreed, that the bin should be replaced near the original dog bin position i.e., adjacent to the edge of the bridge. Cllr. Nicholls and Cllr. Levy (as a WODC councillor) both said they were aware of problems generally with the dog/litter bin replacement program and would take this up on behalf of the Parish Council.
Mr. Parnham noted that the dog bin in the allotments had been removed and not replaced (WODC saying it should never have been there as it was on private land) and he suggested that as WODC were now saving on the cost of emptying this bin it should be replaced (at WODC’s cost) by one in Brighthampton where no bins exist. Councillors agreed but the priority must be the reinstatement of the bin near the church.
11. BIKE RACK IN CAR PARK – A request has been made to provide bike racks in the car park. Mr. Parnham asked if there was actual need for these racks. Mrs. Macdonald said that there was and Mr. Jeffcoat concurred saying that, in his opinion, more people would cycle if there was a secure place for bicycles to be left and this would encourage more cycle use. Mrs. Macdonald presented various rack sizes and costs which were discussed. A 4-bay rack (8 bicycles) would cost £396 (inc. VAT) with installation costs between £50 and £100. Mr. Parnham asked if the church could contribute to the cost. Mrs. Macdonald did not think this would be possible and Mr. Rippin said that the car park was a public park provided by the Parish Council. Mr. Rippin proposed that a 4-bay rack be purchased with associated installation costs, seconded by Mr. Jeffcoat and passed by 3 votes (2 councillors abstaining). The siting of the rack will be decided at a later date.
12. DEFIBRILLATOR AT SCHOOL – Previous discussions resulted in the Parish Council agreeing to pay for consumables (pads etc.) providing the defibrillator remained available for public use via the school gate. Mrs. Macdonald said that recent security concerns now meant that the school gate was locked outside of normal hours and, therefore, it would not be available to the public outside those hours. Mr. Parnham said the option to move the defibrillator onto the external wall, should this arise, had been briefly discussed in the past.
Mrs. Macdonald said this had been examined by the school and two main problems arose. First, an electrical supply was required to maintain a suitable temperature/humidity in the containment box to prevent degradation of the defibrillator itself. Second, the box has been found to be corroded and is becoming difficult to open and will need to be replaced if moved; the defibrillator in its bag is unaffected. Mrs. Macdonald has obtained costs for relocating the defibrillator on the outside wall of the school, and these are: providing an electrical connection £150; new box £594 (inc. VAT).
After some discussion, it was decided that it was in the public interest to have a defibrillator available in this area of the village (the other locations being at the Village Hall and the Cricket Club) and the cost should be borne by the Parish Council. Mr. Parnham was concerned about who would take responsibility for the regular checks and the electrical supply and Mrs. Macdonald confirmed that she understood the school would do this. Mr. Rippin proposed that it be formally documented that the school be responsible for the electrical supply and the regular checks, and the Parish Council be responsible for the replacement of consumable items. This was agreed and Mrs. Macdonald will communicate this to the school administration.
13. SCHOOL FETE – The clerk said that he was aware that the school would be holding their annual fete on Saturday 25th June, but no request to use the recreation ground had been received. While there was no question of such a request being refused, an early request to the clerk would ensure there was no clash with any other function and grass mowing could be coordinated. In addition, the organizers could be formally advised of the conditions requiring the clearance of rubbish and ensuring the ground was returned to its original condition. Mrs. Macdonald will communicate this to the organizers.
14. DATE OF NEXT MEETING - Mr. Parnham noted the next meeting would be on 12th July 2022 in the Youth Club, Rack End at 7.30pm.
15. There being no further business, the meeting closed at. 9.10pm.
Chairman .................................................................... Date …………………………………………………
County Councillor Report, June 2022 Standlake
People changes: At the start of the new local government year, there have been a few changes to cabinet positions at County Hall. Cllr Tim Bearder moves to Adult Social Care (formerly in charge of Highways Maintenance), while Cllr Andrew Gant joins the cabinet taking on the Highways portfolio. Cllr Neil Fawcett stepped down from cabinet, with Cllr Jenny Hannaby taking on the Community Services position (which includes libraries, fire & rescue, and Gypsy & traveller services). Cllr Liz Leffman remains leader of the Council.
As Andrew Gant has become a Cabinet member, he has stopped being cycling champion. I am pleased to say that I have become Cycling, Walking and Active Travel Champion. One of my key tasks is to ensure that places outside the city get their fair share of attention when it comes to improving active travel facilities. Among other things I will now chair the Vision Zero group which brings together highways officers and activists to design danger out of our roads – it was set up after the recent tragic fatalities in Oxford.
Food strategy to tackle food poverty: A new Oxfordshire food strategy has been drawn up, focusing on fair access to good quality, sustainably produced food. 9-14% of Oxfordshire residents experience food insecurity. Because of this, priority areas for action include, reducing food poverty and diet ill-health, strengthening local food supply chains, and improving institutional (e.g., schools) catering. We know that even in apparently affluent area, including this part of West Oxfordshire, there are pockets of deep poverty.
Climate: Cabinet has approved plans which could see its own carbon emissions almost halved by 2024/25. Cabinet also approved a plan to decarbonize OCC’s estate and operations by 2030, and transition Oxfordshire as a county to net zero ahead of the national target of 2050. One of the main projects to cut emissions is the conversion of Oxfordshire’s streetlights to low-energy LED lighting. Nearly half have so far been changed as part of a £40 million project which will save council taxpayers £77m over a 20-year period.
Active travel: Oxfordshire County Council has won another government bid. This time £10.4 million for active travel schemes. This brings the total brought in by the Oxfordshire Fair Deal Alliance to over £55 million for bus and active travel schemes. The £10.4m includes a large chunk to improve Witney High Street, and enough to progress a design study for the B4044. Clearly a lot more money is needed, and there is some frustration that central government has dictated what the money has to be used for, rather than leaving it to local knowledge.
Warning on adult social care: Oxfordshire County Council has called on the government properly to fund adult social care, rather than pushing yet more costs onto local taxpayers. Changes brought in by the government could double the number of people eligible for financial support. Lib Dem finance cabinet member, Cllr Calum Miller has said money from government ‘doesn’t even come close’. When the government demands councils spend more money on adult social care, without funding, it means rates rise, and money needs is be diverted from roads or libraries.
Road Safety: As you will know there has been a collision between a motor vehicle and the wall on the corner of the Abingdon and Aston Roads. I have asked the County Highways safety team to see if there is anything that can be done to make that junction safer. Lowering speed limits can’t hurt – and I am keen to make progress with Standlake’s move to create 20 zones.
WODC There were elections for new district councillors on 5 May, and Charlie Maynard is your new District Councillor. I look forward to working with Charlie and Lysette.
Although I am not your District Councillor, can I take the opportunity to make a few points about the District Council?
There is a new administration which has which has the same political membership as at the County Council, ie an alliance of Liberal Democrats, Labour and Greens. The Leader of the Council is Andy Graham. I have the privilege and challenge of being the Cabinet Member for Finance. We are keen to make a quick start in improving the services delivered to residents and working more effectively with partners, including other councils and community groups.
One immediate task is to get energy funds to those who haven’t already received them. Broadly speaking that will be people who live in houses that are not in bands A to D, and who are on benefits. Please let anyone who might be in this category know – more details at £150 Council Tax Rebate - West Oxfordshire District Council (westoxon.gov.uk). Dan Levy
District Councillor Report, June 2022, Charlie Maynard
Flooding – this is a major risk to the village. I am seeking a straight answer from the EA whether it is their intention to allow ditches to silt up and become blocked with vegetation. Whether or not that is their intent, we need a much clearer path through which riparian landowners can be granted permission to clear their ditches. Will see what can be done here. Attached is Standlake’s WODC 2008 flood report. It would be very helpful if the parish council could review it and decide which actions have not yet been taken which do still need action.
Standlake school buses - lots of parents are worried about a) whether there will be a bus seat available for them to get them to Barts in September, and b) how they can afford it as it’s not the closest school and therefore they are having to pay approx. £300 per term per child out of their pocket. I’m talking to the First & Last team who have just introduced me to the person responsible for bursaries at Barts. Work in progress.
Bike path between Stanton Harcourt and Eynsham – obviously this is not in the parish, but I believe has some impacts on the parish. The road route between these settlements is dangerous for cyclists. I’m exploring with the landowners and other parties what are the practical options for developing a viable bike route using existing bridleways, footpaths and farm tracks and its potential cost.
District Councillor Report, June 2022, Lysette Nicholls
The Queen’s Jubilee was a huge success across West Oxfordshire starting with beacons being lit on the Thursday. It was amazing to see so many communities come together and lovely to see all the amazing events and photos taken during the celebration.
£150 Discretionary Energy Rebate The Council’s Discretionary scheme went LIVE 6th June. This is for individuals that didn’t meet original criteria but are struggling and details can be found on eligibility in the link. The application window will be open for a 4-week period and will close on 5 July. If you know of any resident within your Ward who may be entitled to a payment, please ask them to make their application on the Council’s website site: https://www.westoxon.gov.uk/council-tax-and-benefits/150-council-tax-rebate/For those residents who do not have access to the system we have officers on hand for support on 01993 861000. All details, including the eligibility criteria is also available on the website at the above link.
YouMove A new county-wide programme will support families with children on benefits-related free school meals to access a wide range of low cost and free activities. YouMove is coordinated by Active Oxfordshire, in partnership with district councils and will support local families to access low cost or free fun activities including swimming, badminton, activity packs and a wide range of community activities near to where they live.
As well as being able to enjoy being active together, families will also be supported by local Activators in each district who will provide advice, support and guidance about what’s on offer.
Families can sign up to YouMove themselves via www.getoxfordshireactive.org/you-move or local charities or community groups can also refer families into the programme. On Thursday 9th June, there will be a free webinar for anyone working directly with families who could benefit from YouMove. Details of the webinar are available at www.getoxfordshireactive.org/you-move