Minutes of the Meeting of Standlake Parish Council, held in the Youth Club, Church End, on 14th March 2023 at 7.30pm
Mr. B. Parnham Chairman
Mr. J. Rippin Vice Chairman
Mrs. A. Knipe
Mrs. L. Burton
Mrs. J. Macdonald
Mr. D. Jeffcoat
Mr. J. Clements
Mr. D. Bevan Clerk
and 7 members of the public.
Mrs. B. Smith spoke requesting the council to support the provision of a bus shelter at the Lincoln Farm stop (Witney bound) Specifically, she asked for funding the provision of a hardstanding for the shelter, which was being provided by Oxfordshire County Council. She gave the background to the provision of shelters in Standlake and stressed the importance of a shelter at this well used bus stop.
Mrs. C. Andreasen spoke to object to the proposed development on land adjacent to 48 Abingdon Road. Her reasons, supported by other residents, concerned: access and traffic on to the busy road at a corner with poor sightlines; overdevelopment of the site by placing four dwellings on a small site; character - this kind of development not being in keeping with existing buildings on Abingdon Road.
Mr. M. Wareham and Mrs. L. Watson spoke on the revised outline plan for the proposed development of 10 dwellings at Eagle Farm. They explained in some detail the shortcomings of the additional documents in the application which did not in any way mitigate the objections already received by WODC; indeed, in some cases they raised more questions - particularly regarding the hydrology of the area.
23/00273/HHD: Proposed side two storey and rear flat roof single storey extensions, new garage, associated parking and new vehicle access: High Street Standlake Witney: Emma Sadler And Jack Parker-Jones. No objection.
23/00163/FULL: The erection of four dwellings with associated infrastructure and parking, on an enclosed brownfield site: Land North Of 48 Abingdon Road Standlake: Mr Jim French. Object: access; traffic; overdevelopment; character.
22/02512/OUT: Demolition of existing buildings and the erection of up to 10 dwellings (Use Class C3), associated parking, landscaping, vehicular access and ancillary development (Outline planning Application with some matters reserved except access) (amended plans): Land Parcel East Of 7 High Street Standlake: Mssrs JF Back, CM Bach, CA Becker And SM Bach. Original objections to stand.
23/00371/FULL: Erection of timber fencing, electric fencing and hedging to existing site with associated works: Manor View 28 Aston Road Brighthampton: Mrs Samantha Keane. No objection.
Sewage/Flooding - Mr. Parnham said that there have been no reports of flooding or sewage issues in the last month, and the loose manhole covers at St. Giles church have been repaired. He said monitoring will continue.
Environment – Mrs. Burton said that there was little to report from the Winter months. The Cubs were assisted in building nest boxes and showed great enthusiasm for the project.
Buses/Bus Stop/Shelter – Mr. Jeffcoat has circulated to councillors a detailed summation of the present state of the project. In brief: due to mixed messages from the residents of the property behind the existing stop, the original plan to install the shelter next to the existing stop had to be aborted when the contractors were about to start the work. Agreement was obtained from the next-door resident to have the shelter located there but this will require a new hardstanding. While OCC have agreed to go ahead and fund the shelter, as agreed, they require the Parish Council to fund the cost of the new hardstanding - £1987.24 +VAT. This was agreed unanimously with the caveat that the provision of some external funding should be explored before paying this cost. Mr. Jeffcoat will follow this up.
Coronation – Only 4 responses have been received from the public, none of whom are prepared to chair the project. Mrs. Macdonald volunteered to sound out their ideas, coordinate other suggestions, and report back. Mr. Jeffcoat said that Monday 8th May has been designated as a day of community action and he proposing to organise a project to re-decorate the Village Hall.
Litter Pick – Mrs. Macdonald said that there had been a strong response for volunteers to carry out the pick at their own risk on Saturday18th March. She thanked the council for the provision of litter picking tools and has also obtained more from WODC. This would be sponsored by the Village Hall Committee.
Jubilee tree – In showery conditions a Sorbus Aria 'Lutescens' was planted at the new churchyard with the help of the Chairman of the Parish Council, the Rector, children from the school council, the Verger, Church Warden, the Standlake Nature Recovery Network team and members of the village..
Received – St. Giles Church – contribution to Jubilee tree £50.54.
The following accounts were approved: (paid*)
Nicholsons Ltd - jubilee tree for churchyard £228.00*
Amazon - Speedwatch traffic counters £8.99*
Standlake WI - contribution to flower tubs £50.00*
Amazon - litter pickers £44.85*
PWLB car park loan repayment £2142.96*
AGM - XXL Hi viz jackets £27.50*
D C Bevan – clerk salary & expenses £1544.50*
Dan Levy, County Councillor Report, March 2023
The County Council budget for 2023-24 was approved at the 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 Tier 1 and 2 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. Parish and Town councils have no such constraints. Rather remarkably, given the demands on budget, the opposition suggested cutting services in key areas like libraries to save 32p per household per week, but were defeated.
The budget included the following measures.
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 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 organisations 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. For instance, the subsidence on the A40 at Barnard Gate has been rectified. 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 - I am keen that this be restricted as much as possible.
Botley Road closure at the station.
Network Rail have now issued their revised plan for Botley Road, for the replacement of the bridge and building of the new station. It is going to be disruptive, but we will end up with a modern station and improved rail services, including EW rail to Milton Keynes.
Botley Road will close from 11 April to the end of October. It will then be reopened until a second closure from March 2024 to October 2024. Throughout this period, bar two short times, trains will continue to run to Oxford. Buses will service Botley Road but turn just before the bridge - the last stop is currently planned to be Frideswide Church, but we are in discussions with NR to see if we could have a stop closer to the bridge. Pedestrians and cyclists will be able to get under the railway via the existing tunnel.
Although there are no County Council elections this year and no WODC ones in Standlake, residents will need to be aware of the rules for the next elections, whether national or local. Under new legislation, Voter ID will be required for people who vote in person. Postal voting remains, for now, unchanged. Voters without a passport or driving licence, or various other documents that the government has decided are acceptable, can get a Voter Authority Certificate. Details here www.westoxon.gov.uk/voterid.
Charlie Maynard, WODC Councillor Report March 2023
1. Council tax premium on second homes - on Wednesday 8th, the Council’s Executive passed a recommendation of charging a 100% premium for second homes and reducing the term for applying charges for empty properties from two years to one year, subject to the emerging national legislation being passed. This is in recognition of the social cost of second homes and empty homes carrying a social cost to the district through the removal of housing stock, thereby requiring more housing stock to be built.
2. Rail feasibility study – I understand that the last part of the county council-funded feasibility study is currently being carried out and that publication is likely in May.
3. 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 have now taken action with Andy Graham writing an open letter to the Environment Agency challenging their flood maps. Copies of the letter have been sent to the landowner and developer. We will see how the EA respond.
4. Crowdfunding initiative – the council has started using a civic crowdfunding platform with the goal of attracting other sources of funding alongside council funding into the current community facilities grants.