Skip directly to content

District Councillor's report - Paul Burrow Nov 23

on Mon, 13/11/2023 - 6:00pm

 

District Councillor Report for Sparsholt and Childrey website November 2023


County Health and Wellbeing Strategy

Oxfordshire County Council is drafting a new Health and Wellbeing Strategy. Although we
are a relatively wealthy county we face challenges from an ageing population, increased
demand on existing services, mental health and wellbeing concerns in young people and
significant inequality in our health with poorer outcomes in some parts of the county.
County partners (county and district councils, city council, GPS, the county NHS and
Healthwatch) are developing a strategy that hopes has asked for input from residents to
help deliver what is needed to support people to make healthy choices, live independently
and stay happier and healthier for longer. Of course, there are many factors that
contribute to health and wellbeing, some of which, economic and some environmental, are
less easily managed.


Local schools and young artists

The Beacon in Wantage is contacting local schools and youth groups to display artwork on
the Beacon Art Wall, showcasing local young talent and celebrating the community.
New Community bus service – at last!
November 27 th will see the first route 68 community bus service serving our villages
(https://news.oxfordshire.gov.uk/new-bus-services-coming.../). The 68 will come from
Faringdon and serve Longcot, Fernham, Uffington, Kingston Lisle, Westcot, Sparsholt,
Childrey, the Letcombes, East Challow and Wantage. The service will be Mondays to
Saturdays (except Public Holidays). Bus passes can be used after 9.30 and contactless
payment will be available. Pulhams Coaches (www.pulhamscoaches.com/) will be running
the service until March 2025. I have had some discussion with the chair of Stanford in the
Vale parish council about how this might be extended after this time. I am concerned how
far the Uffington bus will be affected and am in touch with and discussing options with
John Hatcher who runs their community bus.


B4507 Speeding issues

There is interest in reducing the speed limit along the B4507, from the 30 mph limit near
Wantage to the West Challow turning and possibly further, and on the A417 from near the
West Challow turn to Haynes, possibly to 40 mph. This is being discussed with East and
West Challow and Letcombe Regis parish councils.
Heavy rain and flooding
Recent heavy rain led to flooding yet again on the A417 at Haynes and Mellor’s in East
Challow. The drainage ditch along Woodhill Lane (and which takes the water from the
bend near Haynes) does function – at least better than it did – but Woodhill Brook into
which it runs is badly overgrown and water backs up. I have asked The Wasborough Estate
to clear this stretch but they have done nothing so far!
However, the ditch that runs along the A417 into Childrey Brook does not flow well and we
are concerned that the drainage pipes under the A417 at Haynes and just west of Mellor’s
might not be functioning well. I am going to investigate these – also Land Brook this side of
the Challow Station bridge and Stutfield Brook further towards Stanford in the Vale.

These parts of the road are the lowest section of the land that runs up to the B4507 and
collects all the water so with the rain that (and are likely to get with climate change, which
is happening faster that we might have thought) we have had we will always get some
flooding but it should not be this bad.


Childrey Way

Residents will have noticed that Childrey Bridleway between Cornhill Farm and Silver Lane
has been repaired but the work has not been completed. I have been told by the
contractor that the surfacing will be done as soon as the weather improves.
REPF (Rural England Prosperity Fund)
This fund is levelling up money won by the Vale from central government to support local
rural businesses, farmers for diversification, refurbishment of buildings as community
centres, biodiversity, tourism etc. There are several ways that our villages could be
involved in projects which can be discussed, including improving tourism in this area,
improving biodiversity through farmer clusters and supporting small businesses on the
business parks.


Oxford Xmas Lunch

The Oxford Christmas Lunch will again be providing a free lunch and companionship this
year. The guests generally include refugees, the elderly, the homeless, those with mental
health issues, those in food poverty and those who simply want to celebrate Christmas
with others. A special feature of the lunch is that volunteers collect the guests, drive them
to the lunch, eat with them and take them home, thus providing companionship as well as
food. Families are also welcome as there will be lots of fun things for children to do.
This will take place at the King’s Centre in Osney Mead, Oxford. Numbers are limited, so
they’ll need to take bookings on a first-come first-served basis.
The main limiting factor is the number of volunteer drivers they have – if people can
transport guests, and potentially host them on a table, that will allow them to take more.
They always need more minibuses and licenced drivers.
To book a place for someone you think would benefit from it email Sarah at
[email protected].


Road Lane rental – have your say

OCC would like to hear your views about a Lane Rental scheme they are proposing to
introduce on some of Oxfordshire’s busiest roads. When companies dig up busy roads it
can cause disruption to road users. OCC are proposing to introduce a scheme whereby
companies are charged for works that are undertaken during peak periods.
The proposal should drive behavioural change in those working in the street, so less work is
done at busy times or the work is done in a different way, minimising the disruption the
work causes to everyone using the streets.
Currently, all utility and council work undertaken in the streets of Oxfordshire are co-
ordinated using a Permit Scheme that charges a fixed fee, at a maximum of £300, to only
the utilities, to cover administration costs. Lane Rental will replace this fixed Permit Fee
with a daily charge of £2,500. It is only proposed on our most critical busiest streets and
will be restricted to roughly 5% of all the streets in Oxfordshire. It will apply to all street

work, such as work by a housing developer, and not just utility works and the council’s own
work.
The daily charge will only apply if the work is done in a normal way at the busy times of
day, such as the morning and afternoon rush hours. The daily charge should produce
surplus funds which will be reinvested back into Oxfordshire. Lane Rental schemes have
been successfully introduced in other councils and the Department for Transport are
encouraging councils to implement them. Have your say - link to the consultation
https://letstalk.oxfordshire.gov.uk/lane-rental-scheme...


OALC and OCC Charter for interaction with Town and Parish Councils

OCC and OALC organised a meeting on October 26 th for representatives of town and parish
councils to explore the development of a charter which might improve the way in which
the county council interacts with parish councils. There were 30-40 attendees from more
than 300 parishes in the county. Certainly, even at district council level we receive little
regular feedback/news from the county whereas I do get news updates from The Vale
which I pass on. Issues such as improved communication and transparency were
highlighted. The provision of regular news items from OCC to parish councils was felt to be
a useful means of communicating with parish councils. Transparency in decision making
and priority setting, for example in allocating funds to highway repairs, was also thought to
be important since current decisions are seen to be opaque and the perception is that they
are subject to influence from councillors who “make the most noise”.
There was an interesting discussion about whether parish councils could vote on key
county policy decisions. This would of course mean additional work for parish councils in
scrutinising policy documents ahead of a vote.
There was also a long discussion on how local democracy could be improved. Many
residents of working age are too busy with their jobs and family life to participate in local
community activity with the result that parish council members are predominantly
(although not entirely) of pension age. There is no problem with this, providing that there
is adequate positive interaction between parish councils and residents.
Please go to this link: https://letstalk.oxfordshire.gov.uk/ox-councils-charter and click
‘TAKE SURVEY’ at the bottom of the page. You can request a paper copy of the consultation
documents by emailing: [email protected] or call the county councils
Customer Services Team on 01865 816000.


New Vale Food and warmth grant

A new food and warmth grant will help support people in our communities this winter who
may otherwise struggle to afford essential things. The grant is aimed at local voluntary and
community groups, and town and parish councils, who can use it to support those most in
need in the districts. Organisations can apply for grants between £2,000 to £5,000, or up to
£10,000 for collaborative projects between groups of two or more organisations. The grant
can fund projects providing food and warmth to people who may otherwise struggle to
access these crucial essentials over the winter. Please see
https://www.whitehorsedc.gov.uk/vale-of-white-horse-district-council/community-
support/grants/food-and-warmth-grant-scheme-2023/.


Cllr Dr Paul Barrow
Ridgeway Ward

Vale of White Horse District Council
November 2023