Woodstock Town Council

Incorporated by Royal Charter of Henry VI in 1453

                   

Report of District Councillors for Bladon, Blenheim and Woodstock
to Woodstock Town Council
11th December 2018

Planning

Woodstock East 18/02484/S73
Variation to the conditions of the approved application for the first 46 houses (phase one) and the outline planning for the rest of the site at Woodstock East was discussed at the Uplands Planning sub-committee on December 3rd. Both of us stressed WTC’s concerns about buses stopping southbound on the A44 without a bus layby and the proposed pedestrian crossing with lights in association with that bus stop. One reason for the concept of a layby being ruled out was that there was no room for a layby. We pointed out the significant area of ‘landscaping’ and grass verge in that area beside the A44 so lack of room for a layby did not seem a justifiable reason. We also expressed WTC’s and WUFA (Woodstock Under Fives Association)’s concerns about the proposed new WUFA building on this site separate from the Primary School. Despite these concerns the application was approved albeit with the proviso that WODC go back to the developers with Woodstock’s concerns and discuss again the arrangements for the bus stop on the journey towards Oxford. The WUFA building is part of the second phase of development which was not formally discussed in this application so maybe there will be further opportunity to challenge that.

We also pointed out that once the entrance for construction traffic on the Shipton Road has been created, delivery times for this traffic should be between 9.30am and 2.30pm at the latest and not the 3.30pm as proposed since school related traffic on Shipton Road already leads to significant jams on that road from around 2.45 onwards. The Framework Travel Plan produced by David Tucker Associates as part of the conditions associated with this development and dated October 15th 2018 appears around two years out of date – or just ignorant of facts about Woodstock.  

Proposed Crematorium at the Weaveley Arboretum Natural Burial Ground
The application to develop a crematorium and additional car parking at Weaveley Natural Burial Ground was refused by Uplands some months ago but has been allowed on appeal. The inspector recognised (as does WODC) there was need for a crematorium in this part of Oxfordshire and he took the view that the site had already been developed with some buildings and with tree planting which would eventually make the crematorium and other buildings less obvious.  OCC Highways had expressed no concerns about traffic to the site. However the inspector did impose some conditions including that there should be no more than five services on any one day and that hours of operation would be between 10am and 5.30 on weekdays and not at all on Saturdays, Sundays of Bank Holidays
. Any floodlighting proposed should be submitted to and approved in writing by WODC.

Environment Committee December 6th

Refuse collection overspend
The Environment Committee spent considerable time looking at the budget proposals for 2019/20 particularly in relation to the overspend of Ubico refuse collection services over the past year. Much of the discussion ranged around the need to upgrade the fleet of refuse collection vehicles (which apparently only have a trouble free life of about seven years) and the finding that some of the vehicles had difficulty accessing the narrower streets of some villages. It had been intended to purchase a site for the vehicles but instead a site for lease came up and there had been no inclusion of costs of the lease in the original budget. As we are only too aware, it took time for Ubico collection services to develop reliable collection rounds and the early months of the contract were beset with many missed collections – which added to costs. These and additional supervisory staff contributed to the overspend. Ubico and WODC are in discussion about improving efficiency for the next year.

Biodiversity
The Environment Committee also discussed an update on the Council’s Low Carbon and Environmental Plan – Biodiversity. It was felt that biodiversity should have a higher profile within the Council as currently the Biodiversity Officer is a shared position with only two days a week with WODC and those two days are largely given over to dealing with biodiversity matters associated with planning applications (particularly at the moment to matters relating to the Garden Village and the 1000 homes development west of Eynsham) . The Committee recommended that WODC should develop a biodiversity group to look at a wider range of issues other than those related to planning. 

Plastic waste
The Committee also discussed the motion put to the October Council on working towards elimination of all avoidable plastic waste. Whilst it was agreed that there should be a small working group to discuss WODC’s way forward on this, action should probably wait until after publication of DEFRA’s Resources and Waste Strategy which is due during this month.

WODC Cllrs Julian Cooper & Elizabeth Poskitt

 

Oxfordshire County Councillor Ian Hudspeth's December 2018 Report

Congratulations to the crew at Woodstock Fire station for raising over £8,000 for Children in Need, collecting more than some of our larger stations across the county.  

WOODSTOCK LIBRARY

We are working hard to find a short term and long-term solution for the Woodstock library, this will probably involve some difficult choices. The building has been deemed unsafe and needs to be totally rebuilt at a time when we do not have the funds for such an exercise.

Mullin Automotive Park

A new planning application has been submitted for Mullin Automotive Park - application No: 18/03319/OUT on part of Enstone airfield. They have employed Norman Foster architects to design the proposal which looks impressive. The application will be dealt with by the planning authority WODC with the possibility of a site visit prior to determination. OCC as the highways authority are consultees in the process and are obliged to work with any applicant to mitigate the transport impact of an application. Whatever the technical response from highways is, the actual planning decision is taken by members of WODC at a committee. I have 2 main concerns; firstly, the impact on local traffic whilst the new application has more funding for transport measures, does it go far enough? Secondly the large sum of money that is allocated to refurbish Great Tew house, I think more of those funds should be allocated to improving the road network. It’s important that you have your say on the application by contacting WODC with the above reference number.

COUNCIL BUDGET

The council’s initial proposals for the 2019/2020 budget will be reviewed by the Performance Scrutiny Committee during December. A key element is the plan to invest up to £120m in roads and schools – a ‘growth dividend’ as more households mean more Council Tax revenue in future years. Tough decisions in the past have created a route to financial stability at a time when other councils face financial threats. There are new ‘Transformation’ plans being developed to completely redesign the council to reduce running costs. Making financial savings will enable OCC to support the growing number of vulnerable children and adults – more vulnerable children are coming into council care, both locally and nationally, creating financial pressures. Protecting children remains OCC’s top priority.

HIGHWAYS DEFECTS UPDATE

The Government have provided additional highways funds of £7.4 million over this and next year which means we will be able to carry out more substantial repairs, all roads across the county are assessed on the condition of the roads along with usage. This funding is in addition to the agreed Infrastructure fund of £120 million that cabinet have committed to over the next 10 years. With nearly 3,000 miles across the county there are many roads competing for the funds. As reported last month, the county council has increased the amount of relatively small-scale work it does to put right local roads that are suffering from potholes, cracks and worn out tarmac. The number of completed defect repairs between January and October this year is over 37,000.

HOUSING AND GROWTH DEAL INFRASTRUCTURE PROGRAMME

The Oxfordshire Growth Board has published details of the infrastructure projects to receive funding in Year 1 and Years 2-5 of the Oxfordshire Housing & Growth Deal, signed in April 2018. The total £150 million of Growth Deal funding has been earmarked for specific projects. This forward funding is helping unlock projects that will benefit from developer contributions, delivering schemes valued at over £480 million in total, excluding costs of the major rail projects, which are still to be confirmed.

SALTING, GRITTING AND SNOW CLEARANCE

December 1st marks the start of meteorological winter. Live updates on gritting and snow clearing can be found here: https://www.oxfordshire.gov.uk/residents/roads-and-transport/street-maintenance-z/salting-and-snow-clearance Details about how community groups can request salt bins can be found here: https://www.oxfordshire.gov.uk/residents/roads-and-transport/street-maintenance-z/salt-and-grit-bins

WINTER IN OXFORDSHIRE

OCC provides a useful guide about how to keep safe, how to be healthy and how to be prepared during the winter months. It can be found here: https://www.oxfordshire.gov.uk/node/2782

I would like to thank Town and Parish Councillors for all their hard work over the last year and wish them a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR to everybody.

 

Cllr Ian Hudspeth
07956270 318

Ian.hudspeth@oxfordshire.gov.uk