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
10th April 2018

Local Elections Thursday May 3rd 2018

Those resident in Woodstock, Bladon and Blenheim who have not yet received polling cards for the District Council elections on May 3rd should check they are on the electoral roll. You need to register by 17th April to vote in the elections on May 3rd 2018. Contact https://www.yourvotematters.co.uk/elections-in-may-2018 or telephone Electoral Services: 01993 861 410 for further information. You must register again if you have changed address, name or nationality since you last registered (The electoral roll is usually updated by contacting you in the autumn of each year).   

Postal vote applications MUST be received by Electoral Services, WODC Elections Office, WODC, Woodgreen, Witney OX28 1NB no later than 5pm pm Wednesday April 18th 2018.

Sixteen wards are being contested in May. Both Council positions in the Freeland and Long Hanborough ward are being contested as Cllr Mrs Carol Reynolds resigned on March 12th with immediate effect. In that ward the candidate achieving most votes will be deemed elected for four years and the candidate coming second will stand for the remaining part of that position’s term ie. until May 2020. Promotion in her ‘day job’ led Mrs Reynolds to acknowledge that she would be unable to do justice to her role as District Councillor and member of the WODC Cabinet from her new professional position. We should like to thank Mrs Reynolds for the work she has undertaken as Cabinet member responsible for the Environment. Environment is always a busy position and coping with the difficulties settling the new Ubico refuse collection contract into position must have needed a lot of time and patience.

A total of 63 candidates are contesting the 16 wards with elections for WODC in May. The contest in the Bladon, Blenheim & Woodstock ward is between five candidates, three of whom sit on the Woodstock Town Council.

Bladon Parish Council is also up for election but as there are only five candidates for the six positions, the nominated candidates are deemed elected without a vote.  

Developer funding accompanying new developments. Greater numbers of new homes than approved in previous Local Plans mean that there will be greater opportunity for communities to secure developed funding. West Oxfordshire is in the process of formulating new guidance aimed at helping local parish and town councils present their cases for delivery of developer funds in the best way and so as to meet their aspirations for the enlarged communities….particularly to counteract the negative effects of the developments. Cllr Haine is asking councils if they feel they could benefit from further training regarding developer funding and, if so, to let him know no later than Monday April 30th. This is something that Woodstock Town Council should consider as undoubtedly we shall be affected significantly by the developments planned around the town.

WODC Cabinet Meeting March 14th

As a result of interventions by the local District Councillors, small but significant concessions have been achieved:

·    The management team was asked to look at the surplus in the budgeted car parking account to see if some of this could be dedicated to extra hours for the traffic wardens in Woodstock

·    It was acknowledged that the Local Plan update needs further work to analyse and to consider how to mitigate the community impact of the massive developments  planned around Woodstock and Bladon.

 Westminster News

Robert Courts, our local MP, has led a debate in the Commons on dual tracking of the Cotswold Line – something we have advocated for years.  Layla Moran, MP for Oxford West & Abingdon, led a debate in Westminster Hall (at which Robert Courts also spoke) on recruitment and retention for NHS posts in Oxfordshire. The price of homes in Oxfordshire was seen as a major contributor to the recruitment problems. Layla Moran suggested both an Oxfordshire housing allowance for NHS staff and an NHS and care convention involving all political parties to try to stop the NHS and social care being political footballs at elections. In 2016 we supported a proposal brought by the Liberal Democrat group to West Oxfordshire Council expressing real concern at the shortage of GPs in the District and discussing possible action. House prices were also considered a major hindrance to recruitment then.

It would be good if the Government made serious efforts to implement action on all these matters.


WODC Cllrs Julian Cooper & Elizabeth Poskitt

 

Oxfordshire County Councillor Ian Hudspeth's April 2018 Report

POTHOLE FUND BOOSTED TO REPAIR ROADS AFTER WINTER DAMAGE

Central Government has announced that local roads badly affected by recent winter weather will benefit from a further £100 million to help repair any potholes and other storm damage, Transport Secretary Chris Grayling announced on26 March. Nationally, this money will help repair almost 2 million potholes as well as help protect the roads from any future severe weather. This is on top of the £75 million in government funding already given to councils from the Pothole Action Fund this year, as well as the additional £46 million boost for highways authorities announced just before Christmas. Around 7 million potholes across the UK will be filled due to this money, announced in the 2016 Budget. Oxfordshire’s share of these funds comes to nearly £3m.

GOVERNMENT MINISTER SIGNS £215M GROWTH DEAL FOR OXFORDSHIRE

Housing Minister Dominic Raab visited Heyford Park near Bicester last month to sign a deal to deliver a £215m investment in transport infrastructure and affordable housing in Oxfordshire. The Minister met Councillor Yvonne Constance, the county council's Cabinet Member for Environment and Economy. The deal was signed by all six members of the Oxfordshire Growth Board: Oxfordshire County Council, Oxford City Council, Cherwell District Council, West Oxfordshire District Council, Vale of White Horse District Council and South Oxfordshire District Council. March also saw the Oxfordshire Growth Board announce the first year of projects to be funded by an initial release of £30m for infrastructure projects as part of the Deal agreement. Government road money is for major improvements and cannot be used for day-to-day maintenance, but the investment will help to improve the overall standard of the road network.

HOUSING INFRASTRUCTURE FUND (HIF)

On 21 March the Government announced 44 bids which have made it through to stage 2 of its Housing Infrastructure Fund (HIF) to fund major infrastructure projects. Two of the three HIF bids submitted by OCC last autumn on behalf of Oxfordshire made it through and will now progress to a co-development stage: 

Didcot Garden Town – £171m is sought for transport improvements including a Didcot Science Bridge and A4130 dual carriageway, a new river crossing at Culham and Clifton Hampden Bypass. This would support the delivery of over 22,000 homes in Didcot, Culham, Harwell and Berinsfield. Additionally, up to £70m of cycle and other sustainable transport improvements are proposed for inclusion in the bid plan.

West Oxfordshire Garden Village – £135m is sought for further upgrades to the A40, building on existing schemes and based on the approved A40 Long Term Strategy including development of the Rapid Transit network and additional highway capacity on A40 transport corridor. This would support the delivery of over 10,000 homes in Witney & Carterton, and around Eynsham.

Detailed business plans will now be developed for the £300 million of transport infrastructure investment behind these two bids. The Growth Board partners expect to hear this autumn whether or not the two bids going through have ultimately succeeded.

COUNCILLOR PRIORITY FUND

As announced in last month’s report, all Oxfordshire County Councillors now have a £15k budget to allocate to highways or community projects within their parishes. I invite applications for funding proposals, I will be looking how I can maximise the funding by match funding or pump priming with local organisations.

LIVE WELL OXFORDSHIRE WEBSITE CAMPAIGN

The OCC Adult Social Care Team is running a campaign to raise awareness of its Live Well Oxfordshire website. Live Well Oxfordshire brings together over 2,000 services and activities in one easy to search online directory – from residential care homes and care services that help people stay living at home, to transport services to get them out and about and new hobbies to enjoy. Residents can find useful information and advice on a range of subjects – all aimed at giving them greater choice and control over the support and services they, or a loved one, need. Details here: www.oxfordshire.gov.uk/livewell

FORMER COUNTY COUNCIL DEPUTY LEADER DIES

My statement regarding the sad passing of Rodney Rose:

"It was with great sadness that we have learned that Rodney Rose, the deputy leader of Oxfordshire County Council until last year, died last month. I will miss him greatly as a friend and colleague. I worked closely with Rodney for many years. He was a tireless and dedicated local councillor representing Charlbury and Wychwood. As a long-serving member of the Cabinet, he had wide-ranging responsibilities for council services. He was a tireless champion of Oxfordshire’s fire and rescue service. He represented the county council on several major projects that will benefit Oxfordshire, including the east-west rail scheme and the planned flood alleviation scheme around west Oxford. These will be his legacy as a public servant. On behalf of everyone at Oxfordshire County Council who knew and worked with him, I send his family our deepest condolences.

Cllr Ian Hudspeth

07956270 318

Ian.hudspeth@oxfordshire.gov.uk