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
8th May 2018

WODC elections

For those who are not aware of the results for Woodstock & Bladon Ward, they were as follows:

Dave Baldwin  (Labour)                                  125
Julian Cooper (Liberal Democrat)                604 - Elected

Betsy Glasgow (Conservative)                       403
Mathew Parkinson (Green)                            152
Sharone Parnes (Independent)                       154

We thank all contestants for a good humoured contest.

Overall the elections resulted in noticeable change to the composition of West Oxfordshire District Council. Labour gained two wards from the Conservatives (one of the two Freeland & Hanborough places and Witney East). The Liberal Democrats gained three wards from the Conservatives (Ascott & Shipton; Eynsham; and The Bartons). Council now consists of 34 Conservatives, eight Liberal Democrats, six Labour, one Independent, Councillors. The increased number of Liberal Democrats on Council will mean the Lib Dem group should have more committee places and this will be reflected in the committee roles – yet to be decided – occupied by your two Councillors. 

Long Hanborough

We thought the following matters would be of interest to residents in Woodstock and Bladon, particularly since so much of the A4095 traffic through Hanborough is shared with our communities. 

Church Road Planning Appeal: 16/03948/OUT

Uplands Planning sub-committee’s June 2017 refusal of 94 homes west of Church Road, Long Hanborough, was upheld by the Appeal Inspector. Although unconvinced that WODC has a secure five-year housing land supply, the Inspector refused the appeal on the grounds that the homes would have a “conspicuous harmful impact on the character and appearance of the area and the countryside, in particular the setting and perceived edge of the settlement and the gap between Freeland and Long Hanborough”. The effects “would be experienced for the long-term and cannot be effectively mitigated”. With so much development already happening in Hanborough, this news was very welcome.

Hanborough North of A 4095: 17/01082/OUT

This development was approved at Uplands planning subcommittee on December 6th 2017. However, to quote the Uplands agenda papers, ‘the resolution to approve an application is not the same as making the decision. Decisions are only deemed to be made at the point that they are issued and case law is clear that, where between a resolution to approve a decision and the point it is issued….a new factor emerges that would be relevant to the planning balancing exercise, then the decision maker has to have regard for the matter and if necessary report it back to committee to affirm or otherwise their initial assessment in light of the new consideration’.

In the case of this particular development, the County Archaeologist identified some anomalies which needed further investigation. A series of features were then discovered which, whilst probably not part of Grimm’s ditch as first thought, reflect a significant boundary, probably medieval, of some kind. These discoveries were thought sufficient to justify bringing the application before Uplands for reconsideration.

Early this year, WODC received a preliminary letter from the Local Plan Inspector indicating that he is mindful of approving the Local Plan thus suggesting that he recognises WODC has the required five year land supply or something very close to this. With this in mind together with the archaeological interest and the extensive development elsewhere in Hanborough and Freeland, Uplands were unanimous in reversing the decision of December and refusing the application. Such a refusal of course does not prohibit an appeal from the developer. 

 

Other events

Both of us attended the Holger Danske Klubben wreath laying ceremony to celebrate Churchill’s broadcast to Denmark announcing the surrender of the occupying Nazis in 1945. This sombre, short event at Churchill’s grave, attended by the Danish ambassador, was followed by festive consumption of Danish lager. Cllr Trish Redpath, Woodstock Town Mayor,  welcomed the ambassador with an entertaining account of her visit to Copenhagen when she inadvertently came across the 70th anniversary celebrations of the end of the occupation. Our thanks to Leslie Evans for organising the event each year.  

We also attended the WUFA (Woodstock Under Fives Association) thirtieth anniversary celebrations at the WUFA building. This was a jolly occasion taking place in the WUFA garden on a beautiful, sunny morning. Again the Mayor, one of the founders of WUFA, gave a warm welcome to present and past users of the centre – and others. We wish WUFA continued success in the future.

WODC Cllrs Julian Cooper & Elizabeth Poskitt

 

Oxfordshire County Councillor Ian Hudspeth's June 2018 Report

WOODSTOCK PARKING

The issue of parking enforcement in the centre is an active topic especially for residents and businesses   As I’ve previously said parking is a difficult subject which splits opinion. Some of the businesses have said that the new enforcement does mean customers are able to find a parking space easier, encouraging them to use the town centre rather than driving past Woodstock to other shops; others have said that there are insufficient 3-hour bays. We do have the Hensington Road car park providing 116 free long stay spaces. I am arranging an additional meeting of the Traffic Advisory Committee focused on this issue.

MULLIN'S MUSEUM PROPOSAL

This controversial planning application has been deferred until a later date. It will be for the Planning Authority, West Oxfordshire DC to determine. There has been considerable concern that this will lead to an increase in traffic in the surrounding area. If West Oxfordshire do approve this application then its vital that funding is provided to mitigate the impact of the increased traffic levels.

GROUND-BREAKING SHARED SERVICE ARRANGEMENT BETWEEN COUNCILS

OCC and Cherwell District Council (CDC) are considering a proposal for shared service arrangements under a joint chief executive, while retaining separate councillor bodies, budgets and decision-making processes. The proposal follows a decision by CDC not to join the a proposed new unitary with its existing partners, South Northamptonshire District Council. The proposal will be considered by the county council’s Cabinet on Monday 4 June. OCC is keen to work with Cherwell to ensure its residents continue to receive good services. The county council also believes a joint arrangement would help to secure investment in the infrastructure needed to support increases in jobs and homes. The exact arrangements for sharing services and joining up functions will need to be worked out in detail and then agreed separately by each council. They will be implemented incrementally. It is a statutory requirement that the Chief Executive, as head of paid service, is appointed by the full councils of each council and formal appointment processes will be followed. The joint appointment is expected to be made from one of the existing chief executives. The proposed partnership is not connected to unitary reorganisation proposals, and would instead offer an innovative opportunity to make two tier local government more effective. 

OCC RETAINS ‘GOOD’ OFSTED RATING FOR CHILDREN’S SERVICES

Despite the increase in cases of children at risk of neglect and abuse, the OCC children’s service has received an overall ‘Good’ rating from Ofsted, the children’s services watchdog. This is the third time running OCC has received the ‘Good’ rating from Ofsted. The report was published on Tuesday, May 22. It praised the way staff had dealt with a huge rise in the number of children needing protection from abuse and neglect since 2015, and the rise in admissions to care, driven by better reporting and awareness by people working with children and families. Ofsted praised OCC and found that when children are at risk of harm, prompt action is taken to understand their circumstances and protect them. Children in care and care leavers receive a good service. However, the report said more still needs to be done to ensure children suffering from neglect are getting the right help at the right time, to reduce its impact on their lives. While most children needing help and protection are well-served, this needs to be more consistent. There has been a 45% increase in the number of cases of neglect since 2015 and this has presented a challenge to OCC, at a time of budget pressures. OCC acknowledges Ofsted’s findings and is committed to improving its handling of neglect cases. Neglect often occurs in families where drug and alcohol misuse, domestic abuse or mental health issues are prevalent, but it describes any situation in which a child is being put at risk of serious harm because their needs are not being met.

FROM AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL ASSISTANT TO COUNTY COUNCIL CHAIRMAN

Gill Sanders last month became the new Chairman of OCC. She was once one of the nation’s first female air traffic control assistants and the time spent in that role gave her the confidence to progress in life. She later worked in Oxford city schools for 25 years and eventually as an HR and Administration Manager at a large Oxford city comprehensive school. Councillor Sanders has been a county councillor in Oxford since 2012 but had been a city councillor for 26 years until standing down this year. She has been Vice Chairman of OCC in 2017/18 and worked closely with her husband and fellow county councillor John Sanders during his spell as Chairman in 2014/15. Councillor Les Sibley, who represents the Bicester West division at County Hall, has been elected Vice Chairman for 2018/19.

TAKING CARE BACK TO ITS ROOTS IN OXFORDSHIRE

Care in Oxfordshire looks set to go back to its community roots with teams of very local people set up around older and vulnerable people in an innovative project originally inspired in Holland and so far tried in only one other place in England. Teams are to be set up around people who need care in Abingdon and Wallingford as part of a £100,000 trial to be managed by a specialist Manchester based company called Wellbeing Teams who have already set up the new teams in Wigan. Only people who live within a five-mile radius of those for whom they’ll care will be recruited to the new teams – but they don’t have to have any experience in the care industry –they just need to be able to offer up to 21.75 hours of time per week and have a clear commitment and pride in their local area and community. People recruited to teams would be supported by Wellbeing Teams through a buddying system and the usual DBS and safety checks would be required before recruitment could take place.

MAKING ADULT SOCIAL CARE CHARGES MORE FAIR, CONSISTENT & TRANSPARENT

A series of changes to the way people contribute to the cost of their care in Oxfordshire will see some people charged more so that resources can be targeted better at those who cannot afford to pay and will bring OCC more in to line with how things operate elsewhere in England. All councils are allowed to charge for care and support to recover the costs incurred in line with the Care Act 2014. This means that people receiving social care across the nation may be expected to contribute towards the cost of their care depending on their individual financial circumstances. The changes are estimated to save £1.8m per year. This will be used to provide social care for people with significant care needs and who are unable to pay for care themselves. This is not a saving to the council’s bottom line. Full details can be found here:

http://news.oxfordshire.gov.uk/changes-would-make-adult-social-care-charges-fair-more-consistent-and-more-transparent/

BETTER BROADBAND FOR OXFORDSHIRE UPDATE

Oxfordshire now has 96.5% superfast broadband coverage, increasingly enabling digital infrastructure in the most rural parts of the county, with adoption of the newly available fibre broadband services running at over 54%, which is well above national average.

Cllr Ian Hudspeth
07956270 318

Ian.hudspeth@oxfordshire.gov.uk