Woodstock Town Council

Incorporated by Royal Charter of Henry VI in 1453

                                      Mayor's Page

Town Mayor and West Oxfordshire District Councillor Dr Elizabeth Poskitt's
and West Oxfordshire District Councillor Julian Cooper's Joint Report for April 2017.

Local Plan

WTC is aware that the latest version of the Local Plan comes before the Inspector on May 9th (aat Woodgreen offices from 10am). The Examination is to determine whether the Plan is ‘sound’ in the light of received and national policy. The Inspector will be Malcolm Rivett BA(Hon) MSc MRTPI as the Mr Emerson who began the work in 2015 has now retired.

The Inspection takes place in two stages - Stage 2 being the first (!). The Stage 2 examination commences on May 9th. .Whilst the Inspector agrees that the previous examination gave good evidence for Council having fulfilled the Duty to Co-operate, evidence on the management of strategic and cross boundary issues will be significant in assessing the soundness of the Plan. During Stage 2 the Inspector states he will be dealing largely with sections 1-8 of the Plan and assessing:

Legal compliance
Settlement hierarchy and spatial strategy (whatever that means!)
Provision of new homes
Sustainable economic growth
Transport: movement and supporting structures
Environment and heritage assets
Housing site selection process and preliminary questions relating to five year land supply. 

Stage 3 will begin on July 11th and will focus on:
    The strategy at the local level (including a focus on the five sub-areas of which the Woodstock-Eynsham sub-area is one)    The five year housing land supply

It is very important, if WODC is to control the speculative planning applications currently coming its way, that the Local Plan is in place as soon as possible. Only then will Council be able to regain confidence that appeals against refusal of applications have a chance of being thrown out by the appeal inspector.  

Health Care Issues
The District Council Cabinet considered the Oxfordshire Healthcare Transformation Programme with its forward review over the next five years.  The Programme strategy attempts to plug the £479 million funding gap in the Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Berkshire area. The proposal is to take all stroke cases to the JR initially (currently 12% go to Banbury to the Horton Hospital) for at least the first 72 hours and then enable them to access rehabilitation services locally from their homes or from rehabilitation serves at places such as the Witney Hospital.

Critical Care at the Horton will be only at levels 1 (those at risk of their condition deteriorating) and level 2 (those requiring detailed observation, intervention, or post-operative care or who have one organ system only failing). Level 3 (advanced respiratory support required) Critical Care patients will all be treated at the JR as the Critical Care Unit at the Horton does not see sufficient Level 3 patients for staff to be able to maintain the levels of skill expected.

There are proposals to continue most of this District’s antenatal obstetric care at The Horton and Chipping Norton Hospitals but to enable all women with high risk pregnancy to give birth at the JR. The position of Midwife Led Units (MLUs) will be decided in Phase Two of the programme and may include MLUs at both Chippy and Banbury or only one unit - at The Horton.

WODC Cabinet was only prepared to support these Phase One proposals If there were no reduction of care within West Oxfordshire put forward in Phase Two of the proposals and if Phase Two proposals were accompanied by an increase in parking availability at the JR which, at least, matched the number of increased visits there to the specialised centres at the JR proposed in this first Phase of the proposals. Lack of any detail about the Phase Two proposals created considerable anxiety about the future in relation to the Witney Hospital. WODC also pointed out that they felt consultation on Phase One had been inadequate and requested greater participation in Phase Two planning so as to ensure proposals linked in with local needs and aspirations and with Council run services.  

WODC Cllrs Julian Cooper and Elizabeth Poskitt


Oxfordshire County Councillor Ian Hudspeth's April 2017 Report

Elections to Oxfordshire County Council are now just under five weeks away and there are a series of key dates in the lead up to the Thursday, May 4 poll.

The final full council meeting of the county councillors elected in May 2013 took place on Tuesday, March 21

All 63 county council seats will be up for election and residents all over Oxfordshire began to receive polling cards during the last week of March.

On Wednesday, April 5 the list of candidates for each OCC seat will be published. A number of existing county councillors have already indicated they are standing down but the definitive list will not be clear until April 5.

I will be standing for the Woodstock Division and will be out and about across the division meeting as many residents as possible.

Registering to vote
The last day for people to register to vote is Thursday April 13. Although this is a county council election, Oxfordshire’s district councils are the authorities responsible for administering the electoral register and people should contact them if they are not already registered to vote.

The last date to apply for a postal and postal proxy vote is Tuesday 18 April and the last date to apply for a new proxy vote is Tuesday 25 April 2017.

Polling day
Polling Day on Thursday, May 4 runs from 7.00am to 10 pm. The election count takes place on Friday, May 5 in Abingdon.

The County Council pre-election period (‘purdah’) has now started and the Council must comply with restrictions outlined in Section 2 of the Local Government Act 1986. In addition a ‘Code of Recommended Practice on Local Authority Publicity’ published in 2011 makes clear that particular care should be taken in periods of heightened sensitivity, such as in the run up to an election. The Act defines publicity as “any communication, in whatever form, addressed to the public at large or to a section of the public.”

Generally, the Act says that a council should “not publish any material which, in whole, or in part, appears to be designed to affect public support for a political party.” The Code of Practice recommends that authorities should generally not issue any publicity which seeks to influence voters and that publicity relating to individuals involved directly in the election should not be published unless expressly authorised by statute.

For the reasons above, the County Council, Oxford City Council and the four District Councils have agreed not to promote their standpoint on the issue of Unitary Government for the period of purdah.

OCC has joined forces with Waze, the free crowdsourced traffic and navigation app, in a data-sharing link-up that could help residents get from A to B more easily. Waze is effectively a Sat Nav app used exactly as any in-car navigation device – except Waze has the added benefit of crowd-sourced traffic flow info and OCC roadworks as part of the mix. This means that the app can see the traffic hotspots on the roads and route residents round them where appropriate, saving them time. Waze is FREE to download and use – simply go to https://www.waze.com/download

Ian Hudspeth
07956 270318