Oxfordshire County Councillor Ian Hudspeth’s June 2020 Report

The increase in physical activity is one of the positive outcomes from the pandemic. The Government has recognised this by announcing funds to continue to promote active travel. I am keen we encourage active travel across the county. I have submitted my request that Woodstock and all villages in the Division have 20mph speed limits along with cycle racks by bus stops. Unfortunately, we now know that we can’t fund 20 mph schemes from the 1st funding tranche for Oxfordshire which is £597,000, due to the conditions imposed. The 2nd tranche of around £2.4 million will be issued later in the summer and will depend on how successful we are in delivering the 1st tranche of funding. The highways teams have been working hard to identify schemes that can be delivered quickly and successfully.

We must be realistic that even if we receive all the funds, probably they won’t be enough to cover all projects across the county, but I think it’s right to be ambitious.

I am working with a group of interested parties to see if we can put forward a proposal, even on a temporary basis, to encourage a more continental style outdoor approach to the centre of Woodstock to help the businesses as they reopen in the summer.

Oxfordshire County Council is working with all the other councils on a recovery programme as we move out of the lockdown. The reopening of Household Waste Recycling Centres is an example of a return to the new normal as there are restrictions, please check before visiting them.

The County Council is supporting Care Homes and Care providers by purchasing PPE, to date the total is £2 million. This is to assist them to have the stock particularly the smaller organisations who are unable to achieve quantity of scale discounts.

To assist in the reopening of schools, Oxfordshire County Council has provided every school across the county with PPE. We have been working closely with schools to help them to prepare should they decide to reopen.

Test and Trace was launched across England. The service is designed to help identify, contain and control coronavirus, reduce the spread of the virus and save lives. It forms a central part of the Government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy, which seeks to return life to as close to normal as possible, for as many people as possible, in a way that is safe and protects the NHS and social care.

There are responsibilities placed upon OCC as the Public Health Authorities to work with Public Health England and with local District, City and health system partners to investigate and control outbreaks and to support the community to ensure safe and effective self-isolation. We are currently in discussions across the Oxfordshire system about the development of a local outbreak control plan, and we will update you with further details as soon as we can.

Once again, I would like to thank all the community groups across the Woodstock division that have been created to help and support our vulnerable residents. The groups are working well with the District & County councils. If you have any concerns regarding residents who may need to be on the NHS shielded list, please contact us on: 01865 89 78 20 or shield@oxfordshire.gov.uk

I continue to hold weekly conference call meetings with the other Oxfordshire Leaders; Cherwell, City, South, Vale and West to ensure we all are working together and not duplicating work. I also hold weekly conference calls with the Labour & Liberal opposition parties at County to ensure that everybody is kept up to date with the latest information and again we can share ideas.

The way councils including Town and Parish have adapted to virtual meetings has been tremendous to enable us all to continue with the democratic process. I’m sure we’ll continue once we return to the new normal as it does save many journeys. However, the down side is that the meetings can be back to back over the day and into the evenings. Perhaps we need to be careful to ensure we don’t end up sitting in front of the screen too much.

I’ve continued to take some of my daily exercise by walking round the villages in my division to report any defects on roads or pavements, if you notice any then please report them on Fix My Street as the repair teams are still working.

Anybody can download the app which is easy to use and provides an exact location along with a photograph or you can log any defects at:

https://fixmystreet.oxfordshire.gov.uk/

Please do not hesitate to contact me and keep safe.

Ian Hudspeth
07956 270 318
Ian.hudspeth@oxfordshire.gov.uk

Report of District Councillors for Bladon, Blenheim and Woodstock to Woodstock Town Council Tuesday 14th July 2020

Woodstock Infrastructure Strategy

WODC’s Woodstock Infrastructure Delivery Strategy will be presented to Cabinet on July 22nd. If the content of the Strategy is not available by the evening of the Town Council meeting, we shall circulate details when we do receive them. The report comes to Cabinet without the usual presentation and discussion in the Economic & Social Scrutiny Committee as the relevant meeting of that Committee has been cancelled. Regrettably EP is unfortunately heavily committed elsewhere that afternoon but JC will make sure our points of view and those of the town are clearly transmitted.

In relation to infrastructure strategy, your two District Councillors have raised their concerns with the Chief Executive of Publica over the possible siting of a new surgery on one of the new developments planned for the outskirts of Woodstock. Apart for the likelihood of many of the unwell feeling obliged to drive to such a site whereas a surgery closer to the centre of Woodstock could be easier for many to access on foot or by bus, having a surgery near the town centre encourages people visiting the surgery also to use the shops, cafes and restaurants in the town. Thus there is both a saving in the use of cars – something the pandemic has demonstrated can have very beneficial effects for the environment – and a benefit in the potential use of the retail facilities in Woodstock which are likely to still be a concern even when a new surgery is finally constructed. We continue to believe that the area which includes the Hensington Road Car Park offers potential space for a new surgery if there could be imaginative development and mutual cooperation between WODC and OCC and, we would hope as well, the owners of the Police Station site.

Woodstock Swimming Pool

It seems likely that Woodstock Outdoor Swimming Pool will not open at all this summer although we still await government guidance about the opening of leisure centres. GLL (Greenwich Leisure Limited), who run eight leisure centres including our swimming pool for WODC, is understandably experiencing funding problems as it has had no custom for over 100 days but has had to maintain the centres so they can open once the ‘go ahead’ is given. GLL is in discussion with WODC over possible financial support from the District Council. Helpfully, the government has now offered some financial to local Councils to cover some of the gaps in funding caused by the closures of leisure centres. We still await any final arrangement between WODC and GLL which only covers already lost funds and will not necessarily be repeated over future months as the success of the centres, in terms of customer use, cannot be determined until the centres do finally open.

Meanwhile, we have approached GLL to see whether the Swimming Pool changing rooms could be used throughout the year to enable the Marlborough School to get more pupils back into the School sooner whilst following government guidelines.

Churchill Celebrations

Sir Winston Churchill was born on 30th November 1874 at Blenheim and died in London on 24th January 1965 seventy years to the day after the passing of his father, Lord Randolph Churchill. Churchill’s funeral in 1965 was the first state funeral since that for William Gladstone in 1898. An initiative is being developed to celebrate 150 years since Churchill’s birth and sixty years since his death extending from December 2024 into early 2025. We shall keep the Council updated as the plans develop.

Woodstock Primary School

Lisa Rowe, headteacher at Woodstock Primary School, retires at the end this term. We wish her well and thank her for all she has contributed to the school and the community. She has, with her staff, the children and their families, successfully enabled the School to achieve OFSTED ‘Outstanding’ status and very recently the Leading Parent Partnership Award (LPPA) accreditation. Woodstock knows also that the children not only perform well academically but also behave well and contribute enthusiastically to Woodstock events and town life. The celebration of fifty years of the School on the Shipton Road site was special for the many local people and ex-pupils who attended. Not surprisingly, the LPPA citation states ‘Woodstock (Primary School) is a model of excellent parent and community partnership practice’.

WODC Cllrs Julian Cooper & Elizabeth Poskitt