Woodstock County Councillor Andy Graham’s bulletin report for WTC Mtg 22.06.21

Report of District Councillors for Bladon, Blenheim and Woodstock to Woodstock Town Council Tuesday 22nd June 2021

Council Meetings

The full Council met in person for the first time for over a year on May 19th..  In order to provide social distancing, the meeting took place at the Windrush Leisure Centre in Witney. Business at the first meeting of the Council year is very much routine announcements of Cabinet members and Committees and the election of Committee Chairs and Deputy Chairs. Acoustics in the Leisure Centre were not good despite microphones. Socialising was quite limited. However, we did all enjoy the reality of the meeting after so long working virtually.

Current government instruction is that if local government meetings are making decisions, meetings can no longer be virtual meetings. This creates a problem for WODC as the number of Cllrs is such that Council buildings cannot offer satisfactory social distancing for a full Council meeting. Committee meetings, with smaller numbers attending, are going ahead with attendees well spaced out in the Council Chamber. It cost over £4000 to use the Windrush Leisure Centre facilities for the Council meeting. As a consequence, it has been decided – as there is relatively little business planned – that the next full Council meeting (due on June 23rd) will be cancelled.

The new Chairman of Council is Cllr Martin MacBride with Cllr Alex Postan as the Deputy Chairman. Cllr Michele Mead remains Leader of the Council but the previous Deputy Leader (Toby Morris) lost his seat to Andrew Prosser (Green Party) so there is a new Deputy Leader.  Cabinet members and their responsibilities are as below:

Cllr David Harvey – Deputy Leader & Cabinet Member for Climate Change
Cllr Suzi Coul – Finance
Cllr Merilyn Davies – Housing and Communities
Cllr Norman MacRae – Environment
Cllr Jeff Haine – Planning
Cllr Jane Doughty – Customer Delivery

Your two WODC Cllrs have the following committee responsibilities:

 Cllr Julian Cooper:
            Finance & Management Overview and Scrutiny (O&S)
Development Control Committee; Deputy Chair of Uplands Planning Sub-committee
Audit & General O&S

 Cllr Elizabeth Poskitt:
            Economic & Social O&S
Audit & General O&S

In addition, Cllr Cooper will also represent WODC on Woodstock Traffic Advisory Group, West Oxfordshire Landlords’ Forum, World Heritage UK and the Oxfordshire Growth Board Scrutiny Panel. Cllr Poskitt will represent WODC on Woodstock Traffic Advisory Group, Oxford Airport Consultative Committee, Oxfordshire Buildings Trust and Oxfordshire Play Association.

Woodstock Swimming Pool

As we reported in April, your representatives have now got further clarification on the situation of Woodstock outdoor pool. A report to the cabinet has disclosed that the pool will reopen at the beginning of the school summer holidays. Next year’s timetable will be reconsidered later on in this Council year.

Car Parking Report

The ‘call in’ on car parking strategy was not successful although the outcome was unclear as the committee seem not to support the cabinet but endorsed a new policy that had further conditions attached which were not presented to the cabinet.

WODC Cllrs Julian Cooper & Elizabeth Poskitt