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
13th February 2018

Economic & Social O&S 25th January 2018

At its meeting in January this committee met with representatives of Greenwich Leisure Limited (WODC’s leisure services provider) to discuss the monitoring report by Quest that had been presented at a previous meeting. Overall the report had suggested good to very good for the centres with the Windrush Leisure Centre receiving an award for the second highest score of the entire UK Mystery Visit scores. Woodstock Outdoor Pool is managed as an outlier of Windrush Centre but seems not to have been involved in the Mystery Visit. The Woodstock Pool had 6007 total attendance in 2017. We asked about the complaints (20) for the Woodstock Outdoor Pool but these seem largely related to complaints about possible trespass into the closed building (a problem last autumn) as, for much of the quarter under consideration, the pool was closed. The number of accidents (minor), at 1/1000 visits, was marginally higher than at other WODC leisure centres but this was considered normal for an outside centre with families playing on the surrounding area since hazards such as insect stings are not usually so prevalent with indoor sites.

EcoSoc O&S also considered the Department for Transport’s current consultation on the Great Western Rail Franchise.  Whilst the track is not directly part of the consultation on rail franchises, we did make the point that, unless there is completion of doubling the Cotswold Line, even slight holdups on the single track sections will render improved timetabling etc. irrelevant with holdbacks from Paddington to Hereford. The consultation discussed First Class accommodation along the lines. We questioned whether First Class accommodation on trains was really necessary today and made the point that the proportion of First to Standard Class carriages too often gave disproportionate space to First Class accommodation on peak hour trains.

Planning matters

Currently the view seems to be that the Inspector’s comments on the Local Plan will be delivered in April. He has hinted that he is mindful to accept the developments planned apart from those in the Burford – Charlbury area where he feels they threaten the AONB.

Locally, a crematorium on the Weaveley Arboretum Natural Burial Ground was refused by a narrow margin at Uplands Planning sub-committee on February 5th. It was universally acknowledged that it would be helpful to have a crematorium closer to West Oxfordshire than Barton or Banbury but this building on this site seemed a further invasion of the countryside by buildings and traffic. Further, a crematorium did not seem appropriate on a natural burial ground. This site has been successfully appealed previously so we shall have to see what happens next. When the developer presented the proposals he stated that there had been wide consultation with no objections to the site. It was pointed out to him that Woodstock Town Council had not been consulted formally which would seem a significant omission given the proximity of the town to the site and the concerns residents might have for increased traffic when going towards the Oxford - Banbury Road.

A large extension to the rear of number 18 New Road (WTC made no objection) has been refused on appeal on the grounds that the massing and bulk of the proposed extension would visually overwhelm the existing property and appear as a discordant addition particularly as the extension would have an appreciably higher eaves level than the original eaves on the rear making it seem an unwieldy addition to the host property.

Proposed limits for HGVs through Burford.

Recently OCC decided to postpone decision on this matter indefinitely as much more information was required about the impact of any proposed change. Before this decision had been made, WODC’s January Cabinet discussed whether their initial response to OCC of ‘wait and see’ for more information should be made more supportive of Burford application as the matter had been ‘called in’ by Cllr Cotterill (WODC Cllr for Burford) and others. We argued strongly that we sympathised with Burford’s concerns but (and we are grateful for Colin Carritt’s informative paper and others’ comments on the matter) the change would lead to around 170 more HGVs though Woodstock each day. Woodstock’s justification for a weight limit was in many ways stronger than Burford’s as the A44, unlike the road through Burford, was not straight, pavements were narrower (much narrower in places), many listed buildings abutted more or less on to the carriageway and Woodstock too had hotels along the route. After some discussion, Cabinet agreed to reaffirm their previous ‘we need more information’ comment to OCC.

Duchess of Marlborough’s Annual Heritage Awards.

Many congratulations to those students from the Marlborough School who were presented with the General John Churchill Academic Award at the Duchess of Marlborough’s Annual Heritage Awards ceremony. The students had produced a business plan for Blenheim. Unfortunately, the plan was pinned so high on the display wall that we could not read it but we hope, once it is taken down, that Blenheim Management Team will give it suitable attention.

WODC Cllrs Julian Cooper & Elizabeth Poskitt

 

Oxfordshire County Councillor Ian Hudspeth's February 2018 Report

     COUNCILLOR PRIORITY FUND KEY PART OF BUDGET PROPOSALS

A key proposal for the upcoming Oxfordshire County Council Budget is to have a Councillor Priorities Fund – all County Councillors will have a £15k fund each to support parish council Highways needs and community group projects. In addition, the county council is choosing to prioritise children’s social care with £1.9m extra being put in to this service. Overall this means £8.5m is being added to the budget for children’s social care in 2018/19. This follows the central government announcement in late December that it would allow councils to raise council tax by an additional 1% primarily to address financial pressures in children’s social care. Earlier in December the council had proposed a 1.99% Council Tax, with an additional 3% precept for adult social care bringing the total proposed rise to 4.99% the same as last year. The additional 1% that has now been allowed would take the total rise for 2018/19 to 5.99%, with a proposed 2.99 % rise in 2019/20. Other calls on funding include the local government national pay settlement where a total of £2.9m extra is required over 2018/19 (£1.4m) and 2019/20 (£1.5m) for staff pay across all of its services, including employees such as librarians, care workers for vulnerable children and adults, highways staff, trading standards, the Registration Service etc. OCC is able to fund this from reserves over these two years. The Budget proposals go to Full Council on February 13th.

GROWTH DEAL

As detailed in the December report, the Oxfordshire Growth Board* has reached an outline Housing and Growth Agreement (Growth Deal) with Government. This will see an additional £215m of investment over the next five years to build infrastructure, support the delivery of new homes and boost economic productivity across the county. This breaks down as: £30m pa for five years for infrastructure; £60m for affordable homes across the county; and £5m to develop a Joint Statutory Spatial Plan (JSSP). The Board wants the five-year deal to be the first stage in a sustained partnership with Government to secure the ongoing investment needed to deliver properly planned growth and economic development over the coming years. This will support councils to achieve the ambition of 100,000 new homes across the county over the period 2011-2031, as identified through the 2014 countywide Strategic Housing Market Assessment and Local Plans. During the period of development all planning authorities will have their five-year land supply requirement reduced to a three-year land supply with that condition in place for the first three years of the new JSSP. The Growth Deal is coming to the stage that it will soon go through the six councils’ democratic processes to be agreed.

*The Oxfordshire Growth Board comprises the six councils: Cherwell District Council, Oxford City Council, Oxfordshire County Council, South Oxfordshire District Council, Vale of White Horse District Council and West Oxfordshire District Council, together with the county’s Local Enterprise Partnership (OxLEP).

MULLINS MUSEUM PLANNING APPLICATION

The recent meeting held at the Barton Sports and Social club was well attended, giving an opportunity for everybody present to ask questions about the proposal. I was clear that if you had any views on the matter then you need to contact WODC direct so that they can take them into consideration before any decision is made, the reference is: Ref 17/03745/OUT Mullins Development Land at Enstone Airfield.

Middle Barton Post Office

The good news is the store will have extensive refurbishment carried out, the bad news is that there will be temporary services and access from Thursday 22 February 2018 at 17:30 to allow for the refit to take place. It is envisaged that the work will take approximately two to three weeks to complete, following which the service will re-open on Friday 9 March 2018 at 13.00.

CARILLION: OCC AGREES EXIT DEAL AFTER COMPANY COLLAPSE

OCC has formally terminated its contract with Carillion LGS Limited effective from 1 February 2018, following the collapse of the parent company. This brings forward the already agreed end of the contract set for the end of June 2018. OCC made a net payment of £10.65m to Carillion to cover work already completed as part of the final settlement to end the contract with the company. Carillion provided services on behalf of OCC including school meals and cleaning; maintenance of council buildings; property services, and building work such as school extensions. Carillion staff in OCC’s maintained schools who contracted their services via OCC will be transferred to OCC under staff transfer arrangements known as ‘TUPE’, and services will continue as normal. Services previously provided by Carillion to the county council will continue through a mix of bringing staff in-house (e.g. school meals, cleaning); continuing with suppliers (mainly catering), and working with existing sub-contractors (mainly construction and property services). Like every other Carillion customer, OCC is now working out the most cost-effective way to complete work left unfinished by Carillion. OCC will now take over direct responsibility for commissioning future construction work and service delivery. County council officers are reviewing the uncompleted works under the Carillion contract and talking to sub-contractors about the best way forward. Carillion sub-contractors and suppliers will be financially exposed to the collapse in Oxfordshire, as is happening across the country. OCC is establishing a process to assess, on a case-by-case basis, the impact on companies in the Carillion supply chain involved in providing county council services such as building maintenance.

  

Cllr Ian Hudspeth

07956270 318

Ian.hudspeth@oxfordshire.gov.uk