- Philippa Carter (Chair)
- Sandy Timms (Vice)
- Mark Tribe
- Peter Rance
- Angela Barnes
Apologies received from CCllr Rodney Rose and Cllr Mellor
2. MINUTES OF THE LAST MEETING
The recorded Minutes from the February Meeting were reviewed, agreed and then duly signed, dated and filed.
3. DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
There were no declarations of interest to be recorded.
4. FINANCIAL REPORT
(a) Authorisation of payments
OCC Library Fund £262.39 Chq No. 100953
WODC Dog Bin emptying £85.49 Chq No. 100954
Grape Vine grant £400.00 Chq No. 100955
P Carter Witney Trophy £76.12 Chq No. 100956
P Carter Net World £716.00 Chq No. 100957
Margaret Johnson Stationery £101.66 Chq No. 100958
Patrick Edwards (Tractor) £102.00 Chq No. 100959
NB please note that the PC are owed £6,349.20 VAT refund (this will be claimed on 31 March) and £5,000+ for playground grants.
(b) Financial Regulations
These were reviewed and agreed unanimously.
5. COUNTY COUNCILLORS REPORT
THE ANNUAL BUDGET
On the 17th February, Oxfordshire County Council met to discuss and agree its annual budget.
From 2010 to the end of 2015, the council will have achieved savings of £204 million, and savings are set to reach £292 million. The Council relies on grants from Central Government and with the Chancellor of the Exchequer indicating a further £49 billion reduction for Whitehall departments; Councillors expect a need for further savings.
With this in mind, the Authority has decided that the council tax will rise but that it will be kept low at 1.99%, equivalent to 46p a week for a Band D property. We have also begun investigating the potential for savings from a Unitary Authority and agreed to remove the position of Chief Executive as soon as this is legally possible.
The County Council has reduced the number of directors by 50% and senior management by 40% alongside an overall staff reduction of 30% but we remain committed to delivering the Living Wage for our lowest paid staff. We are fortunate to have a real boost to the transport network and economic growth from the investment of millions of pounds in the City Deal and work with our partners at the Local Enterprise Partnership.
All Councillors have listened to comments from stakeholders and the Leader and Cabinet have been as transparent as possible with opposition leaders and taken on board comments from the Performance Scrutiny Committee. Following consultation, Councillors have decided to reinstate the £70,000 required for Community Action Groups.
SERIOUS CASE REVIEW INTO CHILD SEXUAL EXPLOITATION
Oxfordshire County Council fully accepts the findings of the serious case review into child sexual exploitation and apologises that the child protection system failed to prevent horrific abuse of six girls.
The Independent Serious Case Review into Child Sexual Exploitation in Oxfordshire was published today (Tuesday 3 March 2015) by the Oxfordshire Safeguarding Children Board. The serious case review followed a trial in 2013 in which seven men were imprisoned for a total of 95 years for their crimes which took place from 2005-2011.
The conclusions of the report follow on from an inspection by children’s services inspectorate Ofsted in 2014, which rated Oxfordshire’s child protection system as ‘good’ and described its approach to tackling child sexual exploitation as ‘high quality’.
Jim Leivers, Oxfordshire County Council’s Director for Children, Education and Families, said:
“If we knew then what we know now about the grooming process, this would have been stopped much sooner. Before Operation Bullfinch people didn’t believe something this horrible could happen. We are under no illusions about child sexual exploitation now.
“This was organised crime on a massive scale that we had not seen before. Girls were systematically groomed to think their abusers were their boyfriends. Social workers tried to protect individuals, as the Serious Case Review acknowledges.
“However, in some cases children were treated as wayward teenagers consenting to sex. That was wholly wrong. Our whole approach has now changed – children are believed, we can spot the signs of grooming and sexual exploitation and the Kingfisher team embodies that huge change.
In addition to setting up Kingfisher, other action taken to tackle child sexual exploitation in Oxfordshire includes:
- 7500 staff now trained to spot warning signs of CSE and take action – including police, teachers, care workers
- Around 18,000 school children seen drama about child sexual exploitation and discussed the risks of grooming in class
- School nurses in every secondary school with role in identifying children at risk
- Building four new children’s homes to keep most vulnerable children in Oxfordshire
CONSULTATION ON CONNECTING OXFORDSHIRE OPENS
Oxfordshire County Council is inviting the public, businesses and stakeholders to contribute to the final consultation for Connecting Oxfordshire.
Connecting Oxfordshire sets out the council’s ambitions for transport improvements across the county to 2031, over which time up to 100,000 new homes and 85,000 new jobs are likely to be created.
The plan features a range of short, medium and long term solutions for road, rail, bus, cycle and foot, which have been shaped by discussions over the last year. This includes the Oxford Transport Strategy, which sets out ambitious plans for transport in and around Oxford city, including looking at mass transit solutions like rapid bus services along strategic routes, integrating transport modes by transforming the park and ride network and making it easier to cycle by introducing cycle super routes across the city.
There are also strategies aimed at all the main conurbations across the county including Witney, Bicester and Banbury as well as plans for the Science Vale and key strategic routes like the A40 and A420.
The consultation closes on 2nd April.
To read and respond to the consultation please look at: https://www.oxfordshire.gov.uk/cms/public-site/connecting-oxfordshire
OXFORDSHIRE CHOSEN FOR NEW FOSTER CARE SUPPORT SCHEME
Oxfordshire County Council is one of just eight authorities to benefit from a £1.6m Government grant to develop support ‘hubs’ for foster families, with dedicated workers offering respite care, peer support and social activities.
The innovative ‘Mockingbird Family Model’ was first developed in the United States where it was shown to be successful in improving outcomes for looked-after-children. The scheme is now being piloted in the UK, and will be delivered by leading fostering charity Fostering Network.
The council’s Cabinet Member for Children Education and Families Melinda Tilley said: “This is great news for our foster carers and looked-after children in Oxfordshire. Foster carers who look after teenagers often need extra help, and while we already have a range of support services available to them, the opportunity to recruit specialist staff and strengthen the support network for these families is hugely welcome.”
FREE POETRY WORKSHOP AT OXFORD’S CENTRAL LIBRARY
Oxford Central Library will be hosting a special event on Saturday March 28 from 2pm until 4pm – with leading poet and performance artist Chris Tutton.
Chris, a winner of the Sunday Times Interaction Community Theatre Award, will first perform his own poetry with then follow with an interactive workshop on developing your own voice and how to perform confidently to an audience.
With funding from the Arts Council, the workshop and performance are an entirely free (but must be booked), a not to be missed opportunity to learn from an artist who has performed on television and radio, at major literary festivals and venues including the Edinburgh Book Festival and the Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith.
6. DISTRICT COUNCILLORS REPORT
DCllr Tom Simcox reported that following the budget council tax had been frozen, free parking would remain in the Council owned car parks and that the new high speed broadband had been rolled out to 85% of homes and it was hoped this would increase to 99%. DCllr Simcox reported the new draft of the Local Plan was out for consultation for four weeks.
7. PUBLIC TIME
There were no members of the public present at the meeting.
8. MATTERS ARISING
- Defibrillator – The training session held was very well attended. The Clerk was asked to remove this from Matters Arising.
- Hedge on Shipton Road – Ongoing
- Working together with the Wychwoods – The Clerk was asked to write to both Shipton and Milton and invite them to join Ascott on Wednesday 10 June or Wednesday 24 June.
- Anti-social behaviour – Ongoing
- Footbridge by Ascott Mill – Ongoing
- Neighbourhood Action Group (NAG) – Cllr Timms reported that a meeting would be held next week at Milton-under-Wychwood.
- Litter Pick – excellent progress please refer to Item No. 16 Helpers.
- Reviewing OALC reports – this was discussed and it was agreed that the reports would be reviewed on a rotating basis, alphabetically. The February report would be reviewed by Cllr Carter.
- Joint Council Surgeries – Saturday 28 March – Cllr Carter would attend this one.
- Annual Village Meeting – final details to be discussed at the April meeting.
No new applications received.
10. ASCOTT-UNDER-WYCHWOOD RECREATION GROUND
The Clerk reported that there had been a severe problem with moles. The grass cutting Contractor had been asked to harrow the field and then roll it. This had been done at a cost of £40.
11. PROJECT SAFE PLAY
Cllr Carter reported that junior goal posts had been purchased. She asked the councilors to consider an official celebration to thank the grant funders, which could be held in June. It was suggested that an article could be published in the Grapevine. Cllr Carter reported on the erecting of a sign on the Playing Field listing the grant funders. She presented samples of signs for the Council to consider. This would be discussed further at the April meeting.
12. LOTTERY DRAINAGE
In the absence of Cllr Mellor, the Clerk reported Cllr Mellor has sent an updated proposal to Wayne Barker at OCC and that he was awaiting his decision on the PC’s suggested scheme.
- London Road South (Charlbury) private garden pond Mrs Beveridge – This will continue to be monitored.
- Standing water on the Shipton Road between Melplash Farm & Coldwell Brook – This will continue to be monitored.
14. ASCOTT-UNDER-WYCHWOOD SPORTS CLUB
Cllr Carter reported that the Football Team were thriving. She reported that she would be attending a meeting to discuss future developments i.e. the shed, tables and other equipment.
15. COMMUNITY EMERGENCY PLAN
Nothing to report.
16. HELPERS OF ASCOTT-UNDER-WYCHWOOD
Cllr Carter reported that the Litter Pick had been very successful and the next meeting was scheduled for 14 March at the Pound.
17. PARISH PLAN
Cllr Tribe reported that both he and Cllr Carter attended a meeting with Oxfordshire Rural County Council and that a follow up meeting was planned with Astrid Harvey to discuss the workings of parish plans. Please refer to Cllr Tribe’s notes from the meeting:
NOTES ON A MEETING WITH OXFORDSHIRE RURAL COMMUNITY COUNCIL (ORCC) 25 FEBRUARY 2015
- Fiona Mullens (ORCC)
- Tom McCulloch (ORCC)
- Mark Tribe
- Philippa Carter
- To discuss the possibility of Ascott-under-Wychwood Parish Council formulating a Parish Plan and the value of such a plan to the community. We are also looking for their advice and guidance on how a plan could be compiled based on their experience of other Parish Councils.
2 Distinct Plans:
ORCC explained that they advise on 2 different plans and the titles they use are NEIGHBOURHOOD PLAN and COMMUNITY LED PLAN.
A formal Neighbourhood Plan is all about Planning. It is a document which would become part of the National Planning Policy Framework’, sitting alongside and in harmony with the
WODC ‘Local Plan’. It is a statutory document which has to be prepared according to a fixed set of rules and only accepted after scrutiny from a national planning body. It can involve a lot of work and some expense (for which there may be grants available).
It must have the backing of the majority of the Parish. The duration of a Neighbourhood Plan is 10 years. ORCC advised that whilst some PC’s had started to prepare their NP’s there are not many examples of a completed documents.
Thame Town Council’s Plan can be found on the website – http://www.southoxon.gov.uk/sites/default/files/Final%20Thame%20Neighbourhood%20Pl %20-%20March%202013.pdf
Advantages – The purpose of a Neighbourhood Plan is for any community to have greater influence on where and how it might be developed in the future. If the Parish is concerned about the possibility of developers trying to develop sites within its boundaries the NP should give a certain amount of protection against developments unacceptable to residents. Some communities pre-empt speculative developers by identifying sites which would be acceptable for development and stating that any other locations would be unacceptable.
An alternative approach to a Neighbourhood Plan could be one that only concerns itself with setting conditions for any potential development, extension or other kind of alteration to existing properties. This would include issues that A-u-W is most worried about such as:
- A Flood Protection Plan which would not allow any encroachment on flood plain nor any compromise to the Parish’s systems of sewage and drainage
- Assess the impact of any new development on the existing infrastructure and recommend any necessary improvement to the roads, sewage, drainage, water supply and power utilities.
- Building to be in keeping with the ‘local vernacular’ (design, materials etc)
- Sufficient off-street parking compulsory for any extension or development
- Assess potential “Planning Gain” opportunities that a developer may be asked to fund. This could include; leisure space, landscaping, street furniture etc.
- A Neighbourhood Plan could give clear guidance to future Parish Councillors as to the wishes of the majority of the Parish.
Disadvantages – If the Parish produces a NP which identifies acceptable sites before developers have shown any interest then that could actually attract developers.
Councillors’ Concerns about potential developments include:
- The approach from Cornbury Estate last June regarding developing the end of High St.
- The planning application being considered at the moment in Milton-u-W which would appear to have an extremely serious impact on the main road through the village. If Milton’s development goes through, will Ascott be vulnerable to large development even though there are compelling reasons to protect the Parish?
- Several Ascott farm owners and tenants are due to retire.
- Margaret Longshaw’s site at the eastern end of Shipton Rd.
ACTION ORCC advised –
- Consult WODC on the level of protection that Ascott-under-Wychwood has already, according to its planning rating, and on the value of A-u-W forming a Neighbourhood Plan. They suggested contacting Astrid Harvey, WODC Community Planning Officer, tel: 01993 861692.
- Study Neighbourhood Plans already written in Oxfordshire and which are available on the internet. These include Charney Bassett, Woodcote, Drayton, Stanford-in-the-Vale and Hook Norton.
COMMUNITY LED PLAN
This is not a statutory document. It is more a vision of the Parish for its future. It would identify the important issues in the Parish by asking the questions:-
- What is good?
- What is bad?
- What is missing?
A good CLP would involve consultation with the Parish and could serve as a guide for current and future Parish Councils as to what to prioritise. Topics might include:-
- Improving mobile phone connectivity
- Lobbying for better access to a Household Waste Recycling Centre
- Lobbying for improved bus and train services
- Continuing to support the Wychwood Library or not
- Further sport and leisure developments
A THIRD OPTION
This is to combine the two and call it a ‘Parish Plan’ or ‘Village Plan’. Some communities are working on such a document (e.g. Charlbury). The section on planning would still have to go through statutory scrutiny and adoption for it to carry weight in law against planning applications and appeals. The other sections would not need to go through statutory scrutiny but would hold weight within the community if thorough consultation had taken place. This could be a useful and thorough working document for present and future Parish Councils.
Documents supplied by ORCC as examples of Community Led Plans prepared by other Parish Councils.
- Kirtlington Plan 2011
- Fulbrook Village Plan 2012-13
- Northmoor Parish Plan 2014
- Community Led Plan Case Study
18. RISK ASSESSMENT
This was due to be reviewed and would include a site visit to 5 Shilling Corner. Cllr Carter agreed to coordinate a date and time and invite Stuart Fox to join them.
Several items on the December 2014 report had not been upgraded from the previous report. Cllr Carter has asked the clerk to query these items with RoSPA before allowing payment to be made.
Cllr Rance reported that tenders were in for the Bus services and that the outcome would become public on 19 March.
20. WYCHWOOD LIBRARY
Nothing to report.
21. VILLAGE CHARITY
Cllr Timms reported that at the last meeting the Charity had agreed to donate the proceeds from the Charity Fun Run to the PCC Lime Tree project.
- Clerks & Council Direct
- Cotswold Lion
- Email from Parishioner re the Plannning Application for 26 High Street
- Email from Diane Blackwell WODC re Tourism Photographic Competition
23. ANY OTHER BUSINESS
- Cllr Tribe reported that he had attended a workshop about roadside verges at Adlestrop. He reported that this was very well attended and informative.
- Cllr Carter reported Debra Cull would be organising a flower festival in the Church on 30 – 31 May. She asked the Council to think about entering a display.
There being no further business the meeting was declared closed at 9.45pm. The Clerk confirmed the next meeting will be the Annual Village Meeting on Monday 27 April and the Parish Council’s meeting in May will be the Annual General Meeting and will be held on Monday 11 May 2015.