- Philippa Carter (Chairman)
- Sandie Timms (Vice)
- Laurence Mellor
- Mark Tribe
- Peter Rance
- Rodney Rose (County Councillor)
- Tom Simcox (District Councillor)
Responsible Financial Officer:
- Stuart Fox
- Angela Barnes
Members of the public:
- Rob Morgan
- John Cull,
- Wendy and Jim Pearse
- Pete Moss
- Sally Walker
- Kirstyn Tyrer
- Elaine Byles
- Nick Carter
- Mehmet Genc.
Christian McGuinness Leafield School.
The recorded Minutes from the Annual Parish Meeting held on 23 June 2014 were agreed, dated, signed and filed.
3. CHAIRMAN’S REPORT
This has been an excellent year for achieving results through team work and partnerships. Firstly I must praise our team of Parish Councillors, two of whom were not only new to the concept of Parish Council Management but also very new to the village. We have taken a lot of time to collectively get to grips with Parish Council responsibilities, which have increased and become much more formalised in recent years. This has led to long meetings and I am grateful to my colleagues for their patience and good humour. As always, we are all indebted to Angela Barnes, our essential source of information and advice, and to Stuart Fox for his advice and hard work on all matters financial.
We have welcomed our new District Councillor, Tom Simcox, to many of our meetings. One difficult issue this year had to be handled through a multi-agency approach and we are grateful that Tom has helped to open doors. His experience on the Planning Committee will also prove very helpful. Rodney Rose is even busier at County Council these days and we thank him for his voice of experience and the regular financial support he has given to our various projects. Tom and Rodney have set up a new venture holding joint Councillor surgeries in the Wychwoods, and an Ascott Parish Councillor will attend the surgeries held in Ascott. Details will be advertised.
The 3 Wychwood Parishes are liaising more often these days. The Parish Councils met together last year and they plan to do the same again in June. County Council has reduced its funding to the Wychwood Library and so all 3 Wychwood Parish Councils were asked to contribute funds and volunteers, so that it can remain open as before.
This arrangement is working well and Sandy Timms attends biennial management meetings to monitor progress on Ascott’s behalf.
A Mini Neighbourhood Action Group (NAG) has been in existence in Milton for a while. Meetings are attended by our PCSO and Sandy has started to attend on behalf of Ascott. Common issues include anti-social behaviour, dog-fouling, parking outside schools and vandalism. We are considering whether Ascott should have a Neighbourhood Watch.
Partnership has been key to the successful completion of several projects. The Parish Council has led on Project SafePlay and the defibrillator installation and contributed to the new Tiddy Hall kitchen. During the coming year we hope to help the Parochial Church Council complete the pollarding of the lime trees in the churchyard and possibly the renovation of the path. We are very grateful for the support of our regular partners – County and District Councils, the Ascott Village Charity, the Ascott Songsters, Cottsway and to all our residents, young and old. Special thanks must be given to Richard and Michiel at the Swan who bent over backwards to find a suitable location for the defibrillator. They also freely accommodated two training sessions for residents, held gratis by the Ambulance Service.
The Helpers team has worked hard this year and a short report follows later. Another well-drilled team organised a very jolly ‘Carols round the Tree’, which raised over £300 for the Wychwood Day Centre. More voices than ever sang heartily but the piece de resistance was our visiting brass band organised by Elaine Byles and Mark Pidgeon. Thank you so much for their contribution and we do hope they will come again.
There have been no major planning issues in Ascott-u-W this year. There was an exploratory approach from the Cornbury Estate about replacing Yew Tree Barns with a small number of properties. We are not aware of further developments.
Some Ascott residents are concerned about further development in the village. We have been advised that Ascott is regarded by the District Planning Dept as a Rural Community in Open Countryside with limited amenities. WODC has given the village an A rating which only allows extremely limited development. The WODC draft Local Plan is currently open for consultation until Friday 8 May. It can be viewed online. WODC has identified sites for some development within the Burford-Charlbury sub-area, none in Ascott. It has yet to identify sites for 400 more houses to be built over the next 15 years. We have been advised that there are other communities better equipped to accommodate these numbers.
Two footbridges over the Evenlode have needed repair – one is complete but County Council has yet to repair the footings of Ascott Mill footbridge. A well-trodden footpath on the Chilson side of this bridge has been closed by the landowner. The PC was informed by County Council that this was never an official right of way but had been opened by the previous landowner under a scheme which expired over 10 years ago.
It is possible to apply to have a footpath designated as an official right of way but the procedure is currently taking 8-10 years in Oxfordshire. We were advised to approach the landowner privately; this option is being seriously considered, especially as the path forms part of the Charity Annual Cross-Country route.
A longstanding weakness in the village infrastructure is the sewer and the section from Gypsy Lane to Shipton-under-Wychwood has burst at least once a year for the past few years. Thames Water has now confirmed that this section will be replaced starting in July 2015. Their land agents have made early contact and hope to keep the community well informed regarding disruptions and timings.
In the autumn it was made abundantly clear by both Oxford County Council and West Oxfordshire District Council that more services to the parishes will be reduced and that Ascott Parish Council would have to take on extra costs where services were important to the village. Not knowing exactly what the future will bring, we felt obliged to raise the precept this year to maintain a sensible reserve. Whether other improvements to Ascott’s infrastructure and services are needed is a great source of debate and the Parish Council are considering developing a Parish Plan to address these questions. Mark Tribe will outline this later and Peter Rance will report on the vaguaries of our bus and rail services.
We are very sad to be losing a valuable member of our team, Cllr Laurence Mellor. He generously stayed on this past year to train Mark and Peter in his many responsibilities and to keep working up the project which we hope will result in better drainage for the playing field. Laurence’s long experience in the police force has been a tremendous help to the Parish Council and his determination not to be beaten by any DIY job is so legendary that he has won our nickname of Mr Screwfix. Because of his love of sport and his belief that it is essential to the health of the community, he has agreed to remain as Chairman of the Sports Club. As you can see, the Parish Council and the Village have much to thank Laurence for and we wish him a happy and relaxing retirement.
As yet no one has come forward to complete our team and we would be grateful for any help in finding a fifth Parish Councillor. If anyone wants a challenge this is the job to go for – we never know what we have to deal with next!
It remains for me to thank all residents for their support. Feedback, advice, criticism and information are always welcome and create the vibrant community for which we all strive.
4. PARISH FINANCIAL REPORT
The Parish Council started the year with funds of £27,034, the bulk of which (26,731) was held as cash in the bank. The bulk of these funds represented money set aside and grants received for specific purposes namely: snow clearance £3,007, railway station improvements £696 and playground improvements £21,009, leaving just £2,322 for general Parish funds. The council considered that the level of general parish funds was far too low. Therefore the precept for 2014/15 was set at a level that would rebuild the general Parish funds.
During 2014/15 the Parish income was £39,419 and included the precept £26,250, further grants for the playground equipment £6,633, grants towards the cost of drainage surveys on the playing field £3,286, grants towards the cost of a defibrillator £1,499, a grant from OCC towards the cost of pollarding the Lime trees £500, grass cutting fees £1,055 and miscellaneous income of £196.
Our costs in 2014/15 were £43,039, creating a deficit on the year of £3,620.
Our costs are shown on the second page of the accounts, but the main items are; administration and salary £3,947, playing field drainage surveys £3,136, Insurance £1,421, new playground equipment £23,349, work on the existing play area £3,052, maintenance of the playing field and village verges £3,559, support given to the Grape Vine magazine £400, the purchase of a defibrillator £1,499 and contributions to the Wychwood library. These last two items are shown under S137 costs on the accounts.
At the end of the financial year parish funds had reduced to £23,414 of which £11,414 was represented by cash in the bank and debtors of £13,424 less creditors of £1,424. The three large items included in sundry debtors are; the final grant for playground equipment £5,433 (paid in mid- april), our annual VAT refund £6,382 and a drainage grant claim of £886.
At the end of our financial year the analysis of our Parish funds had changed substantially and showed the general parish funds were now £18,691 (a more reasonable level), Snow clearance £2,657, railway station improvements £661, Playground improvements £753, lime tree pollarding £500 and playing field drainage grant £151.
5. PARISH CONTINGENCY PLAN
It has been a dry year and therefore there was only one occasion in the winter when we had impassable flooding on the Chipping Norton Rd. Thank you to Mark Tribe for taking responsibility for Flood Warning signs and liaising with County Council in my absence. Network Rail have recently been unhelpful regarding storing and erecting Flood signs and so Alan Field, our new First Great Western station manager, has agreed to help me negotiate with the right contact.
County Council ‘Snow Guides’ were distributed in December and information was published in the Grapevine about Extra Care Registers and help in finding home insurance. The Community Emergency Plan has been updated and re-registered with Oxfordshire County Council, which liaises with the Emergency Services. Our new team of councillors has been briefed on the Plan and Emergency Equipment and I plan to post the Plan on the village website.
A quiet winter with very little snow but some ice. Footpaths in the village were cleared and salted on 2 occasions. Our volunteer group remains active and keen to get involved using the snow clearing equipment. We have a stockpile of salt and grit should it be needed and Chris Badger continues to provide invaluable support with the storage of grit, snow plough and road gritter. Chris supplements this by providing drivers and a tractor when needed.
6. PROJECT SAFEPLAY
After extensive consultation the SafePlay team and Parish Council decided in the autumn of 2013 that a Multi-Use Games Area would best suit the wishes of the community and address some of the difficulties of the site. We successfully obtained a WODC grant of 21% of the total cost of our MUGA and other successful bids followed.
However, Ascott did not qualify for a valuable grant available from the recycling companies as it is no longer within the statutory 10 mile radius of a facility and in April 2014 we heard that our Sport England bid was unsuccessful. We had not achieved enough grant funding for our MUGA.
In May 2014 we then had to decide whether to give back all the other grants or re-plan and negotiate another facility. Work had to start by late October to qualify for the WODC grant. We decided to try and re-create the spirit of our planned MUGA by adding in playground equipment which appealed to a much wider range of ages and by installing permanent or semi-permanent recreational sports facilities which offered the sports requested by residents in our consultation. Improving access in the playground was to be addressed by a new path and different play surfaces which reduced bogginess and were low maintenance.
Without the benefit of the MUGA’s all-weather surface the next best thing was to try and improve the drainage all over the recreation ground. We successfully won a Lottery grant for pitch drainage and at that point our responsibilities were split – mine to playground and Laurence Mellor to drainage and he will report about progress on that later. By then Rob Morgan had retired from the Parish Council.
Our remaining grantfunders did agree to the new plan in July 2014 – the amounts remaining the same apart from WODC which calculates its grant as a percentage of the total cost of the project. After going out to tender we chose a local contractor for good value for money but also because he had built many successful local playgrounds, such as Shipton-u-W and Cogges. Work on the playground is now complete and the recreational sports equipment will soon be in position. All grants are in and the fund shows a small surplus which may help to buy new picnic benches as two were completely smashed by vandals last autumn.
No project is without its detractors and this is no exception. But the response has been overwhelmingly positive and from many unexpected corners. The playground has been well used so far and I hope that it will remain so for a long time to come. My greatest reward was a thankyou note from a young resident who said that he now enjoyed inviting his friends to his village to play.
I must give thanks to many people for keeping the faith and giving so much moral support – too many to mention everyone by name – but especially Laurence Mellor, Rodney Rose, Hilary Biles, Tara at WODC Sport and Leisure, Nicole at OPFA, my husband, Mary Barnes and all the ladies who organised the Jubilee lunch, the Village Charity Trustees and last but not least, Gill Stedeford who delights in seeing the playground active again!
7. ASCOTT-UNER-WYCHWOOD SPORTS CLUB
The football team has enjoyed a successful season, although it looks as if they will just miss out on promotion. Their best result so far was an emphatic 5-2 win over table leaders Eynsham.
A junior team drawn from surrounding villages has been training on a weekly basis and may become a permanent feature next year. With player numbers increasing there is the prospect of a second adult team joining the league next year.
Mike Ody, Manager puts in a great deal of effort to facilitate matches and training sessions and is to be congratulated on all his hard work.
The end of last season saw renewed interest in cricket leading to a very competitive Dads versus Kids challenge match. The game was declared an honourable draw and much enjoyed by all. In anticipation of further games this season we have invested in new nets and bowling mat for practise sessions and the pitch has been cut and rolled several times already.
One obstacle to the development of sport within the village has been the very poor drainage of the field which often leads to waterlogged and unplayable conditions. In recognition of this a grant application was made to Sport England Protecting Playing Fields for funding to improve drainage.
This was successful and we have been awarded £43,000 to fund a scheme with the aim of improving drainage. Following surveys carried out by specialist advisers a scheme has been developed which will focus on a series of perimeter catch water drains, combined with soak aways and an outfall connected to the Highways Drainage system.
I am pleased to report that following lengthy consultations with the Highways Dept they have given their approval for the scheme to go ahead. A detailed specification will now be prepared and a tender circulated.
With the sad loss of Bill Prewett earlier this year his immaculate allotment plot was nurtured by other allotment holders and the vegetables distributed around the village. Fortunately another resident has now taken on Bill old plot which leaves us one vacant plot at present. This vacancy will be notified in next edition of the Grapevine. Rents have been collected for this year with only one plot holder yet undecided as to whether to continue for another year.
9. PARISH PLAN
The parish council sought advice on the preparation of a Parish Plan from both Oxfordshire Rural Community Council (ORCC) and West Oxfordshire District Council (WODC). Following these discussions it became apparent that could develop two differed types of plans, namely a Neighbourhood Plan and a Community Led Plan. Both plans are distinctly differed and serve different purposes.
This deals specifically with new construction or developments being considered for the village. It is an extensive document that would clearly identify all the potential development sites in the village and detailing what would be considered as suitable and sustainable development. This would be a statutory document and sit alongside the WODC Local Plan (currently in its final stage of review). Following discussions with WODC’s Community Planning Officer is was agreed that the preparation of a Neighbourhood Plan for A-u-W was unnecessary as the village was not a target for new housing under the Local Plan. In fact many of the sites for the additional 400 housed in the Burford/Charlbury area had already been allocated.
Community Led Plan
This is a plan we are taking forward as it will engage the residents in their vision for the future of the village. The process will be kicked off with a questionnaire to all residents outlining potential improvements to village life by asking what is good, what is bad and what is missing? This would then be followed up with a community meeting to discuss the feedback from the questionnaire and formulate a plan that has the support of the villagers. We anticipate this process will be concluded early next year.
10. HELPERS OF ASCOTT-UNDER-WYCHWOOD
The ‘Helpers’ have focused most of their time around the station this year and in particular opposite the Signal Box. The aim there is to create an attractive entrance to the village which is a low-maintenance space with year- round interest for wildlife. It is also important to maintain a clear culvert to ease flash-flooding on the road, a clear footpath for pedestrians and clear sightlines for motorists around the junction of Shipton Rd and London Lane.
In that confined space it has been easier to work in small groups on an ad hoc basis. Planting and landscaping will take 12 months as it is not an easy space to work but we have had many words of encouragement and thanks, many donations of plants, manure and landscaping materials.
I would like to thank everyone involved for their time and generosity. I must stress that not a penny has been or will be taken from the Parish Council General Fund – there is still money in the Plant Fund and we continue to negotiate with First Great Western and Network Rail for donations.
Elsewhere, Cornbury Estate cut back the ivy and brambles opposite Station Place, Crown Farm cut down the trees bordering their field on London Lane and the Helpers held a clear- up session in the Pound. The annual Litter Pick was attended by record numbers this year including 3 children. It was a happy band of workers on a beautiful morning – we managed to clear further afield than usual and even wash road signs, courtesy of Mark Tribe (photos in the Grapevine). My sincere thanks to everyone.
The sudden withdrawal of the X10 Go-Ride Bus service from 30th November 2014 (itself only introduced on 1st June 2014) came as a shock to councillors since only weeks before the Go-Ride representative had met Councillor Rance to enthuse about improving services and to place an article on this in the Grapevine Journal. It was perhaps a blessing in disguise however as Oxford CC quickly appointed Pulhams to extend their existing contract and to provide a replacement service which proved reliable and popular with villagers.
However, all the Oxford CC sponsored service contracts (including Pulhams) were due for review and competitive tendering for revised services starting 1st June 2015. OCC asked the PC to seek villager’s views on their preferences should service cuts prove financially unavoidable and our response was supplied.
Only in w/c 20th April were OCC able to formally advise the following:-
Service X10 (by Pulhams) will continue except that the mid day Burford 12:15 round trip via AuW is withdrawn, as is the final evening Burford 1835 to AuW service.
Whilst notice is still awaited on the other services, the Villager V12 & V19 were not intended to be withdrawn, leaving only V24 (Thursdays) as yet to be advised.
The one train to and from Oxford each weekday, with none at weekends, is the very minimal service that could be offered baring none at all. It bears poor comparison to that of Shipton.
Unless villagers make strong and credible representations to First GW or via the Cotswold Line Promotion Group (CLPG), this will not change.
On 27th April 2015, Councillors Carter and Rance met for the first time, Alan Field, the First GW Station Manager for the North Cotswold Line. He was also surprised that so little is made of the heavy investment of AuW station and is exploring viable service changes to existing trains that could call additionally at AuW. Even if he can offer potential service improvements that First GW agree to trial, they will not survive unless villagers respond very positively in using them to provide a convincing business case. An example being the pre Christmas shopper’s trains.
12. COUNTY COUNCILLOR RODNEY ROSE
REPORT TO ASCOTT-UNDER-WYCHWOOD ANNUAL PARISH MEETING FROM YOUR COUNTY COUNCILLOR RODNEY ROSE APRIL 2015
In September last year the Leader of the Council decided on a Cabinet reshuffle, which meant my role as Deputy Leader expanded somewhat! When we both fronted up the photograph (below), I should have been given a clue that some more things might come my way.
As well as having responsibilities for Flooding, Internal Management, HR and Strategic rail (for which I am the Chairman of the East West Rail Delivery Board) I now also hold responsibilities for Fire and Rescue, Policy Co-ordination, Trading Standards, Communities and Localities, all of which I’m sure will keep me even busier than usual, if that’s possible! I am also a Board Member for the Joint Fire Control Room with Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes which went live on Friday 24th April and has so far taken 347 calls so far.
I will obviously be keeping a local oversight in all these areas. I have also recently been asked to head up a group to reorganise the top management of the Council, including losing the role of CEO.
I was very happy to give Ascott-under-Wychwood Lime Tree Renovation a grant from my Community Budget. A payment of £500 was made in December 2014.
I, with Cllr Tom Simcox and a Parish Councillor have recently started to attend monthly surgeries, alternating between Ascott and Shipton between 11.00am and 12 noon at the Swan & Wychwood Inn.
New Tri-County Council Alliance
The County Council is exploring ways in which further powers can be devolved to local authorities.
On 16th December, the Leaders of Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Northamptonshire, Ian Hudspeth, Martin Tett and Jim Harker OBE, jointly signed a bold offer to Government to unlock further economic growth and significantly build on the £45 billion value of goods and services that the area already generates.
In the offer, called ‘A shared approach to driving prosperity’, the three councils call on the Government to work with them to develop a brand new ‘combined authority’ alliance focused on their common economies of innovation, science, technology and creative industries.
Please note that it is NOT about a super Unitary authority, as each council will have its own sovereignty and will make the final decision regarding any proposals. There is no intention of merging councils, however if this is successful then we may look at other common areas to work together to be more efficient.
Following Oxford City bid some months ago, Oxfordshire County Council commissioned Ernst & Young to look at the financial aspects which showed a possible £33M /pa savings from 1 Unitary for the County of Oxfordshire.
The Council budget was decided on 17th February at Full Council. In line with the Government’s plans to reduce public spending to cut the national deficit, the County Council has made savings totalling £265 million. With £20 million of additional pressures coming from Adult and Children’s Services the level of savings from 2010 to 2018 totals £285 million.
The capping limit on council tax increase for this year has been set at 1.99%. Although the government would prefer a freeze or 0% increase I strongly support a 1.99% increase in the County Council part of council tax as this represents a £3.1 million increase to our revenue budget, which we either use for alleviating some of the cuts or to keep balances at a sensible level.
Oxfordshire’s Chief Fire Officer and the person responsible for managing the Olympic Torch route through the County was named in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours list.
David Etheridge, who joined Oxfordshire County Council’s Fire and Rescue Service 28 years ago, has been made an OBE while County Network Co-ordinator Katherine Powley has been awarded the MBE.
13. DISTRICT COUNCILLOR TOM SIMCOX
No Report received
14. ORGANISATIONS REPORT
Chipping Norton Police
There were 29 reported crimes in the Ascott Under Wychwood area. 15 of which are CRI.
CRI include incidents such as Domestic Incidents, where no criminal offences occurred but details of those spoken to/see are recorded in case of future problems. Adult and Child protection CRIs, nuisance messages are also included. This is we are informed of vulnerable members of the community we create a CRI and then pass on the details to partner agencies (social services etc).
Criminal Damage 5
Public Order Offences 1
Road Traffic Offences 1
How to protect yourself from unexpected callers
Never open your door to someone you don’t know or are not expecting. Always put your door chain on before opening the door and use your door viewer to see who is there.
Most people who call at your home will be genuine, but it’s important to be on your guard and remember there are some callers who will turn up unannounced and have the intention of tricking their way into your property to steal.
These people often work in pairs. While one person distracts the homeowner, the other gains entry to your home to steal. Typical scenarios include stories of an emergency gas or water leak.
Distraction burglars may try to trick their way into your home by saying:
- “I’m from the water board.”
- “I’m here to check the pipes.”
- “I need to check the water/turn the water off (I’m laying pipes up the road).”
- “The water is unfit for drinking.”
- “I need to check for damp.”
- “I’ve lost my football/kite/puppy/rabbit.”
- “Can I use your toilet?”
- “My car has broken down. Can I use your phone to call the recovery service?”
- “Can I have a glass of water?”
- “My mother’s sick and I need money for a taxi.”
- “I’ve run out of petrol and have left my wallet at home. Can I borrow some money?”
- “Can I borrow a pen/a piece of paper to write a note?”
- “I’m interested in buying books or antiques.”
- “You’ve won a prize in a raffle – can I measure up the prizes/write down your details?”
- “I’m from Age Concern – can I take down the number of your pension book?”
Always be sure the caller is who they say they are before letting them in. All genuine callers will have identification and won’t mind you asking to see it.
Representatives from water, gas and electric companies are unlikely to call at your home without an appointment and police are likely to be present if there is a real emergency.
Not sure, Don’t open the door. Genuine visitiors will not mind you telling them to return when you have a relative, or friend with you.
Follow the below advice and inform elderly relatives, neighbours and friends to protect them.
- Don’t be frightened to ask for identification and always check it carefully. If you’re not sure, don’t open the door. Ask them to return another day.
- Install a door chain and use it. Keep the door on the chain until you’ve seen identification.
- If you need your glasses to read the identification, close the door before going to find them. Don’t leave the door open and unattended.
- Remember to lock the back door before opening the front.
- Don’t be pressured into letting someone into your home if you have suspicions.
- Don’t keep large amounts of cash in the house.
- Don’t believe scare stories. Not all callers are genuine.
Lock Make sure that your door is locked when you’re at home. Don’t unlock it until you’re sure who is on the other side. Be extra careful who you answer your door to – if you’re unsure, don’t open your door.
Make sure that your back door is closed and locked before answering your front door – thieves sometimes work in pairs, with one entering through the back door while the other knocks on the front door.
Stop If someone appears at your door and you’re not expecting any visitors, check that all the doors are locked. Look through the spy-hole viewer or one of your windows to see who it is.
Install an outside light above your door. When someone calls at your door, turn the light on to get a good look at them. Position the light so that it lights up the caller’s face.
Chain If you decide to open the door, put the door chain or bar on first. Keep the bar or chain on while you are talking.
Normally, when the door is shut and locked, leave the bar or chain off, in case you need to get out in an emergency – such as a fire, or if someone wanted to enter your property if you needed help.
If you need glasses to read the caller’s ID card, close and lock your door before going to get your glasses. Never leave the door open and unattended.
Check Ask for, and double check, the caller’s identity card. Keep your door chain on while you do this. And, if you’re still not sure, ask for a number that you can ring to confirm their identity. If they can’t show you any identification, don’t let them in.
All crime prevention advice has been taken from the Thames Valley Police Website. Link is below please use it for Parish Magazines if you would like to give out some Crime Prevention Advice. http://www.thamesvalley.police.uk/
Cold Stone Angling
Once again the club has had a very successful season, first of all we had a rise in membership which was very encouraging after having stayed stagnant for several reasons. On the financial front we had our best ever season thanks mainly to our fund raising race night which was extremely well attended. With regards to fishing the lake fished quite well overall and on our competition we have now decided to leave some of the weed in areas due to the predatory comorants which are still a problem. This season we removed well over 1,000 signal crayfish from the lake and the Environment Agency stocked 400 Crucian Carp into the lake. The Club stocked with 200 Tench, 300 Perch, 100 Carp and 2000 Bream.
This coming season the club are proposing to run some tuition lessons due to the interest that has been shown in the Village – this will of course be subject to the club passing the relevant checks. At the Club’s AGM an engraved watch was presented to a committee member for their 23 years service to the Club.
Ascott Pre-school has had busy year with high numbers of new children. We continue to have a strong management committee run by parents who help to ensure the smooth running of Pre-school.
We have had a change in staffing with2 new members of staff joining our team. Links with Leafield have continued -sharing staff, knowledge and resources and we have also formed a link with Kingfishers Pre-school in Kingham.
The children have experienced a wide range of themes during the year including trips out in the community, local farms, village shop, the new playground, the allotments and walks down the lane.
We have a website and a blog is published each week to inform parents of the previous week’s activities. It is also helpful for posting rotas and dates for events.
Forest School has run fortnightly through the year and we have visited a variety of different venues this year as well as our own approved site in Bruern woods, kindly allowed by the Astor family who are the landowners. We hire a minibus from the Ace Centre in Chipping Norton which is fitted with suitable belts and is used by other settings for the same purpose so a bit of mud is not a problem.
Cookery Club runs weekly for groups of 4 children and have cooked a variety of things during the last year including pasta bake, fish pie, pizza, apple crumble, bread, banana toffee pudding, muffins, pizza biscuits, Victoria sandwich, chicken salad and hot cross buns.
Little Dancers also runs weekly and is led by Dancing Sally. A lively music and dance session with a different theme each week.
We have had various fundraising events during the last year including Crown Farm cake sales, Autumn craft morning, train trip to Moreton in Marsh, Easter Egg hunt day, Christmas concert, summer barbeque and sports day. The money raised has enabled us to update resources.
No Report received.
Parochial Church Council
No Report received.
The Grapevine team are pleased that the magazine appears to be enjoyed by many of the villagers and also by members of the public from many of the surrounding villages
The survey which we conducted last year was very positive and we hope that we may continue to entertain you all in to the future.
We are always grateful for contributions to the magazine and we cover a wide range of subjects as well as the news and events directly concerned with Ascott. Please feel free to approach any member of the team with articles or thoughts about articles which you feel would be of interest to our readers. We shall certainly listen.
Leafield C of E School
No Report apologies received.
The Village Shop
We maintained our sales at £150,000, but by improving our gross margin by 1% to 23.4% and reducing our overheads by £500 we improved our net profit from £1,100 to £2,737. In addition we received a grant of £500 towards the purchase of equipment achieving an overall surplus of £3,237.
We still maintain a strong balance sheet with £26,296 cash in the bank, fixed assets of £81,047 and stock for resale £12.480.
The Village Charity
This charity was originally set up for the relief of poverty in the village and to provide financial assistance to its young people towards their education. Its predecessors were known as the Poor’s Estate and as the Lower Green Charity.
The Trustees of the Charity meet regularly under the chairmanship of John Cull and throughout period covered by the Report the Trustees were John Cull, the Revd Mark Abrey, Elaine Byles, Stuart Fox (Treasurer), Keith Ravenhill, Pauline Marshall, Sandy Timms (a member during the year of the Parish Council) and Mark Dawbarn (also Secretary to the Trustees). The Constitution of the Charity states that there must be at least five Trustees of whom at least one should be a member of the Parish Council.
The Charity owns the field known as Lower Green, which is near to the bridge over the river Evenlode on the Chipping Norton road. The field continues to be held under a lease to local residents for a 25-year term for grazing purposes, expiring on 1st January 2030. No noteworthy matters relating to Lower Green have arisen during the period under review.
In their educational activities, The Trustees have continued to hold funds available in connection with their scheme for assisting young residents with grants towards the purchase of books or equipment for the purposes of their studies. They made one such grant during the year and continue to advertise the scheme in order that all eligible residents are encouraged to apply.
The marquee purchased in 2008 for the benefit of the village and which was available for local charities and fund-raising causes free of charge, continued during the period under review to be used occasionally for these purposes. However the marquee has now reached the end of its useful life and there are no plans to replace it.
The Charity organised a Charity Run in October 2014, raising a net £1349.05. From this an award of £1000 was made to Tiddy Hall towards the cost of the new chairs now in use.
The Charity has paid out £120.16, which had been contributed in connection with the scheme for Planting Round the Village.
The Trustees made a payment of £398.95 towards the cost of a defibrillator for the village. The equipment has now been installed ready for use at a po0sition outside the Swan Inn.
The Trustees made a payment of £1200 towards the equipment at the Play Area located at the Sports Field. A plaque has been attached to the seesaw in the Play Area indicating the Charity’s contribution.
The Trustees remain open to suggestion as to how their activities can be made known to the local community, as to ways in which funds to pay for the causes they support can be raised and as to local causes whom they might benefit with a financial grant.
The Charity has received generous financial support from various customers of the village shop who have put money in the Charity box.
The Trustees consider that the financial position of the Charity remains sound and they have three sources of funds, namely the General Fund, the Poor’s Fund and the Flood Relief Fund from which they can make grants to local causes. The amount available for expenditure by the Trustees as at 31st December 2014 was £3700.41 and there were additional ring-fenced investments held by the Trustees.
The Swan Public House
No report received.
Cllr Carter thanked everybody for attending and for their continued support. The meeting was then declared closed.
Cllr Philippa Carter Dated
Chairman 25 April 2016