- Philippa Carter
- Sandy Timms
- Peter Rance
- Graham Ranson
Members of the Public:
- Paul Jackson
- Carol Anderson
- Jake Acock
Apologies received from Cllr Mark Tribe.
2. Minutes of the Last Meeting
The Minutes recorded from the meeting held on Monday 12 February 2018 were approved as a true record, duly signed, dated and filed.
3. Declarations of interest
There were no declarations of interest to record.
4. Financial Report
There was no income to record.
Chq 101106 TGMS £924 Drainage project (final cost)
Chq 101107 OALC £135.06 Annual sub for 2018/19.
Chq 101108 WOCT £500 West Oxfordshire Community Transport subsidy
Chq 101109 Agripower £2024.10
Chq 101110 Snow £75 Rewards for snow clearance
Chq 101111 OCC £282.79 Library donation
Chq 101112 Grapevine £400 Grapevine donation
5. Reports from County and District Councillors
County Cllr Liz Leffman
CCllr Leffman reported that the County Council met to set the budget 3 weeks ago. Road surfaces were discussed and it was agreed that this was an enormous problem. She reported that an increase of 4.99% is to be allocated to social care. She reported that £15m more savings were needed. CCllr Leffman reported that the Locality Fund set at £25k for 2017/18 would equate to £15k per CCouncillor for 2018/19 to be distributed by C Councillors for projects within their district. CCllr Leffman reported that there was no money for road surfaces.
District Cllr Tom Simcox
DCllr Simcox reported that WODC had received their budget balance and that all services had been kept. He reported there was a small increase to Council Tax and that extra funding had been given to GLBetter. He reported on a WODC Housing & Growth deal and that £215m would be available throughout all of Oxfordshire councils to help the understanding of delivering housing needs. DCllr Simcox reported on the 5 year land supply and that this would be cut to a 3 year land supply. He confirmed that consultation on the Local Plan closes on 6 April and should be ready for presentation in May.
6. Parish Council Elections
The election process was discussed and the Clerk explained and reiterated the importance of key dates. The following dates were agreed:
Monday 9 April Parish Council ordinary meeting
Monday 30 April Annual Parish Meeting, to be held at the Sports Pavilion
Monday 21 May Annual General Meeting (Election of new officers) followed by ordinary meeting.
7. Public Time
Cllr Carter welcomed Paul Jackson and Carol Anderson and invited them to address the meeting. Paul Jackson spoke on behalf of Ascott Martyrs Educational Trust (AMET) with regards to the possibility of re-siting the seats on the Village Green, due to the continuing problem of bird mess. Cllr Carter explained that this would need to be addressed as a Village Consultation. Carol Anderson reported that AMET were holding an “Open Day” on Saturday 23 June at the Tiddy Hall. Cllr Carter
reiterated that any decision on moving the Martyrs Seats from their current position would need to be taken after a thorough Village consultation.
Oxfordshire County Council
LL.0088/17 Local List of Information Requirements for validation for planning and related applications
18/00350/HHD Reduce the depth of existing first floor balcony (part retrospective) at Chaundy Barn, 45 High Street, Ascott-under-Wychwood. – no decision yet
17/04060/FUL Demolition of existing structures and erection of new buildings to accommodate an education facility, microprocessing space and farm machinery, two new family dwellings, new access and parking at Honeydale Farm, Station Road, Shipton-under-Wychwood – PC’s no objections submitted. – no decision yet
Appeal Ref: APP/D3125/W/17/3179654 – Allowed 15 December 2017: London Lane, Ascott-under-Wychwood, OX7 6AN Application Ref 17/01067/FUL, dated 30 March 2017, was refused by notice dated 10 July 2017. Development proposed on the application form is the “Construction of 5 dwellings”. Please refer to notes below, following a Public Meeting held on 21 February 2018.
A public meeting was held on 21 February 2018 at Tiddy Hall and the main speaker was Mr Phil Shaw, Head of WODC Planning Office. This was a question and answer meeting. The main topics were the allowance on appeal of the application to develop 5 dwellings between 12-18 London Lane and a discussion on possible further development within the village. Feedback has been positive with many attendees feeling better informed of the overall process, laws, rules and regulations. Cllr Carter subsequently sent brief notes to all attendees who signed the register as well as to Mr Shaw and all those officiating. These have been verified by attendees and Mr Shaw and a number of residents have sent in their suggestions for sites and potential improvements to the village.
INFORMATION FROM MR PHIL SHAW
1. National Planning Law has been written in favour of development since the 50s and it is up to objectors to make an extremely strong case for a plan to be refused. Just because there is a large number of objections does not influence the merits of a decision.
2. With regard to the application 12-18 London Lane, the WODC Planning Dept felt that arguments about drainage, ‘right to light’, amenities and infrastructure were arguable and/or were not supported by the relevant technical/statutory consultee.
3. Sustainability (a key word in National Planning Law) is subjective and the key pillars are environmental, economic and social. Whilst the community may say that a development is not sustainable because of lack of amenities and infrastructure, a developer could argue that more residents attract finance to improve amenities and infrastructure.
4. WODC Planning felt that the impact on the AONB and on the character and appearance of the area were stronger arguments, based on their past experience.
5. Although the Appeal Inspector made some incorrect assumptions/statements about the village amenities these would not be strong enough arguments to challenge his decision successfully.
6. A challenge would have to be made through the courts and is very expensive. The challengers would have to be very sure of the case.
7. In 2017 the WODC team were in a position where they could not “demonstrate” a 5 year housing land supply. The Appeal Inspector would have taken that into account.
8. However, in January 2018 the Inspector for the Local Plan 2031 wrote to WODC and stated that to he is satisfied that there are enough sites planned for the Burford- Charlbury sub-area (which includes the Wychwoods). He also stated that there are enough sites being built, or at least with planning permission, for the next 5 plus years.
9. This same Local Plan Inspector also strengthened the protection of the AONB.
10. This should give Ascott-under-Wychwood protection from speculative development on a large scale, as long as those sites already planned do actually go ahead. It cannot, however, stop an application from being made and at least considered. ‘Large’ can be as small as 10 when the community is small. 75 is definitely large in a village like Ascott-u-W.
11. Some developers who have got planning permission are actually delaying building the houses because by doing so they can claim that the Planning Dept is not meeting its delivery targets and hence get more land allocated- which they will then stockpile.
12. Developers are answerable to their shareholders, and would not build houses in such quantities as to reduce their selling price and consequently the profit margin.
13. Even when planning permission is granted, developers have no sanction imposed if they don’t then build them. However, the District Council is still criticised by the Government for this failure to fulfil the rate of house building in their Local Plan!
14. Permission to build 5 houses between 12-18 London Lane does not alter the ‘build line’. WODC does not refer to ‘building lines’ but uses a ‘village envelope/ built up limits’ system which means that each site is judged on its own merit.
15. The ‘building line’ is an imaginary line running along a road frontage connecting the front faces of the houses along the road. Its main interest to planners arises when an application for an extension to one of the houses, or an infill plot is received, and generally they would not expect new build to extend forward beyond the building line. (point of information from Mr Nigel Braithwaite)
16. The village envelope is a line determined by the Local Planning Authority which they regard as the external limit of the settlement. (point of information from Mr Nigel Braithwaite). Curtilage is the area of land directly associated with an individual building
17. The Community could consider nominating sites where they would accept development to reduce the risk of development in unacceptable locations. Also the village might be able to benefit from a fund which would help to improve amenities or infrastructure. However given the views of the Local Plan Inspector that there is already sufficient development in the AONB/area there appears no immediate need to do so other than to meet specific local needs.
*NB. Whilst the Inspector of the Emerging Local Plan 2031 has strengthened the protection of the AONB there are some statements which allow the possibility for exceptions.
1. TO WODC – Official documents should correctly reflect the amenities in Ascott-under-Wychwood and not group the village with Shipton and Milton as if they are easily accessible without transport.
2. TO RESIDENTS – Identify suitable sites (of any size) for development within Ascott-under-Wychwood and inform a member of the Parish Council.
3. TO RESIDENTS – Identify improvements to infrastructure or amenities which could be negotiated as part of a development plan. Inform a member of the Parish Council.
4. TO RESIDENTS – Keep evidence of flooding of water or sewerage or traffic problems. If a planning objection is raised because of these issues the objection will not hold weight without clear evidence unless officials have witnessed it themselves. Dated photographs are very useful. Any report to utility companies should be given a reference number by the company which could be used as evidence. Again, photographs and a date would add weight.
5. TO RESIDENTS – There was a discussion about how to record all the evidence from Point 4 within the village so that it was available for use when needed. It was suggested that it would be ideal for the Parish Council to hold this register. The Parish Council currently feels very overloaded and so there needs to be further consideration on this matter.
9. Matters Arising
(a) Grapevine Donation – a request of £400 has been received. The Grapevine has advised the PC that their donation pays for one issue of the magazine and the costs for the remaining three issues are met by advertising revenue and donations. This was discussed and proposed by Cllr Carter and seconded by Cllr Timms.
(b) Wychwoods Working Together – nothing to report
OCC Grasscutting contract – Negotiations of the OCC Grass Cutting Contract for the village verges within the 30mph area (urban verges) are still ongoing to secure the OCC grant for 2018. The grant for 2017 has been received
(c) Sign at the Ascott Earl Sheepwash – ongoing
(d) Annual Litter Pick; held on Saturday 24 February – This was extremely well attended and all territory covered within the village as well as along Mill Lane, Shipton Rd to Shipton and to the tops of London Lane and the Chipping Norton Road. Many thanks to all involved.
(e) Martyrs Seats – please refer to Item No. 7 Public Time
(f) Defibrillator – replacement pads, reconnection and re-siting – Cllr Timms reported that there are still problems with the defibrillator. Councillors discussed various options to resolve the problem. In the meantime the Ascott defibrillator is registered as “out of action” and the emergency services (999) will direct anyone in need, to the Shipton defibrillator.
10. Risk Assessment & Ground Maintenance
(a) New mower – this has been ordered
(b) Shed / store – this will be started as soon as the weather improves
(b) 5 Shilling Corner – Ongoing
(c) Notice Boards – Ongoing
11. Community Emergency Plan
Ascott suffered a heavy fall of snow and severe drifting on the weekend of 2/3 March. The Parish Council would like to record its heartfelt thanks to Jacob Davies who salted the roads and Robin Walker who worked for 16 hours lifting bucket loads of snow onto the verges with his machine. On Monday 5 March Cllr Carter contacted OCC Highways for help as Robin Walker had a farm inspection. OCC were unable to help and so London Lane and the Chipping Norton Rd remained for several days with only one lane open. The PC must also thank Michael Tucker and his team (Alan Chubb, Simon Gidman and Mark Tribe) who cleared and salted the pavements in very wet and cold conditions. Cllr Carter will meet with those responsible to discuss any problems and possible improvements to the system and machinery
Cllr Rance had consulted both the Villager and WOCT bus service operators. Naturally the recent severe snow had had an impact, but users had been completely understanding of the circumstances. The new WOCT 210 service had not affected passenger numbers on the established Villager services, but WOCT had had to have the supplier of their new bus, take it for servicing and provide at no cost a replacement. Experience of 210 routes had shown their journey times to be longer than anticipated, so transport commissioner approval was being sought for slight alterations which if approved, will be notified well in advance to users. Meanwhile, passenger loadings were steadily increasing with already, a number of regular users engaged.
At the February meeting Cllr Rance reported on the very poor performance of the GWR service on the only Ascott and Halts stopping train on weekdays, and that he and many Ascott train users had attended an “Ask the GWR” public session in Charlbury on February 8th, chaired by Robert Courts the local MP. There, GWR had appreciated this unsatisfactory performance and promised to make specific improvements soonest. He had reported “time will tell”.
Sadly, whilst some improvement had been evident, it was very unreliable, and on 7th and 9th March alone, the evening return train had been cancelled, forcing passengers to use taxis paid for by GWR. This is critically undermining commuter confidence on a service they rely upon.
Meanwhile, many residents including Cllr Rance have completed the HMG public consultation on the GWR franchise, which closed on 21st February, expressing their strongest dissatisfaction with their service provision.
Cllr Carter reported that bollards have been installed by OCC contractors on the grass verge opposite Tiddy Hall. Matthew Timms from Highways phoned Cllr Carter to report that he has arranged for the blocked drains at Ascott Earl to be cleared. He will inspect the tarmac surface of the pavement opposite Tiddy Hall and ask the neighbours along that pavement to keep their hedges cut tight back. He has also noted that part of the Chipping Norton Hill is ‘bowing’ and will ask an engineer to inspect the problem. He is planning to arrange for the ‘dip’ in the Leafield Rd (caused by badgers under the surface) to be repaired. This will require the road being closed. Cllr Carter commented to Mr Timms that there had been a team cutting grips in the vicinity but not in Ascott. She also explained that local farmers had tried to cut some grips on London Lane and Chipping Norton Hill but they were not done properly. Ascott drainage depends on proper grips, especially on London Lane as the water has to travel through the centre of the village which does not drain easily. Mr Timms agreed to follow this up. Cllr Leffman will also follow up. In response to a previous PC request, C Cllr Leffman reported that there is no budget to renovate the red paint on the tarmac at the 3 entry points to the village. It is possible, however, that the 30mph painted on the tarmac will be renewed next financial year. C Cllr Leffman has provided signs to encourage motorists to slow down and these have been installed by P Cllr Rance.
14. Reports from Organisations
(a) Ascott-under-Wychwood Sports Club – The period of snagging for the playing field project is now complete and the final bills are due. The Playing Field has been playing very well throughout this difficult cold and wet winter. However, the roadway and parking area next to the Pavilion have been very wet and muddy. No vehicles have tried to park on the grass at the bottom of the roadway which means that more cars park on High St. The football team manager has asked to discuss using the Pavilion for refreshments after matches and Cllr Carter will arrange a meeting to discuss this.
(b) Library – Nothing to report
(c) Helpers – This month’s Helpers session was incorporated into the Village Litter Pick.
Clerks & Councils Direct
WODC Planning & Strategic Housing – letter received (already emailed)
WODC Commercial Waste Collection – update contact details Clerk
MP Robert Courts Newsletter
OCC Oxfordshire Matters – emailed after February meeting
WODC – New Consultation begins on Local Plan Proposals – emailed after February meeting
Letter received from Cllr Liz Harvey, Ledbury Town Council re dispute resolution
OALC – acknowledgement/response to Cllr Liz Harvey Ledbury Town Council re dispute resolution
16. Any Other Business
BONFIRES AT CROWN FARM
Cllr Carter reported that this issue was raised by residents in the summer after a week-long bonfire of manure had been burning. Mrs Beveridge had had to move out of her home because of breathing difficulties and a young resident had suffered a severe asthma attack. I advised the residents affected that they should deal directly with the Environment Health Dept at WODC. In the past I had been told very clearly by that dept that the Parish Council should not intercede as this only wastes time. Residents contacted WODC and were advised about the law regarding bonfires and about the process for complaining. I received a complaint from another resident this month after a problem with a Crown Farm bonfire and I have put the various parties in touch with each other so that everyone is fully and correctly informed of their rights.
Cllr Carter reported that an article (unnamed) appeared in the latest Grapevine about registering footpaths because ‘Unrecorded paths, subject to some minor exceptions, will be extinguished on 1 Jan 26 at the stroke of midnight. New Year’s Day 2026 will be the last day such unrecorded paths can be used by right.’ Cllr Carter was subsequently was contacted by Mr Nigel Braithwaite, former PC Chairman.
He is keen for the community to try and register the footpath north of Ascott Mill footbridge and turning left along the river to Chippy Hill. He was very concerned to hear that Brad Wickens of Pudlicote House had ‘given permission’ for residents to continue to do this, thereby establishing that walkers are there ‘by consent’ rather than ‘by right’. He has asked to see any written correspondence about this matter. At that time Cllr Carter contacted Dan Weeks, OCC officer at Public Rights of Way dept who informed her that it would take more than 15 years to register a footpath as a public right of way.
Cllr Carter has been in touch with Mr Gerald Simper, Volunteer Cotswold Warden, who dealt with the issue of keeping Pudlicote footpaths open when Mr & Mrs Wickens first bought Pudlicote House. She has this week asked Mr Simper for his views and awaits his return from holiday.
There being no further business, Cllr Carter declared the meeting closed at 9.30pm and confirmed the next meeting will be on Monday 9 April 2018.
Cllr Philippa Carter (Chairman)
9th April 2018