- Philippa Carter
- Sandy Timms
- Peter Rance
- Brian Leach
- Pauline Plant
- Liz Leffman
- Jake Acock
Responsible Financial Officer
- Stuart Fox
- Angela Barnes
Members of the Public
- John Cull
- Laurence Mellor
- Rob Morgan
- Per Henriksen
2. Minutes of the Last Meeting
The Minutes recorded from the virtual meeting held on 9 November 2020, were approved as a true record and will be duly signed, dated and filed when actual meetings resume.
3. Declarations of interest
4. Financial Report
Bank Balance £51,073.14
200172 Pete Crapper Pavilion Toilet 11th November £66.00
200173 P Carter re Barlows Wooden Posts 19th November £202.19
200174 Ascott PCC 1st Instalment re Church Path 30th November £1,500.00
200175 S Fox Book of Stamps 30th November £7.32
200176 A Barnes Salary 23rd December £235.54
200177 HMRC PAYE 31st December £58.80
200178 CLPG Subscription £10.00
200179 Bruern Farms £204.00
200180 A Barnes Printer Ink £32.00
The Bank Reconciliation, Parish Forecasts through to 31st March 2022 and the Parish Funds all emailed separately. After discussion by all councillors, Cllr Carter proposed that this year’s budget be adopted, this was seconded by Cllr Leach and carried/agreed unanimously.
Cllr Carter and Cllr Leach proposed that the Precept is reduced for the next financial year from £22,500 to £20,000, this was seconded by Cllr Timms and agreed unanimously. The Clerk was asked to submit the Precept Request Form to WODC accordingly.
New gate into the church yard
Preliminary discussions have taken place between Holy Trinity Church and the PC about the possibility of replacing the gate which leads into the churchyard from the Swan pub direction. Cllr Carter suggested that this should not be a kissing gate so that anyone with walking aids or with a pushchair could safely walk from one end of the village to the other.
To be carried forward to the January meeting.
5. Reports from County and District Councillors
CCllr Leffman reported on the budget process at County Council, in particular the highways budget and more 20mph signs through villages. CCllr Leffman reported there was a £4m gap in the income, but it was not looking too bad. She reported on the Oxford Growth Board and a paper on rail productivity.
DCllr Jake Acock reported on COVID-19 issues and vaccines. He reported that the Tier system was decided by County and not District. DCllr Acock reported on the “bring site” being ended as this was not working and that ways were being looked into for resident collections from households. He reported on his casework continuing to be challenging including working with and helping vulnerable people/housing and the homeseekers process.
6. Public Time
Cllr Carter welcomed the public members and invited them to participate in discussion on the Blue Cedar Homes planning consultation for 7 single storey retirement bungalows off London Lane (please refer to Planning (c) below). Cllr Carter reminded everyone that they would need to respond individually to the Consultation. All agreed that the main issues were:
(a) This site was already rejected by WODC during their 2016 site identification survey for the emerging Local Plan 2031. The major issues cited by the Parish Council at the time have in fact become worse.
(b) Very wet site
(c) Lack of sewerage capacity
(d) Increase in traffic on London Lane especially as the opposite site still has planning permission and an access strip has been retained for more development on Crown Farm land.
(e) An earlier planning application on that site was turned down by WODC.
(a) 20/03171/HHD 25 Shipton Road – No objections – Ongoing
(b) 20/03054/HHD – Coldwell Brook, Shipton Road (Ongoing Shipton PC)
(c) Blue Cedar Homes Planning Consultation to run from Friday 4 to Friday 18 December 2020:
Proposal: 7 single storey retirement bungalows on land off London Lane – Application due January 2021
(d) Neighbourhood Plan
Cllr Leach gave an update on traffic & transport, a poster/leaflet campaign, doorstep survey next year and the village’s future sense and feed this into the Parish vision. He reported that he and John Cull had had a meeting with the School and they would get involved with solutions to the parking issues.
8. Matters Arising
(a) Thames Water – Moratorium on Building.
Following the damning evidence of lack of capacity in the Milton-u-W Sewage Treatment Works Parish Councillors voted unanimously to call for a moratorium on all new builds until capacity is radically increased. Cllr Carter will compose the letter for approval.
(b) Footpaths – Ongoing
Carols Round the Tree have been cancelled due to Covid restrictions and the nationally available Carols on the Doorstep advertised by household leaflets, thanks to Brian. Also Anne and Richard Smith suggested and organised Ascott Festival of Light 2020, 18-26 December with social walk on Christmas Eve. A money collection box has been placed in the Village Shop for the Foodbank as there will be no collection at ‘Carols’ this year. Juliet Heslewood has organised groups of 6 carol singers to make sure that all households hear carols sung in the days before Christmas. They will be collecting for the Oxford Covid vaccine. Thank you to everyone for stepping up and making sure that Covid is not going to dampen our Christmas spirits!
(d) Dog Poo Bin at Gypsy Lane
An acceptable site has been agreed with the resident who owns the verge. Cllr Carter will take a photo for the Clerk to send with the request.
(e) No parking signs have been installed in front of Hazel Cottage and the post box. These are only laminated at the moment but should be made in a more permanent material if they are deemed successful.
9. Risk Assessment and Ground Maintenance
Playground – Following the RoSPA report Cllr Carter inspected the swing timbers with resident, Gehrhard Niebuhr, as he has extensive experience of oak timbers. He pronounced that the horizontal beams of the junior and bucket swings are sound but the one over the bucket swing is suspect. Cllr Carter has barriered off the bucket swing and will approach contractors for repair.
The original contractor to repair the basketball court cannot go ahead for personal reasons. A second quote is within budget and so Cllr Carter has given the go-ahead as the contractor has done reliable work for the village already.
Junior Goalposts – Following a complaint from WVS that that the goalposts are unstable, fixings are being made so that the posts stay in one place only and out of the way of the football teams. When the cricket season starts they will be fixed in a different place.
Village Notice Boards – The final board is ready and awaiting a convenient time for installation.
Broken Bollards on the Green – These have been bought directly from the supplier and installed by contractor, Mark Firmin, while he was working on the church yard paths.
10. Community Emergency Plan
Michael Tucker, leader of the pavement snow clearing team, has checked all equipment and stocks of salt. He has recruited some new volunteers and will organise a training session imminently.
Villager Buses regret that having temporarily halted their service upon start of Lockdown number 2, the continued high risk to both passengers and drivers has meant they remain like this. Worryingly, they are not expecting any change to this situation any time soon.
WOCT buses have however continued to run but I await their summary of passenger use and their view of the near to medium term future.
We rightly decided to modestly financially support both Bus service providers, but only after due consideration each time they requested same. That said, it is obvious that both organisations are suffering whether they run a service or not, so I believe the PC needs to establish its policy decision in these harsh times. That is, do we actively ask both providers if our modest grant is required rather than wait for them to ask?
The Halts Service is still running, albeit lightly loaded. An interesting fact is emerging however, that when occasionally the evening return train is cancelled, GWR do ensure that the following train, calls at the Halts. That train is a 9 car IET, which only proves that when it’s needed, these long trains can safely stop at the short Halt platforms with only safe doors opening. This consideration was long offered by GWR as a critical operational constraint against such a possibility!
The new train service timetable began on Sunday 13th December, so yet again, despite constant pressure and advocation by CLPG of a modest improved service, we must wait at least until the summer review of the timetable for any remote chance of such a change!
WOCT have as they had planned, continued their revised service throughout Lock Down No2, although usage is still low and still disappointingly very low from Ascott.
However, they are surviving because of a series of helpful grants, one from a body called ‘Power to Change’, another from Liz Leffman, and the third is continued reimbursement by OCC of concessionary fares as directed by HMG although the latter may be reviewed this quarter.
The 30mph sign on London Lane has been reinstated. Road gulleys at Ascott Earl have been cleared out as well as the pipe carrying the Coldwell Brook under the Shipton Rd and into the garden of Coldwell Brook House. They are still investigating the cause of pooling on the road outside the house.
Nothing to report.
14. Reports from Organisations
Mark Firmin, contractor, has completed the rabbit fencing along the top and down the west side of the playing field. This will be paid for by the Sports Club. Football matches have resumed.
Nothing to report.
Nothing to report
Windrush School re goalposts on the playing field
Parishioner Wendy Pearse re Churchyard path gate
OALC Training Programme 2021
Letter from parishioner Miss S Tustein
CLPG Winter Newsletter & subscription notice
16. Any Other Business
Cllr Timms reported that Father Christmas would be passing through Ascott on Thursday 17 December – time to be confirmed.
There being no further business, Cllr Carter declared the meeting closed at 9.40pm.
Cllr Philippa Carter (Chairman)
Date: Monday 11 January 2021 (to be held remotely)