- Philippa Carter
- Sandy Timms
- Peter Rance
- Brian Leach
- Pauline Plant
- Liz Leffman
- Angela Barnes
Members of the Public
- Richard Smith
- Laurence Mellor
- Jenny Evanson
DCllr Jake Acock
2. Minutes of the Last Meeting
The Minutes recorded from the virtual meeting held on 14 December 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 £50,203.81
Dec 4 Interest £1.01
200178 Dec 14 Cancel chq CLPG issued for the wrong amount. –
200181 Dec 16 CLPG sub £15.00
200182 Dec 20 Cheque spoilt and not used. –
200183 S Fox re Carrera Graphics Pound Display boards £325.00
200184 Jan 30 A Barnes Clerk’s salary £235.54
200185 Jan 31 HMRC £58.80
Financial Reports; parish funds, bank reconciliation and bank statements were emailed to all councillors prior to the meeting for approval. After discussion, all reports were approved unanimously.
5. Reports from County and District Councillors
CCllr Leffman reported on drains and sewage and that a £3m grant from the Government to County Councils had been awarded, this was to improve connection. Cllr Leffman reported that she had been working with Jason Russell, Director of Communities to make it a priority to identify drains that needed extra care. She reported that the OCC policy until recently had been for drains to be cleared on a 4 year cycle.
Cllr Leffman reported that there were funds in the budget for 20mph speed limit signs to be erected in villages, Ascott was on the list of villages to be considered.
6. Public Time
Cllr Carter welcomed the public members and invited them to address the meeting;
Parishioner Laurence Mellor reported that an action group had been set up re the Blue Cedar Homes Planning Consultation and ahead of a planning application being submitted. Laurence advised the meeting that there were 65 residents in the action group and he had asked the DCllr Jake Acock to action the following:
i) Contact WODC Planning to establish guidance on the approved pre-application and advise accordingly.
ii) Identify the planning officer who recommended adoption of the pre-application
iii) The overlap in communications dealing with Blue Cedar.
Cllr Carter welcomed Jenny Evanson (Conservative Candidate for Charlbury and the Wychwoods). Jenny confirmed that she did not wish to address the meeting, but had come to observe issues arising in the Wychwoods.
(a) 20/03171/HHD 25 Shipton Road – No objections – Approved
(b) 20/03054/HHD – Coldwell Brook, Shipton Road Approved
(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.
Cllr Carter reported on the Blue Cedar Homes consultation:
This is very wet land due to 2 major springs and many smaller ones rising just above. They converge to create a stream which runs between the 2 fields and through the gardens of Nos 8 and 9 High St.
There were many responses to the Blue Cedar consultation. Criticisms have mostly been about –
i. the flood risk,
ii. the dangerous access and increase in traffic (especially as there is already planning permission for the site opposite) and
iii. the questionable need.
No positive comments have been communicated to the PC.
Cllrs Leach and Carter have visited and taken photos in the fields where the springs rise and of the site itself. Parishioner Laurence Mellor has taken DCllr Jake Acock on a guided tour.
(d) Neighbourhood Plan
The application for the Designated Area is due to be decided at WODC Cabinet on 13 January. If successful we will be able to claim grant funding and the whole process will be finally official.
The Traffic and Transport team have been very active in following up various issues – Cllr Leach reported they were considering options to change traffic flow / staff parking although no conclusion had yet been reached. One thought was spaces at the Tiddy Hall car park. Cllr Leach reported that the poster campaign designed by the children was now complete and the he would contact Naomi for the results. Cllr Leach reported they would re-group again on Tuesday 19 January and continue to work on the Vision Plan.
Richard Smith reported that a Housing Needs survey has been prepared. Richard reported that a Questionnaire had been devised (20 questions approximately) from an external source, together with a Flyer. The questionnaire would predominately be completed online, as this was an easier way to collate the information. Paper copies would also be available. He reported that once the Designated Area is decided he was hopeful that more working parties could be set up to work on the other aspects of the Neighbourhood Plan.
Cllr Carter thanked Richard and Cllr Leach for their hard work on this and asked that they circulate a copy of the Poster and Questionnaire to the Clerk and Councillors.
8. Matters Arising
(a) Thames Water – Moratorium on Building.
Following the unanimous vote from the PC to call for a temporary moratorium on new building in Ascott-u-Wychwood, Cllr Carter has heard from Phil Shaw (WODC Planning) who has sent the letter on to colleagues, from the WODC Cabinet member for the Environment and from Robert Courts’ researcher who has promised to set up a virtual meeting.
Cllr Carter reported that Carols on the Green had to be cancelled because of Covid-19. However, Ascott did celebrate fully in other ways. Santa on a Tractor passed through the Wychwoods, doorstep Carol singing to raise funds for the Oxford Vaccine was truly appreciated and raised £570. The Festival of Light was another triumph! Walking around the village on Christmas Eve really lifted spirits. Many thanks to everyone who participated but particularly to organisers, Juliet Heslewood and Richard and Ann Smith.
It has been suggested by a resident that a Christmas Tree should be planted on the Green. To be considered and consulted.
(d) Dog Poo Bin at Gypsy Lane
(e) No parking signs
Two signs had been erected, one of which was working well. However the sign attached by the Post Box had been removed. This will be replaced.
9. Risk Assessment and Ground Maintenance
Cllr Carter reported that, again she was having difficulty getting the contractor, Trevor Stewart, to undertake repairs to play equipment. It may be necessary to seek another contractor.
The playground is allowed to stay open and so the basket swing will remain barriered off.
10. Community Emergency Plan
FLOODING – Several areas of the village were affected by flooding on 23 December. Signs were deployed during the daytime thanks to Robin Walker and the Gidman family. There was some flooding to property. Surface and sewage flooding was caused by the torrential rain over many hours falling on already saturated land. River flooding happened later in the night once all drainage systems had inundated the river and flood meadows beyond capacity.
Laurence King, lead drainage engineer at WODC and in charge of flooding has asked for details which Cllr Carter has supplied, with homeowners permission.
Cllr Carter reported that at 3.30pm on 23rd Dec she had been concerned about the torrential flow of water down the Chipping Norton hill. This was overshooting the river bridge because access to the river on the downstream side was blocked by a build up of gravel and loose tarmac. This was a serious skid hazard especially as there was deep pooling on the road surface. Cllr Rance confirmed that this was not the first time and he had also had to dig away loose gravel and tarmac from the same location during torrential rain.
There was sewage bubbling up in Church Close, which is a sign that the road drainage and sewage systems from London Lane and The Green were overloaded and unable to escape to the river. However, property in the area was not flooded suggesting that the field north of the Green had acted as an effective ‘holding pond’.
The other very good news is that property at the eastern end of Shipton Rd was not affected and neither were Manor Farm and Ascott Mill.
Water continued to flow down London Lane from the ponds at the Vicarage and No18 for more than 2 weeks. Residents tried to resolve the problem and Simon Holloway of OCC Highways attended. He reported to Cllr Carter that the systems were working correctly but he could not stop the flow. He concluded that it was sheer quantity of water arising from the spring above the Vicarage (whose existence is denied by developers!) Residents were very concerned that it would freeze on the road as has happened in the past.
SNOW – Mike Tucker who leads on pavement clearing has prepared his team and all equipment for a snow event. He has recruited several new and younger members.
Robin Walker and Chris Badger are ready with snow plough, tractors and salt to clear the roads.
Nothing to Report
Lockdown No3 has major impact upon temporary service reductions, albeit our Halts service remains. The papers are already posting warnings that post Covid, the franchisers and HMG will urgently review reductions in service provision across their contracts as neither GWR nor HMG can continue to finance unremunerative services especially if commuters significantly become permanent workers from home. Frankly, many of our commuters are now home workers.
Roads and Ditches
Robin Walker of College Farm received a rather strongly worded first letter from WODC insisting that he clear his ditches. He contacted Cllr Carter because he was concerned about destabilising the road surface on the Ch Norton hill. This is already collapsing in parts which causes vehicles to lean dangerously if they have to pull over to avoid an oncoming large vehicle.
Cllr Rance wholly agreed with the reservations expressed on the unintended consequences if the ditches on Chippy Hill are dug out to any depth, without first conducting an on-site coordinated inspection of the road itself, the culverts and the grips (if you can find them). Otherwise, there will be short term action, with long term regrets.
Cllr Carter had reported this to the OCC engineers and hoped to arrange a meeting with them to discuss ditches, road surface collapsing and crumbling and grips.
Nothing to report.
14. Reports from Organisations
Due to Covid restrictions, football is cancelled again and WVS school has informed the Treasurer that they will not be using the Field this term.
Nothing to report.
Nothing to report
Numerous emails re flooding
OALC Government advice/links re open spaces
(Conservative Candidate for the Division of Charlbury and The Wychwoods)
Clerks & Council Direct
16. Any Other Business
There being no further business, Cllr Carter declared the meeting closed at 9.25pm
Cllr Philippa Carter (Chairman)
Date: Monday 8 February 2021 (to be held remotely)