- Philippa Carter
- Sandy Timms
- Peter Rance
- Brian Leach
- Pauline Plant
- Liz Leffman
- Angela Barnes
Members of the Public
- Laurence Mellor
- Keith Ravenhill
DCllr Jake Acock
2. Minutes of the Last Meeting
The Minutes recorded from the virtual meeting held on 11 January 2021, 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: £48,991.47
8th Feb 200186 Ascott Grape Vine £450.00
26th Feb 200187 Angela Barnes £235.34
28th Feb 200188 HMRC
8th Feb 200189 Nicolson Nursery Leyland Tree in Playing Field £288.00
200190 P Carter re Litter Pickers £60.00
200191 P Carter re Daren Elliot work on Notice Boards £120.00
8th Feb 200192 OALC Training £72.00
8th Feb 200193 P Carter re Kersten parts to repair snow equipment £58.97
The Bank reconciliation and HSBC statements, together with the Parish Funds summary were emailed separately in preparation for the meeting.
5. Reports from County and District Councillors
CCllr Liz Leffman reported that the Budget meeting was due to be held tomorrow, she reported that the Government were urging councils to increase their Precept by an extra 3% in order to support adult social care, which would be supported by the Liberals. CCllr Leffman reported that the WODC Cabinet will propose to reduce this to a 2% reduction, which would deprive adult social care and so the budget would not now be supported by the Liberal party.
CCllr Leffman reported that she had been in discussion with Highways officers on a proposed improvement to the frequency of drains being cleared and that town councils and parish councils would be asked to alert WODC officers where the most problematic drains were.
CCllr Leffman reported that she had been granted the Cllr Priority Fund once again, however this was £15k over 2 years as opposed to one year previously. CCllr Leffman agreed to keep Cllr Leach informed about the budget available for 20mph signs.
6. Public Time
Cllr Carter welcomed Laurence Mellor and Keith Ravenhill. Both confirmed they had come to observe and had nothing in particular to raise.
(a) Application No: 20/03425/HHD – No objections
Proposal: Two storey extension to south elevation and porch. Change of material on front elevation from render to stone
LOCATION: Willow House 53 Shipton Road Ascott Under Wychwood
APPLICANT: Mr & Mrs Morris
REGISTERED: 9th December 2020
(b) Blue Cedar Homes: Planning Consultation re 7 single storey retirement bungalows on land east of London Lane – December consultation closed: no planning application received as yet.
(c) Cllr Timms raised the difficult issue of extending existing homes which reduces the number of smaller homes in the village. Over-extending could also displace surface flooding and make it more threatening to property. Neither of these problems currently holds much weight in planning law.
(d) Neighbourhood Plan
Designated Area – this has been passed unanimously by the WODC Cabinet, so our work is now official and applications can be made for grant funding.
Traffic & Transport and Housing Survey – Cllr Brian Leach reported that 109 responses had been received from the Housing Survey and that there was quite a lot of data to analyse. He reported that they had held a short meeting in January and the February meeting is scheduled for next Tuesday, whereby they would be setting out statements. Cllr Leach reported that the Transport Survey would be completed when possible. Cllr Leach asked CCllr Leffman about signage re the Windrush Valley School. CCllr Leffman agreed to follow this up.
Flood Chapter – Cllr Carter has been contacting professional survey companies to map the surface watercourses throughout the village and calculate the flood risk to property (similar to a document commissioned in 2008 by residents of Ascott Earl). This might also help to answer the expected planning application by Blue Cedar. Cllr Carter reported that, for many reasons, it has been difficult to engage a company immediately and she has taken advice from a range of experts. There is definitely a strong document that can be prepared just for that catchment and Cllr Carter will speak to the residents closest to the area this week.
8. Matters Arising
(a) Thames Water – Moratorium on Building.
Meeting with Robert Courts 5 February re Parish Council calling a temporary moratorium on all new building following the disclosure of serious undercapacity at the Milton Sewage Treatment Works (STW). It was attended by Robert Courts and his researcher and, representing the village, Richard Smith, Mark Purvis and Philippa Carter.
1. Mr Courts was sympathetic and was aware of other serious problems within his constituency, so he acknowledged that Thames Water have not always been honest about the lack of capacity in their system and the need to upgrade.
2. He could not support the call for a moratorium because he was afraid that many other communities will call for the same and, thereby, render the WODC Local Plan 2031 (LP31) null and void. This, despite the fact that the Burford-Charlbury sub-area has already fulfilled the number of dwellings as planned in the LP31.
3. He promised to make representations to the Environment Secretary and Defra to put pressure on TW to act sooner than they have planned in upgrading their system.
4. He promised to write to the Housing Minister asking for the ‘first occupancy’ rule to be withdrawn. This currently allows for planning permission to be given before the conditional upgrades in infrastructure have been carried out.
The team felt that it was a worthwhile first meeting as they made it very clear that this situation is not at all ‘sustainable’ (a key word in planning law) and that there is very real danger to the environment and public health. Mr Courts is now aware that we have been and will continue to follow this issue and his contribution carefully. WODC Planning Office is also aware of the statistics and how this issue impacts on our river and sewage capacity.
Cllr Plant reported that the next round of paperwork was ready to be completed by walkers who have used the path for many years. She reported that a map would also need to be initialled by each of these walkers to verify the route. This will be difficult due to COVID and so will be done when restrictions ease.
(c) Dog Poo Bin at Gypsy Lane – ongoing
(d) No parking signs – Ongoing
9. Risk Assessment and Ground Maintenance
The fir tree at the side of the main gates were reduced in height By Nicholsons and will be trimmed in width imminently. This is to mitigate risk of damage in high winds while still maintaining the structure which the children love to climb.
Zip Wire and Basket Swing – it is still proving difficult to engage a contractor to carry out these repairs. The zip wire is not unsafe but the basket swing has to be barriered off. Cllr Carter to continue work on this.
POTHOLES IN PLAYING FIELD ROADWAY
Thank you to Shane Barnes and Robin Walker for filling these.
Thank you to Stuart Fox for designing, commissioning and installing the new barrow sign.
VILLAGE NOTICE BOARDS
Thank you to Darren Elliot, Brian Ridley and Nick Carter for erecting the final notice board at the bottom of Dawls Close.
CHURCHYARD PUBLIC FOOTPATH
All the churchyard paths have been renovated and the Parish Council contributed towards the Public Footpath which links one end of the village to the other. There have been many positive comments with the main worry being the damage to the crocus. Happily, these determined little flowers have returned in numbers this month. Very many thanks to the Rev Mark Abrey, the PCC and also to Stuart Fox for a successful joint project. A replacement gate is still to be decided.
VILLAGE LITTER PICK
Many thanks to Brian and Ingrid Ridley for offering to organise this during February. They have had a good number of volunteers.
10. Community Emergency Plan
Cllr Carter reported that she had continued to send in reports to Laurence King at WODC as well as photographs taken by residents. He plans to visit the village shortly. There was 1 more property flooded on 23 December and several incidents of road flooding and sewage overflow during the 2 lesser flood events in January.
The Chipping Norton Rd had to be closed during all 3 events but the Shipton Rd at Ascott Earl was passable to all traffic. Thank you to all who helped with the signs.
During the recent snow event Mike Tucker mobilised the pavement clearing and salt spreading. OCC spread salt on London Lane and Chipping Norton Rd and so it was not necessary to mobilise Chris Badger and Robin Walker. However, they remain ready if called.
The Covid impact upon our services had already sadly meant that our Villager Service
was suspended altogether, and Lock Down No3 has extended that withdrawal until
further notice. Until No3 came our way however, WOCT, had most proactively, maintained their daily services albeit with some reduction to fine tune to meet emerging lower usage. Very sadly, they found service demand so dreadfully reduced, they have now severely cut it down to running on just two weekdays each week. Hard to question this logic when some buses had only one passenger! Prior to the latest service reduction, it must be said that WOCT had already commented that Ascott resident usage was very minimal.
Under Covid, it must be recorded that GWR continue to run a service subject to HMG DfT requirements and of course with very substantial subsidy for trains having far fewer passengers. Our minimal Halts Service train has so far survived, running to its long established timetable. Under Lock Down No3 however, a reckoning had to come, and DfT sought from GWR economic reductions through a review of timetabling. Without proper warning, our return evening train was brought forward, actually using another existing train for our stops, such that one resident had to protest for a taxi from GWR staff at Oxford, when told his train had already left! A combination of a very forceful email by Naomi Tiley, a regular Ascott commuter, to the GWR MD, and Cllr Rance advising the CLPG Chairman who was meeting GWR train managers the next day, resulted in GWR accepting their dreadfully inept conduct, and normal timetabling has resumed. The worry that cannot be dismissed, is that at the first moment of service stress, GWR planners leapt at revising the Halts service, and did so, without consulting its wholly dependent users. Had this change been shrugged off as acceptable in the circumstances, the precedent would have been set for more to follow. Well done Naomi and thank you. We must remain alert however, as our Halts Service is clearly vulnerable.
OCC Engineer, Simon Holloway, has promised to visit the village to inspect verges along London Lane and Chipping Norton Rd as well as the road surface with a view to decide about grips and ditches. (no date yet)
Cllr Carter sent the OCC Highways team a detailed report with photographs of surface water running down the London Lane from Kingstanding after the heavy rain of 31 January. The ponds at 18 and 20 London Lane have overflowed 3 times but each time the road drainage and overflow pipe into the field below No 18 have been functioning correctly. OCC and Alan Chubb, resident, concluded that it was sheer volume of ground water as the overflow continued for days after the rain.
Cllr Leach reported that one of the water tanks was now full to capacity. The Clerk had sent an up to date plan of the Allotment plots and tenants to Cllr Leach for confirmation that these were correct. Allotment rents, regulations and tenancy agreements would be sent out once confirmation had been received.
14. Reports from Organisations
Nothing to report
Nothing to report.
Nothing to report
Keith Ravenhill expressing an interest in joining the Parish Council
I D Godden reminder that Pavilion Boiler is due a service
WODC Planning Application: 20/03425/HHD 53 Shipton Road (noted under planning)
16. Any Other Business
Cllr Peter Rance reported that he had been approached by a parishioner who raised an issue with regards to a large slurry mound on a Crown Farm field and its potential to pollute water courses. This was discussed and agreed that it would be moved to Matters Arising to be discussed at the March meeting and in between time investigated with the appropriate authority.
There being no further business, Cllr Carter declared the meeting closed at 9.30pm
Cllr Philippa Carter (Chairman)
Date: Monday 8 March 2021 (to be held remotely)