- Philippa Carter
- Sandy Timms
- Peter Rance
- Brian Leach
- Pauline Plant
- Liz Leffman
- Angela Barnes
Members of the Public
DCllr Jake Acock
2. Minutes of the Last Meeting
The Minutes recorded from the virtual meeting held on 13 July 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 £49,828.35
13/7/20 200151 Wicksteed Leisure £744.00
3/8/20 200152 Tiddy Hall grant £2,500.00
30/8/20 200153 A Barnes Salary £227.96
31/8/20 200154 HMRC PAYE £57.00
28/9/20 200155 A Barnes Salary £228.16
30/9/20 200156 HMRC PAYE £56.80
Bank Statement reconciliation emailed for approval at the September (virtual) meeting. Agreed and signed. This was agreed and duly signed by Cllr Timms.
Detailed summary of the Parish Council funds emailed for approval at the September meeting. This was agreed unanimously.
To be carried forward to the October meeting.
5. Reports from County and District Councillors
CCllr Leffman reported on the Government’s walking/cycling £600k. She reported that OCC had received £300k, but was hopeful that the £600k as originally indicated would be reinstated. She reported that a bike rack had been erected at Charlbury Railway Station. CCllr Leffman reported that the County Council were supporting the Youth Services. She reported that roads and potholes budget had not been cut. CCllr Leffman reported on a potential Unitary Council. The white paper had been postponed.
DCllr Jake Acock sent his apologies and sent this report;
I am writing to resign my membership from the Liberal Democrat Party and inform you that from this moment I am no longer a Liberal Democrat Councillor.
Since joining the Liberal Democrats, it has become fundamentally clear that there are serious issues within the party nationally and locally.
The biggest issue that I have experienced is the internal homophobia and lack of diversity. When standing to become a parliamentary candidate in 2018, homophobia was rampant throughout the membership and other elected councillors. I believe it speaks volumes that there was only one LGBT candidate in the top 50 target seats and the recent election review glossed right over this fact. Moreover, the only BME member, and Deputy Chair of the Witney branch, was challenged on whether he should continue, despite him being the only person competent enough to hold that post and our only BME member. Secondly, ageism is rife in the local party. Every single time I have suggested a motion or put forward a campaigning idea, it has been challenged by ‘but he’s too young’. This was from elected councillors who are meant to be ‘liberal’; they are anything but. Despite the incompetence and lack of local governance in the Party (many issues have been decided upon without discussion at local executive meetings)- I am leaving because the views that the Liberal Democrat Party hold are too left and not liberal at all; UBI is just one example.
I am now looking forward to working with the Conservative Party in West Oxfordshire who have shown they are the most diverse and accepting Party, just look at the diversity among Conservative MPs (they just elected at least 24 openly LGBT+ peoples). Most importantly, I am looking forward to joining a party who doesn’t just talk about action, but actually delivers for the people of West Oxfordshire. The Conservative Party offer a positive outlook that can rebuild Britain. To help the economy bounce back by supporting local businesses; to get our children back to school in the safest way possible so they can learn again; and to tackle the climate and ecological emergency by making our country a green place to live. The Conservative Party is the only Party that can achieve just that.
6. Public Time
No public time recorded.
20/01592/OUT – land North East of 51 High Street – Under consideration
20/01867HHD – 7 The Green Ascott under Wychwood – Approved
8. Matters Arising
Cllr Plant reported on paperwork from witnesses and evidence papers and if no DMNO application, footpaths to become designated and proof by witness statements being used.
(b) Neighbourhood Plan (NP)
The village questionnaire about the Neighbourhood Plan was completed and Brian Leach thoroughly analysed the results. These have been circulated throughout the village and posted on the NP website and notice boards. The Steering Committee met once during the summer break to discuss the questionnaire results, the UK Government proposed changes to planning law and next steps in writing the NP. Naomi Tiley was welcomed as the 4th member. Brian Leach proposed forming the first working group to gather evidence for Traffic and Transport and their first meeting has taken place. Cllr Carter has now received responses from all 5 Shipton properties and they have all agreed that they wish to be included in the NP. 2 of the families had only just moved into the village during August. Cllr Carter has prepared the application for the Designated Area with guidance from Astrid Harvey at WODC. The Neighbourhood Plan Steering Committee commended this application to the Parish Council for a vote to agree that this should be formally presented to WODC.
Ascott-under-Wychwood Parish Council voted unanimously to agree the application for the Designated Area of Ascott-under-Wychwood Neighbourhood Plan, proposed by Cllr Carter and seconded by Cllr Leach. Once the application is made, WODC will display it for public consultation and finally present it for consideration and agreement by the WODC Cabinet. This process takes a minimum of 3 months.
9. Risk Assessment and Ground Maintenance
TREES (playing field and playground)
Nicholsons tree surgeon carried out an inspection of a tree in the playground which had shed a large bough in the August gales. He pronounced the tree healthy but agreed to quote for reducing the fir tree next to it as the 2 trees are now intertwining. On inspecting all the trees in the playing field and playground he pronounced all trees healthy apart from a large ash tree in the top right corner behind the rabbit fencing. This should be removed in the next 2 years due to ash die back. He will quote for both jobs.
Patio – Thank you to Shane Barnes for replacing the broken paving stones of the Pavilion patio.
Fire Inspection – This annual inspection is booked for late September.
The potholes in the track will be repaired this autumn. The delay has been due to lack of materials during the early part of COVID lockdown and then more pressing maintenance works during the summer. Many thanks to Shane Barnes for the beautiful condition of the pitch this season and to the cricketers for the excellent restoration of the wicket. The installation of rabbit proof fencing has been booked for later in the autumn as soon as the contractor is available.
The playground inspection was due to take place in July but the Parish Clerk had notice that there had been delays due to COVID. Cllr Carter ask the Clerk to follow up.
Cllr Carter thanked Cllr Plant for regularly locking the pedestrian gate throughout this period. She asked if the playground should continue to be closed. It was agreed that the neighbours of the Playing Field should be asked if they think it is necessary and if they would help. Cllr Carter will email them. The servicing of the zip wire is now urgent. Cllr Carter will contact the Oxfordshire Playing Field association for advice if there is still no response from the original contractor. Cllr Rance reported that one toddler swing is regularly fouled by birds. He and Cllr Carter will inspect the tree overhead to decide how best to mitigate the problem.
Cllr Carter met Stuart Fox and Elaine Byles to discuss the renewal of the faded barrow sign. The information that had faded had been updated/corrected and added into the original board at a later stage. This had been inferior print quality and for that reason had faded, whereas the original work had not. Various options were discussed and the preferred option was to erect 2 identical signs back-to-back on the same poles – one facing the barrow stones and one facing the verge for passers-by to learn about the barrow and perhaps be tempted to enter the Pound. The Parish Council agreed with this option.
Stuart Fox has obtained a quote of £325 (no VAT). The supplier is confident that the sign would not fade. The quote was agreed unanimously by the Parish Council, proposed by Cllr Leach and seconded by Cllr Rance.
NOTICE BOARDS and BINS
Delays to this project have been caused by non-availability of materials because of Covid-19 and inability to erect a finished board due to self-distancing rules. The first board will be erected imminently and the second is being made.
The Parish Clerk reported that the damaged dog bin outside the allotments has been removed and that she has been in touch with WODC to ask for a replacement urgently, as this is well used.
Cllr Rance reported on his communication with Matthew Timms of OCC regarding the replacement of certain wooden posts on the Green which are damaged or rotten. The quote to replace them was extremely high and Cllr Rance asked CCllr Leffman to investigate
10. Community Emergency Plan
The front cover of the snow store has arrived and Chris Badger will install it imminently.
WOCT are seeking formal approval for some service revisions but generally appear to be coping with demand. Villager however have suffered a very significant collapse of custom from Ascott residents, but will nevertheless continue its established provision through Ascott much benefited by local government financial support during Covid.
A regular commuter from the village who has in the recent weeks returned to using the Halts service, has stated that only 3 persons are doing so regularly at present. It appears that all other Halt stations are also seeing commuter use, except Finstock, which to date has had none. The only concerning development stems from the evening service which unfortunately due to the major timetable rescheduling ahead of Covid, means that the 2 car train is heavily used by Hanborough commuters, given an otherwise long service gap for longer trains. Surely the GWR train staff must also be concerned by this, as social distancing guidelines will increasingly be at risk which could lead to commuters avoiding the trains yet again?
Road Signage -though welcoming the very significant improvement gained by the OCC Highways team cutting back the roadside trees on the Chippy Hill side of the railway level crossing, it is worrying that the new sign on the outbound side warning of the traffic control measure on the river bridge, is virtually masked by tree growth on that verge.
Thanks to C Cllr Liz Leffman and Highways for arranging hedge trimming either side of the level crossing.
Cllr Leach reported that the water tanks had been moved to better sites and they are in use. He thanked Shane Barnes for cutting back the hedge and grass path, making that whole area much tidier.
14. Reports from Organisations
Cllr Carter reported on a very good start for the new cricket club. Many of the squad, the umpires and the president are local residents, they have had good local support and they have obtained sponsorship from Tyacks and the Swan. All cricket matches will be played away in September to allow football matches to be played. Football had been cancelled for 2 weeks following news that an opposition player had tested positive for Covid 19. Ascott FC players have had to self-isolate. Cllr Carter has discussed protocol with the Football Manager and all involved with maintaining the pitch and pavilion.
The footballers have agreed the positioning of their TV when they do resume matches with catering post-game. It will be placed on a table and removed after each occasion. The Sports Club will arrange and pay for the aerial to be erected professionally.
Cllr Timms reported that no applications for funding had been received. An article is to be written for the next Grapevine to reiterate the Charity’s purpose and how to go about approaching the Charity to request financial assistance should any Parishioner find themselves in financial difficulty. The decision had been taken not to hold the Charity Run this year due to covid-19.
Cllr Timms reported that this would be reopened at the beginning of October.
Helen Clarke (parishioner from Milton under Wychwood) with regards to local land being available to set up her own business working with children and adults with special educational needs (Cllr Carter replied)
OALC re council meetings
Letter from the Tiddy Hall Trustees thanking the PC for their donation
Clerk & Councils Direct
16. Any Other Business
(i) Defibrillator – Cllr Timms reported that after having checked the Defibrillator the new tabs needed replacing and proposed new ones be purchased, this was seconded by Cllr Rance.
(i) Parking near the Swan – There have been complaints about dangerous and inconsiderate parking. Cllr Carter has discussed possible remedies with resident Lyn Collins who suffers the most. Cllr Timms has intervened to help reduce the problem and thanks go to the pub staff for more careful parking of their vehicles. This will be monitored.
(ii) Retirement of Parish Councillors
Chairman PCllr Carter addressed the meeting to give notice of her resignation as Chairman and Councillor at the end of her term in May 2021. PCllr Timms and PCllr Rance both gave their notice of resignation at the end of their term in May 2021 also.
There being no further business, Cllr Carter declared the meeting closed at 9.30pm.
Cllr Philippa Carter (Chairman)
Date: Monday 12 October 2020 (held remotely)