The next meetings will be at 8pm on Monday 8th July and 'provisionally' Tuesday 6th August at the Stonewater Common Room. All residents welcome (but please let us know ahead of the date if you're coming)!!

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Councillors News - Councillor Matthew Barber

100 days on... Today marks 100 days since the local and general elections. Here is the latest update on what's happening in the Vale... 

Green flag award for another year
For the 7th year running the Abbey Gardens in Abingdon, owned and maintained by the Vale District Council has been awarded Green Flag status by Keep Britain Tidy.  In addition to the fantastic gardens the neighbouring Abbey Meadows area is set for a major revamp including improvements to the outdoor swimming pool. 

Summer festivals
We're at the height of festival season, large and small, and many are supported by the Vale. Community groups can apply for grants of up to £1,000 to help support festivals and events in the district.  So far this year grants have been awarded to the Friends of Abingdon Heritage Weekend; Faringdon's Folly Fest; BBO Wildlife Trust One Day Festival and the Wantage Betjeman Festival. The Council can also assist with licencing and permissions. Click here for more details on how to apply.

Community Alcohol Partnership launched in Grove and Wantage
Organisations including King Alfred’s School, Vale District Council, Sweatbox, Thames Valley Police, and Wantage and Grove Street Pastors have joined forces to reduce teen drinking and associated anti-social behaviour.

A priority for the campaign is reducing the opportunities young people have to purchase alcohol. To assist with this, Waitrose have agreed to facilitate free training for independent retailers on responsible selling practises, including the ‘Challenge 25′ age-verification policy and how to spot fake ID.

Pressure from Oxford for even more housing
In last month's newsletter I reported on how the Vale is responding to the pressure to accommodate more housing in the Vale, this time because Oxford City is unable to deliver it's own housing target. Since then I have written to the Secretary of State asking him to compel the City Council to review their own Local Plan.  You can view my letter here.  I await a response from Government.  In addition the Vale's Cabinet is considering a report on how best to deal with this additional pressure.  The report will also be considered by the Council's Scrutiny Committee.

What does devolution mean for Oxfordshire?
There has been much talk recently about devolution, be it in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales, or to local government. Oxfordshire County Council is proposing forming a 'strategic alliance' with Buckinghamshire and Northamptonshire to seek additional funding from Government for strategic transport.  This falls short of a full devolution deal that the Government are encouraging. Councils within Oxfordshire, including the Vale, are looking at the potential benefits of such a devolution deal and are talking to Government about the options.  No doubt there will be more news on this in due course.

Celebrating The Queen's Birthday
In just a months time on 9th September Her Majesty The Queen will become Britain's longest-reigning monarch. This will undoubtedly be an event worth noting, but next year Her Majesty will also be celebrating her 90th birthday.  Grand national celebrations are planned and the Vale of White Horse will encourage and support community events across the district to celebrate these great occasions.  After the huge success of the Diamond Jubilee celebrations we are talking to the Town councils to help them organise events for everyone to enjoy.

The Vale's Corporate Plan
The Vale is beginning the process of reviewing it's Corporate Plan.  This rather dry subject sets out the strategic direction of the Council for the next few years. Residents will have the chance to contribute to the process when we launch a consultation later this year (expected to be October-November). 

Recycling Centres
Oxfordshire County Council is again considering the closure of recycling centres across the County. Whilst I recognise the financial challenges faced by the County Council and that improved kerb-side collections in recent years have changed the way we use recycling centres they remain valued community facilities.  Whilst this is a matter for the County Council the Vale restates it's support for the retention of recycling centres in the district for the benefit of all residents.

Sunday, 9 August 2015

Subsidies on Buses and Flood Alleviation Scheme - consultations

Abingdon and area residents are being asked for their opinions on 2 local issues.  The County Council is asking for our views on their subsidies for the buses and the Environment Agency wants to know what we think about the plans for the Oxford Flood Alleviation Scheme.

You can find details of the bus consultation at:
This is a very long document but at the end you'll find a questionnaire asking for feedback on the County Council's plans for the future of subsidised buses and the Dial a Ride service. The closing date for consultation is 14 September.

The Environment Agency, the County Council, Oxford City Council, Vale of White Horse District Council, Thames Water and the Oxford Flood Alliance are working on a scheme to reduce flood risk in Oxford. The idea is that a channel would be made to carry floodwater through western Oxford, one section between Botley Road and Redbridge and the other between Kennington and Sandford-on-Thames. There is some concern that this would mean transferring flood risk from Oxford to another area - that is, our area. Our local Councillors are pressing for a full independent assessment of the proposals. There is still a long way to go before the scheme is approved or funding found. In the meantime, local people are being asked for their views - you can find feedback forms at

Monday, 3 August 2015

More updates on the Drayton Road night closure

Further update from Mike Badcock via Facebook:

RESULT - listening to local councillors at last!!  Hope this will help everyone in South Abingdon - loads of credit to Alice.

Temporary suspension of One-Way Order - St Helens Wharf Bridge, Abingdon.

A request has been received from Andrew Madigan, Oxfordshire County Council for a temporary EMERGENCY SUSPENSION OF ONE-WAY TRAFFIC to facilitate TWO WAY TRAFFIC ON ST HELENS WHARF BRIDGE, ABINGDON to mitigate traffic congestion during Drayton Rd night works.

A Temporary Traffic Regulation Notice is being made to implement the temporary suspension and will operate from:

Monday 3rd August 2015 to Friday 7th August 2015 and will operate from 8pm to 6am each day.

Saturday, 1 August 2015

Update on the Drayton Road closure

Following many questions from residents, the TFLRA committee asked the County Council about why people were asked to travel via Milton home.  Their reply:

Generally when we undertake road closures we ensure that traffic is diverted on the same class of road or better than the road that we are closing.  As Drayton Road is a 'B' class road, the decision was made to send the diversion route via the A34.  Making the 'iron bridge' two-way was never really considered on this basis but also because of the disruption that this would have caused to residents of Caldecott Road, St Helen's Wharf and West St Helen Street due to the increased traffic flows.

I appreciate that the closures will cause some disruption to local residents, but the decision was made to carry out this work at night in order to keep this disruption to a minimum.