News

Fatbergs tackled ‘head on’ in West Oxfordshire

With the problem of recurring major blockages in Witney’s sewers caused by fatbergs, people living in West Oxfordshire are reminded that cooking oil can be collected as part of their household recycling service.

Fatbergs are putrid fatty masses that occur in the sewers when cooking oils, fats and unflushable items such as sanitary products mix together and solidify.

Whilst cooking oil is regularly collected from restaurants and chip shops across the UK, kerbside recycling collections are uncommon.

Cllr Carol Reynolds, West Oxfordshire District Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment, said: “We are one of only a few local authorities in the country that accepts used cooking oil as part of our household recycling collection. I strongly urge residents to make use of this fantastic service and help tackle fatbergs head on. All the oil collected is recycled and put to good use as it is turned into green energy.”

She added: “Recycling leftover oil is easy. Simply leave it to cool, pour it into a clear plastic bottle and put it out next to your kerbside recycling boxes or food waste caddy on collection days. Similarly, leftover fat can be left to cool and once hardened can then be scraped into your food waste recycling bin.”

Last month Thames Water launched a campaign in Witney to raise awareness of the problems caused by disposing of cooking oil and wet wipes in drains and sewers.

Alex Saunders, Waste Networks Manager for Thames Water, said: “All too often people do not realise the problems caused by pouring oil down the sink. West Oxfordshire residents are fortunate that they have a free oil recycling collection service and using this goes a long way to avoiding the costly and horrible experience of sewage backing up into homes, gardens and the wider environment.

“We also ask that people don’t flush wipes, cotton buds, nappies and sanitary products down toilets even if they are labelled as flushable. Our message is clear: bin it – don’t block it.”

In Witney Engineers from Thames Water clear at least three major blockages from the town’s sewers every fortnight while in the same period, 17 properties in Witney have been flooded with sewage as a result of fat and wipe blockages.

Bus 64 – Interim Report – Cllr Mrs Lynn Little
 
• Over 70 people in attendance – including Mrs Ann Tyldesley - Parish Clerk from Shilton and Filkins, Mr Trevor Bayliss – Operations Manager at Stagecoach Witney and Cllr Henry Howard. Apologies were received from Cllr David McFarlane. The officer in attendance was Scott Edwards.

• Cllr Howard gave an update on the S7 regarding the withdrawal of the service connecting Carterton to the JR Hospital in Oxford. The outcome of the update was that there is no funding available from OCC to subsidise the journey from Carterton to Witney but Cllr Howard agreed to look into alternative options.

• Parishes that were affected by the withdrawal of the Bus 64 to Swindon are as follows: Carterton, Kencot, Broadwell, Langford and Filkins.

• After a meeting between Cllr Little and Robert Courts MP, it was confirmed that there would be no Government funding.

• A lengthy discussion was held around the following possibilities:

   o To obtain funding for a mini-bus that would take users to Lechlade to connect with the main service to Swindon.
   o To find a sponsor from a major business or organisation who would fund a service direct to Swindon.
   o To investigate the possibility of Stagecoach taking on a reduced service to Swindon
   o To investigate the possibility of Pulhams taking on a reduced service to Swindon.

• The following action points were agreed by all present:

   o Cllr Little would arrange meeting with the following: Swindon Borough Council, Gloucestershire County Council and the Managing Director of Stagecoach and Pulhams Coaches to discuss the financial implications to restoring a reduced service.
   o Cllr Little will report back by mid-October, date to be confirmed, when another public meeting will be held.

Report Compiled by Scott Edwards – July 2017

Have you got a hedge around your garden?

Every year around this time we receive numerous complaints from residents regarding footpath access blocked by foliage. On most occasions it is a boundary hedge for a residential property, so we write a polite letter requesting it be cut back as soon as possible.

May we respectfully ask that you take 5 minutes today to check your boundaries and ensure there is nothing hanging over/across the pavement that may hinder pedestrians.

Thank you

Vandalism 

Further to our post on 8th March regarding vandalism at Willow Meadows we have had more incidents.

Sign at the Perimeter Path gate pushed over.
Dog bin and post at car park entrance ripped out of the ground and thrown in ditch
Sign and post at car park entrance received the same treatment
Tikspac station ripped off post near car park entrance
Tikspac station and post at the end of The Crescent (leading to Willow Meadows)ripped out of the ground and thrown in hedge

If you have any idea who may be doing this, please call 101 and report them. This all costs money to repair, money which could be put to much better use for the town.

Thank you

Report of WODC Cllr Mrs Maxine Crossland - May 2016-April 2017

This year I have been honoured to become the chairman of Lowlands Planning Committee. This is a heavy responsibility. We have been told by Government Inspectors that we need to provide over 660 new houses per year in West Oxon up to 2031, which is quite a challenge. As a District we have tried to protect the rural nature of our area by refusing inappropriate applications, but there are certain issues we must factor in to our decision making processes that effectively tie our hands.
1. Nationally both the birth rate & life expectancy are rising so schools & GP practises everywhere are already under pressure and over-subscribed.
2. House prices are so high that our young people have to choose between staying in the family home until they have saved enough for a deposit – on average around age 39-40; OR move out & rent, which will make it impossible for many to ever save for a home of their own.
3. The divorce rate is at an all time high, with over 1 in 3 marriages now ending in divorce. Where there are children of the marriage it is usual for both parents to want a house big enough for all their children to sleep over. So following a split, one family often requires 2 family size houses
4. It is almost impossible to recruit key workers eg nurses & teachers from other areas because housing costs in Oxon generally are so high that the price differential makes home owning unaffordable for many.
5. If we are to attract more industry to the area we must provide housing for that workforce too
6. People of the bus pass generation are living longer. It is understandable that many are reluctant to downsize from a much loved family home, so many of our existing 3 /4 bedroom properties are currently under occupied
7. When it eventually becomes necessary for people to downsize, we have not at present got enough sheltered housing / care homes to meet that need
Overall that translates into an identified shortfall of around 16 000 homes in West Oxon, but where shall we put them?

The reality is that however much we might wish to limit development, we can only refuse those applications where we can prove that building would produce more significant and demonstrable long-term harms than the benefits of providing this desperately needed additional housing would bring. This is why we are at present often unable to refuse so many applications.

REEMA NORTH / REEMA CENTRAL
In June 2016 Carterton learned about the MoD Defence Board’s decision to defer long-awaited replacement military housing until beyond 2020. I have been on the Lowlands Planning Committee since 2010, and became its Chairman in 2016. I felt really frustrated by the endless delays and broken promises of the last 10 years . So as a final resort I appealed to David Cameron as our local MP for help.
As I understand it, the situation on this site is complicated. The minimum capacity on Reema North is around 200 military quarters plus, on Reema Central, another 600 dwellings. This equals a contribution of at least 800 dwellings to the District’s total identified needs. Although planning permission has been in place for over 10 years, no construction has yet begun.

We believe the underlying problem comes from the ownership of Reema land being shared between two external stakeholders. Talks about who owns what and how redevelopment can be financed are still on-going. But the result for the whole of West Oxfordshire is a serious lack of new homes.

CALLING IN OUR M.P.
Decisions about military housing seem to be taken at national level and the consequences for local civilian populations do not seem to be part of these considerations. I explained this to David who referred my concern to the Secretary of State for Defence, but Mr Fallon’s response disappointed me. I felt his reply was very generalised and did not actually address the Carterton problem in any depth. So I contacted Mr Cameron again and arranged for him to visit the site in mid September. Unfortunately he resigned as an MP shortly before we were due to meet! That left things on hold until Robert Courts was elected to Parliament in October.
In January 2017 I was pleased to welcome Mr Courts for a site visit and briefing . He agreed that sympathetic words and professions of understanding from the MoD do not provide housing for needy people. He promised to act as our spokesman at all levels of the decision making process, to fight our corner, to highlight our problems and champion our needs in various ways.

HELP FROM WODC
I also took the issue to both WODC planning officers and the local Conservative Party. In 2016 WODC elected a new Leader and Cabinet who recognised our particular situation and resolved to put in place a range of actions to support our needs . Since then:-

1. The District Council’s principal officer and strategic director have begun to explore various innovative and exciting options and financial possibilities to get building started.
2. One of the Reema land owners has cordoned off an area of unoccupied housing in preparation for demolition and future redevelopment.
3. A provider of social housing is now developing the Osprey site
4. More money has been put aside for Phase 2 of our Leisure Centre
5. Airbus is currently building a large new office /storage facility on Ventura Park
6. Next Year Carterton will finally get a fire station
So far so good....I am pleased that the redevelopment of the Reema and Osprey sites is finally moving forward. I shall continue to campaign for the retention of the underpass on Upavon Way, the provision of more affordable housing and the improvement of the town centre – even getting the local MP and Defence Infrastructure Organisation involved.

On 9 May 2017 a government inspector will start the process of examining our proposals for our Local Plan. He will report back on 11th June. If he approves our plan, the housing situation will move back under our local control to a greater extent.

My other work
My other work involves serving on the Economic and Social Committee, particularly in matters of leisure and health care provision. This includes
• regular scrutiny of health & safety issues at the Leisure Centre,
• supporting our learning or physically disabled residents
• working with the over 60s to promote social, intellectual and physical well-being activities
• trying to revive the currently dormant Carterton & Witney branches of St John’s Ambulance Brigade.
Like my colleagues I also help local residents with a wide range of day-to-day problems
As Vice Chairman of the District Council I am proud to represent and promote my area in a variety of forums and committees.

Dog Fouling

Dog fouling is an extremely anti social activity which appears to be growing in the Carterton area. Carterton Town Council has arranged for the installation of a number of new Tikspac bins in the town which dispense free dog poo bags. These have been warmly welcomed by the majority of dog owners in the town, however, one new dispenser and post has already been vandalised.

In relation to enforcement action, this authority sits with West Oxfordshire District Council. The section of the Council which has ultimate responsibility for this enforcement is the 2020 Partnership who can be contacted via email at ers@2020partnership.uk or call 01993 861000. The District Council has the authority to issue Fixed Penalty Notices to offending owners. Carterton Town Council does not.

With regard to the Council fining dog owners who walk their dogs without being in possession of a Poo Bag, this would also have to be pursued through West Oxfordshire District Council.

The District Councillors for Carterton are:

  • Cllr Mrs Lynn Little
  • Cllr Henry Howard
  • Cllr Mrs Maxine Crossland
  • Cllr Mick Brennan
  • Cllr Peter Handley
  • Cllr Norman MacRae MBE

They can be contacted via the West Oxfordshire District Council website.

Ron Spurs
Town Clerk
2 May 2017

Town Hall Hire 

Carterton Town Council has abolished charges to use the Town Hall for local groups that meet any three of the four criteria set out below:

• The majority of members of the group are over 65 years of age.
• More than 80% of the members live within Carterton parish.
• The objectives of the group are to provide company, stimulation and improve well-being by undertaking a specific activity.
• The majority of the members live on a state pension.

If you have any questions regarding these changes please contact the Town Council on 01993 842156

Old Furniture Need Collecting?

If you have some old furniture that needs collecting and it is in reasonable condition, why not see if the British Heart Foundation can help?

For more information, click here

A Message from Plantlife: 

Do you know anyone with an interest in wild plants or who would like to learn more about them? As the weather warms and the days get longer we are looking for people to help us.

The National Plant Monitoring Scheme is helping us to understand what is happening to different habitats across the UK and is set to run for a number of years. The Scheme has been running for two survey seasons and over 900 volunteers have signed up and been out surveying. One of the reasons the scheme has enjoyed such good success in attracting volunteers is because of the support of local parish councils. Many of these volunteers are new to plant surveying and have found the scheme accessible, are enjoying taking part and are exploring places to close to them and finding out new things. Volunteers are supported by materials which are sent to them, online resources and free training courses.

Do you know somebody who enjoys being outside? There are still opportunities to get involved with the scheme as a volunteer. In fact the more volunteers we have the more information is generated allowing us to get an even better understanding of what is happening in the landscape.

Who we are and what we need:

This scheme is a partnership between Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland (BSBI); JNCC; Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH) and Plantlife and is backed by the government. Volunteers are recruited and supported to survey 5 plots in a kilometre square close to where they live. The plots will be surveyed twice a year. The kilometre squares to monitor have been identified by stratified random sampling. The plants have been chosen as indicators of the health of individual habitats. There are 3 levels volunteers can participate at depending on confidence and knowledge and support will be provided both through training; web and telephone.

More help please:

Across Oxfordshire there are still 18 squares available to survey.

We would be hugely grateful if you can use your communication channels to promote the scheme again using the NPMS flyer (http://www.npms.org.uk/sites/www.npms.org.uk/files/PDF/NPMS%20flyer.pdf).

The live map on the NPMS website shows the squares that are available: http://www.npms.org.uk/square-near-me-public?dynamic-return_all_squares=true

We particularly need to promote the scheme in remote areas as well as areas contain including those with coastal and upland habitats.

To sign up please visit www.npms.org.uk or for further information please email support@npms.org.uk or phone 01722 342743.

Thank you for your support

Record of Meeting held on Thursday 8th September 2016 regarding the cancellation of the Number 64 Bus to Swindon

Oxfordshire County Council withdrew all funding for the 64 bus service from Carterton to Swindon (via Filkins, Kencott, Langford and Lechlade). This has had a devastating effect on the many users of this route. Some have lost their jobs and others their only means of transport to visit family and friends. The meeting was held to try to find a solution for all our residents (and those of surrounding villages) who had been severely affected by this decision.

Robert Savage, Fleet Operations manager at OCC attended to present a possible solution. They run the Oxfordshire Comet, which is a bookable transport service providing 16-seater vehicles, which are fully wheelchair and pushchair accessible. However the only time-slot available for this route would be to leave Carterton at 10.30am then return from Swindon at 2pm. This would cost £20 per hour plus £10 per hour waiting time. It was felt this was not viable in either finance or allotted time.

The Mayor (Cllr Mrs Lynn Little) suggested an alternative arrangement would be to find a company to provide a link from Carterton to either Lechlade or Faringdon where residents could then link up with an existing Swindon service (and use bus passes where applicable).

She made contact with Swanbrook Coaches (Cheltenham based) but they had to decline as it was not cost effective for them to travel this distance. She also contacted Pulhams Coaches which provided more success as the Managing Director was willing to attend the next meeting to talk through possible solutions. 

Funding will always be the main issue in finding a solution but the Mayor is consulting with the Town Clerk on possible sources. 

The next meeting will be held on Monday 31st October at 2.30pm in the Town Hall.

RAF Falcons help Carterton celebrate a summer in bloom

New floral displays in Carterton have been given the seal of approval by the RAF Falcons Parachute Display Team. The team, based at RAF Brize Norton, touched down to view three large flower beds, some of which have been planted in the form of Union Jacks as well as new columns and hanging baskets.

New 105 Helpline Number


West Oxfordshire District Council is supporting the launch of 105, a new national three-digit helpline telephone number that will make it quicker and easier for people to report a power cut. See the full details here.

A Plea from Carterton Town Council to all those who visit Black Bourton Cemetery

We now have a part time Town Warden who has proved to be a valuable asset, using the ten hours a week he is employed to tidy and clean all the little neglected areas around the town which will make a marked difference moving forward. Unfortunately every Thursday when he goes to our Cemetery in Black Bourton to put out the six waste bins for emptying, he has to spend valuable time going through the three ‘Garden Waste Only’ bins to remove the many items that should not be there. WODC refuse to empty these bins if they are contaminated with other products.

The attached photo, taken in March 2017, shows a small selection of products that were placed in these bins (including plastic, wood, metal and foam). We have placed large signs above each bin which clearly state they are for vegetation and flowers only and listing all products in red that should not go in them. There are another three blue bins provided for General Waste.

The time the Warden spends doing this uses valuable taxpayers’ money which could be achieving more productive work.

 

If you are a regular visitor to our Cemetery, please take the time to read the notices provided and also pass this information on to others and maybe in time the message will spread and the practice will cease.

We thank you in advance for your help. 

Wanted: Eyes and Ears in West Oxfordshire

To read the CPRE Oxfordshire article, click here.

Community First Responders Wanted

South Central Ambulance Service are looking into boosting the Community First Responder (CFR) Scheme in surrounding villages where ambulance time to patient may be slightly longer due to rural location.

CFRs are volunteers who undertake a free four day training course learning the basics of first aid with particular attention being given to dealing with life threatening conditions such as heart attacks, strokes, breathing problems, bleeding and of course cardiac arrest. It is a proven fact that early CPR with defibrillation in a cardiac arrest situation massively improves the chances of a positive outcome and with every minute that passes that positive prognosis is reduced by 14%! This is a very frightening statistic and shows how vital the role of a CFR is especially when the ambulance response target for such calls is eight minutes.

Currently there are 130-150 CFRs dotted around both rural and urban areas who may cover an area of up to five miles from their home address. They work on a pager system linked to the main ambulance control room, book on when they are available anytime 24/7 and carry their own equipment including a defibrillator and oxygen. Carterton currently only has two active CFRs.

If you would like any further information or would be interested in volunteering, then please contact:

Bonnie Brookes
South Central Ambulance Service
State Registered Paramedic
bonnie.brookes@scas.nhs.uk
07799 661502 

Have you got a hedge around your garden? 

One of the most common complaints we receive at the Town Hall is about hedges or vegetation encroaching onto pavements. It makes it difficult for mothers pushing prams while holding on to a toddler and for any residents that travel around on buggies. The worst cases are when pedestrians have to step into the road to get round the obstacle. May we ask that you take five minutes today to check your boundaries and ensure there is nothing that may hinder anyone using the footpaths around your property?

Thank you

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Driving on the Market Square 

Please note that the New Market Square outside the Town Hall is a Pedestrian Only area and is not to be used by any vehicle, unless authorised by Carterton Town Council. Any vehicles seen driving over the Square will be reported to the local police. Can you please pass this message on to anyone who may not be aware. Thank you.

 

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Community Volunteers Wanted

If you are interested in looking after your environment, perhaps you would like to be the eyes and ears of the Town Council? 

Particularly in Willow Meadows and in other recreational areas, to report anything that may be amiss.

If you are interested, please contact us and we will arrange for you to visit the Town Hall to discuss further.

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