News

Draft Minutes of the Bus 64 Meeting held at Carterton Town Hall on 26 April 2018 at 2.30 p.m.

Present: 
Cllr Mrs Lynn Little, Carterton Town Council
Mr David Miles, Parish Transport Representative for Witney 
Cllr Alex Postan, District Councillor for Brize Norton & Shilton
Cllr Martin McBride, Carterton Town Council
Cllr Suzi Coul, Carterton Town Council
Cllr David Wesson, Carterton Town Council
Cllr Mrs Maxine Crossland, West Oxfordshire District Councillor
Mr Bob Edwards
Mrs Jo Mungall
Mrs Pamela Edwards
Other members of the public

Cllr Lynn Little welcomed everyone to the meeting.

She said for many the last 14/15 months without the Swindon bus had been difficult. Swindon offers the opportunity for employment, a wider choice of hospitals, a good shopping experience, and some have family living there. The loss of the service has affected surrounding villages too. Cllr Mrs Little said she has looked at funding. The Town Council has offered the possibility of a grant towards the cost of a replacement service but this has not yet been approved. She has engaged with several bus companies, the last being Mark One Coaches based in Witney. She had three meetings with the two directors and they were very keen to purchase a coach and even produced a suggested timetable covering five days a week including Saturdays because of football. But things are now at a standstill because there will need to be a lot more funding.

Mrs Little said she has engaged with Robert Courts MP, and also with the district councillor for Filkins and Broadwell, to see whether he can help in any way.

At this point, Mrs Little handed over to David Miles.

David introduced himself as the Parish Transport Representative for Witney, also involved with West Oxfordshire Community Transport who provide the Witney town services and a service for the Wychwoods and Chipping Norton.

He said that the Transport Group had already been looking at the need for a service to Swindon and had produced a specimen timetable. They were looking at a six day a week service including Saturdays which is the busiest day. He said he was encouraged with the turnout today. He appreciated that the 64 service used to be very well used. He came along to the meeting today to see exactly what people want and how the Witney Group can help. He said they operate with funding for the Wychwoods and in Witney but certainly not with £40,000.

Mrs Little said that Cllr Peter Handley was at the Town Hall earlier and had pledged to represent OCC and come to the next meeting. But a coach firm is now needed to take this forward. The service was originally funded by OCC contributing £34,000 and Gloucester funded the rest, making £64K in total. OCC withdrew funding and then Gloucester also withdrew and put their money into Cirencester. She recalled that service users were happy to pay about £6 return fare without using concessions. She had put this figure to Mark One Coaches and they thought it was a good figure, and that maybe they could even do concessions. But now it is back to square one. Hopefully, with the support of Peter Handley and of David, things can move forward again.

Bob Edwards said the situation had been discussed at the 27 September 2017 meeting concerning the Vision for Carterton. He was disappointed nothing had been done. It is important that the town is seen to be viable. Need to look at ways of developing Carterton and linking with Gloucestershire. They could look at our schools too. Need to look at whole package.

Mrs Little said that following the meeting last year, Swindon and Gloucester Councils had been invited to a meeting but they hadn’t responded. But it would still be worth pursuing.

A Resident said that the 74 Lechlade to Swindon bus is run by Stagecoach; if they came this way, there would be more people on the service. It goes to Highworth only, and also includes Cirencester (which is where the Gloucester funding went to). Need to form a group everyone is part of to make sure that this continues. Mrs Little pointed out that David had started his group with funding from WODC. He said the parish transport system has been going for many years but with the community transport group they were fortunate in Witney that people with business experience didn’t want to see the town service disappear and they found a stop gap, Go Line, which bought some time and no services had to stop. So far they’ve had 33,000 passenger journeys in Witney in 14 months.

Maxine Crossland asked if the service in Witney was subsidised by the businesses of the town. David responded no, not from businesses; they had received a subsidy from Witney Town Council. There had not been any funding from WODC. He said in the case of the Wychwoods, the funding was from the parish councils. Mrs Little recalled that the Carterton Clerk wrote to all the parishes last year to ask if they would consider helping with this service but had received no reply.

Jo Mungall, a resident of 34 years, said she had never used the service but her mother lives in Lechlade, in a mobile home park for over 50s, and she had relied on it. Some of her neighbours drive but her mother does not. She uses her mobility scooter to get into the town, partly on roads, but otherwise she is dependent on others to get anywhere. Jo said that buses from Highworth to Swindon are vibrant and regular, so if a new service could connect with the Highworth timetable, it would cut costs. She also said that men from RAF Brize Norton didn’t even know there used to be a bus that could take them direct to Swindon train station to go home. So perhaps that was a good reason to seek funding from the RAF? Mrs Little responded that Peter Handley could help with this aspect, as he sits on a committee at RAF Brize Norton and could put forward any ideas. She said that previous suggestions included linking up in Faringdon, or Lechlade, via minibus, but Stagecoach had said this would not be viable. She agreed that RAF Brize Norton should contribute, and that the train station is a good point.

A lady stood up to speak. She said she came from Bristol and when she needs to get there now, she has to travel via Oxford, then Didcot, and then to Bristol. A journey that used to take two hours from Carterton now takes five and a half hours and is double the cost.

Alex Postan, District Councillor for Shilton and Brize Norton, said if we look at Brize Norton and Bradwell alone, there are 1300 people. If somewhere near this number used the service, then he would make every effort he could to assist. In addition there is a villager community bus service, and if we could link into their service, there would be more customers and a busier service. He said he hadn’t heard about previous meetings and he asked to be kept informed.

Pamela Edwards, of Filkins said that people of Carterton miss the 64 service, but the people in Filkins and surrounding villages had five buses a day to and from, bringing students, workers school children, etc and yet, with one fell swoop, were left with nothing. Pupils cannot get to college in Swindon if their parents don’t drive. In the future, more families in these villages, who are older, or have a sick partner, or who can’t drive, will be robbed of their independence. Too many people have to rely on someone else.

Mrs Little said that the minutes of this meeting will go to Mr Courts. She felt that Mrs Edwards had made a good point, in that the service was used by villagers coming into Carterton for shopping as well as taking them elsewhere, so we’ve been robbed of that too.

Mrs Edwards raised one more point, concerning the possibility of combining concessions with very low fares, but the response was that this could not happen because concessionary card holders are not permitted to pay reduced fares by law.

Another resident said if the problem is funding as well as finding a company to run the service, then OCC councillors have personal budgets and they could be asked to put money towards this scheme. Mrs Little agreed that they should be asked. David said that with the Wychwoods, that is exactly what they are doing.

Somebody questioned the 19 bus. Mrs Little said that Henry Howard had an update but wasn’t able to attend the meeting. She said it wasn’t a positive update. The resident said there is a bus which goes through Filkins and is sometimes empty, but it doesn’t stop.

Alex Postan said there needed to be a shortlist of wants.

Mrs Little said that our OCC representatives, Peter Handley and Nicholas Field-Johnson, will fight for us. We need a coach company to take this on if funding were found. Also need to define a route to include all customers. Mark One Coaches suggested a wider route would be financially viable. Mrs Little will share details with Alex Postan. A possible journey could serve Carterton from Witney and then include Filkins, Kencot etc and go into Swindon past the crematorium.

A resident said that when the Swindon bus was lost, Stagecoach put on a bus to Woodstock instead. But why not Swindon three days a week and Woodstock three days a week? She felt it didn’t make sense. David responded that they got developer funding.

Mrs Little said a name was needed to make the group identifiable. The suggestion was the West Oxford Wanderer. She suggested that meetings be held monthly. She nominated Bob Edwards as chairman. As town council officers cannot transcribe the minutes, a secretary was needed. No volunteers came forward so Mrs Little said she would take on that role for the moment. Susan Nix volunteered to sit on the committee. A meeting in the first week of June was suggested, maybe at the town hall at 2.30 on the first Thursday in June. Mrs Little hoped there would be no charge.

Posters and a budget needed to be organised. Details of the meetings are currently on Facebook but not everyone uses Facebook. Otherwise the group would need to rely on posters, and an A-board could be used a week before the next meeting. Carterton Community College and the U3A were suggested as other platforms to spread information.

Mrs Little thanked everyone who had attended.


Prostate Cancer Awareness Day

A Prostate Cancer Awareness Day was held on the Carterton Market Square on Saturday 9 June 2018. The event featured dancers, stalls and live music and was attended by Robert Courts MP and the Carterton Town Mayor, Cllr Martin McBride, together with other town councillors. The event was organised by Mrs Marjorie Collins and was six months in the making. A total of £1,200 was raised and it is hoped to make this an annual event.

See photos of this event on the Carterton Town Council Facebook page.

Bandstand Concert

On Sunday 27th May 2018 we held our first Bandstand Concert of the year in the bandstand on the recreation ground. We were entertained by a performance of the Oxford-Cherwell Brass Band, who were impressed by our lovely bandstand which was formally opened by Cllr Dee Bulley in 2013.
We were fortunate to have dry weather after the thunderstorms of the previous night.
The next concert is on Sunday 24th June at 2pm so put that in your diaries and bring the family along to enjoy Witney Town Band who will be entertaining us from 2pm till 4pm.

Bus 64 – Interim Report – Cllr Mrs Lynn Little - July 2017

• 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 July 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.

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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