District Councillor's December Report

District Councillor’s December Report from Cllr Felix Bloomfield


I expect to issue a separate Planning Newsletter over the next few days, so I am only including a few, more recent items.

Oxford City Council Local Plan

The city council has launched a consultation on the Oxford City Local Plan 2036 – Proposed Submission Draft.  We will be preparing a response for this, but please provide any comments that you have to the City as it will affect our District.

You can see the full plan on the Oxford City’s website and the Consultation ends on the 28th December.


Chief Planner’s newsletter

We’ve received a planning update newsletter from Steve Quartermain, the Chief planner at Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government.

It features articles on proposals to help support the high street and potential reforms on developer contributions to help raise money for local infrastructure.The newsletter is available on our website.


Neighbourhood Plan updates

Referenda were held for Chalgrove (passed 773 votes 46 against) and Little Milton (134 votes for and 3 against) on Thursday 22 November. Congratulations to both communities on these results.

Examinations are ongoing for the PyrtonGoring and Cholsey plans

Andrew Ashcroft has been appointed to examine plans for:

Long Wittenham (review) – consultation ends 13 December

East Hagbourne – consultation ends 4 January.

Berrick Salome Parish Council is inviting comments on their draft plan until 11 January 2018.


Chilterns countryside consultation

The Chilterns Conservation Board are holding a consultation on their management plan 2019-2024.

The new plan covers a range of issues from biodiversity on wildlife conservations to preserving the character of each local village.All comments should be submitted by 31 December.


Fly-tipping prosecutions

We have successfully prosecuted two fly-tipping cases this month.

An Oxford man was given a three-month curfew and ordered to pay £385 for illegally dumping rubbish on land near Wittenham Clumps in February, while a woman from Henley pleaded guilty to not ensuring her waste was disposed of in the correct way after her details were found in rubbish bags dumped on land at Dorchester-on-Thames. As a result, she was ordered to pay £740.


£100,000 to tackle air quality issues

We’ve allocated £100,000 to help tackle air quality issues in our district.  We’re working on a number of projects including studies to install more electric charging points in our car parks and will be running an ‘anti-idling’ campaign to encourage drivers to switch off their engines whilst parked or waiting at traffic lights.

Funds have also been made available to support town and parish councils to address air quality issues including known trouble spots in Wallingford, Henley and Watlington.

If you know of a project that we could help fund, please contact the environment health team.



South Oxfordshire is to get five new football teams, extra athletics coaching, a new archery judge and new volunteer befrienders thanks to a pilot volunteering grant scheme from South Oxfordshire District Council.

Sports clubs and community groups in the district have already benefited from the extra help, but they don’t have to be the only ones – there is still time for other local groups to apply.

The council launched the pilot volunteering grant scheme with a total of £25,000 to help voluntary and community groups find the volunteers they need.

Small groups can apply for a new volunteering grant of between £250 and £750 to help cover costs, for example, training as a sports coach or additional insurance needed to be a volunteer driver.

So far, the council is helping the following groups in the district:

Horspath-based Oxford City Athletics Club is set to receive £750 towards the cost of training more athletic coaches, which means new athletic coaching groups for young people.

Charity Enrych Oxfordshire is set to receive £750 towards costs for four new volunteers to befriend and support physically disabled adults.

Didcot Casuals football club is set to receive £705 towards the training of more football coaches, which will mean three new football teams in the club.

Wallingford Castle Archers is set to receive a £750 volunteering grant to help with training a new archery judge.

Benson United Football Club is set to receive a £538 volunteering grant, which will mean they can create two new football teams.

We are delighted to have helped so many local groups already, but there is still more money available. We would urge community groups to get in touch, especially those struggling to find volunteers because costs are a barrier.”

The scheme is open to applications until 31 January 2019.

To find out more about the grant, eligibility and how to apply please see www.southoxon.gov.uk/volunteering


Volunteering – give something back

Volunteering to support SOFEA

On Wednesday 21 November, myself and other Cabinet members carried out a day’s volunteering work sorting food at the young people’s charity SOFEA based in Didcot.

SOFEA operate a surplus food distribution centre to provide food that would otherwise go to waste, to homeless charities and foodbanks. Under-privileged and vulnerable young people working at SOFEA benefit from the experience of being in a working environment and receive educational support, training and life and work skills.

Members spent the day helping out in the warehouse, taking orders from the young people running the warehouse and helping unload, catalogue and store a large delivery of surplus food from the nearby Tesco distribution centre. They also helped pick and compile food orders ready to be sent out to local food charities.

If you would like to volunteer in the local community get in touch with our Volunteering Development Officer Suzi Wild, and if you have a volunteering story to share please contact Communications.



Reminder – New online services from Thames Valley Police

If you need to get in touch with Thames Valley Police to find out about, or assist with, ongoing cases, or to contact an officer or department directly, you can now do so online by using their new contact form. If you want to speak to someone by phone then please call 101.

To report a crime or missing person you should use this report form at:



Business Awards launched

Please help spread the word that our South and Vale Business Awards are now open to nominations for one of the eight award categories.

Large business of the year
Employer of the year
Early stage innovation award
Established innovation award
Social responsibility award
Business leader of the year
Business space of the year
SME of the year

You can nominate a business in your ward or they can self-nominate via our SO Business website.



Wards could miss out from grants funding

Whilst many of you have applied to your councillor for grants to groups in your areas, there are still places at risk of missing out.

Each councillor has £5,000 to give to projects or services that offer community benefits in their ward area. There is still £130,000 available until midday on Monday 17 December.

If know of a project or group in your parishes that could benefit from a cash boost, please urge them to apply as soon as possible for a councillor grant via our website or email our grants team; grants@southandvale.gov.uk


Free parking in December

Please help spread the word in your areas that we are providing free car parking for one day a week in the car parks we own in the run-up to Christmas.  This helps to support our town centres and local independent traders and finishes on 24 December.

We’re providing FREE parking in our council-owned car parks on the following days up to 24 December:

  • Didcot – Mondays from 3 December
  • Goring – Saturdays from 1 December
  • Henley – Tuesdays from 4 December
  • Thame – Saturdays from 1 December
  • Wallingford – Thursdays from 6 December

If travelling further afield, car parking is also free at Vale of White Horse District Council-owned car parks in the run-up to Christmas, on the following days:

  • Abingdon – Saturdays from 1 December
  • Faringdon – Saturdays from 1 December
  • Wantage – Fridays from 30 November


Gift donations welcome

We’re collecting Christmas gifts on behalf of two local charities in the reception areas at Milton Park and Cornerstone.

Councillors, staff and residents can donate gifts, which we will give to Charity Secret Santa and Sleigh2Give.  Both charities will take the gifts and give to vulnerable children and people in Oxford Children’s Hospital, hospices and homeless shelters.

If you’d like to donate a gift, please bring in by 14 December – items such as toys, books, toiletries, blankets are welcome or anything that you think would make a great gift.


Waste and Recycling – Reminder

Reporting missed bin collections

Some councillors have asked for a reminder on how people should report missed bins.

If a resident needs to report a missed bin they should contact Biffa:

  • online by visiting southoxon.gov.uk/missedbins before midnight on the next working day after the collection was due
  • by calling 03000 610610 before 5 pm on the next working day.

Crews will only return to collect a missed bin if it was originally put out before 7 am on the scheduled collection day.

There are some occasions when crews can’t collect a bin – for example, if the bin was not put out in time.  If a resident has put the wrong items in their recycling, or the bin was too heavy or overflowing, then the crew will place a tag on the bin to explain why it wasn’t collected and will attempt to collect it on the next scheduled collection.

If there are repeat problems at a property or a specific area, Biffa will investigate.  If a collection is missed at the same property on a number of occasions, and the issue is not resolved by Biffa, residents should emailwaste.team@southandvale.gov.uk and we will investigate.


Cooking oil recycling

We’ve just introduced a new cooking oil recycling service for residents as part of our food waste collections.

After cooking and once it has cooled, any leftover oil can be poured into a plastic bottle no bigger than one litre in size. The bottle and its contents can then be placed into the kerbside food waste caddy, along with other food waste, and put out for the weekly collection. For those who don’t want to use a plastic bottle, oil can also be poured straight into the caddy along with other food waste.

One litre of cooking oil can generate enough electricity to make 240 cups of tea!

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