Before Christmas councillors were briefed that the government was going to ask the county to take some extra housing. These new homes were to be above and beyond the thousands already agreed in our Local Plan.
Well, yesterday the true horror of the extent of these plans was revealed. 100,000 new homes for our county in the next seventeen years. And I am told that there is nothing we can do about this, just decide where they will go. So much for local democracy. Seemingly what Central Government wants, Central Government gets.
South Oxfordshire looks set to get around 17,000 of these homes, an average of 775 a year.
I believe these homes must not be ‘bolted on’ to existing communities as in many cases the existing infrastructure just cannot cope. I will be calling on the District Council to resist the imposition of these homes, but if all else fails they should go in a new settlement near Oxford.
We must all be aware of the state of the roads and the havoc that has been wrought by the recent rain and floods. We are fortunate that temperatures have been mild, otherwise the situation might be much worse.
The County has a whole team of engineers who constantly monitor and repair the roads, but they aren’t able to see all roads all the time.
This is where we can help. If you spot a pothole or other damage near to you, please log in to the Fix My Street site and report your concerns. The site will ask you for a postcode and some details, including how to contact you, You can even add a photo of the damage.
I should warn you that a pothole needs to be as deep as a 400g can of beans before it can be repaired – if it is shallower the tarmac will just pop out.
When you identify the area of the damage on Fix My Street you will be able to see if your site has already been reported by someone else. I would still continue to report the pothole as it will add to the pressure on the repairers to mend the damage.
I have just heard that the Fulscot Bridge will be closed for a further six months.
Apparently Network Rail have discovered that there are issues with the structure of the bridge.
Initially, when they came up with the short delay that they put down to the weather, I was prepared to give them the benefit of the doudt. However, now I think they should have surveyed the bridge properly in the first place.
I will push for the bridge to be open as soon as possible, but Network rail are a law unto themselves. It is very obvious that the diversion road through North Moreton is not coping well with all the extra traffic.
My friend, fellow parish councillor and former Youth Club chair, Angela Rowlands, is aiming to raise a massive £3,500 for research into cancer. Angela has had two friends diagnosed with Lymphoma and has had what she describes as “a bit of health scare” herself.
In November she plans to undertake a 10 day trek in the Cambodian jungle. Angela will be trekking up to 8 hours a day and the challenge is graded as ‘tough’ due to basic living conditions, the extreme heat, humidity and having to carry kit.
Angela says “Those of you who know me well, will know that after some training I will be able to achieve the trekking, but the real challenge to me will be the camping! I have never camped, even in this country; Ihave a weakness for 5 star hotels with room service and cannot even go to the toilet if there isn’t a lock on the door! Besides, where do you plug in hair straighteners in the jungle?!”
If you would like to sponsor Angela you can do so by:
Donating securely via her PayPal account http://www.paypal.co.uk (Send money to email@example.com) or
through her “Just Giving” site at http://www.justgiving.com/angelarowlands
I have offered to take Angela camping in the UK and the use of my solar powered hair straighteners!
Now that the waters are receding (with the exception of North Road in Moulsford) it is time to start taking stock of what happened, what was done and what might be done better if this happens again.
To this end the County Council have produced a survey for people affected in any way by the floods. Whether your house was flooded, if you were an onlooker or have specialist knowledge, the council is keen to hear from you.
The survey can be found at www.oxfordshire.gov.uk. I can’t get a direct link to the surveyfor some reason, but if you click on “Flooding updates read more…” the link to the survey is below the orange latest updates button.
I have just heard that Network Railare delaying the completion of the electrification of the Paddington to Oxford line.
Apparently the closure or -proposed closure- of bridges to enable works has caused so many local problems that Network Rail have gone back to the drawing board.
Very much as yesterday really. Water levels seem not to be rising, so let’s hope we will be alright this weekend.
The great Little Lane flood is getting worse, but Thames water tell me they are “monitoring” it every other day and will deal with the problem when the water levels drop.
Don’t forget there is help at hand if you need it. About a dozen villagers are available to assist in the event of any potential or actual damage.
….And finally the Hithercroft Road at South Moreton is now fully open.