Oxford Flood Defence – Will It Affect Us?

I went today to look at the exhibition for the new flood defence channel in Oxford, as I know many people locally are worried about the potential effect it could have on those of us lower down the Thames in times of flood.
The staff from the Environment Agency are at pains to point out that any scheme will be modelled to ensure there will be no ill effects for neighbouring communities. They say that rather than dumping water on us it will regulate the flow, so the water runs for a longer period.
The EA staff have agreed to run a consultation in Wallingford in the next few weeks so we can see what is planned and question them on any likely effects.

Gravel Update

As you may have seen in the local press, Grundon have sent in a “scoping request” to Oxfordshire County Council for an environmental impact assessment (EIA). This is in respect of potential mineral extraction on the land they have acquired near the bypass south of Wallingford (New Barn Farm). 

The following is a summary of the CAGE response to the request:

By law, an EIA must be carried out before a planning application can be made for any major development.  In the scoping request,  a developer proposes a list of topics be covered in the EIA.   On receipt of the scoping request, the relevant Planning Authority is obliged to respond to the developer, setting out any additional requirements for the EIA above and beyond those already proposed by the developer.  This does not infer that the Planning Authority in any way approves or disapproves of the application.

 

OCC has put the Grundon scoping request out to consultation and CAGE has responded by sending OCC a detailed list of  additional points that it believes should be addressed in the EIA. In essence our additional points reflect a lot of the reasons why CAGE considers  the land would not be suitable for mineral extraction. We want to ensure that these points are properly addressed in the EIA and not simply ignored or glossed over.

The points include detailed arguments under the following headings: 

Hydrology, fauna and flora (water table, aquifer, impact of extraction and infill)Traffic (roundabouts already at capacity) Archaeology (research into Great Burh implications, Roman finds, Saxon and medieval archaeology) Air quality (nearby nursery, maternity hospital, residential housing)Noise and vibrations (nearby properties); Heritage, tourism, recreation and landscape (Agatha Christie trail, heritage railway, Mill Brook walk, listed buildings) Socioeconomic impacts (house-building nearby, wider Cholsey-Wallingford developments) Utilities (nearby sewer and gas main).

Although not strictly relevant to the scoping request, we presaged our response by once again pointing out that any application on this site would be “premature” because 

there are already enough extraction sites in the county to last nearly 25 years, well over the 10 years required by the government (based on the last 5 years of sales of sharp sand and gravel) the county has not yet had its Core Mineral Strategy adopted.

Flooding Worries?

If you are concerned that your property could be in danger please ring 101.
I am in the process of contacting Thames Water as it looks like the pumping station, behind the Red Lion on the Wallingford Road, may have stopped working.
The Parish Council has sand bags and sand. If you have need, please contact me on 07971 805416.

A Gong For A Friend

Val Bolt BEM
Huge congratulations to Val Bolt who has been awarded the British Empire Medal in the New Year’s Honours List.
Val has contributed immensely to village life over many years with work for, among others, the scouts, 1000+, HortSoc and the Parish Council.
This award is massively well deserved and should show Val how well thought of she is in our community.

Latest Defibrillator Installed

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The second of the Parish Council’s defibrillators has been installed in the centre of the village.
The device has been mounted on the Ilges Lane side of Tesco Express. We are grateful to Tesco for covering the cost of the installation.
A second defibrillator is in the old telephone box on Papist Way and a third will be joining them in a site yet to be decided at Fair Mile.

Tips Reprieved

I understand that the Household Waste and Recycling Centres have been given a stay of execution, at least until 2017.
It is fairly obvious that the County Council was overwhelmed by the negative responses to its consultation, more than 3,000 people and institutions responded, mostly opposing the plans.

First Views Of The “Marina”?

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I am told by my friends at the Oxfordshire Guardian that this is the plan for the marina that may take the place of the proposed gravel pit next to the Thames.
The 352 boat marina will be right next to the bypass bridge.
I don’t propose to do anything about this “plan” at the moment as I feel it is pre-emptive and comes from cloud cuckoo land. Let’s face it, the County Council hasn’t even managed to come up with a plan that sets an amount of gravel that can be extracted.