School Buses – A Light On The Horizon.

As you may have seen in the local media OCC are having second thoughts on charging for school transport. I am not surprised to hear this as it was obvious that the plan had caused near universal anger among parents and a similar reaction from councillors – including, apparently, the cabinet member for education.
I am sure this scheme is only kicked into the long grass, the job of the council is to ensure that it does not re-appear. I heard a parent say on Radio Oxford that the County hasn’t even asked the bus companies if they can cut their charges…. surely that would be a better way to make the 2.5% saving.

Planning Workshop Update

Well over a hundred people attended yesterday’s planning workshop in the Pavilion; an activity aimed at helping SODC to decide where the 128 new homes planned for the village could go.
People took part in a range of activities including placing Monopoly houses on a map of the village, putting flags on areas of concern – such as the need for a cycle path along Wallingford Road and the congestion in the centre of the village – and using post-it notes to comment on good and bad aspects of specific sites.
A small display of the sites along with some comment forms will remain in the library for two weeks.
If you would like to see the map with the potential sites you can access the information by Googling SODC SHLAA.

SODC Young Achievers Award – now open!

SODC is giving a total of £20,000 to young people in the area, to recognise excellent citizenship, sports achievements and brilliance in the arts, through its Young Achievers Awards.

Applications open on 1 July 2013 for residents between 11 and 18 to win up to £250. 

There are three different awards available:

  • Citizenship awards are for those who are dedicated to helping out in their community for example through helping in an old people’s home.
  • Arts awards recognise achievement in music, dance, drama, creative writing, painting, sculpture, photography, video production, multi-media and crafts.  
  • Sport awards reward those representing Oxfordshire in a sport.

The closing date for applications is 14 September 2013.

If you would like to nominate a young person, please visit: http://www.southoxon.gov.uk/grants for an application form.

OCC Gravel Change Of Heart

Today the County Council decided to scrap the existing Minerals and Waste Core Strategy and go back to first principles.

The main reason for this change is that the Government Inspector was critical of the way the council had worked on their Strategy and a lack of co-operation with neighbouring authorities.

This volt face will allow us to put our case properly to the consultation that is sure to be part of the formulation of the new Core Strategy. It may also be possible to argue that less gravel will need to be extracted in the county, which may alleviate the need for any new pits.

School transport “Consultation”. Cholsey and Benson BEWARE

You may remember that last summer the County Council attempted to withdraw bus passes and, more insidiously, buses from children who live just inside the three mile from school limit.

Many local parents spent hundreds of hours working on appeals to get the attempt over-turned and fortunately they were successful.

The council is now trying to re-introduce this policy by attempting to get walking routes to school reclassified as safe.

I will be going along to the Education Scrutiny Committee with some parents to let the council know how we feel. The safety of local children has to be seen as paramount and we cannot allow the saving of relatively small amounts of money to stand in the way of this.