Baldons Parish Council Update Sept 2015
Baldons Parish Council News
Subsidised Bus services
As part of their plans for saving money Oxfordshire County Council are currently consulting on proposals to save money on its subsidised transport services. The Council proposes to save £2.56m by reducing subsidies to commercial bus operators, while prioritising services used by older people and people with disabilities. There is a public consultation on the OCC web site which closes on September 14th and the Baldons service is on the list at a lower priority for saving.
For the Baldons the risk is the loss of our only bus services which runs one return journey 3 mornings a week from the Baldons to Cowley Centre for shoppers. Because of its limitation the service is not well used by Baldons residents but is used more regularly by residents of the mobile home park on the B380. In the past the Parish Council have argued strongly for a better and more frequent service but naturally with very low usage it hasn’t been a priority for the County Council. However, if we lose our limited bus service this time it will be almost impossible to get it restored in the future.
When the village undertook its Parish Plan, over 200 villagers supported a bus service. The Parish Council have asked Ralph Slaney to help us look again at the issues and help us to argue again for a more regular service which we believe could be provided if adjustment could be made to allow the T2 /T3 bus to be routed through the Baldons from Nuneham Courtenay en route to Sandford on Thames and Oxford. We argued for this previously but it was refused and we believe we should argue for it again. However if we were to succeed it would need villagers to demonstrate their commitment and use the service.
Is this something you want? Councillors need to know your views. Whether we should argue to retain our existing service or argue as above for an improvement or whether we should accept the potential loss.
It should be noted that village children have already lost their subsidised school transport to Wheatley Park.
All the information is on the OCC web site under consultations headed ‘Supported Transport (subsidised transport and Dial a Ride) Consultation’
Ralph has distributed a questionnaire, please complete it if you haven’t already done so and let him or parish councillors have your views. Or come to the council meeting and tell us. We will be discussing our response at the Parish Council meeting on Tuesday 8th September.
Neighbourhood Planning - A Baldons Neighbourhood Plan.
Since the introduction of the Localism Act the development of Neighbourhood Plan has been an important feature of planning policy and parishes in South Oxfordshire are being actively encouraged to consider developing one. A Neighbourhood Plan allows communities to have more influence over developments, such as land use and housing and infrastructure etc that are being considered as part of the local authority overall development plans for the area. And local authorities and planning inspectors are required to take notice of local opinion.
An increasing number of parish councils in South Oxfordshire are now starting to develop plans in order to be able to have more influence, and following a preliminary discussion with SODC, parish councillors feel that is in our interests to consider going ahead with one.
Whilst SODC has no major development plans for the Baldons and development is restricted by our protected status in the Green Belt, the Local Plan allows housing development on sites which are considered suitable for infilling as we have seen with the development near the Seven Stars and councillors feel it will be to our advantage to have a plan that is able to influence the size, scale and style of any future applications, and that allows us looks again at the need for affordable homes and also at our conservation areas.
Developing a Neighbourhood Plan has to have the support of the community and will need a small team of villagers to work on it. Elizabeth Gillespie, Stephen Dance and Lawrence Attewill will be taking the lead for the Parish Council but will need help.
More information will be circulated to villagers for consultation before a formal application is made to SODC for agreement to go ahead.
Baldons Feast 15th August
This time last year there was uncertainty about whether Baldon Feast would continue but despite the unsettled weather last week we had a lovely day on Saturday 15th and this year’s Feast appears to have been bigger and better than ever.
This again is thanks to the commitment and effort of Ralph and Phylis Slaney and their family and the team of volunteers from the village to whom we owe a very big thanks.
The music, the entertainment .and the displays were good, the bar and tea tent were always busy. Everyone seemed to have a good time and hopefully those raising money for local projects did well.
Organising the Feast take a great deal of work and needs the support of villagers as well as visitors from elsewhere to make it a success. The village picnic on the green on Sunday was a new innovation and was very enjoyable for those who came. Hopefully if its repeated next year more families will make the effort to join in. Those who did come had a special ride on the fairground horses thanks to Mr Meach!
46 The Green: The council has supported an application for a revision of the roofscape on a previously approved plan for an extension and this has now been agreed by SODC. Planning ref P15/S1951/HH
Hillcroft Farm Toot Baldon: The council has received information on an application for a change of use of a farm barn to a domestic dwelling. New planning laws about the use of redundant farm buildings are relevant to the application which will be granted by SODC providing it meets the planning regulation requirements. Planning ref P15/S2480/PAR
Land off Baldon Lane: An agricultural application to create a hard driveway off Baldon Lane to access Nineveh Farm land has been received and the council is considering its response. Planning ref P15/S2464/AG
We have been advised that John Woodley Shead who was elected our District Councillor in May has now stood down from the position. SODC will be arranging a by election.
Household Waste and Recycling Centre strategy.
OCC are also holding a public consultation during August and September on the future of the current recycling centres. To save over £350,000 it is proposed that the current 7 centres are reduced to 3 or possibly 4 with also a possible reduction in opening of 18 hours per week . The views of the public are needed by 5th October. Relevant to local views is that Redbridge would be retained and expanded or relocated to serve central Oxford. All the information is on OCC website www.oxfordshire.gov.uk/waste and follow link.
Date of next meeting 8th September 7.30 pm Village Hall.
Many thanks to all those people that have given so generously to the defibrillator fund. We now have just over £1,300. I am waiting for the capital grants scheme for small projects to open up via SODC and then will be applying for the remainder of the money that we need.
Meanwhile, we hope to get the box restored to its former glory in the near future - any offers of help most gratefully received!
Thank you all again, Sara