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Last UK posting dates for Christmas 2017

on Wed, 08/11/2017 - 1:51pm

Post Office "Christmas 2017" page:-

UK Inland Services

  • Wednesday 20 December - 2nd Class and Royal Mail Signed For®
  • Thursday 21 December - 1st Class, Royal Mail Signed For® and Royal Mail Special Delivery Guaranteed®
  • Friday 22 December - Royal Mail Special Delivery Guaranteed®

International Standard HM Forces Mail - British Forces Post Office® (BFPO)

  • Mon 27 - November Operational BFPOs
  • Mon 11 - December Static BFPOs

International Standard (formerly Airmail) and all International Tracking and Signature Services (formerly Airsure® and International Signed For®)

  • Sat 2 December - Africa, Middle East
  • Wed 6 December - Asia, Cyprus, Far East, Eastern Europe (except Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia)
  • Thu 7 December - Caribbean, Central and South America
  • Sat 9 December - Australia, Greece, New Zealand, Turkey
  • Wed 13 December - Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, Poland
  • Thu 14 December - Canada, Finland, Sweden, USA
  • Fri 15 December - Austria, Denmark, Iceland, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland
  • Sat 16 December - Belgium, France, Ireland, Luxembourg

International Services International Economy (formerly known as Surface Mail)

  • Wed 27 September - All non-European destinations (except Canada, Far East, Middle East, South Africa and USA)
  • Thu 28 September - Middle and Far East (except Hong Kong and Singapore)
  • Thu 12 October - Canada, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Africa, USA
  • Thu 2 November - Cyprus, Eastern Europe, Greece, Iceland, Malta, Turkey
  • Thu 16 November - Western Europe

Parish Council Minutes - Wednesday, 11th October 2017

on Tue, 07/11/2017 - 2:10pm


Minutes of Meeting of Sparsholt Parish Council held on

Wednesday 11th October 2017 at Griffin Memorial Hall starting at 7.30pm

Present: Councillors Barnes, Brown and Williams, the Clerk and 7 parishioners (including Angie Brown from the Griffin Hall Management Committee).






Apologies:  Cllr Comyn, Downie, DC & CC Constance and the RFO.  Cllr Brown chaired the meeting in the absence of the Chairman.



Declaration of Acceptance of Office, Declarations of Interest & Reminder of the Code of Conduct:  Cllr Brown declared a non-prejudicial interest in the Days House planning application on account of his sister in law, Sandy Humphries living next door.



  Minutes of the Meeting held on Wednesday 20th September 2017: 

  Cllr Brown proposed signing these as a true record, seconded by Cllr

  Barnes and unanimously agreed.



Matters Arising: 

  1. B4507 50 mph speed restriction update:  It was agreed to organise a meeting with all the local parish Councils along the B4507, to be held on Wednesday 29th November at 7.30pm in Griffin Memorial Hall.  The Clerk to email the local Parish Council Clerks
  2. Cemetery rules:  Ongoing.
  3. Westcot Village Green:  Cllr Brown has forwarded an email to the Clerk proving that he has registered an interest with Arthur McEwan-James of OCC.
  4. Potholes:  Ongoing.







  1. Approval of the Finance Report to the end of 30th September and the listing of payments to be made:  Cllr Brown proposed acceptance and agreed the cheques, seconded by Cllr Williams and agreed unanimously.

Cllr Brown initialled the bank statements

  1. Any other Finance matters:  The RFO has handed in her notice, the vacancy to be advertised on the Notice Board and website.











  1. P15/V2600/PAR Westcot Farm, Westcot, OX12 OX12 9QA:  Conversion of agricultural buildings to form three no. C3 dwellinghouses.  Fully Discharged
  2. P17/V1299/FUL (Amended) Days House, Westcot, OX12 9QB:  Demolition of bungalow/pool house (not Days House). Dividing site and erection of new house.  It was reported that demolition has already started.  There are drainage issues and inconsistencies in the report.  A parishioner asked for assurances that the Parish Council would have a degree of oversite to the process.  Septic tanks, run off and drainage will all be taken into account.  Cllr Brown will ask Building Control to comply with the guidance and  condition of the planning should be that the drainage scheme is proposed before approval.  It was suggested that the Parish Council reference a previous application with drainage issues.  Building Inspectors do site visits throughout the building process.  Cllr Barnes proposed that Sparsholt Parish Council have ‘no objections’ to this application but will add a condition to this approval, seconded by Cllr Williams and agreed by Cllr Brown.  The Clerk to submit the response.
  3. P17/V2092/FUL Days House, Westcot, OX12 9QB:  Demolition of bungalow/pool house (not Days House) to divide site and construct new house to replace bungalow in different position similar to that approved 4/3/16 but with two minor additions.  Remove this application from the Agenda.
  4. P17/V2344/HH 3 St Johns, Sparsholt, OX12 9PW:  Single storey rear extension.  No decision.
  5.   New Applications:

a)  P17/2713/HH 5 West Street, Sparsholt, OX12 9PR:  Proposed

     two storey rear extension.   The application was discussed and no

     one was present to either support or object to the application. 

     A response of “no objections” was proposed by Cllr Brown,

     seconded by Cllr Barnes and agreed unanimously.  The Clerk to

     submit the response.
































Highways:  None.



Trees along Church Way:  Coronel John Dean raised the money and planted these trees and this proves that the trees are owned by the Parish Council.



Cemetery and Cemetery Rail:    Cllr Brown waiting for three quotes.  Coronel John Dean has requested information about reserving a plot to have his ashes interned when the time comes.  The Clerk to pass the letter to Cllr Comyn.



Correspondence Sheet:  No comments.



Any other business: 

  1. Cllr Barnes asked for a definitive map and Cllr Brown will ask Arthur McEwan-James how a copy can be obtained.
  2. Cllr Brown has received a complaint about a staff member from the Old Glebe overtaking the School bus and another vehicle dangerously and speeding.  The Clerk to write a letter to the Old Glebe House.
  3. Water has been gradually emptied from the swimming pool at Humber Barn, the Clerk to write to Mr and Mrs Stout to remind them of the drain problems in the road.



Cllr Brown







Dates of Next Meetings: Wednesdays 15th November, 6th December 2017 and 17th January, 21st February, 21st March, 18th April and the AGM 16th May 2018 all starting at 7.30pm at the Griffin Memorial Hall.

The Parish Council may need to change this date as necessary.



Meeting closed at 8.40pm.

Minutes prepared by Mrs D Lewis-Pryde, Parish Clerk


SPC 11th October 2017

Ed Vaizey MP - Parish News, November 2017

on Tue, 07/11/2017 - 1:41pm

In October, I spoke in Parliament alongside my fellow Oxfordshire MPs about the future of healthcare in the county. Wantage Hospital is currently in a state of limbo – Oxford Health announced in April 2016 that they would be closing the hospital due to concerns over legionella in the old pipe system. This decision is subject to a consultation by Oxfordshire CCG - a consultation which was previously promised in October 2016. Phase one of the consultation did not take place until January 2017, three months after the full consultation was promised. As Wantage is a community hospital it is not covered by this phase. Phase 2 of the consultation has yet to take place, and no date has been announced for when it will begin. This leaves the hospital effectively closed with no end in sight.

After an online petition was signed by almost 4,000 people it was agreed to keep the hospital’s physiotherapy and maternity services open. However, Oxfordshire CCG re-tendered the hospital’s physiotherapy services and the contract passed to HealthShare. The company has since had to close all physiotherapy services provided in Wantage, leaving the hospital with just limited maternity care. Whilst we all recognise the pressures on local health authorities, it is clear that the entire consultation process by Oxfordshire CCG has been completely unacceptable. We must have an open and transparent conversation about the services needed in our towns and communities and this should include full public and stakeholder engagement at every stage.

Also in October, the Communities Secretary Sajid Javid announced £2.5 million allocation funding for 9 garden towns across England. After a successful bid, I am delighted an additional £295,000 of capacity funding has been allocated to support the delivery of Didcot Garden Town in 2017/18.This additional funding is specifically for ongoing work on place-making, community engagement and the development of an arts and culture strategy. The Government recognises the important contribution the project will have on its central ambition of delivering more homes and I am pleased by the support for Didcot’s ambitious, community-led plans for growth.

It is also worth noting that Public Health England and NHS England have now launched their Stay Well This Winter campaign, which helps the most vulnerable people prepare for winter and avoid having to visit hospital due to common winter illnesses. If you’re in one of the groups who are particularly susceptible – such as pensioners and pregnant women – or the parent of a young child, go and speak to your GP or pharmacist as soon as possible to give yourself the best chance of avoiding flu this year. More people than ever before are eligible for that free vaccination this year, including more young children and everyone who works in care homes. To check if you or your loved ones are eligible, and for other tips on staying well this winter, head to:

Ed Vaizey MP

Please feel free to contact me if you have any pressing issues that you would like help with.  Either myself or one of my team will get back to you as soon as possible and do what we can to assist. You can contact me on any matter at the House of Commons, SW1A 0AA, or 020 7219 6350. Email is the quickest and most reliable way to get in touch, as I keep a very close eye on my emails and can reply very quickly.   Details of my activities in Parliament can be read on my website, I also send out occasional general interest emails about developments in the Wantage and Didcot Constituency. If you would like to be added to the distribution list, please complete the online form at


Obituary & funeral details for Sheila Shalgosky

on Sat, 04/11/2017 - 1:29pm

Former Westcot resident and Childrey Primary School teacher, Sheila Shalgosky, who lived in Westcot for over 30 years until 1997 has passed away.

Sheila died at a care home in Warwickshire after many years suffering from vascular dementia. She was a few days shy of 89. 

She moved to Westcot in 1966 with her late husband Harry, and their two young daughters, Sarah and Charlotte. 

They converted an old Dutch barn sitting on a ploughed field into "Humber Barn". It was named after the river she and Harry knew growing up in Yorkshire. 

Sheila taught at Childrey C P School for some years from around 1967 under Mrs. Childerly and Mr. Coles, before leaving to teach art at St Mary's School, Wantage. Despite her formidable temper she was also very funny and inspired many pupils. 

The house and area were deeply loved and when the family left in 1997, she especially missed Westcot and the views of the Downs and Ridgeway from the garden, the subject of her many paintings.

Her funeral will be on Friday 17th Nov at 1pm at Oakley Wood Crematorium, Warwickshire.

No flowers please. Donations to RSPCA, Salvation Army and cancer charities.

For further information please contact:

(provided by Charlotte & Sarah Shalgosky)

Have A Safe And Fun Bonfire Night

on Fri, 03/11/2017 - 10:57am

Having your own fireworks party or celebrating with family and friends can be great fun. But by far the safest way to enjoy these seasonal activities is to attend a professionally organised event.

Please think of others and remember that fireworks should not be let off between 11pm and 7am (this is extended to midnight on Bonfire night). And that setting off a firework in a public place is an offence.
Always follow the fireworks code:

  1. Plan your firework display to make it safe and enjoyable
  2. Keep fireworks in a closed box and use them one at a time
  3. Read and follow the instructions on each firework using a torch if necessary
  4. Light the firework at arm's length with a taper and stand well back
  5. Keep naked flames, including cigarettes, away from fireworks
  6. Never return to a firework once it has been lit
  7. Don't put fireworks in pockets and never throw them
  8. Direct any rocket fireworks well away from spectators
  9. Never light fireworks near pets or livestock
  10. Never use paraffin or petrol on a bonfire
  11. Never have a bonfire within 100m of a thatched property
  12. Make sure that the fire is out and surroundings are made safe before leaving 

You should also remember:

  • Only buy fireworks marked BS 7114, EN 14035 or EN 15947
  • Don’t drink alcohol if setting off fireworks
  • Always supervise children around fireworks
  • Never give sparklers to children under five
  • Don’t forget your pets! Keep them safe indoors and make sure they have a comfortable, quiet space to relax in.

From a TVP 'Thames Valley Alert' email received 2/11/17.

Vote for Your Favourite Local Wantage Independent Businesses

on Wed, 01/11/2017 - 5:59pm

We're celebrating our independent businesses again with the Local Business Awards.

Voting is open (click) until November 29th and the winners will be announced on Dickensian Evening.

If you have a Loyalty Card you can also be entered into the draw to win a £50 local shopping voucher!

There are five categories:

  • Exceptional Customer Service - Shops
  • Exceptional Customer Service - Non Retail
  • Pub
  • Restaurant
  • Best Kept Shop Front

Show your support and vote for your favourites:-

Phishing - How To Protect Yourself

on Tue, 31/10/2017 - 8:25pm

Safety Tips - Keeping Your Home Secure This Autumn

on Tue, 31/10/2017 - 8:21pm

As the darker evenings approach, with trick-or-treaters preparing for Halloween, Thames Valley Police are offering tips for a safe and fun Halloween and are reminding residents to take basic home security measure to keep their home safe as the clocks go back on Sunday (29/10).

Detective Chief Superintendent, Richard List, said: “While Thames Valley generally has low crime rates, a house in darkness indicates that there’s no one at home and it could be an invitation to a burglar. There are a lot of simple measures you can do, which don’t have to be expensive, such as using a timer so that a light automatically comes on while you are out.

“Making sure your doors and windows are locked is a deterrent for an intruder. Many burglaries are opportunistic crimes, where the offender has identified an open window or insecure door and has easily let themselves into your home.”

Last year saw a 34% increase in residential burglaries in winter compared to summer (summer months include June 2016, July 2016, August 2016 and winter months include November 2016, December 2016 and January 2017). 

“Many people only think about home security after they have been burgled. We want to encourage people to review this before they fall victim to crime. Similarly, valuables left on view on car seats provide an ideal opportunity for a smash and grab.”

Top tips to reduce the chance of your house being targeted: 

  • Invest in a timer light switch and vary the time it comes on each day to make it look more natural. It can also be used with a radio or TV to give the impression that someone’s home
  • Consider installing a fake/simulated TV device which lights up a room like a real TV
  • Keep valuables out of sight and mark them with your house number and postcode using a UV pen, or consider buying a forensic property marking system
  • Register your valuables via immobilise and keep an inventory list. It’s free and takes just a few minutes
  • If you have jewellery at home, photograph it for insurance purpose and consider storing it in a suitable safe
  • Lock your doors and windows, if you have a UPVC door make sure you have double locked it by lifting the handle and locking it with the key. Make sure the key is removed from the lock and out of reach
  • If you’re going away, remember not to post details of your holiday on social networking sites, cancel any milk or newspaper deliveries and if you have a burglar alarm, make sure it is set before you leave
  • Look out for your neighbours’ houses, especially when they’re not at home and call the police if you see anything suspicious on 101 or 999 in an emergency.

From a TVP 'Thames Valley Alert' email received 27/10/17.

Letter from Revd Leonora Hill, 'Signpost' & services - November 2017

on Fri, 27/10/2017 - 8:00pm

Revd Leonora Hill

Dear Friends

Let us take this opportunity to wish Bishop Peter and his wife Betty our very best wishes as they settle into their new home in Beaconsfield. During his retirement here Bishop Peter has been a great source of wisdom and strength and helped and supported the ministry of the Ridgeway Benefice in many different ways. Forty years after leaving Beaconsfield to become the Bishop of Taunton, Peter and Betty have now returned to where he was a parish priest.

Love and prayers