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News & News Archive

Covid19 - From 17th January 2022, self-isolation rules have changed.

on Tue, 18/01/2022 - 1:01pm

From 17th January 2022, self-isolation rules have changed.

If you’ve tested positive for Covid-19, you can finish at the start of day 6 if you get 2 negative lateral flow test results on days 5 and 6 (taken 24 hours apart), and you don’t have a temperature.

More information here:-

Need a replacement bin? Additional bins? Or a brown, garden waste bin?

on Tue, 18/01/2022 - 12:59pm

Do you need a replacement bin or 3?

Or additional recycling bins?

Or a brown, garden waste bin?

Contact the Vale's provider - Biffa:-


Smaller communities could have a greater say on housing developments

on Thu, 13/01/2022 - 9:57am

Small communities in the Vale of White Horse and South Oxfordshire will now have an opportunity for greater influence on how and where houses and other developments should be built in their area.

After the two district councils put together a successful joint bid for government grant funding of up to £45,000, the government has announced the districts will be part of a national pilot of a new, simpler approach to Neighbourhood Planning (click).

Neighbourhood Planning is a process where a community – usually led by the town or parish council – can develop a shared vision for their neighbourhood and influence development in their local area.

While many communities have already benefitted from developing their own Neighbourhood Plans – 41 have been adopted in the two districts combined – they are hard work to produce and can take a long time.

As part of the pilot, the two councils will now design and trial a new simpler form of Neighbourhood Planning, which should make it available to a much wider variety of communities.

Vale of White Horse and South Oxfordshire District councils will be inviting communities to take part in the trial very soon. Community groups taking part don’t have to be town or parish councils, which means “unparished” communities would be able to get involved.

Four communities will work to produce what the district councils are calling a “Local Placemaking Plan”. In these the local community can set out what matters to them, and their infrastructure priorities. The trial will test how a simpler form of neighbourhood planning could have real influence in planning decisions.

The two district councils are very well placed to deliver this pilot, having been at the forefront of Neighbourhood Planning since it was first introduced in 2011 – Thame and Woodcote in South Oxfordshire were among the first Neighbourhood Plans in the country to be adopted. The two district councils also already provide a gold standard support and advice service for communities developing Neighbourhood Plans.

Cllr Debby Hallett, Cabinet Member for Corporate Services and Transformation at the Vale of White Horse District Council, said: “We already go to significant lengths to support our communities who are developing Neighbourhood Plans, and we’re taking that further by helping to make the process available to even more of them. There is very often plenty of will and enthusiasm within smaller communities to take part in the process, just not enough people or money to make it a reality, and so we’re doing everything we can to break down those barriers.”

You can view maps of the neighbourhood plans in South Oxfordshire and the Vale of White Horse (click).

From an article on the Vale's website; see the original <here>.

Parish Council Finance & Planning Meeting DRAFT Minutes - Mon, 20th Dec 2021

on Tue, 11/01/2022 - 10:31am


These DRAFT minutes are published for information purposes only, prior to the next Parish Council meeting

Parish Council DRAFT Minutes - Wednesday, 3rd November 2021

on Tue, 11/01/2022 - 10:30am


These DRAFT minutes are published for information purposes only, prior to the next Parish Council meeting

Where to get help & support for mental health, suicide, self-harm & wellbeing

on Thu, 06/01/2022 - 7:00pm

The Oxfordshire County Council website has a helpful & concise page on where to get help, information & support for mental health, suicide, self-harm and wellbeing.

The page includes information and sources of support for:-

  • Mental wellbeing during COVID-19
  • Support and help for suicidal or self-harm thoughts
  • Wellbeing
  • Local support services
  • National support services
  • Suicide, mental health and wellbeing strategies in Oxfordshire

Find out more here:-

Celebrating the 2021 achievements of Sustainable Wantage - inc video

on Wed, 05/01/2022 - 2:37pm

Congratulations to all at Sustainable Wantage - another year of awesome achievements that would not have happened without the efforts of many volunteers.

The numbers speak for themselves, and equally important is the stuff we didn't count - the smiles, the connections made, the friendly ear in a challenging year.

So far in 2021 there has been...

  • 43 Tonnes of surplus food rescued
  • 1,204 Bunches of flowers given out
  • 291kg Crisp packets and sweets, biscuits, and choc wrappers recycled
  • 415 Laptops, tablets and desktops fixed and given out
  • =1,141kg of electrical waste avoided
  • 120kg of electricals mended
  • 13 Bikes rehomed
  • 17 Tools sharpened
  • 2.6 tonnes Rehomed through the Resource Bank
  • 1,397 Trees planted
  • 1,800 Bulbs planted
  • And…..over 6,000 hours of volunteer time given!

Need help? Can give help? More at

Cllr Dr.Paul Barrow - Report for Parishes - January 2022

on Tue, 04/01/2022 - 6:40pm

Road drainage

We have been pestering OCC and the Vale, to whom some of the work is delegated, about road drainage. When the responsibilities changed in 1991 poor communication meant that landowners who now had most of the responsibility for ditch maintenance were poorly informed or supported and many of these have been badly neglected for at least 2 decades! There is a lot of catching up to do. The worst stretches in this ward are Gramps/Smith’s Hill and Holborn Hill in Letcombe Bassett, Warborough Road in Letcombe Regis and Whitelands Road connecting West Challow with the B4507. There are also patches on the B4507 at Sparsholt and the Blowing Stone (near the house not the pub). We have been reviewing the worst of these with the Vale Flooding Officer to see what can be done to ameliorate some of this neglect. OCC also need to be involved since some of the road drainage system is blocked and there is clearly no point in clearing out ditches if the water can’t go anywhere. This is ongoing and more of this in due course.


I am the Vale representative on JHOSC (county health scrutiny committee) as my background is in infectious disease. We had an interesting meeting on Nov 25th.

The Covid update involved a heat-map indicating that after restrictions were dropped in June levels of infection went up in 20-24 year olds followed by other youngsters. It increased steadily again in September in school-age children followed a month later by it appearing in their parents generation and from there it has spread into older age groups. The guidance on mask wearing is common sense. I won’t preach but 90% of hospital cases are in those who have not been unvaccinated. I know that there are some irrational but real concerns about this vaccine but how does it differ from the childhood vaccinations that everyone received years ago? No difference at all is the answer. For protecting populations and preventing disease they are all very effective and there is nothing dodgy about them at all. I have worked with vaccines all my life.

The review of county-wide provision of community health services, which took over from our much-slated OX12 review, is ongoing. This looks a much more reasonable and rational approach than that taken for the OX12 postcode. It is quite clear from some of the international literature that the emphasis will be, wherever possible, of being cared for, recuperating and aging at home to try and improve the efficiency and quality of care. It is recognised that community hospital beds will be needed and there is a national “bed optimisation” programme underway. We have asked for more information on this but at least it was stated that should beds be discontinued permanently at Wantage Hospital then a public consultation will be carried out.

The timetable for all this is that short-listed options will be discussed in March 2022.

I carried out my own research on infection control procedures in care homes in late 2020 and found that the care homes associations were not using the best and most comprehensive sources of advice and information. This was submitted as a report to HOSC and accepted by the Director of Adult Care Services so we hope that protocols in care homes and other institutions will be improved for this winter and beyond.

Healthwatch/Community First Oxfordshire is carrying out a survey and review of rural isolation. This is important not just regarding loneliness but also in access to services. The result of the survery will be published in March.

AONB and Environment

We had a meeting of the Council of Partners (the Vale is a partner) of the North Wessex Downs AONB on Nov 9th. A number of topics were discussed including the govt response to the Glover review on Landscapes, the Farming in Protected Landscapes scheme which I have mentioned before, dark skies and Farmer Clusters. I can provide more details if requested.

I have been in touch with the Letcombe Brook project and The Fresh Water Habitats Trust to see what might done regarding improving the several streams that cut across our parishes, particularly Childrey Brook in the first instance, together with their surrounding environment.


We have seen the first intention to apply for planning permission for one of the plots of land submitted in the call for sites in May. This one is between East Challow and Wantage just north of the A417 and is at the screening application stage to determine whether an environmental impact assessment (EIA) is needed – It is bizarre and I’m not sure why they go through this stage at all! This involves the Vale working through criteria set out by Central Government as to whether additional EIA assessments should be submitted with any future planning applications. East Challow village is producing a Neighbourhood Plan (at public consultation stage), a major point for which is to keep Wantage, Grove and East Challow as separate settlements. East Challow is the worst affected by these submissions following the call in May since there are several plots almost surrounding the village.

I will keep you informed on any others that come out of the woodwork.

Many will be aware that Lovat Parks Lts, a caravan park operator has bought Britchcombe Farrm, below Whitehorse Hill and thereby acquired lawful development certificates enabling them, we believe, to station mobile homes. A similar screening application has been received by the Vale for bases for caravans, surfacing for car parks, minor internal access roads plus the laying of general utilities (Water, electricity and drainage). 

The Vale has increased its input into planning enforcement. As always, prioritisation of cases will be done but hopefully we can get a more proactive approach to this (which is necessarily reactive, of course). 

Puppy sales

We have had reports in East Challow of puppy selling. The Vale is following this up but if there is any evidence of this in other villages please let me know.

Cllr Dr Paul Barrow

[email protected]
District Councillor for Ridgeway Ward


Four of the biggest Highway Code changes - January 2022

on Tue, 04/01/2022 - 6:14pm

Big changes to the Highway Code are due to come into force at the end of January 2022.

The updated code establishes a hierarchy of road users, which means those who pose the greatest risk to others have a higher level of responsibility. Eg someone cycling will have greater responsibility to look out for people walking, while someone driving will have greater responsibility to look out for people cycling, walking or riding a horse.

Many of the rules in the code are legal requirements, and to disobey these rules is to commit a criminal offence, but some of the changes introduce new advisory measures that are not legal requirements but could be drawn upon in court proceedings.

These include advice that drivers:

  • Should give way to pedestrians crossing or waiting to cross a road into which or from which their vehicle is turning.
  • Should not cut across cyclists or horse riders going ahead when turning into or out of a junction or changing direction or lane, to prevent “left hook” collisions.
  • Should open car doors using the “Dutch reach” method, with the hand on the opposite side to the door they are opening. This makes drivers turn their heads to look over their shoulders and reduces the likelihood of “dooring” a passing cyclist.
  • Should leave at least 1.5 metres when overtaking cyclists at speeds of up to 30mph, and give them more space when overtaking at higher speeds.


Signpost & Church services - January 2022

on Sat, 01/01/2022 - 12:00pm

Download a PDF copy of 'Signpost' at the link below.

Revd Andrea Colbrook
[email protected]
Tel: 01367 820553
Mob: 07749865052
Study Day: Thursday
Rest Day: Friday

Dear Friends,

The festive season is over and as we take down the Christmas tree and put away the decorations for another year, we can feel lonely and isolated. The friends and family we saw over the holidays have returned home and nights somehow seem longer and days colder than they were before Christmas. This can be an even greater challenge in a rural community like ours as we long for connection to friends and family. We desire to feel rooted in our community and experience a sense of belonging. In fact, Simone Weil says that, “to be rooted is perhaps the most important and least recognised need of the human soul”.

Human beings desire attachment, belonging and connection. For Christians the story of Christ coming to us, to dwell and live amongst us gives us our source of rootedness. “Live in me” he said, “Make your home in me just as I do in you” (John 15:4). This is where we can find rootedness that lasts and remains strong as the seasons change.

So, as we gather up our Christmas decorations, let us dwell upon how our true sense of home is found in Christ. May this spur us on to share that deep rootedness with our friends, family and community; bringing us hope as we begin this New Year.

With love and blessings for 2022