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News & News Archive

Did you check your smoke alarms when the clocks changed?

on Wed, 21/03/2012 - 9:44pm

Oxfordshire County Council Fire & Rescue Service are backing the national “When you change your clock, test your smoke alarm” Fire Kills campaign.

A working smoke alarm can buy you valuable time to get out, stay out and call 999, but only just over half of all householders who own a smoke alarm say they actually test their alarm on a regular basis to ensure that it’s working.

Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service is also encouraging residents to make sure they are fully aware of the fire hazards which commonly exist throughout the home, how to identify them and what to do should a fire occur.

An online questionnaire can be found on and will only take around ten minutes to complete. If you would like a paper copy of the questionnaire sent to your home, or having completed the process you are concerned about the outcomes, call the Freephone Community Safety Helpline on 08000 325999.

Stuart Garner, Oxfordshire County Council's Fire and Rescue Service Risk Reduction Manager, said: “While losing that extra hour's sleep on Sunday 25 March may not be appealing, turning the clocks forward will already be on the majority of UK households’ ‘to-do’ lists.”

“But while we all keep our clocks working and we ensure that they stay on track, it’s shocking that many people forget to do the simplest of tests to ensure the safety of themselves and their loved ones.”

“You’re four times more likely to die in a fire if your smoke alarm is not working. So it’s clear that the simple act of testing your alarm is a vital part of any household routine."

“Whilst you’re changing your clocks this weekend, take a moment to test your smoke alarms to make sure they work and get into a weekly routine of testing them. One day they may save your life.”

£250,000 still available to support rural businesses

on Wed, 21/03/2012 - 9:42pm

£250,000 in grant funding is still available for rural businesses in Southern Oxfordshire looking to develop or expand. 

The Southern Oxfordshire LEADER Programme has funding available to support a wide range of projects for farmers, tourism and community based businesses.  

In 2009 the Southern Oxfordshire LEADER programme, a joint initiative involving South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse District Councils, was awarded £1.89 million of European funding to support rural projects, including  farms, up to 2013. So far 44 businesses have received a significant boost after successfully applying for a share of the funding. 

Projects which have benefited from LEADER funding are spread right across the area and provide a wide variety of services.  For instance Brighton Cum Sotwell based Sherwood Farm successfully applied for £40,000 funding to help pay for a much needed fully functioning slurry system, while local business parks operator Jennings used £30,000 to invest in a café facility for home-based businesses. 

Angus Dart, of Sherwood Farm, said: “The LEADER funding was the key element in enabling us to complete the three parts of our project at one time. It has turned a recurring problem into an important asset.”  

The tourism economy in Southern Oxfordshire has also received a significant boost from LEADER, with projects such as the refurbishment of Folly Tower, Faringdon, supported by £24,000 funding, and the new Lily’s Farm Shop and Tea Room in Dorchester, which received £31,000 funding, helping to enhance the visitor experience for tourists and residents alike.  

Mark Stevenson, of Lily’s Farm Shop and Tea Room, said: “Without funding we would have struggled to achieve the project. Business premises in villages are rare and this one needed considerable renovation and refurbishment.  The tearoom has become very popular and we are clearly meeting a need and enabling more people to access local produce.  It has enabled a significant expansion in our business and created additional full-time and part-time employment for the community.” 

By helping businesses grow the LEADER Programme provides benefits not only to those involved but also to the wider community by supporting local job creation and helping to raise the profile of Southern Oxfordshire as an area for rural business to thrive. 

Kate Forrest of the LEADER Programme, said: “The funding that we have available gives businesses in southern Oxfordshire a much needed boost to help them develop.  Businesses that expand or diversify can provide a real boost to the local economy and the wider community, and we encourage any that are looking to do just that to get in touch with us and apply for funding.” 

If you are looking to develop your business then why not get in touch with us to find out if you could qualify for a Southern Oxfordshire LEADER grant.  For more information on the Southern Oxfordshire LEADER Programme, how to apply for funding and the programme’s aims and boundaries, visit or contact Kate Forrest on 01491 823176 or email [email protected].

Provided by VoWHDC, 21/3/12

Easter Holiday Activities for Young People - Programme

on Mon, 19/03/2012 - 10:23am

Young people in Southern Oxfordshire will get the chance to try their hand at a whole host of sports and activities this Easter thanks to the latest activities programme from South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse District Councils.

Together with leisure operators and local sports clubs, the two councils are running holiday activities between Monday 2 and Friday 13 April for young people up to and including the age of 18.

The activities on offer this holiday range from felt making and paper making sessions for the very young, to kayaking and fencing for those who are slightly older.  There are also a wide range of more traditional sports available such as athletics, basketball and squash.

For more information on the activies available for booking please see the follow link:-

How to Book

Bookings can only be taken over the phone by contacting our booking line on 01235 547646.  The line will be open from 1 - 31 March from 9am - 5pm, an answerphone message can be left outside of these times.

Payments can be made using a credit or debit card.  Once your booking is complete, you will be issued with a booking reference number as confirmation.   Credit card payments will incur an administration charge of 1.72 per cent.

Provided by VoWHDC, 16/3/12.

Message from your District Councillor re Housing (IHSP), Budget & Recycling

on Mon, 19/03/2012 - 10:03am

Most of all you will be wanting to know how our proposed changes to planning will affect you in your village.

Interim Housing Supply Policy (IHSP)

On 16 March we Councillors instructed officers to screen the many proposals put forward for housing under this scheme. We had agreed to seek delivery of up to 1000 houses by 2014 (when we will operate our new Core Strategy) in an interim scheme  which relaxes the planning in and around villages. To date sites for 5097 houses have been put forward, so we have made the first selection and officers will now screen the remainder (below 1000) against standard planning requirements.

We decided:

  •  to exclude all sites in Green Belt and AONB
  •  not to consider strategic sites in the towns and larger villages which will be the main development sites in our Core Strategy       
  •  to ‘manage growth in smaller villages’ by the’ proportionate guideline’ which ‘should not be significantly exceeded’
  •  to give due consideration to provision of infrastructure, housing mix (incl. affordable housing) and community mix . . .  .AND
  •  to attach significant weight to sites supported by the Parish Councils.

We decided also that this IHSP can be withdrawn at any time national planning guidelines are changed; when we have achieved the build of 1000 houses; or when our Core Strategy is implemented (in 2014).

Parish Councils are being asked for their comments on the sites proposed in their villages by 20 April, and full Council will decide the most suitable sites at the meeting on 16 May.

Vale of the White Horse District Council Budget

The Budget for 2012 has been decided also, and its all good news for you our residents and Council Tax payers.

We have been most successful in managing spend for the year without any cut to front-line services and NO INCREASE IN COUNCIL TAX even after taking the ‘hit’ of providing free 2-hour parking in our towns which is increasing visitors to the towns and we expect trading to increase and boost our local economy.

Standford Recycling Tip  - a date for your diary

On 3rd May at 7 .30 in Uffington Village Hall I have organised with County Cllr. Anda Fitzgerald to hold a meeting for our neighbourhood with  Lorraine Lindsay-Gale, the County Cllr. responsible for the tip, to discuss its future.

Locally we hear mixed messages: one that it will ‘be OK’, but the staff still expect closure in 2014, and I think the County Council will benefit from knowing how important this facility is in this area.  Though our new bin collection works extremely well (has achieved 74% waste recycled) it does not handle items too large for the bin, or any electrical goods, and the brown bins are not large enough for garden waste at seasonal times of the year. To prevent tipping, some facility is needed at Stanford, and it has been suggested to me that we users might be prepared to pay (say £1 in a slot) for each visit.

Will you come to discuss it . . . . please!!

Submitted by Yvonne Constance, District Councillor, 17/3/12.



Update re closure of Stanford-in-the-Vale Recycling Centre

on Sat, 17/03/2012 - 12:59pm

Oxfordshire County Council is proposing to close the Stanford-in-the-Vale waste recycling centre in December 2014.

Our closest waste recycling centre/tip will then be at Drayton, south of Abingdon.

Oxfordshire County Council's consultation paper:-

A meeting re the proposed closure of Stanford tip is scheduled for May - have your say; click <here> for further details.

Extra garden waste to be collected

on Thu, 15/03/2012 - 10:44am

Customers of the garden waste scheme in the Vale of White Horse are being reminded that they will be able to leave extra garden waste during one allocated week this spring.  This is available for existing customers of the council’s subscription based brown bin service only.

The extra waste should be no more than an extra brown bin load, should be able to be lifted by one person and should be in either a sturdy box or bag, which must be left open.

These collections will take place during the week commencing 26 March.

The council is providing this larger collection because over the Christmas period, the garden waste scheme is suspended for two weeks and those crews are used to help clear the extra waste created during the festive period.

More details of the garden waste scheme can be found by clicking <here>.

Courtesy VoWHDC, 14/3/12

Vale cabinet set to vote on housing plans

on Mon, 12/03/2012 - 12:02pm

Last October, the Vale of White Horse District Council published a draft Interim Housing Supply Policy (IHSP) for consultation.  The policy sets out conditions to address the council’s current shortfall in housing by bringing forward up to a thousand new homes on small to medium sized sites across the district.

Landowners were invited to submit potential housing sites for consideration under the policy. The policy requires that sites are suitable, sustainable and deliverable, and that the level of growth proposed is proportionate for the location.

The IHSP is due to go before the council’s cabinet on 16 March to review consultation feedback and agree the final policy approach.  The Vale will then start to review the sites proposed.  The final policy is expected to be adopted at full council on 16 May at which point, any sites judged suitable will be invited to submit a planning application.

Details of the sites submitted for screening and the comments made during the consultation process are available from 9 March.  They can be viewed at the Vale offices at Abbey House in Abingdon and other ways to obtain them can be found on the council’s website at

Residents should not be concerned by the fact that more sites have been proposed than will be needed, as having a choice means the council is able select the most suitable options based on proportionality and other guidelines contained within the policy. The Vale has sent parish councils details of sites proposed in their areas, and their views will help to bring the best sites forward.

Cllr Roger Cox cabinet member for planning at the Vale, said: “Protection of towns and villages in the district are key priorities for us and this is central to the conditions set out in the policy.  This means protecting both their character and ensuring their future vitality.  Provision of homes is a necessity and the interim policy is the best way to achieve this while we finalize our major housing plans in the core strategy.”

Provided by VoWHDC, 12/3/12

Vale to consult residents and businesses on Core Strategy

on Wed, 07/03/2012 - 11:56am

The Vale of White Horse District Council is set to give residents and businesses the opportunity to give their views on a key local planning document.  The Vale’s core strategy, or new ‘local plan’, will set out proposals for where major new development should take place in the Vale over the next 15 years.

The cabinet will meet on Friday 9 March and are expected to give the go ahead to update the plan for public consultation, which would take place after the summer holiday period.  The council will want to hear from residents, parish and town councils, local businesses and other stakeholders with views on our plans for housing and other development in the district.

The results of the consultation will be reported back to Cabinet before a decision is made about what proposals should then be submitted for independent examination by a planning inspector.  This will provide further opportunities for anyone interested in the document to make additional comments.  It is only after the examination that the council will consider whether to adopt the new local plan.

Councillor Roger Cox, cabinet member for Planning at the Vale, said, “Over the past few months we have carefully scrutinised the background to the housing forecasts and what they mean for the district.  This is a big challenge for us all, both to ensure we protect what is best about the Vale and also to ensure we plan constructively for its future prosperity.  We value the contributions people have already made into the preparation of this important document and we hope people will take the opportunity again later this year to comment on the revised proposals.”

Provided by VoWH, 7/3/12

Thefts from local farm buildings & outbuildings

on Wed, 29/02/2012 - 12:16pm

Overnight between 27th and 28th February, offender(s) have forced doors on barns, sheds and outbuildings to gain entry and steal power tools and other farm equipment in Childrey, Compton Beauchamp and Fawler.  A Green Polaris Quadbike and a Blue Yamaha trial bike were also stolen from the Childrey break-in.

These offences have occurred along the Ridgeway, between B4507 and the A417 roads.

Please be extra vigilant. If you have seen any suspicious looking people or vehicles in the area, or have any information relating to this message, please call the police on the new national single non-emergency telephone number 101 (or 01865-841148 from a VOIP phone) and state that you are responding to a Ringmaster message.

Alternatively if you have information but wish to remain anonymous, please call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

This is a Community Message from Thames Valley Police, submitted 29/2/12.

Parish Plan (Final Draft) - please review & comment!

on Mon, 20/02/2012 - 11:12am

The final draft of the Parish Plan can be downloaded from the link below. If you would like a hard copy, please email [email protected] or ring Angie B on

All residents are invited to attend a meeting at Sparsholt Village Hall (Griffin Hall) on the 27th February 2012  to give views and ask questions on the Draft Parish Plan. Refreshments will be available.

Comments on the draft plan are welcome and can be made to group members on the evening of Monday, 27th February, by email to [email protected] or in writing to:-

  • The Parish Plan, Hall Place Stables, Sparsholt, Nr Wantage, Oxon, OX12 9PL.

Please ensure that we receive your comments and views by Friday, 30th March 2012.

Angie B will also attend the 'tea & cakes' afternoon on Friday 9th March at Griffin Hall, to answer questions and hear your views.

Parish Plan Steering Group, 20th February 2012.