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Councillor Yvonne Constance's Summer 2018 Report for Parish Councils

on Fri, 21/09/2018 - 7:57pm

County Council has been very busy during the summer with many decisions to report:

HIGHWAYS

  • Potholes have been repaired at new rate ; winter damage resulted in 8,000 reports to Fix My Street in Jan/Feb and Highways faced 30,000 defects  and by start of Q1 (April) Highways faced 30,000 defects. 20,000 had been repaired by end of Q1 after introducing 2 new teams to repair (1 extra in North and 1 in South) and purchasing 1 additional Dragon Patcher to operate 2 1/2 in the county.  Hope you have all noticed how many potholes have been done, and appreciate the better roads in the neighbourhood
  • County agreed  to bring forward £10million from capital spend for next year to start a major programme or surface dressing/ resurfacing/ drainage, cutting vegetation and  bridge repairs
  • County has agreed also a new programme to borrow £120million (internal borrowing) over 5 years from 2019/20 to invest in improving the county’s  assets : £80 million will be spent on roads, footways, bridges and street lights etc.,and £40 million on properties, especially schools.  This is a new initiative to invest in our assets,  will usie the ‘growth dividend’ from increase in Council Tax revenue from the growth in the number of houses.  County has recognised the importance of our roads and buildings to the residents and made a bold decision to bring forward works to get ahead of endless short-term repairs , to invest in better standard of  our highways and properties.  This programme will be flexible, with plans to draw down borrowing only as the growth dividend is available to afford the borrowing.

WASTE

  • Oxfordshire Environment Partnership (with the District Councils) is promoting the use of cloth nappies aiming to reduce the £1 million p.a.it costs to incinerate them at Ardley.  The Councils are offering free trials of cloth nappies, which are lighter, softer, better designed to be more consumer friendly.
  • OEP is working to recommend to the Growth Board a requirement for developers to build new houses to higher standard of Energy Efficiency

GROWTH DEAL

Is progressing with set up of Advisory Sub Group  to structure and spend the £215 million Gov grant available for infrastructure and affordable housing by 2031 if we deliver 100,000 new houses in Oxfordshire.  This was agreed in the spring with County and  all District Councils and the City in an initiative the first of its kind in the country to build infrastructure for the houses

  • A Joint Strategic Spatial Plan will be agreed by the Districts and City to shape the delivery of housing in the County up to 2050 : the first statement to scope and structure the issues has just been agreed by County : geography, decision-making structures, communication plans have been presented – Parish Councils will be in comms schedule
  • The Affordable Housiing sub-group has shaped its plan and met for the first time last week in Oxford
  • The Infrastructure sub-group will meet in near future

OXFORD to CAMBRIDGE EXPRESSWAY

  • Highways England has announced its first decision about the corridor for this new road : they will build it east or west of Oxford and will go to full consultation on the possible routes in 2019 with decision in 2020 : OCC continues to press for a route that delivers relief to the A34

OCC TRANSFORMATION programme

  • County has agreed to progress with a transformation of the County’s operations to digitalise access to services and focus more on service delivery and less on the admin in the back office.  This will be a 3-5 year programme, designed to do things differently and achieve savings of at least £33 million ( to achieve the savings still required in the medium term) and possible further savings of £20 million.  We intend to deliver better services with 600-900 fewer staff, recognising that staff turnover is about 650 every year, so there will be few redundancies

COUNCILLOR’S PRIORITY FUND : 

I remind Parish Councils that I have a  County community fund for ‘priorities’ in my Division, and have offered each PC the opportunity to bid for projects costing £2000 to £2500, which must be supported by fully costed quotations and agreed by me before submission to County Hall.  Bids seems slow, so if you have a project you want considered, please get an application presented by end October (ideally).  So far I have approved bids for contributions to repair a village hall roof; a  new bus shelter; and expect bids for improvements to a belisha beacon; tarring a sports field for older children; repairing play equipment.  Please think about making an application – I would like to spend my fund in my Division and not surrender it again to another Cllr!

AT VALE DISTRICT COUNCIL:

I have focused much time and energy with Fyfield&Tubney Parish Council at the Examination in Public of LPP2 in July to oppose Vale’s allocation of 600 more houses east of Kingston Bagpuize (in fact in F&T parish!).  600 more houses would impose unacceptable congestion on A420 and Frilford Lights on A338, and we made our case that the development was not needed, not viable and not deliverable.  We await his decision.

Yvonne Constance