Saturday
Feb162019

Parish Council verbal submission to Examination in Public hearing - February 2019

Transcript of verbal submission made at “Examination in Public” hearing of CDC Local Plan 20112031 (Part 1) Partial Review – Oxford’s Unmet need 
 
Sir, my name is Fred Jones, Chairman of Yarnton Parish Council. Last week we heard very balanced views from those in favour and those against the proposals. Many of those views were based on rules, regulations and calculations. On behalf of the council and our residents I would like to express our very real concerns regarding proposals for sites PR8 and PR9. 
 
Very sincerely we trust that the Oxford City calculated shortfall includes all those on their waiting list for social housing and those identified as genuine rough sleepers. 
 
Yarnton Parish Council very strongly opposes the use of the green belt to meet the needs of Oxford City Council. Yarnton Parish Council fully supports our neighbouring Parish Councils and other organisation’s submissions, that indicate Cherwell District Council’s reasons for building on the green belt land do not fulfill the exceptional circumstances required. We invite you Sir to reject CDCs proposal to build on designated green belt land, in particular at sites PR8 and PR9. 
 
Disclosure that 1000 of the proposed new dwellings at PR8 are to be held in perpetuity for Oxford University personnel begs the question who has the shortfall, the University or Oxford City Council. Oxford University's known international trawl for personnel could suggest an inflated assessment of the real shortfall figure, calculated by Oxford City Council for the benefit of not only Oxford University but also the Councils own wider agenda. There has already been considerable discussion regarding the validity of the formulae used to calculate Oxford City Councils housing needs and I would  urge the Inspector to give due consideration to the content of the independent assessment recently submitted by Cherwell Development Watch Alliance. If nothing else, the shortfall figure should display credibility by its accuracy. 
 
The proposed decimation of the Yarnton/Begbroke green belt areas by 50% and the subsequent, coalescence of our two villages can only significantly contribute to the destruction of the rural aspects of our two villages and close proximity to Kidlington. Policy ESD 14 of Cherwell s existing Local Plan (2015) seeks to: Preserve the special character and landscape of Oxford. Check the growth of Oxford and prevent ribbon development and urban sprawl. Prevent the coalescence of settlements.  and Assist in safeguarding the countryside from encroachment. Yarnton Parish C would consider  that these housing development proposals directly contradict these four principals. Yarnton Parish Council seeks assurance that should development in the Green Belt be permitted then only significantly lower scale housing numbers designed to complement garden village style and with associated infrastructure allowed. The “Exceptional Circumstances” claimed in the proposal do little more than support flimsy justification by both Oxford University and Oxford City Council both of which have little or no allegiance to our two villages. 
 
There are serious concerns regarding the increased air pollution for our existing residents as a direct result of sites PR8 and PR9 proposals, caused by the additional traffic. This will of course be exacerbated by construction of the proposed Park and Ride at Langford Lane and additional traffic from site PR10 at Woodstock. We have previously heard from representatives of Exeter College that PR10 is not a preferred site, particularly bearing in mind that there are other suitable sites nearer to the centre of Oxford. With a worldwide drive to reduce air pollution why would site PR10 be considered suitable, without necessity. Development of the driverless car at Begbroke Science Park with some of the environmental benefits it may bring, why would it be appropriate to surround that development with considerably increased air pollution. 
 
Yarnton in particular has a long history of a high water table and flooding in residential streets and some homes. Close proximity to both Frogwelldown and Spring Hill ( The clue is in the names ) two areas close to site PR9 give considerable concern. In recent years councillors have assisted residents late at night baling out floodwater from their homes, flooding caused by surface water from behind 
Yarnton Surgery, Yarnton Nursing Home and in Cassington Road. Some residents in Aysgarth Road directly opposite Yarnton Surgery have installed floodwater barriers and one resident has had to reconfigure their boundary wall to stop water entering their home via the front gate. Flooding in Yarnton is a very real concern with our “Emergency Plans” predominantly addressing “flooding issues”.  Developers of the 168 dwellings at the Pixey Close/Cresswell Close estate off of Cassington Road at the planning stage acknowledged the flooding issue and “surface water holding lagoons” were installed at the building stage. These lagoons are invariably holding water. Proposed development of site PR9 is considerably closer to the source of water run off from Spring Hill and Frogwelldown than dwellings off the Cassington Road. In recent weeks, Yarnton Parish Council has received enquiries from Snap Dragon Consulting acting on behalf Merton College. The council has provided details of flooding in Yarnton together with photographic evidence. Merton College obviously acknowledge there is a flooding issue and I would ask you Sir to  take note, also. 
 
Yarnton Parish Council has received numerous comments from residents regarding the likely considerable additional traffic at peak times Oxford bound, generated by the proposed developments. Currently, traffic on the A44 approaching the Cassington Road roundabout will join a queue often as far back as the Rutten Lane roundabout. The consequence being that traffic leaving Yarnton village via Rutten Lane, Sandy Lane and Cassington Road will be unable to enter the roundabouts regardless of the direction in which they need to travel. The Cassington Road roundabout is a well known Oxford bound traffic pinch point only a short distance from both a railway bridge and a canal bridge. There is insufficient width for the proposed bus route to continue and nowhere in the proposal is there any indication as to how this section of road is to be managed to accommodate the additional traffic. Should it be found necessary to build any dwellings at proposed sites PR8 and PR9 Yarnton Parish Council would strongly oppose the proposal to close Sandy Lane to through motorised traffic to Kidlington.  This is totally absurd, cutting off village residents  from a neighbouring community that  provides access to  GPs surgeries, Churches of different denominations, Banks, and Shopping outlets. Any such closure would force Kidlington bound traffic to use Langford Lane or join traffic heading toward the pinch point at Cassington Road roundabout. All of which is totally unnecessary, to provide a footpath/cycle path for pedestrians, cyclists and wheelchair users. Very laudable in intent, except  Green Lane/ Yarnton Lane leading to Yarnton canal bridge already exists. This route is currently used by pedestrians and is already tarmacked from the A44 to the Yarnton level crossing. Upgrade of the section from the level crossing to Yarnton bridge would complete the required pathways, allso discouraging the use of this section being used as a target for “fly tipping” which is the current case. Yarnton PC would suggest that Cherwell District Council Plans should proactively demonstrate consideration of their own electorate needs  and for their needs not to be ignored for the benefit of others. We have only heard today at this meeting that Network Rail is also in consultation with a proposal to also shut the level crossing at Yarnton. This will effectively stop occupants living east of the crossing leaving their homes using a motor vehicle. Yarnton Parish Council has had no communication from Network Rail regarding this possibility. I would urge you Sir to instruct that any final decision regarding the proposal to shut both level crossings should only be taken after full discussion with Yarnton and Begbroke Parish Councils. To date, the views of Yarnton residents appear to have been overlooked in favour of the proposed development. Whilst the housing may be for the benefit of Oxford University and Oxford City Council, why should; The closure of Sandy Lane to through traffic culminating in the potential isolation of both Yarnton and Begbroke elderly residents. Increased air pollution to existing Yarnton and Begbroke residents. Unnecessary development of site PR10. The very serious prospect of increased flooding in Yarnton. Certain  increased traffic congestion at the Cassington Road roundabout. The decimation of the Yarnton/Begbroke Green Belt without need. Failure on the part of both Oxford City Council and Cherwell District Council to show any benefit to existing Yarnton and Begbroke residents. 
 
 Be? TO THE DETRIMENT OF YARNTON RESIDENTS? 
 12/02/2019 
 

 

Tuesday
Jan292019

Live Better. Live Well Oxfordshire

Looking for information about services and activities in Oxfordshire?

Then Oxfordshire County Council’s Live Well Oxfordshire directory is the place to start your search - the easy to search online directory brings together over 2000 services and activities. From care services to help people stay independent, transport services to help people get out and about, and new hobbies for people to enjoy to local carer groups. You’ll find useful information and advice on a range of subjects – all aimed at giving you greater choice and control over the support and services you or a loved one need

www.oxfordshire.gov.uk/livewell

 

Friday
Nov022018

Victims First

Have you been a victim of crime or abuse?

Being a victim or a witness of a crime can be an emotional and difficult time.

Victims First provides free emotional and practical support to all victims and witnesses of crime or abuse, as well as family members of victims. It is available across Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire and can provide help regardless of whether or not the crime has been reported to the police.

A Victims First Officer can discuss any emotional or practical needs you may have and work with you to put a tailored support plan in place. This could involve referring you to a specialist service such as services for victims of sexual violence and domestic abuse.

The type of assistance available includes telephone and face to face support, advocacy including help to access other services such as sexual health clinics, drug and alcohol services and legal services, support through the criminal justice system (if you have reported the crime to the police) and therapeutic counselling. A Young Victims Service is also available to anyone under 18 and works with young people to help them cope with the effects of crime.

To speak to a Victims First Officer about any of the services and to receive support please call 0300 1234 148.

You can also find more information or make a referral for support online at www.victims-first.org.uk

Sarah Stokes, PR and Communication Support Officer,

Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner, The Farmhouse, Thames Valley Police Headquarters, Kidlington OX5 2NX, www.thamesvalley-pcc.gov.uk

Saturday
Oct132018

The Yarnton Memorial - the story so far

Over the years many people from the village have asked the question: Why haven’t we got a war memorial? After all, most of the surrounding villages have got one.  In the Great War (World War I, 1914-18) Yarnton lost fourteen men killed in action (as well as many wounded). The population of Yarnton at the time was approximately 309 – so the large percentage in terms of dead and wounded had a significant impact on the village.  In World War II (1939-1945) Yarnton lost four men killed in action (as well as wounded), the population at the time being approximately 637.  Yet again the small farming community of Yarnton was profoundly affected by these events.

However, as time went by the above events seemed to fade into the background.  It was not until recently that the subject of erecting a war memorial came to the fore, prompted by the fact that in November 2018 it would be the hundredth anniversary of the end of World War I. The vicar of Yarnton at the time, the Reverend Nathan Jarvis, formed a small committee of like-minded villagers who thought that the village should have a memorial.  The committee at the time consisted of Nathan Jarvis, Paul Tweddle, Greg Morris and Robin Hearn.  The committee learned that the Co-op (Funeral Care) could help with funding some of the money towards the cost.  After discussions the Co-op agreed to fund the majority of the money - £4224.  However, this still meant that the committee had to raise a significant amount to complete the task.  A site was agreed on – the small green opposite the Royal British Legion in Rutten Lane.  Planning permission was obtained from Cherwell District Council. However, the present committee decided that there was a more suitable site on the same small green and re-applied for planning permission, but these things take time!

About eighteen months ago the committee lost Greg Morris (work commitments) and the Reverend Nathan Jarvis who moved to pastures anew. This left Paul Tweddle and myself to carry on. It was around this time that I asked a friend of mine, Ted O’Brien, if he would like to join the committee and help complete this project. Ted had always been a keen advocate of Yarnton having a war memorial, and in the last year Ted and I have taken over the task of getting things brought to a successful conclusion.  This has involved fund raising, dealing with various authorities, as well as collaborating with Brian Stovold, Ann Rivers and Barbara Dunn and the team at the Co-op.  I must thank the above for their generosity in time and effort. I would also like to acknowledge all of those who have given so generously to this project: village organisations, as well as very handsome donations made by individual villagers – you know who you are – thank you all.

The war memorial stone is dark Indian Granite.  It will stand five feet tall and is obelisk in form.  Underneath the plaque that bears the names of the fallen there is a legend carved into the stone:

‘Lest we forget’

‘The village did not forget’

In time I hope this memorial will become an integral part of the village, and also serve as a permanent reminder of the past – as well as a beacon of hope to a peaceful future.

A service will be held on Sunday 11th November 2018 at 11 a.m. at the memorial – All villagers welcome. Robin Hearn


Saturday
Oct132018

Community Orchard

On 1st December many villagers helped to plant 35 heritage apple trees for the Yarnton Community Orchard.

Each tree has been generously sponsored by a member of the village to mark a local family connection, commemorate a lost loved one or to just be part of something historic in the village.

It was a cold, rainy morning but volunteers soon got quite warm digging, planting and knocking in stakes.  It took about 5 hours of solid work but it was fun and we achieved a lot.  Some local children also got involved along with older residents who couldn’t physically dig but supervised some of the planting and had a lovely morning chatting. 

It’s been a year long journey to get the orchard project completed, fully supported by the Parish Council along the way.  The chosen area had to be assessed for any services pipework or cabling that may run under the land.  We then got in touch with Andy Howard, an Oxfordshire apple tree expert, who surveyed and mapped the area and put together a collection of suitable heritage tree varieties.

Yarnton has traditionally been known for its apple trees so we wanted to have a variety of local species that could be juiced, cooked, stored and eaten!  Some of the trees are quite rare and slowly making a comeback, helped by projects like this. 

In our orchard we have varieties such as Autumn Pearmain, Reinette Rouge Etoile and Monarch to name just a few.   Village residents old and new were invited to sponsor a tree on a first come first served basis, and organisers were overwhelmed with offers.

It's hoped the orchard will be enjoyed by all generations to come. It should become a place for family picnics or simply walking through to enjoy a few moments peace amongst the trees.  We also hope to add some benches in the future, along with bat boxes.

We also want to bring the village together for Apple Day which is held in October https://www.commonground.org.uk/apple-day.  The apples are there for all the village to enjoy and eat, surplus will be collected for groups such as the school, the weekly lunch club and any other groups who come forward.  If we’re lucky the WI might provide us with some unusual apple recipes! 
Orchards are also vital for wildlife as they provide pollen for the bees and insects which attract birds and bats.  Any windfall apples will be eaten by hedgehogs, worms and ground insects as well as helping to nourish the soil around each tree.  

Native wildlife in the UK is in serious decline due to loss of habitat so we hope this area will eventually provide a refuge for these vital insects and mammals but also for us when we walk through and linger to enjoy the blossom on a sunny day.
This day was a great team effort and a VERY BIG THANK YOU to all who helped and got mucky.  You made this a very special and memorable event.
We hope to have an official opening early next year and i
f you wish to be a member of the Yarnton Orchard Committee please contact Fiona on 07779 268836.

Thank you to all individuals and organisations that sponsored trees in the orchard including:

Graham and Yvonne Thompson, Eve and Fred Jones, Kim Overbeck, Shirley and Eddie Christiansen, David and Fiona Brimson, Janine and Carl Williams, Mary Clarke, The Isles family, Whitley family, Family Johnston, Kim Williams, Renee Charlett, The Wickham-Jones family,  Emily, Georgia and Owen Shewry, Ann Wyatt, Jackie Carpenter, Julie and Graham Hillsdon, Robin Hearn, Colin Clark and Hilary Palmer, George and Susan Doucas, Thorpe family,  My Bathrooms, Village News Committee, British Legion, Sanctuary Nursing Home, Parable Garden, Yarnton Women’s Institute. Yarnton Gardening Club, Yarnton Playing Fields.