Vale town and parish update

Brexit transition  

With Brexit fast approaching, please encourage local businesses, residents and EU citizens in your town or parish to visit the government’s transition checklist which provides a personalised list of actions that people will need to take in preparation.  

For businesses it gives guidance on how they will be able to import and export goods from the EU and travel for business.    

For residents there’s information on what they’ll need to do if they plan to travel to the EU for a holiday, and for EU citizens wanting to stay in the UK there’s details on how they can apply to the EU Settlement scheme.  

Covid support business grants  

Local Restrictions Support Grant – for businesses required to close  

Businesses that pay rates and have been required to close due to Covid-19 restrictions can still apply for a Local Restrictions Support Grant (Closed Businesses). This includes: 

  • businesses that haven’t submitted a claim for the most recent lockdown but are now open again 
  • businesses forced to remain shut due to the restrictions, such as pubs that don’t serve food.   

We have so far awarded more than £1 million from this grant.  This includes more than £410,000 to over 250 businesses in the Vale and more than £630,000 to over 370 businesses in South Oxfordshire.  

More details can be found at svbs.co.uk/local-restrictions-support-grant/   

Local Restrictions Support Grant – for open businesses   

This is a new grant for businesses in Tiers 2 or 3 that are open but are still being significantly affected by Covid-19.  We are still awaiting further guidance from government before we can finalise and begin to accept applications – we’ll let you know as soon as we are open for applications.  Businesses are advised to visit svbs.co.uk where they can sign up to receive the latest updates via email.  

Additional Restrictions Support Grant  

The deadline to apply for the Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) has now closed.  

Our Business Support team is working hard to process applications as quickly as possible and will confirm individual grant awards as soon as they have completed the required eligibility checks.   

While the scheme is closed to new applicants, businesses that have been rejected for the Local Restrictions Support Grant have been invited to submit an application for ARG funding.  

Support during the winter  

We are working with the other Oxfordshire councils to take a countywide approach to delivering funding given to us by government to support families and individuals over the winter period.  

In addition to the free school meals offer being administered by the county council, we are working together on new local delivery arrangements to help people to afford food and heat their homes – we anticipate this will launch early in the new year.   

Emergency supermarket vouchers are still available through the Citizens Advice Bureau and the Wantage Independent Advice Centre.  Fuel assistance is available through agencies such as National Energy Foundation (NEF) and Fuel Bank Foundation, and our Community Hub arrangements remain in place to support residents and businesses through the Christmas and winter period.  

Christmas Recycling Quiz and Christmas waste information on our website   

We’ve launched a Christmas-themed recycling quiz that allows residents to test their knowledge on what to do with festive rubbish and their Christmas leftovers. It’s a fun way to help people deal with all the extra waste at this time of year.  

For information on what to do with waste over the Christmas and New Year period, changes to collection days, what to do with extra waste, Christmas trees, and much more visit whitehorsedc.gov.uk/christmaswaste  

Covid Compliance marshals coming to a town near you  

Our Covid Compliance marshals are out and about every day in our town centres and villages advising and encouraging people and businesses to comply with the national Covid-19 safety measures.   

Here’s where they will be over the next week:  

  • Wallingford and Didcot on Friday  
  • Abingdon on Monday  
  • Thame on Tuesday  
  • Wantage and Faringdon on Wednesday  
  • Henley on Thursday  

You can find out more about our Covid marshals by visiting – whitehorsedc.gov.uk/covidmarshals  

Christmas travel  

Government guidance says that people can travel between tiers and UK nations for the purposes of meeting their ‘Christmas bubble’ between the 23 and 27 December – for more information on this please head to the government website  

If you are planning on travelling by train you can visit gwr.com/travel-updates/planned-engineering/christmas to check for planned engineering work. 

Cycle route award 

The Science Vale cycle route from Wantage to Harwell Campus has won “The Green Apple Award for environmental best practices”.  The awards are part of an annual campaign to recognise, reward and promote environmental best practice around the world.  

Construction of this route was completed last month, with the exception of a few remaining bollards and signs, which are scheduled to be completed in the next few weeks.  

You can find out more about the Oxfordshire Science Vale cycle network on the County Council website

Is your child 3 or 4 years old? Make an application to infant and primary school

Parents of children born between 1 September 2016 and 31 August 2017 (inclusive) need to apply for an infant or primary school place for September 2021.

From 3 November 2020, you can apply online for an infant or primary school place. The deadline for receipt of infant or primary school applications is 15 January 2021

Apply online


To apply online you will need:

a laptop or desktop computer. (The form is not compatible with tablets and/or mobile phones.)
an email address to register (if this is not your first child you can use your existing account to make the application)
the names of the schools you are requesting for your child (in preference order) – we strongly recommend that you use all four preferences.

If you are unable to apply online
You can request a paper application form from a school or the School Admissions Team.

How to defer your application
Parents of children born between 1 April 2017 and 31 August 2017 can request a deferral to September 2022. A deferral means that your child can start Reception in September 2022 instead of September 2021.

Measures to tackle illegal parking could be introduced in the Vale next year following Cabinet approval

Vale of White Horse District Councils’ Cabinet has agreed to move forward with proposals for Civil Parking Enforcement (CPE). The move could see responsibility for parking enforcement transfer from the police to a new team managed by Oxfordshire County Council by the end of 2021.
Enforcement for on-street parking in the Vale is currently carried out by the police, however this can put unnecessary extra pressure on police resources and leave parking problems unresolved as the police focus on more serious crimes.
Local councils can apply to the government to take on powers for Civil Parking Enforcement which allows them to fine motorists who park illegally or drive in bus lanes.
Vale of White Horse District Council has been working alongside Oxfordshire County Council, South Oxfordshire District Council and Cherwell District Council to investigate the feasibility of implementing CPE arrangements within their three districts.
Following approval by their respective Cabinets, the proposals will now move forward and the district councils will ask Oxfordshire County Council to submit a joint CPE application to the government for approval.
If the application is approved by the government, a new team managed by Oxfordshire County Council would be launched to enforce on-street parking. It is hoped that CPE could be introduced in the Vale by the end of 2021. Enforcement for off-street car parks in the Vale will continue to be managed by the district council via its contract with Saba.
Cllr Neil Fawcett, Cabinet Member for Strategic Partnerships and Place at Vale of White Horse District Council, said: “I know road users and pedestrians will welcome the changes to the way in which parking enforcement is carried out with the introduction of this new system. Our proposal for Civil Parking Enforcement follows significant work with the other councils and so I’m very pleased that we have now all agreed to move forward and jointly apply to become a CPE area.”

An online meeting of a Facilities Committee to be held on Wednesday 16th December 2020 at 7.15pm.

Notice is hereby given of an online meeting of a Facilities Committee to be held on Wednesday 16th December 2020 at 7.15pm.

The public are invited to submit questions at least 1 day prior to the meeting

Press and public are invited to attend the meeting and can do so by using this link:

Click here to join the meeting

Please mute your microphone for the duration of the meeting. You will be invited to speak during public speaking time.

If you would like to submit a question for the meeting please email: marzia@faringdontowncouncil.gov.uk

COVID-19 vaccination programme started in Oxfordshire 8th December

This week sees the NHS embark on its largest ever immunisation programme as COVID-19 vaccinations start in 50 hub hospitals across England – this started yesterday 8th December.

The Churchill Hospital at Oxford University Hospitals (OUH) NHS Foundation Trust has been selected as one of the hubs to roll out the vaccination programme in the initial wave, with the first vaccinations taking place today (Tuesday 8 December). This hub will serve residents across Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire and West Berkshire in the first instance.

The vaccine will be given first to those people from each county who are either most at risk or need it because of the work they do. In this initial phase, vaccinations will be prioritised for those aged 80 and over, care home workers, and healthcare workers who are at higher risk. The prioritisation has been set nationally by the independent Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation.

We are working closely with our NHS partners and care home providers to ensure that arrangements are in place to start delivering the vaccination programme to care workers as soon as possible.

The advent of a safe and effective vaccine is a landmark moment in the fight against COVID-19, and the fact that the Churchill Hospital has been chosen as one of the first hubs to deliver the vaccination programme is a matter of immense pride for Oxfordshire.

In the coming weeks, more hospitals will start vaccinating as the programme ramps up. GPs and other primary care staff are also preparing to start delivering vaccinations, with planning underway for a number of vaccination sites in Oxfordshire. Vaccination centres treating large numbers of people in sporting venues and conference centres will subsequently stand up across the country when further supplies of vaccine come on stream.

We look forward to seeing Oxfordshire residents being vaccinated through the priority groups, starting in 2020 and continuing throughout the first few months of 2021, and we will continue to update you as this major programme progresses.

CAB- New Phone Number

New free phone number We are pleased to announce that we have a new free phone number. 

Adviceline: 0808 278 7907
Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm

This free phone number will enable more people in South Oxfordshire and the Vale of White Horse to get help from our advisers. Please change and share our contact details. Thank you.

Faringdon Community Bus – December 2020

Weeks commencing the 7th and 14th of December, FCB will run on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday

Week commencing the 21st December, FCB will run only on Tuesday 22nd and Wednesday 23rd as there won’t be a bus run on Christmas Day!

Week commencing 28th December FCB will also run on the 29th and the 30th.

David Johnston MP-November Newsletter

I hope you, your friends and your family continue to be safe and well.

I was naturally disappointed that the whole county of Oxfordshire has been put into Tier 2. I know the impact this will have on families and on local businesses, particularly some of our pubs. But we now have great news in being the first country to approve the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for use, starting next week, and and if cases continue to fall in the county I am hopeful that we will be put back into Tier 1 as soon as possible.

I am at least glad that we will be able to see our families over Christmas and I hope you have a good one when it arrives.

As ever, if I can help you with anything then do contact me via david.johnston.mp@parliament.uk

Best wishes,

David

LINK TO THE NEWSLETTER

Oxfordshire Libraries announces e-book short story competition 2021

Library users are being offered a chance to discover new writers, stories and voices from around the county as Oxfordshire Libraries launches its annual short story competition for 2021.

The winner from each of the three categories will see their short story published as an e-book; available via the library website to be borrowed and read across Oxfordshire. Previous winners have been some of the most borrowed e-books in the library collection – so this is the perfect time for new writers to take this opportunity to get published. The competition aims to inspire writers, whatever their age, to express themselves and tell their own original story.

Cllr Lorraine Lindsay-Gale, Cabinet member for Cultural Services said:

“The e-book competition is a great chance to get your unique writing voice heard and could be an inspiring first step for new writers of all ages. We welcome and encourage people of all ages to enter the competition and share your creative talents.”

What’s new this year?

Now in its seventh year, the competition has newly added a third category, so that children are invited to enter their short stories.

This follows on from the success of the Children’s Poetry and Art Competition, in early 2020, where Oxfordshire Libraries were overwhelmed with creative responses from children and young people. Oxfordshire poet, James Carter, who wrote in the foreword for this collection, noted that the writing “dazzles, intrigues and enchants.”

The short story competition categories are:


o Children’s category for 5 – 11 years
o Young Adult category 12 – 17 years
o Adult category 18 years +
The competition is free to enter and entries can be submitted from Tuesday 1 December 2020. The closing date is Sunday 21 February 2021.

Oxfordshire Libraries Online – Full terms and conditions as well as instructions on how to submit your entries can be found on the Oxfordshire Libraries website: http://www.oxfordshire.gov.uk/shortstorycompetition

Contact: librarydigitalservices@oxfordshire.gov.uk

Council cabinets to consider Civil Parking Enforcement proposals

A major change aimed at helping to prevent illegal parking could move a step closer in the Vale of White Horse and South Oxfordshire this week.

At their respective meetings on 3 and 4 December, South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse District Councils’ cabinets will consider whether to move forward with proposals for Civil Parking Enforcement (CPE) which could see responsibility for enforcement transfer from the police to a new team managed by Oxfordshire County Council.

Vale of White Horse and South Oxfordshire District Councils enforce parking in their own off-street car parks. However, enforcement for on-street parking in both districts is carried out by the police.  This can put unnecessary extra pressure on police resources and leave parking problems unresolved as the police focus on more serious crimes. 

Local councils can apply to the government to take on powers for Civil Parking Enforcement which allows them to fine motorists who park illegally or drive in bus lanes.

The two councils have been working alongside Oxfordshire County Council and Cherwell District Council to investigate the feasibility of implementing CPE arrangements within their three districts. This work has included commissioning a specialist parking consultant to investigate the potential benefits, challenges, and financial requirements of the scheme.

In order to implement CPE, cabinets at all three districts need to agree to move forward with the proposals.  The councils would then collectively ask Oxfordshire County Council to submit a joint CPE application to the government for approval.

CPE is already in place in Oxford city centre and in West Oxfordshire.  If the application is approved by the government, parking enforcement on-street in South and Vale would then be carried out by a new team managed by Oxfordshire County Council.

Cabinet members at Vale and South Oxfordshire will now decide whether to approve the proposals and therefore ask the county council to move forward and submit the application to the government. 

They will also confirm the financial contribution that the councils will need to make in order to support the formal application to the Department for Transport to implement Civil Parking Enforcement in their respective districts. 

If all three districts agree then CPE could be implemented by the end of 2021.

Cllr Neil Fawcett, Cabinet Member for Strategic Partnerships and Place at Vale of White Horse District Council, said: “Illegal parking is extremely frustrating for residents and road users alike, particularly in our town centres. It adds to congestion and makes air quality worse. It can also hold up the emergency services.  To help tackle this issue, we have been working with the County Council and Cherwell District Council to look at whether Civil Parking Enforcement would be suitable in our districts and how it could work.  We will now decide whether to move forward with the scheme.”

Cllr Neil Fawcett, Cabinet Member for Strategic Partnerships and Place at Vale of White Horse District Council, said: “Illegal parking is extremely frustrating for residents and road users alike, particularly in our town centres. It adds to congestion and makes air quality worse. It can also hold up the emergency services.  To help tackle this issue, we have been working with the County Council and Cherwell District Council to look at whether Civil Parking Enforcement would be suitable in our districts and how it could work.  We will now decide whether to move forward with the scheme.”

Cllr David Rouane, Cabinet Member for Housing and Environment at South Oxfordshire District Council, said: “Parking restrictions are important in helping to ensure congestion and road safety can managed effectively.  Our current on-street enforcement is carried out by the police; however, this is not a great use of their resources, with enforcement generally taking place only if there is a danger or an obstruction.  If taken forward, this more locally focussed approach could be a much more efficient and effective way of managing the issue and dealing with problem areas.”