Oxfordshire County Council & Cherwell District Council news
Timothy T Hallchurch MBE
FCMI MBA IIHHT MGHT MIOD
Conservative for Otmoor Ward Cherwell DC and Otmoor and Kirtlington Division, Oxfordshire CC
General Election 2010
County Council Elections 2009
Euro Elections 2009
Is this the worst election leaflet ever?
FACEBOOK: Oxfordshire Conservatives
The Blair Brown Legacy – What has been achieved during Blair’s 10 years as Prime Minister
Gordon Brown’s Conference speech – the truth
Otmoor and Kirtlington Division
Letter to all MPs from Eric Pickles - Government Achievements
Chairman's Charity Dinner 13th April 2012
Blog and Diary
My County Council Division includes:
Horton cum Studley, Fencott, Murcott, Noke, Oddington, Merton, Islip, Charlton on Otmoor all now in Henley constituency and now Langford Village Bicester, Ambrosden, Arncott and Piddington in Banbury Constituency .
Otmoor Division Local elections May 2013 - results:
Dr John Howell OBE MP http://www.johnhowellmp.com visits Otmoor
John Howell's latest Newsletter
John Howell MP visiting Otmoor RSPB reserve, Tim Hallchurch explaining flood problems, outside the Swan Inn, at the William Buckland Blue Plaque and talking to children at Dr South's School.
John Howell's news
Chancellor's Autumn Statement
Europe – a steady hand on the tiller
When we are taking difficult decisions at home over public spending it would be quite wrong to agree proposals for extra spending in the EU. That is why the Prime Minister negotiated for a good deal for Britain’s taxpayers and to keep the British rebate.
This was the toughest position that any Prime Minister has ever gone for in EU Budget negotiations, which is a freeze in EU spending. We want to secure a good deal for the British people. Of course we would like a cut but we have to be realistic about what can be negotiated with other Member States.
The Commission’s proposal states that it is demonstrating restraint, in line with member states. This is absolutely not the case. The budget proposed by them is too large and it is incompatible with the tough decisions being taken in countries across Europe. Under the Commission’s proposal, on average, spend in each year of the next multiannual budget will be around €14 billion higher than it is today.
The UK was joined by seven other Member States in calling for budgetary restraint. The UK, France, Germany, Sweden, Austria, the Netherlands, Italy and Finland issued a statement saying that the new round “should not lead to an increase in national contributions to the EU budget.”
We have made significant progress in protecting Britain’s interests in Europe. This Government has already taken action to protect Britain’s interests in the EU: We’ve introduced a Referendum Lock to ensure that in future the British people will have their say on any proposed transfer of powers from the UK to the EU. We’ve ended UK participation in EU bailouts. We have vetoed a new EU fiscal treaty. We will continue to work constructively to get a deal, but it cannot be a deal at any cost. The British people expect us to fight hard for the best deal for them, and that is exactly what we will continue to do.
The Middle East
During the short Commons recess in mid November I visited the Palestinian Authority and Israel. As part of our visit, I visited the Lebanese border and the Golan Heights. The vulnerability of the Israeli communities was obvious for anyone to see. The border was little more than a chain-link fence. While there, Israel was hit by errant fire from Syria – likely an act of incompetence by the Assad regime and an incident that was borne out of the continued civil war and increasingly desperate situation in the country.
In the south of the country, Hamas and others had been firing dozens of Grad missiles, Qassam rockets and mortar bombs into Israeli territory. As a result, daily life had virtually ground to a halt. Schools were closed, offices were shut and people were warned to remain within 15 seconds of a shelter.
Not for a second would I try to suggest that tragedies do not occur on both sides of this type of conflict. Every effort needs to be made to avoid them. But it is patently clear that Israel's defence of its population is paramount to the Israeli government. Until both populations can be assured security, peace talks will remain elusive. The recent escalation did not start, as many have reported, with Israel's attack on the Hamas military commander. It started with the abuse of the trust of the people of Gaza by Hamas.
What the media doesn’t seem to want to tell you
The amount raised in corporation tax has been higher in each year under this Government than in Labour’s last year in power. In 2009-10, £36.4 billion was raised through corporation tax. In 2010-11, this had increased to £42.5 billion, and in 2011-12, it again increased – to £43.4 billion.
The tax avoidance and evasion yield has jumped to a record £21 billion. Expert accountants have shown that HMRC’s total yield from investigations into tax avoidance and evasion jumped by a third to £21 billion in 2011-12.
More than 500,000 people started an apprenticeship last year. In 2011-12, 502,500 people started an apprenticeship. The number of people aged under 25 starting an apprenticeship increased by 52,000 between 2009-10 and 2011-12. This is equivalent to an extra 142 young apprentices every day
We have capped the number of non-EU skilled workers that employers can bring here to work at 20,700 a year. No non-EU unskilled workers are allowed.
There are over a quarter of a million more women in work under this Government. The number of women in February-April 2010 in employment was 13,464,000. This has now risen to 13,715,000 – a rise of 251,000.
Recruitment firm, Reed, has produced a report saying the UK jobs market is significantly healthier than last year.
On 20 November 2012 the Government announced plans to get customers the lowest tariffs for their energy bills. This followed the Prime Minister’s announcement on 17 October that ‘we will be legislating so that energy companies have to give the lowest tariff to their customers.
The latest figures show that crime fell by 12 per cent in the twelve months to June 2012. Crime has fallen by 10 per cent since the general election.
THE SPENDING REVIEW letters from ministers to leaders of councils:
Letter to Council Leaders from Eric Pickles MP
Letter to Fire Chairs & Chiefs from Bob Neill MP
Letter from Grant Shapps MP on the Housing Settlement
Council Tax Bills Frozen in Spending Review
County Council News
I was first elected to the County Council in 1005. In June 2009, I was re-elected with 53% of the vote and and have taken part as a member of most of the committees. These commitment is almost a full time job and I get very little free time for other interests. However I did find some time to successfully study for a diploma in Local English History at Kellogg College, Oxford. I then studied Vernacular Architecture. In 2012 I have studied Particle Physics and then Origin of the Universe and Why is the Universe the way it is?
I have been appointed the OCC Commissioner on the LGA Rural Commission that meets twice a year in Bath and London.
Other commitments include Trustee of Oxford Preservation Trust and am a Trustee of the Victoria County History Trust. This is not a Council appointment but reflects my interest in History.
I am now vice chairman of Oxfordshire English Speaking Union to be Chairman next year and committee of Otmoor Archaeological & Historical Society.
Folloowing the County Council elections we have a council with no overall control The position is now as follows:
The four "other" are independents.
UKiP votes distorted the outcome of the election taking votes from all parties but especially conservatives giving success to pro-Europe Liberal and Labour councillors, the exact opposite or what was intended.
The Conservatives will need the vote of one other member to win votes.
The County Council Council Tax rate will be increased by a modest 1.9% after no increase for the last three years. In real terms over four years with inflation taken into account this will mean a nearly 10% reduction.
I am disappointed that there is an increase in council tax, my natural instinct is to keep costs as low as possible to try and avoid any increase. I also believe that it's important to deliver a sustainable 4 year budget. It would have been very easy to have taken the freeze grant offered by government (note it's still taxpayer's money). The problem is that all the grants drop out in the year 2014/15. That means there would be a large hole in the budget with even deeper cuts on the services that the residents of Oxfordshire need and require.
We are making savings totalling £200 million over the period 2010 – 2017. At the same time we will be using our reserves and running them down in an orderly fashion, in fact at the end of 2017 we still have a funding short fall of £8 million that needs to be addressed over the coming years.
When comparing us to other councils then we have to ensure we look at all the facts. Hammersmith & Fulham charge motorists over £19 million pa compared to our £ 6 million. They are not responsible for the concessionary fares that cost us £4 million. They do not have to subsidise bus services ( much needed in a rural county such as ours) as we do to £3 million. If I had the difference of these 3 items then I would be in a position to recommend a freeze with the additional £20million they have. Unfortunately OCC is not in that position and have to set a balanced sustainable budget.
Oxfordshire County Council is currently reviewing all the estates to see what office space and other accommodation is actually necessary and to introduce Agile Working to reduce the need for office space. This will mean that OCC can vacate expensive rented accommodation such as the Clarendon Centre offices. The aim of the corporate Agile Working programme is to enable staff to work in a much more mobile and flexible way. This will mean sharing office space with partner agencies and being able to work from any location. County Hall has undergone internal improvements to create a better working environment for the staff and to make space for staff from Macclesfield House that is now closed except for the Victorian building that houses the registry office. The reception area for visitors has also been substantially improved.
All this gives a new ICT challenge and staff within the ICT department are currently reviewing and evaluating a variety of technology solutions. These include tablets, smartphones, virtualised PC’s and an extensive communications and collaboration suite known as Microsoft Lync. Having secure access to information and data is critical to any Agile working solution and ICT are currently working with a number of third party specialists to ensure that council solutions are thoroughly tested and secure.
Broadband – the aim is to give 90% of premises high speed broadband (>24Mbps) and the remaining 10% to have at least 2mbps download. To this end OCC has earmarked £10million, the Government, via an organisation called Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) will give £3.86million with a further investment from the supplier that is appointed following the councils procurement exercise. According to Analysis Mason, a company specialising in this field, the total cost to provide 90% coverage is about £27 million.
The work is currently being bid for by the major service providers and the council is expecting to award a contract mid 2013 following Cabinet approval. It is likely that ‘digging’ work will actually start early in 2014. There is no indication yet what areas will have the 90%. coverage of fast broadband.
Additional Highway Maintenance Funding
There will be £1.09 million allocated for highway maintenance for 2013-14 to be used at the discretion of County Councillors.
Speed Camera update
Cameras are to be back in action at TVP’s cost. There will be more emphasis on the mobile Units. Expect a greater than normal presence from the police from 1st April.
The funding is coming from Speed Awareness courses, TVP being able to both lift the level at which these courses are offered, and also the cost which they charge. The cost of the courses has gone up from £79.50 to £95.00. Prior to this you could be eligible for a course rather than prosecution up to the speed limit plus 10% plus 6 mph. The new process is the speed limit plus 10% plus 9 mph. The table below gives a couple of examples.
People caught speeding will only be able to attend one course in a 3 year period.
OCC funding is restricted to the maintenance of fixed sites.
Oxfordshire Economic Partnership -This is being replaced by the Local Enterprise Partnership
I have been elected as Chairman from 18th May 2011.
With the outgoing Chairman Cllr George Parish My Consort for the year Dr Jan Stokes Carter Members of Cherwell DC 18th May 2011
Despite having to make savings of about £2.7M in savings Cherwell DC is better off than most councils. The council has no debts and has cash in the bank. Restructuring over the last four years has paid off with cuts in the number of senior staff and efficiency savings. Over tha last seven years Cherwell District Council has made savings of 47%. This is a remarkable achievement.
At the end of the day, I doubt whether any residents of Otmoor Ward will be affected unless they work for the council are unfortunate to be made redundant
Cherwell DC Chief Executive
The shared Chief Executive (with South Northamptonshire DC (SNC) ) took over in 2011.
After her initial hopes of being the first British astronaut were dashed, Sue studied Physical Education in Liverpool. Then three years living in West Berlin, employed as a civilian instructor for the U.S. Army.
Sue’s then joined Anglesey Borough Council teaching sport in a non-school environment. She studied for a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology and also for sporting and leisure qualifications, ending up with a Diploma from the Institute of Sport and Recreation Management and sports coaching qualifications.
Then to Aylesbury Vale Borough Council followed by Wealden District Council as Deputy Manager of a leisure centre. Sue then completed an M.A. in Leisure and Recreation. The next move was to Lichfield as Chief Leisure Officer where she her roles included Head of Leisure Services, Corporate Director for Communications, Culture, Community Regeneration and Partnerships and ultimately Deputy Chief Executive. During her time with Lichfield she obtained a Diploma in Business Excellence and attended a number of development programmes, including the Public Services Leaders Scheme. In 2004 she led a Cabinet Office Review Team in Doncaster.
She was appointed as Chief Executive at Harborough District Council in July 2005.
She has also been a college Governor and a Board member for Constructing Excellence. She continues to be a Director of the Royal Institute of British Architects and is also Chair of the Client Services Panel for RIBA. She is a mentor for the National Graduate Development Programme and a judge for the Local Government Chronicle Awards. She is also a Governor of a local school.
Sue’s hobbies include windsurfing and snowblading, photography and exotic holidays
Cherwell Meetings Web Casting
Full Council, Planning and Executive meetings are web cast. That means that you can watch the meeting live or a recorded version for up to six months after the event. Go to http://www.cherwell.ukcouncil.net/site/.
The collection of waste is the task of the District Council while the disposal of that waste is the responsibility of the County Council. The EU will be imposing large fines on councils of £140 per tonne, who exceed their quota of waste that goes to land fill but has not given councils time or the money to build recycling plants hence the need for industry to pay to provide the service and the councils pay for this service.
The County Council on behalf of the Oxfordshire Waste Partnership (all Oxfordshire councils) has gone out to tender to industry to provide recycling facilities. These services include two In Vessel Composting sites that have been approved at Ardley and Cassington and are in operation. An Energy from Waste site has been approved for Ardley and this will go ahead if the government enquiry gives the go ahead (to be announced in January 2011).
What happens to your food and garden waste?
Your food and garden waste will be taken to a composting facility. It will be shredded and put into special tunnels where air circulation, temperature and moisture can be controlled to break down the food and garden waste into high-quality compost. The process is called in-vessel composting’. The compost produced will be used as a fertiliser on farmers’ fields.
What will are now be able to put in the brown bin:?
Butter, Cheese, Eggs, Egg shells, Meat, Fish, Burgers, Hot dogs, Bones, Shellfish, Peelings, Beans, Chips, Nuts,
Biscuits, Flour, Pasta, Pizza, Puddings, Tea bags, Coffee
Grass cuttings Plants and leaves, Prunings, Cut flowers, Pet straw & sawdust.
No thank you
Glass, Food packaging, Plastic carrier bags or bin liners, Elastic bands, Cling film, Foil, metal or cutlery, China or plates, Cardboard, Cat litter and dog mess.
It is hoped that most households will keep their food waste for the fortnightly brown bin collection. However, in the interests of hygiene it will still be possible to put food waste into the green bin in the alternate week. However by using compostable sealed bags and a supplied caddy, it should be possible to eliminate smells and flies.
What’s the alternative?
If we carry on dumping the same amount of waste as we do now we needlessly damage our environment and council tax payers will have to pay a share of landfill fines.
Cherwell DC continues to be the lead council in SE England with 45% of waste recycled by adding food waste re-cycling, this will take the amount of waster recycled towards 60%.
Ordering additional bins
CDC provide two blue recycling boxes and one brown garden waste bin free of charge.
Blue wheeled bins for your recycling can also be purchased. These cost £20 including delivery, or £15 if picked up from the Thorpe Lane Depot, Thorpe Lane, Banbury, OX16 4UT.
Additional garden waste bins are also available. These cost £20 including delivery, or £15 if picked up from the Thorpe Lane Depot.
Please contact customer service or complete and return the form which you can download from the CDC web site
cheque (or postal order) can be sent with the order form - no cash accepted
you can pay by cheque or by debit/credit card at the Thorpe Lane Depot - no cash accepted
you can pay by cheque, debit/credit card or by cash at one of the One Stop Shops (listed under contacts to the right)
Cherwell was top of the league when it came to the percentage of waste recycled but has been overtaken by other councils following Cherwell's lead. This is due to households no longer caring which bin they put their waste and this has resulted in a rise of waste for landfill. Please ensure that you recycle all waste that can be recycled - it will costs us all less on our Council Tax in the future.
I can be contacted by email email@example.com or call 01865 377099. I try and get to all parish council meetings but with 12 parish councils, I find this impossible, especially when there are four meetings on the second Tuesday of the month (Merton, Islip, Kirtlington and Shipton & Thrupp) and by the time I reach the fourth I am too late. I also have Horton cum Studley, Bletchington, Charlton on Otmoor, Oddington, Fencott & Murcott, Hampton Poyle & Gay, Upper and Lower Heyford and Noke.
You may be interested in the committees that I now attend. Oxfordshire County Council: Full Council, Adult Services, Oxfordshire Joint Overview Scrutiny, Group Meeting (2 a month); South East Employers (London), Reserve Forces and Cadets Association; Cherwell DC: I was elected as Vice Chairman of the Council in May (to be Chairman in 2011); Standards (lead member), Group, Planning (alternate member), Oxfordshire Association of Local Councils; Parish Councils; Horton cum Studley, Weston on the Green, Upper Heyford, Lower Heyford, Merton, Islip, Shipton & Thrupp, Kirtlington, Bletchington, Fencott & Murcott, Hampton Poyle and Gay, Noke, Oddington (last two only once a year); Others; Victoria County History Management Committee, VCH Trustees, Oxford Preservation Trust Trustees, Otmoor Archaeological and Historical Society committee and meetings; Society for Graduates; Otmoor Group; Institute of Directors Committee and events, Army Ornithological Society committee, 6 Lodges, Oxfordshire Yeomanry, South Oxfordshire Conservative Association Executive. Over 40 meetings so please bear with me if I cannot always attend all your events or meetings.