Oxfordshire County Council & Cherwell District Council news

Updated 15 November 2008





Timothy T  Hallchurch MBE



Conservative for Otmoor Ward Cherwell DC and Otmoor and Kirtlington Division, Oxfordshire CC


Following the Boundary Commissions review, both  my Ward and Division will become part of South Oxfordshire (Henley) Parliamentary constituency after the next General Election but will remain in Cherwell District Council.  This excludes The Astons and Heyfords Ward that will remain in North Oxford constituency. Now that Boris Johnson is Mayor of London, he has stood down as MP for South Oxfordshire (Henley). As the by-election was before the General Election, the people in Otmoor and Kirtlington Division did not vote, as the boundaries have not yet changed. A candidate to replace Boris Johnson was selected on 30th May from a shortlist of three, Cllr Ann Ducker, leader of South Oxfordshire DC, Cllr John Cotton also from SODC and Cllr Dr John Howell OBE, member of Oxfordshire CC and member of the Cabinet.


John Howell was duly elected by the members of the South Oxfordshire Conservative Association. He is a local man well known in South Oxfordshire. He has in the past been a TV broadcaster and a former partner with Ernst & Young and other organisations. John was made an OBE in 2000, is the member of Oxfordshire County Council for Dorchester and Berinsfield. He will stay on as an Oxfordshire County Councillor until the local elections in June 2009.



A parish councillor in Warborough, he lists his interests as a local organist, choir director and environmental campaigner.

At the by-election on 26th June John Howell was duly elected as MP for Henley with 19,796 votes.

3.46% increase over 2005 General Election



The other candidates polled:


Stephen Kearney Lib Dem 9,680

Mark Stephenson Green 1,321

Timothy Rait BNP 1,243

Richard McKenzie Labour 1,066

Chris Adams UKIP 843

And 6 others



The next local elections will take place on 4th June and not in May as is usual. This is to coincide with the European Elections on that date. The next General Election must be held before June 1010 but this is decided by the Prime Minister. There is some speculation that it could be June 2009 if the Governments standing in the opinion polls picks up.



David Cameron attended Oxfordshire Institute of Directors Dinner at his old college – Brasenose.




Rt Hon David Cameron MP discusses local issues with Bruce Hunt (Chairman of Oxfordshire IoD) and Cllr Tim Hallchurch.



 Flood Pictures 21/22 July 07


Weston Otmoor Eco-town

Details of the proposals

MPs News


Tony Baldry celebrates 25 years as North Oxfordshire MP at Hook Norton Brewery

David Cameron was amongst the guests invited to beer band fish and chips at Hook Norton Brewery on 4th April.


David Cameron addressing the visitors.  Barry Wood, leader of Cherwell DC, discusses Eco Towns with David Cameron




Visitors had a tour of the brewery with its 100 year old steam engine still in operation.

Bin Tax threat if Labour wins the next election

See details of Westminster debate on 22 April 2008 on Eco-towns.


The Blair Brown LegacyWhat has been achieved during Blair’s 10 years as Prime Minister


Redwood Paper - Freeing Britain to Compete


Gordon Brown’s Conference speech – the truth


Shadow Chancellor promises at The Party Conference Oct 07


Contact 020 7219 6465

County Council News


I was elected to the County Council in 1005 and since then have been Vice Chairman of the Corporate Governance Scrutiny Committee and a member of the County Planning and Regulations Committee. From May 2007 I am also a member of the Audit and  Social and Community Services Committee as well as Corporate Governance Scrutiny Committee and Planning Committees. I am also a trustee of the Oxford Preservation Trust and the Victoria County History for Oxfordshire.  I am up for re-election in June 2009. I have also been appointed as a Trustee of the Victoria County History Trust. This is not a Council appointment but reflects my interest in History. 


Motion to Oxfordshire County Council full council meeting 17th June 2008

 ‘Weston – Otmoor eco-town.  Council asks the Cabinet to give careful consideration to:

·         the impact of the proposed eco-town of 35,000 people on the successful economic development of Bicester

·         the impact of the proposed eco-town on the transport network especially congestion on the A34 and M40 at J9 and minor roads and lanes in the area.

·         whether the proposed  new railway station, tram system and modifications to the M40 J6 are affordable and will provide the benefits claimed by the developer.

·         the impact of the proposed eco-town on Oxford’s Green Belt as a quarter of the proposed site will be within the Green Belt.

·         whether the proposed eco-town is environmentally sustainable when it seems inevitable that there will be substantial traffic growth.

·         the impact of concreting over 2000 acres of farm land to the flooding threat.

·         the impact on the loss of wildlife habitats as part of the proposed development includes Woodsides Meadow Nature Reserve, and other meadows owned and managed by BBOWT.

·         the fact that Oxfordshire has had restrictions on water use, how will the eco-town impact on the water supply and  to other services such as sewage and electricity

·         the impact on Oxfordshire schooling, hospitals, library services,  social services ,waste collection and disposal and other services provided by the local authorities. 

The council also deplores the lack of consultation  with Oxfordshire County Council, Cherwell District Council and other bodies by the Government before they short listed the proposed Weston-Otmoor eco-town. ‘

We are restricted to 250 words and must obey the Council Rules which restricts me from proposing a plain rejection.

The motion was carried with support of all political groups except the Labour Group.


Oxford Waste Partnership latest news


2008 Settlement – Government allocation to Local Councils


On 6th December 2007, the government has decided in favour of northern, metropolitan authorities – choosing to end the controversial ‘double damping’ policy for social services from the local government finance system.

Announcing the first ever three-year settlement for councils, local government minister John Healey has revealed the full effects of the social services formula would be felt by authorities between 2008/09 and 2010/11.

LGCplus.com for full details of  grant settlement and reaction.



Oxfordshire Partnership


The Oxfordshire Partnership (OP) brings together organisations from the public, private, voluntary and community sectors to focus their efforts on those things that are important to people who live in, work in and visit Oxfordshire and, more importantly, to do something about them. Councillors, Council Officers, representatives from Town and Parish councils and other interested parties have attended meetings to discuss how we can make Oxfordshire a better place to live in.

On this website you can find out about the Oxfordshire Sustainable Community Strategy, the Local Area Agreement, the structure and activities of the Partnership and the Oxfordshire Data Observatory.http://www.oxfordshirepartnership.org.uk/wps/wcm/connect/OxfordshirePartnership/Home/

Link to OCC Leader Keith Mitchell’s Web site http://www.krmcbe.co.uk/



Cherwell District Council News


I have been a member of CDC Executive for the last 3 years but have stepped down last year to give myself more time to concentrate on an Oxford University course in Local History. However for 2008-9 I have taken on Vice Chairman of the Accounts Committee.


Cherwell District Council Election Results 2008. The results of the 2008 elections for Cherwell District saw a two-seat gain for the Conservative party. Labour incumbents in Banbury Neithrop and Banbury Ruscote wards were defeated by Conservative candidates. Cherwell District Council is now made up of 44 Conservative members, 4 Liberal Democrat members and 2 Labour members.


Overall turnout for the District was 31.36%.


Full details of individual ward and parish results are available on the Cherwell District Council website, www.cherwell.gov.uk.


Cherwell DC has awarded a contract to provide a Combined Service Centre, to improve the services to the public. It is now on line providing better services to callers with benefit  and council tax payments questions. Work is on-going to make other services available.  This will mean that in most cases the person that answers the ‘phone will be able to answer your question or provide help. Note – this is NOT a call centre and the system is manned by CDC staff based at Banbury, Bicester or Kidlington.  


Both local sports centres are to be upgraded over the next two years, including a rebuild of the Kidlington and Gosford Sports Centre. A new Graphical Information System (GIS) has also been installed enabling people to view local maps and air photographs on line. http://cherweb.cherwell-dc.gov.uk/localview/


Threat of a bin stealth tax following Government legislation in November 2008:

See information from Eric Pickles MP


If the Government go ahead this will mean extra cost for all households. I can assure you that I will be opposing any new taxation.



Reorganisation of Cherwell DC


Chief Executive Mary Harpley who was appointed in 2006, was tasked by members to look at the organisation of the Council offices with the aim of streamlining services, delivering value for money and making savings.  This involves the appointment of three new Chief Officers who report to the Chief Executive, to replace the eight previous reports, and to delegate the day to day running of the Council to these three officers. This will enable the Chief Executive to concentrate on improvements and to talk to people in the District and to peers in other Councils. In addition there is a temporary Chief Officer to oversee the changes.  These changes coupled with the One Stop Shop centre will bring major changes to Cherwell DC and will improve services as well as making savings. The One Stop Shop at Bodicote was opened on 2nd April and visitors will be able to sit with a member of staff in the new lobby to obtain information rather than having to walk round the building only to find that the person they wanted to see is out.


The latest Audit Commission inspection has already raised the performance figures for the District Council in all areas and the Council is on course for becoming an excellent (four star) council in 2008. 


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 the council “home” page (www.cherwell-dc.gov.uk)and click on  Watch council meetings online


At last, people from the South of the District will not have to struggle into Banbury to hear discussions which affect their lives. And for one ten-minute item, no one will have to sit through hours of discussion as the agenda ploughs on -except for the councillors, of course! In parallel, the website is also to be made more user-friendly. Go to www.cherwell-dc.gov.uk and follow the links.




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 government has announced large fines on councils who exceed their quota of waste that goes to land fill but has not given councils time or the money to build recycling plants, effectively imposing another stealth tax on council tax payers. The Chancellor slid another stealth tax on councils in the March budget with an £8 increase in land fill tax without mentioning it in his speech.


The County Council has gone out to tender to industry to provide recycling facilities. These services are likely to include In Vessel Composting (IVC)  that will safely compost food waste safely in sealed vessels; incineration to generate electricity and facilities to sort glass from other waste. Two sites for incinerators have been proposed at Sutton Courtney and Ardley. These will have to be approved by the OCC Planning Committee.


The CDC Executive has agreed a trial for food waste possibly in the Kidlington area as soon as IVC is available. This will mean that we will be able to put food waste in the brown bin but still allowing food to be put in the green bin to go for landfill. It is hoped that recycling of food will be available from late 2008. The County Council contract requires industry to provide recycling facilities for all waste by 2012.


Cherwell DC continues to be the lead council in SE England with 45% of waste recycled.


Compost bins can be obtained from Cherwell DC from £8 for a 220 Litre bin to £20 for a 250 Litre bin with free delivery call 0845 077 0757 or order on-line at www.recyclenow.com/compost  quoting reference OX4


Changes to Permitted Development Rights for Households

Important changes are happening to the planning system.  These will give more freedom to people wanting to carry out improvements to their homes. Since 1 October 2008, there has been a big overhaul of the planning permission system, which has relaxed the rules that cover householder developments. In simple terms, this means that in certain circumstances you can carry out minor extensions and alterations to your property without the need to apply to us for formal permission.

You can find out more about the changes using this interactive house guide  or interactive house guide text only on the Planning Portal website.

Why is the system changing?

The changes come from the Government’s 2007 Planning White Paper, which aimed to introduce a more user-friendly system.  It also wants to free up time for planning departments by reducing the number of householder applications coming through the system.  Given the current housing market, the aim is to give as much freedom as possible for people to extend their homes, such as building extensions and loft conversions.

The new rules change the emphasis from a volume based approach to an impact based system taking in to account distances, depths and heights of a development.  However, restrictions would remain tight in some circumstances.  These include parts of the district that fall within Conservation Areas and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

In addition the Regulations also aim to reduce the flood risk associated with surface water run-off by requiring planning consent for homeowners installing non-permeable paving. However new driveways or parking areas over 5 square metres will not require planning permission if they are constructed using permeable surfaces, allowing water to soak into the ground.

The revised General Permitted Development Order which underlies this change can be found at: www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si2008/pdf/uksi_20082362_en.pdf



I can be contacted by email timothy.hallchurch@oxfordshire.gov.uk or call 01865 377099


The Cherwell website is: www.cherwell-dc.gov.uk 


What  do I do when I am not attending council meetings? I have recently organised and led an expedition to the Andes and Amazon regions of Ecuador:



Figure   Resting in the Cloud Forest of the Andes


Figure   2 Andes near Quito



Figure   Canoeing down a tributary of the Amazon

Picture 070.jpg

Figure  SEQ Figure \* ARABIC 4 In Egypt New Year 2009



My next trip is to Kazakhstan in May 2009. If you are interested in joining me please email or phone.