Update from District Councillors
This year’s annual report from our two local District councillors – Elaine Ware and Simon Howell – is available below:
Good news! The garden waste collection (brown bins) restarts on Monday 15 February. The collection day also includes recycling (green bins) and food. Excerpt from message from VoWH DC:
If you still have your real Christmas tree, as a garden waste customer, we can take it on your garden waste collection day. If possible please cut it up and put it inside your bin. If you do not have space or cannot manage to do this it can be put out at the side of your brown bin.The crews will be working hard to complete the rounds and we are expecting more garden waste bins to be put out than normal, so please bear with us.Please ensure all the garden waste fits into the bin with the lid closed. If you can’t fit everything in the bin, please keep anything extra back (except Christmas trees) until the next collection.
Message from the District Council
Dear Garden Waste customers in Vale of White Horse
As some of you already know we have had to temporarily delay the start of our garden waste service which was due to commence on 11 January following the usual suspension over Christmas and New Year, which we do to allow crews to focus on collecting the extra waste and recycling created over the holidays.
Due to reduced staffing levels as a result of crews being ill or self-isolating we have had to extend the suspension of the service for longer to allow the remaining staff to work on the core household waste services.
We want to reassure you that along with our contractors Biffa we have explored all the options possible to avoid this situation as we realise that this will cause some inconvenience and we are genuinely sorry for this. However, the safety of our crews and residents must always be our number one priority.
We are working with our contractor to closely monitor the current situation and our aim is review the staffing levels in the week commencing 18 January with a view to restarting the service as soon as possible after that date.
Whilst we have had to delay our kerbside Christmas tree recycling service until our garden waste service resumes, if you’d rather not wait, you can take it to one of our collection points or to one of Oxfordshire County Council’s Household Waste Recycling Centres. These sites are open but please check their website for opening times and any restrictions, particularly Covid-19 restrictions.
We are confident that we can still honour our commitment to providing the 20 collections a year we offer for this paid for service. We are normally able to offer more collections than this with our extra-large garden waste collections in the Spring and Autumn, and don’t envisage this year being any different, so nobody should be out of pocket. We hope to be able to confirm this when the service resumes.
Since the first lockdown in March 2020 as part of the national effort to control the pandemic, the councils have worked with their waste contractor Biffa to ensure the waste collection service has run with little or no disruption.
While we have contingency plans for this type of situation, the level of staffing at this time is much lower than anticipated due to such a high number of staff being off work or self-isolating due to Covid-19.
By suspending the garden waste service during the winter when it is used less frequently, the councils and their waste contractor can focus on continuing to deliver core household waste collection services for residents.
Please note that we are also not able to take on any new garden waste customers at this time, but we will review this again when the situation with the service changes.
Again we apologise for any inconvenience and will let you know as soon as we’re able to reinstate the service for existing customers, which will be when it is logistically possible and safe to do so.
On behalf of Vale of White Horse District Council
The following update from our District Councillors is intended for Parish Councils but contains information likely to be of interest to villagers:
The Vale Communications Team continue to provide regular updates to all Town and Parish Councils.
As mentioned previously most Vale staff are working from home and this is likely to continue for the foreseeable future. Obviously working from home doesn’t provide the same support as in the office and it would be appreciated if there is a need to contact officers please do so by Email rather than telephone.
Climate Emergency Advisory Committee – The Committee met on 7 September. The Committee acknowledged that following the restructure of Cabinet roles Cllr Catherine Webber is now the Cabinet Member responsible for Climate and Environment. The Committee agreed to hold public meetings on a quarterly basis rather than monthly but task and finish groups will continue as required. Agendas and minutes for this Committee are available on the Vales website.
Civil Parking Enforcement – A report is due to be presented to Vale Scrutiny in November.
Corporate Plan – This has been considered by the Vale Scrutiny Committee and will be considered by the Cabinet on 2 October it is also an agenda item for the full Council meeting on 7 October.
Council Meeting 7 October – The agenda includes changes to the existing budget 2020/21, an update on Oxfordshire’s Growth Board, a review of the Council’s constitution and a Motion on the Governments Planning proposals.
Yellow Letter – Please remind your residents if changes have taken place to return the completed form asap.
Planning – The Government consultation – Planning for the Future has caused a great deal of controversy. The Vale will be making a formal response and Town and Parish Councils and residents are encouraged to reply. Part 1 of the consultation – Changes to the current planning system closes on 1 October but Parts 2 and 3 on 29 October. Details of the consultation are available on the Vale’s website and the Governments website – www.Gov.uk
In the last few weeks a number of planning applications have been submitted from within the Ward. Three of these have caused concern. Should these applications be recommended for approval by officers Simon and Elaine have requested that they be called-in for the Vale Planning Committee to consider.
Swindon Borough Council- New Eastern Villages – The Southern Connector Road through the NEV to Commonhead roundabout has been agreed and work is expected to commence in spring 2021. These works together with other works affecting the A420 will obviously have a knock on effect to all villages in the Ward. Simon and I work closely with our County Council colleagues and the impact of the NEV on the Vale cannot be underestimated. It is hoped that a steering group will be set up in the near future with Swindon Borough Council, the County Council and Simon and I as District Councillors to ensure that the A420 is recognised as the local road it is and not another trunk road like the A34.
Although we don’t hold surgeries we are always available to deal with any issues.
Simon Howell – 01793 784491 – firstname.lastname@example.org
Elaine Ware – 01793 783026 – email@example.com
The following is an update from VoWHDC
Released on May 6, 2020
Our support service for people who need urgent help as a result of current government guidelines will be running over the weekend.
Our support line is open Bank Holiday Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 9am to 5pm each day.
Please don’t wait until the last minute to call us as the bank holiday might make it more difficult to get hold of the items you need. Our advice is to think ahead.
The first step if you need help is to check with your friends or family, or a trusted neighbour. If they can’t help, then your local volunteer group might be able to and, if you have no success with either, please don’t hesitate to call or email us.
Call us on 01235 422 600 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
2. Friday’s waste collection moved to Saturday
If your waste collection is usually on a Friday, then this week’s collection day will change to give our collection crews the bank holiday off. Instead, we’ll come and empty your bins on Saturday 9 May – these collections will start at 6am so we recommend putting your bins out the night before.
3. Extra garden waste collections
If you’re a garden waste customer, this weekend’s the time to spend getting it in shape. As we’ll be collecting one extra bin’s worth of garden waste on your first brown bin week after the bank holiday. A bin’s worth of waste is around three large bin bags, which you should leave next to your brown bin on your usual collection day during:
4. VE celebrations at home
It’s tempting to go out and visit friends and family during a Bank Holiday weekend, but its important we remain at home and follow the national guidelines.
This weekend everybody has a great reason to stay at home to take part in the national ‘at home’ celebrations to commemorate 75th anniversary of VE Day this Friday.
We’re asking everyone in our district to ‘make it red, white and blue’ this weekend to help mark what’s an important date in our history. Residents can get involved by baking and make red, white and blue, cakes, buns or muffins, or dress your front garden, house, car, pet or lockdown partners up in red, white and blue. Take photos and share them on social media to show your celebrations.
The VE Day website has heaps of information on how you and your household can get involved at home. It has dedicated educational packs that you can use to teach your children all about why we’re celebrating, and there’s a party toolkit that includes print off bunting and posters to display in your home and windows. They’ve set up a few special events that people can join in from home including an afternoon tea with recipe ideas from celebrity bakers such as Bake-Off host Prue Leith and previous winner Nadiya Hussain, and a 1940s musical play list.
Head to the VE Day website to download your educational packs and a toolkit.
Residents in South Oxfordshire and the Vale of White Horse are urged to respond to a yellow letter which will arrive through their letter boxes in the coming days.
The annual ‘Household Enquiry Form’ requires people to confirm everyone over the age of 16 who currently lives in their property.
As soon as people get their yellow letter they should visit householdresponse.com/southandvale to confirm their details are correct or, if not, provide the correct information. You will need the 2-part code on the yellow letter to do this.
South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse District Councils need this information to make sure everyone who is eligible to vote is able to do so in future elections, including the Police and Crime Commissioner Election due to take place in May 2020.
Important – by law, each household must confirm their details, even if they are correct. Anyone who fails to do so could be fined up to £1,000.
Residents who do not have access to the internet can confirm their details by completing and returning the form that comes with the letter – a reply paid envelope is provided. If your details are correct you can quickly confirm this by phone or text – the details required for this are included on the yellow letter.
If a household doesn’t respond they will receive reminder letters. Council staff will also visit properties which haven’t responded by the Autumn to confirm the details.
Margaret Reed, Electoral Registration Officer for South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse, said: “As soon as you get your yellow letter please confirm your details – the easiest way to do this is by visiting householdresponse.com/southandvale. By law you must do this, even if all the information is correct, and if you respond immediately you will avoid receiving any reminder letters.”
Have you ever wondered which bin to use when disposing of your old socks, unwanted soil and used teabags? If so, help is at hand with the Wheel of Recycling – a handy gizmo from the Vale. Look out for one with the delivery of the Parish magazine over the next couple weeks (when you’re finished with it, it goes in the green bin!).
Also, for more information, try out the Vale’s ‘Bin Zone’ here. And there’s also an app available…