South Leigh

Parish Council...

South Leigh Parish Council is a statutory body operating as the lowest level of local government. Its powers are very limited but it is entitled to be consulted on many matters that are actually the responsibility of a higher local authority (witness planning and the District Council or Highways and the County Council).

The Parish Council is elected by all qualifying voters in the Parish and its elected members in turn appoint a Clerk to the Parish Council.

The Parish Council has the power to tax by, adding a regulated charge, called a 'Precept', to your Council Tax bill.

The Parish Council has regular meetings (approximately every six weeks) which are advised to the Parish by a notice on the notice board by the pub and on the vilage website. These meetings are open to the public to attend.

No Parish Councillor is paid nor is the Clerk. The Parish Council operates through volunteers and with the good will of the public. However, certain activities are delegated by the Parish Council which operates through various sub-committees and appointed officers, viz:-

Each sub-committee operates independently but under the aegis of the Parish Council and with a Parish Councillor or Officer as an ex-officio member with all relevant accounts of the sub-committee being consolidated within the accounts of the Parish Council itself at the year end.

The Summer Fayre Committee is not a sub-committee of the Parish Council. It operates as an independent fundraising venture and thus it is not the responsibility of the Parish Council.

In addition to these sub-committees, the Parish Council has appointed the following officers:

Parish Council notices

NEXT COUNCIL MEETINGS

The next meetings, which take place at 7:30pm in the Village Hall, are on the Tuesdays listed below. If you wish to discuss something, we always have a slot at the beginning of the meeting for this purpose.
18th February 2020
31st March 2020
14th May 2019 AGM followed by Ordinary meeting

Code of Conduct for Members and Co-opted Members
Below is the Code of Conduct to which all Parish Councillors have signed up.
Produced by WODC, it is also followed by all District Councillors.

GUIDANCE ON THE DECLARATION OF INTERESTS AT MEETINGS


  1. When do I need to declare my interests?

You need to declare your interests at all meetings where matters being discussed or to be discussed affect your interests.

  1. What is a personal interest?

You need to declare your interests at all meetings where matters being discussed or to be discussed affect your interests.

  1. What do I need to do if I have a personal interest in a matter?

You have a personal interest in a matter if that matter affects the well-being or financial position of you, your relatives or your friends more than it would affect other people in the Parish. You must look at how any decision reached in any meeting would affect:

  1. You and / or their jobs and businesses;
  2. You and / or them where you and / or they are a partner in a partnership, and / or where you and / or they are a director of a company;
  3. Corporate bodies in which you or they have a beneficial interest in a type of share with a face value (as shown on the share certificate) worth more than 5,000 and
  4. You and / or they have an interest in a trust or other organisation whether beneficial or not.
  5. Any organisations (whether for profit or not) in which you or they hold a position of general control or management or influence and whether or not, you or they represent your Parish Council.

Under the Code of Conduct:

  1. A relative is a partner (someone you are married to or live with as if you were married), a parent, a parent-in-law, a son or daughter, a step-son or step-daughter, the child of a partner, a brother or sister, a grandparent, a grandchild, an uncle or aunt, a nephew or niece or the partner of any of these people;
  2. a member of the public is a person who lives in the Parish and / or who pays Council Tax or business rates to the local district authority.

  1. Do I need to declare a personal interest at a meeting if it is on the Register of Interests?

Yes - even if your interest is shown in any Register of Interests, you must also declare it in meetings where matters affecting that interest are discussed.

  1. What is a prejudicial interest?

A prejudicial interest is one which a member of the public who knows the relevant facts could reasonably think is so significant that it is likely to affect your judgement of the public interest.

You must ask yourself whether a member of the public, if he or she knew all the facts, would think that your personal interest was so significant that it would probably affect your decision on the matter. If he or she could think your judgement would be affected, then you have a prejudicial interest.

  1. What is not a prejudicial interest?

The Code of Conduct sets out some general exceptions from prejudicial interests. It says that you may not have a prejudicial interest if the matter relates to:

  1. Another relevant authority of which you are a member.
  2. Another public authority in which you hold a position of general control or management
  3. An organisation where you represent your Parish Council.

  1. What will happen if I declare a prejudicial or personal interest?

We have agreed to follow best practice at South Leigh Parish Council so that regardless as to whether a declaration is of a prejudicial or personal interest, the relevant councillor would be asked and expected to leave the meeting and not to vote on any declared interest.

There has recently been an increase in the number of members of the public attending our Parish Council meetings, which is fantastic. We are really pleased that people are interested in the actions of the Parish Council which is, after all, your representative in matters pertaining to our Parish.

However, given the increased numbers, I thought it would be a sensible idea to restate the relevant rules...

Strictly speaking, the public is there only to observe and participate by invitation. Just as with OCC and WODC, these are meetings of the Council held in public and not public meetings.

As is recommended, we have adopted 'model rules' as set out by WODC for the conduct of meetings of the Parish Council - a summary is set out below. They are fairly strict rules but some latitude is allowed at the discretion of the Chair with the consent of the Parish Council.

I, as Chair, have always felt that public participation should be encouraged wherever reasonably possible and so have run our meetings in a much more open way. I am not suggesting that this changes. I continue to support the idea of public participation but I would ask that we remember that meetings of the Parish Council are not meetings of the public.

When issues have arisen, such as Gladman or the Neighbourhood Plan, I have ensured that a full public meeting has been convened so that parishioners can express their views. While I remain Chair, I will continue with this policy. In the meantime, members of the public are encouraged to notify myself, the Clerk or any Parish Councillor of any matter of concern as we purposefully maintain a running Agenda item for such matters. However, whilst we will normally allow matters to be raised at relatively short notice, it would be appreciated if reasonable notice is given of a wish to speak or raise a particular matter as that enables the Parish Councillors to have researched the relevant subject beforehand to ensure an informed debate.

Finally, we, as your Parish Council, are appointed to make decisions on the behalf of the whole Parish. Whilst we will endeavour to hear all views and to take them into consideration, the final decision on any matter is down to the Parish Councillors themselves. In that regard, no councillor entitled to vote has to give a reason for their decision on how to vote.

Council Meetings: Public Participation Procedure

  1. The meetings of the Parish Council are not public meeting meetings; they are meetings which are open to the public to attend. Members of the public do not have a right to speak unless invited to do so by the Chairman.
  2. In response to a specific request the Parish Council will make available 15 minutes at the commencement of the relevant agenda item for public participation.
  3. Any person wishing to address the Parish Council must inform the Clerk not later than the Thursday before the Parish Council meeting giving notice of the subject the wish to speak on. (The reason for the need to give notice is so that the Clerk may undertake any research that may be needed and brief the Chairman)
  4. If a person has not given the required notice they may not be able to address the meeting.
  5. The Chairman will invite the person to speak on the subject of which they have given notice.
  6. The person addressing the Parish Council will speak for no more than three minutes.
  7. Having once addressed the Parish Council they will not be allowed to speak again on the same subject unless the Chairman of the meeting invites them to clarify their remarks.
  8. A group of people wishing to speak on a subject will appoint a representative to address the Parish Council on their behalf.
  9. If two or three members of the public wish to speak on the same subject as individuals (and not as part of a group), the Chairman may use his discretion to stop any speaker who is simply repeating what has already been said.
  10. Members of the public may not speak on items that are confidential or exempt from publication under legislation.
  11. Members of the public may not participate in the Councillors’ debate.
  12. The Chairman of the meeting may rule that any public remarks are not appropriate and will not be accepted, for example if they are defamatory, frivolous or offensive. In such an instance the Chairman may disallow a person from speaking or continuing to speak.
  13. To comply with the Code of Conduct, councillors with prejudicial interests who wish to speak during public participation sessions must do so before others with views / representations on the same matter and then immediately leave the room, i.e. they cannot hear the representations of others.
  14. If the Chairman wishes to depart from these procedures once incorporated, there will have to be a motion suspending standing orders and the subsequent discussions will not be minuted. Minuting of the meeting will be resumed once standing orders are reinstated.
Nicky Brooks, Chairman of South Leigh Parish Council
nicky@oxcomm.co.uk
December 2019

Stanton Harcourt Farms
The Parish Council has received a letter from Mr. William Gascoigne, owner of Stanton Harcourt Farms, regarding access to his land. Every parishioner should please read this to comply with the law and for their own safety.
OCC logo
Dear Parish and Town Council colleague,

County councillors asked me for a briefing on highways maintenance and we thought it would be a useful for parishes and town councils too.
By clicking the button, you can download the briefing which is intended to explain our approach to road maintenance, with some facts and figures to show progress as well as the scale of the challenge.

Hopefully, the briefing answers some of the questions you may have as we know this is a live issue in many areas.

I’d welcome
feedback on the content so we can improve the format when we do an update in the autumn.

Best wishes,

Eddie Gibb, July 2018
Head of Communications, Oxfordshire County Council
Download Briefing
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Thames Valley Police have released their 'Police and Crime Commissioner for the Thames Valley’s new Police and Crime Plan'. 
 
A summary version of the plan has now been published detailing the five strategic priorities for policing and crime for the next five years.  The summary is available to download by clicking the button.
Download Plan
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Parish Councillors and their contact details can be found here.

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As many will know but a few may have forgotten there is a defibrillator attached to the north side of the Village Hall, that is the right hand side.

Recently it has been out of action due to a fault with the locking mechanism. This was corrected only for us to discover the battery needed replacing along with the pads. These have now been replaced so everything should be in working order.

The cost of these items comes out of Parish Council funds and therefore ultimately everyone’s council tax. By the way... we are not talking £4.99 for a battery, it was £155.00 with the total cost £235.08.

If the situation arises that you need to urgently gain access to it, use your phone to ring 999 (you will
always get a response even where there is no mobile signal for ordinary calls) and someone will give you the code to open the box and lead you through the procedure and assist with details of how to treat the person in need before an ambulance reaches you.

NOTICE OF CONCLUSION OF AUDIT

Notice is hereby given that the audit for the year ended 31st March, 2018 was completed on 22nd January, 2019.

The accounts are now available to download by clicking the button below or the originals can be inspected by arrangement with John Ashwell who can be contacted between the hours of 10.00 and 17.00 on 01993 703534

Download
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PARKING

The Parish Council asks that
cars should not be parked half on pavements and half on the road. We understand why this practice has developed but unfortunately it has the effect of breaking down the pavements and verges.
DOGS AND THE LAW

Dog owners are reminded that it is now compulsory to have their four legged friend microchipped. Any dog that is found not to have been microchipped could see the owner facing a fine of £500.
 
West Oxfordshire District Council picks up about 100 stray dogs every year, many of which are not microchipped, making it difficult for them to be reunited with their owners.
 
The animals are taken to council-appointed kennels with owners charged for accommodation and other costs until they are returned. If unclaimed, the stray is usually re-homed through an animal rescue centre.
Electrical item sparks bin lorry fire
 
West Oxfordshire District Council is urging residents to take care about what they put in their household rubbish bin after one of their contractor’s vehicles caught fire.
 
The incident happened in Little Tew when the crew heard an explosion in the back of the vehicle and saw flames coming out.  Fortunately their speedy action prevented the fire from spreading beyond the back of the truck. 
 
Using thermal imaging the Fire Brigade could tell that the fire had been caused during the compacting process when a laptop containing four large lithium batteries was crushed.
 
This is a stark reminder of the importance of disposing of electrical goods safely. Smaller unusable electrical items can be recycled at most of our recycling sites and larger electrical items taken to one of the county’s Waste & Recycling centres such as Dix Pit in Stanton Harcourt. The ‘crossed out wheelie bin’ symbol found on many electrical items means that they should not be put into normal household rubbish bins.
 
The containers for small electrical items, which are known as WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment) banks, are a bright pink colour. The nearest ones are at Sainsbury's car park in Witney and the car park at the Eynsham Medical Practice. Anything with electrical or electronic parts from straighteners to shavers, and toys to toasters, can be placed in the pink WEEE banks.
 
Producing electrical items uses a lot of energy and valuable materials, including precious metals like gold and silver. Electrical equipment can also contain chemicals such as lead and mercury. These chemicals can get into the environment and harm people or animals if items are not disposed of carefully.
 
As part of the recycling process valuable or harmful materials are removed safely and re-used or disposed of. Recycling materials such as aluminium from computers saves raw materials and energy.
NOTICE BOARD

This has now been installed next to the rather dirty telephone kiosk. It is not large but is considered to be of sufficient size and should last for many years. It was made in Northmoor so we have supported local industry. There is only one key so if you want to display a notice, please contact me -
clerk@southleigh.info

PLANNING PERMISSION

Please be aware that if you extend your property by incorporating part of a field you will need planning permission for change of use from agricultural to domestic from the local district council.

GRASS CUTTING

Approximately 21% of our Precept pays for cutting the Village Green, the rear garden of the Hall and assisting the church with the cost of cutting the churchyard.

STRAY DOGS

The responsibility for collecting stray dogs has changed from the Police to West Oxfordshire District Council. The Police will still deal with dangerous dogs.

Anyone who has lost or found a dog should telephone the council on 01993 861020 during normal working hours or 01993 705056 after 5pm and at weekends, or online by clicking
here.

People interested in re-homing a stray dog can apply by logging completing the 'Application to re-home a dog' form found by following the link on the same web page.
FURZEY BREACH

The shooting rights for this area (from the top of Church End down towards the A40) have changed hands. The new gamekeeper has asked that we keep to the footpaths and particularly that we no longer walk through the wood.

Come the autumn they are likely to be shooting in this area and sometimes using rifles rather than smaller and less powerful guns. They have suggested that they will put warning / information signs up to the opening to the footpath (village end) to warn people when the shoots are taking place. They shouldn’t shoot over the footpath, and of course you have every right to use a designated footpath at any time, but with the signs up you might choose to walk a different way of those days.

The gamekeeper seems a reasonable man who is trying to do his job so please do take note of this warning.

Nicky Brooks, Chair Parish Council, June 2015
COUNCIL TAX SCAM WARNING

West Oxfordshire residents are being warned to guard against bogus callers telling them their council tax bands maybe too high.
 
Several residents have been in touch with the District Council saying callers from the ‘Claims Review Bureau’ have contacted them offering to work on their behalf to obtain a reduction in exchange for a fee of about £80.
 
But staff have emphasised that anyone wanting to appeal against their band can do so for free by contacting the District Valuation Office.
 
Cllr. Toby Morris, Cabinet Member for Resources, said: “This is a scam and residents must ensure they do not pass on any financial or personal details to these callers. Appealing against a council tax band does not require a third party and is free. Anyone receiving one of these calls should end the conversation as quickly as possible.”
 
Residents wishing to appeal against their council tax banding can do so by contacting the District Valuation Office on 03000 501 501.
 
To report a suspected scam, contact Oxfordshire County Council Trading Standards on 0845 051 0845.
 
The District Council has also reminded residents that staff would never ask for a customer's bank details via email.
The Parish Council is hoping to have the opportunity to use a speed radar gun in the not too distant future but will need a few volunteers to help at the roadside. It is recommended that three people are available whenever the system is in use - one to hold the gun, one to shout out the registration details and one to write them down.

If would be preferable to have a rota of volunteers so that no one person is committed for too long so if you are interested please email me on
clerk@southeigh.info or telephone 01993 703534.

Once we have a list we will ask the local PCSO to come and explain how to operate the system.

Please help with what most people think is a very worthwhile endeavour.

John Ashwell
LITTER BLITZ - 2019

A big thank you to the following public spirited people who all helped to clear the roadside verges of litter.
  • Richard Law and Jane Lewis
  • Graham & Janet Soame
  • Liz Winslade
  • Martin Spurrier
  • Nick & Alex Kellaher
  • Caroline & David Auger
  • Russell & Anne Cherry
  • Ros Pearce
  • Last but not least Sid Washington for providing the advertising board.
Thank you to those who pick up litter as and when who are not included on this list.

John Ashwell 01993 703534
BE 'IN-THE-KNOW' ABOUT PLANNING APPLICATIONS NEAR YOUR HOME
Want to find out when someone puts in for planning near your home? Interested in tracking the progress of planning applications for our village?
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You can now sign up to receive emails from West Oxfordshire District Council to find out when a planning application is registered within 500 metres of your home, and choose whether to track its progress or submit your views about the application quickly and simply online.

The email notifications service is part of improvements to the planning section of the council’s website to make it easier to find out about applications online.
What’s more, you can also get weekly reminders about your waste collections so you know which bins to put out, as well as opt to receive alerts in the event of changes to your collections due to bank holidays.

To register to ‘Be in the Know’:
visit
www.westoxon.gov.uk/beintheknow and follow the simple registration steps.
To find out more about planning in West Oxfordshire, see
www.westoxon.gov.uk/planning or call 01993 861000.
ROADSIDE VERGES
 
The Parish Council is concerned that grass cuttings and other garden waste is being deposited on roadside verges in a couple of localities within the village. We hope this practice will stop immediately as it is regarded as Fly Tipping and the District Council will prosecute when and where necessary. It is suggested anyone wishing to dispose of garden waste should ask the District Council for a green wheelie bin which they will supply free of charge.

LOCAL PLAN

The latest draft local plan for our area has just been published. This is a public document which anybody can ask to view. The plan includes the suggestion that the junction at Shores Green allowing access to and from the A40 towards Oxford be extended into a 4-way junction to allow traffic access in both directions. The plan also includes extra housing and a Park and Ride on Oxford Hill. The Parish Council is very concerned that these plans will have a significant effect on the amount of traffic that will go through the village. We have had a meeting with the County and District Councils to discuss this fully and we will be submitting a report on the village's behalf. Please do look at the local plan - you can download the entire document from
this website - and write expressing your views to the relevant councillor, either district, county or parish.

To make things easier, the Parish Council chairman has submitted the relevant pages of the local plan which are available
here. Additionally, you can see a table showing the expected increase in traffic flow through the village here.

The following points will be included in the Parish Council's submission:
  • Single track road.
  • Blind bends.
  • Rural environment.
  • Flooding.
  • Lack of grit during the winter.
  • No footpaths.
  • Light pollution - the new junction would be lit.
  • Increase in noise.
  • Unsafe for cyclists.
  • New housing in Witney, Carterton & Curbridge will increase the level fdic on the A40, causing more traffic congestion and so tempting more people to use the village as a cut-through - no updating of the A40 to remove 'pinch-points' close to Oxford is planned in the near future.
We have asked that a full traffic survey be conducted to ascertain the numbers and destinations of vehicles currently using the village roads and work will be undertaken to assess the changes that the proposed new junction might bring to traffic volume through our village.

CODE OF CONDUCT

To conform with the law we must state that the Code of Conduct adopted by West Oxfordshire District Council has been adopted as the code for members and co-opted members of South Leigh Parish Council with effect from 1st July 2012 or such other date as may be specified in regulations, to replace the current code of conduct.