Category Archives: Local Services

Government grants available – Safer Communities

New government funding is available to help communities build safer neighbourhoods

The Home Office is inviting organisations from the voluntary sector to apply for a share of £10 million to enable communities tackle crime and anti-social behaviour.

The ‘Community Action Against Crime: Innovation Fund’ aims to bring together active citizens and encourage new ways of working with communities to build safer neighbourhoods. £5 million is available this year and a further £5 million has been set aside for 2012/12.

For further information about the new Home Office funding, please visit

This funding will support voluntary organisations in getting on with the job of building strong and safe communities in their own innovative way, working alongside Community Safety Partnerships and other agencies.

The South and Vale Community Safety Partnership (of which the district council is a lead member) supports local voluntary organisations to help reduce crime and the fear of crime in the Vale of White Horse. For example, the partnership gave funding for a project in Abingdon to help young people stay out of trouble and build self-esteem, whilst developing a sense of worth and making a positive impact on the community.

You can find out more about South and Vale Community Safety Partnership on our website.

Katharine Doherty
01491 823615

Seacourt Retail Development decision due

The Seacourt Retail project is due to be decided upon, now that all the Thames water obstacles (danger of flooding) have been overcome.

Many residents provided written feedback, and all letters are available to read on the Vale’s Planning website: (scroll down a few screens and you’ll see all the documents associated with this plan). Many people objected to the removal of the only petrol station serving this area. There were other objections to do with environmental impact, pedestrian access and more traffic for our already clogged streets.

But none of these objections are anything that will cause a decision against the application, as the Vale officers have said a  decision based on these issues would not hold up in appeal.

If you have comments, please leave them here. Or contact the planning officer at the Vale (you can find out who to talk to via the web link above)

Planning is very much run by planning policy, and the deciding criteria is usually whether an appeal about a decision would be upheld. (Appeals are very expensive for the Vale.) Personally, I think planning policy that doesn’t consider the last local petrol station serving thousands of residents of a growing and expanding village as an amenity, needs to be examined. The additional objections about the cost in money and polution (requiring motorists to make a 10 mile journey to fill up), also points to the need to address the policy.

It’s too late now for a policy change to save our petrol station, but maybe it can save the next vital service that developers want to demolish.

Changes to Garden Waste Service

This, from the Vale officers (I’ve snipped out bits to make it shorter, without sacrificing meaning):

…We will suspend collections for two weeks over Christmas, […] to enable us to collect the extra household waste produced at this time of the year. [We will also] collect extra garden waste during a week in spring, which we will publicise nearer the time.

[…] for new customers we will only accept direct debit payments […] We are planning to include a letter with future invoices to advise existing customers that we will be moving to direct debit payments only for our garden waste service before their service is next renewed. We hope this will encourage some customers to switch now but gives all customers up to 12 months notice of this change.

For more information on the terms and conditions, please visit the council’s website at

For questions related to the garden waste service, please contact Ian Matten on (01235) 547640 or

So, garden waste (brown bin) pick-up will be skipped in December, and we’ll have an extra pick-up in spring, with the details to be announced nearer the time.

But it won’t be announced in Unvaled, because the Vale cabinet are discontinuing it.

When I hear details, I’ll post them here.

What happens to my recycling after it’s picked up?

At the North Hinksey Parish Council meeting in May 2011, Cllr Ag McKeith relayed a question from one of our residents, who sought reassurance that the recycling effort was still working, even with the sound of breaking glass she heard as the men picked up the bins near her home.

I spoke with Clare Kingston, the Office in charge of recycling for the Vale, plus did a bit of my own sleuthing, and learned a few valuable things:

  • Vale recycling rate shot up from 38% under the old scheme to 70% with the new one, making our recycling rate one of the best in the country!
  • More information about what happens to your recycling is planned for the next issue of Unvaled. The current issue is available on the Vale’s new website Search for Unvaled.
  • The service provider, Verdant, will soon be offering arranged site visits, so we’ll be able to see for ourselves how the recycling centre processes our stuff.

Blue Peter, ever the champion of explaining how things work, joined a recycling collection in the midlands, which works much like ours. Watch and see the recycling at Greenstar’s super MRF (Materials Reclamation Facility) at Aldridge, near Birmingham, which is where the Vale’s residential collectibles for recycling end up:

On the video, you’ll see that a load of mixed recycling (plastic, glass, paper, cardboard, metal all together) is dumped into a giant feeder bin that’s processed by high tech machines and computers, helped by people who make sure things go where they should. For example, as the mixed material passes through on a conveyor belt, people first pick out the light-weight plastic (shopping bags, loo roll or bread wrappers, cling film, etc) and toss them up a giant hoover to be gathered and re-used. Giant cogs shake up the materials to extract the cardboard. The glass breaker machine yields small pieces of glass and sends it to manufacturers of glass products. A magnet-based machine separates steel from aluminium.

Once I saw this video, I understood why crisps and sweets wrappers can’t be recycled: they’re bonded metal and plastic that can’t be separated. It’s the same for the blister packs that tablets come in. And it’s thoughtful to make sure your recycling is clean.

Sometimes we might find aspects of the rubbish and recycling collection annoying. But if we keep in mind how each household’s efforts contribute to the overall success, then it’s a good trade-off. Every time we fill a green bin and set it out for collection, we save taxpayer money, natural resources, and precious landfill space.

What you can recycle: