Category Archives: Uncategorized

Bin collections this week

Here’s the latest word from officers about our waste collections.

“As you can imagine Biffa are behind this week because of the conditions. They have been out each day and have remarkably managed to make collections from the majority of places. They estimate to be about 2 to 3 hours behind on this week’s work. They are reducing this time each day as conditions improve but it may mean they will have to do some properties from Thursdays collection on Friday. If they haven’t managed to catch up by the close of play on Friday they will complete on Saturday. If you are contacted by any residents please ask them to leave their bins out.”

Local Plan Part 2 – Lib Dem Group’s consultation response

The Liberal Democrat Group of Vale of White Horse DC have submitted our response to the inspector’s consultation.

The whole doc can be accessed via this link to Dropbox:  Liberal Democrat Group response

Here’s a summary of our points raised:

In Summary, we request the following modifications to Local Plan Part 2:

  1. a) The housing need targets for Oxfordshire’s unmet need should be reviewed before this plan is adopted considering the Government’s housing white paper ‘Planning for the right homes in the right places’
    b) The Vale plan should be paused until the Oxford City Local Plan is adopted and we are clear what their unmet housing need figure is.
  2. The safeguarded land for bus and cycle routes in Sunningwell should be removed from the plan (Core Policy 12, appendix B, page 32)
  3. References to Dalton Barracks being serviced by a Park and Ride at Lodge Hill should be removed from the plan ((Policy 2, paragraphs 2.81 and 2.82, page 40 of the Plan and page 15 of the appendices)
  4. Green Belt status to be retained for the parts of Dalton Barracks that will be used as a country park and for the existing village of Shippon
  5. The 90 Homes at Marcham will have a negative impact on congestion and the AQMA therefore should be removed from the plan
  6. References to ‘Dalton Barracks’ should be changed to ‘Dalton Barracks and Airfield’ through the plan
  7. An Electric Vehicle Charging Point policy for the Vale should be included
  8. a) The housing sites identified in Part 2 to help meet Oxford unmet need should provide 50% affordable homes (as per the Oxford City policy)
  9. b) A new affordable housing policy should be included, to increase the proportion of affordable homes delivered across the Vale

West Way gets permission 

Tonight the Vale planning committee gave permission for the temporary change of use for the northeast corner of the West Way site. But with a lot of conditions. As soon as the decision notice comes out I’ll post it (or a link to it) so you can see. 

Thanks to Emily Hamerton who helped us iron out all the clarifications and conditions. Thanks to residents who came out tonight: Mary Gill and Simon Banks who spoke, and John Gill, Gordon Stokes and John Blackie, who gave support. 

And thanks to my colleagues on the committee, Catherine Webber, Jenny Hannaby and Anthony Hayward who raised good points and helped make things better.

Take points away for the chairman who spouted a bunch of incorrect information, and then kept my countdown timer running while I corrected that info. 

But there we are. Now on to the real work of development. 

Mace / West Way meeting 24 Aug 17

On the 24th of Aug I had a meeting with Mace and their representatives, the Vale of White Horse DC planning officer Stuart Walker, and our County Councillor Judy Roberts.

Here’s my update (numbered for ease of reference; no particular order):

  1. There is a holding objection on the planning application P17/1507/FUL (this is the temporary change of use application). County do not want to see a full access created (by the former Andrews Dry Cleaners); they claim it would impede traffic on West Way. This is the issue now holding up progress.
  2. Amendments to the application are expected by 4th Sept, which will satisfy the County’s holding objection, and also some of the safety concerns expressed by cyclists.
  3. Once the amendments are received by Vale planners, a two week consultation will begin, anticipated to be from the 4th of Sept. There will be no extension to this consultation, so please put it in your diaries and plan for it now.
  4. It’s anticipated the application will come to Planning Committee in October.
  5. During the demolition of the southern end of the Grant Thorton building and Seacourt Hall, Chapel Way will remain open. Mace are committed to keeping the Co-op trading. That means we’ll be able to access the Co-op parking and Elms Parade in the usual way.
  6. Here’s an overview of the order of demolition and re-fit of the buildings for temporary change of use:
    1. Demolition will begin with ensuring the two building are separate. Seacourt Hall and Grant Thornton (GT).
    2. The southern end of GT will be knocked down. At the same time, re-fit of Elms Court building will commence.
    3. The remaining GT building will be re-purposed for the temporary occupiers.
    4. Community users will be relocated to new premises in GT.
    5. Seacourt Hall will be knocked down.
  7. It will take 2-3 months to get the temporary shops ready for occupancy, so it’s expected this will be just after the Christmas holidays.

That’s all to report really. If you have a specific question, please do feel free to get in touch with me.

In the meantime, we can all help ease the pain by shopping as often as possible in the Elms Parade shops. We want them all to flourish.






Poor service from Biffa

Here is my letter today to the officer managing the waste and recycling, and to the Cabinet Member responsible for the service, Cllr Charlotte Dickson. 

Dear (officer),

Sadly this waste and recycling service from Biffa has become reliable. Reliably bad. 
Many roads were missed today in Elms Rise Botley. My road is Sycamore Road OX2 9EJ. Residents from Cedar Road OX2 9E have contacted me to complain as well 

Consider this another complaint. 
Something like 4 of the last 5 weeks we’ve had a missed service. There has never, in my experience, been a textiles pick up at all.
Please can you tell me the financial penalties to the contractor for such poor service week after week? 

We are annoyed. It’s an expensive contract. 



Line your food caddy in plastic!

Residents in Vale of White Horse can now use plastic bags to line their food waste bins and caddies.
Food waste is collected every week and taken to Agrivert’s anaerobic digestion plant near Wallingford to be recycled into gas for electricity and fertiliser for local farmland.
The processing plant is now able to accept thin plastic bags, such as carrier bags, bread bags, paper wrappings, or normal pedal bin liners. Residents can also continue to use compostable bags or newspapers to line their caddies and bins, or put food straight in without any liner.

Any bags used as liners will be removed at the processing plant and sent to an Energy Recovery Facility to be turned into energy.

Cllr Tony Harbour, Cabinet Member for Waste at South Oxfordshire District Council, said: “We know that compostable bags can be expensive and easily tear, so it’s great news that the processing plant can now take plastic bags.

Cllr Charlotte Dickson, Cabinet Member for Waste, said: “We want to make recycling as easy as possible for our residents, so we very much welcome the extra option of using plastic bags as caddy liners.

“We are one of the top recyclers in the country, but we still throw away a significant amount of food waste, with a recent review showing that around 30 per cent of the waste put out in the grey rubbish bins was food waste that could have been recycled. We would like to encourage everyone to use their food waste bins and thank all those that already do – it makes a real difference.”

All cooked and uncooked food can be put into food waste bins. 

Residents are advised that plastic retail packaging, or anything other than food waste, should not be put in. For example, bacon should be removed from its plastic packet and fruit taken out of punnets.

During 2016/17, 10,024 tonnes of food waste was collected and sent for recycling in South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse.

For further information about food waste recycling and other household waste and recycling collections, see the councils’ websites: or call 03000 610610.

Latest on West Way – 9 July 2017

Last week I met with Mace and Savills, and now I’ve also had their written response to the concerns I expressed in my reasons for calling in the current Mace planning application. I’m studying that this weekend. I’ve printed off concerns that residents have emailed me, and am taking another close look at everything I’ve received. 

Many of the concerns I raised have been resolved. The Westminster Way pavements won’t be closing, for example, so bus stops there remain unaffected and the walking routes to Botley Primary school remain available. 

Some issues are yet to be resolved, if they even can be. For example, a left in, left out, anti-clockwise route for construction vehicles is not in accordance with the Botley SPD, but is the safest way to manage access for large lorries. In this case at least, the Botley SPD is wrong (shock, shock). I have a meeting on Monday with the to discuss remaining concerns. 

Here’s some news that may help to ease the anxiety felt at the prospectI would cancel my call-in (which I will do when or if all the issues are satisfactorily addressed): Mace will be submitting amendments soon, which will require further consultation. So I won’t be cancelling call-in just yet. 

There are three ways residents can help in this current planning phase, son if you can bring your expertise to the table, please get in touch:

1. There is a unit for this temporary configuration that is available to be used as a small ground floor cafe; if a cafe comes forward, it would be welcome. Is this something perhaps Assn of Botley Communities could make happen for everyone? Or someone else? It would benefit us all. 

2. Mace have offered to meet with local reps of cycling groups to talk about safe access and parking in this temporary set-up. They’ve tried to make things workable and safe. Who will help with that? (I’m not a cyclist, so my conversations about it are strictly well-meaning and amateurish.)

3. Mace have offered to meet with local people who are particularly concerned about the trip rates data and the projected traffic and parking in the temporary set-up. Who will meet them with me?

So that’s where we are currently. Any questions or comments please do get in touch.

Local roadworks

Notification from Highways England.

A34 Abingdon, Oxfordshire: resurfacing
Work to improve road user’s journeys along the A34 southbound continues this week. The A34 southbound carriageway will be closed from the Hinksey Hill junction to the Milton Interchange overnight, between 10pm and 6am, from Thursday 6 July for 3 nights (Monday to Friday only). A clearly signed diversion will be in place via the Botley Interchange, A420, A338 and A417.

A34 Marcham to Hinksey Hill, Oxfordshire: barrier repairs
Work to improve safety by carrying out repairs to the barrier finishes this week. The northbound carriageway between Marcham interchange and Hinksey Hill will be closed overnight, between 10pm and 6am, until Friday 7 July. A clearly signed diversion route will be in place via Colwell Drive, Dunmore Road and Oxford Road to the A34 Hinksey Hill junction.

A34 Oxford, Oxfordshire: street lighting
Work to improve safety by maintaining the street lighting around the A44 Peartree Interchange takes place this week. Lane closures will be in place on the roundabout, and the north and southbound entry slip roads will be closed overnight, between 10pm and 6am, on Wednesday 5 July. Clearly signed diversions will be in place via the adjacent junctions.

Info about Biffa Today

Councillors had this message from officers today:

We have had a large number of waste collection vehicle breakdowns in both districts today, which means Biffa’s crews are behind on their collections.

Our advice to residents is to leave their bins out tomorrow if we haven’t emptied them today. If any collections are disrupted tomorrow or later in the week due to these breakdowns, our advice will be for residents to leave their bins out the following day. 

Biffa are due to get a brand new fleet of vehicles later in the year, which will mean significantly fewer issues related to vehicle breakdowns.