To receive any questions or statements from members of the public that have registered to speak.
A. Richard Bartle, Chair of Shrivenham Parish Council, addressed Council on the Tuckmill Meadow SSSI. He expressed concern regarding the condition of the site which had been handed back to Vale of White Horse District Council in late 2019 from the Berkshire Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust with a number of recommendations to preserve and enhance the area which, to date, had not been actioned. He stated that the council had a statutory duty to preserve the site and urged the council to halt the decline and return it to its previous condition. He referred to local farmers who would be willing to graze their cattle on the site and volunteers who would be willing to assist with the necessary clearance work.
B. Jane Hanna, Oxfordshire County Councillor for the Grove & Wantage division, addressed Council on Motion C of agenda item 18. She welcomed and was encouraged by the motion to seek ways support the funding of leisure facilities in Grove and Wantage and the surrounding areas to meet the needs of a growing population. Such facilities were needed and would address the well-being of residents.
C. Emma Brookes addressed council on the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill. She stressed the importance of the Bill to address climate change and in support of the main elements of it to oblige the UK government to reduce greenhouse emissions at a rate that would limit global heating to 1.5 degrees C, oblige the government to protect and restore the ecosystems in the UK and to involve the citizens of the UK in a citizens’ assembly to inform decisions on how to achieve those aims. She welcomed the submission of the motion on the Council agenda and hoped it would be adopted.
D. Alderman Joyce Hutchinson asked the following question to Councillor Helen Pighills, Cabinet member for healthy communities
1) When is Vale of White Horse District Council’s new Leisure Strategy to be published?
2) Can you confirm that the S106 and the CIL money reserved for leisure facilities for Wantage and Grove will be spent within walking distance of Wantage and Grove, so that the local community will obtain full use of all facilities?
In response Councillor Helen Pighills stated that the council’s Corporate Plan committed the council to work with partners on the production of a leisure strategy. It was hoped this would be available by the end of March but was dependent on the availability of staff resources which had been assisting with the council’s response to the Covid pandemic.
She confirmed that S106 funds previously allocated to the Wessex Leisure Centre project were being reviewed to determine how they could be re-allocated to alternative projects in the areas which generated the funds and what projects could be funded. She confirmed that there was no CIL money available for leisure projects in Grove and Wantage.
Whilst the council could not commit to ensure the leisure facilities would be in walking distance, the council was committed to ensure the funds would be used in the areas that generated them and to reduce reliance on cars to access facilities.
The Chair thanked the members of the public for their contribution to the meeting.