Parish Council Monthly News

The Parish Council met on October 2nd with 9 Parish Councillors’ and a number of members of the public being present. Mike Fox-Davies Oxfordshire Council Councillor sent his apology for not attending.

The question was raised in Public Participation who looks after the safety of play equipment on Open Space on the new developments. This should be undertaken by the development maintenance company on an annual basis. Also the advice from the Vale of White Horse District Council (VWHDC) on landscaping and maintenance companies is:
Landscaping is normally protected by planning condition for the first five years after a development is completed.  It will be the owner of the land who has to comply with this (i.e. management company or developer, or if transferred to a parish council, the parish will be responsible).
We do not get involved in the make up or governance of a management company – these ultimately fall outside the remit of planning law.  In terms of how long they are in existence, it is normally in perpetuity or until the land is transferred to a public organisation (i.e. where a parish council sometimes takes over land 20 – 30 yrs from completion of a development in order to manage it for their community)”.
Residents, quite rightly are concerned about speeding and noise and vibration from vehicles moving through the village. Below is a summary of Parish Council interactions between Oxfordshire County Council and VWHDC.
The Parish Council has been addressing the issues of speeding and resulting noise and vibration with both the Vale of White Horse District Council (VWHDC) and Oxfordshire County Council (OCC) for a protracted period and to date have had no positive outcomes.

For noise and vibration issues OCC say they do not offer this service, you could try Environmental Health at the VWHDC. The VWHDC say “unfortunately there is little we can do, noise and vibration from vehicles on the road is not something Environmental Health can deal with from a nuisance perspective. Noise from vehicles is dealt with by the Police and enforcing weight restrictions or where trucks drive is an Oxfordshire County Council function. Your email also refers to speed which again is a Thames Valley Police and Oxfordshire County Council (Highways) function where they may wish to consider speed enforcement.
At a meeting in Blewbury on 4th October OCC stated that speed is currently taken as "perceived speed" and that data is required to substantiate such perceptions. Once OCC have the data they use the 85th percentile which means they ignore the 15% of vehicles that disregard the speed limit and then use the average speed of the remaining 85%. We have submitted all data from our traffic monitoring device to OCC. For the High Street the 85th percentile is 32.3 mph and for Hanney Road 33.4 mph (this was 32.4 in 2016) which means that OCC deem them safe roads. We are awaiting clarification on this.

The VWHDC are happy for HGV's to go through the village to and from the Steventon Storage Depot. Their Enforcement investigation VE18/310 concluded that there was no breach of conditions for the use of Steventon Storage Depot. They did advise that HGV's should go via East Hanney rather than Steventon, obviously this has not happened.

We are thus in a situation where both the VWHDC and OCC will do nothing to address the persistent traffic problems we have in Steventon although the VWHDC have indicated that they could install some diffusion tubes for Air Quality. This will not help to prevent the noise and vibration issues or speed issues being experienced within the village. What it could do is provide Air Quality (AQ) data which may add weight to the already accumulated data that has been accumulated and help build an argument for re-diverting HGV traffic. However it cannot be guaranteed that it will provide data which will indicate an AQ problem or whether this data will be considered by the County Council.

The next Parish Council meeting is on November 6th at 7pm in the Village Hall. If you want to find out what has/is happening in the village please come along.
Dr Chris Wilding Chair

PS. Advanced notice that elections for the Parish Council will be held in May 2019. Parish Council Councilor’s are elected for a period of 4 years.


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