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The Parish Council held a “virtual” meeting on Wednesday 15th  April with 8  Councillors, Mike Fox-Davies, Oxfordshire County Council Councillor and 1 member of the public signing in.

We are currently experiencing unprecedented times with the wretched COVID-19 Coronavirus. The Parish Council would like to thank residents of Steventon for their community spirit, comradery and ingenuity during these stressful times. It is a delight to see the support given to the NHS and front line workers and the messages given in the form of painted/chalked stones, pavements and walls plus trinkets dangling from trees, the Causeway is quite impressive together with looking out for neighbours and those vulnerable and delivering essential supplies.

A thank you goes to all the staff in the Co-op who have maintained a vital supply of food to residents and more recently delivery to vulnerable residents, well done. At times they have experienced abuse from impatient/ignorant people, there is no excuse for this type of behaviour.

Everybody should now have had the letter from Network Rail stating that they have withdrawn their appeal and now have no intention to demolish Steventon Railway bridge. The Appeal process has been going on since the Vale of White Horse District Council refused permission for demolition of Brunel’s Grade II listed Railway Bridge in August 2018.  Steventon Parish Council is therefore both pleased and relieved at the news that Network Rail are withdrawing their Appeal. It has ended the threat of having our High Street closed for almost a year and the logistical transport headache for residents, businesses and people in neighbouring villages.
We would like to thank all those who provided both advice and support for our campaign since 2014. The electrification project that led to decimation of our countryside and national heritage was started by Network Rail with no detailed design and rigorous technical evaluation.  We always knew that technologies, associated testing and modelling techniques were evolving in the UK to enable solutions similar to those being deployed on the Continent.
It is our hope that going forward, much more of our national Railway Heritage can be retained as Network Rail progress electrification throughout the UK, than was previously the case.
Oxfordshire County Council (OCC) are  waiting for Bouygues (OCC electrical contractor) to install the belisha beacons and power supply to allow the zebra crossing in Hanney Road to become ‘live’.   Bouygues are currently only carrying out critical works. They have a proposed plan to gradually bring in non-essential works that will be undertaken over the coming month. 

The saga of replacing the chicane on Hanney road continues. OCC are trying to de-couple planning conditions on Phase 3 Linden Homes development from installation of a new chicane on Hanney road. If successful this will then allow the removal of the existing chicane on Hanney Road and replacement with a new one.

The collection of litter, with a picker straight into a bag is not seen as a high risk, but the emptying and sorting of bins is likely to put you in a vulnerable situation. With the exception of bins in St. Michaels play and on the big green it is the responsibility of Biffa to empty. The bins in St Michael’s play area and on the big green have been sealed as it is considered too high a risk for our regular village litter pickers.  

A reminder that under the Dogs (Fouling of Land) Act 1996 a person who is in charge of a dog must clean up after it when it fouls any footpath, highway, verge or other open space to which the public have access.  It is therefore a crime to allow a dog to foul in any public area without clearing it up.  Those that fail to do so could face a fixed penalty notice of £50 or prosecution. If the bins on the public roads are full then please take your poo bags home and dispose of with normal domestic waste.
South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse district councils have reopened their paid-for bulky waste collection service for large household items and are also issuing a warning about fly-tipping while other outlets for domestic waste remain closed.
The bulky waste collection service was temporarily stopped to allow the councils’ waste contractor, Biffa, to prioritise the important kerbside household collections while members of their waste collection crews were off sick or self-isolating. Biffa has now built up sufficient resilience in its workforce and can now provide the paid-for service again. The situation is being regularly monitored and residents should be aware that if staffing levels fall the service may need to be suspended again.
With household waste recycling centres still closed, along with charity shops and their donation banks, there are fewer places to dispose of unwanted items that do not fit into kerbside collections.
The councils have issued a warning to anybody tempted to fly-tip -  this includes leaving rubbish next to litter bins – that they will investigate and prosecute anyone found to be responsible.
The next virtual Parish Council meeting is on Tuesday 5 May 2020 at 7pm. If you want to find out what is happening in the village and join public participation please email the Clerk who will send you a link to join the meeting.

Dr Chris WildingChair

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