title="Baldons Parish Council in Oxfordshire">

Baldons Parish Council News Dec 19

Village Green Maintenance

In the October newsletter there was mention of the council’s concern at the condition of the village green which has been looking increasingly unkempt with brambles, nettles and saplings spreading widely and willow trees looking top heavy and with falling branches.


The council has considered estimates from several contactors and we have agreed to proceed this winter with pollarding the willows, clearing the brambles and edges of the ditch and removing the poplar tree saplings which are very invasive. It is also intended to increase regular maintenance.   Older willows will require increasing frequency of remedial work if they are not to become top heavy and fall as some have recently. The council will also consider a plan for the replacement of lost willows with other trees as necessary next year.


The village green is recognized as our most important asset and we hope villagers will support the need for better management and maintenance and as we indicated in October this mean that the council will need to spend more on the village green than in the past few years and this will be reflected in our budget setting  for 2020.


South side Track

The track on the south side of the green continues to deteriorate with many potholes and its condition is such that despite a notice asking cars not to drive on the green more vehicles are continuing to do so and the edges of the green are being eroded and the track widened as a consequence.


Maintenance of the track is not the responsibility of the council and it has always been maintained voluntarily by landowners and residents.  Following some research on what options may be available the council have agreed to a questionnaire being circulated to all householders on the south side of the green to seek views of a way forward. This is being led by Tom James and Lauren Collett.


During consultation with the land agents for Queens College about the condition of the track and the erosion of the edges of the green the agents have expressed a wish to see the edges of the green repaired and protected and returned to its normal boundary.  The council are consulting contractors with a view to repairing and reseeding the edges of the green and installing wooden posts along the most damaged stretch to prevent further erosion whilst respecting the need for overflow parking near the pub. This could be done in conjunction with repairs to the track if agreed following the discussion with residents.


Village Pond

We hope that everyone has noticed and appreciates the work that was done by volunteers to clear most of the brambles and vegetation from the edges of the pond on the north side of the Green. This was two Sundays of hard work which is much appreciated by the council.  The pond is now filling following recent rain and hopefully will attract some wildlife again.


Having lost one pond on the village green some years ago it is important that we try to maintain this one as best we can recognize its vulnerability to changing weather patterns and rainfall.  Regular maintenance of the pond is going to be necessary to keep the brambles and shrubbery down and reduce the reeds and rushes to enable the pond to be the attractive feature of the green which it used to be.  This is an ideal project for a group of enthusiastic volunteers, please join in next summer if you can. Meanwhile a big thanks to Jonnie, Tom, Rob, Robin and family, and Zephan and Japhiah.


Budget and Precept for 2020

A large proportion of the Parish Council’s income is spent on a  range of regular commitments and therefore to provide the flexibility to improve our provision of services and management of the green the Parish Council will be advising SODC that we will need a 9% increase in the budget for 2020.


Planning applications

Swallows Marsh Baldon. P19/S3363/HH. An application to install one new window and enlarge 3 existing widows on the front of the property, supported by the council 


Oxford to Cambridge Expressway

There is no new information at present and it is unlikely we will hear more about consultation until the New Year due to the general election.


Road Closure Toot Baldon

The recent Thames Water road closure caused considerable inconvenience to villagers, the school and others. The Parish Council has complained to Thames Water at the inadequacy of the notice and information for villagers although we became aware during the closure that a small official notice had been placed on a post at the site some weeks in advance.  We  will continue to pursue TW to provide earlier warnings and consultation with us but it could be helpful in future if, for  whatever reason, you know that  TW or another contactor will need to close the road during work on your property you let the parish council know.  


OCC Minerals and Waste strategy

Lorraine Lindsey Gale, our County Councillor, in her report to the parish council noted that OCC have now developed a preferred short list of sites to be included in their new plan for Minerals and Waste extraction which will be subject to consultation. Whilst sites south of the Baldons have been excluded following assessments, a site between Nuneham Courtenay and Sandford on Thames has been included for the extraction of sand and gravel.


Date of next meeting: Monday 13th January 2020 7.30 pm Village Hall: At this meeting amongst other things the council has agreed to discuss climate change and action appropriate for the council and village to take to reduce carbon emissions.  We will also be discussing what more we can do to encourage villagers’ interest and attendance at our meetings.  Please come and listen and, if you wish, address us in the open session of the meeting.