Cost of Living Crisis
A lot of work is going on at both Oxfordshire County Council and West Oxfordshire District Council to address the cost of living crisis. The County Council has allocated £2m to community activity.
We expect there to be an increase in the numbers of people using foodbanks, including the excellently-run one we have in Eynsham. At the same time, donations from the public are decreasing. In addition, many households in Oxfordshire are not on mains gas, relying on bottled gas or oil for heating. The costs of these alternative fuels are not included in the six-month government support scheme, which has an impact on households near to Eynsham, including much of Stanton Harcourt.
The libraries team is working on a plan to use libraries as warm zones in bad weather.
It was a surprise at the County Council meeting this month that the opposition failed to support a motion brought by Lib Dem, Green and Labour members calling on more support from the Government.
Eynsham’s 20 mph zone has now been up and running for a few weeks. I think the general impression is that most drivers have dropped their speed, which was the intention of the scheme. Clearly some drivers will continue to speed, as they did when the limit was higher, but the overall effect is very positive.
Our neighbours in Aston and Cassington have now had their 20mph applications approved, and I expect other parishes in the Eynsham division to follow soon.
I would be grateful if anyone who sees HGVs using the village as a short cut – and manages to make a note of the company, the time/date and (if possible) the registration plate – can let me know. It is tempting for drivers to use our streets as a shortcut to avoid the A40 roundabout, but is completely unacceptable.
We’re in the early stages of the budget process at the County Council. The costs for the council are increasing – fuel, salaries, materials, etc – and we are expecting a very ungenerous settlement from HM Government. The bulk of council income comes from centrally allocated funding, so we are very reliant on the Government settlement. Things look bleak on this score, as anyone watching the news will have deduced. That means real pressure on services, including adult social care, education services, highways and others, for the coming financial year.
Among the various announcements made by the ex-Chancellor of the Exchequer and (at time of writing) Prime Minister in the ‘fiscal event’ were investment zones. The County Council has taken the view that it would not apply for any such zones in the county, although the Labour leader of the City Council and Tory leader of Cherwell expressed disappointment at this.
The Council believes that, whatever the possible benefits, the conditions which would apply would take away the power from districts to insist on beneficial planning, including demanding zero-carbon standards and traffic management. The County Council and the District Council have been putting great efforts into addressing the climate and biodiversity crisis; we didn’t think we could support something that worked in the opposite direction.
And finally – the work on Conduit Lane is underway. The old, crumbling wall has been removed. The next stage is to rebuild the wall in a different place, to leave a wider path.
On a completely different scale, the work on the Park and Ride has commenced, with overnight closures to Cuckoo Lane scheduled. Most of us still have huge doubts as to whether the Park and Ride project will achieve its objectives. We will find out.
As ever, you can contact me with any issues or questions by email at email@example.com.