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County Council report: December 2023 20 Dec 2023 Submitted to the Parish Council by Cllr Dan Levy, Oxfordshire County Council, in December


At County Hall the Budget is currently being created. The headline figures are that there are £36m worth of pressures, caused by underfunding, demographic changes and inflation, including a higher than expected rise in the National Living Wage (9.8%) with no additional money from the Government that announced it.

We spend over half the Budget on adult and children’s services, including social care. The County Council is making savings and becoming more efficient. For instance, we are building new childrens’ homes, including one in Aston, to enable us to look after Oxfordshire children in the county.

The headline gap between expected income and expected spending for 2024-25 currently stands at £9m, which we will have to fill to create a balanced Budget. Despite this, we are in a better position than most other County Councils of all political persuasions.

There is a consultation open, which can be found on the County Council website. We want to hear from as many residents as possible.


There was another serious crash at the Barnard Gate junction a few weeks ago. Officers are investigating how to make this crossing safe.

Changes in this area were going to be part of the reworking of the A40 using money from Homes England, but this phase of the project has had to be deferred as the costs of the whole project have exceeded what Government made available (predictable from the point at which the P&R/A40 scheme was first sketched out). Regardless, something needs to be done to make the junction safer. Potential options include shutting the junction to right turns, which will be very inconvenient mainly for people living north of the A40 in places like Freeland and who use the junction to get onto the A40 going westbound, and of course to the residents of Barnard Gate itself.

There is a closure planned for Tar Lane, between Stanton Harcourt and Witney, in January, to replace the bridge parapets on the A40 crossing. That will last several weeks.

The National Highways work on the A420/A34 junction continues to cause long delays. The County Council is powerless to get National Highways to manage this better, nor to coordinate its work with other works organised by the County Council.

It is probably fair to say that people notice the holes in roads rather more than a nice smooth surface when work has been completed, so it was nice to receive some positive feedback about the now-restored A40 where it has been patched at Barnard Gate and in the stretch by Cassington, and about the scraping of the A40 cycle path to restore it to its original width.

I wish there was the money to do more, but the Government grant of £20m, with approx. £2m from the recently announced extra sum, barely scratches the surface. We need over £40m just to keep at a standstill.

Botley West Solar Farm

The next phase of consultation is now open. Residents can and should have their say on the scheme proposed by PVDP and mainly using land owned by Blenheim. Councillors like me who sit in cabinets are taking the view that we are best commenting through the councils, which will have an obligation formally to report their concerns to the Secretary of State, who will be making the decision. Those Councillors who are not so bound are free to stand with those residents who are making their voices heard.

As ever, please contact me with queries, comments or requests via my email

And finally, could I wish Councillors, officers and residents a Merry Christmas.

You may also like to read the report from the District Council.



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