Environmental campaigners celebrate Oxford City Council's declaration of a climate emergency in January 2019 (Photo credit: Oxford Mail).
This year's Annual Parish Meeting will be environmental in its focus.
The Parish Council joined numerous local authorities up and down the country in declaring a 'Climate Emergency' at our meeting in March. This declaration acknowledges the seriousness of the threat that climate change poses to our ecosystem as we know it and commits the council to investigating what we can do to minimise and mitigate our own impacts.
We would like to use this opportunity to hear from local residents what they would like the council to do and in particularly to hear from people who have an idea about how we can engage local people in positive action to reduce our collective impacts on the environment.
We are delighted that several young people have agreed to attend and speak at the event, including Amber Chainey who attended the recent Climate Marches in London. We would love to hear from as many young people as possible so please do get in touch if you are interested in speaking at the event.
We hope that this meeting can be used as the first step to putting together a report on what Watlington can do to play its part in averting the Climate Crisis.
Secondly, we will also be discussing local air quality issues in the run up to Watlington's 'Clean Air Month' encompassing World Environment Day (5th June), whose theme this year is 'Air Pollution', and Clean Air Day (20th June). We hope to look back on the pledges made by local people on Clean Air Day last year and build on them for 2019.
We will also be reviewing the work of the Council over the past 12 months, it's always fascinating to see how much has been achieved, with 2018 having been a particularly momentous year with the adoption of the Watlington Neighbourhood Development Plan.
We hope you can join us for what promises to be a thought-provoking, informative and inspiring evening.
RSVP on our Facebook page.
(L - R) Councillors Nicky Smallbone, Ian Hill and Matt Reid.
Current Councillors have been manning a stall at the Town Hall for the past two Saturday to try and drum up new volunteers to stand for election in May. The current council has served it's four year term and we now need to hold an election to determine who will represent the community for the next four years.
Watlington Parish Council is a 14 member parish, meaning there are 14 spots available for passionate, community minded individuals that would like to make a difference where they live. If there are issues you are passionate about and you can spare two hours a month, then why not put yourself forward as a local Councillor?
Current Councillor Steph Van de Pette was co-opted onto the Council in September 2016, "I joined the Council whilst on maternity leave after having my first child about 6 months earlier. It was the perfect opportunity for me to get involved more with the community. I helped establish the new community-led group that took over the running of the Children's Centre when the County Council removed it's funding and I also helped restructure the Council's committee as well as rebuilding their website and generally modernising their approach to communications. I have really enjoyed the past two and half years on the Council, particularly my most recent role as Chair of the Strategy Committee."
Steph has two young children and works full-time. "We often hear people say that they would love to be a Councillor but that they worry about how much time it would take,. In my experience, you can put as much or as little time in as you like. The most important thing is that you are passionate and committed to helping the community. We really need the Council to reflect the people that live here, so if you don't feel that issues important to you are being considered then please do think about putting yourself forward as a Councillor."
The closing date for nominations is 4pm on 3rd April. Please see South Oxfordshire District Council's (SODC) website for information on how to put yourself forward or pop into the Parish Office in Old School place Monday - Friday between 9:30am - 12:30pm to pick up a hard copy of the nomination form. Any of the current Councillors would be happy to speak to you about their experience of being a Councillor.
Watlington Parish Council and the Watlington Club are delighted to announce the 2019 Watlington Community & Volunteer Awards to say thank you to the people of Watlington who go that extra mile for the community.
There are six categories to enter. Anyone can make a nomination, as long as the person or organisation nominated lives, works or studies in Watlington.
Organisation of the Year Award (Sponsored by The Granary Delicatessen)
For voluntary organisation or community group carrying out ongoing activities in the parish within the last 12 months.
Young Volunteer of the Year Award (Sponsored by Calnan Brothers)
For a young person (under 25) who deserves recognition for volunteering regularly or raising money for charity within the last 12 months.
Volunteer of the Year Award (Sponsored by Bella Luce)
For an individual who has worked tirelessly for the good of our community within the last 12 months.
Unsung Hero Award (Sponsored by Apex Healthcare Consulting)
For those people who work incredibly hard for the community with little recognition – nominations need not be for volunteering only and are not constrained to achievements in the past 12 months only.
Environmental & Conservation Award (Sponsored by TBC)
For an individual or organisation that has made a significant contribution to preserving or enhancing the local environment within the last 12 months.
Community Consciousness Award (Sponsored by K is for kitchen)
For an individual or organisation that has significantly raised awareness of an important issue locally or nationally within the last 12 months.
The awards ceremony will take place at Watlington Club on Saturday 8th June. Prior to the award ceremony, there will be a chance to find out more about the fantastic variety of clubs, charities and community organisations in and around the parish. After the prizes have been awarded, a BBQ will be available for you to stay and celebrate.
Fore more information and to download a nomination form visit our dedicated awards page.
Become a Local Councillor: Make a difference
Watlington Parish Council provides, maintains or contributes to the following services: Allotments, leisure facilities, car parks, Youth Club, Children's Centre, recreation grounds and open spaces, public conveniences, street cleaning in the centre of the town, looks at traffic calming measures and more!
The Council also works with our principal authorities Oxfordshire County Council (OCC) and South Oxfordshire District Council (SODC) to ensure the effective delivery of services to the local community. It is your local Councillors, helped by the Clerk, who identify local needs and ensure delivery.
Elections for WPC will be held on 2 May 2019
If you would like to make a difference and be involved in shaping the future of the local community, why not stand for election?
Nomination Forms can be collected from the Parish Office or downloaded from our website or the SODC website.
If you would like to chat about joining Watlington Parish Council or need any help feel free to contact Kristina Tynan, Parish Clerk, or any Councillor.
The High Street will be closed from Monday 11th March (next to what was DG Homecare) for connection of a water supply. There will be access to frontages. The closure is listed for 4 days but may be completed sooner. Traffic for the lower end of the High Street / Gorwell /Chapel Street and Church Street and the schools will need to go via Love Lane.
Councillor Tony Williamson 1933 - 2019
You may well have already heard that Councillor Tony Williamson passed away in February, but he leaves behind him a long and lasting legacy that has spanned some 30 years of public service to Watlington and almost as much time prior to that serving on Oxfordshire County Council. He will be missed by many in the Town, especially those for whom he did so much to help. His energy and focus on achieving the goals he constantly set for himself were legendary and despite his advanced years and terminal illness continued to cycle to most Parish Council meetings until very recently. The Council meetings will be somewhat emptier without his presence, but his memory will continue to remain a part of the ongoing Council narrative for some considerable time. Tony was absolutely committed to fulfilling his latest goal which was the transfer of the Charlotte Coxe Trust back into the trusteeship of a Watlington based organisation rather than let it languish under the management of an increasingly overburdened and understaffed County Council. The most fitting tribute to his years of service will be to continue that work and for the new trustees to eventually raise a glass in his memory once the process is complete.
Read our blog post here.
Resignations & Elections
We have had two resignations from full Council this last month, which were from Jeremy Bell and Fiona Butler. I’d like to thank them both for their service and wish them the best of luck in their continued endeavours. These resignations combined with Tony’s recent passing do leave us somewhat thin on the ground with only 11 out of the 14 Council seats now currently filled. The usual process of advertising for co-option and the process of selecting new Councillors seems to be somewhat redundant given that we will be having a period of election purdah before the elections themselves in two months time. So the question that inevitably follows is, have you ever considered becoming a Councillor? Life as a Parish Councillor can follow a number of different paths, but each are equally as rewarding. You may want to be active in the community helping out with the day to day issues that affect the growing number of assets currently under the care of the Council. Alternatively you may want to have a hand in how we plan for the future of the Town especially at such an uncertain time in both our County’s and nation’s history. Or quite simply you might just be looking for a new challenge and have always wanted to give something back to the local community that you love. As well as full Council there are seven sub-committees that you might want to consider when thinking about applying which are, Planning, Finance, Operations, Pavilion and Sports Field, Strategy, Neighbourhood Planning and the more recently formed Allotment Committee. Each individual committee has its own focus and specialities and you will often be working alongside other volunteers in delivering community benefit to the people of Watlington. The council is fully inclusive and has enjoyed a good gender balance and mix of age ranges to date. Most importantly there is also a good ratio of working Councillors to non-working Councillors, so if you have any doubts about whether it’s for you or not then simply pop into the Parish Office for more information about the nomination process or alternatively speak to an existing Councillor.
Read our blog post here.
Prosecution of illegal HGV’s
The issue of HGV’s passing through Watlington seems to have fallen off the front pages somewhat recently, which we would hope may be related to the new signage at the M40 advising the start of the 7.5 ton weight limit, but even so there has been some additional good news passed on to us by our County Councillor Stephen Harrod advising that trading standards have recently prosecuted an individual whose 40 ton HGV passed through Watlington illegally last summer.
Read our blog post here.
Buses, Potholes & Lights
I’m not sure how many of you subscribe to the Watlington Town notice board on Facebook, but you may well have noticed a number of posts recently relating to buses, potholes and lights. It is very easy to sit back these days and simply complain that everything including society itself is broken, but the situation is somewhat asymmetrical and significantly more difficult to actually do something about. Terry Jackson has recently been organising a working group to look at local bus services, so please get in contact with her if you use the local service or would use other routes if they were available. With regards potholes, we advertised in this column some time ago that the County had started a new initiative to train volunteers in order to create a new local workforce capable of patching minor potholes in their communities, so if this is something you’d be interested in being trained up on then please contact the Parish office. The lighting team are due to visit the area soon to fix many of the lighting issues that have been identified, but please continue to use the Fixmystreet app to keep reporting any outages or other issues around Town or the surrounding settlements that you notice.
SODC granted planning permission for three applications in the Parish during January. These were:
Dates of March meetings:
All meetings start at 8pm in the Community Office unless otherwise stated. We welcome residents attending any of these meetings as observers and may make statements on agenda items at the discretion of the chairman of the meeting. If people wish to speak on an item not included on the agenda it is necessary to contact the Parish Clerk during office hours. Minutes of all Parish Council meetings are available to members of the public on our website or in the Parish Office during opening hours.
Collated by Kristina Tynan, Clerk and Matt Reid, Chairman