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