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Leaders statement – Report to Council, 14 July 2022


Before going on holiday I attended a meeting of the Arc Plenary, a group of council leaders, LEPs, and Universities, to discuss the future of the Arc. I was able to circulate to councillors the conclusions of that meeting. As I said in that email, we joined the Arc group for very good reasons but the purpose of the group now seems to have evaporated. Whilst we support partnership working wherever there is a purpose to that partnership and a benefit to the residents of S Oxon, but for the life of me I cannot work out what the purpose of this partnership now is and we await the answer to that question.

Meeting with staff

This week I have had the pleasure of meeting our staff in 2 meetings on Monday and Wednesday where I was able to thank them personally for their work over the last couple of years, present to them the strategic priorities of the council and take questions from those in the room and online.

Cost of living – Household Support Fund

We have a motion on the impact of the cost of living later in the meeting so I will limit my comments here to highlighting the existence of the Household Support Fund and ask members please to promote this to their residents.

Uncertainty in planning reforms due to ministerial changes

I won’t make any party political points about the current shenanigans in Westminster, tempting as it is, but I would like to point out how the recent ministerial changes could directly affect this council. We were very supportive of certain aspects of the planning reforms currently going through parliament, and we had done a lot of work making our views known to MPs and ministers. It appeared to be very close to bearing fruit but is obviously now less certain. We hope for a speedy resolution on this and many other matters.

Didcot Garden Town revised plan

Members who are interested should take a look at the excellent paper which went to cabinet recently and which will be going to the Garden Town Advisory Board next week which massively simplifies the delivery plan into something far more concrete and deliverable.

Wallingford Water project

We have a motion later on sewage but I would draw your attention to the excellent piece of citizen science which is taking place in and around the river in Wallingford to monitor water quality.

Active Grants Scheme (Leisure equipment grant scheme)

An email will pop into your inbox soon telling you about the new Active Grants Scheme which I urge you all to read and share with your communities.