WODC - Preparations underway to make sure polling stations are safe for this year’s local elections and deadline approaches for voter registrations
As the local elections approach on Thursday 6 May 2021, West Oxfordshire District Council is preparing to make sure all polling stations available for those who wish to vote in person are safe and Covid secure.
Voting in person will be different this year with polling stations following the Covid secure rules seen across shops and other indoor locations during the pandemic. This will include voters wearing masks, using hand sanitiser, social distancing and making sure items touched in the polling booths are cleaned.
Staff will also be taking the necessary precautions to keep safe and have received additional training to help advise and support voters.
Voters are encouraged to bring their own masks and pen or pencil on the day to reduce wastage on the day, however, for those that need them they will be available.
Some polling stations have had to change due to some usual polling locations being unsuitable during the pandemic and so voters are being urged to check their poll cards to make sure they know where their polling station is.
Residents are also being encouraged to make sure they are registered to vote, and if they want to, have applied for postal or proxy voting ahead of the rapidly approaching deadlines.
Residents can register to vote through the Government website which takes only five minutes to complete.
Residents can apply for postal voting now and have to get their application in before the deadline of 5 pm on 20 April and to be able to vote by proxy, applications must be in by 5 pm on Tuesday 27 April.
Application forms for postal and proxy voting can be downloaded from the Electoral Commission or voters can visit the council website at westoxon.gov.uk/registertovote or contact us on 01993 861410.
Keith Butler, Returning Officer for West Oxfordshire District District said, “We are taking all the steps needed to make sure voters this year are safe at the polling stations and feel comfortable voting in person.
“People will by now be familiar with the precautions we must all take to prevent the spread of Covid-19 and our polling stations will be no different. If people can bring their own masks and pens we would really appreciate it.
“As a final reminder, I would urge everyone wanting to vote to make sure they have registered ahead of the required deadlines so that they have the chance to have their say in this year’s local elections.”
“For anyone interested in voting by post this year they need to make sure we have received their application for their postal vote before 5 pm on the 20 April. We are quickly approaching the deadline and I would encourage people to sign up sooner rather than later.”
It It was with great sadness that the Parish Council learned of the death of His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh. The Parish Council with the parish extends its heartfelt condolences to Her Majesty The Queen and members of the Royal Family.
We remember with immense gratitude the lifetime of service which His Royal Highness devoted to Her Majesty, to our Nation and to the Commonwealth.
online book of condolence | The Royal Family
Residents in Oxfordshire are to be given a warm welcome back to libraries from Monday 12 April onwards.
Oxfordshire County Council is planning a phased approach to the re-opening of libraries and will be maintaining safety measures including track and trace, use of face coverings and social distancing.
Lesli Good, Interim Assistant Director for Cultural Services, said: "Our libraries and registration staff have missed serving the Oxfordshire public in person and being the heartbeat of their communities. It’s a moment we have been anticipating hugely for many weeks and now it is very close.
"Our excitement is being blended with a safety-first approach. Each building is different and they are all being fully assessed to make sure they are as safe as they can be.
"We will keep everyone up to date on our website and through social media whenever a new re-opening is due and also on the safety arrangements that have been put in place."
As a result of the safety precautions required, library opening hours are also temporarily limited. Visitors are advised to check times on the library pages of the county council’s website.
Since the November lockdown, all loans have been extended on a rolling basis. This will end on 10 May, at which point all loans will be due for return or renewal. You can safely return items by dropping them off in the returns boxes at the doors of any library during opening hours.
No library customers will be penalised as a result of having to self-isolate or being unable to travel to return library loans. If there are exceptional circumstances that prevent you from returning or renewing your loans, please contact your nearest open library.
In addition, the Oxfordshire History Centre will be re-opening to visitors on 13 April. All visits must be booked online in advance via Eventbrite. The centre has also now re-started its remote enquiry service.
Dates for libraries
The following libraries will reopen on the week beginning 12 April:
The following libraries are closed until further notice:
For further details of library opening hours, re-openings and safety measures for visitors, please visit the county council’s libraries’ webpage.
URL : http://news.oxfordshire.gov.uk/libraries-to-reopen/
WODC - West Oxfordshire District Council approves joint strategy to accelerate electric vehicle charging
West Oxfordshire district councillors have approved a joint electric vehicle infrastructure strategy, paving the way for zero-emission transport in the county.
Developed in collaboration with Oxfordshire County Council and local authority partners, the Oxfordshire Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Strategy (OEVIS) lays out the framework to realise a countywide vision for the charging of electric vehicles (EVs).
Adoption of the Strategy is just one of a number of recent measures taken by the Council – including the appointment of a Biodiversity and Countryside Land Management Officer and investing in its first electric vehicle – to deliver against its corporate priority of: “leading the way in protecting and enhancing the environment by taking action locally on climate change and biodiversity.”
Last month the Council also approved its Climate Change Strategy 2021-25.
With an end to sales of diesel and petrol cars set for 2030, it is expected that 25,000 battery electric vehicles will be on Oxfordshire’s roads within the next five years.
To meet this emerging demand, the OEVIS sets an aspiration for 7.5% of all local authority managed public car park spaces to be adapted to fast or rapid electric vehicle charging points (EVCPs).
One hundred and forty charging units, able to charge 280 cars simultaneously, are due to be rolled out across the county through the Government and private sector backed Park and Charge Oxfordshire project. Thirty-five units, servicing 70 parking bays, will be installed in West Oxfordshire later this year, contributing to the Council’s target. On top of this, the Council is currently in the process of evaluating tenders to appointment a partner to plan and install additional EVCPs in the district, to cover a wider and more rural geographic distribution.
The changes will support residents, businesses and visitors to make low-carbon transport choices and move away from vehicles powered by polluting fossil fuels, in a bid to reduce greenhouse gases and improve air quality.
Councillor David Harvey, Cabinet Member for the Environment at West Oxfordshire District Council, said: “Bringing EVCPs to Oxfordshire is a truly collaborative project which will revolutionise how transport on our roads will look in the years to come.
“One of the biggest barriers to people taking the plunge right now and converting to electric is the level of uncertainty about the charging options available. Purchasing a car is a big financial commitment for the vast majority of people, so it is essential we provide the public with the right infrastructure and reassurances if we want them to make the change.
“The roll out of the new EVCPs, backed up by the new strategy, will enable residents to invest in EV with confidence, knowing they can charge their vehicle in a way which is convenient to them, fits in with their lifestyle and the amount of mileage they predict they are likely to do.”
Developing the infrastructure to support EVs is just one objective outlined in the Council’s Climate Change Strategy to decarbonise the district around the key issue of transport. Encouraging active forms of travel, creating low-traffic neighbourhoods and piloting new technologies, which support ultra-low carbon-emission transport, are just some of the climate change mitigation measures the Council is keen to advance.
West Oxfordshire District Council is the first authority to adopt formally the OEVIS following Oxfordshire County Council councillors’ approval of the Strategy last week; Oxfordshire’s remaining district and city councils will seek approval in April.
The Climate Change Strategy for West Oxfordshire 2021-2025 is available at: www.westoxon.gov.uk/environment/climate-action/climate-change-strategy/
A new symptom-free testing centre is being opened in Carterton from Monday 29 March to allow local residents to access symptom-free testing, otherwise known as lateral flow testing.
The site in Carterton will be hosted at Brownes Hall in the town centre and from 29 March residents will be able to book a symptom-free test as part of the county-wide testing programme.
The site, which has been set up by West Oxfordshire District Council and Oxfordshire County Council’s Fire and Rescue Service, will be open for six days a week with full details to be posted on the Oxfordshire County Council website once the site is open.
Any residents who work or volunteer in a role where they have close contact with people outside their home, including childminders, are eligible for the tests. They do not need to have any Covid-19 symptoms and are recommended to get tested regularly.
Anyone who is showing symptoms should book a PCR test through the Government website at https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test. These tests are done at different testing sites across the county.
Symptom-free testing is also available through workplaces, with the four sites across Oxfordshire making the testing available to any eligible people who do not have access to workplace testing.
Eligible people can book a free rapid test and find out more via the Oxfordshire County Council website.
Councillor Michele Mead, Leader of West Oxfordshire District Council, said; “It is great we have been able to bring a new symptom-free testing centre to West Oxfordshire that will help us keep the infection rates across the area low, saving lives and protecting the NHS.
“I would urge people to make use to the symptom-free tests if they are eligible and would like to remind people to visit the county council website to book their appointment before attending.
“Massive thanks go to the council staff and volunteers who will be running this centre along with our partners at the Oxfordshire County Council.”
OCC - TTO Hinton Waldrist - Bridleways 250/9/20, 250/9/10 and 114/6/30 and Footpath 250/1/30 closure 24 May 2021 to 1 June 2021.
Children and their local communities are set to benefit from the launch of a pilot School Streets scheme that will trial closures of roads to traffic at drop-off and pick-up times during term-time.
School Streets aim to improve road safety to help boost cycling and walking and improve air quality. They are being delivered by Oxfordshire County Council in partnership with walking and cycling charity Sustrans, backed by financial support from the government. This follows extensive engagement and designs with residents and the schools prior to the scheme launch.
Councillor Yvonne Constance, Cabinet Member for Environment, said: "We know that without safe and low-traffic environments, many children simply won’t have the confidence to cycle. School Streets are a great policy in enabling a travel revolution to improve air quality and physical activity levels of school children and their families."
Sarah Leeming, Sustrans head of delivery, said: "We’re really pleased to be supporting Oxfordshire County Council to trial the School Streets initiative.
"School Streets schemes in other parts of the country have proved beneficial for road safety and air quality. And they create a cleaner, more pleasant environment outside the school.
"In turn, School Streets increase the likelihood that children will walk or cycle to school instead of being dropped off in a car, so they get to school feeling alert and ready for a day of learning."
School Streets restrict motor vehicles (other than buses) outside schools and apply to both school and through traffic, while typically continuing to permit access for people living there.
In a six-week pilot scheme starting on 22 March, Windmill Primary and St Christopher’s Church of England primary schools in Oxford will be the first to begin the trials. These will be followed by East Oxfordshire Primary in Oxford in May.
If the trials are deemed a success by the schools, they will be extended for a further 18 months.
On roads where School Streets are trialled, orange and white cones or barriers will be placed along the road to stop cars from going through, with signs telling drivers not to park in the area to keep the children safe. Marshalls will be on hand to enable residents to access or leave their property. The restrictions will apply to school staff and all through traffic alike.
Sustrans is supporting schools across the country to deliver School Streets as part of its commitment to making it easier for people to walk and cycle.
The charity hopes that schools, local authorities and residents will see the benefits of the schemes and consider options for making them more permanent, as a number of schools across Britain already have.
For anyone interested in having a School Street, please register your interest with the council. A series of frequently asked questions on School Streets are also available on the county council’s website.
Photo: Sustrans/Paul Mitchell
URL : http://news.oxfordshire.gov.uk/school-streets-to-begin/
News and information from Aston, Cote, Chimney & Shifford Parish Council.