I have been recuperating over the summer months after major surgery in May, and have returned to my duties at Oxfordshire County Council. I made a commitment to attend Full Council in September and last Tuesday I managed to do so (see photo above). It was good to be welcomed back with a cheer and I was able to thank everyone for their good wishes and flowers which had been sent to me whilst recovering at home.
Main items for discussion at the meeting were the re-organisation of senior management after our Chief Executive leaves this month, followed by a debate on the Local Transport Plan 4.
We also saw a demonstration at the front of County Hall regarding the future of Children's Centres which is due to go out for public consultation after the Cabinet meeting yesterday. I shall provide further details about these plans in a further post.
Some residents may be interested in the Local Transport Plan and the Connecting Oxfordshire document which was the subject of meetings around the county last year including one held in Wantage. You can see my previous blog post of the event here. Although Grove station got a mention in the latest transport plan, improved bus services in the area didn't. Also, more cycling measures were included for urban areas, but nothing which helps us here in the more rural parts of Oxfordshire.
However, my main issue locally, regarding both LTP4/Connecting Oxfordshire and the recent bus subsidies consultation, is the lack of any connectivity between Grove and our main employment sites at Didcot/Milton Park and Harwell by public transport. I did speak about this subject at the council meeting last week, and felt very strongly that although I had sent in my responses to all of these consultations, nothing appeared to have been taken on board in the final documents. Very woolly references are made in the 'responses received' part of the document, which appear just to be added in as an afterthought, but whether or not anything will be done is yet to be seen. I called for all comments made at the full council meeting to be taken on board.
I was pleased to see the Wantage and Grove Campaign Group making a statement at the beginning of the meeting, making similar points: that we are taking much of the new housing in the area, but without any added public transport infrastructure which is required, especially if we wish to see less cars on our surrounding congested road systems at peak commuter times.
It was also good to hold my first council surgery last Saturday after my illness. Many old customers wished me well and lots of casework to keep me busy! Next surgery will be held on Saturday 10th October in Grove Library from 10.30am - 11.30am. As usual, no appointment necessary, just come along to discuss issues of concern.