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WODC News Releases

Last Updated 03 February 2017 11:23

JAN 2017

Warning issued over council tax ‘scam’

West Oxfordshire residents are being warned to guard against bogus callers telling them their council tax bands maybe too high.

Several residents have been in touch with the District Council saying callers from the ‘Claims Review Bureau’ have contacted them offering to work on their behalf to obtain a reduction in exchange for a fee of about £80.

But staff have emphasised that anyone wanting to appeal against their band can do so for free by contacting the District Valuation Office.

Cllr Toby Morris, Cabinet Member for Resources, said: “This is a scam and residents must ensure they do not pass on any financial or personal details to these callers.

“Appealing against a council tax band does not require a third party and is free. Anyone receiving one of these calls should end the conversation as quickly as possible.”

Residents wishing to appeal against their council tax banding can do so by contacting the District Valuation Office on 03000 501 501.

To report a suspected scam, contact Oxfordshire County Council Trading Standards on 0845 051 0845.

The District Council has also reminded residents that staff would never ask for a customer's bank details via email.

ENDS

For immediate release Date: 5 January 2017 Budget strategy consultation

West Oxfordshire District Council is preparing its annual budget for 2017-18 and medium-term financial strategy up to 2025-26 and is consulting on its proposals.

The Council is faced by a number of significant financial pressures over the forthcoming year with reductions in government funding of in excess of £0.75m and increasing waste and recycling costs of £0.8m.

Following five years of council tax freezes, the local authority increased its charges for the first time last year to deal with the significant funding cuts. It now needs to make further difficult choices, between raising council tax and other charges, and making service cuts in the year ahead.

Cllr Toby Morris, Cabinet Member for Resources, said “We must review our spending to counteract the funding cuts. We are proposing an average council tax increase of £5 for residents. This will help protect frontline council services, allow free car parking to continue and provide ongoing grant support for valued services provided by the voluntary sector.

“We’re also intending to make further efficiency savings by sharing even more resources with our existing partners, Cotswold, Cheltenham and Forest of Dean Councils. This joint working is proving extremely beneficial, currently delivering £1.5m of savings to West Oxfordshire taxpayers, and we know this could be increased further still.

“However, it’s important that local residents have a voice and I urge them to have their say on our budget proposals. The short online consultation is quick and easy to fill in so should only take a few minutes to complete.”

For more information and to complete the consultation survey, see www.westoxon.gov.uk/budget

NEWS RELEASE

‘Tis the season to recycle

With so much waste produced over the festive season, West Oxfordshire District Council has put measures in place to help residents recycle as much as possible.

The Council will be collecting extra recycling, as long as it is put out for collection in open cardboard boxes that are no larger than the household black boxes.

Cardboard boxes can be used for light materials and must be placed alongside, or in wet weather on top of, the black recycling boxes. For safety reasons, glass items should only be placed inside the black boxes

In addition to black box recycling materials, the crews will collect food waste from kitchen caddies that are left out on collection days alongside food waste bins.

Cllr Carol Reynolds, the District Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment, said: “We are trying to make it as easy as possible for people to recycle their waste, especially as so much is generated over Christmas – most items can be recycled from cards and wrapping paper, to turkey carcasses and other food leftovers.”

Garden waste collections do not operate between 25 December and 9 January, but when they resume crews will pick up real Christmas trees and other greenery such as holly, ivy and wreaths. Trees can be placed alongside garden waste bins, or cut up and left beside them.

To find out more, including full details of what can be recycled in West Oxfordshire, see

www.westoxon.gov.uk/bins or call 01993 861000.

The website also has details of what can be taken to local Household Waste Recycling Centres and to the recycling banks in the car parks.

Further information:

Visit our news centre at www.westoxon.gov.uk/news

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20 October 2016

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COUNCIL SUPPORTS POWER CUT HELPLINE

West Oxfordshire District Council is supporting the launch of 105, a new national three-digit helpline telephone number that will make it quicker and easier for people to report a power cut.

Many people don’t know who to contact during a power cut and wrongly call the electricity supplier shown on their bill.

By calling the helpline, householders will be put through to the company that repairs local power networks and restores power.

Cllr Robert Courts, Cabinet Member for Communities and Housing said, “Having a free, easy-to-remember number is a great boon during a power cut and so we are keen to let West Oxfordshire householders know about the new 105 helpline.”

The 105 number is available to electricity customers in England, Scotland and Wales and can be accessed from most landlines and mobile phones

The number is jointly funded by electricity network operators - the companies that manage the cables, wires and substations that bring electricity into homes and businesses. Network operators can also be contacted directly by phone or via their website, and most network operators can be contacted through social media too.

The public can also call 105 if they spot damage to electricity power lines and substations that could put them, or someone else, in danger. If there’s a serious immediate risk, the emergency services should also be contacted.

Visit www.powercut105.com to find out more about the new 105 telephone number and electricity network operators.

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WEST OXFORDSHIRE PRESS RELEASE

Council pledges food waste reduction target

West Oxfordshire District Council has signed up to the Courtauld Commitment, a pledge to cut food and drink waste by 20 per cent before 2025.

The Courtauld Commitment 2025 is a voluntary agreement launched by the Waste and Resource Action Programme (WRAP).

It brings together organisations across the food system from producer to consumer to food waste disposal.

Cllr Richard Langridge, Cabinet Member for the Environment said: “Food waste in West Oxfordshire is collected weekly and recycled locally. Although it is a popular service there is room for improvement as many food items are still being thrown into the general rubbish bin. Reducing waste is a priority for us, which is why we are more than happy to sign up to the Courtauld 2025 Commitment. It underlines and supports the excellent work the District Council is already doing.”

Recent initiatives undertaken by the Council to improve food waste recycling rates include social media advertising and a doorstep campaign to promote recycling and composting. These campaigns relate directly to the objectives of the Courtauld Commitment.

Food waste recycling was introduced in West Oxfordshire in 2010. Householders are provided with a free kitchen caddy and outdoor bin. After collection it is taken to an anaerobic digestion plant in Cassington where it is recycled into a liquid fertiliser called 'digestate' for use on local farmland and renewable electricity is generated as a by-product during the process.

The Cassington plant processes food waste from across Oxfordshire and creates fertiliser for local farmers to use, along with enough electricity to power 4,000 homes on an on-going basis.

Richard Swannell, Director of Sustainable Food Systems at WRAP said: “Courtauld 2025 is our most ambitious agreement yet and we are delighted that West Oxfordshire District Council has pledged its support as a signatory.

“We are faced with some big challenges ahead with rising populations, climate change and dwindling resources. But tackling food waste offers a practical option to address these challenges and in doing so, will create new opportunities. Only by working together can we hope to realise the big changes that are essential to ensuring a more prosperous future for individuals, businesses and the planet.”

West Oxfordshire Press Release

Major survey aims to address car parking needs

West Oxfordshire residents and businesses are being asked for their views and opinions about car parking in its towns and villages.

The District Council has drawn up an in-depth survey to help gain a better understanding of the issues faced by people as it looks to enhance its future provision of free parking across West Oxfordshire.

Every car park managed by the District Council is included in the survey and it asks key information, such as how often each car park is used, for how long and the purpose of the visit.

To match future parking provision, the council wants to hear from as wide a cross-section of the community as possible, including families and those with disabilities.

Cllr David Harvey, Cabinet Member for Car Parking and Transport, said: “Free car parking throughout the year is a real success story for West Oxfordshire, benefitting residents, tourists and businesses alike. It has helped our local economy remain buoyant; we want to keep it that way by making sure our car parking facilities continue to meet a growing demand. To this end, I encourage everyone to take part in this important survey to make parking an even more positive experience.”

The survey can be completed online at www.westoxon.gov.uk/parkingsurvey or is available at any of the following places: the Council’s reception points, Burford Visitor Information Centre, Carterton Town Hall and Woodstock Town Hall. Entries close on February 29 2016

Referendum on Chipping Norton’s Neighbourhood Plan

The Chipping Norton Neighbourhood Plan has passed the examination stage and there will now be a referendum.

The referendum is taking place on Thursday 3 March 2016 from 7 am to 10 pm.

If more than 50% vote yes then West Oxfordshire District Council will use this plan to help decide planning applications in the Neighbourhood Area.

For information about the poll including registering to vote and voting by post or proxy please visit the Council’s elections web page www.westoxon.gov.uk/elections and follow the Future Elections link.

Information about the Chipping Norton Neighbourhood Plan can be found at www.westoxon.gov.uk/chippingnorton. Documents can also be viewed for inspection at the Guildhall and at the Library in Chipping Norton and the Council’s Elmfield offices on New Yatt Road, Witney.

[i]Additional notes

Neighbourhood Plans steer development and land use in a local designated area by setting out policy and proposals against which local planning applications will be assessed, should the plan be adopted. Policy and proposals in a Neighbourhood Plan may inform:

· Where new housing or employment might be located in the area

· Types of development, including materials to be used for new development

· Opportunities for Green Infrastructure in the area (open spaces, pedestrian paths etc)

Neighbourhood Plans must be developed, resourced and led by the town/parish council (or a Neighbourhood Forum where there is no Town or Parish Council) with input from local residents and businesses.