Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting held in Sibford Gower Endowed Primary School on Monday, 5th October 2015


Parish Cllrs Peter Abbott, Mrs Susan Bannister, Oswyn Murray (Chairman), Alan Parkin and Mrs Gilian Soden,  4 Local Residents and the Clerk (Peter Hardman).


The Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting held on 14th July 2015 were approved as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.

Matters Arising

Defibrillator: Cllr Gilian Soden reported that matters are proceeding, albeit slowly, in respect of the installation of a defibrillator.

Other matters arising were dealt with as they occurred within the various agenda items.

Sibford Village Hall

Mr Keith Hicks, a member of the Village Hall Committee, attended the Meeting to make a presentation  with regard to grants to be sought for the refurbishment of the hall. A programme of improvements is in three stages (Stage One: Improve hall insulation and lighting, Stage Two: Refurbish entrance hall and lavatories and Stage three: Refurbish car parking arrangements).  Anticipated costs will be: Stage One £21,000, Stage Two £40,000 and Stage Three £5,500. The Parish Council was provided with a detailed breakdown of what is sought to be carried out. Grants are to be sought by the Sibford Village Hall Committee from the National Lottery and the Trust for Oxfordshire Environment.  The purpose of the involvement of the Parish Council is that, if successful, grant monies have to be routed through a Parish Council. The Parish Councillors were pleased to confirm to Mr Hicks that the Parish Council would certainly be involved.

Chairman’s Report

Broadband: The Chairman welcomed the arrival of high-speed Broadband in Sibford Gower, but referred to the lack of provision for Burdrop: efforts will be coordinated with Sibford Ferris in an attempt to resolve these. It has subsequently been learned that, according to Oxfordshire Better Broadband coverage map, Burdrop is scheduled for faster broadband by the end of next year.

Cherwell Local Plan: Part I (2 volumes of more than 400 pages) has been received and is being studied by the Chairman.

Waste Disposal: The north Oxon Parish Councils of Broughton, Drayton, Epwell, Hornton, North Newington, Shenington with Alkerton, Sibford Gower, Swalcliffe, Tadmarton and Wroxton & Balscote have agreed a coordinated response to the consultation document on Household Waste Recycling Centres issued by Oxfordshire County Council. We highlight the problems likely to result from the closure of the Alkerton facility and the concentration of tips in the south of the county; we have urged consideration of the strategy adopted by Warwickshire.

Supported Transport: The PC has agreed to join the response of the PCs of Balscote, Epwell, North Newington, Shutford, Sibford Ferris and Wroxton on the importance of maintaining subsidies for local bus routes. The chairman had added specific points relating to the 50A  Shipston-Banbury route.

Both these responses were initiated by Wroxton PC; they appear as appendixes to the minutes.  (Appendix A and Appendix B)

Planning Matters

Since the previous Meeting, the planning applications set out in Appx C had been considered. A response to a major planning proposal for Muddle Barn Farm is currently under consideration, and villagers were urged to make their views known.


The Annual Financial Return for the year ended 31st March 2015 was submitted to the External Auditor  BDO LLP and the audit had been completed. One minor issue had been identified in that some grant monies received had been entered in box 2 rather than box 3, other receipts. Action will be taken to ensure that this error does not occur in future. The Annual Return was then approved and accepted by the Members of the Parish Council.

Church Clock: It was agreed that the Parish Council would make a grant of £200 to Holy Trinity Church in respect of the Church Clock repair appeal.

Sibford Scene: It was agreed that the Parish Council increases its annual donation to the Sibford Scene from £120 to £150.

Website: It was agreed to contribute £35 p.a. to the expenses of the Sibfords website.

Approval was given for the cheques issued since the previous Meeting. (See Appx D).


No matters were raised. A resident present at the Meeting commented on ditch work carried out in Colony Road where all appears now to be satisfactory.




Cllr Susan Bannister reported on the state of footpaths and said that where work is required she had notified the appropriate authorities.

Miriam Tebbs’ Land

The Chairman reported on the current situation with regard to Miriam Tebbs’ land. He had site meetings with an Officer from Cherwell District Council to discuss tree clearance and then, on behalf of the Parish Council, submitted a planning application which is currently being considered by the District Council. He has had discussions with contractors re hedge trimming and the supplying and planting of apple trees, and is preparing an application for a grant from TOE2 towards this work.  The Chairman will keep the Parish Council advised as matters are taken ahead.

Village Pond

It was agreed not to pursue for the present the aim of acquiring legal title to the Village Pond or having it registered as a New Town or Village Green. Research carried out, on behalf of the Parish Council, by a local resident who is a legal expert suggested that the liabilities involved could be onerous. Her recommendation was that the Parish Council should step back a pace or two and consider what would be gained, on behalf of the village. The Parish Council is very grateful for this advice.

Any other business

Notice Board: The present notice board is now in a very poor state and the purchase of a replacement was discussed and, possibly, a different site. The Clerk was instructed to make appropriate enquiries.

Public Participation

A resident present at the Meeting highlighted certain potholes in the roads which require filling. The Clerk was instructed to take matters forward with Oxfordshire Highways.

A resident present at the Meeting raised again parking problems in the Village Pond/Bonds End Lane/Main Street area. The Parish Council awaits a detailed plan before considering the matter further.


Date of Next Meeting

The next Meeting will be on  Monday, 11th January 2016 starting at 8pm in the Staff Room of the Primary School.


There being no further business to discuss, the Chairman thanked all present for attending and closed the Meeting at 10.20pm.


Appx A to Minutes of PC Meeting – 5th October 2015


Oxfordshire County Council
Response to Household Waste Recycling Centres Consultation

This response sets out the views of Broughton, Drayton (Banbury), Epwell, Hornton, North Newington, Shenington with Alkerton, Sibford Gower, Swalcliffe, Tadmarton and Wroxton & Balscote Parish Councils on the consultation exercise being undertaken by OCC in relation to its proposals to rationalize the household waste recycling centres (HWRCs) across the county. We confirm that we have received and studied the consultation document and the various supporting appendices.


First and foremost, whilst acknowledging the financial pressures to which OCC is currently subject, we consider that the proposal to close (and not replace) the Alkerton site would leave North Oxfordshire villages lying to the West of Banbury with no viable alternative disposal sites. This would in our view result in a serious increase in fly tipping which is already a problem particularly along the A422 and in local lay-bys on smaller roads.  The Alkerton site is a very busy site, with users often having to queue at weekends. 

The focus of the document is biased towards major population centres such as Banbury and Bicester and takes little or no account of the needs of the many rural communities in the area.

The only alternative site lying to the West of Banbury is the site at Shipston-on-Stour. This is a very small site with little space to manoeuvre, with very restricted hours and does not permit access to cars towing trailers. It is very unclear whether Warwickshire CC would tolerate a significant increase in visits by residents of Oxfordshire.  We feel that any decision regarding the Alkerton site must be done in close co-operation with Warwickshire CC.

If the Alkerton site were closed the use of trailers would inevitably increase and North Oxfordshire residents would be faced with the need for longer journeys to a site.  This, however, goes against OCC’s own Local Transport Plan which has “to reduce carbon emissions from transport” as one of its objectives.  Closing the Alkerton site without a suitable local alternative is surely not part of the “residential travel planning package of measures designed to reduce car use originating from housing areas”. 

The on line questionnaire gives little or no opportunity to challenge the basic premise of the consultation and largely focuses on peripheral issues such as preferred times of access. Crucially it gives no indication where the putative fourth site might be located.

The proposed annual savings of £350,000 as a result of closing several sites appears to be trivial relative to the massive disruption caused to the rural communities which Parish Councils such as ourselves represent.

As an alternative strategy we wish to draw OCC’s attention to the working model adopted by Warwickshire County Council who in partnership with Age UK Warwickshire operate eight recycling centre re-use shops plus two HWRCs.  Warwickshire County Council has been acknowledged as the first authority in the UK to competitively ‘franchise’ its recycling centre re-use shops. As well as allowing the charity to generate substantial income, this partnership is providing a sustainable income stream for the authority, as well as diverting thousands of tonnes of material from landfill.  It has actually been estimated that scaling up the Warwickshire re-use shops franchise model to the UK’s remaining 1,056 recycling centres would “generate an additional £35 million a year for cash-strapped councils”.  The Parish Councils of  Broughton, Drayton (Banbury), Epwell, Hornton, North Newington, Shenington with Alkerton, Sibford Gower, Swalcliffe, Tadmarton and Wroxton & Balscote feel this type of approach would be far more beneficial to our rural communities. 


Appx B to Minutes of PC Meeting – 5th October 2015


Public Consultation on Supported Transport
Joint response from the Parish Council’s of Balscote, Epwell, North Newington, Shutford, Sibford Ferris and Wroxton,.

The views of the Parish Councils of Balscote, Epwell, North Newington, Shutford, Sibford Ferris and Wroxton regarding the Johnson’s Excelbus 269  & 270 Banbury – Stratford upon Avon  and  Stagecoach 50A routes are as follows:

While we acknowledge that the buses are not always used to full capacity, they provide a vital service for a significant number of our parishioners with limited transport choices.    

The services are particularly essential to some of our children who travel to Stratford and Kineton for school and college; to remove or restrict the service would deprive them of valuable alternative educational opportunities.  The Stagecoach Oxfordshire 488 & 489 buses are also used by students in North Newington to access other educational facilities. 

The 269/270 and 50A bus routes are invaluable for those with no cars and single car families.  Even the limited service that our villages have (Shutford, North Newington and Epwell already only have one bus a day) provides these people with some freedom to travel which we would hate to see them lose.  It would be likely to cause serious social and economic impact on the potentially more vulnerable (i.e. the elderly and disabled) members of our community.

Therefore we as the Parish Councils of Balscote, Epwell, North Newington, Shutford, Sibford Ferris and Wroxton who have a responsibility to protect and enhance the quality of life of all of our parishioners, would strongly urge you to not reduce the subsidy for our current bus service. 

The chairman of Sibford Gower PC makes the following additional comments:

As a frequent user of the 50A to Banbury I note that this bus is often full on the Sibford-Banbury leg. The users are mostly younger people attending daily courses at the Banbury Arts Colleges and OAPs shopping in Banbury, all of whom seem to know each other: it is quite a community get-together. The cost of alternative transport by taxi is £20 each way. This section of the route at least would be a major loss.

The outlying villages of North Oxon ask for very few publicly visible services from Cherwell – notably bus transport, rubbish collection, and the provision of the Alkerton tip. These services are important for the recognition of the wider benefits provided by Cherwell DC.


Appx C to Minutes of PC Meeting – 5th October 2015


Planning Applications

Since the previous Meeting, the following planning applications had been considered:-


No. 15/00634/PAMB                         Barn East End of Blenheim Farm.                      Mr & Mrs Taylor

                                                                Sibford Road Shutford

Prior Approval – Change of use of agricultural barn to dwelling



No. 15/00635/PAMB                         Barn East End of Blenheim Farm.                       Mr & Mrs Taylor

                                                                Sibford Road Shutford

Change of use of agricultural barn to dwelling



No. 15/00810/F                                   Stonewalls, Bonds End Lane                                      Mr M Smales

                                                                Sibford Gower

Erection of single storey extension to replace existing single storey extension



No. 15/00138/F                                   3 Sycamore Close, Sibford Gower                                J & R Levell

Rear single storey extension



No. 15/01103/F                                   Bishops End, Burdrop                                                             G. Noquet

Removal of conditions 3 and 4 of planning permission 13/00781/F to allow occupation of holiday let cottage as a separate dwelling.



Appx D to Minutes of PC Meeting – 5th October 2015

Cheques issued

Chq No. 223 £372.34 dated 22.04.15 payable to Aon UK Ltd – Insurance Premium (Retrospectively)


Chq No. 224 £21.00 dated 02.05.15 payable to Sibford Village Hall – Hire of Hall for APM (Respectively)


Chq No. 225 £10.50 dated 07.05.15 payable to Sibford Ferris PC – Share of grave inscription monies received (Respectively)


Chq No. 226 £370.80 dated 11.05.15 payable to Thomas Fox Landscaping – Maintenance of Churchyard and Burial Ground (Retrospectively)


Chq No. 227 £195.00 dated 20.05.15 payable to C. Brown – Maintenance of Miriam Tebbs’ Land (Retrospectively)


Chq No. 228 £247.20 dated 30.05.15 payable to Thomas Fox Landscaping – Maintenance of Churchyard and Burial Ground (Respectively)


Chq No. 229 £162.50 dated 02.07.15 payable to Sibford Ferris  Parish Council –Share of Burial fee re the late M J Lucas (Respectively)


Chq No.230 £247.20 dated 10. 07.15 payable to Thomas Fox Landscaping – Maintenance of Churchyard and Burial Ground (Respectively)


Chq No. 231 £45.00 dated 10.07.15 payable to Open Spaces Society – Annual subscription (Respectively)