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Parish Council update for January 2022

As we reach the end of 2021, it seems a good moment to look back and reflect on the parish council year – what has been achieved and what has not gone the way we would have liked.

February 2021 saw major sewage flooding into homes and gardens in Lower Radley. Despite a sustained campaign by the parish council and residents through the year, Thames Water has made no real progress towards sorting out the causes of the problems. This is very worrying. It seems only a matter of time before Radley residents face further sewage flooding.

On the plus side, three new people have joined the parish council team over the year, and all are adding greatly to our effectiveness in serving the community. John Sparks, a Radley College teacher who was co-opted as a councillor in February, has helped to bring the parish council and College community closer. For example, the work parties of College boys who you may have seen around the village from time to time are a result of his initiative. David Mulholland, co-opted as a councillor in March, has brought his valuable knowledge and skills as a landscape professional to council decisions, and also hands-on work to improve the mini-meadow and Lower Radley green. Last but far from least, Chris Lee joined the council’s professional team as our lengthsman in September. He is having a major impact in keeping common areas of the parish tidier, and we hope will play an important role in support of the community for years to come.

Another major feature of the year was the £347,000 received by the council under the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) scheme.  Further payments of £936,000 are due over the next two years. Spending this money wisely has been a major pre-occupation. In the course of 2021, we have signed an agreement to transfer £135,000 to Oxfordshire County Council to pay for an extension to the primary school hall (Radley College is paying a further £135,000) and we have spent £40,000 on works to make access very much safer for children walking to and from the school. We have been working hard to develop plans for an upgrade at the Gooseacre facilities and for a community facility at The Lawns, on both of which we have undertaken door-to-door consultations over the course of the year.

The year has also seen major strides forward on our strategy for Radley Lakes. The Radley Lakes Trust was formally established shortly before the start of the year. The Radley Lakes masterplan was finalised and endorsed by the Parish Council, Abingdon Town Council and the Trust in April/May. A permissive path agreement for public access across private land to the Lakes area was signed by the parish council and Trust in September, and the Trust has work well underway on the five initial projects to implement the masterplan. These will be funded in part from our CIL receipts.

Looking forwards to 2022, we hope to get plans for both the Gooseacre upgrade and the Lawns facility through the planning system, and to start work on the ground at Gooseacre. We plan to work with the school governors to explore opportunities for further investment to improve travel to school, and with the College and Parochial Church Council to develop plans to extend the cemetery. We will be seeking out a good spot in which to plant a statement tree in recognition of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. New residents will start to arrive at Church Farm very soon, and will continue to arrive at The Lawns, and we will want to ensure that they all feel welcome.

Members of the Parish Council send their very best wishes to all Radley residents for health and happiness in 2022.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.radleyvillage.org.uk/parish-council-update-for-january-2022/