Blockley Parish lies on upland farm and woodland close to the northern extremity of Cotswold District. It forms part of the boundary between the headwaters of the Rivers Thames and Severn. Significant clay deposits lie between the attractive limestone hills; springs form the main source of the several steeply-falling streams which flow through Blockley, Aston Magna and Draycott villages. By contrast, Paxford village, also within the Parish, lies on more open, level ground drained by the Knee Brook, a tributary of the River Stour.
The human and visual characteristics of Blockley Parish are strongly influenced both by its relatively isolated location in the rural North Cotswolds and by the industrial history of Blockley village, its main centre of population. With a population of about 2000 (in the 2001 census) it is one of the largest parishes in England in terms of area, at about 12 sq miles (30 sq km). The entire Parish lies within the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Gloucestershire County Council is currently in the process of developing its budget for 2017/18. As part of this process, we would like to hear your views.
Please complete our online questionnaire below letting us know how important our current priorities are to you and your views on our proposed budget. We value your opinions and your answers will help us decide how to meet the financial challenge.
Please find below a link to complete an online questionnaire asking for your views on how important our current priorities are to you as well as your views on our proposed budget. We value residents’ views and have set out some questions. Your answers will help us in deciding how to meet the financial challenge.
The closing date for all questionnaires and submissions is 19th January 2017
NOTICE OF VACANCY: in the office of Councillor, Blockley Parish, Blockley Ward Parish Council
NOTICE is given that, due to the resignation of Catherine Wilkinson, a vacancy has arisen for a Councillor for the Parish Council.
The vacancy will be filled by election if a request from 10 local government electors for the Parish is received within 14 days of the date of this notice. The request must be received by 13 January 2017.
Requests should include each electors’ name, address and signature and should be sent to the Returning Officer at the address below.
If 10 signatures are not received by the date given, the Parish Council may fill the vacancy by co-option.
If an election is called, it will take place not later than 17 March 2017.
Dated 21 December 2016
Christmas Message from Lynden Stowe, Leader Cotswold District Council
Most people will agree that 2016 was the year when we all learned to expect the unexpected! Despite opinion polls indicating a victory for the ‘remain’ camp, UK residents voted to leave the EU. Similarly, voters in America defied expert predictions and chose Donald Trump as their next leader. I cannot pretend that similar radical upheavals occurred at Cotswold District Council – albeit we did investigate for a while the feasibility of forming a new unitary authority with West Oxfordshire - but I can assure you that a quiet revolution is taking place behind the scenes to cope with the demands of doing more with less, and delivering the best possible value for money to local residents.
Over the years, the continuing cuts in central government funding have become a way of life for this and every other Council, and at Cotswold we have become adept at finding efficiencies to maintain our wide range of front line services. This is no mean feat – since 2011/12, our annual core funding from the government has fallen by £3.5m and this will continue to decline. In addition we have faced significant reductions in the level of our investment income arising from low interest rate levels. Some of this loss of funding has been offset through New Homes Bonus payments from the government but this scheme is already dimishining in value.
The Council has responded to these financial challenges by undertaking radical change programmes - including more work sharing with other authorities - and we have also harnessed new technology across service areas to improve efficiency. As an example, some of our officers now “hot-desk” and this has freed up office accommodation which we lease to the Department of Work and Pensions and other public sector organisations.
Perhaps our biggest achievement this year has been the successful launch of the Environmental and Regulatory Services (ERS) group, which now delivers environmental health, licensing, and building control services to residents in the Cotswold, West Oxfordshire, and Forest of Dean District Council areas. The transition went very smoothly and has strengthened our resilience while also widening our pool of expertise. In fact, we are so pleased with the progress we made that we have nominated the ERS group for two national awards – teamwork and efficiency – and they have made the shortlist for both.
The formation of ERS is part of a wider programme which will see the same partner councils establishing companies to provide all our services during the latter part of 2017. This project will deliver combined savings of £55m over 10 years while ensuring that we will still be able to determine our own Cotswold-oriented policies, priorities and decisions. In other words, residents can be assured that we are not sacrificing any of our decision-making powers or independence.
Although preparations are well underway for this transition to company working, we have not lost sight of the ‘day job’. Flood defences across the District are in a far better shape than they were when the 2007 floods devastated many communities, and it is great to see that the final phase of the Moreton-in-Marsh Flood Scheme recently got underway. We are also making progress on future car parking provision in Cirencester, with plans for one or more multi-storey car parks – and subsequent overflow arrangements during construction - moving forward at a good pace. Meanwhile, we have continued to freeze charges for green waste collections and car parking, and schemes such as the ‘free after 3 pm’ parking offer have been well received by motorists and traders. We are also nearly there on the Local Plan for the District and we should be submitting it for approval early next year. Meanwhile , we are very grateful to residents who continue to achieve the highest levels of recycling in Gloucestershire (about 60% of all household waste in this District is recycled, reused or composted). We encouraged households to recycle more food waste earlier this year and we were very pleased to note a significant increase in the take-up of recycling containers - hopefully this will lead to even more waste saved from landfill.
We place an emphasis on keeping down costs to minimise our share of residents’ council tax bills and, as a result, there was no increase in our share of the Council Tax bill for 2016/17. Previously, we cut our share of the bill by 5% in 2015/16, 3% in 2014/15 and 5% in 2013/14. This means that the actual amount being charged is lower than the figure ten years ago – and, typically, a resident in a Band D property will have seen a real terms cut of 25% over the last six years.
I can assure you that we will always strive to spend your money wisely as we constantly look for greater efficiencies.
On behalf of everyone at the Council, I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Description: Description: Description: lynden stow signature
Cllr Lynden Stowe
Leader Cotswold District Council