Welcome to the first of our regular newsletters! We hope they will help keep you informed about what the Town Council is working on at present, and about forthcoming Town Council events. You’ll also find an introduction to one or two of our Councillors here.
About the Town Council
There are sixteen Town Councillors in Chippy, including the Mayor and Deputy Mayor.
The Councillors are all volunteers who are elected for (usually) a four-year term. We meet as a council six times a year. We also divide some of the other work we do between three smaller committees, focusing on finance and resources, the community and ‘strategic planning’, with subcommittees for traffic and planning. Members of the public are welcome to attend all meetings, and there is a slot for public participation in each Council and Committee meeting.
Traffic and Road Safety
The Town Council has been agitating with Oxfordshire County Council (OCC) on several levels to make our town a safer place to walk and cycle through. In the wake of the tragic accident earlier this year, we have renewed calls for action over the flow of HGVs through our town, and are in regular contact with Cllr Duncan Enright, Cabinet Member for Traffic at OCC, to ensure that something will finally be done to reroute lorries.
We have also been calling for safer crossings on West Street and New Street, and in May an engineer from OCC visited the town to make visualisations of how these might look and function, if we can secure funding. We hope to be able to share these with residents for consultation as soon as they have passed through official channels at OCC.
At the same time, we have also done some detailed survey work for a Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan (LCWIP) for the town to make it generally safer and more accessible for pedestrians and cyclists. We’ve had a very positive response to this from OCC, and have been assured that work on this should get under way within the next year.
East Chipping Norton Development
West Oxfordshire District Council has earmarked Chipping Norton as a strategic site for the building of 1,000 new homes. The Town Council is working very hard to ensure that the development is right for the town, that it is well integrated and fit for the future, and that all the new infrastructure and green space that will be needed are put in place from the outset.
We have formed a working group called Build Chippy Better to feed in to early discussions between the landowners, developers and the planning authority, West Oxfordshire District Council. Several residents with relevant experience and knowledge have been supporting this work, and we’re very grateful to them for giving us their time and expertise.
Flying the flag for Chippy
Because the mechanism on the flagpole on top of Chipping Norton Town Hall is broken, it has not been possible to safely fly a flag there for some time. The Council is investigating the cost of replacing the Town Hall flagpole (a complex process because the the building has listed status) and in the meantime has installed a new 6m flagpole in the Millennium Garden. The Union Jack has been flying there since it was installed, but on 5th July we will be flying the NHS flag to celebrate the birthday of the NHS. If residents have special requests for other flags they would like to see hoisted in the town for particular occasions, we will be happy to consider them. Do contact our town clerk for more information.
Town Council Surgeries
On Saturday 25th June, Town Councillors Sandra Coleman and David Heyes hosted our first Town Council Surgery at the Lower Town Hall. They were joined by Chippy’s District and County Councillors. The surgeries will run from 10am -12pm on the last Saturday of every month (except August and December), and they’re an opportunity for anyone to drop in and say hello, find out who we are, or share any problems, concerns or suggestions they may have. There is also coffee and cake! Do pop in to our next one (July 30th) to meet Town Councillors Natasha Whitmill and Ruth Fisher. They’ll be delighted to meet you for a chat.
Chippy Town Council Starts its Journey to Being Pesticide-Free
With help from the organisation PAN UK, the Town Council has introduced a three-year plan to phase out our use of pesticides. Pesticides are known to have a negative impact on biodiversity, and are also thought to be potentially harmful. So in keeping with our climate emergency commitments we are pleased to be moving gradually across to more natural methods of weed and pest control. Residents will notice that in the land bordering the Worcester Road Cemetery, the grass is now being mown only along the edge of the path. This has enabled wild flowers and grasses to flourish here, attracting wildlife and in particular insects, bees and butterflies.
We hope that landowners and residents will be encouraged to join us in going pesticide-free, to make our town as healthy and environmentally-friendly as possible.
An introduction to: the new Mayor, Councillor Sandra Coleman
I was persuaded to stand as an Independent candidate for our Town Council back in 2019 and was very pleased to be chosen as Mayor in May this year. I am passionate about caring both for people and the environment we live in, and before becoming a Town Councillor served for many years as a School Governor at both Holy Trinity and Chipping Norton Schools.
I was also a leader in our local Scout Group, both with Beavers and Scouts, and volunteered with Christians Against Poverty (CAP) as a coach, so have some understanding of the pressures people face living here. I have been a Chipping Norton resident for nearly twenty years, following the well trodden migration path here from High Wycombe, where I was born.
I am often to be seen out walking my dog, Prince, with his magnificent tiger-like bindle coat. Walking him round the town is a great way to meet people! I have five children, most of whom have now flown the nest so I know how important it is to ensure we have sufficient housing for our young people and am therefore working hard with the Build Chippy Better group to ensure that we get the best outcome possible on our new development- together with appropriate facilities for our growing town. I am also aware that we need to look after our natural environment for future generations and am pleased that we are now working with our contractors to reduce the use of pesticides across the town.
And a big thank you to our outgoing Mayor, Councillor Georgia Mazower
Councillor Sandra Coleman takes over from Councillor Georgia Mazower, who served as Mayor for two years from 2020. As Mayor, Georgia worked tirelessly to oversee the updating and streamlining of the Town Council’s procedures. She has also invested huge amounts of energy in overseeing the early planning processes for the new East Chipping Norton development, and helping the Town Council to frame its vision for what the new area could bring to Chippy. The people of the town will no doubt wish to join all Councillors in thanking her for her dedicated service.
Do you have skills or experience that might be useful in our discussions about the ECN development? Or just feel that you would like to contribute? To join the Build Chippy Better group, please contact Katherine on: firstname.lastname@example.org
As part of our work in securing an LCWIP for Chippy, we’re very keen to hear from people with disabilities or mobility difficulties about the areas of the town that are particularly difficult for them to navigate. Again, please contact Katherine on: email@example.com with your views.