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Cllr Ian Hudspeth-Leader Oxfordshire County Council-September 2018 report   ()

TRUMP VISIT

I accepted the invitation by the Prime Minister to attend the dinner at Blenheim Palace for the visit of the President of the United States. I realise that he is a controversial figure however I think it’s important we respect the position. The event went well and showed Blenheim at its best, I understand that there has been an increase in interest from the US which must be good news for the area. I also respect the right for people to protest which they did in a good atmosphere although I wonder if they should be protesting to the Americans that voted for him? 

£120 MILLION ADDITIONAL HIGHWAYS FUNDS 

 

The report of a business case to increase Highway maintenance by £120 million over the next 10 years based on the Growth in the Oxfordshire economy will be going to the September Cabinet. This is good news for highways maintenance as it’ll provide long term repairs to the road structure. There has been extra investment in another Dragon patcher along with other equipment which you should see out repairing the roads. Following the bad winter, we have repaired nearly 40,000 defects but there is still more work to be done. I’m pushing for local schemes to be completed before the winter.

 

FIT FOR THE FUTURE

 

The County Council has saved over £300 million pa from its budget since 2010 but still needs to save an additional £33 million over the next 4 years. Having taken some difficult decisions there is little scope to reduce funding without impacting on front line services. Instead the Council is redesigning the way it operates across all areas and investing in digital technology; this should realise between £34 to £58 million pa of savings. This would mean we achieve the savings without impacting on front line services and have funds to reinvest in services. 

 

NEW CABINET

 

The Cabinet will have 2 new members, Cllr Corkin who will be responsible for the alignment of services with Cherwell DC and Cllr Reeves who will be responsible for the Fit For the Future programme. These are both important tasks as we redesign the way the council operates to protect front line jobs and continue to balance the books.

 

I would like to take the opportunity to thank Cllr Hibbert-Biles for all her hard work on Cabinet since I became Leader, she has had several different portfolios and will be missed.  

 

COUNCILLOR PRIORITY FUND 

 

I was pleased to approve £5,000 from the priority fund for the ‘OUR BUS’ project in Middle Barton which provides a valuable service for residents in the area offering a wide range of destinations such as Begbroke, Bicester, Chipping Norton, Deddington, Kidlington, Oxford Parkway and Yarnton.  

 

Full details can be found at: http://ourbusbartons.btck.co.uk/YourJourneyWithUs.

 

For details about the Priority fund please follow the link:

https://www2.oxfordshire.gov.uk/cms/content/councillor-priority-fund 

 

ACTIVE AND HEALTHY TRAVEL ENCOURAGED

 

Commuters returning to work after the holiday period are being encouraged to walk or cycle, for all or part of their journey, by OCC. The council is championing healthy alternatives to the car, which will also help to reduce congestion and pollution on the county’s roads. Exercise is widely recognised as one of the best ways to improve physical and mental health. Daily physical activity lowers the risk of depression and dementia by around 30 per cent according to the Department of Health. Exercise also reduces the likelihood of cardiovascular disease, coronary heart disease and strokes. The council has appointed an active and healthy travel officer, using central government funding, to assess existing walking and cycling routes. Priority will be given to improvements and maintenance schemes designed to encourage active travel and reduce pollution. Over 85,000 new jobs and 100,000 new homes are planned in Oxfordshire by 2031. The council is committed to ensuring that as the population grows, infrastructure is in place to encourage healthy travel options. Streets and spaces will be developed to put first the needs of pedestrians and cyclists. OCC’s Cycling Champion, Councillor Suzanne Bartington, said: “Active travel is win, win, win - for health, the environment and local economy. I encourage Oxfordshire residents to try foot or bike even for only part of their journey and feel the positive benefits for themselves.” For further information about the benefits of active travel, visit the website: www.oxfordshire.gov.uk/whycycle

 

£80K BOOST FOR KIDS’ CYCLING SAFETY

 

Almost every primary school child in the county will now be able to get free cycle safety training after the award of an £84,500 Bikeability grant which will pay for an additional 2000 places. The bulk of cycling training in the county is carried out by a 700-strong army of volunteer instructors under the Oxfordshire Cycle Training Scheme, which has been running for more than 40 years. Training is offered to children from nine-years-old and up and is a mixture of learning about the Highways Code and practical ‘on the road’ tuition. Parents and carers who want their children to take part in training should contact their school’s head teacher. 

 

SHENZHEN VISIT

 

The British Embassy in Beijing invited me to take part in the Shenzhen Smart Cities conference, I was only in the City for just over 2 days but found the visit enlightening as they are suffering from similar challenges to ourselves; congestion, high property prices and an aging population. It’s important that we work together to find solutions to these common issues. 

 

LGA APPOINTMENT

 

I have been appointed as the Chairman of the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board which includes Adult Social Care. This will be a challenge but it’s important we all work together to find a solution to this issue.

Cllr Ian Hudspeth

07956270 318

Ian.hudspeth@oxfordshire.gov.uk