Cllr Ian Hudspeth-Leader Oxfordshire County Council-April report
8th April 2018
POTHOLE FUND BOOSTED TO REPAIR ROADS AFTER WINTER DAMAGE
Central Government has announced that local roads badly affected by recent winter weather will benefit from a further £100 million to help repair any potholes and other storm damage, Transport Secretary Chris Grayling announced on26 March. Nationally, this money will help repair almost 2 million potholes as well as help protect the roads from any future severe weather. This is on top of the £75 million in government funding already given to councils from the Pothole Action Fund this year, as well as the additional £46 million boost for highways authorities announced just before Christmas. Around 7 million potholes across the UK will be filled due to this money, announced in the 2016 Budget. Oxfordshire’s share of these funds comes to nearly £3m.
GOVERNMENT MINISTER SIGNS £215M GROWTH DEAL FOR OXFORDSHIRE
Housing Minister Dominic Raab visited Heyford Park near Bicester last month to sign a deal to deliver a £215m investment in transport infrastructure and affordable housing in Oxfordshire. The Minister met Councillor Yvonne Constance, the county council's Cabinet Member for Environment and Economy. The deal was signed by all six members of the Oxfordshire Growth Board: Oxfordshire County Council, Oxford City Council, Cherwell District Council, West Oxfordshire District Council, Vale of White Horse District Council and South Oxfordshire District Council. March also saw the Oxfordshire Growth Board announce the first year of projects to be funded by an initial release of £30m for infrastructure projects as part of the Deal agreement. Government road money is for major improvements and cannot be used for day-to-day maintenance, but the investment will help to improve the overall standard of the road network.
HOUSING INFRASTRUCTURE FUND (HIF)
On 21 March the Government announced 44 bids which have made it through to stage 2 of its Housing Infrastructure Fund (HIF) to fund major infrastructure projects. Two of the three HIF bids submitted by OCC last autumn on behalf of Oxfordshire made it through and will now progress to a co-development stage:
Didcot Garden Town – £171m is sought for transport improvements including a Didcot Science Bridge and A4130 dual carriageway, a new river crossing at Culham and Clifton Hampden Bypass. This would support the delivery of over 22,000 homes in Didcot, Culham, Harwell and Berinsfield. Additionally, up to £70m of cycle and other sustainable transport improvements are proposed for inclusion in the bid plan.
West Oxfordshire Garden Village – £135m is sought for further upgrades to the A40, building on existing schemes and based on the approved A40 Long Term Strategy including development of the Rapid Transit network and additional highway capacity on A40 transport corridor. This would support the delivery of over 10,000 homes in Witney & Carterton, and around Eynsham.
Detailed business plans will now be developed for the £300 million of transport infrastructure investment behind these two bids. The Growth Board partners expect to hear this autumn whether or not the two bids going through have ultimately succeeded.
COUNCILLOR PRIORITY FUND
As announced in last month’s report, all Oxfordshire County Councillors now have a £15k budget to allocate to highways or community projects within their parishes. I invite applications for funding proposals, I will be looking how I can maximise the funding by match funding or pump priming with local organisations.
LIVE WELL OXFORDSHIRE WEBSITE CAMPAIGN
The OCC Adult Social Care Team is running a campaign to raise awareness of its Live WellOxfordshire website. Live Well Oxfordshire brings together over 2,000 services and activities in one easy to search online directory – from residential care homes and care services that help people stay living at home, to transport services to get them out and about and new hobbies to enjoy. Residents can find useful information and advice on a range of subjects – all aimed at giving them greater choice and control over the support and services they, or a loved one, need. Details here: www.oxfordshire.gov.uk/livewell
FORMER COUNTY COUNCIL DEPUTY LEADER DIES
My statement regarding the sad passing of Rodney Rose:
"It was with great sadness that we have learned that Rodney Rose, the deputy leader of Oxfordshire County Council until last year, died last month. I will miss him greatly as a friend and colleague. I worked closely with Rodney for many years. He was a tireless and dedicated local councillor representing Charlbury and Wychwood. As a long-serving member of the Cabinet, he had wide-ranging responsibilities for council services. He was a tireless champion of Oxfordshire’s fire and rescue service. He represented the county council on several major projects that will benefit Oxfordshire, including the east-west rail scheme and the planned flood alleviation scheme around west Oxford. These will be his legacy as a public servant. On behalf of everyone at Oxfordshire County Council who knew and worked with him, I send his family our deepest condolences
Cllr Ian Hudspeth