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Agenda item

Participation of the Public

Any member of the public, who is a registered elector in the District, is eligible to ask one question at the meeting, for up to three minutes, of the Leader of the Council, or any Member of the Executive on any issue that affects the district or its people.

Notice, together with a written copy of the question, must be provided to Democratic Services, either by email to:


[email protected]


or by post to:


Democratic Services, West Oxfordshire District Council, Woodgreen, Witney OX28 1NB.


Questions are to be received no later than 2.00pm two clear working days before the meeting (e.g. for a Wednesday meeting, the deadline would be 2.00pm on the Friday before). A response may be provided at the meeting, or within three clear working days of the meeting.

If the topic of the question is not within the remit of the Council, advice will be

provided on where best to direct the question.

The appropriate Executive Member will either respond verbally at the meeting or provide a written response which will be included in the minutes of the meeting.


Councillor Andy Graham, Leader of the Council, welcomed all attendees to the meeting. The Leader also stated that if members of the public wished to stay behind after the meeting to speak informally with Executive members, they were welcome to do so.


Max Thompson, Senior Democratic Services Officer, explained to the Executive that in advance of the meeting, the Executive had received one public question to be answered during the meeting. The following answer was given to question put:


Q1 Asked by Sandra Coleman:


A shortage of open space in Chipping Norton was identified and well documented in WODC’s own Open Space Study published in 2013. This included a shortfall of 5.55 hectares of public playing pitches. Since then about 500 homes have been built but no playing pitches provided. WODC was about to publish a masterplan for the 1200 homes East Chipping Norton as Planning Guidance before it was abandoned, and that also showed no playing pitches. 1200 homes would generate a need for 2.88 hectares of playing pitches based upon the nationally accepted Fields in Trust standards. In total, then, we will have a shortfall of about 8.5 hectares of playing pitches. Can you explain to the people of Chipping Norton how the adopted West Oxfordshire Playing Pitch Strategy and Action Plan, approved last year, was able to conclude that no additional playing pitches were needed at Chipping Norton?


A1 Answered by Councillor Alaric Smith, Executive Member for Leisure and Major Projects:


The rationale for developing the playing pitch strategy was to provide the District Council with a robust and objective assessment of the current quality and quantity of pitch provision and ancillary facilities, and to determine the potential need now and in the future. In terms of pitch analysis the study was only undertaken on playing pitches (sites which have a delineated area for a particular sport) and playing fields which contained at least one playing pitch. Therefore it wasn’t an assessment of general open spaces for recreation. The playing pitch strategy scope included the assessment of the following pitch provision; Football, Rugby, Cricket, Hockey, Bowls and Tennis.


One of the initial stages in the development of the strategy was to consult with all relevant clubs, National Governing Bodies of sport and the Town and Parish Councils. In Chipping Norton the following were consulted; Chipping Norton Swifts, Chipping Norton Cricket Club, Chipping Norton Rugby Club, Chipping Norton Town Football Club, Chipping Norton School and Chipping Norton Town Council.


Future demand was based on team generation rates which were driven by the clubs individual development plans but also population increases. The potential housing growth from the East Chipping Norton development was taken into account at the time the strategy was developed.

In terms of sport specific requirements, there is spare capacity for football pitches with no increase in future demand identified by the club. Although Chipping Norton Town Football Club relocated in 2014 to Enstone, the strategy indicates that given there are only 2 adult teams in the town and 4 suitable pitches available, there is adequate provision to accommodate the need.

For Cricket there is space capacity on Sundays and mid-week and Rugby only identified limited capacity at peak times. The Rugby club also indicated a need for enhanced sports lighting and ancillary facilities. All of which have been included in the strategy action plan.

Also identified was the underutilisation of Chipping Norton School pitches which are available to hire for community use.


Given all the evidence that was gathered, only additional pitches were required for rugby, but this could be solved by relocating to Chipping Norton School for training to alleviate the overplay on the Greystone pitches.


As part of the Playing Pitch Strategy delivery, we meet quarterly with all the governing bodies of sport and also have an annual steering group to update and ensure the data and need is still correct at that point in time. Therefore any concerns that are raised can be picked up at these sessions, to see whether any adjustments need to be made to the action plan.