Receipt of Announcements
To receive any announcements from the Chair, Leader of the Council, Members of the Executive or the Chief Executive Officer.
The Chair of the Council, Councillor Andrew Coles, detailed the civic and local engagements that he had undertaken since the last meeting of the Council in May 2023. These included the official opening of the 2nd Witney Pride parade, and a further Pride parade, which took place in Chipping Norton.
The Chair had also visited Libyan refugees at a location near to Ducklington, and highlighted the people who he had met, and the stories & experiences he had encountered during the visit, such as living conditions, food provision, access to dental care and the prevention of boredom. The Chair praised the work of Phil Martin, Assistant Director for Business Services, for his thorough work on the project, and also the work of St. Mary’s Church and St. Bartholomew’s in Witney and Ducklington respectively.
The Chair had also made a visit to United States Air Force Base in Fairford, Gloucestershire. The Chair had been invited to a ceremony with 501st Combat Support Wing, where command of the Unit had been handed over to a new incumbent. US Colonel Phillips had taken command of the base during the ceremony, and the Chair made reference to, and highlighted the strong connections West Oxfordshire has with the Armed Forces community, most notably with personnel from Royal Air Force Station Brize Norton in the West Oxfordshire District.
The Chair also paid tribute to the work of the Council’s Vice-Chair, Councillor Elizabeth Poskitt, who had also undertaken a number of recent engagements.
The Chair congratulated Hannah Bourne-Taylor, a resident of West Oxfordshire, who had recently ensured that a Parliamentary petition relating to Swift Bricks and New Housing Developments, was debated in the House of Commons, having achieved almost 110,000 signatures. The subject had also been considered at WODC Committee meetings.
The Chair welcomed Hannah Lee and John Slaveykov, who had undertaken a work experience placement from Woodgreen School with Council’s Democratic Services and Communications team respectively. The Chair stated that he hoped the students would gain vital experience during their placements with the Council.
The Chair also announced that he had invited all Members to a self-hosted fundraising event at Woodgreen. The event would include Afternoon Tea in the Committee Rooms, a tour of the Woodgreen Council Chamber, and a tour of the underground WWII Bunker.
The Chair advised Council that the meeting of the Audit and Governance Committee, which had been cancelled on 29 June 2023, was rearranged for 10 August 2023 at 6.00pm, and would take place in Committee Room 1. An Audit training session for Members had also been arranged for the same date at 5.00pm. The Chair advised that further information would be cascaded to Members in due course.
The Chair asked Members of the Council to regularly check their mail ‘pigeon holes’ in the Members’ Room at Woodgreen, to prevent excess mail build up.
The Chair advised Council that Agenda Item 8, “Appointment of Director of Finance (Section 151 Officer)”, would be considered as the last item of business of the meeting, as there was possibility of Council having to enter private session.
The Leader of the Council, Councillor Andy Graham, paid tribute to the Chair and Vice-Chair for all the work they had undertaken, and said that they were promoting the Council in the best regard.
The Leader paid tribute to the Council’s Chief Finance Officer, Elizabeth Griffiths, who would leave the Council ahead of the next meeting of Council to take up a position at Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead Council. The Leader stated that the Chief Finance Officer would leave with the warmest wishes of the entire Council and its staff, and thanked her for all her hard work during her time in office.
The Executive Member for Climate Change, Councillor Andrew Prosser, introduced and gave an overview of a recent online platform hub called ‘Greenlight’. The Executive Member noted that Greenlight would bring people together to share ideas, best practise, challenge each other through competition, to become involved in activities around climate change and nature, by seeking advice on creating a space in their garden for pollinators to thrive, or finding an environmental group to get involved with.