The Parish Council's primary responsibilities include the following.
The allotments, at Cane End and Gallowstree Common, were awarded to the labouring poor in the Caversham Enclosure Awards. They have been managed by the Parish Council for many years (at least 60). The Gallowstree Common allotments, on the corner of Horsepond Road and Hazelmoor Lane, and the Cane End allotments, off Park Lane (which were let en bloc for many years to Vines Farm), are now both active and available to plot holders.
The Allotments' Manager arranges tenancies on behalf of the Council. Presently, there is a waiting list for the Gallowstree Common allotments.
The Parish Newsletter is published by the Parish Council, quarterly, and is delivered to each household in the Parish.
The law requires that local planning authorities (eg. South Oxfordshire District Council) notify parish councils of the existence of planning applications relating to the parish concerned. Parish councils are not strictly speaking statutory consultees on planning applications, but the District Council has, since 1974, supplied a copy of all relevant applications to parish councils, and invited their comments thereon. In return, the District Council expects parish councils to ensure that affected neighbours are aware of the contents of an application.
As the District Council requires comments of parish councils on applications within 21 days of their despatch to the parish councils, the Parish Council has, for the past 30+ years, relied upon a Plans Sub-Committee to consider applications, between meetings of the Council. This comprises at least one councillor from each of the 5 settlements – Cane End, Chalkhouse Green, Gallowstree Common, Kidmore End and Tokers Green.
In 1996, the Council adopted the following method of operation for the Plans Sub-Committee:
- The Clerk passes applications, as soon as possible after receipt, to the member of the Plans Sub-Committee for settlement concerned.
- That member of Sub-Committee, in consultation with other members of the Sub-Committee (if felt appropriate), inspects the site and seeks to show the application to neighbours of the site.
- If that member of the Sub-Committee feels it is appropriate, he/she requests the Clerk to refer the application to the full Council.
- That member of Sub-Committee submits appropriate comments to the Clerk for onward transmission to the District Council.
- The Clerk sends any subsequent invitation to address the Planning Committee of the District Council to the relevant member of the Sub-Committee.
- That member of the Sub-Committee decides, in consultation with the Chairman of Council, whether the opportunity to speak is to be taken.
- If the opportunity is to be taken, that member of the Sub-Committee acts as spokesperson, or arranges for another member of the Sub-Committee to perform that role.
Therefore, residents notified by the District Council of a planning application should contact the relevant member of the Plans Sub-Committee, although plans can be viewed on the District Council's website.
Make sure you submit your views to the District Council, copying them to the Parish Council, if that is your wish, so that the Parish Council can take them into account in its own submission.
The recreation ground at Gallowstree Common and the play area at Kidmore End are owned by the Parish Council, the land having been given to the Council for the benefit of the residents of the Parish. Many years ago a Playing Fields Committee was formed, comprising representatives of the Council and major users (presently the Kidmore End Cricket and Football Clubs) to administer the areas, and the Council registered the Committee as a charity. Thus the representatives on the Committee are effectively the trustees of the charity.
The Playing Fields Committee administers the facilities on behalf of the Parish Council. The Council makes an annual grant to the Committee; the Committee also receives contributions from the major users of the facilities and institutes charges for occasional users. The Committee undertakes routine maintenance: major projects are seen as part of the Council's responsibilities, as 'landlord'.
The Parish Council appoints a transport representative who acts as first point of contact with Oxfordshire County Council in respect of changes to bus services, either commercially operated or subsidised, and with the Transport Co-ordinator of the Oxfordshire Rural Community Council.
Rights of Way
The Parish Council has no statutory responsibility in respect of rights of way – ie. the footpaths and bridleways shown on the definitive map. That role rests with the County Council, and is managed by its Countryside Service. However, the Parish Council has, for many years, appointed a sub-committee, the members of which are expected to review the condition of footpaths, bridleways, etc. and report obstructions, etc. to the Council from time to time.
If you have observations about a footpath or bridleway submit them to the County Council and/or the Parish Council's Rights of Way Committee.
The Parish Council has established a sub-committee to consider the introduction of further traffic calming measures in the Parish. The statutory traffic management powers rest with the County Council, but the Parish Council may spend money on this. It installed the entrance "gates" in Chalkhouse Green Road and Wood Lane, Kidmore End, and paid for the advisory speed indicator in Horsepond Road, Gallowstree Common.
The Parish Council owns the remaining visible public wells in the Parish, at Gallowstree Common and Kidmore End. Both wellheads are included in the list of buildings of special architectural or historic interest. The wells are not currently in operation but could be restored to supply water. The depths are checked and contents analysed periodically.