January 2016 Vale Newsletter

Cllr Matthew BarberVale on the brink of major procurement success
The Vale of White Horse has been working with four other councils (South Oxfordshire, Hart, Havant and Mendip) on an ambitious procurement process that is set to save taxpayers millions of pounds. Council contracts are not normally an exciting topic for discussion, but this is one of the largest projects of its kind and if successful is set to bring new innovation to council services and save the five councils more than £50m. The Council’s Joint Scrutiny Committee will consider the preferred bidders before making a recommendation to the Cabinet which is due to consider the new contract on 28th January.

Monster Race – I need your support
In April I am running a sponsored 5k obstacle race to race money for Special Effect. They are a fantastic charity that puts fun and inclusion back into the lives of people with physical disabilities by helping them to play video games. By using technology ranging from modified joypads to eye-control, they’re finding a way for people to play to the very best of their abilities. But they’re not just doing it for fun. By levelling the playing field, they’re bringing families and friends together and having a profoundly positive impact on therapy, confidence and rehabilitation. Please sponsor me online at www.justgiving.com/MatthewBarberMonsterRace or Simply text MONS65 £5 / £10 to 70070 to sponsor me today.

Oxford Flood Alleviation Scheme
Don’t be fooled by the name, this major flood scheme is set to have an impact on all of us. It is designed to protect some communities in the Vale and will help all of us if it keeps the county moving during major floods. There have also been local concerns raised downstream which the Vale is investigating with the Environment Agency. There are five drop-in events planned to give you the opportunity to find out more about the scheme.

The events will be held between 2.30 and 7.00 on the following dates:

Tuesday 19 Jan – Oxford Town Hall , OX1 1BX
Wednesday 20 Jan – Abbey House (Vale Council Offices), Abingdon, OX14 3JE
Friday 22 Jan – South Oxford Community Centre, OX1 4RP
Wednesday 27 Jan – Kennington Village Centre,  OX1 5PG
Thursday 28 Jan – West Oxford Community Centre,  OX2 0BT

Members of the project team and partners will be available to answer any questions or discuss anything about the scheme.

You will also be able to respond online via the Environment Agency website athttps://consult.environment-agency.gov.uk/portal between 19 January and 1 March.

Wantage gym refurbishmend unveiled       
Wantage Leisure Centre now boasts a fully refurbished gym following a £127,000 upgrade. New facilities include the latest state-of-the-art Technogym ‘Excite’ equipment that comprises treadmills, recline bikes, crossovers and synchro machines offering a full cardiovascular workout.  The centre also now has a newly revamped, air conditioned fitness studio.

The improvements were funded by Vale of the White Horse District Council and GLL, which operates Better leisure centres, and are part of an ongoing programme to upgrade facilities across the district.

Coming soon…       
Two big events coming up in early February, the final part of the Examination in Public (EiP) of the Vale’s Local Plan and the Council’s budget for 2016/17. The Local Plan of course remains the number one priority for the Council and certainly for many residents. The Inspector will begin this next part of the EiP on Tuesday 2nd February at the Beacon. More info is available at www.whitehorsedc.gov.uk/localplan. The Vale has made significant savings in back office costs over recent years which means that we are one of the most efficient authorities in the country and have weathered the financial storm better than some councils. Nevertheless there will be some challenges ahead with direct central government grant ending completely by 2019. Nevertheless we will continue to provide high quality services and hope to be able to unveil plans for even more investment for the future.

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