Your Oxfordshire

The latest news, activities and events across Your Oxfordshire
15/03/17

Council agrees to submit Better Oxfordshire proposals to government
Over the last few months we’ve been speaking to people online and across the county to explain our proposals to make services better, more local and cost less to run. Though many people have shown that they support the plans, lots of you are also concerned that any new council would need to be more local.

As a result we’ve made some significant changes to the proposal, previously known as ‘OneOxfordshire’, including:

Increased the number of ‘area boards’ which would have responsibility for local services
Made special arrangements for Oxford to reflect its unique needs in the county
Yesterday (Tuesday) the county council’s cabinet agreed to submit the Better Oxfordshire proposals for a new council for the whole county to government.

So what happens next?

Some preparatory work can start immediately. Recommendations agreed by the cabinet include setting up a joint committee to develop the area board model, with all the councils invited to take part.

We also want to set up a City Convention so that residents and organisations in Oxford can take part in designing a new model of governance for the city.

Ultimately the decision is with the Secretary of State for Local Government, who is expected to consult stakeholders (residents and organisations) before he decides.

As always, you can find out more at www.betteroxfordshire.org -and join in the discussion on Facebook.

Your pictures of Spring in Oxfordshire

Well, we said it last edition and we’re more convinced than ever that spring is here! So we’ve set up a gallery with the best photos you’ve sent in from across the county, do tweet us @OxfordshireCC if you’ve got some you’d like to share!

That said March can be pretty chilly (so do keep an eye out for anyone you know who might struggle to get out of the house – in fact you might want to book them a Safe and Well visit from a friendly Fire Officer).

So let’s enjoy the colour coming back to the county and hope for warmer days!

Family Information Service Activities

Combe Mill in steam – Sunday 19th March 2017
COMBE MILL in STEAM Sun 19th March 2017 Themed:

Science and Engineering at Combe Mill Working industrial museum with its late 19th Century Steam Beam Engine. Line Shafting , working restored Waterwheel and dual Blacksmiths Forge. in its day served the Blenheim Palace Estate.
Cogges Opening Weekend 2017
Saturday 18th – Sunday 19th March

Opening weekend offers you a taste of the very best of Cogges, from seasonal food to family activities, feeding the animals to cooking demonstration in the manor house. So wrap up warm, grab your wellies, and come to Cogges to celebrate spring: Saturday 18th March Cooking…

Whats going on around the County

Potted Histories Family Fun day!

Oxfordshire Museum Service and Bicester Local History Society have joined together to offer a family fun day at Bicester Library on Saturday 18th March 2017.

Come and try a range of activities for all the family to enjoy! From handling real museum objects; dressing up; creating fictional characters from Bicester’s past for our time capsule; or listening to entertaining short talks on the town’s past by members of Bicester Local History Society; there’s something for everyone!

The event celebrates the opening of a new pop up exhibition in Bicester Library, showcasing real artefacts from Bicester that are cared for at the Oxfordshire County Council’s Museums Service Resource Centre. Drop in on the 18th March and discover how fascinating your local history really is!

The event and exhibition are part of a project funded by Arts Council England, delivered in partnership with Oxford University Museums Partnership.
Oxfordshire Travel Choices

Roadworks
Get the latest on essential work to keep Oxfordshire moving – direct from the teams on site, and stay up to date ahead of any changes.
Major projects are taking place at

Harwell Link Road

Bicester Transport Improvements

Access to Headington

Flooding toolkit

The Flood Toolkit website brings together all the information you need to take action against the potential menace posed by flooding. In the toolkit you will find advice and guides to help you whether you are a resident, community group or business.

Live well Oxfordshire

Live Well Oxfordshire is a fantastic resource which tells you about a range of support services across Oxfordshire for adults (18+), families and carers. It has information to help you to find your own way to meet any needs for support and care and for you, or a loved one, to lead the lives that you want. Find out more

Could you join our on call firefighters team?

Are you over 18 and live or work within five minutes of our recruiting fire stations? We’re recruiting more on-call firefighters to keep our local communities safe. Challenge yourself to protect the people and places around you. Apply now and start your training in June

Local elections are on your doorstep

Are you registered to vote? There are elections in Oxfordshire on the 4th of May 2017 and if you’re not already on the electoral roll, you need to register to vote by midnight on Thursday 13 April. Luckily it’s very easy, and you can do so here.

Copyright © 2017 Oxfordshire County Council, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
Oxfordshire County Council
County Hall
New Road
Oxford, Oxfordshire OX11ND
United Kingdom

It Takes A Man To Apologise.

“I’m sorry.” Two simple words and yet for some two of the hardest to say. We easily utter them in response to trivial matters like accidentally bumping into a stranger on the street or giving the cashier the wrong change. Yet it seems in important matters and especially to those in public office, we can find public servants practically choking on the words.

This week in Faringdon, Oxfordshire there is apparently a breed of Town Councillor who will not apologise for offending a resident.

marktgreewood

Councillor Mark T Greenwood has publicly accused me of being a ‘nasty little racist prick’ on social media (see tweet below), for a comment I made to @jongaunt from The Jon Gaunt Show with regard to a debate about a British Muslim – Muhammad Ashraf Ali Yusuf, who has filed a petition demanding the Muslim call to prayer be played on loudspeakers from mosques in British towns and cities.

markgreenwood

I must admit that I have been called worse and have usually ignored such comments, but never from a public servant who is supposedly representing me. Does Councillor Greenwood also believes that anyone of the 96% White/British who live in Faringdon who are similarly concerned with such a petition, also nasty little racist pricks?

Now let’s get this straight Councillor Mark T Greenwood, I love working in the very multicultural city of Oxford because of it’s multiculturalism, my work colleagues are multicultural, I have many Muslim and other faith friends, I have dated women whose ethnicity and beliefs have been different from mine.

I can understand why those two little words are stuck in your throat. You are a Liberal and that’s your way of closing the debate, but I’ll try to explain to you how and why to properly apologise is a necessary step in moving from Liberal boy to Liberal man.

Your faults may be:

Pride. Apologising can be particularly hard for men because it involves the admittance of fault. It’s hard to say that we messed up. That we were wrong. Is your pride getting in the way?

Embarrassment. If we messed up, doing something truly boneheaded even though we knew better, it can be difficult to talk about it to the person’s hurt or public we let down. Do you feel stupid and would rather pretend like it didn’t happen?

Anger. Is your anger over how someone has “offended” you so great that you try to justify what you said and can’t get past it to apologise?

The antidote to all 3 obstacles Councillor Mark T Greenwood? Humility.

The reason we put up these walls is that we have an overinflated view of our true selves. We’re always right; we always have it together. But it is not true. We’re human. We mess up sometimes. You have to accept your imperfection as a part of life. Suppressing it will cut you off from others. Embracing it will allow you to grow as a man.

Don’t live your life as though every day you’re pleading your case before an imaginary court, presenting evidence for why you are not at fault and are innocent as charged. It’s not as important to be right as it is to have healthy relationships with the public you represent.

Would you rather be right than give up your relationship with a resident? Would you rather be right than lift the hurt feelings from another? Being self-satisfied in your justice offers little benefit but the feeling of smugness. And smugness won’t keep you warm at night.

You can find the things, no matter how small, that you could have handled better. Once you apologise for those things, that will get the ball rolling. Don’t let pride stop you from being the bigger person and taking the initiative.

Apologise as soon as you can after making a mistake. The longer you wait, the more resentment is going to build up on both sides, the harder it will be to make the first move, and the more awkward the situation will become. Be a man and nip it in the bud.

You have offend someone and you have failed to debate like a gentleman and ended up being snarky, attacking the person personally, you should apologise for your boorish behavior.

Here’s How to Apologise Councillor Mark T Greenwood.

Write it if you can’t say it. Sometimes our embarrassment or pride prevents us from going in person to apologise to someone. While a face to face apology is always ideal, if you absolutely can’t do it, then it’s better to get it out than not do it at all. And sometimes a letter or note is actually a superior medium to talking because it allows you to express all of your feelings without forgetting what you want to say or running the risk of setting off another argument.

Be sincere. This is the cardinal rule of apologies. An insincere apology is in some ways worse than no apology at all. The person’s hurt over your offense will merely be compounded by their anger at your hypocrisy. An insincere apology may take the form of saying you’re sorry but saying it in such a way that your lack of contrition is patently manifest.

Take complete responsibility. Never, ever make any excuses while you’re apologising. They instantly ruin the weight and sincerity of your confession. Don’t use any “buts.” As in “I’m really sorry that happened, but….” A man takes full responsibility for his mistakes.

Express your understanding of why you were wrong and the weight of your mistake. A person wants to know that you fully understand the seriousness of the situation, that you have thought through exactly why what you did was wrong and the full consequences of your actions. Nobody wants to hear an apology from someone who clearly doesn’t know why they’re in the wrong but feels like apologising is what they’re “supposed” to do.

Prove your contrition with your actions. In the end, words will matter very little if your actions don’t match them. After you’ve apologised, stop dwelling on it. Simply start acting in a way that demonstrates the sincerity of your apology.

One thing I do know, is that i’ll be waiting a long time before the coward apologises.

IAN GILLIES BELL

Should District Council’s help to deal with Oxford City housing crisis?

Plans to build thousands of homes to deal with Oxford’s housing crisis have been rejected by a district council leader.

South Oxfordshire was earmarked to build nearly 5,000 of 15,000 homes needed for the city by 2031.

John Cotton, the leader of South Oxfordshire District Council, said the plans were “an ambition too far”.

Campaigners meanwhile have demanded the public be given more of a say.

‘Not convinced’

The Oxfordshire Growth Board, made up of council leaders, met to approve plans to deal with the city’s housing need identified in a 2014 report.

The Oxfordshire Strategic Housing Market Assessment said neighbouring councils needed to provide 14,850 houses to help Oxford cope with its increasing demand.

Oxford would look to build another 550 houses, while Cherwell would contribute 4,400, Vale of White Horse 2,200, West Oxfordshire 2,750, and South Oxfordshire would build 4,950.

All voted to approve the plans except South Oxfordshire, whose leader said the number was too high and questioned Oxford’s efforts.

“We are not convinced the city has done all it can to meet its own need,” Mr Cotton said.

Campaigners have accused the board of ploughing ahead with “undemocratic” plans.

David Illingworth, from North Abingdon Local Plan Group, said: “We believe there is an alternative vision for the future of our county, not based on forced economic growth at all costs but focusing on meeting local people’s real needs.”

Negotiations are set to continue to try to agree a figure for South Oxfordshire.

Should Oxford introduce congestion charging?

A congestion charge for Oxford is being considered to help tackle gridlock in the city.

County Council leader Ian Hudspeth said he was “open” to looking at a charge and there were “clear benefits.”

London is the only UK city with a congestion charge. Manchester considered and rejected one in 2008.

Roger Lawson from The Alliance of British Drivers said charging did not reduce delays and hit the poor.

The county council has previously said high start-up costs would limit the potential of a congestion charge.

Mr Hudspeth said a flat charge was “a very blunt instrument” but he was open to ways of looking at charging in a targeted way.

“We’ve got better technology now, we could charge from 07:00 to 09:00 so that people who want to drive in the peak hour paid,” he said.

“I would be making sure that any revenue that came from that would be going to the public transport network.”