Bob Lawrence is at the wheel in respects of communicating its work to the village, and he's initiated a section with the stonesfield.info site to do this - no doubt in other local media too.
The mini-site is within the Stonesfield Life section of the top menu, or you can visit the Stonesfield Community Plan Steering Group's mini-site by clicking this link.
At the time of writing, Bob has listed many of the suggestions of Stonesfield villagers. We look forward to more news and developments!
Headlines from its posting are also currently highlighted on this site's home page.
County Council compromise proposal means Stonesfield Library will remain but will require volunteer staff
Stonesfield Library is one of 16 proposed to be categorised as ‘Community Libraries’, as is Charlbury’s, requiring an equal mix of county council-paid staff and volunteers. Woodstock Library is to be one of five Community Plus Libraries that will be supported to the level of two-thirds council-paid staff and one-third volunteers.
According to Councillor Keith Mitchell, the Leader of Oxfordshire County Council, “We have made a judgement in a very challenging economic environment that would, with the help of the local community in some locations, see all 43 libraries in Oxfordshire remain open.”
“All local authorities have had to take many tough decisions on matters to do with almost all of the services that they provide because of the very difficult financial situation that this country is in (sic).”
“We have however recognised the strength of public feeling about libraries and have come up with a compromise which we believe is viable. The Library Service will now work with the public to establish a sustainable future for each of the 21 libraries where volunteers will contribute towards staffing levels.”
The council stated they will guarantee that all libraries will continue to receive support in the form of free access to a suitable building (although Stonesfield’s belongs to its community anyway); to book stock; to the library stock management system and that all of those currently without self-service equipment will be fitted with the technology via capital funding.
The council added Officers will also commit to exploring how all library buildings could be used in different and more effective ways as community resources in the future.
The council would take into account every four years, or sooner if circumstances dictate, housing developments across Oxfordshire to consider whether the location of libraries would still cater for the changing face of the county.
The change from council-paid staffing to a mix of council-paid staffing and volunteers in 21 libraries will take place over a three-year timeframe.
Aimée, shown right digesting just some of the subsequent feedback, asked the ninety or so locals that packed the Village Hall to propose what they liked about Stonesfield, what they didn’t like and what could be improved.
You can see the photo-gallery in yesterday’s post more of these responses in raw form.
According to Aimée, the point of the exercise, which this brainstorming marked the beginning, is to create a vision for Stonesfield; what Stonesfield wants of its Community and how to get it done over the next 5 to 10 years.
A quick perusal of the suggestions suggests, however, some conflicting priorities, so it looks like there'll be plenty to play for in the coming consultations.
In ORCC’s experience, using voluntary effort, these sorts of plans take 12 to 18 months to thrash out, and generally achieve around a 60% response rate in reply to the questionnaires that follow these events.
So far 70 plus community plans have been developed in Oxfordshire since 2003, while 64 are currently been worked upon. It was suggested by ORCC that such plans are valued by policy makers due to their community involvement, and can and do enhance communities in the process.
Some examples were cited in ORCC documentation handed out.
Examples of the sort of issues generally included were:
- Speeding traffic
- Community facilities.
Aimée then kicked off the consultation - and seemed impressed with the ensuing mêlée!
Keen to keep on the meeting’s good side, she concluded by describing Stonesfield as “a lovely place with a community coming together”.
According to Bob Lawrence:
The Stonesfield Village Community Led Plan will be an evolving document. It will outline how the Community of Stonesfield sees itself, what our aspirations are and how we hope to make Stonesfield live up to our vision.
The Plan is not just a statement of what Stonesfield is like now, nor is it a simple wish list of things we want (or indeed things we don’t want).
Rather it forms a strategy for developing the village.
This initial plan will covers the 5 years from 2012 – 2017. Many things will change in this time and it’s important that the Plan is reviewed regularly at least every year to keep it up to date and review progress against the objectives.
The regular lively updates about Stonesfield:
- Notices & thanks
- Politics & local affairs
- Education & culture
- Clubs & societies
- Church news
- & local advertising.
Download September 2011 Slate pdf issue from here.
The Chairman and Trustees of Cecily’s Fund request the pleasure of your company at Cecily’s Day ~ our annual picnic and very informal General Meeting at 12.30 pm on Saturday 3 September 2011 on the lawns of Stonesfield Manor, near Witney, (or in St James’ Centre if wet).
Cecily's Fund was set up in memory of Stonesfield teenager, Cecily Eastwood. It helps educate 9,500 orphans in Zambia. Come to Cecily's Day to find out more and to get a head start on buying your Christmas cards and unique Zambian hand-made Christmas presents!
For more info, see www.cecilysfund.org or email email@example.com
Guests included Peter Lefort - Project Officer for Oxfordshire Community Action Group, and Colin Carritt of Sustainable Woodstock.
The meeting kicked off with a, rather US-centric, film The Story of Stuff, but the discussion led by Ros Hughes, was determinedly local.
Encouraging things happening already included news of a biomass boiler planned for the school, and locally produced food is to be delivered by Callow Farm...
A full write up is promised by Ros Hughes, but the draft group aim was presented as:
The Community Action Group known as Sustainable Stonesfield (SUSTO) aims to raise awareness of the effects of Climate Change, to support and promote Community action and education that addresses these effects with sustainable solutions and, by sharing information and activities with similar Groups, to create a sustainable future.
The next meeting is set for 6 September, at 7:30pm in the White Horse to discuss actions, with one of the first planned events likely to be a Swap Shop.
Posters have just been posted round the village like this one!
Roll up! Roll Up! The Greatest Show on Earth is about to start!
'Circus Stars' is coming to a library near you from 9 July until 17 September!
Ask at your local library and you'll be given your own membership card and 3D 'Circus Stars' stage.
More on the Library Page...
Entries on this form only and handed in to Sybil Barton or posted through the letterbox (Four Acres, Pond Hill, Stonesfield) on or before Wednesday 22 June 2011. (Actual exhibits to be handed in on the Saturday).
Burst water main in Wooton - Water out - Thames Water supplying bottles from outside The White Horse
Bottles had been supplied to those requesting from the engineers’ vans, and I understand that more are available from outside The White Horse.
Thames Water’s website is scant on detail and appears to have no RSS feed to enable regular updates here. However the latest
At the time of writing, perhaps due to demand the site is not responding so maybe people can update their experience in the comments below.
Stonesfield Library saved after Council U-turn; but volunteers expected to run it within three years
Stonesfield Library is among 43 libraries that are subject to another four-month consultation exercise starting today.
According to the announcement Stonesfield’s library will not now be threatened with closure but will be required in three years to staffed by volunteer librarians.
The council’s positive spin on this is that they will have support of library service support, and of course county library stock.
Alongside Charlbury and 14 other libraries, for Stonesfield’s library, according to the announcement:
The staffing emphasis in these libraries would shift from county council staff to volunteers in a phased way over a three year period - however support from county council employed operational and professional librarians would continue.
Previously, the council proposed closure and possible reliance of mobile libraries or requirement to use Woodstock Library.
- Notices & thanks
- Politics & local affairs
- Education & culture
- Clubs & societies
- Church news
- & local advertising.
Photo: Stonesfield Firsts with The Oxfordshire Charity Cup after their 2–1 victory over Adderbury Park in the final.
Download pdf from here.
The meeting, organised Sarah Drew to begin a local response to the proposal from the County Council, attracted 21 concerned locals plus County Councilor Neil Owen - who seemed somewhat surprised by some the vehemence of opinion - against what was seen as political and cultural more than a financial decision.
Parish Council chair John Simpson, however, was clear that the way to fight the closure was on arguments of finance.
"I have good reason to believe the council should keep the Stonesfield Library Open", he said, emphasising he spoke as a villager rather than from his role on the village council.
"The cost savings would be minimal. I estimated that the County only spends about £10,000 per annum to keep the library open at the current 11 hours a week, and it's not even the case that funds could be raised from selling the building."
The Parish Council meeting next Thursday will be attended by Mr John Jackson, Head of Library Services, and John Simpson plans to concentrate his questioning at an accountancy angle, but wanted to gather more questions from the meeting tonight and letters he requested in the Slate and other canvassing.
Thursday's discussions, at the start of the Parish council meeting, will be from 7:30 to 8:45pm, possibly in the main village hall.
The feeling from tonight’s meeting, from my perspective, was there was more to this than just a matter of cost savings - more of a cultural vandalism.
One view positioned the issue more broadly. "I've been thinking about this and we've talked about older people, and unemployed people not having access to services but my concern is for the young people and future generations. Libraries are very important for children and people won't be able and to go to Woodstock instead. Of even more significance is cultural - a library makes a real difference in the life of a village. It gives a sense of culture and adds to the atmosphere. What's more it will have effect on education and a detrimental effect on how young people grow up if it is closed."
A figure of £200,000 was quoted as on offer to cover the possible 20 library closures for a one off primer for voluntary groups - many considered this a non-starter bearing in mind the complexities of the job, and the piecemeal approach of competing voluntary groups.
Figures quoted from a letter from the council for the 2009/2010 financial year showed, even for just 11 open hours a week there were 4,550 visits to Stonesfield Library in the year, and 14,577 issues. John Simpson asked Neil Owen to request figures for the current number of library ticket holders locally (which could be bolstered on Saturday).
The planned timetable of the consultation is that a County Council analysis will happen in June and July, followed by an impact assessment and then in September a report to cabinet. On 31 December affected staff will receive three months notice and posts will be deleted from June 2012.
Ahead of the Parish Council meeting a demonstration of village feeling is planned for 10:30am on Saturday 5 February, which is hoped will generate publicity for the feelings of Stonesfield.
“Please help your Parish council to prevent the closure of our library by notifying any objections before 10 February 2011.”
He lists a phone number (891571) so may only accept verbal representations....
The County Librarian Caroline Taylor is “formally consulting” on the proposed closure and is accepting comments at firstname.lastname@example.org - or by post to Oxfordshire Libraries, Community Services, Holton, Oxford, OX33 1QQ.
Her letter, outlining the proposals is published on the Stonesfield Library Page.
It is suggested that representations are also made to the local County Councilor (Charlbuy Division) to Neil Owen - 01993 830875 email@example.com - as well as Judith Heathcoat (Cabinet Member responsible for Library Services) 01367 241468, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please also add your own views on the comments as well as the forum.