District Councillor for Kidlington East Parish Councillor for Kidlington, Gosford, Water Eaton and Yarnton
Author: Ian Middleton
Ian Middletonhttp://wavinganddrowning.wordpress.comIan writes a regular column for Retail Week Magazine and has written for The Independent, Huffington Post, Evolve Politics and The London Economic as well as contributing comment pieces for national newspapers and magazines. He was the Green Party Parliamentary candidate for Banbury in North Oxfordshire in the 2015, 2017 and 2019 General Elections and is a district and parish councillor in Cherwell in Oxfordshire.
Ian has appeared on TV and local and national radio talking about politics and retail. He is an ethical entrepreneur with areas of expertise in retail and social entrepreneurship, but he also writes and comments on music, food, the environment, ethical consumerism, technology, renewable energy and animal and human rights.
He is also a trained psychologist, musician, runner, hiker, allotmenteer, vegan, humanist, a committed atheist, beer drinker and compulsive crosser of lines.
I currently sit on 4 different councils – Cherwell District Council, Yarnton Parish Council, Gosford and Water Eaton Parish Council and Kidlington Parish Council.
So why do I also want to be a County Councillor? Well there are many things I can’t get done without influence at a county level. I’ve tried several times to get the county to co-operate on issues that needs to be dealt with in my district ward, such as road repairs, tree planting and flood defences. Sometimes it can take me a whole year just to get a meeting with county officers.
As a County Councillor it will be far more difficult for the county council to ignore me. I’ll be able to get things done that have not been properly dealt with by the existing councillor in Kidlington South.
If you don’t know who that is and you live in the Kidlington South Division (check your polling card) then that’s a pretty good indication of how bad a job your current councillor is doing.
This short video gives you some more idea of why I would like to be your representative on the County Council, especially for people who live in Yarnton and Begbroke. As a Yarnton resident myself it will be nice to be able to help people in my local community.
At the full Cherwell District Council meeting in February I brought a motion calling for a more joined up approach to flooding response in our area and across Oxfordshire which was passed unanimously by members of the council.
The motion called for areas that are at risk of flooding to establish a ‘flood resilient community’, including the formation of local flood response groups and forums for residents to feedback information on current and potential flooding risks,
To support these groups I suggested the setting up of local flood response stores to provide locally available flood alleviation equipment. I had hoped that there would be funding for this, but there was some push back on this from the County Council due to shortage of money. I still don’t think that’s good enough and will be pursuing this more fully in the future.
The motion also said that updated surveys and maintenance programs, with maps of drainage and flood defences and associated repair responsibilities should be published regularly to help local groups and response agencies to maintain and monitor them.
Finally I called on risk management agencies across the county to set up a cooperative task force, including the provision of a centralised contact point which can trigger an immediate, proportionate response to all emergency flooding events. It is envisaged that all local councils and other agencies would play a part in this.
Flooding in Yarnton
I was very glad we managed to debate this motion, even though it only just made it before the new 11pm guillotine imposed by the Conservatives in the recent constitutional review. If it hadn’t been discussed at this meeting, it would have been another 5 months before it would have been heard and obviously we could be facing many more flood incidents before then.
As a councillor, I’ve been trying to help local residents deal with flooding in both my Parish and District council wards. It’s become apparent that there is no central co-ordination and no single contact point that can be called on to manage flooding at all levels. Smaller floods are often given a low priority by the relevant agencies and even the new guidance issued by the County and District councils doesn’t provide a timely response to these incidents.
Cherwell District Council recently resumed responsibility for flood defence in the region and as we also work closely with the county council we are in a unique position to take some leadership on this issue and improve responses to these distressing and costly incidents. This is even more important in areas like Yarnton and Begbroke which have been flooded recently and where the council has recently identified areas for development as part of the local plan review.
Covering areas in tarmac and concrete is only going to increase the likelihood of flooding and we need to ensure that suitable and long lasting flood alleviation measures are included along with responsibility for maintenance.
St John’s College, part of Oxford University have started tearing up green fields in Wolvercote, North Oxford, for their money making project dubbed Oxford North.
The people in the area are in shock at what is happening to their green spaces and the likely impact on everyone of this massive project.
This will comprise mostly business parks, shops, restaurants and hotels with some housing, most of which will not be affordable to the people in the area. It’s not only removing vital green infrastructure it’s also going to massively increase congestion on local roads as it creates another 4500 jobs that the city simply doesn’t need, without providing the houses that it does desperately need.
Oxford City Council claims it can’t meet its own affordable housing needs. The Oxford North development demonstrates the reason why. The City Council chooses not to meet that need and instead pushes it on to the surrounding districts such as Cherwell and South Oxfordshire.
I joined the protest as Wolvercote directly abuts my district council ward in Cherwell and is likely to impact heavily on Kidlington, especially on top of the extra development that is planned for the area around Kidlington, Gosford and Water Eaton, Yarnton and Begbroke, assuming that goes ahead.
I made a short video giving some of the context which you can watch using this link below.
We need to stand up against the same brazen greed that is motivating the concreting over of our precious green spaces before it’s too late. You’ll have a chance to send a message to those councillors who backed these projects in the election in May.
In Cherwell the plans were promoted and pushed through by the Conservative ruling group in the face of massive opposition from local residents which they completely disregarded and continue to ignore. In Oxford the Labour run City Council continues to apply pressure on other districts to deal with the housing need the city is making worse by using spaces like these to build more economic development rather than affordable housing,
Greens have always stood against this sort of opportunistic expansionism for profit and we always will.