CDC Say No To Parish Split – But Warding May Be Necessary To Address “Toxic” Adderbury Culture

The first stage of the Community Governance Review on splitting Adderbury Parish has ended, with the Cherwell District Council Working Group recommending that the parish is not split.  However, the Working Group suggest that “Warding” of the existing Parish Council may be needed to address what they describe as the “toxic” culture in Adderbury, and to ensure that West Adderbury residents are properly represented.

West Adderbury Residents Association are considering the recommendations of the Working Group and whether Warding of the current Parish Council, chaired for over 20 years by Mrs Diane Bratt, will address its members concerns.

In the meantime, we have been reviewing the comments of those who responded “NO” to the question of whether Adderbury parish should be split. 

Surprisingly, many of these Adderbury parishioners believe that there are serious problems with our current Parish Council, although they do not believe that the answer is to split the Parish.

You can read all of the responses on the CDC Adderbury Community Review page, but we have reproduced a selection of them here.  To be clear, the following comments were submitted to Cherwell District Council from people who are AGAINST re-instating a separate parish council for West Adderbury.

We appear to have a parish council who will not listen to other areas of the village and are keen to serve their own end (at times this seems to happen at any cost). You will be aware that there have been several changes in councillors and our understanding is this is due to much unpleasentness from within. As people leave they seem to be replaced with those who agree with the core members so further advancing their stronghold. Whether Cherwell District Council is able to step in we don’t know but find it extraordinary that a group of adults who have put themselves forward to represent the village as a whole can be so self serving. We understand why a proposal to split the village has been put forward but do not feel it is an answer to the current problem.


The main issue I feel is that the parish council itself is not respected and significant questions exist over the morals and intentions of certain members. Splitting the parish will only make this worse. In my view, the council needs an injection of new younger members with fresh ideas and no political baggage!


Adderbury is one community, many within the village are fed up with the infighting of certain personalities which comes at the expense of progress and the good of the community. A change of leadership and some new brooms on the council is what is needed.


It is clear to me that the Parish Council is in serious need of change but dividing the community is never going to be the answer.


We do understand the concerns of West Adderbury residents about the scale of the Milton Road Project. The vote the Parish Council uses to justify the project had a low turnout of only 19% of the electorate of which 77% were in favour however this is by no means a majority of the village. If the true costs of the project were made known at that time of the vote there would have likely been a higher turnout & different result. There have been large sums already spent & we have no idea of the true final costs. The Parish Council are dismissive of peoples concerns in this regard. The Parish Council should be representative of all the areas of the village & we feel that the office of Chairman & Vice Chairman should be time limited to enable fair & democratic governance


I do think that the Councillors should not hold office for too long, perhaps 5 years at most.


Enough confusion with one parish council.


There are though problems with the control and running of the parish council which, as an outsider, seem to be causing problems for the village.


Change present councillors for clear thinking personnel


I think West Adderbury needs more support in the current single parish from residents outside West Adderbury


I do believe that drastic changes to the current parish council are required to represent the whole village.


This would lead to more division in an already fractured parish


Instead of splitting the community, we should be ensuring the current parish council is a reflection of all who reside in the village, it should be a blend of people with representation for all.


Although I don’t wish to see the parish divided I am very concerned that the chair of the parish council (in situe for a considerable time) does seem to weild her power to influence decision making in a very undemocratic way. The plans for a new community facility and the lack of traffic calming measures in w.Adderbury are instances where she seems determined to ignore objections to ‘her’ plans.


If there is not a split Cherwell should fully and independently investigate the current set up of the existing APC and ensure there are no conflicts of interest, especially with the chairperson. You could also ensure there are an equal number of residents from West Adderbury as there are from the rest.


Its not the area of Adderbury Parish Council but the set ways of the parish councillors who have been in office too long. Perhaps a new review of local decisions would bring harmony to all areas of Adderbury residents.


Sometimes on parish councils (and other democratically elected bodies) personal animositIes impede this process. If so, this should be resolved by electing councillors who can work together harmoniously.


The crux of this is because the parish council here is useless. Traffic issues are dreadful and all they do is talk talk. All we need is traffic calming which has been endlessly discussed but nothing ever happens. Someone has to be killed before we can have a 20mph speed limited and chicanes. The cars on Oxford and Milton Roads go so fast its hard to get their reg numbers.


There is no doubt in my mind that it is time for new blood in the Parish Council. It has been chaired for too long by the same person. Some of the things being said and written are simply appalling. It is true that the Parish Council is very slow at getting the simplest things done but this is one village, not two. You can never turn the clock back


Adderbury needs on Parish Council but a Parish Council led by an impartial chair and made up of independent members who leave their coterie tendencies at the door of every meeting


It does feel like the current council is a them and us and therefore does not have the real best village at heart. Are they the correct people?


Currently the parish council we have does not represent the village in the best way. There is a lack of young adults and new blood on the council which means a large part of Adderbury feels misrepresented. These are not just people living in the west of the village. Many serving on the current parish council have been doing so for years, and seem to have not ‘kept up’ with the changes. Their ideas are ones that do not best represent those of us that will be living here for years to come, and this is regrettable. I think the fairest outcome for all villagers, both old and new, would be to re-vote the entire parish council in. This would mean new candidates to stand and allows all residents to be heard. If all parish councillors had to be voted, this may encourage some of the newer members on the parish council but also will stop some residents who have lived here for longer being ‘put off’ by certain members of the council. Issues with certain members of the current council have been evident for years and this has meant some not wanting to be involved. An entire re-vote and election of the whole parish council is what is needed for our beautiful village to flourish as one community.


As Adderbury Parish Council has clearly been troublesome for several years with attempts at division by many members of the parish, I would question whether the residents of Adderbury are mature enough to have their own parish council. Therefore I propose getting rid of Adderbury Parish Council completely and making the area a ward in Banbury Town Council.


Adderbury Parish Council includes a lot of good people and this whole matter should have been resolved through reasoned conversation. But the APC leadership is all controlling and totalitarian.


It is utterly pathetic that one Parish Council cannot carry out its remit to represent fairly and equally the local community in its entirety. However, it is apparently not doing so at this point in time, and indeed has reportedly not done so for a number of years. This is understandably and completely out of order. Not to mention being deeply frustrating and worrying for the Parish as a whole. And is consequently a major reason for matters now coming to a head with a proposal that the Parish should be split into two. … Whilst there is seemingly and currently no confidence in the present Parish Council as a body, the system of executing Parish Council matters is effectively broken, and will remain so, with rumours of bias, favouritism, unfairness, blindness, and more besides apparently swirling around. It therefore appears that the make-up of the Parish Council needs urgent attention, including new and more wide-reaching representatives. Could the present Parish Council be disbanded, with elections for a new one put into immediate effect? i.e. A fresh start. I hope so. … I personally believe and sincerely hope that if the right Chair is elected, who has the diplomacy and PR skills to lead the Parish Councillors, and get on well with the myriad of different parishioners of Adderbury, then one Parish Council will fit all.

Our personal favourite among all the comments from those against splitting the parish is reproduced below.  This particular Adderbury resident has really captured the essence of Adderbury’s community spirit :).

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