Community Governance Review – Stage 2 Comments

Stage 2 of the Community Governance Review is now over.  The Working Group has recommended that no changes are made to the existing structure of Adderbury Parish Council, chaired for over 20 years by Mrs Diane Bratt, owner/director of Cotefield Farm, Bodicote, site of the Blossom Field housing development (see below).  We expect Cherwell DC to rubber stamp the recommendations at the council meeting on 22 February 2021.

Residents from all parts of the parish submitted their views on whether Adderbury Parish Council should be “warded”.  The majority were not in favour of this step.  However, even some of those who do not support warding have other concerns about the way in which the current Parish Council works.

Among those who are against the idea of warding, there are some common themes.  In particular, a number of Adderbury residents believe the current Parish Council needs a “revamp“, “refresh”, and “fresh blood“.  Some suggest that “young members of the community” should stand for election.

Some residents also think that parish councillors, and especially the Chair, should only be allowed to serve limited terms.

You can read the full list of responses to the second stage of the CGR consultation at the Cherwell DC CGR page In the meantime, you can read what some Adderbury residents who are against warding had to say about Adderbury Parish Council.

This Adderbury resident think that the “real issue” relates to “the existing chairperson and her supporters”:

“It is my opinion that there are only approximately 2 or 3 militant residents in West Adderbury that are stirring up issues which are impacting on the community spirit. The real issue I believe, is to do with the existing chairperson and her supporters on the Parish Council. It is this that needs to be addressed but not at the expense of creating a divisive community. As a suggestion, perhaps the constitution of the parish council needs to be amended, so that the elected chairpersons term of office is limited to 3 years and they cannot be re-elected for a further 6 years. This would resolve the present issue and encourage new blood to the council.”

In fact, several residents who are against warding of the council make suggestions regarding the length of time that parish councillors – and especially the Chair – should be allowed to serve:

“I think there should be a limit on time served on the PC, e.g. 5 years to encourage fresh ideas and allay any accusations of favouritism etc.”

This was echoed by another Twyford resident, who suggests that:

“I think the position of Chairman should only be for 3 years to provide different leadership encourage new members on the council, perhaps young members of the Community.”

Other residents who voted no to warding said:

“I think perhaps the parish councillors should be alloted from the different areas that are represented to ensure everyone has a voice. Perhaps it would be good to limit the leader role, so it is rotated or limited to a short term – this is from looking at some of the comments on the Cherwell website where people feel under represented and unheard. What a shame! Obviously traffic calming should be addressed in the village – that should be easy to do – like in Bletchington or Islip”.

“Those who have been parish councillors for more than 10 years should step down to enable a fresh start.”

“Councillors should not be able to serve more than say two terms without standing down for one term.”

“Parish councillor should only be allowed to serve 1 term. This would help to freshen up the ideas and lead to a more united approach.”

Another resident opposed to warding thinks that the position of Chair should alternate between the different areas of the parish:

“It is absolutely essential that the elected councillors live in each of the different sections of the village, from Twyford area to the Milton Road area. It is also essential that the parish council chair (if there is only one council) must alternate each ?? years – their term – between the ‘western section area’ and the ‘eastern and Twyford area'”.

And others want to revamp the existing Parish Council, or even get rid of the current Chair and Parish Councillors altogether:

“One Adderbury! Proportionate voting rights Get rid of current chair and APC Members”.

“This solution will not solve the situation. A new Adderbury Parish Council leadership team is required to facilitate the necessary change.”

“Councillors should work together for the good of the whole village, get things progressed or get off our council.”

“We think that the parish council should stand down and any one who wants to represent their area can then put up for election to form a new council.”

“Existing Adderbury Parish Council needs a revamp with fresh blood and new members.”

“The whole proposal has been made over disagreements between individuals on a personal level. All those who are presently part of WARA and the parish council should be removed from their positions or exempt from being appointed and new un-bias candidates put forward. Neither side with personal dislike should be entitled to hold a position of stature.”

“Maybe the Adderbury Parish Councillors should all be reviewed and maybe refreshed. How many other village councils are split in Oxfordshire?”

Another Adderbury resident who is anti warding pleaded:

“Please can the parish council stop acting like children, and listen to what people want for the village. Yes we need traffic calming, but we also need a united community!”

Finally, one Twyford resident – again, opposed to warding – believes that:

“I think the current situation is due to personalities rather than anything inherently wrong with Adderbury having a single Parish Council. As people move on or away the situation will probably resolve itself. I have lived in Adderbury for over 32 years and have always felt it was one village and that is how it should remain.”

Let’s hope this person is right – although waiting for people to “move on or away” could take a long time. Judging by the comments above, many Adderbury residents seem to feel that the time for change is now.

Bodicote News, Oct/Nov 2014
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