Councils make connections in Sonning Common

Representatives from a number of nearby town and parish councils got together with Oxfordshire County Council at the village hall recently at an event designed to exchange information and build relationships.

Amongst those attending from Oxfordshire County Council were county council Cabinet leader Ian Hudspeth, Cabinet members David Bartholomew and Mark Gray as well as Bev Hindle, Strategic Director for Communities. The format was quite simple with groups of local council members sat at tables and council officers from different service areas joining them to talk for 20 minutes or so before moving on to the next group.

Local traffic, highway and planning concerns were aired with answers being promised for any questions that couldn’t be answered day. There was also a presentation on the county council’s ongoing work to develop thriving communities, thriving people and a thriving economy.

Big efforts to be more local

Cllr Ian Hudspeth, Leader of Oxfordshire County Council, explained: “We have made a big effort over the last year to ensure that we get out and about right round Oxfordshire to meet local people, especially parish council representatives.

“These are the people that do so much great work at the grass roots level and who people in their communities often turn to for help. By getting to know people better, and showing that the county council is caring and responsive, we hope to keep working ever closer.”

Big issues in the 'deep south'

Sonning Common Parish Council Chair, Carole Lewis, said: “Sonning Common is a long way from Oxford where the county council’s main offices are and that is why it is so important to have events like this to prove they are not remote.

“We have a very good relationship with our own county councillor who attends all our meetings and keeps us informed, but it was really good to meet face to face with senior managers.

“It was a opportunity to raise local issues that concern us such as planning matters and the Oxford to Cambridge Expressway while finding out good news like improvements to broadband that will hopefully help internet access at the village hall.

“I hope that there will be more events like this – we’d like to welcome the county council back to ‘the deep south’ of Oxfordshire soon.”

The Sonning Common event was the last of eight similar meetings that have been held across Oxfordshire. The county council plans to look at how the meetings went overall and hopefully do more in the near future.

Parish councils attending included:

South Stoke Parish Council

Rotherfield Peppard Parish Council

Kidmore End parish council

Goring Heath PC

Sonning Common Parish Council

Eye & Dunsden Parish Council

Bix & Assendon Parish Council

South Stoke Parish council

Goring Heath PC

Rotherfield Greys PC

Shiplake Parish Council

Henley Town Council