General News

Wantage Constituency Should Be Renamed 'Didcot' Say Didcot Councillors

wantage or didcotFights will break out over plans to change the name of Wantage constituency to Didcot, one councillor has warned!


Town promotion group Didcot First has submitted a bid to to change the name of the Wantage parliamentary constituency to either Didcot or Didcot and Wantage. With planned growth in Didcot, the group said it is set to become the 'principal' town in the constituency.


Wantage MP Ed Vaizey has already backed the suggestion of adding Didcot to the name, but the proposal has not gone down well with the town that saw the birth of King Alfred the Great in the ninth century. Oxfordshire county councillor for Wantage and Grove Jenny Hannaby called the application ‘outrageous’. She said: "It is a political thing and Ed Vaizey (Wantage MP) needs to know there will be boxing matches in the square over this. Traditionally Mr Vaizey’s constituency has always been Wantage but he decided to incorporate Didcot, and this is just an extension of that. Why would such a historic town want this to happen? It is just an outrageous suggestion and I cannot imagine it will be taken well at all with people in Wantage."


Wantage town councillor Patrick O'Leary said he would be happy with the change – so long as Wantage still came first in the name. He said: "I would like a name that reflects what the area is going to be, but with Wantage first because Wantage came first historically."


A review of all parliamentary boundaries is currently underway across the county in a bid to make them all a similar population size. In its bid to the Boundary Commission for England, Didcot First said Didcot’s population was growing from 15,000 in 1981 to an anticipated 30,000 by the end of the year.

It also mentioned Didcot’s recent Garden Town status which will see the town will double in size from 650ha to 1290ha. Chairman David Pryor said: "Didcot is becoming an increasingly important town and is now in the heart of the Science Vale and set to become a Garden Town. This has been one of Didcot First’s targets since we started over 10 years ago, and we are delighted to be given the opportunity to provide our views as part of the consultation process. Even with new housing planned in the Wantage area, Didcot will be the principal town within the constituency."


Didcot Town Council has also submitted a bid to the boundary commission for the name change. Councillor Margaret Davies said the application was unanimous among councillors and that she would like Didcot to come first in the name. She said: "Didcot is almost three times the population of Wantage and our name should go first. It was only for historic reasons that it was called Wantage constituency but now it is time to brush it off and start again with a joint name: Didcot and Wantage."


Mr Vaizey has backed the group’s application and said the new constituency should include Didcot in its name. He said: "I already refer to myself as the MP for Wantage and Didcot, so something like this needs to be considered. Didcot is a major town and hugely successful. It still amazes me there is no sign to Didcot on the M4 or M40. I would be reluctant to lose Wantage from the constituency name however, so will continue to use both towns in the constituency title."


The Boundary Commission consultation closed on Monday, December 5, and all comments received to be published in Spring 2017 and based on views submitted the Boundary Commission may revise its proposals later next year.

Oxford Mail

Litter Pickers Ramblings

Residents of the old village may have noticed a spanking new hooded bin by the bus shelter? This is a great improvement on its predecessor, which mysteriously disappeared some months ago.


The new bin is in place thanks to the efforts of a long-term resident of the village, who targeted the relevant authorities with tangible success - Power to the People!


From my observations, the open nature of the old bin sometimes 'invited' the deposit of rather overwhelmingly large bags of rubbish which would have seemed better suited to a domestic bin?
The new hooded bin should deter such use, and leave adequate space for genuine litter disposal.


Milton Village Litter Picker

Safety Measures Revealed For 'Most Dangerous A34 Stretch'

Layby's, chevrons and better signage are some of the safety measures being discussed for the A34. After a review was carried out by Highways England, MPs and campaigners have come together to discuss immediate solutions.


MP Nicola Blackwood said the safety review is 'essential' after four serious crashes on the road already this month. Wantage MP Ed Vaizey said there will be a concentrated effort to install safety measures along that part of the route. He said: “The themes for us going forward are safety measures like chevrons and better signage because sometimes people can break suddenly and turn off because they have not seen the signs properly. I think the most important part that we discussed was introducing laybys.”


Mr Vaizey was joined by other Oxfordshire MPs Thames Valley Police and campaigners from the A34 Action Group at a meeting on Wednesday. He added: “Layby's could be very important for the road for two reasons. The first being it can be used as a ‘safe haven’ for vehicles involved in an accident to be moved on to. Secondly it can be used for police to park up and monitor drivers along the road. You never see police along the A34 to monitor drivers because there is nowhere for them to safely park."


Mr Vaizey said a meeting was scheduled with the Minister of Transport to discuss a traffic management system. He added: “It was very important for us to look at the safety review to see if it would hold up existing plans for a traffic management system which we hope to be approved next year.”


Oxford West and Abingdon MP Mrs Blackwood has welcomed the 'essential' review and says it is vital all agencies work together. She said: "This Safety Review will be essential for the future of the A34; already this month there have been four serious accidents on the road. The National Infrastructure Commission’s interim report now published is clear on the need for a joined up approach with Highways, LEPs and local authorities in working towards a long term strategy. We will continue to work together, pushing for an appropriate timescale for the Safety Review and, crucially, Highways England have assured us that existing commitments will be honoured while the work is ongoing." Oxford Mail

Milton Interchange Expected To Be Less Congested

The scheme to create £11m north-facing slip roads at the Chilton Interchange near Didcot is expected to be completed within days.


The new slip roads at Chilton will mean commuters travelling to science parks such as Harwell Oxford will be able to stay on the A34 rather than exit at the Milton Interchange. As a result the Milton Interchange is expected to be less congested for people travelling to Didcot and Milton Park.

milton interchange traffic chaos

Oxfordshire County Council spokesman Martin Crabtree said: “New slip roads providing a better connection with the A34 and one of Oxfordshire’s most important employment area are expected to open in the coming week. The north-facing slip roads at Chilton have cost £11m to build and have taken 13 months to construct. A projected increase in jobs and traffic in the Science Vale area, which includes an additional 20,000 new homes and 20,000 permanent jobs expected by 2031, means that these new north-facing slip roads will play a vital part in ensuring that the local road infrastructure meets the demands of the future.”


Chilton parish council initially objected to the scheme, claiming it was a ‘wasteful’ proposal. But after discussions with county council officers the parish council agreed to withdraw its objection.
Oxford Mail

Milton Parish Council - Parish Clerk

Applications are invited for the position of Clerk and Responsible Financial Officer to Milton Parish Council. The successful applicant will be expected to commence work as soon as possible after confirmation of post.


The successful applicant must have, or work towards, a recognised sector qualification in local government administration such as CILCA. The Clerk would also be responsible for the Parish Council website.


This is a part-time post for 15 hours per week initially, and a pro rata salary is payable based on an equivalent full time salary within national salary scale ranging from £23,166 to £25,694 per annum, depending on qualifications.


There will be an allowance for working from home, although an office may be supplied later. There will also be a petrol allowance.


Full details can be obtained by emailing Cllr Mark Smith (Chair) at
Closing date for applications is 10 November 2016.

Reflections On The Olympics

During the recent Olympic Games it was fascinating to hear the stories from various competitors about their long, dedicated preparations, which in some cases extended over the whole four years since the last Games or even longer. Such commitment! And with no guarantee of eventual success, because on the day of the event trained for the athlete might be unwell or a competitor might be just a Little bit better.
The poet John Milton wrote:
Fame is the spur that the clear spirit doth raise
(That last infirmity of noble mind)
To scorn delights and live laborious days;


Historians have been reminding us that July 2016 is the centenary of the Battle of the Somme, during the First World War, notabie for the day on which the largest ever number of British soldiers were killed. The British generals had predicted an easy victory but they got it badly wrong and the conflict dragged on for months with little to show for all the bloodshed in military terms.


My Father (Robert MacRae Fyfe, 1893 - 1997) was a soldier somewhere in that area, serving with a Highland regiment. He did not talk much about his wartime experiences, but did pass on some fragments of blank verse in Scots dialect, written at the end of that war or shortly afterwards, the tenor of which was that the German troops which they had eventually overcome after the terrible struggle were themselves fine young men, who surely deserved a better fate than to be cannon fodder in a conflict hardly understood by the ordinary soldiers on either side.


As a result of his experiences, my Father was a keen supporter of the Olympic movement, and would use suitable occasions to advocate that international disputes should be settled by friendly competition on the sports field, not by guns on the battlefield.


In 1948 the Games came to London, at Wembley stadium. At the age of 14 I was taken to see some of the athletes still being spoken about, including the Czech middle distance runner Emil Zatopek and the Dutch sprinter Fanny Blankers-Koen.
Robert Fyfe
Milton Mill
OX14 4EP

Local Notices

Dog Fouling:
The Parish Council has received complaints about dog fouling in the Parish. Dog owners should remember that they have a legal duty to clean up after their dog every time it messes in a public place. Failure to do so could lead to a fine.
Dog mess is a health hazard especially to young children.
Please also be aware that once you have bagged the dog mess it must be disposed of in the correct bins. All public waste bins (not just dog bins) can be used for this purpose.
Private bins should not be used. Milton United have reported problems with their recycling bins being contaminated-by dog mess. This has led to recyclable waste going to landfill and extra expense for the Football Club who pay for private waste disposal.

Lucy Dalby
Clerk, Milton Parish Council

Moor Ditch:
You may have notice that part of Moor Ditch alongside Pembroke Lane has been cleared of weed and de-silted. This has been carried out as part of MEPC's riparian responsibilities for Moor Ditch which then continues through Milton Park. The Himalayan Balsam which is growing profusely is an invasive plant which has to be disposed of correctly. It has therefore been hand pulled and put onto the field where it will die back and can then be burnt. The silt has also been put onto the field as it contains seeds from the Himalayan Balsam. As the seeds sprout, they will also be removed and burnt.
This is a great improvement, allowing the water to flow as a good rate and should help prevent the stream from overflowing during the winter.

Squire Barrett Play Ground:
By the time you read this, the new play equipment should be fully installed and ready for use. Sorry, only children are allowed on the play equipment!

Following reports of poaching at the pit off Blackbird Lane, I received a visit from our PCSO, Gary Kirby. They are investigating, and have spoken to the 'alleged poachers' v.rho were fishing. They are currently seeking confirmation from the landowner, Anthony Mockler that permission has been given for them to fish the pit.
The crime number for this is 701.

Simon Glazebrook
Chair, Milton Parish Council

Sutton Courtenay High Street:
Following a further review of the public foul water sewerage system serving Sutton Courtenay, Thames Water has advised that the length of upgraded sewer can be reduced from what was previously requested from their original design. This reduction, from a 100m long 1m x 1m box culvert, gives us more options as to how this can be accommodated on the network. This has led to us undertaking a full reassessment of what needs to be provided and where it needs to be provided .

In order to review alternative locations, we have instructed a survey of areas in the vicinity of the High Street over the next few weeks. These will then form our strategy going forward.

We are therefore pausing the programme which was due to start in October, and will update residents accordingly once our investigations have been completed.
For information and updates -

It is with sadness that we have to tell you of the death of Patrick Brunswick

Pat died peacefully at his daughters home in Brighton where he had lived for the last 20 months. Pat and his late wife Ruth lived at Milton Hill for 36 very happy years.


He had been a technician at King Alfred School Wantage and governor at Milton primary school. Pat had enjoyed taking part in council matters, delivered Milton Matters and Steventon News and many other aspects of community life.


Ruth's mother served as maid at Singer House and then as a nurse when the house was requisitioned in 1917. When moving back to Oxfordshire in 1978 they truly felt they were moving "home" although home was in fact down the road in Appleton.


Happy memories of a life well lived. Sally Buche, his daughter

Milton Conservation Area Appraisal and Boundary Review

The Team will be available to answer your questions on Thursday 22 September at The Church of St Blaise, High Street, Milton. 10am to 7pm
All are welcome, we look forward to meeting you. Proposals for changes of the conservation area boundary and building identified of local interest which may affect your property. Local knowledge about Milton is essential to the assessment of the special character of the village and your views are important.
You can also view and download the document in .pdf format by clicking this link
Milton Conservation Area Appraisal and Boundary Review

Milton Conservation Area Appraisal and Boundary Review

The Conservation and Design Team have produced a draft document identifying the historic and architectural interest of the Milton Conservation Area. Recommendations have been made for alterations to the boundary of the conservation area. Residents will be formally consulted from 5 September 2016 to Monday 17 October.
In conjunction with the consultation period we would like to invite Milton residents to an informal drop-in Question and Answer session
Church of St Blaise, High Street, Milton, OX14 4EJ
Thursday 22 September
10.00am to 7.00pm
Copies of the first draft will be available to view during the consultation period on our website at Paper copies will be available to view in The Plum Pudding and Church of St Blaise.


To report potholes, overgrown verges, or any other road or street problem:
Go to
For street lights not working, or damaged call 0800 317802 or online at giving location and light number – usually a black number on a white square towards the top of the column.


Major Traffic Incident in Milton at 1am on 16 August.

Thankfully no-one from the village was hurt. Images and details provided by Anne & John Wattam

Is it now time to review traffic calming in the High Street before someone does suffer serious injury? This comment provided by the site editor, who lives on the High Street.


Celebrate the Queen's 90th Birthday

A Village Tea Party, for all the family, will be held inside the Methodist Church on the afternoon of Sunday 12 June 3.00pm-5.00pm.


There will be refreshments, cakes, activities and games. For more details contact Nicola Turner on 833938


Milton Duck Race

With wonderful weather, a classic afternoon of Duck Racing on Sunday May 8 along the Mill Brook resulted in the following lucky winners:
1st Duck No 91 - John Couperthwaite (£50) Ticket sold by Colin Turner
2nd Duck No 143 - Rita Turner (£25) Ticket sold by Nicola Turner
3rd - Duck No 287 - Catherine Smith (£10) Ticket sold by Joy Browning

The winners have all been notified. In all we sold 500 tickets @ £2 and after deducting duck hire costs (£10) and prizes (£85) we made a total of £905.00 which will be donated to St Blaise building fund, to provide a toilet and kitchen for the church.

The tea & cakes were all made and served by volunteers and yielded £107.50 and the Tombola, with donated prizes, yielded £35. A total of £142.50 will therefore go into the Milton Community Events account.

Thank you to all those who bought a ticket, to all the spectators who turned out, to all the steward volunteers, to all those who helped prepare the course and to all those who donated Tombola prizes and cakes and/or served refreshments in the church.

Many Thanks
The Duck Race Team


Milton Matters: Report for the year 2015 to 2016

The Community Account Brought Forward £1835.85  
  Income: £ Expenditure: £  
  Advertising 1405.44 Paper 422.50*  
  Appleford Pressings 247.50 Staples 67.20*  
      Printing master copy 10.00*  
      Thames Valley Copiers 1708.85  
  Total: 1652.94 Total: 2208.55  
  Loss On Year: (555.61)      
  Bank Balance 1280.24      


1. Appleford Parish Council are deliberating as to whether to continue their arrangement. If they do, they will be paying 2p a side rather than the current 1p.
2. Last year, when we paid TVC for one invoice, we made a profit of £662.13. This year there were two payments, so that we made a loss. Each invoice covers 120,000 sides.
3. A cheque for £499.70* has been signed to compensate MW for the cost of the paper, staples and the editor's printing expenses. Otherwise MW does not charge for his minor expenses. This cheque had not been registered by the bank when I checked the balance on 30 March when the balance shown was £1779.94.

In March 2017 I will have completed ten years as dog's-body: I have been junior treasurer, advertising manager, printer and distributor throughout this period. After the March edition next year, I shall resign from all these roles.

Martin Woodgett 
09 May 2016


Neighbourhood Development Plan?

• Do Milton Residents want a say on where housing should go, and where green spaces should remain? • Can we allow developers to do what they want, and not what we want? 
• Nearby villages are embarking on Neighbourhood Development Plans (NDP) to influence their future. Failure to do so in Milton will risk greater interest from developers, unless we too proceed down this path?


What is neighbourhood planning?

Neighbourhood Planning gives communities direct power to develop a shared vision for their neighbourhood and shape the development and growth of their local area. They are able to choose where they want new homes, shops and offices to be built, have their say on what those new buildings should look like and what infrastructure should be provided, and grant planning permission for the new buildings they want to see go ahead. Neighbourhood planning provides a powerful set of tools for local people to ensure that they get the right types of development for their community where the ambition of the neighbourhood is aligned with the strategic needs and priorities of the wider local area. 
Having been part of the Community Led Plan, we have been made aware of the support available from the Vale of the White Horse/South Oxfordshire, and Community First Oxfordshire, if we, as a village were to proceed with this plan. Grants, and local support are available, the project need not cost anything except time. 
Recent events have shown that there is a groundswell of village opinion against uncontrolled development, and an NDP is the only way we can achieve this aim. Now is the time to put that energy into a Neighbourhood Development Plan. 
More information on:, or Google: Vale of White Horse neighbourhood plan toolkit 
A personal comment from Paul & Joy Browning.


Milton Interchange Completed After 15 Months

11 May 2016 - The busy A34 interchange at Milton opened on Monday after being converted into a hamburger roundabout with a lane through the middle to speed up traffic heading north to Oxford and the M40. Oxfordshire County Council cabinet member for transport David Nimmo Smith said after visiting the interchange: "Tens of thousands of drivers use the Milton Interchange every day and this work will boost the capacity by 20 per cent. It's a significant boost to the economy and work to install new slip roads at the Chilton Interchange is scheduled to be finished by the end of August - that has a budget of over £10m." County council leader Ian Hudspeth added: "Traffic congestion on the A34 is a problem for drivers across Oxfordshire and these junction improvements will boost capacity and improve the traffic flow. This is good for Didcot, Milton Park and Harwell."


















Jez Burrows, project manager for contractors Skanska, said: "It's been a challenge but I am very pleased with the end product." Stewart Lilly, county councillor for Hendreds and Harwell, visited the interchange and said the new design was "brilliant". He added: "I use this junction every single day and and this had to happen because of the way the area is expanding. I think within a week or two people drivers will look back and wonder how they managed without it."

On Saturday and Sunday the roundabout was closed as 58 traffic lights were tested. Work on the project started in January last year and took a total of 150,000 man hours. The work should have taken 52 weeks, but actually opens 3 months late.