Latest Vale news May 2018

Re-opening date announced for Abbey Meadow outdoor pool after £1.3m refurbishment

Abingdon’s popular Abbey Meadow outdoor pool will re-open on Saturday 16 June after its £1.3million refurbishment.

Vale of White Horse District Council has invested in the rebuilding work which included joining two pool tanks to create a single large one. The new pool features a beach-style gently sloping walk-in area that provides easy access for young children and for visitors with disabilities. There is also a deep water area for more experienced swimmers.

The changing areas have also been fully refurbished to make the whole experience much more enjoyable for all visitors.

The pool is now surrounded by a safe, non-slip rubber surface and the council has improved accessibility throughout the pool area and buildings. New energy saving lighting and equipment will also help make the pool more efficient to run. 

The council is holding an official opening event on the morning of 16 June and it will be open to the public from 1pm.

The council is appealing for people to send in old pictures of Abbey Meadow pool which could feature in a special picture display at the re-opening event. A free swim is on offer for anybody who submits a picture that is used in the display. Please contact for more details.


Branches reach out for new community café

A brand-new café to support young people is opening in Botley thanks to a grant of almost £7,000 from Vale of White Horse District Council. 

Branches is opening a community café at the West Way shopping centre providing a much-needed meeting place for the local community. 

Branches aims to open before the summer for the whole community to use during the day.  After school and into the evening, the café’s focus will to be provide a safe and fun place for young people to socialise and take part in workshops and positive activities.  There will be opportunities for secondary school children and young adults to be involved in running the business. 

The new venture will benefit local families and friends with a new place to meet up, help young people aged 12 - 18 and will help Branches raise funds for their youth work and projects in the Botley area. 

Branches café is currently looking for volunteers to help support the local enterprise.  Anyone can get involved by contacting


Unlicensed scrap metal dealer fined

Vale of White Horse District Council has successfully prosecuted a Birmingham man for illegal scrap metal dealing in Abingdon.

Ionel Petcu, (pictured left), of Kirby Road, Winson Green, Birmingham, was found guilty on Tuesday (1/5) at Oxford Magistrates’ Court of two charges related to dealing in scrap metal without a licence. He was fined £500 for each offence and ordered to pay a contribution to costs of £350 and a victim surcharge of £50.

Cllr Elaine Ware, cabinet member for Housing and Environment for the Vale of the White Horse District Council, said: “There are strict laws and regulations around the collection and disposal of scrap metal. This is to prevent against metal theft and fly tipping to protect our environment and the area we live in. 

“This man’s actions undermine legitimate scrap metal collectors and waste removal companies operating in the Vale. I hope this case shows that the council will not tolerate this kind of blatant disregard for the law when it comes to the protection of our environment.”


Council continues with strong housing land supply

Vale of White Horse District Council is continuing to deliver on house-building as latest figures show it is once again exceeding a five-year housing land supply.

Under government planning rules set out in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), all local planning authorities must have an up-to-date deliverable five-year housing land supply.

The council’s Housing Land Supply Statement for 2017-18, published today, shows that the Vale has a 6.8-year supply.

To determine this figure, the council monitors planning permissions, carries out site surveys to check progress on house-building and works with housebuilders to understand how many houses are likely to be built in the next five years.

Its latest housing completion survey shows that 1,620 homes were built and finished in 2017/18. The Housing Land Supply Statement can be viewed here.


Vale calls for public inquiry into Thames Water’s reservoir plans

Vale of White Horse District Council has responded to Thames Water’s proposed draft Water Resources Management Plan by recommending a public inquiry is held to examine the draft plan to ensure the water company has correctly followed procedures. 

The council is concerned that Thames Water has not fully explored and assessed each option in sufficient detail in its draft plan, which sets out how it intends to provide a secure and sustainable supply of water for the next 80 years. 

One of Thames Water’s options is to build a large reservoir between the villages of Drayton, East Hanney and Steventon that would hold 150 million cubic metres of water and would be larger than the whole town of Abingdon.  

The council needs to see all of Thames Water’s proposals to include detailed analysis on the implications on local residents, roads and landscape, wildlife and habitats, biodiversity and take into consideration any archaeological significance of any proposed site. 

Cllr Matthew Barber, Leader of the Vale of the White Horse District Council said: “We are yet to be convinced that the proposed reservoir at Abingdon is necessary or indeed the most effective option to address the future water needs of the south-east of England.” 

He added: “The key issue in a previous public inquiry in 2010, into Thames Water’s draft plan, expressed the same concerns and we would still like to see all proposed options fully assessed to the appropriate level of detail.” 

A copy of the letter sent to Thames Water can be found here (50.8 KB) PDF.


New Vale Leader announced

Cllr Roger Cox is set to be confirmed as Leader of the Vale of White Horse District Council this evening. Roger and I were both elected for Faringdon & The Coxwells ward in 2003 and it has been a pleasure to work with him over the last fifteen years. I have no doubt that he will lead the Council with a clear vision and serve the people of the Vale incredibly well.

Today I stand down as Leader of the Council after seven years. It has been a fantastic experience and I am proud of the many achievements the Vale has made over the years and how we have tackled a number of challenges. 

I will continue as councillor for the Steventon & the Hanneys ward on the Vale and look forward to serving under Roger's leadership. I will be continuing my other role as Deputy Police & Crime Commissioner on a full-time basis and look forward to updating you with the latest news on policing matters in the future.