Information from the Vale
COVID-19 Vaccination Programme update
More locations are coming onstream this week as part of Oxfordshire’s rollout of the vaccination programme.
The first GP-led Primary Care Networks (PCNs) in Abingdon, Chipping Norton and Henley have started vaccinations.
A further four PCNs will join the vaccination programme later this week. These include Banbury and three in Oxford: Oxford Central, East Oxford, and OX3 (which covers Barton and Headington).
GP surgeries within these PCNs are inviting priority patients to book for their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Vaccinations will start as soon as supplies of the vaccine have been delivered, which is expected to be the end of this week.
Those invited will be patients over the age of 80, in line with the recommendation from the JCVI (Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation). Everyone will need two doses of the vaccine to get the best protection from the virus. Each dose must be at least 21 days apart.
Patients are being asked to wait until they are contacted by their GP practice –residents should not call the NHS or their GP practice about COVID-19 vaccination appointments.
More PCNs will be joining the vaccination programme in the coming weeks. We will provide further details as soon as we have them.
We are seeing a significant increase in the number of recorded cases of Covid-19 in Oxfordshire, including in the Vale. In the seven days up to 11 December the number of positive tests rose by 41 per cent in Vale.
Despite this, following this morning’s government announcement, we currently remain in Tier 2.
While our numbers remain low in comparison with many other areas, this rise is obviously concerning, particularly with the potential danger to vulnerable residents with the ‘Christmas bubble’ period fast approaching. It could also further impact our hospitality businesses by prolonging the period during which they must comply with Tier 2 restrictions or if we’re moved into Tier 3 as we’ve seen with neighbouring counties.
In several smaller communities there have also been a higher number of positive cases which could cause further issues if allowed to spread – for instance, the rate in South Oxfordshire’s Sonning area currently stands at over 440 after 34 people there tested positive. You can check the latest information for your area using the government’s Covid map.
Help spread the word
We have drafted some public messages about the Covid-19 situation in our district, which we’ll be sharing via our social media accounts over the next few days. Do feel free to retweet/share our social media posts, but if you’d rather post messages directly on your own accounts, we’ve got some wording at the foot of this email that you are very welcome to use.
We have seen that our neighbours in Berkshire will be placed in tier 3 from Saturday. That is a clear warning that we must be extra vigilant and act now. It is also clear that, if cases continue to rise, we risk putting even more pressure on our NHS at its busiest time of year. We are therefore emphasising to residents that we must do everything possible now to protect ourselves, our communities and the NHS as we enter 2021.
We will be working with partners across the Oxfordshire system to issue extended communications urging people to adhere to tier 2 restrictions and take extra care over the festive period. We would be very grateful for your support in promoting these messages to residents in your towns and parishes and encouraging them to continue to follow prevention measures, including keeping your distance, washing your hands frequently, and using a face covering.
A comprehensive set of Q&As about the tier 2 restrictions is available on the Oxfordshire County Council website.
We’re working with our colleagues in the Oxfordshire system to agree some messages and advice we can provide for our residents that live near the border of areas in a higher tier – like Berkshire. If that’s not available nationally by tomorrow, we’ll draft and issue something directly ourselves – we will of course make sure you also receive these messages.
Services over Christmas
We will be closed from 5pm on Wednesday 23 December until 9am Monday 4 January 2021.
Our Community Hub will be running an emergency service for residents that need urgent food support. The service will be available on Thursday 24, Tuesday 29, Wednesday 30 and Thursday 31 December, from 9am-5pm, by calling 07919 381 605. Please note that most foodbanks and community groups are taking a break over the festive period. We are therefore urging residents to get in touch now if they think they’ll need support over Christmas. We’re doing this through a series of social media assets as well as all the usual channels.
You can find all the details on how the Christmas break affects our other service They include:
- Changes to our waste collections
- Cut-off dates for new planning applications
- Changes to opening times of our benefits and council tax customer services
- Emergency contacts in case of severe weather or flooding.
- Housing will be closed but in emergencies call 01235 422 410
Review of the Council’s Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) Charging Schedule and Developer Contributions Supplementary Planning Document (SPD)
There are two main ways in which the Council can seek contributions from developers towards the provision of necessary infrastructure across the District – through Planning Obligations and through the Community Infrastructure Levy.
The Vale planning team is currently undertaking a review of two of its key policy documents:
- The Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) Charging Schedule; and
- The Developer Contributions Supplementary Planning Document (SPD).
Both documents set out the level of contributions (either financial and works) that developers will be expected to make towards infrastructure, in different locations and for different development typologies within the Vale.
Leisure over Christmas
For changes to opening times and facilities available at our leisure centres over the Christmas break please head to the Better website.
A reminder about the changes to the bin collections over the holidays
As usual our waste collection days will change due to the bank holidays (see table below). These details, along with other useful tips for managing extra waste over the holidays is available on our dedicated web pages. These include what happens to collections in very bad weather, how we collect Christmas trees after the holidays and other recycling tips from our waste team. Please see the Christmas waste pages on our website.
Self and custom build opportunities
Cllr Emily Smith has written to Robert Jenrick MP, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government about enhancing self and custom build opportunities within our local plan. Please see Cllr Smith’s letter along with the earlier one from Mr Jenrick, outlining the Government’s self-build plans.
What should I do if I see a person rough sleeping in our districts?
During office hours, please call the housing needs team on 01235 422 452.
This is a direct line to a Housing Needs Officer. If the person is in immediate danger, call an ambulance or the police on 999. Don’t put yourself in danger or approach someone acting strangely, even to help. The team deals with these cases on an individual basis to tailor the support to the individual’s particular needs and circumstances.
Outside office hours, please contact Streetlink, which is a non-profit homelessness organisation funded by the Government. You can report someone rough sleeping via its website www.streetlink.org.uk or by calling 0300 5000 914. Streetlink is the national scheme for reporting rough sleeping and connects rough sleepers to local support services. Please be aware that these reports will be dealt with the next working day.