News Update 109, Feb 5th, 2023

In this issue  some updates on the Red Lion, Stratton Audley Barn and the Church plus a repeat of the information previous sent on the Padbury Brook Solar Farm Proposal which you are encouraged to comment upon by click on the link provided.

The Red Lion
The Following is from Dillie:
“All as usual = Sunday lunches, Wednesday coffee mornings, Fish on Friday.
Do you hate Valentines Day?  Or do you want to celebrate it with your long-term partner?  Come and join us with our SURVIVE VALENTINE’S DAY dinner.  A fabulous four course French menu (see the Facebook page) for £27.50.   Tuesday 14th February at 7.30 pm
“.Stratton Audley Barn

The following is from Richard, Sara and the team:
“Spring has sprung early at the Barn! We have a beautiful selection of artificial spring blooms to brighten your home, from ready made pots to stems for a vase; for your Valentine, for Mother’s Day or just because………pop to the shop and treat the one you love.
Cafe open 10am-4pm Tuesday to Saturday with lunches served daily 12-2pm, come and try our new Biscoff traybake, it’s truly divine!!
See you soon, from all the team at the barn”.Stratton Audley Church

The Following is from Beckie Adams:
“This coming Sunday there will be a service of Compline at Holy Trinity, Godington at 6pm. This is a short reflective service for the end of the day.
The next service in Stratton Audley Church will be a Morning Service at 10.45am on the following Sunday, 12th February – all are welcome, as ever.
Please check the Shelswell website for details of services on other Sundays and in other parishes in the benefice

‘Little Lambs’ baby and toddler group continues on Wednesdays in term time in Stratton Audley Church, starting at 9.30am and finishing at 11am. Just turn up or for more information contact Alice  at “

Foodbank Donations Still Required
The food donation point in the church is still active.
“Thank you very much to all those who have dropped donations into the box in the church porch to support ‘Help For the 
Hunry’ – Please keep them coming! Urgently needed are tinned tomatoes, tinned fish, rice pudding, tinned meat, tinned fruit, and juice/squash. Additionally dried goods & plus toiletries (They have plenty of cereal and pasta). Likewise if you are in need please help yourself to any of the goods and note that the Rector, Alice Goodall is now a ‘Local Referrer’ and can refer refer anyone who in need to the Bicester Foodbank. Contact: Alice Goodall, The Rectory, Finmere   01280 848192 “

Padbury Brook Solar Farm Planning Application 22/03873/F
As previously advised, the formal application has now been submitted to Cherwell District Council and the planners now have this under consideration. They will decide whether to support the application when it goes forward to a full planning committee of district councillors. To view the application please use this link:
Once there, click on ‘Supporting Documents’ to see all the documents and comments. To leave a comment there is a blue box on the first page at the top which says ‘Comment on this Application’.

Registering your view
Whether you are for or against please take the trouble to provide your thoughts to the District Council as it is the planning department who make the ultimate decision as to whether to tsupport and recommend it, when it goes before the planning committee.  Although it says that the deadline for comments from members of the public is 9th February, the planning officer has confirmed that they will be accepting comments for a further few weeks.

The Parish Council Decision
At the Parish Council meeting 0n 25th February, where a number of residents were present along with Cllr Barry Wood, on the Agenda amongst other matters was the solar farm planning application.
The following is taken from the minutes of that meeting:
‘Residents who attended expressed concern at proposals to develop a solar farm on the outskirts of the village towards Godington. It was suggested that there were concerns that the development would damage the character of the local landscape, and be visually intrusive for ramblers walking the adjoining footpaths. While the developers had agreed to carry out landscaping with “mature native trees” it would take some 15 years for these to grow sufficiently to obscure the view of the solar panels. Battery storage would generate a significant amount of noise in the immediate vicinity and the use of batteries for energy storage was in itself a significant fire hazard. There was also concern that the development would affect agricultural land at a time when self-sufficiency with food production was increasingly essential, and the proposed electricity connection was prohibitively expensive in the context of the size of the proposal.
Cllr Wood explained the planning process, which he observed was a balance between harm and benefit, and confirmed that he would represent the parish of Stratton Audley in the local authority planning process.
The local resident (Ronan Goss) who carried out the independent survey explained that, out of some 200 potential respondents, he had received 54 returns, with responses varying from strong support to strong opposition. He is still hoping more residents will fill out his short survey online.
Following the participation by members of the public this matter was brought forward in the meeting to facilitate and allow members of the public to listen to Councillors express their views.
It was noted that CDC had been informed that the designated ward on the application was incorrect and put down as Launton and Otmoor and the parish recorded as Godington. 
After a full discussion in front of members of the parish, councillors one by one expressed their individual views, how they had balanced this with what they felt was best as a representative of the parish. They agreed unanimously that they would oppose the application and amongst the reasons given were the following:
The proposed site was unsatisfactory, it being on agricultural land, which although classified as Grade 3b is nevertheless capable of being used to grow crops and is used each year as such;
Too much agricultural land is being given up to developments, too easily, because of the clamour to find new sources of energy;
Despite the merits of solar energy it is felt that brownfield sites should be utilised first and foremost:
The impact on local wildlife and the residents who enjoy the public rights of way will be detrimental despite the mitigation measures proposed;
It would have significant effects on the community, not only in the construction phase but predominantly in the decades to come with the whole parish becoming a less desirable place to live.
However, councillors agreed to draw up a list of mitigation measures required, should CDC decide to approve the application”.

The Parish Council, having determined the decision, is now in the process of preparing an official response to CDC.

Community Benefit Fund
JBM have advised the Parish Council that they have increased the size of the community fund from £150k to £200k for the Stratton Audley Parish and £50k separately for Godington. This fund is obviously very welcome and assuming the development is approved at District level will be available on day 1 when construction commences. Please note that it will be paid regardless of whether you support or oppose the proposal.

Ronan Goss Survey
In addition, for those of you who have not yet responded to Ronan Goss’ independent questionnaire on the subject, the link is still active:
This survey is to primarily to help Ronan with his university dissertation so please spare a few minutes to complete it on line or fill out the paper version that was hand delivered at Christmas time.

Finemere School Governor
Do you have a passion for education and want to see our children thrive and become the very best that they can be? Finmere School are looking for a new non-parent Governor. Check out the school website: and contact me or Clare Law, Head of School, if you might be interested.

Walking in Oxfordshire
Time to get walking again?
With Spring on its way we start to think about getting out to walk in the beautiful English Countryside again, but where to find new and interesting walks?
Walking in Oxfordshire has loads of walks to download and print, free, it also has books of walks, details of all the walking groups in the county and much more. Whether you want to walk on your own or with a group all the information is there in one place.
John Harris (who maintains the website) said ‘There is so much walking information on the web but it is difficult to find. Walking in Oxfordshire (part of the Walking in England website) has brought it together in one place so whether you are walking from home, or away on holiday, you will be able to find a walk suitable for you’.
With walks from half a mile to twelve miles plus long, and a note of suitability for pushchairs and wheelchairs, everyone can find a walk to enjoy.
So home or away, check out the websites and get walking!

New Vehicle Speed Awareness Signs
The new speed signs on Mill Road and Launton Road are now operational.

Bicester Heritage April Scramble
Sale of tickets for the April 23rd Scramble are still available for local residents despite ‘sold out’ notices for the wider public. Local residents can buy discounted tickets at 50% off. The promo code is: BristolBoxkite

And a few previous items that are still relevant:

Fish & Chips Van in the village on Saturdays
For those new in the community, a Howe’s Fish and Chip van comes to the village every Saturday lunchtime from 1.30pm to 2pm. You will hear a bell (like a school bell) and his first stop is in Cherry Street. He then drives along Cavendish Place and stops again at the junction with Mill Road.

Village Improvement Ideas 
An enquiry was made recently as to whether there was anything left in the village improvement fund that was created out of the Street Festivals in 2016 and 2018. When the last analysis was made available in 2019 there was some £1600 remaining, although this figure was depleted further and as a result the Parish Council agreed to allocate a further £5000 to this fund. Please see the latest PC Minutes for further information.
At every Annual Meeting of the Parish, people are reminded to come forward with ideas, hopefully ones that they can help implement, whether it is for something physical to improve the look of the village, organising an event  or the setting up of a service for residents. All you have to do is attend a Parish Council meeting and put forward your idea.

Historical Village Information on Display in the Church
The following information has been kindly provided by Dorothy Howarth:
“The Shelswell History Festival in July took as its theme Trade and Transport and, although this seemed to have little to do with this village, the Local History Group produced information about the blacksmiths which were in Cherry Street (named after the blacksmith’s family) the start of the postal service in this area (which was down to the Stevens family) and the existence of 33 lacemakers in the village in 1851, at a time when there were “12 Paupers receiving Parish Relief” – which is probably not unrelated.
In terms of “Transport”, Stratton Audley is somewhat unique in being shown on a map of England of around 1690, amidst mainly large towns and cities, and it is believed that this may have been due to the existence of the Manor House where there could have been accommodation.   This map is the first of the whole country and is based on the strip-maps of John Ogilby and, without a map such as this, it would be difficult to think in terms of “transport”, hence a tenuous link to the festival’s theme.
More information on these topics and the amazing life of John Ogilby are to be seen on the display boards which were used for the Festival and are still on display in the Church.   It had been intended to take them down and put them into storage but the Church Warden is of the opinion that many people have taken an interest in them and suggested that they should be left on display for a little longer.   If you know of someone who would be interested please let them know before they are put back into storage.”

Local Police Bicester and Kidlington Rural Team News
To report a crime or contact the police there are now three options:
·       Call 999 if you see a crime being committed or in an emergency
·       Call 101 to report anything else to the police – or go online to do so
·       And now police are partnering with CrimeStoppers to remind everyone of ‘The 3rd Number – 0800 555 111’ that enables you to report your information totally anonymously if you prefer.
Finally for the latest crime statistics there is a useful national site into which you can put your post code. Click on this link  Bicester Rural | (