Highway repairs and ‘Fix My Street’: update from OCC

Members of the public are rightly concerned about the state of the roads in Oxfordshire and January has seen a dramatic increase in the number of Fix My Street (FMS) reports being registered on the system due to the severe weather events in December 2017 and January 2018, where repeated freeze, thaw and snow has caused considerable damage to the road network.
 
The average January sees nearly 2000 reports coming in whilst January 2018 has seen over 7000 reports. The vast majority of these reports relate to safety defects on the highway, potholes, potential flooding issues and tree damage. We anticipate that the February and March figures will also rise well above average as a result of the bad weather. An additional £1m to fund highway repairs has been received from Central Government and it could not have come at a better time.
 
To deal with the issues the Area Operations Teams  are prioritising potholes, flood sites and vegetation issues blocking the highway in the first instance. To do this we are drafting in additional staff, extending overtime and working weekends where necessary. In addition, our contractor, Skanska, is looking to recruit additional teams to deal with the increasing number of defects that are being listed for repair.  Other, non-safety, issues will unfortunately need to be deferred in the short term. These issues will not be forgotten and will be addressed when we have dealt with the current problems on the network. We will be updating our web pages to reflect this change in priority.
 
The rise in the number of Fix My Street shows how well the public are supporting the Fix My Street system and we are keen to ensure that we respond to issues as quickly as we can. Any assistance that the public can give in providing photos of the sites would be very helpful as we may be able to prioritise work from the photos rather than visit each site individually. Please do not compromise your own safety by taking photos if it is not safe to do so. If a defect has paint markings around it then it has already been scheduled for repair and does not need a new report.
 
What you will see:
 
  1. More inspectors on the network to prioritise work and deal with short term safety issues
  2. More defect gangs fixing these potholes.
  3. An increase in structural patching and minor patching programmes to deal with sites with large clusters of pothole during the late winter and early spring period. These repairs last longer but take time to arrange.
  4. An additional Dragon Patcher on the network from mid-February operating as “Inspect and Fix” on the rural network.

Important information for some council tax and business rates payers

South Oxfordshire District Council’s bank details have been changed, which means changes for some council tax and some business rates payers.
 
The council has been given a new sort code which is 20-01-25, but its bank account number remains the same. 
 
The new sort code will affect people who pay their council tax or business rates by bank transfer or standing order. Those people are requested to update their payment details as soon as possible otherwise the payments may not reach the council.
 
This change doesn’t affect the majority of council tax payers, the 82 per cent who pay by direct debit, as the new sort code will be amended as part of the direct debit service. 
 
The new bank details and information on how to pay will be enclosed with council tax bills being issued in March.
 
Councillor Jane Murphy, deputy leader and cabinet member for finance for South Oxfordshire District Council, said “We are very sorry for any inconvenience caused to council tax and business rates payers. The new sort code is a result of extra security measures and anti-fraud work by our bank account provider. 
 
“We will be contacting everyone who may be affected by including a message in their council tax bills. However, those paying by direct debit will not have to make any changes themselves.”
 
How to switch to Direct Debit
• Switch to direct debit online
• Or contact the Council Tax Section by calling 0345 302 2313 to set up a direct debit over the phone.
• Or fill in and return the direct debit instruction attached to your Council Tax or business rates bill. 
 
For more information: 
South Oxfordshire: www.southoxon.gov.uk/counciltax 0345 302 2313

Our food waste trucks need a name – vote now!

Southern Oxfordshire residents are being invited to vote for their favourite names put forward by local schoolchildren for a new fleet of food waste recycling trucks.

Whether it’s Chomper Charlie, Green Gretil or Banana-Munch Bob, names suggested by primary pupils in South Oxfordshire and Vale of White are out for public vote.

Residents are being asked by South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse District Councils to choose their top three out of ten names whittled down from dozens thought up by local children.

The most popular will be printed onto the two districts’ new food waste trucks and residents will see them out and about on the roads carrying out weekly food waste collections.

The children whose suggested name gets the most votes in South Oxfordshire and Vale will scoop £150 book tokens for their school and a swimming pass for their family.

It’s quick and simple to vote at:

Cllr Tony Harbour, South Oxfordshire District Council’s Cabinet Member for waste and recycling, said: “The food waste trucks are brand new and we wanted to do something to celebrate this while having a bit of fun too. Getting school children involved in the names has been a great way to help spread the recycling message. We’re really impressed with all the suggestions and hope residents will support them by voting.”

Cllr Elaine Ware, Vale of White Horse District Council’s Cabinet Member for waste and recycling, said: “We’re obviously keen to promote recycling as much as we can and food waste plays an important role in this. These trucks are out and about every day and it’ll be a great reward for the children to see the names on them as they pass by. We knew we could rely on the children to come up with some great names and they’ve not disappointed! Now, please get voting!”

Residents can also look out for how to vote on the councils’ social media channels:

Voting will close on Friday 16 February.

To find out more about waste and recycling in southern Oxfordshire, see the councils’ websites: