24th March 2020
We are working with partner organisations and government agencies to help us prepare for any impact the virus may have on our staff and public services for our residents.
You can keep up to date and help to stop the spread of the virus by following the guidance on the government’s website.
For details on services provided by Oxfordshire County Council, including information on local school closures, please visit the county council’s website.
Council offices at Milton Park closed
Our office at Milton Park will be closed to the public from 4.30pm on Friday 20 March until further notice.
We are still aiming to provide our important services to the public and are protecting the services to residents most in need as a priority. We hope most people shouldn’t notice too much difference – please continue to check this page, and our Facebook and Twitter accounts, for further updates.
If you need information about any of our services, or you need to pay a bill or make an application or a report, you can continue to so here on this website.
Our phone lines will remain open if you need to speak to someone at the council, however it’s likely to be quicker if you look for your information on our website or contact us via email first – this will also help us respond quickly to those most in need during what is a difficult time for so many.
Leisure centres, parks and play areas, and The Beacon
In line with government instructions, all our leisure centres are now closed until futher notice. GLL, our contractors, will automatically apply a payment freeze for all members throughout this period.
The opening of the Wallingford splash pad will now be on 23 May instead of 10 April and will coincide with the opening of the Wallingford pool.
To protect our residents and help prevent the spread of the coronavirus, we are closing all play, sports and exercise areas. Our parks and open spaces are still open so that people can stay fit and active. Please follow government guidance and stay at least two metres apart, and if the parks are busy, you should not use them.
Following recent Government announcements, we regret to announce that The Beacon’s cafe will close to the public and all public performances, exhibitions, classes and events are cancelled until further notice. Read for more information on their website.
South Oxfordshire District Council has now taken the decision to close the Northern Community Centre on Great Western Park in Didcot. You will be entitled to a refund if you have already paid for the hire of any facilities. Anyone this applies to will receive a call in due course.
Our waste collections are running as normal, so please put out your bins on your usual collection day. To check out which waste collection it is this week – head to our collection pages.
If you have the virus, or suspect you or someone in your household have it, there are guidelines from Public Health England about how to dispose of your waste. They say:
Personal waste (such as used tissues) and disposable cleaning cloths can be stored securely within disposable rubbish bags. These bags should be placed into another bag, tied securely and kept separate from other waste. This should be put aside for at least 72 hours before being put in your usual external household waste bin. Other household waste can be disposed of as normal.
We have suspended all booking of bulky household waste collections until further notice. We will inform you individually if your booking has to be cancelled. This is to enable the team to focus on household waste collections as we are building up resilience for our workforce due to an increase in staff shortages due to illness.
We will not be taking on new customers for the Garden Waste Service until further notice.
For details about waste and recycling centres please see the latest updates from Oxfordshire County Council.
Meetings and events
As a precaution we are postponing the following events:
- all council meetings scheduled to take place in April have been postponed. We will confirm any rearranged dates in due course.
- our South and Vale Business Awards will now take place in the autumn – more information here https://www.svbs.co.uk/
- Most of our community sports activities for the over 60s that are part of our “Go Active Gold” programme and activities run for those with diabetes have been cancelled. For more information please email email@example.com
Elections and referendums
Police and Crime Commissioner Election
The government has confirmed that the Police and Crime Commissioner Election, scheduled for Thursday 7 May, has been postponed and will now take place in 2021.
Shrivenham Neighbourhood Planning Referendum
The neighbourhood planning referendum due to take place in Shrivenham on Thursday 26 March has now been postponed. We will confirm a new date in due course, as soon as the government has confirmed that it is safe to hold public events again.
All those who were registered and eligible to vote in this referendum will receive a poll card with the revised polling date. Postal voters who have already cast their vote will receive a fresh postal ballot pack in due course and will need to use that to vote in the re-arranged referendum.
Following the latest government advice on social distancing, the council cannot offer licensing appointments until further notice. We are able to accept applications by email for the following:
- Hackney carriage and private hire vehicle licences
- Hackney carriage and private hire driver applications for current licence holders (renewal applications)
We are not able to accept applications from new applicants who are not already licensed by the council.
We will shortly be in a position to process applications for private hire operators. Please check the website for updates.
Planning and building control
To help Planning review and adapt their processes more efficiently to the new working at home arrangements, any planning applications received from 23 March won’t be registered until 31 March.
Please do not send the Planning and Building Control teams any paper copies of applications, comments/representations or payments through the postal system.
All our other services, such as our council tax and housing teams are still working and available to provide you with any help you may need. You can find most advice you require on our website but if you do need to speak to one of our teams, please call our main switchboard – 01235 422422.
The government has set up a national hardship fund of £500m to help woith the Cornavirus situation. We are still waiting for details of this but it is anticipated it will provide support towards Council Tax through the councils’ existing Council Tax Reduction schemes or another complementary scheme.
When we have been given the details of the government plans we will urgently consider any adjustments necessary to offer council taxpayers further support.
Anyone facing immediate difficulties paying their council tax should contact us via:
Vale – firstname.lastname@example.org / 0345 302 2315
Advice for business and job seekers
People impacted by office closures or loss of work and are looking for temporary work can find vacancies on the SVBS website: www.svbs.co.uk.
Advice for town and parish councils
If you’re a town or parish council looking for further guidance, please contact the Oxfordshire Association for Local Councils for advice – they will be able provide you with the right information on what you’ll need to do at a more local level.
Warning about COVID-19 related scams
Please watch out for criminals attempting to use the publicity around COVID-19 as a chance to target you with fraudulent emails, phone calls, text messages or door to door services.
To help you stay safe please follow this advice on Covid-19 related scams This link will take you to an external website… from Thames Valley Police. If you’d like to receive regular updates you can also sign up to Thames Valley Alert Community Messaging This link will take you to an external website… .