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Now a definite go-ahead is in place for the new Hospital building there is one piece of crucial business that must be sorted out about the staffing arrangements. Two years ago there was an absolutely solemn and binding commitment made by the NHS that if the nurses at the hospital did not want to transfer to the employment of the Orders of St John (the new private operators of the Care Home and the Intermediate Care Beds in the hospital) they could retain their employment in the NHS and be seconded over to OSJ. This was agreed in writing at several meetings and not least minuted by the Joint Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee which acts as the health watchdog for Oxfordshire. After three years there would be a comprehensive review.  All evidence would be made public and local organisations would be invited to participate. The local Hospital Action Group felt specially strongly that in order to maintain standards and continue to be able to recruit top quality nurses the NHS connection was vital. It was only after the undertaking about secondment that the Hospital Action Group finally felt able to endorse the PCTs plans.  So we have all been gobsmacked to hear that representatives of the PCT have visited the hospital and told the nurses that it is now decision time. They must either switch their employment to the OSJ or leave. The nurses understandably are distraught. This is the most incredible bit of dishonest backtracking it is possible to imagine. It is inconceivable that the PCT could have deliberately hoodwinked the Hospital Action Group and the Overview and Scrutiny Committee. Unless the previous commitment is clearly restated we are set to lose a lot of nurses from the present hospital payroll which will be a disastrous start for the new hospital when it opens next year. Watch out for a Public meeting on this issue. Chunky Townley, Clive Hill and the Vicar are marshalling the troops. We will need everyones support.The Phone Co-Op are wanting to renew their option to lease the derelict bit of ground down next to Travis Perkins from the Field Reeves as a site for a new Head Office. In their proposal they say that WODC would like them to vacate their existing offices on the Elmsfield Estate for use as Starter Units. This is strange because Starter Units is one of the things that are supposed to be built on the Parker Knoll Employment site. WODC have been telling us work is due to begin as soon as market demand picks up. It sounds as if WODC may have given up hope of this ever happening otherwise why try and commandeer the Phone Co-Ops offices Which is added support for a strong new rumour around town that Sainsburys are now trying to buy the London Road siteHere's what I wrote here three years ago......I remember vividly Will Barton of WODC telling Councillor Grantham and me that we should stop raising objections about the layout of the Parker Knoll site because he had several companies actually knocking on his door waiting for the Industrial units that were to be built and our behaviour was jeopardising that. That was a year ago and there is still no sign of these companies. Ever been had The boss of the Phone Co-Op said he had been asked by the Planners to consider the Parker Knoll Employment site for his new office. But the site has now been sold on by Wimpey and WODC could (or would) not tell him who the new owner was. The boss of CETA Insurance (another company considering a move) apparently went into shock when he heard the asking price for land at Parker Knoll. Here's my bet. The 5 acres of "employment" land at Parker Knoll will stay undeveloped. In a few years time the owners (whoever they are) will say they have been unable to find any interest for industrial units and apply for permission for retail use (ie Tesco or Asda)..............WODC also seem to have given up on the idea of Starter Units at Greystones. Their Planning Application this week talks about change of use to Storage with Provision for waste bins and employment of thirty people. Sounds just like a replacement for Dean Pit to some of us. Thats all we need.  It will make selling Greystones House a virtual impossibility. We need urgent clarification. Jobs for Chipping Norton is absolutely nowhere on WODCs priority list ..Apparently the block booking for Moslem prayers in the Town Hall every Friday includes this week so the Town Hall Keeper will be having to interrupt his Christmas Day to open up the place for them. I hope hes getting time and a half!It seems the Rugby Club will not be happy until they have completely colonised the Greystones site. The Town Council out of the goodness of their hearts said the Rugby Club could use a field for practice (without paying any rent) if they cut the grass. Not satisfied with this the Club have now started clearing and levelling another large piece of adjacent ground without so much as a by your leave. Even this wouldnt be so bad if one of the big cheeses at the club was not going around town and saying to whoever will listen that he doesnt understand why the Town Council charge the Rugby Club such low rents and they would be perfectly willing to pay more. Be careful what you wish for is all I can say to the gentleman in questionMy Daily Telegraph tells me this Christmas Eve that David Cameron has returned to Witney for the holiday, where he is thinking deep strategic thoughts and preparing for government. There is even a picture of him in a sombre reflective mood walking alongside some gloomy canal (is that really in Witney) presumably to emphasise his familiarity with the gritty side of modern life. Except yesterday he wasnt mooching along a seedy canal in Witney. He was spotted in the posh Daylesford Farm Shop buying overpriced provisions and quite clearly not worrying about anything of concern to the ordinary bloke. And just to provide a bit of glitzy celebrity atmosphere Kate Winslet was in the restaurant tucking in to some seasonal nosh. The Man of the people image needs some more work Dave! Try popping in to the Chippy Co-Op when you are next in town... I hope everyone has started thinking about the way our lives will change from next May. From then on when the Prime Minister wants to show a visiting President what real life in impoverished Britain is all about he will probably be bringing them to Chipping Norton High Street. (More shop closures by then !) We will presumably all receive orders from local HQ about the times we will be required to shuffle around the streets chewing a straw and visiting the Charity Shops and looking appropriately yokel-like. There will probably be a short course in forelock-tugging at the Adult Learning Centre. Word has it that Sarah is getting her mayoral chain specially burnished in anticipation of pulling a pint for Barack Obama at the Blue some time next year .But of course  our own local politics in 2010 will be more about the appalling news that Chunky Townley has decided that one four-year term as a District Councillor is enough for him. He is not planning to stand again next year Not surprising I suppose since it must get tiresome being treated like a poor relation country cousin by the nobs in Witney. Indeed one Cabinet member was recently heard to express the view that Chipping Norton was just too much trouble and West Oxfordshire would be much  better off if Chippy was handed over to Cherwell District.  If any of you get to talk to Chunky over the next few weeks try and persuade him to stay on.  However, the local Tories have already started to make their arrangements for a new candidate and word on the street is that they have asked local builder Pete Woodward to be their new candidate and he has accepted .. It was very noticeable that every town councillor turned up for the Council meeting this week even people not seen for ages like new Tory councillors Ms Honor Stobart and Ms Hilary Williams . Seems all that is required to get a full house is the bribe of a glass of wine and a sausage roll.  Perhaps the Mayor should make this offer a permanent arrangement. At least everyone was there to hear the Tory Deputy Mayor Chris Butterworth deny that he had ever asked for the Town Precept to be raised by 25%. This was just a vicious rumour. More likely the party hierarchy had fingered his collar and told him to shut up. Tory party policy this year is that local government should be cut, cut, cut  .... Soon Castle View Care Home and the old Hospital will be demolished. Slap in the centre of town will be a fabulous new building site a developers dream. The owners the NHS and the County Council will be out to make as much money as they can. It is absolutely essential that the local Planners (WODC) represent the towns interests and get really tough about this land and lay down some clear planning guidelines and demand big Section 106 commitments from the developer. We absolutely must NOT end up with several huge blocks of one-bedroomed flats which is probably the most profitable option. First indications are not encouraging. WODC held an exhibition about the site several months ago and asked for residents comments. One of the Planners came to town this month to report on the results. They got 80 completed questionnaires and seem to be regarding this as some kind of legitimate consultation exercise. It is no such thing. A sample of 80 responses with no kind of quotas is absolutely meaningless.  They seem to have concluded that legitimate development could consist of shops or houses or flats or community facilities but the mix will be left to the developer. Crazy. The glorious sightlines from London Road as you drive down into the town dont have to be preserved. Indeed it will perfectly OK for the developers to build three storey houses all the way along the road frontage from The Oxford House pub down to the Freemasons Hall on Over Norton Road.  Disaster.  Provision of a multi-story car park to relieve some of the congestion along Spring Street is not on the cards.  The survey suggests people in the town think there are enough shops and restaurants already in Chipping Norton so the Planners arent looking for any more of those   but thats really up to the developers. It is completely unclear exactly what the local planners are bringing to the party in terms of imagination or ideas. The town really must start taking a serous interest in this site or we will find ourselves being lumbered with a profit-driven monstrosity (rather like the plan that was submitted last year for the Burgage Plots and mercifully was not progressed when the developer went bust). Its time for a politically-interested and community-minded architect like our very own Alex Corfield to start leading a protest movement with some development ideas of our own.A Very Happy Christmas to all readers of chippingnorton.net. Any day now the new town website masterminded by Gina Burrows and Hilary Williams will be up and running so you wont have to put up with all this biased rubbish much longer. But be careful what you wish for.



Chippy has been leading the way with coalitions for ages. It's perhaps where the new PM got his inspiration from. But there's a local twist. Its the Conservatives and Labour who team up on our Town Council. They have voted together many times to waste money  on a Partnership which has now folded. They bleat like crazy about chippingnorton.net and have been threatening for five years to start their own "unbiassed" website. Nothing so far. They voted together against Keith Greenwell as Mayor. Together they wrote a letter criticising Councillor Watkins for being rude about Ken Norman and sent it to the local press. Most shamefully they trumped up a charge against Councillor Alcock accusing him of harassing Guildhall staff and  threatened to call in a Standards officer. They are a complete joke and manage between them to achieve nothing and to lead us nowhere. Be warned Dave. That's what coalitions are like. ............  Everyone is on the move...Hilary is moving from Vice Chair to Chair of the County Council......the Mayor has switched bus routes from Witney and now plies his trade between Bicester and Banbury....There are strong rumours that John Grantham is leaving the Labour Party and joining his wife in the Tories (Seems as if the switch may not have happened yet  Celia has told your webmaster in several rude e-mails following the publication of this Paris Pump that it is none of anybody's business which party John belongs to - now that he is not on any local council.  She is kidding.  John is still a big public figure.).  ..... Bob Hayward is going back to Cyprus so lets hope Cicely is taking over the Chippy Conservative party and they will start finding some better local government candidates in future .... Your webmaster is moving to the Mill (from now on the phrase "trouble at Mill" will assume a new significance in Chippy) ..... Also our Police Inspector is moving having been promoted to Chief Inspector so there is a vacancy for a bright up and coming young Inspector looking for their first posting. Step forward Inspector Clare Macintosh - available, keen to get the job, lives in the town and knows it backwards. Clare was a very popular and effective sergeant here for several years. Everyone would think that was a very smart appointment. Come on Jack Mahli you know it makes sense...............and of course, last but certainly not least Dave is moving from Dean to Chequers.  After being photographed at the Daylesford Farm Shop over Christmas Dave took the advice I gave him in the last edition of Parish Pump and started lowering his social sights a bit in time for the election.  Taking the Times Political Correspondent to the Old Mill Cafe for breakfast during the election campaign was perhaps a bit extreme. Mind you, it was very early and the bikers hadn't arrived by then. The big chauffeur-driven Merc did rather mess things up for the S3 that morning. Shouldn't complain though because it was the one and only time that our MP came to town during the election campaign. That's just the price we Chippy taxpayers have to pay for being the "safe" ballot box fodder in the "safe" seat which every party leader needs to be able to safely ignore at election time so he can spend all his campaigning time where it really matters - in the inner London suburbs. Having the PM as our MP is - of course - an enormous privilege (Yawn yawn) Now that Dave is safely installed in Downing Street we all expect a few things to happen fast.  First (as promised) The Local PCT will be told that NHS nurses can be seconded to the new Chippy Hospital after all. Annie (our new District Councillor) swore faithfully to us that this would happen in her last leaflet delivered the day before Polling day. Second. Hilary Biles will surely be appointed Dave's Coalition Social and Entertainments Supremo for Oxfordshire (Dave has never forgotten that memorable fundraising Midsummer Dinner in a marquee two years ago. Hilary brilliantly organised the whole event including cooking new potatoes for a hundred people. Yum yum.) Hilary's Plans are already well advanced for a State Banquet to be held  at Shipton under Wychwood Village Hall in honour of  President Obama. The main dish apparently will be venison from Lord Chadlington's Dean Manor estate. Hilary will insist that chains will be worn. Third we expect that Dean Pit will be closed soon since we are reliably told that the Secret Service regard Dave's Dean pad as almost impossible to protect- before you start adding in the extra threat posed by a constant stream of Chipping Norton riff raff taking their rubbish to the tip. The burghers of Enstone are about to get their payback for defying  WODC's wish to turn their airfield  into a performance car playground for Dave's chum Jeremy (would you believe I'm fifty this year) Clarkson. The waste dump at Enstone is about to be re-commissioned. No point in protesting Enstone folks. The Deal is done! .......... Bit like the new Sainsbury's. Who is kidding who with all these phoney consultations going on The County only have eyes for all that lovely Sainsbury's money to pay for a new access road to the council land at Tank Farm - which has been recommended for residential development by the WODC planners in their latest submission for the local development plan (what a cosy setup this all is!). Everybody seems to have forgotten that those same planners solemnly promised five years ago that the land Sainsbury's now want to use for a supermarket would be strictly allocated for building small industrial units which the Appraisal had shown was what Chippy wanted and needed more than anything else. The Planners went further and made this a strict condition of the planning permission for houses granted to Parker Knoll and Wimpey. They can't just simply ignore their own binding agreements. If they do one national organisation has discreetly offered to help fund the costs of a Judicial Review. Why should we allow WODC to kill off our town centre They have already nearly destroyed the character of the place by allowing every spare square foot to be filled by yet another terrace of two-bedroom mews house (ie places with no gardens!) .........Speaking of us being ripped off by the local authority has everyone noticed how the potholes along the Witney-Chippy road have all been repaired as far as Charlbury. Past Spelsbury the craters are of an unimaginable size all the way into Chippy. What are our councillors doing about this. Absolutely zilch...........And has everyone noticed that despite the arrival of the new wardens they have made absolutely no difference whatsoever to the parking chaos along Topside. The new wardens are being spotted in far-flung locations like Cornish Road and Lords Piece Road. Its not clear whether the Fishing Tackle Shop still retains its attraction for them. But what are they up to exactly....And what about the policy announcement from WODC several years ago that A-boards would not be allowed outside shops because they represented a danger to blind and handicapped people. Try counting the number that now clutter up Middle Row. And when did cafes on narrow pavements become official policy The Old Mill started by putting out a couple of chairs. Now there is so much furniture and general clobber outside it is actually impossible for two prams to pass each other on the pavement........Strange interaction with our local police the other day. Having noticed two PCSOs spending ages trying to move on a group of middle-aged drunks from the Town Hall steps I was surprised to see that a few hours later the group had moved as far as the bench outside the Fox. Might be totally disconnected but the very next morning I found hidden behind our garden gate just along West Street a rucksack with four very expensive bottles of whisky in it - unopened. Value at least 80. You can come up with your own theory about how they got there. I rang the non-emergency police number. They weren't interested. Our neighbourhood team doesn't have time to come and collect them. You will have to take them to the Police Station the lady at the Call centre said. "You are kidding me" I said........Bet you didn't know that there is a person who works at WODC called the Street Naming & Numbering Officer. No you read that right "Street Naming & Numbering Officer". He wrote last week to the Town Clerk asking him to think up a name for the new hospital and the street outside it. The Town Clerk quite properly told him that the name for the hospital had already been decided. It was agreed by everybody that it would be called the "New War Memorial Hospital" "Not so fast" says the Street Naming Officer......."Further to our discussion, this is an explanation and clarification in respect of the matter of naming the new hospital in Chipping Norton. I can't name it 'New War Memorial Hospital' as there is a 'War Memorial Hospital' already established in the centre of town. Royal Mail will not allow a similar name to be established while the original name exists as this would cause extreme confusion. I understand that eventually the old hospital will be demolished for new houses/flats etc (no planning approval yet!) and then we can consider transferring the name 'War Memorial Hospital' to the new hospital. In the meantime it is necessary to agree on a current name now, to enable me to establish the address and new postcode with Royal Mail and all relevant authorities. I normally support the decision of the Town/Parish Councils in these matters, so I look forward to your suggestions to enable me to reconcile this matter".........A huge row has broken out, Rob Evans describes the dispute as "bureaucratic bananas". Quite right. Hilary says "I suggest you just add 2 after Hospital" Perhaps she has been to the cinema a lot recently and is thinking of film titles. Councillor Greenwell says he has just received a letter from the PCT in which the present hospital is called "Chipping Norton Community Hospital" so there is no problem after all.  Why have a Street Naming Officer if he can't sort some daft issue like this out........All sorts of strange stories are now surfacing about the selection of candidates in the recent District Council Election in which Gina Burrows put on a storming performance but not quite good enough to overhaul the hapless Annie. Chippy First had seriously considered running Councillor Greenwell in the hope of splitting off some Tory votes and letting Gina in (the same tactic that had worked three years ago when Eve Coles was elected)  What nobody knew until last week was that a number of people had also been trying to persuade Sue Bartholomew to stand as an Independent - and a little bird tells me that Chunky Townley (shockingly) was among her backers. Keith thought it would be a waste of time fighting the Cameron tide and Sue thought she wasn't quite ready for the job yet. What a pity. So we are to be lumbered with Annie after all. Here's to the next time...A Very Happy Summer to all readers of chippingnorton.net. Six months ago I wrote...."Any day now the new town website masterminded by coalition partners Gina Burrows (Labour) and Hilary Williams (Tory) will be up and running so you wont have to put up with all this biased rubbish much longer." Six months later and no signs of the website yet. Keep checking.