Old Marston Parish Council election results

Here is the result of the Old Marston Parish Council elections held on Thursday 26 June. 13 candidates stood for 12 places on the Parish Council: Peter Sarac was the unfortunate candidate who missed out.

Name Votes
Charlie Haynes 220
John Batey 198
Patricia Hall 197
Tony Greenfield 176
Peter Cox 171
Peter Williams 154
Nils Bartlett 149
Michael Cadd 146
Angie Tiwari 144
Duncan Hatfield 143
Michael O’Keefe 135
Barry Lewis 134
 
Peter Sarac 122

345 ballot papers were issued. Turnout was 12.7%

Old Marston Parish Council – candidates’ statements

Continuing the guest blog by Colin @theabingdontaxi, here are the personal statements from those candidates in the Old Marston Parish Council elections who have so far provided them. See the original article.

Nils Bartleet
Telephone response, 22 June
In a wide ranging telephone conversation about local issues, Mr Bartleet stressed that the Parish Council was not about politics, but about providing another voice for local people. The present parish council has a good depth of knowledge of local issues. The parish council’s role was especially important in respect of planning applications, where the parish can recommend the city, who are the planning authority, to “call in” an application.

Mr Bartleet represented the area, along with Risinghurst & Sandhills on the county council for many years, where he was environment spokesperson. He has a good knowledge of highways issues, which are becoming increasingly important in the civil parish, where present parking restrictions end at the old city boundary. Other recent issues which have generated a lot of public interest in the village have been the new sports pavilion proposed for Boults Lane and the parish council’s allotments.

John Batey
Letter response, 24 June
Mr Batey moved into his house in Old Marston 46 years ago, as soon as the builders left. He served 12 years as a police officer in Oxford and latterly was a teacher for 25 years, and held two headships before retirement. A former member of the parish council and former chair of the Old Marston Residents’ Association, he has a strong interest in the education of young people and among other roles, has served as a school governor locally.

Mr Batey hopes that the parish council is still as apolitical as it used to be and he feels very strongly about the proper use of public money, that the parish council should be transparent, vigorous and pro-active. “I look on councillors as being representative of all parishioners, acting responsibly and being responsible. Although it has limited powers in comparison to the city, it can still fulfil vital local functions and should be active in seeking to use those.”

Michael Cadd(7)
Telephone response, 21 June
Mr Cadd has lived in Oxford since 1954 and worked in the garage trade for thirty years. He and his wife owned a pub in the village for many years, he still lives here and has been a member of the parish council for eight years.

Peter Cox(10)
Letter response, received 25 June 2014
Peter Cox has been a resident of Old Marston since 1980, which he describes as “the best ever move for me”. He had worked in editorial position for local company Pergamon Press in Headington and latterly in engineering, for W Lucy Co. in Jericho. Peter has been a member of the parish council since 2003 and since that time has looked after the Parish Burial Ground, on Elsfield Road, which he describes as “full on from March to November”. He is very keen to remain a member of the parish council.

Tony Greenfield
Letter response, put through my door on 22 June
Mr Greenfield was born in Wallingford and educated locally. He ran a successful plumbing and gas business for 38 years, which took up a lot of his time, although he was at various times also a neighbourhood watch co-ordinator in Marston, president of the Oxford Lions, played flat green bowls and enjoyed gardening and photography. He has been married for 46 years and he and his wife have two sons and two grandchildren. “A hands on type of person, not one to sit around just talking but to get stuck in and deal with matters as they arise.”

Patricia Hall
Email response, 22 June
Pat Hall has lived in Old Marston for 44 years and her children were all educated at the local primary and middle schools. On retirement as an NHS manager four years ago, Pat was co-opted onto Old Marston Parish Council and she has enjoyed this time immensely. She says that Old Marston is “without doubt, a great place to live” and she would like it to remain so. Probably the most pressing problem at the moment seems to be traffic, but a parish meeting soon “should help to decide what people want and what we can deliver.”

Duncan Hatfield
Email response, 22 June
Duncan works for a local taxi company and each year helps with the children’s Holiday Club at Saint Nicholas Church, in the village. He is currently the Deputy Chairman of Old Marston Parish Council, where he set up and maintains the parish council web site, facebook and Twitter accounts. Each year, he organises a litter pick around Old Marston, bringing together a team of volunteers from different parts of the parish, which has helped make Old Marston a more litter free place. Duncan was previously part of the committee responsible for developing the recreation ground by Mortimer Hall. “If re-elected, I will set up a committee that will scrutinise all of the council’s expenditure and finances.”

Charlie Haynes(9)
Telephone response, 23 June
Mr Haynes is a lifelong resident of Marston, his family have lived in the village for hundreds of years and he has been a member of the parish council for 32 years, the last 15 as Chairman. He stresses that the work on the parish council is not about party politics at all, but about doing the best they can for the residents of the parish. “Being involved in many local organisations over the years has given me the opportunity to have an impact on local issues making Marston a better place for us to live.”

The parish council is limited in what it can do, but nonetheless does have one of the best football pitches in Oxfordshire, at Boults Lane and is currently working on replacing the outdated sports pavilion there. They also own and run allotments at Mill Lane, recreation ground at Mortimer Hall and a well kept village burial ground on Elsfield Road, as well as arranging for hedgerows to be cut back and detailed scrutiny of planning applications within the parish, which are submitted to the city council.

Barry Lewis
Telephone response, 21 June
Barry was born in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk and worked in the construction industry, before retirement in 2001. He was a carer for his wife, for many years. In retirement, Barry has been active in the local community and has been a member of the parish council since April 2009. He has served on the planning committee and takes a special interest in issues relating to the highways and roads of the parish.

Peter Williams
Letter response, received 25 June 2014
Dr Williams has said he would prefer his letter not to be for publication and as this option was made available to all of the candidates to use, if they wished, this has been respected.

The following candidates did not respond: Michael O’Keefe, Peter Sarac, Angie Tiwari. Some candidates delivered their letter asking for information to the chairman of the parish council, who took the trouble to make a half hour telephone conversation explaining the role of the council. The individual names of those candidates who delivered their letter to him are not known and it is also not clear whether they expected him to respond on their behalf. Additionally, Peter Sarac is the only existing member of the parish council seeking re-election not to have a profile on the parish council web site.

Sources:
(7) Old Marston Parish Council, web site, ‘Profiles’, http://www.oldmarston-pc.gov.uk/michael_cadd.html, as consulted 23 June 2014
(9) ibid., http://www.oldmarston-pc.gov.uk/charlie_haynes.html, as consulted 24 June 2014
(10) ibid., http://www.oldmarston-pc.gov.uk/Peter_Cox.html, as consulted 26 June 2014

Old Marston Parish Council: voter’s plea for information

This is a guest blog by Old Marston resident Colin @theabingdontaxi

[Updated with minor revisions 23 June 2014. See the candidates’ personal statements here.]

It has always been an article of faith for me to vote in every election for which I have been eligible and that is now more than fifty elections. From my overseas travels, I know this to be a privilege, but also a responsibility and for me, a duty. So it was with some excitement that I learned of the historic event in The Village on 22 May, that we were to be issued with three ballot papers and that there was to be a combined poll for the European Parliament, Oxford City Council and Old Marston Parish Council. Fourteen candidates put themselves forward for twelve seats(1).

The election to the parish council was postponed on 06 May(2), due to the death of one of the nominated candidates, but rearranged as required(3) for 26 June 2014, as there remained 13 validly nominated candidates for 12 seats(1). My interest in Old Marston Parish Council was further piqued by a poll card, which was handed to me by The Village Postman on 27 May, so I set out to find out more about what the parish council is, what it does and how on earth I am to decide which of my up to 12 votes to exercise on Thursday 26 June.

Old Marston is one of only four parished areas within Oxford City Council. The city of Oxford has been an unparished area, where those functions traditionally carried out by a parish council have been carried out by the city. Parish councils were created as a result of nineteenth century legislation, to separate functions previously carried out at a local level by a variety of ecclesiastical bodies and today are completely separate from the Church of England – and not to be confused with their parochial church councils! Old Marston (and the nearby parish of Risinghurst and Sandhills) was until the early 1990s on the edge of South Oxfordshire, a large and diverse predominantly rural district, with many parish councils. The two parish councils were simply carried forward into Oxford, when their areas became part of the city. The city council does have the power to abolish existing parish councils, or to create further civil parishes within the city – but thus far the only areas where this has occurred are Blackbird Leys and Littlemore.

Parish councils within Oxford do have the “unfettered right”(4) to raise money by means of a demand on the city council, known as the ‘parish precept’, which the city then collects from those of us who live in the parished area of Old Marston, in the form of Council Tax. They only have one function which is a duty, to provide allotments, but a wide range of discretionary powers:

  • Allotments
  • Baths and washhouses
  • Burial grounds, cemeteries and crematoria
  • Bus shelters
  • Bye-laws
  • Clocks
  • Closed churchyards
  • Common pastures
  • Conference facilities
  • Community centres
  • Crime prevention
  • Drainage
  • Dogs
  • Entertainment and the arts
  • Flyposting and Graffiti
  • Gifts
  • Highways
  • Investments
  • Land
  • Litter
  • Lotteries
  • Mortuaries and post mortem rooms
  • Open spaces
  • Parish documents
  • Telecommunications facilities
  • Public buildings
  • Public conveniences
  • Town and country planning
  • Tourism
  • Traffic calming
  • Transport
  • War memorials
  • Water supply
  • General “Well-Being”

Old Marston Parish Council stresses that it is run on non-party political lines – none of the candidates on 26 June have party political labels. They say they don’t have the bureaucracy of the city council and thus that things can move quickly, on local issues such as overgrown footpaths, which can often be attended to the same day(5). It sees its value in a whole range of local areas:(5).

  • that the parish council as a landowner helps to protect the setting of The Village from being over developed
  • that they will fund and support local events events such as the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012
  • that they can help to raise funds for new equipment for the Mortimer Hall recreation ground
  • that the Village Burial Ground is maintained on a voluntary basis, but that the parish council pays for materials
  • that they provide and maintain facilities for the community, such as Boults Lane recreation ground
  • that they are obliged to be consulted by the city council on planning applications, an important facility, following the ending of letters to neighbouring properties as part of panning applications
  • that grants are provided to local community groups, such as the Scouts, Marston Wives and the local bell ringers
  • that members of the parish council organise and take part in the annual litter pick around The Village

Other than the statutory notices, in Old Marston, there has been no publicity whatsoever for the individual candidates in this election, which will cost the taxpayers of The Village a few thousand pounds(5). There has not been a ballot in this parish for 16 years(5) and although I have lived in The Village for three years now, prior to researching this blog, I knew of only one of the candidates. So as a parishioner – I have set out to write to them all, individually, to find out more about them and why they think I should vote for them. The responses will be published on this blog, if and as they come in, in the same neutral format, which has been utilised for previous elections in Marston http://www.tonyox3.com/2014/05/candidates-in-marston.html, though of course, the right is reserved to edit contributions, where required, for reasons of brevity.

Some would argue that this is the wrong way around and that those seeking our vote should be contacting us. This should be the case, but in a first past the post electoral system, where I have up to 12 votes on one ballot paper and in the event of an almost total lack of information on the candidates, I am prepared to take the initiative, so that at least I may know that I have done everything I can in the exercise of the right to vote.

Candidates for Old Marston Parish Council election on Thursday, 26 June 2014. Those marked with an asterisk * have provided personal statements – see follow-up article.

  • Nils Bartleet *
  • John Batey *
  • Michael Cadd *
  • Peter Cox *
  • Tony Greenfield *
  • Patricia Hall *
  • Duncan Hatfield *
  • Charlie Haynes *
  • Barry Lewis *
  • Michael O’Keefe
  • Peter Sarac
  • Angie Tiwari
  • Peter Williams *

Useful web sites:
Old Marston Parish Council, PDF map of Old Marston civil parish
Old Marston Parish Council
Oxford City Council is responsible for organising this election, which it will then charge the cost back to the parish council. Their statutory notices and other information for this election is on their page Elections in 2014
Risinghurst & Sandhills Parish Council (site not updated since November 2013).

Sources:
(1) Oxford City Council, Election of Parish Councillors for the Parish of Old Marston, Statement of Persons Nominated, 25 April 2014
(2) Oxford City Council, Election of Parish Councillors for the Parish of Old Marston, notice of Cancellation of Poll, 06 May 2014
(3) Local Elections (Parishes and Communities) (England and Wales) Rules 2006, Rule 55
(4) Association of Council Secretaries and Solicitors, Society of Local Council Clerks, The Standards Board for England, National Association of Local Councils, Local Government Association, Milton Keynes Council, Governance Toolkit for Parish & Town Councils, version three, April 2009
(5)Conversation at The Village Pub with member of Old Marston Parish Council, 28 May 2014
(6) Telephone conversation with Elections Unit, Oxford City Council, 27 May 2014
(7) Old Marston Parish Council, web site, ‘Profiles’, http://www.oldmarston-pc.gov.uk/michael_cadd.html, as consulted 23 June 2014
(8) ibid., http://www.oldmarston-pc.gov.uk/barry_lewis.html, as consulted 23 June 2014