Steeple Aston Parish Council has published a Welcome Leaflet for new arrivals in the village. It includes a detailed map and lots of useful information. Of course there’s lots more to find on this website too!
Village Emergency Telephone System (VETS)
Imagine you are at home when your partner or spouse suffers a sudden cardiac arrest. Call the emergency services and ask to speak to the Ambulance Service. They will automatically despatch an ambulance to you, and give you instructions on how to perform CPR (chest compressions).
If appropriate, the 999 call-taker will then call the Village Emergency Telephone System. A volunteer will then bring a defibrillator to you. This will greatly increase the patient’s chances of survival.
The VETS number connects simultaneously with ten volunteers in the village. When a volunteer picks up, they will be told where the defibrillator is needed. They will collect it from the cabinet by the Sports and Recreation Building, and bring it to you. If they arrive before the ambulance, you can open up the defibrillator together, and follow the spoken instructions.
If someone else is with you, you can ask them to call the VETS number and say where a defibrillator is needed. But if you are on your own, DO NOT STOP GIVING CPR to make a phone call.
In a case of cardiac arrest, call the emergency services on 999
Steeple Aston Annual Quiz Night 2024
Once again the Village Hall Committee organised a thoroughly enjoyable Quiz evening on Saturday 20th January. Thirteen teams with a maximum of eight to a table took part in the fun with names ranging from ‘The Nightingales’ to ‘4SR +4’. Perhaps next year there should be a prize for the most creative team name?
As usual the teams went to town providing a wide and interesting variety of food and nibbles to keep them going during the evening. A bar was also available to serve liquid refreshments to all.
This year the quiz was devised and led by Carl Tomlinson with Kate in charge of the score board. They had devised a very clever table top opener involving answers which had links with Oxford Colleges – easy you might think, but the winners not only needed to be correct but also hand their answers in as quickly as possible! This was won by the ‘Quizzical’ team.
Other questions and conundrums challenging the teams were: What connects Kazuo Ishiguro, Winston Churchill & Bob Dylan? – They have all won the Nobel Prize for Literature.
In which county is the closest beach to Steeple Aston? – Hampshire (The beach is at Lymington)
As usual the evening was rounded off with the presentation of the trophy and wine to the winning team – ‘Isthmians’ – with a score of 87 out of a maximum of 100 points. They are at top of steps from left to right; Marco, James, Peter and going down the steps; Rebecca, Steph, Liz, Amy and Claire.
The Village Hall committee were grateful to receive donations of some generous raffle prizes donated by The Yurt (Nicholson’s), Safeclean, Holt Hotel, Holt Garage, Wines Toiletries (anonymous)
Thanks go to all who participated, not forgetting the Village Hall committee who organised this event. Here are (l to r) Amy, Barbara, Debbie and John serving drinks in the kitchen.
Keep watch for the details of the 2025 quiz in later editions of SAL, but be quick as tables swiftly get booked up for this challenging but fun annual event!
Here are this year’s results
Barbara Brewer, Village Hall Chair
Thanks to Nigel Francis for the photos.
Handbell collection 2023
From Victoria Clifton:
Christmas may now be a distant memory (so last year!), but due to a team of dedicated handbell ringers we completed our annual pilgrimage around the village raising money for our chosen charity. This year we collected for the Disaster Emergency Committee, and thanks to the generosity of you the villagers we raised £1,800. We are keeping a portion back for ongoing maintenance of the handbells and are pleased to donate £1,600 to D.E.C.
Secondly, it is with huge gratitude and sadness that i have to announce that our Handbell Captain of 24 years, Sally Cooper is standing down. She has trained many new recruits young, and slightly older. Hosted hundreds of hours rehearsal at her house (Thanks Chris for putting up with us) and achieving the monumental task of arranging a team of ringers each night we go door to door. We thank you, and promise to continue your great work.
A new Handbell Captain was appointed at the Church Bellringers AGM, me Victoria Clifton. If I can be of any assistance where the handbells are concerned, or if you are interested in learning next Christmas please do get in contact, we’d love to meet you and it really is easier than you’d imagine. You don’t even need to read music either, just spread some Christmas cheer.
Thank you to the village for your support this year.
Steeple Aston’s environmental impact – and what we can do to reduce it
From Carl Tomlinson – Chair, Steeple Aston Parish Council ESC:
The Environmental and Sustainability Committee (ESC) recently reviewed a report which indicated – in broad terms – the carbon footprint of our community. The report was prepared using a methodology developed at the University of Exeter.
It’s perhaps no surprise to read that our carbon footprint appears to be over 30 per cent higher than the national average. We are a relatively affluent community, in a rural setting, with some fairly old housing stock. This means greater opportunities for long distance travel, fewer opportunities to use public transport, and higher consumption of energy for heating.
The report breaks down the carbon footprint into four areas, which I list below in descending order of impact.
- Consumption of goods and services
- Food and diet
It goes on to suggest areas in which we can mitigate our impact. I’ve summarized these below with a few thoughts of my own.
Consumption of goods and services
All goods that we buy have carbon emitted in their manufacture, packaging, shipping, and sale. Every new product increases carbon emissions (and more resources are extracted and sourced – which itself can have huge environmental and social impacts). Reducing how many new goods we buy in the first place reduces goods-related emissions as does re-using and repairing items.
When we have to buy new, we can reduce the carbon emissions by considering how much of the product has been, and can be, recycled. We can look to minimize packaging by buying in bulk if budget and space permit this, or by teaming up with neighbours to buy in bulk. All of us appreciate the convenience of next-day delivery, those vans don’t run on fresh air.
On a business trip recently, I was invited to ‘contribute’ £2.50 to British Airway’s research into sustainable aviation fuel. Barefaced cheek from a wealthy corporate, or legitimate consciousness raising? Electric cars are coming our way but – if the planning authorities continue to have a veto on the installation of solar panels in conservation areas – many residents of the village will be denied the opportunity to fuel these vehicles cleanly. The S4 struggling to get past cars parked on South Side is our problem in a nutshell.
We must all square on own consciences in these vexed areas, but we can all lobby for better public transport. And we can all make our roads safe for pedestrians and cyclists to use.
We live in a beautiful part of the world. Many of the homes in the village lie in a conservation area. Some are listed. Is our bargain with future generations the preservation of a particular view which a small committee once deemed inviolate, or the protection of the planet our grandchildren will inhabit? These two aims need not be mutually exclusive but we must decide which to prioritize, and lobby our representatives accordingly.
In the average UK home, 64% of energy is used for space heating. The ESC has a thermal camera which many residents have used to identify how heat escapes from their homes. Please contact SteepleAstonESC@outlook.com if you would like to use it.
Food and drink
Research shows us that changing what we eat will have a greater impact on carbon emissions than changing where our food has travelled from – although, of course, eating locally-produced food brings multiple other benefits such as supporting local businesses. Ruth Dale has produced an excellent summary of local producers.
Many of us who grow food will have gluts in the summer and hopefully we will find ways of sharing, rather than composting, them. But this is a drop in the ocean compared to the 22 percent of food which is wasted in the UK. That’s enough to feed everyone for nearly three months. Even a small change in buying and use habits will reduce this scandalous level and save money into the bargain. How much food (and carbon, and money) goes in your bin every week?
This is of necessity a snapshot of a very thought-provoking report, and the views I express above are my own. I hope you’ll take a few moments to read the report and form your views.
Locally Produced Food – Suppliers within reach of Steeple Aston
This information has been researched by the Steeple Aston Environment and Sustainability Committee.
NORTH ASTON ORGANICS
Soil Association registered organic box scheme
Weekly organic vegetable box also supplying fruit, eggs, bread, etc.
There is the possibility of home delivery and/or collection points
NORTH ASTON DAIRY
Organic pasteurised, unhomogenised milk; yoghourt; cream; ice cream
Organic home reared beef, veal and lamb. Also eggs and Forgehouse Bakery Bread.
Weekly deliveries or collection points: Order online
Producing high health and welfare beef, lamb and rare breed pork
BROWNS POP UP FARM SHOP
Park Farm, Middleton Stoney OX25 4AL
Open first weekend of every month.
Home reared pork, lamb, beef and free range eggs
Also provide bread; seasonal vegetables; jams chutneys and honey
DEDDINGTON FARMERS MARKET
Fourth Saturday each month 9.00am-12.30pm
Over 40 stalls offering local produce including bread, eggs, fish, meat, vegetables
Fruit, flowers, beer, preserves and much more!
email@example.com tel: 07584 666561
Home-baked sourdough bread, pastries,etc.
Pre-order Saturday – Thursday for collection Fridays (see website for details)
Rare breed lamb, will deliver
FENEMORE FARMS MICRO FARMSHOP, CLIFTON
firstname.lastname@example.org. tel: 07917 795207
Provide lamb; eggs; honey; fruit and vegetables
Open daily (sign on main road from Deddington to Clifton)
STEEPLE ASTON COMMUNITY ORCHARD
Local village apple juice
WORTON KITCHEN GARDEN
Rectory Farm, Cassington OX29 4SU tel: 07710 634631
Comprehensive food shop with in house sourdough bakery and restaurant.
Parish Path Warden appointed
Steeple Aston now has a Parish Path Warden to keep an eye on our footpaths. Greg Elphick. has volunteered to take on the role which involves walking all the local footpaths at least twice a year. He will take his secateurs with him to prune overgrowing vegetation and ensure that signposts and waymarks are kept clean. He will report more serious problems to Oxfordshire County Council’s Countryside Access Team.
The Parish Path Warden scheme is run by the Ramblers’ Association in association with the county council. Around 80 per cent of villages in Oxfordshire have their own warden.
Greg is pictured here in the centre with his hedgecutter and his faithful companion Poppy, the sprocker spaniel. They were part of a recent work party on a path in Alkerton that had become almost impassable due to brambles and self-seeding trees.
Greg says. “Such work parties cover the wider local area, not just Steeple Aston. They are needed only a few times a year as most paths get well used and any issues usually get sorted before a work party is deemed necessary.
“Obviously, I will be checking all our paths myself but invite any villagers to contact me if I’ve missed something.” Email email@example.com or call 07891 760176.
News from the MCNP
Did you know…..The Mid Cherwell Neighbourhood Plan (MCNP) is the largest member neighbourhood plan in the country? We are a forum of 11 members and 1 associate member, across 12 villages. We are extremely proud of the inclusive nature that this unique forum has provided – where we’re able to come together as a team and work towards a common goal – a better plan for our rural communities – and embracing the change that comes with development within the heart of our communities.
Did you know…..The Mid Cherwell Neighbourhood Plan (MCNP) is able to include local green spaces (LGS) within the plan that seek to protect them from unwanted development in the future. There are a total of 32 LGS identified in our review across the plan area – a further 15 are being put forward in our review, benefiting many local communities including Heyford Park.
6th February 2024
Did you know…..The Mid Cherwell Neighbourhood Plan (MCNP) proposed a new burial ground at Heyford Park amongst the original Plan policies. A huge increase in population at Heyford Park means that local cemeteries are not able to cope with this future, local demand. We continue to work with the major land owners to help identify and implement this facility.
30th January 2024
Did you know…..The Mid Cherwell Neighbourhood Plan (MCNP) is actively objecting to the vast warehousing schemes currently proposed in our neighbouring parishes. Whilst we understand there is a national need for employment, our area currently has employment figures way above the national average. Warehousing of the nature proposed does not result in huge job increases, but rather huge amounts of extra traffic on the surrounding rural roads.
Did you know…..The Mid Cherwell Neighbourhood Plan (MCNP) is a statutory consultee on all planning applications made within the plan area. To date we have commented on multiple cases and have had great success in ensuring that our local polices are implemented by the Cherwell Planning department.
9th January 2024
Did you know…..The Mid Cherwell Neighbourhood Plan (MCNP) has been very active in campaigning for a new Local Health Facility at Heyford Park. Initially the NHS rejected the proposal for a new pharmacy but MCNP worked with the GP Practice to appeal the refusal, which resulted in the approval of the pharmacy that is open today.
2nd January 2024
Did you know…..The Mid Cherwell Neighbourhood Plan (MCNP) has been in force since a referendum was held in 2019?
A neighbourhood plan is a legal planning document that is used to guide development within the plan area, but it is formulated by local residents and volunteers, NOT planning authorities.
The MCNP is bringing its policies up to date and adding some important new ones to benefit all our local residents. We will shortly be consulting with all the communities within the Plan area and asking for your views.
20th December 2023
Steeple Aston Thermal Camera Project
From Claire Coysh, on behalf of the Environment and Sustainability Committee:
There are conflicting ideas on what we should be doing to protect the environment, people have different perspectives on mankind’s relationship with nature, concerns about the seriousness of climate change and what is actually helpful. Insulating your home however, is a no brainer. There are multiple benefits (taken from focusonenergy.com):
Lower energy costs – If your home has poor insulation and air leaks, you could be spending 15% more than you need to on heating and cooling. It also means extra wear and tear on your heating system and air conditioner. Proper insulation and air sealing is the best way to prevent wasted energy and keep your home and energy bill in a comfortable, happy place.
Comfort – Insulation helps your home stay cool in the summer and warm in the winter, so you don’t have to crank up your heating or cooling system to the max just to get by.
Noise – Insulation might not block everything out, but it definitely absorbs sound and can help make your home a quieter place to relax.
Environmental Impact – Saving energy benefits your home, community and the environment. Improving your insulation is one of the best steps you can take to make a difference in terms of your home’s energy performance and carbon footprint.
Resale Value – Being able to tell prospective buyers that top-quality insulation is already in place and lowering the home’s operating costs can be a real selling point.
A thermal image of the outside surface of a house can show areas which are conducting heat from the inside to the outside of the house, helping to identify: Draughts, missing insulation, poor or broken window seals, poorly insulated windows.
The Steeple Aston Environment and Sustainability Committee have purchased a reconditioned thermal camera (FLIR C2), kindly funded by Sustainable Steeple. This camera is available for villagers to borrow to take thermal images of their home. We have put together a guide on how to interpret the images.
Cold (less than 5°C), frosty and dry weather is the best weather for thermal imaging (the temperature difference between inside and outside should be at least 10-15°C). From when we bought the camera (February 2023) we ran a pilot project, loaning the camera to 20 houses in the village. Feedback from the pilot project was very positive. Villagers found it easy to use and helpful to identify and/or confirm areas of insulation in their home they needed to improve.
We are now gathering details of anyone who would like to be on the list to use the camera this winter. It’s very weather dependent, but it might be cold enough to start using the camera in another month or so. To be added to the list, please email me at steepleastonESC@outlook.com
Join the PC team!
Forthcoming road closures
February & March
Gigaclear have two further road closures planned:
- Fenway 26th February – 8th March
- Water Lane 18th – 22th March.
Village Hall AGM
The Annual General Meeting of the Steeple Aston Village Hall management committee was held on the 15th May 2023. The full committee is listed below, showing which group they represent.
Barbara Brewer Tuesday Badminton (Chair)
Margaret Bulleyment Choral society (Secretary)
John White (Treasurer)
Alison Moran Thursday Badminton
Deborah Morris Village Rep
Sally Cooper WI
Torquil McLusky SRT Co-ordinator:
Chris Clarke PCC
Stuart Cummins Archive
Richard Preston Valentine Club
Cathy Fleet Parish Council
John Coley Garden Club
In the next few months, the committee will be deciding on a programme of events for the forthcoming year. If there is a specific event you would like to see in the programme or if you have any new ideas, please contact the Chair Barbara Brewer (01869 340423) or any committee member.
Take an historical walk around Steeple Aston
Steeple Aston Village Archive group (SAVA) has produced an historical walk around the village that you can do at any time. It is being sold to raise funds for the Village History Centre.
A copy can be sent to you digitally from the SAVA website on request with an answer sheet included at a cost of £5, or you can purchase it at Steeple Aston village shop.
The walk is guided by Robina, a resident in 1923, who walks you around the village noting places and people of interest 100 years ago. The walk includes finding answers to questions on things you can see in 2023.
It starts and finishes at the Village Hall.
More on the SAVA website. https://www.steepleastonarchive.org.uk/
Conservation Area Appraisal
Much of Steeple Aston is a Conservation Area containing many listed houses. This means that any changes, such as the building of new houses or alterations to existing buildings are subject to particular scrutiny and regulation.
The village’s Conservation Area was first designated in 1988. A Conservation Area is defined as “an area of special architectural or historic interest, the character or appearance of which it is desirable to preserve or enhance.”
More recently there was a Conservation Area Appraisal which was was the subject of public consultation. It is a detailed report ddescribing the village and its development and making recommendations for future maintenance of the area and its historic buildings.
It says that since its adoption by Cherwell District Council in April 2014, it is “a material consideration in the determination of planning applications within the Conservation Area and its setting.”
The appraisal says: “In order to protect the special environment, stricter controls exist within the Conservation Areas, restricting the kinds of alterations to domestic properties that may be carried out without specific planning permissions
“With all proposals for development and the display of advertisements in a Conservation Area, greater care is necessary to ensure that schemes enhance and preserve the area’s special character.”
Church collecting for Banbury Food Bank
From Martin Dale:
All of us are deeply aware of the need for food banks from the King himself down! In the past our parish church made a collection for the food bank. However, this ceased when the church was shut during Covid. Now the need has become ever greater, we have decided to try to make the church a collection hub within the village once more. For us this is initially a Christmas effort but we intend to keep this going for as long as necessary.
The system is simple: if people would like to donate non perishable foodstuffs and hygiene items in the box at the back of the church we will make sure that these items are delivered regularly on an ongoing basis to Banbury Foodbank. We took the harvest offerings to this food bank run by the Trussell Trust. It is very well organised. They have a network of food banks and inter foodbank transport to get the food to where it’s needed most. So one banks surplus is another’s necessity.
We look forward to taking your donations to them. Thankyou!
Join a local Art Class
Niki Thomas holds an Art Class every Wednesday Morning at Middle Aston House from 10.00am until 1.00pm. Here is one example of Niki’s work.
For more details of the class, please contact Niki on: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please support The Valentine Club
The Valentine Club is the village’s very popular over-60s club. All meetings and outings have had to be cancelled because of coronavirus. The cancellation of their annual jumble sale and the inability to raise funds via monthly raffles means the Cherwell Lottery is their only way of raising funds.
In addition to the usual prizes every week there is the opportunity to win a short break with the draw taking place at the end of October. Anyone can purchase lottery tickets and the process is very simple. Just follow the steps as described on the Cherwell Lottery website
Hopefully, once this pandemic has disappeared, this funding will enable the club to move forward and bring some happiness to the slightly older generation living in our village.
Give a dog a bad name!
We’d just like you to know that almost all the fouling on our village streets comes from wild animals. After all, we do live in the country! We’ve investigated this issue thoroughly with the help of Cherwell Council’s dog warden. So, please, don’t always blame the dogs and dog walkers in the village. It’s probably not them messing up our streets. It’s most likely foxes. Or maybe badgers or muntjac.
What should you do if you see some poo?
Please just pick it up in a suitable plastic bag and pop it in a street-side bin or a green bin. Bags are available free from the Village Shop. Dog walkers often pick up scat that their dogs are not responsible for. Give them a hand. You will be helping to keep the village clean and you may stop someone putting their foot in it.
And if you do see a dog walker not picking up?
We think this is unlikely, but if you do … report it to the dog warden at https://www.cherwellandsouthnorthants.gov.uk/xfp/form/347?council=cdc or on 01295 227007. He will take action against anyone found not picking up.
Steeple Aston Parish Council
Just a reminder that Steeple Aston has a FixMyStreet SuperUser. This means we have a fast track method of getting potholes filled as long as they meet the relevant criteria in terms of size, depth etc., and they are within the 30 mile an hour limit.
If you report a pothole direct to the Parish Clerk (email@example.com or 01869 347000), she will pass on the details to our SuperUser, who can contact the Highways contractors, without going through FixMyStreet. The system has been in place for a while now and works well.
The Parish Council
Help for victims of crime or abuse
Being a victim or a witness of a crime can be an emotional and difficult time.
Victims First provides free emotional and practical support to all victims and witnesses of crime or abuse, as well as family members of victims. It is available across Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire and can provide help regardless of whether or not the crime has been reported to the police.
A Victims First Officer can discuss any emotional or practical needs you may have and work with you to put a tailored support plan in place. This could involve referring you to a specialist service such as services for victims of sexual violence and domestic abuse.
The type of assistance available includes telephone and face to face support, advocacy including help to access other services such as sexual health clinics, drug and alcohol services and legal services, support through the criminal justice system (if you have reported the crime to the police) and therapeutic counselling.
A Young Victims Service is also available to anyone under 18 and works with young people to help them cope with the effects of crime.
To speak to a Victims First Officer about any of the services and to receive support please call 0300 1234 148.
You can also find more information or make a referral for support online at www.victims-first.org.uk
Live Well in Oxfordshire
Oxfordshire County Council has an online directory of over 2,000 (and growing) support services across the county to help residents live better.
Live Well Oxfordshire has been developed by Oxfordshire County Council in partnership with Age UK Oxfordshire and Affinity Works. The directory has been designed to bring together information about groups and organisations offering services for adults with a variety of needs in one place.
It includes categories such as looking after someone, keeping fit and well, finding a care home, help with life events and many more.
To go to the directory, please click here.
Essential repairs grant available
Cherwell District Council is offering an essential repairs grant to help vulnerable people, which covers, for example:
. Replacing a defective door or window
. Roof repairs
. Minor electrical works
You may be eligible if you meet the following criteria:
1. You have owned your home for at least three years and
2. You are eligible for a means tested benefit, and /or a tax credit with a household income below a set level and
3. You are over 60 years of age or in receipt of child benefit for a child living with you.
For more details contact:
Private Sector Housing Team
Cherwell District Council
Tel. 01295 227004 or visit www.cherwell.gov.uk
Calling all parents and grandparents
• Are you a good listener?
• Do you enjoy being with young children?
• Could you spare 2 – 3 hours per week?
• Would you be interested in becoming a volunteer with Home-Start?
• Volunteering provides excellent experience for a CV
Home-Start Oxford and Bicester is a local charity which supports families with at least one child under five years of age. They have been doing so for over 20 years and in that time have been a lifeline to thousands of families in need.
Their volunteers offer regular support, friendship and practical help to local families under stress in their own homes, helping to prevent family crisis and breakdown.
Have YOU ever thought about FOSTERING?
There is a recognised shortage of 10,000 Foster Carers in the UK. PACT, founded in 1911, is also known as the Oxford Diocesan Council for Social Work inc. We are a registered charity working to improve life chances for children. The focus of our work is within Berkshire, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire and aims to build and strengthen families.
We are an approved Adoption and Fostering Agency. We have a history of finding safe, loving families for children in care. Here are a few facts about Fostering:
1. Did you know you don’t have to be married to become a Foster Carer?
2. You don’t have to have children already although you do need to have experience of caring for children.
3. Did you know you get paid a Fostering Allowance of £335.70 a week to be a Foster Carer which is tax free and won’t affect any other benefits?
4. Most of the children who need fostering are known as ‘hard to place’ children, they will usually be 8+ years of age.
Fostering is a hard but very rewarding job. If you think you might have what it takes to become a Permanent Foster Carer or you want to find out more then contact PACT now on 0800 731 1845 e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Katharine House Hospice Lottery
Support your local hospice lottery for just £1 a week.
Over £100,000 is raised every year.
Every week there is a first prize of £1,000 plus:
2 x £100 prizes
2 x £50 prizes
5 x £20 prizes
10 x £10 prizes
Fundraising and Lottery Office
Katharine House Hospice
Tel: 01295 816484
Email : email@example.com
Or download an application form from their website: www.khh.org.uk
Registered Charity No. 297099