The main topic for discussion was the on-going difficulty of the snow and ice on the village roads and pavements. There had been many comments and complaints from local residents about the lack of grit either delivered by vehicles or in grit bins. The Clerk had investigated the Parish Council’s ability in law to be able to do anything in addition to the County Council. Under an Act of Parliament in 1555 (long since repealed), the Inhabitants of a Parish were (collectively) the highway authority for nearly all of the highways in their area. But that changed in Victorian times and main roads have long been the sole responsibility of central government (Motorways and Trunk Roads) or of the County and, later, Metropolitan or Unitary, Councils. Parish Councils ceased to have a general legal responsibility for highway maintenance in the Local Government Act of 1894. The only help a Parish Council could provide, assuming the County Council was agreeable, was to purchase grit bins. This was possible in Oxfordshire. It was decided by the members of the Parish Council to discuss with the County Council the purchase of a number of bins in strategic positions and a budget of £1,500 was allocated from the earmarked reserves. In addition the Clerk was asked to contact Radley Parish Council so that a joint approach can be made to lobby the County Council to raise the priority level of the route of the 35 bus so that it was kept clear of snow and ice particularly where there were slopes in The Avenue and outside the caravan parks in Radley.
In addition to writing to the County Council, the Clerk had been asked to complain to the Royal Mail about the poor delivery of mail in the village during the bad weather. Despite Royal Mail vans being seen most days in the village there had been only two house to house deliveries in ten days.
Many of the projects that had been agreed by the Parish Council were delayed because of the weather. Work on the new play area in Playfield Road had been suspended. The resurfacing of the tarmac under a number of bus shelters and the installation of the bollards in The Avenue would probably not start for a number of weeks.
The Parish Council agreed to purchase a set of litter picker sticks and gloves which would be available for loan to residents who wanted to volunteer to clear their local areas. There would be a £5 refundable deposit for the loan of the equipment consisting of a hi-visibility waistcoat, stick, gloves and bags for a week. Anyone who would like to borrow the equipment should contact the Clerk.