Public consultation on proposed changes to subsidised bus services

Bus 23As part of cost savings proposed by Oxfordshire County Council following substantial cuts in central government funding, a number of subsided bus and Dial-a-Ride services are at risk.

Bicester bus services that could be affected include routes 8, 22, 23, 25, 25A, 37, 81, 81A, 118 and T94.

In addition to transport savings of £3.7 million already identified by OCC, a further minimum £2.6 million reduction is required. Proposals to achieve this include the options of withdrawing bus subsidies altogether, reducing bus subsidies and prioritising services to the elderly and disabled, and ending direct funding of the Dial-a-Ride service.

Oxfordshire County Council is holding a public consultation over the next 12 weeks to gather feedback to these proposals. For further details, visit

Councils to fund additional grass verge cutting

Grass Verge (June 2015)As reported in the local press recently, Bicester Town Council and Cherwell District Council have agreed to find an extra £12,000 each to finance two additional cuts of Bicester’s grass verges, providing a total of four cuts this year (click here and here for full reports).

This follows widespread complaints after Oxfordshire County Council, which is responsible for the maintenance of grass verges on public highways, reduced cutting from fives times a year to only two in response to funding reductions.

Burglary in Langford

Thames Valley Alert (Jun'15)Message sent via Thames Valley Alert on behalf of Thames Valley Police:

A burglary took place in  Sanderling Close between 1pm-3pm on Friday 29th May.

Please alert neighbours and remain extra vigilant, If you saw anything suspicious or have any information that may help with police enquiries, please telephone Bicester Police Team on the non-emergency number 101 with information or 999 for immediate police attention. Alternatively if you have information that could help us but wish to remain anonymous, please call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Future alert messages relevant to Langford residents will continue to be posted on the LVCA website, but if you wish to receive emails about these and other messages from Thames Valley Police you can register online at

Attempted burglary in Langford Village

Thames Valley Alert (May'15)Message sent via Thames Valley Alert on behalf of Thames Valley Police:

Amongst a number of crimes committed in Bicester over the spring bank holiday, a property in OSPREY CLOSE was targeted sometime between 12:30pm & 5.45pm on the 25th May. No entry was gained but damage to the front door lock and letterbox were reported.

If you can help with enquiries in relation to this or other such crimes, please call the non-emergency number 101, or if you wish to remain anonymous you may call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Future alert messages relevant to Langford residents will continue to be posted on the LVCA website, but if you wish to receive emails about these and other messages from Thames Valley Police you can register online at

Langford Medical Practice

Langford Medical CentreAs announced in the local press, a report published yesterday by the Care Quality Commission gave an overall “inadequate” rating for Langford Medical Practice.

Although this practice is well regarded by Langford residents and was also rated “good” in the report for being caring and responsive, the Commission found areas of concern regarding the provision of safe services, and also uncertainties about some policies and procedures.

Langford medical practice has now been placed into “special measures” for six months to enable these issues to be addressed before a further inspection is carried out.

A summary of the Care Quality Commission findings can be viewed here, and the full report here.

Travellers on Mallards Way Meadows

Encampment 1Update: 7th May 18.45

Mallards Way Meadows now clear of travellers. Some litter left and a few tyre tracks in the grass, but overall it could have been a lot worse.

Congratulations to the police and councillors for resolving this issue so quickly.

Update: 7th May 15.30

Bicester Town councillors Dan Sames & Nick Cotter report that Town Council staff and Thames Valley Police have met with the travellers and asked them to leave this afternoon. If necessary, Thames Valley Police will serve notice to leave by 18.00 under Section 61 of the Crime & Disorder Act and if enforcement is then required, the police will take action although this may be delayed until tomorrow morning to ensure adequate resources.

Original Article

On Wednesday 6th May a number of travellers moved onto the meadows  between Mallards Way and Langford Brook. This land is Bicester Town Council property and the Council Chief Officer promptly contacted Thames Valley Police, who have visited the site and issued a “code of conduct” (see Thames Valley Police document, Appendix C) pending further action by Bicester Council. In the meantime, the police have asked residents to report any cases of antisocial behaviour or criminal activity and they will respond to it.

A Home Office summary of available powers to deal with unauthorised encampments (2015) can be viewed here, together with the accompanying letter sent to local authorities and police.

Further updates to this post will be added when available.

Stoke Wood

BluebellsFor Langford residents not yet familiar with Stoke Wood, late April to mid May is the best time to visit this ancient woodland to view the abundant bluebells in flower. The early purple orchid is also widely seen during this time.

Stoke wood is less than 6 miles from Langford, just off the B4100, near to M40 Junction 10 (see map for location). The property has a car park and over 2 miles of easily accessible footpaths (see details & map), though some of  these can become muddy after wet weather. A medieval boundary bank runs for 3000 yards around the 90 acre wood.

In 1954, an American bomber based at Upper Heyford crashed into the wood killing the crew and causing extensive damage to the woodland.

This ancient woodland was originally managed by coppicing but this stopped over 50 years ago, and during the 1950’s a large area was planted with conifer. The Woodland Trust purchased the wood in 1993 and aims to gradually restore the whole woodland back to its ancient broad-leaved character by progressive thinning of remaining conifers.

Burglaries in Langford Village

Thames Valley Alert (Mar'15)Alert Message sent on behalf of Thames Valley Police:

Three burglaries have happened in Langford Village since Wednesday 4th March.

On 4th March between 9:45am & 10:19pm a property was burgled in ROBINS WAY, BICESTER. Entry was gained by smashing the rear patio door. A messy search was conducted of all rooms and two money boxes were stolen.

The second burglary to occur in ROBINS WAY happened sometime between 10pm 4th March & 8.20am 5th March. Kitchen cupboards were searched before cash was stolen from a handbag.

Lastly, a property was targeted in RAVENSCROFT, where entry was gained via the patio door. A tidy search was conducted and cash stolen. This happened sometime between 8pm 4th March & 4pm 5th March.

As always we ask you to remain vigilant at all times, if you see or hear anything suspicious then please report to us immediately via the non-emergency no. 101.  If you have information that could help with our enquiries, but, you wish to remain anonymous, please call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Information on door and window security can be seen here and here.

Future alert messages relevant to Langford residents will continue to be posted on the LVCA website, but if you wish to receive emails about these and other messages from Thames Valley Police you can register online at

Bicester ward boundary changes

Cherwell Ward changesThe Local Government Boundary Commission for England (LGBCE) is currently carrying out an electoral review of Cherwell with the aim of revising ward boundaries to ensure that each councillor represents a similar number of voters.

Under proposals put forward by the LGBCE, by 2020 each ward in Cherwell would incorporate an electorate of around 7000 to 8000 and be represented by 3 councillors (see Draft recommendations for full figures & further details).

In Bicester this equates to around 30,000 voters, and the total number of councillors would increase from 11 to 12, while the number of wards would reduce from 5 to 4. In comparison, across rural areas in Cherwell the 15 existing wards would be cut to just 5 to achieve similar electorate levels. See here for maps showing the current and proposed Bicester ward boundaries.

Under the new proposals, Bicester South ward – currently consisting mainly of Langford – would expand to include Bicester Village and surrounding area, plus Kingsmere, Graven Hill and Ambrosden, while the current Bicester Town ward would disappear, absorbed by Bicester West, East and South wards.

The LGBCE is due to publish final recommendations in May 2015, and subject to parliamentary approval these would come into effect at local elections in 2016.

Gavray Meadows & SE Bicester

Gavray footpathFollowing the proposal to designate the Bicester 13 (Gavray Meadows) area east of Langford Brook as a Local Green Space, Cherwell District Council has published amended details for this area in the Local Plan “Further Proposed Modifications October 2014″, and the Gavray Meadows section can be viewed here.

On 16th December the reconvened Inspector’s Examination of the Cherwell Local Plan included discussion of the Gavray Drive proposals, and Pat Clissold, John Broad, Pam Roberts and Dominic Woodfield attended the meeting to present a local viewpoint on the plans to develop this site. While congratulating CDC for supporting the Local Green Space designation, concerns were expressed that this did not include the area between Gavray Drive and the public footpath, leaving a strip of ancient hedgerow land unprotected from future housing incursions.

The four representatives also spoke out against the plan to almost quadruple the size of Bicester 12 (farmland to the SE of Langford) from the original 400 homes to 1500, and the loss of the existing wildlife corridor in the Ray Conservation Target Area adjacent to the mainline railway. John and Pat protested against warehouses being built on Bicester 12, while John was also concerned about the proposed link road that would run past Bicester 12 from the A41 near Wendlebury to the Gavray Drive roundabout.

The provisional date for publication of the Inspector’s Report is March 2015.

A Gavray Meadows News page prepared by Pat Clissold showcases some of the wildlife on this site and can be viewed at