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Transportation

7 December 2012, contribution for Cllr. Graham Banks

The village is served by a network of small roads and is several miles from any through main road.  These roads are also used by farm vehicles and horses.  There is a low frequency bus service when the Faringdon to Wantage bus diverts through the villages.  This meets the needs of shopping trips but does not allow for commuting for employment.  There are separate buses serving the secondary school in Wantage.  The villages of Uffington, Baulking and Woolstone have the UBW Minibus run by a local committee for visits to Wantage and Faringdon and it is also available for hire.

 

Sewage

There is a water treatment facility (Thames Water) in the north-west of the village. This is currently running at capacity during heavy rain and can lead to overflows and back up manholes in some areas. Road drainage is largely dependant on the local ditch system and local streams, which have a shallow gradient and cope well with normal weather but reach capacity in torrential rain. There are some soak-away drains but the clay soil means these can be slow to empty. One good point is that since the village is at the start of the stream system they only receive rainwater from that day’s rain and do not receive water from other areas in the days after rain. With the treatment facility running at capacity, residents on the east side of the village, at White Horse for example, currently experience problems with the sewage system backing up once or twice per year.

 

Local Geology

The geology of the area is dominated by heavy clay between chalk hills with geologically recent river sands (eg quarries at Shellingford and Faringdon) and a finger of sand runs from the north to include the site of the Church (and the allotments).  The heavy clay gives poor drainage and deep mud and puddles when wet but goes very hard with deep cracks when dry.  There is a line of springs to the north of the hills where the clay meets the chalk, resulting in a number of water mills in the area.

 

Flooding

The underlying clay geology of the area means that the ground becomes saturated quite quickly. Water run-off from the fields and subsequently road drainage has to be managed intelligently to avoid repeated flooding. There are many stretches of road in and around Uffington that flood regularly, and have done so for years, after not especially severe rainfall. When both the Fawler Road and the Baulking road (Station Road coming out of Uffington) are flooded, it makes getting in and out of the village hazardous, particularly at night (bearing in mind there are no street lights), and potentially damaging to cars.

Flood Gallery

21 November 2012, after one night's heavy rainfall

Corner of White Horse and Station Road On the Baulking road at the turning to Uffington Junction
   
Baulking Road at the A417 A417, approaching East Challow
   
Broad Street, Uffington, in front of the shop Fawler Road: a river runs through it
   

 

Energy

Uffington is not on the gas mains (nearest main about 5 miles away), so the village is dependent on electricity and burning solid fuel or oil (usually kerosene) for heating. Fuel is delivered to the village by tankers. A number of households in the village have signed up to the ORCC home fuel bulk buying scheme, which has brought the cost down by around 5%.

 

Burning oil, whether kerosene for heating or petrol for cars, is of course not the most sustainable form of energy. Alternative energy sources such as solar power should be investigated for future building in the village. There is a large solar farm operating four and a half miles away at Watchfield (Westmill Solar Co-operative) that reports a capacity of 4.8 GWhr power generation per year, which is enough to power 1400 homes.

 

Heating costs could also be reduced by encouraging, for example, Scandinavian standards of insulation and glazing, rather than allowing builders to reduce their costs by applying the minimum UK standards.

 

Street Lighting in the Village

7 December 2012, contribution for Cllr. Graham Banks

Berkshire County Council had a policy of requiring street lighting on any new development, but it was not retrospective.  This led to street lights on the Craven Common estate but none of the earlier sites.  When we moved into Oxfordshire, their policy was to not impose anything but leave it to local (Parish) opinion.  Discussions and consultations since have generally supported the idea of porch lights rather than street lights.

 

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References

Powell, P. (2005) The Geology of Oxfordshire (Dovecote Press)