Author Archives: John

Road Closure in Charney

Please be aware of the upcoming road closure on Charney Bassett Main Street.

News from your local MP

I’m trying to get everyone to complete my Grove Station Survey by midday on 1st March. I’ve been campaigning for Grove Station to reopen since I was elected and the purpose of the survey is to show the level of local support and give the Government an indication that it would actually be used if it was reopened – so please complete it if you haven’t yet!

In the Armed Forces Bill Debate recently I was able to highlight our constituency’s contribution to the country’s efforts – not just in being home to institutions like the Defence Academy at Shrivenham and the 11 EOD and Search Regiment in Didcot – but in service by some of my predecessors, too. As most of you will know, when the seat was Abingdon the MP was Airey Neave, who had a proud record of service in World War 2; his predecessor was Ralph Glyn, who served in World War 1 and was awarded a military cross.

We were having the debate because since 1688, the consent of parliament has been required for the raising and keeping of a standing army. In modern times, this means that every 5 years parliament is asked to give consent to an Armed Forces Bill, without which there is no means to ensure service personnel obey orders. The Government used the Bill to do other things such as update the Service Justice System, extend the use of posthumous pardons for abolished sexual offences and further enshrine the Armed Forces Covenant in law. The latter means local authorities will have to have due regard to service in decisions they make about health, education and housing – and rightly so.

I take a particular interest in the armed forces as my dad served in the army for 18 years. The army has of course played a key role in our superb vaccination efforts – at the time of writing we have passed the Government’s 15 million target, which is a remarkable achievement in such a short space of time. From volunteering several times I have seen first-hand the fantastic efforts of our medical staff and volunteers – and the relief local residents feel when they have their first jab.

I recently became one of the Conservative Environment Network’s Net Zero Champions. What this means in practice is I will be campaigning for nature-based solutions to help tackle climate change, including stopping the sale of peat for use in horticulture, protecting and improving our blue carbon assets and undertaking a national capital audit. More on this in the future – and some other campaigns.

While I am not doing face to face meetings at the moment, I am still doing telephone/Zoom surgery appointments – to book one of these or contact me about something else, do email 

David Johnston OBE MP | Member of Parliament for Wantage

VWHDC Update 14/1/21

Vale of White Horse – town and parish update – 14 January 2021

Available here

Thames Valley Police Consultations and Surveys

Consultations and Surveys

Thames Valley Police

PC Meeting Wednesday 13th January

The next Council meeting will be convened around 7.15 pm for a start at 7.30 pm on Wednesday 13th January 2021. The meeting will be a ‘virtual’ meeting held over SKYPE.

Residents of the Village are welcome to join by SKYPE. Please can they contact the Parish Clerk in advance for joining instructions, as indicated in the agenda.

Carols, Bells and Cheers

Wednesday 23rd December from 7.30 pm – travelling carols and readings in Charney. Full information with location and timings can be found on the web site here plus the carol sheet is also available for those who wish to sing along.

Thursday 24th December at 6 pm – come out on your doorsteps and ring bells (or tinkle glasses, improvise as you will) and ring in the festive season together.

St Peter’s Church bells will be joining in this national community ring.

Friday 25th December at noon – if you want, why not step outside your door, raise a glass and wish your neighbours a happy Christmas.

From your local MP

I was pleased to hold my first adjournment debate, where a backbench MP can raise any issue and require a minister to respond, in the House of Commons recently. My subject was safety and littering on the A420 and the A34 and I laid out in detail the safety problems we know exist on both roads. In the last 6 years there have been 1057 accidents on the total stretch of the A420 and 2593 on the A34; these are just the ones that involved injury to people – it doesn’t include the accidents involving vehicle damage alone. I also wanted to raise litter issues as I regularly receive complaints about that, too. I will now sit down with the relevant minister to discuss how to improve both matters on both roads.
I took the opportunity to get in yet another plug for my bid for Grove Station, which the ministers at the Department are very used to be raising! I was pleased to hear there should be a decision soon about whether we will get money to explore how it could reopen. You can watch the debate on my Facebook page. In other transport news, the Government has just given the County another £3 million for cycle paths and footpaths.
Like I’m sure most of you, I did not want to be in another lockdown now. As some of you will know, the Oxfordshire Conservative MPs had not supported the request of Council Leaders for us to go into Tier 2 in October as we felt it was premature and would have a detrimental effect on mental health, other health conditions and on our local businesses. The cases in Oxfordshire remain much lower than in other parts of the country and I hoping this will be the final lockdown and we can re-emerge into Tier 1, rather than Tier 2, but as always it will be the analysis of the Chief Medical Officer and Joint Biosecurity Centre that is crucial here.
The thoughts of all of us are of course on whether we will get to see our families in the way we like to at Christmas. I know the Prime Minister and the rest of the Government are keen that we will get to and I am hopeful this will be the case. The Government has set a window for university students to return home in time and is currently exploring what can safely be allowed. I think this may be my last message before it, so Merry Christmas when it arrives.

David Johnston

PC Meeting Wednesday 11th November

The next Council meeting will be convened around 7.15 pm for a start at 7.30 pm on Wednesday 11th November 2020. The meeting will be a ‘virtual’ meeting held over SKYPE.

Residents of the Village are welcome to join by SKYPE. Please can they contact the Parish Clerk in advance for joining instructions, as indicated in the agenda.

From your MP – David Johnston

I spent the parliamentary recess visiting as many individuals and organisations as I could. I met with the founders of innovative companies like Rosemor and Aquobex, whose cleaning and flooding solutions respectively attract custom from around the world. I visited hotels like the Bear and Milton Hill House, hotels being one of the sectors of the economy that has been particularly badly hit by lockdown, with some people being more reluctant to return to their previous way of life. At gyms like tfd Health and Fitness and Fitness Space people are keen to get back their previous way of life – and as a gym-goer myself I understand them! – they just have to book in advance and adhere to a higher standard of hygiene than perhaps they did previously. No bad thing, in my book.
At Farmer Gow’s I saw not just what a great family day out the farm is for young and old, but also met the proprietors of successful businesses that Anne Gow has as tenants on the site, from LissieLou, the cake decoration business, to Bark and Berry Dog Grooming and the Oxford Yurt, a pretty impressive glamping site – I’ve never been glamping myself, but if you like doing so I’d check them out. I was pleased to make my first visit to the Westmill Wind and Solar Farm and delighted they were successful in their bid for Government funding for a new visitors’ centre that will increase the number of visitors 6-fold.
Along the way there were lots of other independent businesses, like Didcot Glass and Glazing, Emma’s Vintage Style, 30 Something and Bob’s Butchers. Charities too, like Children Heard and Seen, which supports the children of prisoners – more on that in a future column. On my Facebook page (davidjohnston4wantage) you’ll see I’ve started ‘three questions’ with the owners of different organisations to spread the word about organisations people might not have heard of.
On my week off, we went to the Lake District, but unfortunately I crocked my knee on a crag and am currently on crutches! It’s my first real experience of having restricted mobility and it does bring home quite how many places are inaccessible for those who need to use crutches or a wheelchair to get around, something I’ve understood only theoretically before. Parliament is probably one of the worst examples, although I’m grateful I’ve temporarily been given an office nearer to the House of Commons to reduce the walking I have to do. As ever, if I can help with anything then do get in touch via

PC Meeting 9th Sept. Agenda and how to attend.

The next Council meeting will be convened around 7.15 pm for a start at 7.30 pm on Wednesday 9th September 2020. The meeting will be a ‘virtual’ meeting held over SKYPE.

Residents of the Village are welcome to join by SKYPE. Please can they contact the Parish Clerk in advance for joining instructions, as indicated in the agenda.