The Millennium was marked in the Parish by a variety of projects and by a programme of special events during the year 2000. Of the projects, four are now complete or well-established and ongoing. They are:
The cemetery, which is in the Hempton Road and is relatively new, is in a near-rural setting and its original entrance was a standard five-bar farm gate. Parishioners were invited to enter a design competition for the Millennium Gateway and the winner was Oliver Lee. His drawing was the basis for the detailed design. Senior children at the Primary School were also encouraged to produce their ideas for a gateway; the winner was Joshua Dredge. In both cases, the prizes were book tokens. Construction of the Gateway for the cemetery was financed by the Parish Council. The following is an extract from the May 2000 issue of the Deddington News:
Opening and Dedication of Deddington Cemetery Millennium Gateway
"At 4.30pm on Tuesday April 11 we assembled under massed umbrellas at the new cemetery gates for the Opening ceremony. Present were: the Chairman and members of the PC, the Parish Clerk, our CDC representative Paul O'Sullivan, Churchwarden Vivien Pleydell-Bouverie, clergy from all the churches who use the cemetery and parishioners. The Revd. Ken Reeves led a short ecumenical service of Dedication assisted by Fr. John Burns (RC), Pastor Isabel Walton (Weslyan Reform Church) and Mrs. Joyce Minnear (Congregational Church). In his address Chairman Jim Flux commended the idea for the gates which had come from a letter to the PC written by Maureen Cox in 1998. He praised the competition entries, particularly from the Primary School, and thanked the winner, Oliver Lee ( whose family was present) for his design. The appropriately simple design and solid craftmanship were admired by us all before we left for a welcome cup of tea." by Elizabeth Tothill
A number of other projects have been undertaken which will probably take some time to come to fruition. They all result from a detailed questionnaire (designed and distributed by the Millennium Working Group of the Parish Council) sent, in January 1999, to everyone in the parish over 18 who was on the electoral register. Views were sought on various ideas suggested by individuals and organisations for projects and for Year 2000 events. For the questionnaire and a full analysis of the results see Deddington Millennium Survey (this is an Adobe Acrobat PDF file of 60kbytes).
In summary, the ideas for long-term projects that received most support were:
- purchasing the Library for perpetuity (51% net support)
- improving and completing the Deddington to Clifton footpath (42% net support
- flower beds/benches in the Market Place (32% net support)
- making the Town Hall more useful, including as a museum or exhibition space (26% net support)
As a result, the Parish Council approved recommendations from its Millennium Working Group to set up two Feasibility Working Groups; one to explore ways of ensuring the long-term stability and use of the Library and the other to consider options for improving the usefulness of the Town Hall. It also agreed to ask the Deddington Gardeners to propose possible ways of developing the green areas etc in the Market Place.
Membership of the group was:
- David Blakey (Parish Clerk)
- Brian Carter (convener)
- Sue Goddard
- Caroline Richards
- Roger Sykes
- Geoff Todd (Friends of Deddington Library).
The group reported to the PC in September 1999. The Working Group were unanimous in concluding that purchase of the Library building would not in itself secure the continuance of a library service in perpetuity for the Parish. In general terms, their other recommendations were that:
- The PC should ask the County Library Service to carry out a review of the building space available to the Library with a view to expanding it to provide the additional facilities outlined in the Report.
- The PC should assist the County Council with the necessary alterations and finance.
- Annually, the PC should draw up its own Library Report and that copies should be sent to all relevant organisations.
- The PC should invite the Friends of Deddington Library to progress the ideas suggested in the Report. These recommendations were adopted by the PC and Friends of Deddington Library is now a formal WG of the Council and expected to report to each (monthly) meeting.
The following is an extract from the November 2000 issue of Deddington News:
You may have heard about the planned improvements to Deddington Library. To understand what is going to happen, how it is to be achieved and. most importantly, how you can be involved - read on. The plans include:
- wheelchair access
- better facilities for the librarians including a new counter
- better research, reference and IT facilities
- larger children's area
- improved opening hours (hopefully).
Work is due to start in mid 2001, once funds are in place.
- OCC Library Services
- Deddington Parish Council
- Friends of Deddington Library (FDL)
- Deddington OnLine
have agreed to co-operate in raising finance. We hope that CDC (Cherwell District Council) may also assist. Rosemary Arnold (the Librarian) has organised another popular family quiz for Christmas and over the next months FDL are running fund-raising events.
Want to know more? Look for notices on village noticeboards; contact Jean Flux (01869 338153), Kenneth Holt (01869 338154) or me, Geoff Todd (01869 338532). Through the Friend's Appeal you can help improve our Library's facilities much sooner than planned, so that all users benefit. Please support it!"
Membership of the group was: Bill Dickinson, Betty Hill, Bill Hunt (Clerk to Deddington Charity Estates who own the hall), James Marmion, Charles Newey (convener) and Mary Valentine. Initially the group concentrated on the ground floor. Betty Hill and Bill Dickinson produced a design that met the requirements to provide space as a bus shelter and for occasional (charity) stalls, a home for the Millennium Map, areas for PC and tourist information boards. The design was approved by the PC but progress has been stalled because the the PC does not own the Town hall. It belongs to Deddington Charity Estates. The PC has a lease on it until 2006 and was reluctant to spend money development unless its future as a Town Hall could be ensured. After a period of negotiation with Deddington Charity Estates, matters came to a head. The following is an extract from the Minutes of the PC meeting of 16 February 2000: "139/99 Town Hall A letter had been received from the Clerk to Deddington Charity Estates stating that his Trustees are agreeable to enter into negotiations with the Council and that they would prefer to sell rather than negotiate a long term lease of the Town Hall. The present lease becomes due for renewal in 2006 and in accordance with current Charity Regulations either a renewed lease or a sale must be at Open Market Values. It was proposed by Cr. Todd, seconded by Cr. Miss Hill and unanimously agreed that this Council should take no action at this time and, should the Trustees wish a further meeting, it could be convened." In the case of the Deddington-Clifton footpath, which the Parish Council does not own, it was agreed that the results of the survey should be used to put pressure on the Highways Department of Oxfordshire County Council to upgrade it. As at November 2000, the position is that funding may be available from the County Council's 2002/3 budget. The final project, flower beds and seats in the Market Place, is still under consideration.