How long have you lived in Souldern?
<1 yr 12yrs 2–5yrs 5–10yrs 10–20yrs 20+yrs Did not answer
9.5% 5.2% 14.7% 10.3% 16.4% 44% 2
Is it your Main Home? Or 2nd Home Did not answer Do You Own Or Rent Did not answer
97.4% 2.6% 3 89.7% 10.3% 2

60% of residents have lived in Souldern for more than 10 years, whilst only 15% have been in the village for less than 2 years. There is a high home ownership of almost 90%. For 97% this is their main home.

If this is your permanent residence how many people in each age bracket live in your house?
0–5yrs 5–11yrs 11–18yrs 18–35yrs 35–65yrs 0ver 65 Did not answer
12 18 16 28 125 69 0
If second home how many people live in your house?
0–5yrs 5–11yrs 11–18yrs 18–35yrs 35–65yrs 0ver 65
0 0 0 0 3 4

The total number of people in the 118 homes that responded to the questionnaire is 268. 22.0% of homes have children under 18.

In the 1989 appraisal it was noted that most of the people in the parish were of a ‘mature age’ and that once families move here they tended to stay. Interestingly over the past 2 years there has been a dramatic change to this observation with over forty homes changing hands, many to families with young children

Where did you move from?
City Town Village Always Resident Abroad Did not answer
15.7% 29.6% 44.3% 8.7% 1.7% 3


Full/part time Unemployed Retired In Education Other Did not answer
54.7% 2.3% 28.3% 12.8% 1.9% 2
Employment has been revolutionised since the beginning of the 20th century when most villages, out of necessity, were pretty much self sufficient, the only contact with local towns being with the village carrier in his horse drawn van or by train.

The 1989 Appraisal revealed a huge change over the previous 60 or 70 years. There had been a large influx of retired people, making up 29.32% of the population. 39.42% were employed, 71.8% of whom worked outside Souldern, whilst 28.2% worked in the village. 13.36% worked part time, 5.28% were unemployed, 3.85% were housewives and 8.65% were schoolchildren


How many vehicles do you have? Where do you park?
Car Motorbike Caravan Did not answer Garage Off Road On Road Did not answer
222 10 4 2 18.7% 58.7% 22.6% 5
Is there adequate provision for parking? If no which would you support?
Yes No Did not answer Residents Parking Scheme Car Park Yellow Lines
31.6% 68.4% 4 31.7% 43.9% 24.4%

Not a lot has changed with regard to either parking or speeding since 1989 when even then these were quite emotive topics. The main difference now is that we have more vehicles per household.

Parking on the Hill was a particular problem then as it is now; lack of vision and spaces to pull in to on The Hill being the main concern.

Some ideas given to address the parking problem were for residents to be more considerate when parking and only take up one space instead of two, this was echoed several times in the responses. Parking at right angles in the High Street, providing parking bays and road widening were amongst other suggestions, as was creating car parks on common land.
Should there be Speed Restrictions in Souldern?
Yes No Did not answer
85.8% 14.2% 5
If yes which would you support?
20mph Speed Bumps Gate at top of village
68.9% 14.3% 16.8%

Other suggestions to the speeding problem were flashing signs, cameras, and a ‘No Through Road’ sign. and A number of people also pointed out, that there is already a 30mph speed limit and if everyone stuck to it there wouldn’t be a problem.


How often do you use the bus service?
Weekly Monthly Less Never Did not answer
0.8% 0 6.8% 92.4% 0
If it ran more often would you use it?
Yes No Did not answer
26.1% 73.9% 7

Unreliability was the main reason given for not using the bus service


Are the conditions of the roads a concern to you?
Yes No Did not answer
74.1% 25.9% 6
If yes, which roads?
Overwhelmingly, the condition of The Hill was the main cause for concern, although some residents did remark that this does make people drive more slowly. The Lanes, including verges are all in poor condition and as in 1989, it was suggested that there should be a one-way system applied to Back Lane, past the Chapel.
Should there be clearer speed signs on the B4100?
Yes No Did not answer
75.7% 24.3% 11
What should it be?—NB This question seemed to be misleading as a lot of residents thought it was the road into the village rather than the B4100
Better, larger and clearer signage not hidden by over-grown trees and bushes were all suggested especially near the village junction. It was also thought that there should be speed restrictions along the Fritwell and Somerton roads as there are several nasty junctions and bends and these roads are now being used more frequently by heavy vehicles.


VILLAGE HALL - Do you use it?
Weekly Monthly Special Event Never Did not answer
10.6% 15.9% 64.6% 8.8% 5
What would encourage you to use the Village Hall?

There were a range of suggestions to this question, varying from more social events and activities, especially for children and young people, speakers on a whole range of different topics, a film club, coffee mornings and afternoon teas and exercise and well-being classes.

There were a number of comments referring to the appearance of the building both internally and externally and that if it were more modern, (Somerton village hall being referred to several times), it would be used more. It must be pointed out here that since this questionnaire was circulated the hall has been re-decorated and new curtains hung, freshening up the internal appearance of the hall considerably.


Are you currently in a village social/leisure group?
Horticultural Society Choir Other
30 6 11
Which would you be interested being involved in?
7 said they would like to join the Horticultural Society and 3 the choir. (If you haven’t and would still like to please see contact details at the back of this booklet to join)
What new social activity would you be interested in ?
Cinema / film club Nursery / toddler group Cycling club Race day outings Ten pin bowling Wine tasting Teenage social events Zumba After­noon socials
24% 6% 11% 8% 5% 20% 4% 15% 7%
Other suggestions were
  • WI
  • Stargazing & astronomy
  • Any fitness i.e. Running
  • History Group
  • Rambling Group
  • Yoga
  • Dancing for all ages including line dancing
  • An occasional lunch or tea for OAP’s
  • Art & painting
  • Craft & textiles.
  • Walking group
  • Theatre trips
  • “It would be good to provide something for older people – could be covered by the afternoon socials. Some kind of coffee/tea and cake morning/afternoon with transport arranged for those who need it. If not maybe some sort of group to visit the elderly/housebound regularly to offer help/company if required. I know lots of villagers look after their elderly neighbours but I’m sure there are some who could do with more visits.”
How often do you visit the Fox pub?
Daily Weekly Monthly Less Never Did not answer
0.9% 23.5% 22.6% 39.1% 13.9% 3


Do you use the playing-field /playground? How often?
Yes No Daily Weekly Monthly Occa­sionally Did not answer
45.6% 54.4% 0 10 12 30 4
What extra facilities would you like to see?
Tennis Court Skate Park Cricket Archery Picnic Area
38 12 18 13 35
What might make you use it more often?
New and updated equipment would be the biggest incentive and also something for older children.

Golf driving nets, Zip wire, Badminton

Cycle ramps, Seats under trees, Trim trail, Covered picnic area, Squash court,

Bike track like at Steeple Aston, Netball hoop, were all suggested.

Several people thought that the play-ground is okay as it is but that the equipment probably needs updating. Similarly, some would like the playing field to be dog friendly. It was also suggested any extra facilities should be accommodated elsewhere in the village, such as the Pound.


Where do you do your weekly shopping? Other
Banbury Bicester Brackley Home Delivery London, Croughton Co-op, Kidlington, Fritwell, Deddington, Milton Keynes, Wrightons, Farm shops & farmers markets, Leamington
32.1% 27.3% 28.2% 12.4%

People do their weekly shopping pretty equally between Banbury, Bicester and Brackley with 12% using home delivery.


Do you visit the Community Market?
Always Occasionally Never Did not answer
15.7% 53.9% 30.4% 3
What might encourage you to use it more often?
More variety of food stalls, local produce and suppliers together with cheaper prices would all encourage people to use it more.

For families with children the main reason for not using the Community Market appears to be a conflict with out of school clubs and activities and it was suggested that maybe it should be run more frequently with later and longer opening times.


If we had a village shop would you use it? What would you expect it to stock? Other
Yes No Did not answer Everyday basics special items
  • Newspapers
  • Fresh bread
  • Wine and beer
  • Post office
  • Gluten free
  • Flowers
  • delicatessen
85.3% 14.7% 2 90 25

85% of people who returned the questionnaire would use a village shop if Souldern had one, with the majority wanting it to stock everyday basics. 54% would be prepared to be a part of a community venture to establish a village shop and three quarters of them would be willing to help staff it.

It is interesting to note that in the 1989 analysis when there was a village shop only a ‘very disappointing ‘18.66% used it regularly, 76.55% used it occasionally and 4.78% never used it at all.

Comments included—‘A village shop would make such a difference to Souldern & I would be very keen to support it’.

On the other hand, there was quite a bit of scepticism as to whether enough people would support it enough to make it viable, that it would be too expensive and opening hours would not accommodate working people. There was also some concern about the effect that a shop in Souldern would have on Wrightons in Fritwell.

Would you be prepared to be involved? What role? Other
Yes No Did not answer Financial Staffing
  • Stocking
  • Advice/support
  • Retail advisor
  • Window dressing/stacking shelves
  • Baking cakes & providing eggs
  • Logistics, purchasing, marketing
53.7% 46.3% 23 15 38


Do you use local tradesmen? Would you like a list with recommendations?
Yes No Did not answer Yes No Did not answer
83.8% 16.2% 1 86% 14% 4

NB: Many local trades people already advertise in the 3 Parishes


How often do you read the village notice boards? Do you subscribe to the 3 Parishes?
Weekly Monthly Occa­sionally Never Did not answer Yes No Un­aware Did not answer
24.1% 49.1% 3.6% 23.2% 6 76.9% 17.1% 6.0% 1
Would you like to be on a resident contact list?
Yes No Did not answer
58.1% 41.9% 13

The ‘resident contact list’ is an email service run by the Parish Council which notifies residents of meetings, events and information of interest and concern. Contact details for these bulletins also in ‘Useful information’ on P17

The 3 parishes is a local, monthly newsletter run by volunteers, which is delivered to your house, for £3 for 10 issues. Anyone who would like to subscribe contact details are included in ‘useful information’ on P17

There is also a quarterly Newsletter delivered to every household in the parish by the Parish Council. And don’t forget the village website


Should we be part of a neighbourhood watch scheme?
Yes No Did not answer
87.7% 12.3% 4
Why not ?
Of those that would not support a ‘Neighbourhood Watch’ scheme the main reasons given were that we are lucky enough for crime not really to be an issue in Souldern and that we are already a supportive community looking out for our neighbours. It was thought that a CCTV camera warning sign would be a strong deterrent against any unsociable activity, especially around village hall and play-ground.


Do you visit the Church or Chapel? How often do you visit church or chapel?
Church Chapel Neither Weekly Monthly Special Services Never Did not answer Did not answer
54% 11.5% 34.5% 12.9% 11.9% 55.4% 19.8% 5 17
Do you use the chapel Sunday School?
Yes No Did not answer
1.9% 98.1% 14
What might encourage you to visit church or chapel & comments?

66% of those who returned the questionnaire visit the Church or Chapel at some time whether it is for regular services or just for special occasions, while 34% never visit. Overwhelmingly the main reason for not using the church is the lack of facilities (toilets) and child/family friendly services. There were also comments about the church and the chapel needing to work alongside each other more. Lack of parking and lack of information about services.

It should be noted that the Church and the Chapel are now working together to provide for children, young people and families and that plans are in progress for facilities to be provided in the church


Should more houses be allowed? Should some areas be protected from development? Which areas?
Yes No Yes No Did not answer All of it
The Hill
Around church & allotments
Nancy Bowles Wood
Fields behind High Street
Conservation Area
Inner village
Wooded areas
Around pond
Main Street
32.1% 67.9% 85% 15% 12

Although it is felt by some that there should be some low cost housing to encourage young people who have grown up in the village to be able to afford to stay, the majority feel that there isn’t enough space within the village to build more homes and that the areas where there is space should be protected. It was widely felt that any new building or development should be in keeping with the rest of the village.

Conservation area: For future reference it should be pointed out that a re-appraisal of the Souldern conservation area has been running alongside the findings of the 2015 questionnaire. The results of which are not yet published.


Should we have street lights?
Yes No Did not answer
24.8% 75.2% 9

As you can see, the majority of respondents to the questionnaire would not like to have street lights in the village, and of those who would like street lights there were provisos for many, such as only having a few, strategically placed lights that are in keeping with the feel of the village.


Would you support RECYCLING BINS?
Yes No Did not answer
76.3% 23.7% 4

The main concern about recycling facilities was where they would be placed. For those that were in favour a bottle bank was top of the list


Do you already have Broadband? Are you happy with the service? Are you aware of the options?
Yes No Yes No Yes No
98 9 39 54 72 11
Which provider would you prefer?
BT Gigaclear Other
39 20 See Below

Broadband is one of the major developments since 1989 when home computing, smart phones, social media etc were not a part of everyday life. Since 1989 not only do we have broadband and the internet, but now we need ‘faster broadband’. The internet has allowed us to work from home and be able to communicate all over the world at the touch of a button. Files and information can be shared and stored somewhere up there in the Ethernet and paper is almost a thing of the past. Films can be downloaded and watched on a computer instead of on the television and music can also be downloaded onto phones etc rather than buying records or CDs.

Therefore one of the big issues in 2015 concerned the need for faster broadband and the question of who should supply it?

BT already supplied telecommunications in the village therefore some of the infra-structure was already in place but the necessary government funding for faster broadband was not forthcoming.

The alternative was Gigaclear who would have to dig up all the roads to lay new cables but would provide a much faster and more efficient service. After much ado and a public meeting the ‘village spoke’ and Gigaclear got the vote and is now available as an ultrafast broadband provider for every household.


Specific Issues raised by residents:

Dog Fouling has become an increased issue of late with a number of complaints about dog owners not picking up after their pets.

Since the questionnaire was circulated three dog litter bins have been supplied to alleviate the problem and have proved to be very successful, however, they have still not eradicated the problem. There are also free ‘poo bags’ available at points near the pond and on the corner of High Street opposite Bates Lane.

“Wheelie Bins—not being put away after emptying are unsightly and cause obstruction—Please put them out of sight”.

Footpaths—“Obstructed and badly maintained stiles prevent access by elderly and disabled walkers”

“Drains, gullies & verges should be maintained to prevent erosion & flooding of road surfaces”.

Bonfires: “There is not enough consideration when lighting bonfires especially during the summer when washing is hanging out and windows are open – Bonfires should not be lit until after 6pm in built up areas”

We should have an emergency plan

General Comments:

“Souldern is a lovely village overall and we are very lucky to live here. Any comments made are only to help improve an already good situation”.

“We have no concerns! Souldern is a wonderful village, and I am delighted to now be living back here. I hope with all the new faces here we can keep the community cohesion as it was when I lived here before”.

“This is a unique and beautiful village and it is a privilege to live here.

Please don’t spoil the look of the village with street signs, road humps and lamp posts. Its a lovely country village not a town”

“Please don’t turn this village into suburbia i.e. street lights, yellow lines etc.”

Post: “We think Paul the postman should be proposed for an Honour to recognise his care and concern for everyone, especially the needy.”

“An idea: Village ‘hire’ facility – info via a village website or similar – villagers share info about items they have that they are willing to loan/share to others in the village. Typically things we need only occasionally eg hedge trimmers/guest bed/chocolate fountain etc – perhaps for a donation to village causes.”

“Thanks for doing this!”