Barriers are stacked on the Market Place.
Notices have been put up warning people not to leave cars or bikes in town. Road closures will be in operation. The streets in the town centre have been gone over a couple of times, and will be gone over once more, in the early hours, with a street cleaner.
The Parade will leave the Fire Station in Ock Street at 09:35 and arrive on the Market Place by 09:45. HRH the Princess Royal will arrive at 10:00 when the ceremonies will take place, following which the 12 LSR will parade though the Town, with the Princess taking the salute.
May 23, 2013
A week or so ago Colin and Jenny Wiggins were here for a visit. They emigrated to the US in 1959 to further their scientific careers, and now live on Long Island, near New York. (Colin sometimes sends interesting old pictures of Abingdon and leaves an occasional comment on the blog.)
Jenny is pictured in the current edition of the Abingdon News where there is a feature on the Early History of Science at Abingdon School. Both Colin and Jenny studied science at Abingdon School (Jenny was at St Helen and St Katherine and used the facilities at S Level). Both went on to become President of the Oxford University Scientific Society.
Abingdon School have planning permission for a new Science Centre with 21 labs and other facilities. Currently Science subjects are very popular at the school, and they need more space.
The new centre will be paid for out of reserves, a loan, and the generosity of Old Abingdonians, and other sponsors. The new facility will not only benefit teaching of science but will free up space elsewhere for teaching other subjects.
(Last 2 pictures borrowed from Abingdon School website.)
May 22, 2013
Today began the 4 day planning appeal by Hallam, of Sheffield, against the decision of the Vale of White Horse District Council to refuse planning permission for 160 homes in a field south of Abingdon-on-Thames.
The QC representing Hallam was well polished in his opening submission. He produced a printed opening brief. It said that 64 of the dwelling (40%) will be affordable. That the council has been unable to demonstrate a five-year supply of housing.
Regarding highways, Hallam have modelled the Drayton Road mini roundabout, and suggest moving the pedestrian crossing to the other side will help accomodate the extra traffic. But the polish did perhaps hide a lack of local knowledge. For example regarding disposal of foul sewage he said that “Servern Trent have no objection to the proposals subject to appropriate conditions.”
The magistrate representing the council had no printed opening submission, and seemed less polished but better briefed on the local traffic situation. He talked about the damage done to the Lime Trees bordering the site. He said we are in a temporary period where there is not a five years supply of housing, and this will be rectified by 2014. He said that the traffic models produced by Hallam did not correspond with reality and that moving the pedestrian crossing was not an option on grounds of safety and convenience. Another effect of this change would be to have traffic backing up along Ock Street into an air quality management area.
So over the next 4 days, 3 expert witnesses will be called by Hallam (for planning, environment, and highways). 4 expert witnesses will be called by the district council (for the same areas).
On Thursday at 10:10 Nicola Blackwood MP speaks as an interested party. More expert witnesses follow her. Then from 16:10 on Thursday more local interested parties will speak.
On Friday morning closing submissions will be made, and the pre conditions decided should the development be allowed.
The final decision is likely to be in August. The Inspector said he had an open mind at the outset. In this case, he will be looking to balance the benefits of more housing against the harm. For him the key issues are: the location being outside a settlement, the traffic, landscape, and the need for housing.
May 21, 2013