On the Market Place this morning there was a Smoke Free Oxfordshire roadshow. They were signing up people who want to stop smoking in “Stoptober”. Stoptober is a national campaign encouraging people all across the country to stop smoking for 28 days (and beyond) from the 1st October. The team will also be on the Market Place for the next few Wednesdays.
A group of tandems were also seen coming through town on their way from Lambourn to Oxford. They are not a tandem club or anything official but thought it was just a good idea.
Guide dogs were to be seen about the town centre helping to raise money for training other guidedogs. We are at the start of Guide Dogs Week. Find out more from www.guidedogs.org.uk.
October 3, 2015
Thanks to Clare for this …
In October we are Standing Up to Cancer, a national campaign between Cancer Research UK and Channel 4 to raise funds for life-saving research.
Here at the Cancer Research UK shop in Bury Street, Abingdon, we have also designated October “Froctober” – a month in which staff and volunteers will every day be wearing dresses that have been donated to us.
We will be modelling 100 dresses throughout the month, raising money through sponsorship as well as through the sale of the dresses.
Cancer has touched too many people and these dresses demonstrate the generosity of our supporters. They range from high street favourites such as Boden and Karen Millen to designers like Diane von Furstenberg and Joseph Ribkoff.
Friday October 9 is “Froctober Friday”. Please join us by dressing up on Friday October 9 and making a donation. You can wear a frock or
something in the Stand Up to Cancer colours, which are orange, red, yellow, white or black.
You can follow the fashions on our Facebook and JustGiving pages:
October 2, 2015
There will be a Bun Throwing, and street party, to celebrate HM The Queens official 90th Birthday on Saturday 11th and Sunday 12th June 2016. “The Queen celebrates two birthdays each year: her actual birthday on 21 April and her official birthday on a Saturday in June.”
The museum also plan an exhibition on bun throwing at the same time. In the picture above, to celebrate the 2011 Royal Wedding, the bun throwing went ahead despite the County Hall being covered in scaffolding.
Scaffolding has returned in 2015 to help diagnose the cause of a vibration to the weather-vane heard in high winds… The County Hall Museum will change opening hours on Sunday in 2016 to be from 11am to 5pm (1 hour later opening and closing than other days)… The new Mousehole cafe in the basement is now being run with the help of a cafe supervisor and not exclusively by volunteers, and is doing better.
The Grants committee gave £1K, not the £2K requested by the Chamber of Commerce, to help run the Christmas Extravaganza, then noted at the end of the meeting that only 8.5% of the community grants budget had been committed so far even though it was half way through the year. An email was then sent to community groups encouraging applications be sent.
Clubs and Societies Day will be organised in Spring 2016 and up to £1K from these community grants will be used to hire a venue, as the Guildhall is not available.
The Town Council voted unanimously to use their votes to say Yes to the BID and set up a Business Improvment District in the town centre.
Sue sent me pictures of maintenance work being carried out on the chapels of rest in the Old Cemetary. This did not get a mention in the minutes. So anybody who knows what is going on let us know.
In the planning committee Mike Badcock said that “Additional mooring have been installed on the Thames and these interfere with historic fishing rights” so a Vale of White Horse officer invited to next planning meeting and explained all about moorings. There is a part time person to move people on who have stayed too long.
The council finally discussed motions proposed by Councillors:
Motion 1) That the council support the transition town initiative being led by Abingdon Carbon Cutters and as a council help take a lead by reducing its own carbon emissions by 20% by 2020, and aim to be carbon neutral by 2030. Votes went 7-7 with 3 abstentions and the Mayor used her casting vote to ensure the motion was passed.
Motion 2) Against the closure of Abingdon’s Children’s Centres. After discussion this matter was referred to the planning committee who normally reply to consultations, and all Councillors were invited.
October 1, 2015
There was a meeting of Abingdon Town Council this evening.
There had been a meeting of the Guildhall Committee, back in July, that outlined plans for the Guildhall redevelopment. The final plans will be agreed in November. The Town Council heard about progress on these plans from the architect this evening.
The main points are that there will be a new transparent (glass) entrance at ground floor level, down to the left of the picture, into what is currently the old unused cloakroom area, and backstage. That entrance area will have a bar area with tables, a reception, and a community space. Opposite the new ground floor entrance, new stairs will be added, and the existing lift will be refurbished.
Where the big old stage is currently (left of building), there will be rooms on three levels including community spaces, and storage, accessible by stairs or lift.
The current Abbey Hall will be designed as an acoustic box to allow cinema or performances, that won’t disturb neighbours. It may have raked seating, and the new stage, and cinema screen, will be opposite where the stage is currently.
A new platform lift, at ground level, will access the older Guildhall rooms .
The Town Council are set to undertake a Neighborhood Plan for the Abingdon-on-Thames area and have drawn up new town boundaries. They include the Drayton Road development; and green belt areas in North Abingdon set for development in the Vale of White Horse District Council’s Local Plan. The red line also takes in an area, the other side of the A34, known as Abingdon Common.
Upcoming events announced by the Mayor at the meeting included:
* Abingdon Fair Service at 8pm on 4th October.
* Les, the Residents Parking Warden is retiring next week, and there will be a reception for him.
* Mayor’s Charity Quiz at Long Furlong Community Centre this year. 23rd October. Tickets are £15 with buffet. It raises funds for the Over 70’s Christmas Party,
To be Continued.
September 30, 2015
Back in 2007 The Old Gaol still had the swimming pool building attached.
The opening of the White Horse Leisure Centre had led to the closure of the Old Gaol Leisure Centre. An attempt was made to turn it into an arts and leisure centre with library and possibly cinema, but there were not enough funds, and public opinion was against the library moving in any case.
So the Vale of White Horse District Council decided to sell the Old Gaol with the aim that the building satisfy 4 initial conditions:
* contribute to visual look of area
* encourage access to the courtyard, ground floor and riverside gardens
* make good use of the central riverside location and historic building
* be good value for money in terms of sale price, and if housing is included, it should have a mix of affordable housing.
Cranbourne Homes won the bidding. They were judged to be best value for money, providing an estimates £6.3m to the public purses.
Then the banking crisis hit in 2008 and according to an answer given by the Vale to Abingdon First under a Freedom of Information request, RBS withdrew its original funding agreement.
All these things were kept secret, and the contract renegotiated to keep it afloat. But now things have opened up, we hear “The final sale figure agreed by the Vale Council for the Old Gaol site is £3.2 million, which is well in excess of the next best tender bid when the site was marketed in 2007, plus £1 million towards affordable housing provision.”
The finishing touches are still being added. Balconies have been added to flats in the Old Gaol itself.
The original intention of the developers, in 2007, was to add a shop and 2 restaurants, but public opinion at that time was against a shop as there were empty shops elsewhere. And so the developers decided to go for 3 restaurants instead.
September 29, 2015