The Abingdon Blog

The Abingdon Blog is a photo record of events and places in Abingdon, Oxfordshire, started on January 1st 2006.

Saturday, 17 November 2007

Peoples Millions

On the Market Place today there was a boat. Gone Sailing, the project for disabled sailors, need an electric lift to give access to their pontoon at Farmoor Reservoir. They'll be going head to head with other worthy causes on Wednesday 28th November for ITVs People's Millions. They want our votes.

Also today, in Trinity church hall there was a Festive Fair to raise funds for another good cause: the organ needs restoring.

Friday, 16 November 2007

Flood Meeting - quick roundup

(Pictures taken on the Sunday Morning of the Ock flood)

(looking down Marcham Road)

Dr Evan Harris hosted a meeting tonight at which representatives from various agencies were asked questions by the public, and himself. Five months on, people were still angry at the lack of a flood warning. The Environment Agency (EA) explained that their flood warning control room, had only two people in it, and had been overwhelmed by the widespread flooding that day. They did not give a Flood Warning before the proper measures were in - for fear of being seen to be 'crying wolf'.

(Drayton Road Bridge)

Looking forward there were not that many ideas proposed to protect the whole area should it happen again, although the EA did guarantee a two hour Flood Warning next time.

(Looking across the fields from Mill Road towards Tesco)

The Environment Agency (EA) have a report out today. They said more dredging would not help. It could be useful removing the unused footbridge 'pinch point' near St Helens Mill, but that would only help a few properties. Dr Harris argued we should start there, and then work backwards - looking at widening the channel under the Drayton Road bridge, once the flow at the town end had been improved.

The EA are looking at a flood relief area just west of the A34 and Tesco - to hold more water from the Ock. Its still a possibility, but may not score high enough on the EA prioritisation system which calculates number of properties protected against cost. (And no, it's not the proposed reservoir!)

(Francis Little Drive)

Some people had been to the Flood Fair in Oxford yesterday to learn about 'flood resilient' repairs. The Flood Forum web site has more information. There is also likely to be such a fair in Abingdon, but people who had been said such devices can be expensive, and elderly people on pensions complained they could not afford them.

(bottom of Caldecott Road)

Just quickly finish the roundup: No improvement to the Stert River defence is envisaged at Tilsley Park. Downstream, the Stert Street culvert is to be improved in places. As always Radley Lakes got a big cheer, but the EA said NO to looking again at Radley Lakes ... in terms of flooding. The EA have limited manpower, and have had 25% cuts in funding recently (Dr Harris had already argued that it is central government must take a large part of the blame if the EA locally cannot afford to do what they should be doing, and he needed to know what could be done with more money in order to press central government.)

Thursday, 15 November 2007

Your Future

People gathered at the Guildhall for a café style discussion of the future of our district. They were presented with some of the big issues.

One subject was the economic vitality of town centres:

"Changes in shopping, working, and leisure habits... mean that the town centres of Abingdon, Faringdon, and Wantage are not enjoying the full benefits of the Vale's economic success... Residents are leaving their home town to work before the shops are open and returning after they are closed...They are using out of town superstores or travelling to large regional centres..."

Options to consider...
  • Create better local awareness of town centre shops
  • Resist out of town developments
  • Set up business improvement plans for the town centres
  • Improve the character of the towns through environmental improvements
  • Put on more events to encourage people into the town centres
  • Locate more houses near town centres
  • Encourage an evening economy

Didcot have turned their town centre around. They had enough derelict land near the town centre to start again, and built a new town centre adjacent to the old. It is like an out-of-town development in the town centre. The old bit may die off and be turned into housing but they have just moved sideways a bit.

I don't think we can copy that. There is not the room. But thinking caps on...

Wednesday, 14 November 2007

Burford Bridge

Abingdon Bridge is actually two bridges, separated by Nags Head Island.

The southern part, crossing the navigation channel, is also called Burford Bridge.

I hope not too many people comment that these are better than the usual pictures. My wife borrowed the camera and took these two :-)

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

The Rising Tide

These are some of the autumn poems, by year 6, displayed at the entrance of Thameside School. This has been one of the best of autumns when it comes to golden leaves.

Round the corner, and "Ahoy land lubbers!" the scene changes completely to a pirate ship, on which pupils chart their progress on the "Rising Tide" school attainment programme.

Monday, 12 November 2007

Fancy That

"Fancy That" opened on Saturday, selling jewellery and accessories. Sonia, who runs the shop, was one of the flood victims back in July. The shop premises also got flooded. But undeterred Sonia has created her dream shop.

It is located where Movies used to be on Ock Street.

Golden Kitchen can be seen across the road.

Sunday, 11 November 2007

Abingdon and troops honour war dead

Troops from Dalton Barracks were there to remember those who died in past and present conflicts.

Stan Bradford, the president of the Abingdon Royal British Legion said he wanted to thank the people of Abingdon for one of the biggest turnouts he had seen over many years.

These are the Abingdon veterans leaving the war memorial (with thanks to Abingdon walks for the picture).

And afterwards, individual came to look at the wreathes, or leave their poppies in the strips of grass.