The Abingdon Blog

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

Saturday, 26 January 2008

Albert and Walter

Albert and Walter (two six-year old horses) were in town giving rides along Abbey Close to wedding guests at the Guildhall.

Save Radley Lakes tombola was also in town.

Friday, 25 January 2008

The old town calling

Last week brought floods, explosions, fire, and traffic jams.

Some old Abingdonians were disturbed and sat upright thinking they heard the old town calling them to duty. But it was too strange. The long line of traffic meant nothing to them.

Gordon Roger's last front page as the Abingdon reporter was about the Almshouses needing £1m. Reroofing +. Gordon may have been the last journalist dedicated to reporting exclusively on Abingdon. He talked to people: getting to know what was going on. He became part of the order of the town.

The graves have been settled down again, and secured, and await reconsecration. But it was like a warning things are getting out of order.

Moving out of retail

Next door to Busy Bee are two shops that have been empty for a considerable while. They were both charity shops. The far one was the Red Cross Shop. The near one was the Animal Sanctuary and the Co-op funeral service. Both have a sign TO LET. Both have 'Under Offer'.

One of them is looking to change from retail to financial and professional services (banks, lawyers, betting offices, estate agents, media etc) and seeks planning permission.

Another retail area looking for a change is the upstairs floors of what was Dawsons. They are seeking permission to change from retail to residential.

Thursday, 24 January 2008

not so Busy Bee

After about thirty years of trading the Busy Bee is to close at the end of the month. Sad but true.

The traffic up West St Helen Street is partly to blame. People are less inclined to stop their car to pick up a paper and loose their place in the angry traffic queue.

Wednesday, 23 January 2008

Another Chance Gone

The legal papers have all been signed. The Old Gaol's big secret is out. The details of the chosen developer, and three other contenders are on the Vale Web Site. 18 comments were added within the hour on the Abingdon Herald web site - a record. Most said 'Not more housing.'

The winning developer is Abingdon based Cranbourne Homes. You may have already seen their signs at the ex Ambulance Station and the ex Crossroads Garage. They have now added to their portfolio the ex Police Station and Old Gaol. Their offices are to be found in the courtyard behind the Brewery Tap in Ock Street.

Cranbourne Homes also own, and will be developing the adjoining Twickenham House at the same time as the Old Gaol complex to provide 61 homes in total. There will also be 14 units of affordable housing at Harcourt Way. A certain percent needs to be affordable in any development, and it appears that the rules allow them to be split across two locations.

Homes are the main business of Cranbourne Homes. But at the old Gaol there will also be:
  • Five to six restaurants and shops
  • Relocation of the Abingdon Bridge youth drop in centre to part of the Old Police Station on site
  • Access to the riverside garden through the ground floor of the Old Gaol, and side access from East St Helen Street.

So it could have been worse. It could have been all hotel and housing with a small area for local people to show their handicraft. It looks like the best one of the four schemes was chosen. But read the Wikipedia entry about Abingdon "For a town of its size, Abingdon is somewhat bereft of leisure facilities. The Regal Cinema closed in the 1980...etc etc..."

This is another chance gone.

Tuesday, 22 January 2008

More flood pictures

A few more flood pictures while it lasts:

From the submerged towpath looking towards Abingdon Bridge.

From about the same place looking towards the cricket / croquet pitch beyond the trees.

The blue childrens water feature shows above the water in the Abbey Meadows.

Looking from Abingdon Lock along the handrail of the submerged landing stage.

Branching from the Thames, the nearest of the two channels that rush away down swift ditch. A weir is down there somewhere.

Across river, and further upstream, a one-time lake, complete with rescue ring. The lake was filled with fly ash piped from a nearby power station about four years ago.

Nearby fields show how the land would lie without such industrial intervention.

Monday, 21 January 2008

Kingfisher Canoe Club Move

Next to Abingdon rowing club, the old Kingfisher Canoe Club hut is being demolished. The rowing club has planning permission to expand, so they can hold more boats ,and will need the land taken by the old hut.

The canoes can be seen some way behind the fire of the old hut.

The new hut is nearby and all ready.

Sunday, 20 January 2008

The Bishop of Oxford

The Bishop of Oxford was at St Helens for a United Service of the churches in Abingdon.

Bishop John has been in the job about six months.

People stayed on afterwards for tea, coffee and biscuits.

Near the end of the service people remembered Rev John Stanbury from All Saints Church, Abingdon, who passed away today after a long illness.