The Abingdon Blog

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

Saturday, 18 October 2008

Old Gaol Plans

The planning application for the Old Gaol development were published a week ago, and the Abingdon Herald has done a front page on it with the title: Gaol deal 'should be renegotiated'. One of the factors on which the original decision was made was value for money. The newspaper reports that the district council will get less money for the site than when the developer was first chosen - before the credit crunch and the detailed plans, but the actual figures are not yet in the public domain.

Main points of the Old Gaol plan itself:

New vehicle access onto Bridge Street will be provided by demolishing part of the old Police Station (the picture is from the earlier model). The swimming pool building will also be demolished.

The plan sees the conversion of the Old Gaol to restaurants and apartments. It was to be restaurants and shops and apartments, but the developers have listened to local opinion, voiced back in January, and dropped the shops and added more restaurant space. There are three restaurants: one in the Old Gaol and one in each of the two buildings, pictured in front of the Old Gaol, on Bridge Street.

Other features of the plan include:
  • a pedestrian walk way from East St Helen Street next to Twickenham House
  • more apartments to the back
  • underground parking
  • public open space fronting the river
  • the Bridge young peoples centre moves from cottages next to the river to part of the police station further up
You can see all the details on the Vale District Council Planning Web Site. ( .... select planning applications... select view and comment on application online... then Application Search: 08/01238/LBC . )

The District Council are involved in this as vendors who chose this developer, and as the planning authority that decides the application, so that must add a complication.

Friday, 17 October 2008

Jeepers, Creepers!

Fabulous Flowers have an autumn display. Next door have moved on to do Christmas.

Still there is time to enjoy a few autumn leaves before it is too late. Here are some golden leaves, across the River Thames from The Old Anchor Inn,

and red trees from Rye Farm Car Park,

and a yellow tree between Healey Close and the River Ock.

Finally, Jeepers, Creepers! How big the creepers have grown - at the Albert Park!

This weekend is the Abingdon Craft Fair, and the Abingdon Marathon - good photo opportunities hopefully!

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Global Awareness Badge

When over in Abingdon, Virginia, for the 230th anniversary celebrations, Pat, our Mayor, and several other visitors, were interviewed about life in the UK by this young lady - Claire, aged 9. She was working on her global awareness Girl Scout badge.

Claire was suprised so much was alike, and that children in the UK have the same games and toys - like Barbies, and enjoy the same things like computers and dance class. She heard about differences between the towns, such as the more readily available bus and rail services over here. In Abingdon, Virginia, properties are more spaced out, and there is far less public transport.

Claire found it funny that what she calls "hiking" we call "rambling." (she lives close to the Appalachian Trail where hiking is big). To her "going to go raaahhmmbling" sounds much more romantic spoken in a British accent. (Thanks to her mum Leslie for most of the words here.)

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Blog Action Day 2008 - full toubab!

On blog action day bloggers try to write about the same subject on the same day - this year on October 15th the topic is Poverty.

The one example of of the word 'Poverty' I found today in Abingdon was in the Oxfam shop window where you can "Bring in your unwanted M&S clothes, get a £5 M&S voucher and help to end poverty .

In the year 2000 over £50,000 was raised for the Abingdon Millenium project. It included donations from Abingdon Virginia. There is no millenium monument to show for it - no sculpture on the Market Place. Instead, the money went to help fund WaterAid projects in Ethiopia and India.

The idea came from Margaret Rickmann, who with Allan Rickmann - not the actor, left Abingdon about 4 years ago to work for VSO (voluntary Service Overseas) in the Gambia, and then in Cambodia. They did return for a couple of months in 2006 to Abingdon, UK and Margaret wrote on the Rickmann Travelog with a feeling of reverse culture shock:

Day two back in UK. An efficient but pleasant banking experience. A walk along a tarred road. Buses, no rubbish, and cool enough temperatures to walk at high speed - full toubab!

"Let's get a bus back." Allan stuck his hand out.

Ïn UK you need to go to a bus stop"-Ah! of course.

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

A fishing gnome

I was asked to investigate this gnome somewhere near Abingdon Town Centre. He is a fishing gnome and is to be seen with a little wooden aeroplane. Having shown his whereabouts on this blog I hope he doesn't get nicked. He could be the start of a gnome gathering.

Monday, 13 October 2008

Runaway Fair

The runaway fair, another Abingdon tradition, happens a week after the Michaelmas Fair. It is set up on Sunday. It runs on Monday. Road changes are needed because it takes place on the Market Place and High Street.

The iron bridge direction for example is reversed.

The Drayton Road traffic appeared to be feeling the effects, but there are many factors can cause problems here.

Sunday, 12 October 2008

The Big Draw

The Big Draw is a national event held in 1000 UK venues during October, from scout huts to national museums and underneath Abingdon County Hall.

The Abingdon event yesterday was run by artists from John Mason School, Abingdon. The children made and coloured cardboard buildings.