News index


District gears up to welcome top cycle race

Cyclists, councillors and residents got on their bikes to mark the West Oxfordshire launch of the OVO Energy Tour of Britain race.

A special event highlighting the benefits the race will bring to the District when it passes through on 9 September was held in Charlbury.

As well as the impressive range of modern cycles and their riders, guests and visitors were able to view a penny farthing and other veteran machines while posing for pictures with a coach kindly provided by the Oxford Bus Museum which is celebrating its 50th year of vintage vehicle preservation at Long Hanborough.

Sally Graff, Tourism and Business Support Manager at West Oxfordshire District Council, said: "Everyone is so enthusiastic about the race coming to West Oxfordshire and we expect visitor numbers in Charlbury to rise significantly which will also boost local businesses and hopefully leave a lasting legacy."

More than 120 top cyclists will pass through towns and villages including Wootton, Charlbury and the Wychwoods before continuing through the Cotswolds, eventually finishing in Cheltenham town centre.

As part of the Charlbury celebrations, there will be big screen coverage of the race in the Memorial Hall; Charlbury Museum will feature a special cycling display while Dr Bike will offer a free cycle check and maintenance help. And there will be a special 'Ride the Tour' event for youngsters. The event will also coincide with the opening of the new £2m Community Centre.

Meanwhile, Milton-under-Wychwood has arranged a Decorate Your Bike competition, a family ride while it will also welcome cyclists in the Ride and Stride event being organised by the Oxfordshire Historic Churches Trust.

The lead cars are scheduled to arrive in Charlbury from around 12.49pm with the riders following shortly after and following through to Milton-under-Wychwood around 1.07pm onwards .
Cllr Jeanette Baker, Cabinet Member for Leisure and Health at West Oxfordshire District Council, added: "This will be an exciting event to watch but we are also keen to promote the health benefits of cycling to local residents and schools."

Charlbury Town Council Member Richard Fairhurst, who has helped co-ordinate activities around the visit of the race, said: "Charlbury is becoming a hub for cycling as it is at the centre of some wonderful roads passing through beautiful Cotswolds countryside.

"We also have some great caf├ęs, pubs and churches which can become a focal point for people enjoying a cycle ride in the area. It also has a station making it easily accessible for visitors and locals alike."

To help promote towns on the tour route the tourism team have just launched a short social media film of Charlbury which can be viewed at

Pic shows front row L-R: Martin Hallam, Milton-under-Wychwood Parish Council; Cllr Andy Graham, (WODC member for Charlbury & Finstock); Cllr Jeanette Baker, WODC Cabinet Member for Leisure and Health and Sally Graff, WODC Tourism & Business Support Manager.

The race is a major cycling event for the UK. It also has the potential to draw a large number of visitors and spectators, bringing considerable economic boost, increased overnight stays and provides the opportunity to showcase the Cotswolds. For example, in 2013 the Sidmouth to Dartmoor stage attracted 188,000 day visitors and 62,000 overnight visitors so Charlbury could be inline for a lot of visitors.

Sat 19 Aug, 09:47 · Link


On Monday 14th August, Chris Willy, a long-time supporter of the Charlbury Community Centre and his grandson enjoyed a wonderful flight with Lord Rotherwick over Charlbury and its surroundings. 'My grandson particularly enjoyed sitting in the front and learning about some of the controls and various dials!' said Mr Willy after his flight experience. 'The views were magnificent despite the light cloud, and all in all we had a fantastic morning in the skies above Charlbury.'

Mr Willy won the flight, kindly donated by Lord Rotherwick, at a charity auction at Ditchley Park in aid of the new Charlbury Community Centre.

The Thomas Gifford Trust would like to thank Mr Willy for his enduring support and Lord Rotherwick for donating the flight and his time all in aid of the new Community Centre.

Marjorie Glasgow, Chair, Thomas Gifford Trust

daniela jenkins · Fri 18 Aug, 09:30 · Link

Pickleball Launch

Following my post around mid July, I'm pleased to report that we have secured our first club session booking which takes places on Friday nights from 8:00pm to 10:00pm starting 8 September 2017.

Our initial trial booking is for 10 weeks and membership options are:

Full membership - £40

Anytime 5 week membership - £25 followed by £5 per night

Visitor fee - £6 per night for up to 2 sessions - this is aimed at those trying out the club without having to commit to a fee initially - if you then want to join, you'll be upgraded to a membership option that suits.

Between now and the official opening, there is the possibility of a free taster session - please contact me asap if you're interested. Email

Hope to see as many Charlbury residents as we can come along and enjoy the sport.

Vijay Desor · Tue 15 Aug, 17:39 · Link

The Community Centre - more fencing comes down

Following the reopening last weekend of the permissive footpath that provides access from Nine Acres Lane to the Co-op, The Thomas Gifford Trust is happy to be able to let everyone know that more of the site-protection fencing has now been removed. This means that the direct access from the front of the Pavilion to the Community Centre forecourt is now open again, and some car parking spaces are available next to the WODC carpark. For the time being, please do not park closer to the front of the Community Centre than this, as our contractors are still at work there.

Some areas where construction tidying-up and landscaping still needs to be done remain fenced off for your safety.
Please do not try to move any of these fencing panels in order to take short-cuts. We will be removing them just as soon as it is safe to do so.

Simon Walker · Tue 15 Aug, 15:48 · Link

Latest planning applications to West Oxfordshire District Council

The following planning applications have recently been lodged. Click on the address to see full details at the WODC website.

Mon 14 Aug, 08:00 · Link

Southill Community Energy (SCE) and Thomas Gifford Trust (TGT)

SCE wishes to congratulate TGT for the completion of the amazing new library and sports centre which will be huge assets to the town. We look forward to their opening in September.

As many people will be aware, SCE is a community renewables cooperative with a commitment to distribute some of its surpluses to benefit the community. When we applied for planning permission for the solar farm in 2014, we gave a commitment - made binding in our subsequent Section 106 agreement - to provide grant funding of up to £100,000 to the TGT to help ensure that the building uses as little energy as possible to help minimise future running costs.

SCE has been engaged from the outset with the TGT's design and construction process, providing advice and guidance to the trustees on how best to deliver a low energy building. This was in addition to the donation of £242,000 from the Charlbury Motor Fire Brigade Fund to the TGT which had attached to it a condition that TGT use best endeavours to deliver a building to the passivhaus energy standard if possible.

TGT made various improvements to the building's design to improve its intended energy performance, and made financial commitments to have these included during the course of their negotiations with the selected contractor. Training was also provided for the contractor who subsequently delivered a building with minimal air leakage - a real achievement. As part of its contract with Solar Century, SCE was able to make the first contribution of its S106 commitment by providing the solar panels that were installed on the roof.

Meanwhile, SCE was raising funds from the community and banks during 2016, and was able to sign contracts for the construction of the solar farm, which was commissioned in November 2016. It has now been operating for nine months, and so far is generating electricity in line with expectations.

Unlike a commercial developer, SCE was not able to deliver on its S106 commitments by paying funds to the TGT upfront before the solar farm was operating because it had no reserves of cash on which to draw. SCE has to be operating for a year, and to be able to calculate its surpluses, from which the community benefit can be paid. All our members have agreed to forgo their interest payments this year, so all of our surplus will be going to the TGT.

The Section 106 agreement does not mandate a timescale over which the funds are to be paid out. However, the SCE board recognises that the TGT has incurred considerable costs to date and it is the intention of SCE to make the funds available as soon as possible within the constraints of its financial performance and the community benefit society and accounting rules by which it is governed.

The SCE board wishes to be entirely clear that there is no question whatsoever over the commitment made to the Trust.

Liz Reason, chair of SCE on behalf of the board

Liz Reason · Sat 12 Aug, 12:58 · Link

Launch event of Charlbury's Tour of Britain involvement

Launch event for Charlbury's involvement in the Tour of Britain cycle race which will be coming to West Oxfordshire on 9 September.

Outside the Bull Inn, Sheep Street, Charlbury OX7 3RR

On Thursday 17 August, 10.30am

Information: Vintage cycles along with a bus from the Oxford Bus Museum Long Hanborough will be available for photos along with bigwigs from Charlbury Town Council, West Oxfordshire District Councils and Cotswold councils who will be on hand to explain what is happening in the town to mark the occasion

Reporters and photographers are welcome to attend. The event will be subject to weather on the day.

Fri 11 Aug, 11:56 · Link

Planning Application Update

At this afternoon's meeting of the WODC Uplands Area Planning Sub-committee, the Vanderbilt Homes' application to build eight new houses at the bottom of Hixet Wood (17/00889/FUL) was considered but a decision was deferred to allow further consideration by officers of the implications of the site being with the Cotswolds AONB, possible flooding implications, and affordable housing requirements. Committee members would have liked to add traffic issues on Hixet Wood to this list but were unable to do so as OCC Highways department had made no objection to the application.

Peter Kenrick · Mon 7 Aug, 17:00 · Link

Knights in Action Holiday Club - what a week!

What a week we had - knights, games, crafts, songs and fun had by all. Many thanks to all the children that came along during the week - about 70 in total. We hope you had a brilliant time. See you next year!

Join us at Messy church on September 24th for Messy Harvest.

Jo Paton · Mon 7 Aug, 11:30 · Link

Latest planning applications to West Oxfordshire District Council

The following planning applications have recently been lodged. Click on the address to see full details at the WODC website.

Mon 7 Aug, 08:00 · Link

Charlbury Website © 2016. Contributions are the opinion of their authors. Heading photo by David R Murphy. Code/design by Richard Fairhurst. Contact us. Follow us on Twitter. Like us on Facebook.