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Look for Local celebrates 1st Birthday

A popular local food scheme established in West Oxfordshire is celebrating its first anniversary this month.

This simple scheme identifies food produced within 30 miles of village shops with stickers so that customers can easily identify produce with low food miles.

During the past year the number of shops using the scheme to promote the local food that they sell has risen from three to ten. The scheme was trialled at Finstock, Ascott, and Chadlington village shops but has grown over the past year to include the Charlbury Good Food Shop, Filkins Community Shop, The Village Shop at Stanton Harcourt, Leafield Community Shop, The Spar Shop at Brize Norton, Enstone Village Stores and the Old Forge Store at Great Rollright.

Lynne Stubbles, the manager of the Good Food Shop at Charlbury said; “We like to stock good local food because it supports our community. It also helps to reduce our carbon footprint. Look for Local is a good way for customers to see where they are buying food that really is local.”

Many of the shops involved have benefited from a new initiative by Foxbury Farm at Brize Norton supplying small shops with quality local food. Colin and Di Dawes who run the award winning farm shop at Foxbury have been helping shopkeepers by acting as a ‘hub’ for the supply of local food. Di Dawes said “many village shops want to sell quality local food but find it difficult to order small quantities direct from producers. We are bridging the gap between producers and village shops. Local food is good news for everyone.” Foxbury Farm will be promoting home produced sausages and burgers at barbeques held outside participating village shops throughout July and August allowing the villagers to have a real taste of local food.

Village shops often have a good range of local food but it is not always easy for customers to identify it at a glance. Look for Local bridges that gap by assisting shop managers with stocking, labelling and promotion. James Pavitt, Look for Local project manager said “We have been getting positive feedback from participating shops that are selling more and more local food as a result of the Look for Local promotion. That is a great result for us.”

(from a press release)

Richard Fairhurst · Sun 24 Jun 2007, 17:40 · Link


End of the road for newsagents?

Proprietors of News & Things, Veronica and Bill Jones, have announced their intention to close the shop and cafe.

A letter delivered to newspaper delivery customers reads:

"We have applied to West Oxfordshire District Council Planning department for change of use for News & Things shop and cafe to residential.

"This will not affect your newspaper and magazine deliveries, which will continue unaffected whatever the outcome.

"Since the Co-op moved from Sheep Street to the Spendlove Centre, our footfall (the number of people visiting the shop) has fallen by about 40% and our 'over the counter' sales have dropped by nearly 30%. As a result the business is no longer viable.

"It is therefore with great regret that we have been forced to make this application. However, we would like to reiterate that deliveries will be unaffected regardless of the planning department's decision."

You can view the application by going to the West Oxfordshire planning site and searching for application 07/1008/P/FP.

Richard Fairhurst · Fri 15 Jun 2007, 14:22 · Link


District council looking for home for dogs

West Oxfordshire District Council is looking for homes for five recently picked-up stray dogs.

From a press release:

Five stray dogs have been picked up in the past month by West Oxfordshire District Council – and the search is on to find each of them a new home.

The stray dogs were collected from different locations in West Oxfordshire and are being kept at Council-appointed kennels. They include a:

  • Sandy-coloured Lurcher cross
  • Black and white Collie cross
  • Black and tan terrier (pictured)
  • Black Staffordshire terrier
  • Black terrier

The Council collects about 100 stray dogs every year. Wherever possible, dogs are returned to their owners. If this is not possible, they are taken to kennels and owners have 7 days to claim their dogs. Some unclaimed dogs go to rescue centres and some are re-homed by the Council.

Cllr David Harvey, the Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment, said: “The Council is always keen to match dogs with new owners who will be able to provide the care and attention the dogs need in return for the companionship and affection that owning a dog can bring. Wherever possible, we re-home dogs with families who don’t have children under the age of 12. We are very eager to speak to anyone who thinks they may be to help give a home to one of these 5 dogs.”

Home checks will need to be carried out before any of the dogs are re-homed. All re-homed dogs will require a microchip identification implant costing £10.20, which must be paid for by the new owners.

Further details, including photographs of the dogs, are available on the Council’s website www.westoxon.gov.uk. You can register your interest in re-homing a dog via the website by filling in an online application form. Alternatively, call 01993 861020.

You can also report stray dogs by filling in a form on the Council’s website.

Richard Fairhurst · Tue 12 Jun 2007, 13:01 · Link


Riverside expected to sell out

From the Oxford Mail:

Nearly all the tickets have been snapped up for the revival of Charlbury's Riverside Festival at its idyllic site by the banks of the Evenlode.

The level of demand is great news for the festival organisers and for fans who had to miss out last year when the event was cancelled due to licensing problems.

It is being held in Mill Field this weekend, June 16-17, with two stages and tickets for 2,500 fans on each day.

The festival was the brainchild of musicians Andy Pickard and Chris Wray.

They have seen a small musical event, originally started in 1995 as part of a community festival, grow to attract thousands of visitors and dozens of bands.

Mr Pickard said: "It's great to be back after missing out last year when the police objected.

"We now have a security firm, the same as are at the Cornbury Festival, and no-one will be allowed in without a ticket, even though they are issued free.

"We were also fortunate to get Sambala Developments to back us by sponsoring the main stage.

"There is a lot going on both days on both stages, plus a cinema showing films throughout the weekend. This is the largest line-up we've ever had and among the local bands playing on the main stage are two from our own place, Charlbury, The Life of Riley and Tristan and the Troubadours.

"The second stage, for younger bands, is being put further along Mill Field than in the past. We have been conscious to keep noise down for the sake of residents."

Although the festival is free, organisers are charging £10 a head for overnight camping, with a maximum limit of 200 campers, on a site between the cricket club and the river.

Full details are at website www.riversidefestival.charlbury.com Music starts on the Saturday at 2pm, finishing around 9pm, while on Sunday it is from mid-day to 8pm.

The festival takes a breather once the riverside event is over before it reappears with its own stage at the Cornbury Music Festival just a mile away on July 7 and 8.

Richard Fairhurst · Tue 12 Jun 2007, 12:52 · Link


New galleries and website features

Dave Murphy has kindly provided two excellent new galleries of photos - one of this year's Open Gardens event, and one of June's Farmers' Market.

If you have a community page on the website, you can now also add a small number of pictures or PDFs to your page. (You'll need to be confident in saving JPEG images at web resolution to do this.) If you're interested, please e-mail me at the usual address (see link at the foot of the page)!

Finally, as many will know, the Charlbury Website featured as one of the lead items on BBC South Today last week. The TV news programme highlighted the commuter blog's role in chronicling the poor service offered by First Great Western, with interviews with website regular and town councillor Susie Finch, and district councillor Mike Breakell.

Richard Fairhurst · Sun 10 Jun 2007, 22:25 · Link


Gist of David Cameron's letter re Trains

This is a precis of the letter David Cameron sent following his meeting back in March with FGW. Lets see what happens!

Short term
FGW said they would work hard to improve the very poor level of service. They have made some incremental changes to the timetable which came into effect yesterday. For instance, the 06.03 from London Paddington through to Worcester – a problematic service which has continually impacted on the punctuality of trains coming in the opposite direction – has been brought forward to 05.52. This should help with the punctuality of the morning services to Oxford and London along the Cotswold Line.

I pressed them very hard about whether there are any other things they could do or change that would make a difference, particularly for those people commuting from Charlbury and Hanborough to Oxford and London, and they said they would look into this carefully.

Medium term
FGW have made clear pledges on a number of fronts.

First, the implementation of a new customer information system. Initially this will go out to tender for six months. The implementation of the new system will then take a further twelve months to complete.

Second, the replacement of the Adelante trains with High Speed Trains (HSTs). They accepted the inadequacy of the Adelantes in contributing to the current problems and have committed themselves to introducing the HSTs to coincide with the introduction of the new timetable at the end of the year. They told me that they would have selective door opening and so would be able to stop at stations with short platforms.

Long term
Network Rail gave a presentation about the prospect of redoubling the Cotswold Line. If this consists of a partial upgrade between Oxford and Moreton-in-Marsh, then this could happen as soon as 2010. If it is to be a comprehensive redoubling then it could take longer. They explained the process behind their proposal, and they said they would come back to us in October after feasibility studies have been carried out.

Susie Finch · Fri 8 Jun 2007, 18:02 · Link


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