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Charlbury - the visitors' view

The annual study visit to Charlbury by a group of Canadian students is underway, and many of the visitors are keeping blogs (online diaries) of their visits - have a look and see how we appear to the outside world!

Richard Fairhurst · Sun 27 Jan 2008, 13:18 · Link


Speed checks on Sturt Road

From the Oxford Mail:

"Nineteen drivers were caught speeding in Charlbury today (Wed 23rd).

"Police were carrying out speed checks in Sturt Road between 8am and 10am as part of Operation Pride and issued fixed penalty notices of £60 and three penalty points to those caught.

"They were offered the option of having their ticket cancelled if they spoke to a road safety officer about the dangers of speeding and all accepted the offer. One motorist had his car seized for driving without insurance."

Richard Fairhurst · Sun 27 Jan 2008, 13:17 · Link


Charlbury Community Centre meeting 15th Feb at 8 o/c

The Thomas Gifford Trust invites you to a public meeting at the Memorial Hall at 8 o/c on Friday 15th February.

Come along and hear about the progress made in achieving a new community facility on the Spendlove site in the centre of Charlbury. We expect to have the architects appointed to develop the project at the meeting

The evening will enable you to hear what the Trust, and its fund raisers, has achieved in recent months and give you a chance to comment on the way the project is developing.

We welcome everyone long and would be please to receive all constructive comment on how we achieve our aim of a community centre for all residents of the town.

For queries or further information contact Trevor.Jones@ophiopogon.com

russell robson · Wed 23 Jan 2008, 18:08 · Link


Plans announced to improve Charlbury Station

There's more good news for rail users with the following news from the County Council...

Oxfordshire County Council is starting major improvement work at Charlbury Station as part of its continuing investment to upgrade local rail stations.

Charlbury is one of the busiest stations along the Cotswolds and Malverns Line, and its popularity is increasing every year.

The county council has been working with the train company First Great Western and Charlbury Town Council on ways to improve the station for the increasing number of passengers.

Some improvements are already in place and more are due to follow over the next two years. The latest work, worth £170,000, is being funded by the county council, with a contribution from First Great Western.

What does the work include?

  • A new footpath from Dyers Hill along the station approach road;
  • Footpath lighting to improve safety and security;
  • Widening the station approach to reduce congestion at busy times;
  • Resurfacing station approach and some of the car park to allow more parking;
  • Security and safety fencing.

Once complete, the work will make it easier and safer for pedestrians and cyclists to reach the station and better overall for the many people from West Oxfordshire who use the station every day.

If a funding bid to the Department for Transport is successful, the county council and First Great Western intend carrying out further work at the station later this year.

Councillor Ian Hudspeth, Oxfordshire County Council's Cabinet Member for Transport Implementation, said: ‘We are committed to enhancing the station environment at Charlbury, making it a safer and more pleasant experience for all station users. Improvements are long overdue and I am delighted the county council has now been able to make them happen.”

Richard Rowland, First Great Western’s Regional Manager, commented: “Charlbury is an important station for us and we have already renovated the listed station building.

"We are pleased to be working with the county council again by providing funding for the latest improvements. I hope our passengers will appreciate our joint efforts.”

Ed · Tue 22 Jan 2008, 17:04 · Link


Charlbury Primary School Needs a School Crossing

Anyone who regularly crosses The Slade knows that the steady increase in traffic flow over the years has made this road the busiest in Charlbury. The Slade has long been used as a thoroughfare for both commercial and private vehicles between Chipping Norton and Witney.

More recently, increased residential development in Charlbury has added to the steady flow and the number of motorists exceeding the 30 mph limit on The Slade has made crossing The Slade even riskier for pedestrians.

The closest legal crossing is a half-mile from the primary school entrance. The school has had to rely on a patrol person to ferry children across the busy corner directly in front of the school.

Unfortunately, this is only possible in the mornings and afternoons for twenty minutes at a time. Children who are late to school for medical appointments or wish to attend after school activities including the regular after school 3’clock club, must rely on their parents or staff to escort them across The Slade or be dropped off and picked up by car,

The Oxford County Council has responded to parents concerned with having a safe crossing that there are many such problem areas in Oxfordshire that have actually accrued casualties and thus have been given priority for school crossings.

No one wants to wait for a serious accident to occur to any of our children or any pedestrian before taking preventive action. Therefore, a proposal has been made to the Oxfordshire County Council to implement a proper school crossing on The Slade directly in front of the primary school that will provide a safe right of way to students and pedestrians trying to cross the road during school term before, during and after school hours.

The congestion and speed problem on The Slade is growing and is obvious to anyone who regularly walks their children to school. The frequency of near misses has also increased with an alarming number of motorists barely able (or willing), to come to a full safe stop during the rush hours even when the patrol person is on duty.

If you would like to add your voice of support to this initiative by parents and some governors at Charlbury Primary School, the time to write is now:

Contact local county councillor Sue Haffenden sue.haffenden@oxfordshire.gov.uk and Highways Officer Paul Wilson paul.wilson@oxfordshire.gov.uk directly and express your concerns and your desire for a safe pedestrian school crossing on The Slade for Charlbury Primary School

Let’s not regret what could have been when tragedy can still be averted.

Igor Goldkind · Tue 22 Jan 2008, 10:34 · Link


Oxford Mail reports from public railway meeting

Last Friday saw a public meeting called by David Cameron MP, after the Charlbury Website highlighted the appalling train service currently provided by First Great Western.

Regular poster William Crossley reported on the meeting for the Oxford Mail:

A First Great Western boss tonight admitted to Cotswold Line commuters his rail service was "unacceptable".

And Mike Carroll, First Great Western's route manager for London and the Thames Valley, also said he could not justify this year's fare increases as he faced dozens of commuters and passengers at a public meeting at the Corner House, in Charlbury.

But he pledged to take steps to drive up performance and "stop shooting ourselves in the foot".

Witney MP and Conservative Party leader David Cameron told the standing room only meeting he had received a massive amount of correspondence from angry rail users about poor performance on the route between Oxford and Worcester.

Mr Carroll said: "The level of service we have provided is unacceptable and is unacceptable to us as well. I apologise profusely."

First Great Western had made promises in the past that had not been delivered, he added.

The meeting heard that the performance of a new timetable introduced last month was being reviewed on a daily basis.

When asked by Mr Cameron if the timetable was deliverable, Mr Carroll replied that he thought it was.

Mr Carroll added: "If we stop shooting ourselves in the foot and work with Network Rail, we can get the reliability we need. We won't throw away the timetable."

Caroline Shenton, who commutes daily to London, told the meeting she now caught a train an hour earlier than before to ensure she was at work on time, because of the unreliability of the service.

She added: "Our priority is punctuality. We want a reliable service we can get to Oxford, Reading and Paddington."

Passenger Malcolm Harper said: "In the past six months, 70 per cent of the trains I have caught have been at least 15 minutes late or did not run at all. Really, I'm just fed up with it."

When quizzed about the recent fare increase, Mr Carroll said he could not justify it, but added: "We were expecting performance to be much better when we took that decision."

Mr Cameron listed a series of points for action and asked Mr Carroll to attend a follow-up meeting at Easter.

The list included improved information systems at the stations, clear information about management responsibilities and action on providing overnight stabling facilities for trains at Hereford and Worcester.

Mr Carroll said work to repair power supplies at sidings in Hereford was due to be completed within a week.

After the meeting, Mr Carroll told the Oxford Mail: "It is clear these people are passionate about their railway service. I'm passionate about giving them a good service."

Mr Cameron said: "It was a very productive meeting. I welcome the frankness and candour from FGW.

"I sense that they want to make promises and stick to them. We want to get this sorted out. It's a vitally important issue, causing huge upset, not just in Charlbury, but more widely."

Richard Fairhurst · Mon 21 Jan 2008, 17:46 · Link


Sandbags available

20 tonnes' worth of sandbags have been stockpiled at Charlbury Fire Station in anticipation of flooding.

To request sandbags, phone 01993 861000 during working hours, or 01993 705056 at other times.

Richard Fairhurst · Fri 18 Jan 2008, 10:55 · Link


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