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Return of the Fair

Thomas Gifford's Trust are please to announce the return of the traditional fair to the Playing Close, after a number of years away from Charlbury.

The touring fair has visited many local communities during the summer months and is very much part of rural life, but has missed out Charlbury in recent years.

The fair will be on the Playing Close from 6th to 10th July, and provide an extra attraction during the weekend of the Beer Festival.

The monies received from the fair will provide much needed income to the trust for the upkeep of the Playing Close, which provides a green space in the centre of the town.

russell robson · Thu 31 Mar 2011, 20:20 · Link


WILDERNESS FESTIVAL AT CORNBURY PARK ANNOUNCED, 12-14 AUGUST 2011

Cornbury Park is delighted to be hosting Wilderness, a pioneering new festival of music, food, learning, literature and rejuvenation, set to redefine the festival experience. Set among the lakes, forests and parkland of Cornbury Estate from August 12-14 2011, Wilderness will be an inspirational weekend for all ages. A limited number of discounted tickets for locals will be released from Easter onwards, check website for details at: www.wildernessfestival.com

Curated by the organisers of Secret Garden Party and MAMA Festivals, it will include performances, fireside banquets and theatrical spectaculars.

The people behind one of the world’s best-loved theatres, The Old Vic, will take their spin-off, The Old Vic Tunnels, to Wilderness, in their debut on the festival scene. They will deliver a program of theatre, performance and arts activities, with The Tax Deductable Theatre Company also putting on a range of shows.

The festival’s gastronomic offerings won’t just be long-table dining and fireside feasts. Wilderness welcomes Skye Gyngell and her Petersham Nurseries Café as well as Sam & Sam Clark and their Moro restaurant as both hosts and culinary maestros of the festival’s two flagship outdoor dining experiences.

On Saturday and Sunday, the finest names in musicianship will perform, including Mercury Prize winners Antony and the Johnsons, Gogol Bordello, recent Brit winner Laura Marling who will perform solo, Toots & The Maytals, Guillemots and Hayseed Dixie, among many others.

There will also be an unprecedented line-up of talks and debates from organisations such as Intelligence Squared the world’s leading forum for live debate, The Idler, the British magazine devoted to the ethos of ‘idling’ and Headspace, the meditation project who aim to demystify meditation and make it more accessible to the mainstream.

Restorative healing treatments and yoga workshops will also be on offer in the Well Being area for rejuvenation. The Wilderness Spa, set alongside the beautiful lakes, will offer festival-goers hot tubs, saunas and massages.

Family activities are at the heart of the festival, including nature walks and talks from the Bristol Institute of Natural History, lake swimming, boating, fly fishing, a magical children’s area with babysitting from Boutique Babysitting and games and adventurous escapades on the front lawn.

Alison Cavendish · Thu 31 Mar 2011, 07:35 · Link


Railway closures this summer

As redoubling work draws to a close this summer, there will be one week with no trains from Charlbury, and two weeks with eastbound trains only.

From Saturday 28th May until Sunday 5th June (inclusive) there will be no trains between Oxford and Kingham. There will be an express road transport service from Oxford to Moreton-in-Marsh (and return). Between Oxford and Kingham (and return), there will be road transport, stopping intermediately along the line.

From Saturday 6th August until Sunday 14th August (inclusive), there will be no trains between Charlbury and Worcester Shrub Hill. Road transport between Charlbury and Worcester.

From Monday 15th August until Sunday 21st August (inclusive, there will be no trains between Moreton-in-Marsh and Worcester Shrub Hill. Road transport between Moreton-in-Marsh and Worcester.

(Via Will Crossley on the FGW Coffee Shop website - thanks!)

Richard Fairhurst · Tue 29 Mar 2011, 16:56 · Link


ChOC supports campaign to preserve community events

At its meeting tonight, ChOC's committee agreed to write to members of ChOC as follows:

"We urge our members to sign the 'Support Charlbury Events' petition which you can find here.

While ChOC does not itself at present promote events which cause noise, we are proud to be part of a tradition of varied entertainment in Charlbury. We believe Charlbury to have a valuable heritage of outdoor entertainment, including its Street Fair, the festival at Cornbury Park, Riverside, the beer festival and other events at the cricket ground, as well as indoor entertainments of which ChOC is part.

These events are extremely well supported in the town by a very large number of people, and most of them raise considerable funds for local charities and good causes, from the primary school and nurseries to the town's public buildings.

Some inevitably cause noise which can be heard in other parts of the town, but this occurs infrequently and always ends in good time. We oppose the present attempt to curtail this aspect of the town's life, and believe strongly in the diversity of the town's entertainments and the tolerance and shared pleasures to which this gives rise. We all suffer discomfort occasionally in the interests of the enjoyment of others, and this is part of living in a vibrant community."

Jon Carpenter, Secretary, Charlbury's Own Cinema.

Mon 28 Mar 2011, 21:52 · Link


FGW "meet the manager" - Tuesday morning

First Great Western and Network Rail will be holding a "meet the manager" event at Charlbury station on Tuesday morning.

From 6am to 9am, rail users will be able to ask representatives from both companies about the redoubling project and other aspects of the service. (Thanks to William Crossley for the information.)

In particular, train travellers may like to ask about the proposed return of the comfortable Adelante trains in place of the cramped, suburban Turbo trains - now said to be in jeopardy due to the failure of negotiations with the Department for Transport.

Richard Fairhurst · Fri 25 Mar 2011, 23:42 · Link


County Council retreats - library saved?

The BBC is reporting that Oxfordshire County Council has withdrawn its plans for wholesale library closures, and is instead simply looking at cutting staffing costs. Charlbury Library was one of those earmarked for closure.

It says: "[Council leader Keith] Mitchell insisted that the word closure had only ever been used by the media and that the council had always been looking at ways to keep the libraries open. But he added that the original list of libraries set to lose their funding had gone. 'We've torn up that list, we've moved on, things have changed,' he said."

He continues: "The real cost in many libraries, the large cost is the staffing and that's where we will have to have negotiations and discussions."

The Oxford Mail has a similar report. It quotes Mr Mitchell as saying: "We are starting with a blank piece of paper. We are looking at all options. No decisions have been taken. Officers are working hard to rethink the process." Asked if every library could be saved, he replied: "It would be wonderful if that could be achieved", but reiterated that volunteer help may be needed.

Richard Fairhurst · Thu 24 Mar 2011, 14:01 · Link


Supporting Cornbury Park Solar Farm planning application

As reported previously, the planning application for a 5MW solar farm was recommended for refusal at the Uplands Planning Committee earlier this month on the grounds that "the design, form and appearance of the proposed PV panels will be very urban in character."

The Landscape and Visual Appraisal submitted as part of the application identifies that the application site is visible from Hatchings Lane to the west and the public footpath to the south. The appraisal concludes that the limited height of the development combined with the careful attention to the location of new planting will result in limited short term effects on some views but no significant effect on landscape character. The appraisal considers that approximately 5 years after planting, there will be no significant effect on views."

Further consideration of the application was deferred until 4April to allow a site visit.

Charlbury Town Council and Sustainable Charlbury are both supportive of the application on the grounds that Cornbury Park and its developers have agreed that the local community will be able to invest in 25% of the scheme benefiting residents and the community as a whole. SusCha collected 50 signatures in support of the application at the Farmer's Market.

SusCha has agreed to send a representative to speak to the meeting. In the meantime letters of support can be sent to the Planning Officer jon.westerman@wodc.gov.uk and to planning@westoxon.gov.uk to reach councillors.

Liz Reason · Mon 21 Mar 2011, 16:49 · Link


Oxfordshire's Houshold Waste Recycling Centres

Oxfordshire County Council is asking residents for their thoughts and views on a proposed new approach to the provision of Household Waste Recycling Centres in the county.

2011 September - Dean Pit closes
2012 April (provisional) - Kidlington opens & Redbridge closes for refurbishment 1 month later
2013 Jan/Feb - Redbridge opens at weekends & bank holidays for residents and commercial during the week
2013 September - Ardley closes
2014 November - Banbury opens
2014 December - Alkerton closes
2014 December - Stanford in the Vale closes

The consultation runs from 7th March – 4th April 2011; you can find out more and have your say on the OCC website.

Christine Elliott · Thu 17 Mar 2011, 13:46 · Link


Save Charlbury Library

At the AGM of Friends of Charlbury Library on 28 February, Councillor Neil Owen outlined the County Council's plans for the library service. He encouraged people in Charlbury to set up a working party to develop a business plan and bid for a pot of money to run a 'community library'. The questions and comments that followed made it clear that there was minimal support for this course of action at this stage. The majority of people present wanted to fight the County Council's proposed cuts and protect the library service. There will be a further opportunity to debate these issues at the public meeting on Friday 25 March at 7.45 pm in the Memorial Hall, when County Councillor Judith Heathcoat and Director of Social and Community Services John Jackson will be present.

Meanwhile Friends of Charlbury Library have discovered that a government website is presenting the provision of library services as a 'burden' that could be removed. You can have your say (with a good deal of time and effort) by going to www.communities.gov.uk and following links to 'local government' then 'decentralisation' then 'tackling burdens' and then 'review statutory duties'. There is then a drop down box for 'Review of statutory duties - other government departments' and under Dept. of Culture, Media and Sport items DCMS026, DCMS027 and DCMS028 you will at last find proposals relating to libraries. You then have to remember this information and got to another box 'Statutory duties webform' where you can enter your comments. No, being part of the Big Society is neither straightforward nor easy, but have a go and make your views known.

A poster for downloading and displaying in your window for the forthcoming Public Meeting can be found here

Rosalind Scott · Tue 15 Mar 2011, 12:24 · Link


Phone LOST at Bring & Take

Someone lost their Nokia phone yesterday at the Bring & Take, they put it down on a table by mistake - if someone picked it up thinking it was a lucky bargain please contact me, the owner will be very grateful if he can get his phone and contact list back!

Christine Elliott · Sun 13 Mar 2011, 16:38 · Link


Cornbury Solar Farm

The solar farm went to the Uplands Planning Committee on Monday 7th March. The officers recommended it for refusal on the grounds that the farm would 'urbanise the landscape'. A deferral was granted to allow the committee to visit the site. Sustainable Charlbury has now obtained the agreement of the developer and Lord and Lady Rotherwick that the community will be able to purchase 25% of the scheme through a community purpose vehicle. On this basis, SusCha has agreed to support the application and will be at the Farmers' Market tomorrow with further information for those who are interested to know more.

Liz Reason · Fri 11 Mar 2011, 16:03 · Link


S3 Bus Service to Oxford

As a follow up on the Enstone Road gas works, Stagecoach have issued this statement:

Charlbury - Enstone Road - route S3

7 March 2011 - 1 April 2011

Gas Works on Enstone Road mean that buses will be unable to serve the stops at The Spendlove Centre, The Bell and Fiveways. Instead buses will run in both directions along The Slade and Sturt Road to Nine Acres Lane.

I hope this information helps a bit, but I am afraid passengers in Charlbury may be somewhat inconvenienced for three to four weeks. But maybe we will have a better gas service instead! Helen Bessemer-Clark, PTR Town Council

Helen Bessemer-Clark · Mon 7 Mar 2011, 15:45 · Link


Bus service changes while Enstone Road/Browns Lane are closed

Road Closure affecting X9/C1 Services - From Monday 7th March 2011 until Friday 8th April 2011

Enstone Rd will be closed to traffic from Enstone Road Crossroads towards the Co-op therefore X9 & C1 services will be unable to serve the stops at the Co-op or The Bell, Church Street. During the duration of the roadworks both the X9 & C1 services will operate via the Slade and Nine Acres Lane to and from their destinations.The nearest alternatives for the out of use Co-op and The Bell Church Street bus stops will be the bus stops at either end of Nineacres Lane.Timetables will not be affected as services will serve the Nine Acres lane stop at the Enstone Road crossroads end at the same time as they would normally set off from The Bell Church Street.

The roadworks only affects the X9 & C1 route around Charlbury Town, it does not affect any other part of the route.

Information Line- 01993 869 100 or email rhbuses@gmail.com

Helen Bessemer-Clark · Mon 7 Mar 2011, 11:07 · Link


Nominate A Neighbour cards

Thames Valley Police have just taken delivery of some more Nominate A Neighbour cards which are ideal for elderly or vulnerable neighbours and family.

The idea is that when an unexpected caller comes to the door the Nominate A Neighbour card should be passed through the letterbox, shown at a window or through the gap in a chained door. The card directs the caller to a nominated neighbour who can check their identity.

The occupant is advised not to enter into a conversation with the caller but to just show the card. A genuine caller will not mind following the instructions.

The scheme has proven popular with neighbourhood watch schemes in West Oxfordshire so if you would any more cards please telephone 01993 861640.

If you do receive a visit from a suspicious caller, try and note down as much detail about them and their vehicle as possible, then telephone the police on 0845 8 505 505 or Oxfordshire Trading Standards on 0845 051 0845.

Susie Finch · Thu 3 Mar 2011, 16:25 · Link


Fish stocks boosted on the Evenlode

The Environment Agency has joined forces with landowners Blenheim Estate and Cornbury Park Estate to complete a series of habitat enhancements on the River Evenlode in Oxfordshire (from an Environment Agency press release).

The two-week project has seen the creation of two new backwaters and the enhancement of a number of locally important spawning sites. The work has been carried out to boost local fish stocks on several sections of the middle Evenlode at Ascott-Under-Wychwood, Charlbury and Long Hanborough.

Backwaters have been created at Charlbury and Long Hanborough and used to be common features on many of the region’s lowland rivers but have been lost due to historical dredging. These habitats provide juvenile fish with nursery areas and refuges from high winter flows.

Creating these vital features will hopefully help juvenile fish to survive and contribute towards the adult populations on this section of the River Evenlode. The backwater will also provide important habitat for many other types of aquatic fauna and flora, such as waterfowl, macroinvertebrates and a number of different types of plants.

A number of important spawning sites, commonly known as riffles, have also been enhanced by adding clean gravel to the riverbed. The new clean gravel will create shallow, fast flowing areas that remain silt free, encouraging a number of flow-loving fish species to lay their eggs in the gravel beds. Emerging fry will then shelter for several weeks in the gaps found among the stones. Riffle environments are also essential for species including dace, chub, gudgeon, barbel, minnows and bullheads.

Tom Sherwood, an Environment Agency Fisheries Officer, said: “Fish populations in some of the middle reaches of the Evenlode have declined over recent years. It is not entirely apparent why this has happened, however a combination of pressures such as the influence of signal crayfish, poor habitat in some of the reaches and also possible cormorant predation may have been the cause. It is hoped the recent enhancements will help local fish stocks throughout the middle Evenlode.”

Richard Fairhurst · Thu 3 Mar 2011, 12:29 · Link


The price of milk has gone up (on the quiet)

For anyone who gets their milk delivered, just be aware that now Dairy Crest has taken over the Charlbury round, the price per pint has gone up by 5% to 62p. The only information from Dairy Crest about this can be found on the brochure that the milkman left this morning, which lists this price.

When we queried this with Dairy Crest, their response was that "this has been their price since last September", so thanks to Mike and Vicky for not having passed this on to their customers since then. However, it just seems somewhat bizarre that the price has gone up, even though one link in the distribution chain is no longer there, so by the look of things, Dairy Crest is creaming it .....

Simon Walker · Tue 1 Mar 2011, 12:22 · Link


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