News index


Thames Valley Police update

From the latest Neighbourhood Policing Newsletter:

"Members of the team conducted a speed check in Charlbury in response to residents' concerns when they spotted a vehicle carrying scrap metal. A couple of phone calls later and a flash of the blue lights resulted in West Oxfordshire District Council attending the scene and issuing the driver with a £300 fine for having no waste carriers licence.

"Another youth in Charlbury has now been interviewed in relation to a series of anti-social behaviour incidents. Four offences were admitted and the individual is now being dealt with by our Youth Offending Team. Remember, it's the calls from the public that count in these cases!

"There have been a number of shopliftings in both Chipping Norton and Charlbury, vigilance is required from shop keepers and the public alike."

Read the full newsletter.

Richard Fairhurst · Wed 29 Feb 2012, 14:28 · Link

WODC funding for affordable homes development

A scheme to provide more much needed affordable homes for Charlbury is now set to go ahead following grant support of £200,000 from West Oxfordshire District Council.

The grant will support a development of fifteen affordable homes in Little Lees Charlbury. This demand for Charlbury was identified by a local housing needs survey.

Planning permission was granted on the Little Lees site in line with West Oxfordshire District Council's rural exception policy. This policy allows for small scale affordable housing to be provided for local people on sites that would not otherwise gain planning permission.

Cllr Verena Hunt, Cabinet Member for Housing said, "We are extremely pleased to be enabling more affordable housing for our district. With house prices and rentals being so high, providing affordable housing is crucial to help individuals and families stay in the area. I am sure this scheme will be welcomed by many residents of Charlbury, especially as under the rural housing exception policy, re-housing priority will be given to people who are living in the town or have a connection with it."

The grant of £200,000 will be made to Soha Housing Association, who will finance the remainder of the capital cost of construction with the total scheme costs amounting to around £2.2m.

The new homes are expected to be completed during 2012/13 and they would make a significant contribution to delivery of the Council's target for affordable homes.

The new development will comprise:

  • Three 2-bed houses,
  • Three 3-bed houses,
  • One 4- bed house,
  • Four 2-bed flats to rent
  • Two 2- bed houses
  • Two 2-bed flats for shared ownership.

(From a WODC press release)

Richard Fairhurst · Sun 26 Feb 2012, 21:05 · Link

Climate Change - Advice & Support

Are you a farmer or rural business within the Cotswolds AONB? If yes, advice and support is available which could help develop various resource management and efficiency savings for your business, and reduce the harmful impact of emissions on the environment.

Climate change advice and project development support is available locally within the Cotswolds AONB from a dedicated business advisor in one or more of the following areas:

  • Resource management and carbon energy audits
  • Energy efficiency and renewable technologies
  • Soil, water, and nutrient management
  • Access to funding RDPE grants, feed-in-tariff, and renewable heat incentive
  • Research, bid writing and project management services

Contact: James Lloyd Climate Change Advisor
Tel: 01451 862033

Susie Finch · Fri 24 Feb 2012, 11:16 · Link

Temporary Road Closure – Charlbury to Spelsbury - B4026

In the interests of public safety it will be necessary for Oxfordshire County Council to close a section of the B4026 between Spelsbury and Charlbury to facilitate structural carriageway patching works.

A Temporary Traffic Regulation Order is being made to implement the temporary closure and will operate from Monday 19 March 2012. The estimated duration of the works is up to three weeks. More information can be found on the Town Council's website at

Susie Finch · Fri 24 Feb 2012, 11:00 · Link

Train suitcase thief jailed

A man who attempted to steal a fellow passenger's suitcase from a train in Charlbury has been sentenced to 15 weeks in prison following a British Transport Police investigation.

Pavel Acasandrei (71), of no fixed abode, was handed the sentenced after pleading guilty to theft at Oxford Magistrates' Court on Tuesday, 21 February 2012.

PC Bob Burrowes, the Oxford-based investigating officer, said: "On Thursday, 5 January Acasandrei boarded a train at Oxford around 9.30am, where train staff noticed him and observed that he was travelling without luggage.

"He made his way through the carriages and when the train arrived at Charlbury he attempted to leave the service in possession of a large, red suitcase.

"Realising he had not boarded with the case, rail staff alerted police as well as putting out an announcement on the train for passengers to check for any missing luggage. Acasandrei was subsequently arrested by police at Charlbury, where it transpired that a passenger onboard was missing a red suitcase."

Acasandrei was arrested on suspicion of theft and remanded in custody. In interview he claimed to have owned the suitcase since June 2011, however his account of the contents proved to be incorrect.

At his hearing on 10 February he pleaded guilty to theft and to charges of possession of an offensive weapon and theft from a separate incident at London's Waterloo station in August 2011. He was handed a total of 15 weeks' imprisonment for all three offences, taking into account the seven weeks already served while remanded in custody.

PC Burrowes added: "I'm in no doubt that Acasandrei was fully aware of his actions and intended to get away with stealing someone else's property. Fortunately we were able to quickly recover the victim's belongings and return them to him in Herefordshire within a matter of hours.

"I would also like to thank the members of eagle-eyed rail staff whose quick-thinking allowed us to swiftly bring this case to a close."

(from a British Transport Police press release)

Richard Fairhurst · Fri 24 Feb 2012, 10:04 · Link

Music appreciation classes resume

The meetings of the Charlbury Music Class, under the general heading "Exploring Music", resume at The Bell Hotel (annex) on 18 April. Kate Eckersley has been running these classes in Charlbury for over 30 years. New members are welcome, as there is always a need for a turnover. No technical knowledge is required. There will be classes in April, May, July, September and October. They run on Wednesdays from 10.30 to 3.20. Lunch is available. Sliding scale of fees - the more you attend the cheaper they become! For full details phone Peter Fry on 01993 359189

Peter Fry · Wed 22 Feb 2012, 15:39 · Link

Pooches in the Park at Cornbury in The Oxford Mail

Helen & Douglas House are recruiting for their sponsored dog walk at Cornbury Park on 25 March, as featured in The Oxford Mail:

Alison Wright · Tue 21 Feb 2012, 09:50 · Link

Wilderness update

The line up for Wilderness at Cornbury Park (10-12 August) will be announced on 1 March. You can sign up for updates at

Alison Wright · Sun 19 Feb 2012, 15:36 · Link

St Mary's services as usual on Sunday

We are delighted to say that services will be happening as usual on Sunday!
8am? Holy Communion
9.45am Parish Communion with activities for children
4pm A quiet Holy Communion service
Please note that due to the fire there will be no access to the kitchen, toilet, vestry or upper room. However refreshments will be served after the 9.45am service.
As a result of the fire, we will be donating all non regular giving in the collection to the Fire Fighters Charity.
(from the Parish Office)

Richard Fairhurst · Fri 17 Feb 2012, 19:21 · Link

WODC cabinet gives go-ahead for Dean Pit replacement

West Oxfordshire District Council cabinet has agreed to progress plans to open a recycling centre at Greystones in Chipping Norton. The proposal will go to the full council meeting next week for approval, after which plans will be submitted and a public consultation will begin.

The intention is for the recycling centre to provide similar facilities to those at Dean Pit. Greystones is on the A361, just outside Chipping Norton, about 4 miles from the Dean Pit site.

The proposals follow a mass outcry when Dean Pit was closed, including a petition organised by Cllr Glena Chadwick and Liz Leffman and signed by nearly 2,000 people.

Liz Leffman · Thu 16 Feb 2012, 10:15 · Link

Latest from St Mary's

The clean-up begins

A start has been made on the clean-up operation.
The first thing to do was to make the air in the church more breathable.� There is still a heavy smell of smoke in the place and long exposure gives rise to headaches.
This is because particulates are contaminating the air, so first thing this morning air scrubbers , fans and de-humidifiers were wheeled in.� Last night we had been able to establish which power circuits could be safely switched on and two out of the three ring mains were activated, so we could set the units working straight away.
Later an additional temporary supply was installed from a separate phase to share the load.

We next had a visit from the gas man to check it was safe to switch the gas back on.
The gas main was well away from the seat of the fire and pronounced safe and two out of the three heating systems can be switched on. A skip has been delivered to take fire damaged articles.
There have been many visitors asking about the damage, but as the church is effectively a work site for the next few days access must be restricted.� As and when circumstances permit we will allow people in to see what we are doing and confirm for themselves that the church is an up and going concern.

News travels fast

Among the many messages of good wishes and support we have received following the fire, have been one from Colin, Bishop of Dorchester and one from Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury. They both expressed their concern for our plight and confirmed we will be in their thoughts and prayers.

After the smoke has cleared

After the dramatic events of Sunday afternoon, we have spent today examining the damage, assessing what needs to be done immediately and in the long term, and doing exhaustive interviews with various radio,TV and the media.

Extensive damage has been done to the roof of the old organ chamber now a vestry, kitchen and meeting room area, also the main roof of the chancel. There are large holes in both where the firemen had to cut through to get at the fire. These are sheeted at the moment, but a temporary scaffold roof will need to be erected for more long term use while repairs are carried out. There has also been a lot of water damage to articles below where they were putting out the fire and smoke contamination and smell all through the church.

Much will need to be done to put things right and this will inevitable take some time. Ecclesiastical Insurance have been marvellous, and provided a team of experts this morning to advise on what can be done and help to do it. Some will be coming back tomorrow to start the clean up operation and with luck we should be able to return to some parts of the church this Sunday or next. We have been inundated with offers of help and this is wonderful; as soon as we know what is specialised work and what is not, we may be able to arrange for this help to be mobilised.
In the end, we have had a lucky escape. No-one was hurt, we still have two thirds of a church to use, and comprehensive insurance cover for the repairs. There may be opportunities to incorporate into the repairs enhancements to our facilities, but this of course would have to be at our own expense, but probably cheaper than starting from scratch. All these things will wait to be considered in the future. For now, although the damage is extensive, thanks to the prompt and expert actions of the fire brigade, we still have a church.

Richard Fairhurst · Tue 14 Feb 2012, 22:19 · Link

St Mary's fire - message from the vicarage

I'm sure that you are aware that there was a fire at St Mary's yesterday in the Upper Room. No one was hurt. The fire staff were great.

We are now waiting for the insurance and loss assessors to come today. In the meantime the church is out of use and we can't use the heating or electricity.

Many of you have expressed your concern and offered to help. Please would you pray for strength and support to enable us to all get through this difficult time together. We will be in touch once we know more and a plan of action can be made.

Church Wardens, Annette and Mike are meeting with the various media today. Should you have any queries from the media please ask them to contact the Vicarage.

(from assistant priest Revd Jan Fielden)

Richard Fairhurst · Mon 13 Feb 2012, 21:10 · Link

St Mary's Church fire

The whole of the area was closed to traffic- with four fire engines and their numerous support vehicles including the Incident Command Unit.

Here are some of the latest photos taken from nearby of the fire spreading to cause very serious damage to the roof, as you can see in the photos.

Nancy Whitfield · Sun 12 Feb 2012, 16:31 · Link

Fire in St.Marys Church


Sam Holdsworth · Sun 12 Feb 2012, 15:22 · Link

Fire in St.Marys Church


Sam Holdsworth · Sun 12 Feb 2012, 15:21 · Link

Re fire at St Marys

Additional pictures of fire operation

John H

john h · Sun 12 Feb 2012, 14:03 · Link

Fire at St Mary's

A serious fire has broken out at St Mary's Church, believed to be above the kitchen. Firefighters from across the area are in attendance.

Richard Fairhurst · Sun 12 Feb 2012, 13:44 · Link

Charlbury business reaches awards final

Newly opened paint shop Harris & Thompson, on Sheep Street, has reached the final of the West Oxfordshire Business Awards in two categories.

The shop is a finalist for the Floremus New Business Award and the Bloxham Mill Small Business Award. The winners will be announced in a ceremony at Heythrop Park on March 16th.

Richard Fairhurst · Fri 10 Feb 2012, 13:41 · Link

Church Street Roadworks: 27 February - 2 March 2012

Charlbury - Church Street - route S3

27 February - 2 March 2012
Church Street will be closed for structural carriageway patching works, meaning that S3 buses will be unable to serve the stops at Enstone Road, The Spendlove Centre, The Bell or Five Ways. Instead buses will run in both directions along The Slade, with the nearest alternative stops at Nine Acres Lane or Sturt Close.

This work was postponed from 13-17 February 2012

Christine Battersby · Thu 9 Feb 2012, 18:52 · Link

Charlbury Website © 2012-2024. Contributions are the opinion of and property of their authors. Heading photo by David R Murphy. Code/design by Richard Fairhurst. Contact us. Follow us on Twitter. Like us on Facebook.