News index


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.

  • 53 Nine Acres Close Charlbury
    Erection of rear and side extensions. Garage conversion to form home office. Removal of existing rear conservatory
    WODC reference: 21/02226/HHD - Wed 23 Jun 2021 - Under consideration
  • 2 Ditchley Road Charlbury
    Single storey rear extension
    WODC reference: 21/02051/HHD - Mon 21 Jun 2021 - Under consideration
  • Market House Church Street Charlbury
    Rreplace four windows, 3 at the rear and 1 at the front of the house, with wood frames and single glazed glass in keeping with Grade 2 listing requirements
    WODC reference: 21/01893/LBC - Tue 22 Jun 2021 - Under consideration

Mon 28 Jun 2021, 06:15 · Link

The History of Charlbury through ... a Victorian gas bill

Barbara Allison for Charlbury Museum

Here is a gas bill for the Friends Meeting House in Market Street dated 31 March 1871. It is quite colourful, printed on light blue paper. Our copy may have been in an album, as it is attached to a piece of card. The bill was sent to John Marshall Albright, the senior Quaker in the town. It is Gas Bill no 10 issued by the newly formed Charlbury Gas Company. The Meeting House had used 200 ‘feet’ of gas, for which it had to pay 1s 6d –that’s in ‘old money’, which is 7½p in today’s money. It was paid promptly and so got a discount of 2d, only paying 1s 4d. Frank Bowly wrote at the bottom that he had received the money.

Quite a change from today’s gas bills isn’t it. Now they are full of information: customer numbers, kWh (kilowatt hours), gas units and standing charges, VAT added on top, and so on, all covering three A4 pages of paper. We pay by bank transfer, direct debit or, being really old fashioned, put a cheque in the post. I suspect that Mr Albright just walked a few doors down Market Street to the Corner House, and paid Mr Bowly in cash!

But these old gas bills are not what they seem. It is very unlikely that the gas used was metered (that is measured), despite what the gas bill implies, when it has ‘state of meter’ and ‘rent of meter’ on it. Gas was only used for lighting at this time, so usually the gas user agreed with the gas company how many gas lights he was going to use, and the times in the day when they would be on. The gas company then calculated how many cubic feet would be used per quarter, and charged accordingly. There was obviously scope for customers to use more gas than they paid for!

We can see from this bill that the Meeting House has agreed it would use and pay for 200 cubic feet a quarter, but sadly, the bill gives no details of the number of lamps that represents. Another gas bill for the Meeting House, sent in 1883, show that the same amount of gas was paid for that year, and at the same price. How times have changed!

Many people found the gas too expensive to light their homes, and could not commit to a quarterly bill when their incomes were so erratic. So they kept to their paraffin lamps and candles. So to begin with, gas lighting was mainly used in the local shops (by November 1869) and the various churches (in 1870). This changed slowly once the penny-in-the-slot meter was invented in 1888, and people could pay for their gas as they used it.

Judy Dod · Fri 25 Jun 2021, 19:31 · Link

Cornerstone School Uniform Exchange sort-out

The school uniform exchange is now accessible in the back room of the Cornerstone - do come down and have a look. We have sizes 4-13, and lots especially in sizes 6, 7 and 8 years. Summer shorts and dresses, some jumpers and PE shirts available.

It is free for anyone to take items they need. Do also think about whether you have uniform items in your house you no longer need and bring those along! 

The Cornerstone is open Monday to Saturday, 10-1. We look forward to seeing you!



Cornerstone · Fri 25 Jun 2021, 09:50 · Link

New Vision and Mission Statements for Charlbury Town Council

The elected members of the new Town Council have agreed shared Vision and Mission statements for the Town Council going forward.

Click Here to read the Vision & Mission Statements on the Charlbury Town Council website.

Gary Harrison · Thu 24 Jun 2021, 11:24 · Link

Corner House Garden Makeover

Earlier in the year, the Charlbury Garden Society and the Corner House Committee agreed that the Corner House Garden could do with a makeover so that it attracts more users.

Now work on the long border behind the Corner House has started!

In the capable hands of Hugh Belshaw and his team of willing workers it is going to be a lovely space.

The flowerbed has been cleared, edged and composted. The first batch of plants, jointly funded by the Garden Society and the Corner House Committee, was delivered on Monday 7th June, promptly followed by a planting session. A second batch arrived on Thursday 17th, and planting took place in between the (many) showers. Which means that the main planting is now done, leaving just a few gaps to fill in later on as necessary.

Volunteers to help with maintenance or watering welcome!

Look out for Hugh’s posts on the Charlbury Forum. He is keen to involve as many volunteers as possible, so do come along to a session if you can. For those interested in the exact planting plans, Susan Dunstall’s wonderful design is on the board outside the Memorial Hall.

Do join Hugh or send him contact details if you would like to help later on (Hugh Belshaw 01608 810130).

Geneviève Hug · Wed 23 Jun 2021, 11:22 · Link

Spendlove bring site to close

The Town Council has just received the following from West Oxfordshire District Council, after noting the absence of the public consultation on the closure of the bring site at Spendlove promised last Autumn:

'Following consultation with the associated town or parish councils’ and the WODC ward councillors, a decision has now been made to implement the decision that the Cabinet made on the 18 November 2020 to permanently remove the remaining community recycling facilities in West Oxfordshire.

This means that residents will need to recycle items using the council’s kerbside service and details of this are on the council website here - All of the items that could be recycled at the community recycling centres can now be recycled using the kerbside service. Residents can also take items to Oxfordshire County Council’s (OCCs) household waste recycling centres, details of these is on the OCC website here - Finally, if residents have a large item which they are unable to take to an OCC household waste recycling centres they can book a bulky waste collection on the WODC website here -

A plan has now been developed and your community recycling centre will start to be removed week commencing 12 July. Signage will be placed at the site this week informing residents of the closure and information, including FAQs, will be published on the WODC web site ( ). In addition, information will be published on social media. We will monitor the site after the bins are removed and deal with any issues that arise.'

Gareth Epps · Mon 21 Jun 2021, 16:03 · 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 21 Jun 2021, 06:15 · Link

Broken glass at the skate park

Some people thought it would be a good idea to smash beer bottles on to the skate park surface during the recent warm weather. The worst has been cleared up but there are still fragments in the grass. Please take care if you are using the skate park or if you have dogs/kids that run around there.

The Town Council is getting hold of some safety gloves so that we can do a proper clean up of this and the other broken glass that has accumulated at the back of the ramps, we would be very grateful for any help from residents and skate park users.

Claire Wilding · Fri 18 Jun 2021, 15:12 · Link

CCC Ladies top Home Counties

The Performance and Development League finals of the HCWCL Super 8s competitions were held on Sunday 6th June at Charlbury. In the first Semi final of the Performance League Charlbury CC women team played against Olney Town CC, and won by an impressive 124 runs. The final was held later in the day with Charlbury CC taking on Oxford CC, the winners of the second semi final, again the team played some impressive cricket and cruised to a 95 run victory. The team of eight players, 6 of who were under 17 year old, scored 272 runs and took 26 wickets during the day.

This caps an amazing few months for Charlbury Ladies with the Under 18s football team winning the Thames valley league covering Bedfordshire, Berkshire and Oxfordshire and the Charlbury Ladies cricket team winning their league covering 6 counties. Not bad for a small Cotswold village (only joking....) 

Paul D Jenkins · Fri 18 Jun 2021, 12:51 · Link

Need help with transport to your COVID vaccination?

All Together In Charlbury (ATIC) now has funding to provide free transport to COVID vaccination sites, where use of public transport is not possible and friends or family are unable to help.

To request a lift, phone ATIC’s call centre on 01993 776277 (9.00 to 1.00 Mon-Fri or leave an answerphone message) and we will see what we can do using our small team of volunteer drivers. Please give us as much notice of a request, as you can.

If you have booked a vaccine at the Kassam Stadium, there are Oxford Bus Company and Stagecoach 3 and 3A bus services, which go from Oxford City Centre and Oxford Rail Station to the Kassam and back, which may be helpful.

Meryl Smith · Fri 18 Jun 2021, 11:49 · Link


Anyone who has attempted to walk the Saltway in recent months will know that much of the track has become badly overgrown not just 'soft' vegetation but also rapidly growing and invasive blackthorn. Well, help is at hand! On Wednesday a work party Cotswold Wardens began the work of clearing and brushcutting some of the worst affected stretches. We also found time to check that the rare Downy Woundwort had survived.   

Tony Graeme · Thu 17 Jun 2021, 16:01 · Link

The History of Charlbury through ... Jon's bookshop

Barbara Allison & Judy Dod for Charlbury Museum

With so many shops disappearing from Charlbury, it was exciting to find a new one opening in April 2000. A bookshop! Jon already had an established publishing business, The Wychwood Press, and a bookshop was a natural partner. Both businesses ran from Alder House in Market Street, the shop being all of 9ft wide and 11feet deep, with Jon’s office at the back.

Jon would carefully choose stock that he thought would appeal to his local audience. He supplemented them with CDs and DVDs (remember those?), local cards and posters. I loved going in – it was as if someone had pre-selected the sorts of books I liked but also thrown in others which opened up fresh ideas and new horizons. Dilemmas over birthday and Christmas presents were solved. Wanting a book not in stock? It miraculously appeared the next morning.

His core audience was local people and he reinforced this by publishing two books of poetry, all written by local people. Does NOTHING rhyme with Charlbury? came out in 2006, followed by Because we Never Said Goodbye, both anthologies compiled by Rob Stepney. Who would have thought there were so many poets in such a small town?

Anyone of us who is interested in our local history owes a debt of gratitude to Jon. He published books that gave us a good look at our town’s past. Here are three of the best.

He reprinted John Kibble’s Charming Charlbury, first published in 1930, full of anecdotes about his life and things he’d found out about. The book has old adverts from local shops, some lovely sketches he made of local building. My favourite section? His description of an early photographic ‘studio’ in a roofless cottage pantry, watching the men mixing the chemicals and marvelling at the resulting image (page 160-161)

The second one is Lois Hey’s History of Charlbury, an invaluable guide to our past, which John published in 2001. It is full of her detailed knowledge of the town, with lots of old photographs as well. She gives her ‘sincere thanks to Jon Carpenter for his gentle goading, without which I should have given up long ago’

And thirdly, Jon persuaded Charles Tyzack to undertake an updated, and much much shorter, version of Vernon Watneys enormous book on Cornbury and Wychwood Forest. It includes a lot of Charles’ new research, plans of the house and the forest, and lots of photographs. The go-to book for those interested in this old house and even older forest.

Thank you Jon.

Photos of Jon by Andrew Lawson

Judy Dod · Mon 14 Jun 2021, 14:21 · Link

Neighbourhood Plan Now Formally Adopted

Following approval for the Charlbury Neighbourhood Plan at the referendum on Thursday 10th June, WODC has now officially "Made" the Plan which means that it forms part of the statutory development plan against which planning applications within the parish of Charlbury will be determined.

The decision to "Make" (bring into force) the Plan was taken by WODC on 14th June 2021 so the plan has legal weight from that date.

You can read the official decision notice from WODC on the town council website here

Peter Kenrick · Mon 14 Jun 2021, 13:07 · Link

Remembering Jon Carpenter

I am sorry to report that Jon Carpenter has passed away after a long illness.

Jon was known by many people in Charlbury for his commitment and love for the town, but especially, of course, for Evenlode Books, the busy, characterful bookshop he ran on Market Street. The bookshop was an extension of his long-standing publishing business, which published books of local interest under the Wychwood Press imprint, and those of progressive social and environmental concern as Jon Carpenter Publishing – two of Jon’s great passions. 

Visitors to the bookshop would often see Jon beavering away behind the desk on a book project but were invariably greeted with a friendly “Hullo!” (always with a ‘u’). Jon described himself on Twitter as “In love with Charlbury and its people” and this was very much reciprocated. Even after retiring from the bookshop, Jon very much remained active and interested in local affairs, and I would often meet him on the street to be buttonholed with “Can we do something about…?”.

Jon was one of the volunteer administrators for the Charlbury website, and was always a voice of thoughtful calm. Many of the little details on the site are his suggestions.

Our thoughts are with Angela, Ben and Ele.

Please do also read the tribute to Jon on the Charlbury Refugee Action Group page.

You can read a profile of Jon in his bookshop days (2008) on the Oxford Mail website. His bookshop website is still online and full of interesting information about Charlbury.

Should you want to add your memories of Jon, please do use this forum thread.

Richard Fairhurst · Fri 11 Jun 2021, 09:05 · Link

Trees on the Playing Close

Have you ever wondered what the names of the trees are on the Playing Close? Each tree has a number on this aerial plan and the key to which tree is which can be found here.

We thought you might enjoy identifying these magnificent trees.

Charlbury Community Centre · Fri 11 Jun 2021, 08:43 · Link

Referendum approves Neighbourhood Plan

The results from today’s referendum on the Neighbourhood Plan are:

  • Yes: 94.2% (568 votes)
  • No: 5.8% (35 votes)
  • Turnout: 24.8%

The Neighbourhood Plan will now become part of statutory planning guidance for all planning applications within the parish of Charlbury.

Richard Fairhurst · Thu 10 Jun 2021, 22:53 · Link

Marjorie Glasgow appointed Lord-Lieutenant of Oxfordshire

From the 10 Downing Street website:

The Queen has been pleased to appoint Mrs Marjorie Glasgow BEM DL as Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of the County of Oxfordshire in succession to Mr Tim Stevenson OBE, who retires on 30 September 2021.

Marjorie Neasham Glasgow is the founder and chief executive of an Oxfordshire- based clean energy company, which develops private/public partnerships that combine renewable energy projects and community hubs. Her firm also undertakes key environmental work for the restoration of peatlands across the UK.

Alongside this work, she has taken on voluntary leadership roles in west Oxfordshire, leading her town’s efforts to develop a new £2.5m community centre to create a new library, sports hall, café and community space. She also helps lead the local Meals on Wheels. More recently, she co-founded The Cornerstone with her husband and their church as a community sharing centre for food, education and community cohesion, which she hopes to replicate elsewhere in the county.

She is a member of the Ditchley Foundation Council of Governors and she currently serves as a Deputy Lieutenant for Oxfordshire. She is an active member of her local church, and her interests include running and equestrian sport. Mrs Glasgow (59) was born in the US, but now has dual citizenship and lives in Charlbury with her husband, Dine. They have two adult children.

Richard Fairhurst · Wed 9 Jun 2021, 08:57 · Link

Charlbury could move into Banbury constituency

Proposals from the Boundary Commission for England would see Charlbury move out of the Witney constituency and into the Banbury constituency, together with Chipping Norton.

Other parts of the district would remain in the Witney constituency or move into a new Bicester constituency.

You can view the map of proposed boundaries here.

Richard Fairhurst · Tue 8 Jun 2021, 00:33 · Link

Former Post Office/Larcums up for auction

The former Post Office / Larcums shop on Market Street will be auctioned online on 23rd June, with a starting price of £425,000.

The building is currently arranged as a ground-floor shop, first-floor flat, and parking area.

Tayler & Fletcher, the auctioneers, describe it as “A substantial premises for development or refurbishment”. You can read the listing and brochure on their website.

The building is currently Class E (Commercial). The new “permitted development” right, which would permit fast-track conversion to residential use, does not apply in Charlbury because the town is part of an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

The West Oxfordshire Local Plan states that permission for change of use will only be given if the building “is incapable of being made viable or adapted to retain a viable service or facility including as a community run enterprise. A robust marketing exercise will be required to demonstrate that the use or premises is unviable”.

The Charlbury Neighbourhood Plan, which is up for referendum this Thursday and will form part of planning policy if the vote succeeds, states that “Proposals for changes of use of [commercial] premises… for residential uses will not be supported unless there is evidence that the premises are no longer commercially viable… proposed change of use of former retail premises in Sheep Street and Market Street will be supported where they would provide employment opportunities or otherwise support the vitality and viability of the town centre through provision of community facilities, community projects or sustainable tourism”.

Richard Fairhurst · Mon 7 Jun 2021, 10:05 · 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 Jun 2021, 06:15 · Link

The History of Charlbury through ... gas lighting

Ann Lovett for Charlbury Museum

By 1853 there was a scheme for lighting the town by gas lamps, but it wasn’t until 1869 that the Charlbury Gas Company was formed with directors John Marshall Albright, Frank Bowly (who lived at the Corner House) and George Martin (former headmaster of the Grammar School). The Gas Works were by the railway station. At that time gas was made from coal, which was easier to transport by train. By Christmas of that year some of the shops were lit by gas for the first time. Some of the public buildings, for example the Methodist Chapel and the Grammar School were among the early users of gas lamps. The Church had installed them by 1885.

There was a meeting on 5th November 1870 to discuss a plan to have 12 street lights. The Gas Company would provide the lamps at £2 each and it would cost £25 to erect them…to be paid by public subscription. A vote was taken, and was 26 to 25 against having the street lamps. It wasn’t till after 1875 that Charlbury streets were lit by gas lights. By 1899 there were 20 gas street lamps and 14 oil lamps. The streets had to be dug up to enable the gas pipes to be laid but at this stage they didn’t extend to the whole town. Hixet Wood and Pound Hill were outside the gas area and had oil lamps.

Gas was relatively expensive and Charlbury was quite careful about its use. The street lamps were only lit in the winter months, and then only for a few hours of an evening. Also they were not lit for 6 nights around a full moon. It must have been quite dark if those evenings were very cloudy, despite the full moon. In 1906 Mr Claydon was paid 10 shillings (50p) a week to light the lamps each week from 1st September to the 30th April. Don’t forget that there was no British Summer Time then so April evenings would be darker earlier than now.

The Charlbury Gas Co was taken over in 1906 by the Mid Oxon Gas Co, and by 1907, after the takeover was completed, it had been wound up. The Mid Oxon rebuilt the works, and extended the mains, causing traffic chaos! A succession of larger firms ran it until nationalisation in 1949. The Gas works by the station was closed in 1951 and the two gas holders were demolished within 6 months. All that remains is the manager’s house, the building now used by The Railway Children Nursery. By this time gas lighting had given way to electric lighting.

Judy Dod · Fri 4 Jun 2021, 21:01 · Link

Charlbury CC hosts the HCWCL Supers 8s finals this Sunday, 6th June

This Sunday sees the finals of the Home Counties Women’s Cricket League Super 8s competition. Women’s clubs from across Oxfordshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire & Bedfordshire have been playing pool matches during May in order to qualify for the finals this weekend

There will be 8 teams taking part, the winners and runners up from each of the two performance leagues and the winners from each of the four development leagues. Charlbury CC have qualified, along with Oxford CC, for the Performance finals and Deddington CC have qualified for the Development finals. The day, scheduled to start at 11.30am, will consist of two semi finals prior to the finals taking place at 4.20pm. The pairs format means that the result is in the balance until the final ball is bowled! This is a great way to celebrate ‘Womens Big Cricket Month 2021’ during June.

Facilities open from 11.30 am

Paul D Jenkins · Fri 4 Jun 2021, 09:36 · Link

Museum plant sale this Saturday

Just a quick reminder that the popular Museum plant sale is back this Saturday.  We have  good selection of bedding plants - ideal for filling in the gaps in your borders or replacing those eaten by those pesky snails.  Also a good selection of perennials, along with some shrubs, herbs and veg.  This year we have moved to outside the Memorial Hall to allow space for social distancing.  So do come along between 10 and 12, find some good quality bargain plants and support the museum at the same time.

If you have plants to donate, please bring them to the museum tomorrow, Friday, between 6 and 7pm.  Any queries please contact 810240. Thank you for your support.

Judy Dod · Thu 3 Jun 2021, 20:45 · Link

Wilderness Ticket Auction

Here is your chance to get your hands on some highly sought after adult camping tickets (which are now sold out), worth £370 per pair. The Wilderness Festival Organisers have kindly donated these tickets to help raise funds for St Mary's Church and its community initiatives. 

You can place your bids by emailing Bidding ends at 12noon on Friday, 18th June. Thank you for your support.

St Mary's Church gratefully acknowledge the support from Wilderness Festival.

Photo credit to Andrew Whitton - Fanatic Photography

daniela jenkins · Thu 3 Jun 2021, 12:09 · Link

Neighbourhood Plan referendum - Thursday 10th June

By now you should know that there is going to be a referendum in Charlbury on Thursday 10th June to decide whether Charlbury’s Neighbourhood Plan is to be formally adopted but you may be asking yourself what this means and why it is important.

At the referendum you will be asked to answer the question: “Do you want West Oxfordshire District Council to use the neighbourhood plan for Charlbury to help it decide planning applications in the neighbourhood area?”

But what does this mean?  If a majority vote “Yes”, WODC will have to make sure that planning applications in Charlbury comply with the policies of the Charlbury Neighbourhood Plan as well as national policies and those set out in the WO Local Plan.  This will mean that, for the first time, a plan devised in Charlbury to meet the needs and aspirations of the town and community will have real legal weight.

The Neighbourhood Plan has been developed over several years by members of the local community to reflect the needs and aspirations of local people expressed through the town survey and many other consultation exercises.  Many members of the community helped to bring these ideas together into a draft plan.  A public consultation on this draft was held in Autumn 2019 with many detailed and constructive comments received from local residents and reflected in a revised plan.  So, this is YOUR plan for YOUR town and community, and it deserves your support.

You can download and read the plan from the WODC website at or read a copy in the Charlbury Community Centre.  But in summary, the plan includes policies which seek to:

  • Ensure that any development in Charlbury meets Charlbury’s needs – and that is mainly for affordable or lower-cost homes.
  • Protect Charlbury’s town centre, businesses, community facilities and services.
  • Promote safe walking and cycling routes and support public transport.
  • Protect our natural environment, landscape and green spaces.
  • Secure a net gain in biodiversity.
  • Protect our historic environment, and last but not least:
  • Address the challenges of the climate emergency at a local level.

That’s why this referendum is important:  Please use your vote!

Wed 2 Jun 2021, 11:38 · Link

Under 18 Girls reign supreme in Thames Valley League

The under 18 girls football team have built upon their success of winning the Oxfordshire Youth U16 Football league last year, by becoming champions of the Under 18 Thames Valley North division which covers the Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Berkshire areas. Regular games were played against High Wycombe, Abingdon, Maidenhead and Chesham! In fact the girls fulfilled all the fixtures through a difficult season without losing a game.Whilst the squad has grown and changed from the start that Martin Prew and Helen Turner initiated, Nayah Aitken and Ella Sweet have remained throughout as stalwarts of the team and Charlbury's defence. The team merged with Hook Norton in 2015 and whilst the road has been bumpy at times, with the team nearly folding due to lack of numbers twice, they now reign supreme over 3 counties! A special mention to the coaches Tim Sweet and Philip Heath and everyone that has made this journey possible. An amazing achievement!! 

Paul D Jenkins · Tue 1 Jun 2021, 11:26 · Link

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