Daffodils are back in flower

Daffodils
Although Trinity Church is currently closed for worship I did look in to get some pictures of the daffodils for the slideshow on the church website.

Daffodils are to be seen in many other places in Abingdon. They are a sign that Spring is on the way.
Daffodils
Here are daffodils near Abingdon Lock.
Daffodils
Here are some by the River Ock.
Daffodils
Fabulous Flowers have had a colourful display since January as they are making deliveries and offering click and collect.

Mothers Day will be on 14th March.

Abingdon Flooding raised in Parliament

Thankyou to Daniel for some more drone flood pictures from January. Two are of the River Ock, showing the water getting close to the houses on the Ladygrove Estate and Tesco. The other is of the River Thames.
Abingdon Flooding
In parliament yesterday (24th Feb 2021), Layla Moran, the MP for Oxford West and Abingdon, got the opportunity to debate with a Minister of the Environment the issue of flooding in Oxford and Abingdon. This was done as an adjournment debate.

Layla pointed out that Oxford West and Abingdon has historically flooded, and in most recent times devastatingly so in 2007 and again, notably, in 2014. Layla said she raised this question again because she felt little progress had been made since an earlier debate with a previous minister. She mentioned delays in the Oxford flood alleviation scheme which could be delayed by up to five years because of bridge works that need to be completed in Kennington.
Abingdon Flooding
Regarding Abingdon, she said her constituents worried about a repeat of 2007. She said the scheme for a flood storage area upstream of Abingdon on the River Ock had been investigated but for crude cost reasons was not deemed viable. She said residents went from having a scheme to suddenly not having one at all. She said ‘We are not spending enough on communities like Abingdon. If the Minister stands by the calculations, will she at the very least ask the Environment Agency to help draw up new plans for what can be done in Abingdon that it can afford?’

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Rebecca Pow, started by saying what the government are doing nationally about flooding – spending more in the new 2021 to 2027 investment programme.

She said she was mindful of the challenges that the town of Abingdon has faced, and faces, and particularly the flooding experience of 2007, when more than 400 homes were flooded by the River Ock. Over recent years, the Environment Agency has taken action to reduce flooding in Abingdon, including increased levels of river maintenance, the provision of a flood wall along St Helen’s Mill, and a robust deployment plan for temporary defences, should they be needed.
Abingdon Flooding
In 2018, the Environment Agency investigated the development of a flood storage area upstream of Abingdon on the River Ock. The investigations found that while a flood storage area was technically feasible, the benefits would not be much greater than those delivered by the Environment Agency’s routine river maintenance. It did not represent value for money to the taxpayer.

She said the Environment Agency is reviewing further suggestions from a local community flood group, called the Ock Valley Flood Group. It is looking at whether there is scope for a temporary flood barrier alignment to be made into a permanent defence, and the agency is gathering evidence on whether this would be technically and economically viable.

The Environment Agency have also been investigating whether natural flood management options would be effective in reducing flood risk in Abingdon.

The full debate is at https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2021-02-24/debates/58D02CC8-5626-4FE3-902A-CD4B44920CFD/OxfordWestAndAbingdonFlooding

Abingdon Nightlife to reopen in about 3 months time

Night Life
Abingdon Town Centre remains mostly quiet in the evenings. Pubs and restaurants are closed for consumption on the premises
Night Life
Food and non-alcoholic drinks can be bought on a takeaway basis (between 5am and 11pm). Food and drink (including alcohol if the license allows) can also be delivered.

The government have announced a slow roadmap to reopening. They say this is possible because of the success of the vaccination programme; and how the public have obeyed the law and stayed at home to help suppress COVID-19.

The roadmap includes a number of steps. As part of Step 2 hospitality venues will be allowed to serve people outdoors from 12th April. Then as part of Step 3 indoor hospitality will be allowed no earlier than 17th May. Step 3 includes cinemas.
Night Life
There are bright lights at St Helen’s Wharf. This evening they included the flashing lights of a police car. I hear that the police went from door to door investigating a disturbance.

Neighborhood Plan – focus groups start today – places still available

Neighborhood Plan
The Town Council is creating a Neighbourhood Plan and needs local people to help make it the best it can be.

The plan will take a long-term view of what in our town needs protecting and what could be changed. It will be written by the local community of Abingdon, the people who know and love the area, and its creation is being led by a steering group accountable to the Town Council. Upon completion it will be subject to an independent examination and then a local referendum. Should this referendum be successful, the plan has legal force. The local planning authority (Vale of White Horse District Council) must then take the Abingdon Neighbourhood Plan’s policies into account when considering planning issues across the town.
Neighborhood Plan
Over the next two weeks, starting today, there will be ten themed virtual focus groups to gather views and ideas. Places are limited to 15 people per group. You can sign up for more than one but they would like to hear from as many people as possible. There will be further opportunities for people to get involved as the process continues.
Neighborhood Plan
Groups include:
Abingdon Families – Tue 23 Feb 2021
Access & Movement – Wed 24 Feb 2021
Leisure & Sports – Thu 25 Feb 2021
Culture – Thu 25 Feb 2021
Healthy Town & Outdoor Recreation – Fr 26 Feb 2021
The Environment – Mon 1 Mar 2021
Heritage & The built environment – Tue 2 Mar 2021
Business, Economy & The Town Centre – Wed 3 Mar 2021
Youth 7-11 Years Old – Mon 8 Mar 2021
Youth 12-16 Years Old – Tue 9 Mar 2021

See https://www.abingdon.gov.uk/abingdon-news/abingdon-thames-town-council/neighbourhood-plan-focus-groups to read about each focus group and sign up on line.