Category Archives: politics

Charter Public Conveniences Out of Order

Charter Public Conveniences
Somebody took the trouble to write me a letter to say that the public conveniences at the Charter car park in Abingdon are out of order and have been for some time.
Charter Public Conveniences
Essential maintenance work at the multi-storey Charter car park has been ongoing since 3rd March but, the writer says, ‘that effects level 3 and above, not the ground floor.

An issue with the public conveniences was raised on Fix My Street on 28th March 2021. I can see no progress update on fix my street, or the Charter car park website.

The writer says ‘It is rather inconvenient!’

Abingdon-on-Thames Town Council Meeting – 28th July 2021

Abingdon-on-Thames Town Council met this evening. Cheryl Briggs is the new Mayor – the first Green Party Mayor of Abingdon-on-Thames. Michelle from Aspire did a presentation for ‘One Planet Abingdon’

The Town Council have a new ‘Urgency Committee’ that meets one day before the full Town Council. They go through the list of the recommendations from all the other committees and agree them. The Town Council can then concentrate on other matters.

The Urgency Committee had agreed that the museum basement be considered as a possible venue for One Planet Abingdon.

One Planet Abingdon is a group of concerned individuals and environmental groups from Abingdon who have come together with a vision to create a climate emergency centre, in the centre of Abingdon. The climate emergency centre could be used to host things such as:
* Abingdon Carbon Cutter activities (eg. repair cafe, apple pressing, workshops)
* Other green and environmental groups pop up sessions
* Refreshments (of an environmentally friendly nature)
* Circular economy(clothing swap shop/refills pop ups/food zero waste/repaircafe/mending workshops)
* Environmental exhibitions.

Michelle from One Planet Abingdon gave a presentation to the Town Council and answered questions. Asked how quickly the centre could be up and running, she said as soon as One Planet Abingdon have business insurance in place.

The approval to use the space in the museum basement will also need to be agreed by the relevant Town Council committees.

The existing Town Council committees are being replaced by four new committees:
* Finance, Governance and Asset Management Committee
* Environment and Amenities Committee
* Town Infrastructure Committee
* Community Committee

There will be a special council meeting on September 1st to agree which councillors serve on which committees. Since this is a big change, a new governance committee was also set up to oversee the change. The Urgency Committee was set up to expedite council matters during the pandemic and will continue for now.

Reports for the Town Council included one on Covid-19. You no longer need to book for the museum. The Visitor Information Center re-opened on 19th July.

Work to create a new cemetery could be imminent. The Town Council have saved away nearly £1m towards any costs and are waiting the district council to agree the location. One place mentioned is Masefield Crescent recreation ground agricultural land.

Looking through the committee papers, the old ‘Museum Management Committee’ had started looking again at the feasibility of a lift to the sessions hall of the museum.

The old ‘Planning, Highways and Consultations Advisory’ Committee were asked about new street names for the Kings Gate development in North Abingdon. The three names suggested so far were Mayors of Ock Street:
– (Charles) Brett
– (Leslie) Argyle
– (Henry) Hemmings

On-street civil parking enforcement will commence on 1st November 2021 and the parking warden for the Abingdon residents’ parking schemes will transfer from the Town Council to the new County Council’s contractor. The parking warden will then not only check for wrongful parking in residents’ spaces but also wrongful parking on yellow lines.

Neighbourhood Plan (interim report and survey, 2 engagement sessions, 4 more focus groups)

(The Abingdon Neighbourhood Plan focus groups met earlier in the year. The output of these groups has now been assimilated into an interim report, and this notice has appeared on the Town Council noticeboard at Roysse Court.)

The interim report for the town’s Neighbourhood Plan  is now open for review and consultation at NHP-Report-and-Wall-Chart-for-Website.pdf

You can read the interim report and respond in the interim report survey  by the end of July.

The Neighbourhood Plan steering group will be holding two engagement sessions under the County Hall on 10th and 24th July from 10:30 to 13:00, where you can find out more and share your views.

To further improve the final report, 4 task groups will explore issues more deeply. You are able to participate in these focus groups which will be active over the summer. They are:

  • green spaces
  • the town centre
  • neighbourhood identity
  • culture

Get in touch via if you would like to take part in a focus group.

Elections in Abingdon – with pandemic regulations

There was a cold frosty start to Thursday, the May election Day. Voting started at 7am and ended at 10pm. There was some sunshine during the day but it never got very warm.

People working at the polling stations began work at about 6 am to get everything ready. This included the usual things such as unpacking and putting together the polling booths, and new things such as one way arrows, and screens between officials and voters, and hand gel.

Entry to the polling stations was from one end, and exit from the other, where possible. Doors were left open for a free passage of air.

The election was for Oxfordshire County Councillors, Police and Crime Commissioner, and a Town Councillor for Fitzharris Ock Ward.

At the Guildhall, where I voted, you were expected to wear a facemask, and were asked whether you had brought your own pen, and the booths were wiped between use.

There was no entry through the Cinema doors which open from May 17th with Nomadland, Six Minutes to Midnight, and Peter Rabbit 2.

I saw Chris Palmer delivering leaflets at 7:10 in the morning near the Reynolds Way shops. He said the postal vote was up on usual but it was difficult to predict voter turnout or how it would go. He was standing in South Abingdon. The usual Conservatives, Mike and Marilyn Badcock, had retired after many dedicated years of service to that part of town. Their long term opponent, Neil Fawcett was still there standing for the Lib-Dems. Neil has worked for the Lib-Dems as a professional campaign manager, and brings his campaigning skills to Abingdon and his impressive deep voice to debates.

Alison Rooke the Lib Deb candidate for East Abingdon rang me early on Thursday afternoon to see if I had voted, then asked if I had voted for her.

It took longer to count the results than usual because of the pandemic restrictions. The voting was on Thursday and the results were counted on Sunday. The Lib-Dems have won all three Abingdon seats as in the last election in 2017. Here are the winners and their winning margins:

There was also a Town Council election which the Lib-Dems won.

The new councilor replaces the energetic and free-thinking Jeanette Halliday, seen here before the 2011 C and W bun throwing.