Monthly Archives: March 2011

Shopping Centre redevelopment moves a step nearer

Abbey Shopping Centre
In January 2010 the district council consulted on options for the Abbey Shopping Centre.
Abbey Shopping Centre
It was announced today that an agreement has been signed for a £53M redevelopment of the favoured option. According to the district council’s press release…

Proposals for the Charter area (starting around 2013) include:
* a new large supermarket
* a new decked car park of about 400 spaces
* other retail floor space
* a replacement library, day centre and medical centre potentially at first floor level.

Proposals for the Abbey Shopping Centre (starting around Jan 2012) include:
* improving the choice and range of shop unit sizes by converting and combining some of the existing units into larger stores
* creating a new unit of 4,500 sq.ft. and another one of 2,000 sq.ft, both with first floor sales areas
* creating a more attractive street area by alternating roof heights and removing the existing canopies
* repaving and replacing street furniture, lighting and signage in the shopping centre.

This comes hot on the heals of an agreement to double the size of the Orchard Centre in Didcot at a cost of £125M.  The two district councils involved (Vale of White Horse for Abingdon and South Oxfordshire for Didcot) have shared executive staff so they  must have been busy.

Radley Lakes

Radley Lakes
In May 2009 it was announced that the campaign to save Thrupp Lake had succeeded. Since then the Northmoor Trust has taken over the site. Habitats have been protected, fences built, as has a hide, and a visitor shelter shaped like a water lily. The Save Radley Lakes group has been reconstituted as Friends on Radley Lakes to support this work and protect the area.
Radley Lakes
At the Annual general Meeting of the Friends of Radley Lakes, this evening, people seemed pleased with the work of the Northmoor Trust – recently renamed The Earth Trust. A new circular walk will be be officially opened on June 17th.
Radley Lakes
The Earth Trust are seeking planning permission to replace the cottage, Sandles, with a visitor centre.  Fund raising is needed to make that happen, and the Friends will be doing their part.

Wood Carving in Abingdon

Wood Turning
Abingdon has a great recent tradition in wood carving thanks mostly to Brian who teaches all the other wood carvers. I last saw him with a half finished Medusa at a Didcot art event a few months back. The Medusa, made from a Yew tree bole, is now finished, and after Abingdon will be on display at the Royal Academy.
Wood Turning
Also on view at the Community Shop are the panels from the Oxfordshire 2007 (1000 years old) celebration piece. There are various pieces round the walls, and a medieval style low relief, shown above, with some nice quirky detail.

Morris Men and other players

Morris Players
Some Morris Men and other players were in the Kings Head and Bell, on Sunday afternoon, playing traditional songs and tunes. I recorded an Abingdon traditional tune to use with the end of month blog slide show.

There is an opportunity for a musician with Mr Hemmings Traditional Abingdon Morris Dancers. Email bagman@mrhemmings.org.uk if you are interested or ring Les on 01235 520812.

Swan watch

Swans Last Week
This picture from last weekend shows a couple of swans at their nest site on an island near the Abbey Grounds. The duck just stood there and did not appear to be concerned despite those big wings flapping.

Somebody was telling me today they had not seen the swans on the nest for a couple of days now and are growing concerned something may have happened.

South Abingdon Local Plan – Launch Event

South Abingdon Local Plan
At Preston Road Community Centre today residents were invited to take part in the first part of the formation of a plan for the area. The Mayor dropped in to wish everybody well.
South Abingdon Local Plan
Children could draw their big ideas for the area…
South Abingdon Local Plan
Adults were given post it notes to put down their thoughts. From an initial look at the results, I would say that green spaces (parks and river and walks) were seen as good in the area, while traffic, and youth facilities, needed improvement. But lots more work needs now to be done analysing the detail.

Facsimile Shops

Facsimile Shops
On the front of the hoarding by the County Hall have appeared facsimile pictures of the shops behind. This is the town council supporting the shops during the building work.
Facsimile Shops
See! They are still there. If you thought they had all vanished.