Monthly Archives: May 2013

Planning Appeal on 160 homes in a field South of Abingdon – Opening Submissions

Planning Appeal
Today began the 4 day planning appeal by Hallam, of Sheffield, against the decision of the Vale of White Horse District Council to refuse planning permission for 160 homes in a field south of Abingdon-on-Thames.

The QC representing Hallam was well polished in his opening submission. He produced a printed opening brief. It said that 64 of the dwelling (40%) will be affordable. That the council has been unable to demonstrate a five-year supply of housing.

Regarding highways, Hallam have modelled the Drayton Road mini roundabout, and suggest moving the pedestrian crossing to the other side will help accomodate the extra traffic. But the polish did perhaps hide a lack of local knowledge. For example regarding disposal of foul sewage he said that “Servern Trent have no objection to the proposals subject to appropriate conditions.”

The magistrate representing the council had no printed opening submission, and seemed less polished but better briefed on the local traffic situation. He talked about the damage done to the Lime Trees bordering the site. He said we are in a temporary period where there is not a five years supply of housing, and this will be rectified by 2014. He said that the traffic models produced by Hallam did not correspond with reality and that moving the pedestrian crossing was not an option on grounds of safety and convenience. Another effect of this change would be to have traffic backing up along Ock Street into an air quality management area.

So over the next 4 days, 3 expert witnesses will be called by Hallam (for planning, environment, and highways). 4 expert witnesses will be called by the district council (for the same areas).

On Thursday at 10:10 Nicola Blackwood MP speaks as an interested party. More expert witnesses follow her. Then from 16:10 on Thursday more local interested parties will speak.

On Friday morning closing submissions will be made, and the pre conditions decided should the development be allowed.

The final decision is likely to be in August. The Inspector said he had an open mind at the outset. In this case, he will be looking to balance the benefits of more housing against the harm. For him the key issues are: the location being outside a settlement, the traffic, landscape, and the need for housing.

Do You Know What’s On in Abingdon?

Sometimes there are events going on Abingdon people would have liked to have known about beforehand. Marks out of five for how many you knew were happening.
What's On in Abingdon
1. The Choose Abingdon AGM is at the Guildhall at 7pm today (21st May). They will featuring a number of videos and revealing plans for involving the community in a brainstorming session about how we use our riverside spaces. And telling us about the new community shop project. All welcome.
What's On in Abingdon
2. Ruby’s Vintage and Retro Fair is coming to Abingdon Guildhall on June 7th.
What's On in Abingdon
3. Andy Flannagan will be playing the Amey Theatre this Friday . Profits go to a charity very dear to two local people which is why they staged the event.
What's On in Abingdon
4. Billi Smiles Circus is on from the 22nd May on the Wootton Road. You can not have missed Billi Smiles’s posters!!!
What's On in Abingdon
5. Parents and Tots need never get bored in Abingdon with so many groups. More info from North Abingdon Children’s Centre.

Unicorn Theatre Sixty Years Old

Unicorn Theatre Sixty Years Old
On June 8th 1953 The ‘Two Angry Women of Abingdon’ was performed by Abingdon Drama Club – the first ever performance at the Unicorn Theatre in Abingdon.
Unicorn Theatre Sixty Years Old
In 1959 Orlando, an opera by Handel was performed. It was to be the first of many Handel operas brought back to the stage at the Unicorn in Abingdon by Alan Kitching. The Unicorn and Handel have became part of Handel operatic history.
Unicorn Theatre Sixty Years Old
This evening to commemorate those sixty years there was another Handel opera – Semele – performed by Jackdaws Opera Plus. Jackdaws run music courses and Opera Plus helps young singers get on. Semele has been performed as workshops in schools and the performance was brought to the Unicorn Theatre tonight.
Unicorn Theatre Sixty Years Old
Tickets were £30 each and were sold out.
Unicorn Theatre Sixty Years Old
The audience included Colin Kitching, the son of Alan kitching, and David Madden, who was a child actor in the mid-50s (more plays than operas), and Christine Lightfoot, a musician from the early operas.

The modern dress Handel had great humour and was enjoyed by all those I spoke to afterwards.

(Thanks to Hester for the pictures)

460 years of Christ’s Hospital of Abingdon

Christ's Hospital of Abingdon
To celebrate 460 years of the Charity Christ’s Hospital of Abingdon there is an exhibition at Long Alley Almshouse this weekend.
Christ's Hospital of Abingdon
In the hall, used for Governors’ meetings, there are pictures and books and manuscripts from the archives on display. The earliest book of meeting minutes, dating from 1577, is open, with a typewritten transcription alongside. There is an album showing the pictures taken by The Times Newspaper when they did a feature on almshouses in 1939. Another photo album shows Abingdon Bridge being rebuilt in 1927.
Christ's Hospital of Abingdon
In 1668 Samuel Pepys visited the Almshouses and donated half-a-crown into the poor box. The poor box is still there – opened at Christmas.
Christ's Hospital of Abingdon
Last Saturday Christ’s Hospital of Abingdon held a lunch at the Guildhall for their residents, staff and suppliers as part of their 460th anniversary celebrations.

The occasion also marked the retirement of the charity’s clerk, Chris Nutman, after ten years of service. After a very convivial lunch, Chris was driven off to enjoy his retirement in unusual fashion by Tom Robinson, the park keeper of Albert Park (run by Christ’s Hospital).

Public meeting with Minister for Planning and Development, Nick Boles, MP

Nick Boles
Fliers have been going out to say there will be a public meeting with the minister for planning and development, Nick Boles, at 5.30 PM at the Guildhall.

Nick Boles has been invited by Nicola Blackwood MP to discuss recent planning applications, in particular the application for 160 houses in a field South of Abingdon.

That application was turned down by the district council, on officer advise, without being discussed at committee. It has been opposed by all councillors for the area, having failed to take into account the traffic in South Abingdon.

The Appeal by The Sheffield based developer, Hallam Land Management, starts on Tues 21st May at the Guildhall in Abingdon and continues for the rest of the week.