Monthly Archives: June 2014

The lease is up at the end of June

The lease is up at the end of June for both the Town Council and The Citizens Advice Bureau at Old Abbey House. The new buyer is not yet known but rumours include: pub, arts centre, hotel, mosque, housing ….
Civic Quarter Changes
And so the address for the Abingdon & District Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) is now Abbey House, Abbey Close, and CAB balloons are out.
Civic Quarter Changes
Abbey House, in Abbey Close, also has new signs for Oxfordshire County Council, the other new tenant.
Civic Quarter Changes
Outside Old Abbey House there is some office equipment, available for Free. It includes cages for displaying information leaflets, a reception desk, and some chairs.

Abingdon-on-Thames Town Council have also vacated this building to move to the Guildhall.

Town Council Meeting – June 2014

In the Roysse Room this evening there was a Meeting of Abingdon-on-Thames Town Council. These are my jottings …
Abingdon-on-Thames was given a special award for the Corporate Use of Heraldry for their use of the town’s heraldic symbol.

We heard that The Mayor, Angela Lawrence sat unperturbed when a rat ran out at a recent event she attended.

A grant was awarded to the Foyer for £5,000 to support additional opportunities for residents (sport, job seeking, community involvements, trips etc). The Foyer gives accommodation to young homeless people and often helps to turn their lives around.
A grant of £10,000 was given to Abingdon Rugby Club towards urgent ground work to their pitches.

Councillor Alice Badcock was congratulated for organising Fun and Music in the Park.
The architects have come back with revised costings for the Guildhall development after the failure to secure a lottery grant. The improvements to the frontage and foyer area have been dropped. What remains is a modular design :

  • 100 seat cinema
  • Abbey Hall including removable racked seats
  • Lift to some but not all historic rooms
  • Bar cafe area in the lower ground floor lobby and offices where the old bar was.

The costs are still in the range of £3,500,000 – £4,000,000 because of inflation so don’t seem that much lower. The design was described as ‘modular’ and ‘pick and mix’. If funding cannot be found for one option such as the cinema then it may be dropped. Exploratory meetings are to go ahead to see if a cinema operator partner will help with funding.

The annual accounts did show that The Guildhall costs £224,362 to run in 2014 and £148,831 in 2013 (excludes income). But on questioning it was discovered that a large part of the difference was the £30K gas bill. Both gas bills were paid in 2014.

The Museum are producing a book about WWI in Abingdon to go with their exhibition starting on 4th August (exactly 100 years from when the war was declared).

The MG Garden is now complete and the Mayor will open it in the near future.
solar powered Christmas Trees
The solar powered Christmas Trees have been put up for sale by the contractor as they did not perform too well for Abingdon-on-Thames.

A new working group is to be set up to find land for a new cemetery. There is 10-15 years left of Grave Space and it will take five years to set up a new cemetery. If the town counncil did run out of room then the district council are ultimately responsible for burials but that could mean Abingdon residents getting buried in Wantage or Faringdon.

Recent Pub Changes in Abingdon

Pub Changes in Abingdon
A new Landlord has just taken over The Broad Face. He plans to build the business up again by serving good pub food, well kept beer, and put on live folk and jazz music. But first needs to re-kit the kitchen. The pub is already open, but expect more news in July when he starts promoting what is happening.
Pub Changes in Abingdon
The Grapes has also been re-opened looking smarter – thanks to the Landlord, who also runs the Brewery Tap.
Pub Changes in Abingdon
Greene King still have a large foothold in Abingdon, with a large distribution centre on the Business Park, and a number of pubs …
Pub Changes in Abingdon
but they have been reported as selling off their two – at risk – pubs in Abingdon to Hawthorn Leisure. Hawthorn Leisure is a new rapidly growing pub chain with 275 pubs acquired from Greene King and 88 from another group. They could get even bigger, and they now own The Saxton Arms,
Pub Changes in Abingdon
and The Cross Keys. I expect both will continue to sell some Greene King beer as a three year supply agreement has been signed between the two companies.