Abbey Meadow Public Consultation

Abbey Meadow Public Consultation
You can either pick up a leaflet from places like the Guildhall, Abbey House, and some shops, or go to  and fill in an online survey. The scenarios will also be on display in the Bury Street Community Shop between March 23 and 28, for people wanting to ask questions and find out more, and are at the Abbey Meadows.

The Vale of White Horse District Council have around £500K to spend on improving the area and have presented 3 options for the future of the park:
Abbey Meadow Public Consultation
A) A Place to Swim and Play – ensures the long term future of the open Air Pool and then asks people to rate what other facilities they would like. See the survey for details.
B) A Place to Relax and Unwind – replaces the pool with a cafe, and then asks people to rate what other facilities they would like.
C) A flexible outdoor space – improves the public toilets, and then asks people to rate what other facilities they would like. No pool here either.

The consultation runs to 7 April 2015, and the result will be known after the elections in the Summer. The Abbey Meadows are already the most visited park in the Vale of White Horse District.
Abbey Meadow Public Consultation
I first wrote a blog post called hot hot hot day about the Abbey Meadows in 2006. It was intended to be in the style of Dr Seuss.

77 thoughts on “Abbey Meadow Public Consultation

  1. J KING

    The open air Pool has always been well attended the main problem is the Vale council has been trying to close this for the last ten to fifteen years so they can build something completely out of keeping with Abingdon if the right people had been given the contract in the first place it would have done much better you only need to walk around the meadows and you can see the way the council have let it deteariate over the years so i will go with option A sa i think most Abingdon people will go for.

  2. J KING

    The open air Pool has always been well attended the main problem is the Vale council has been trying to close this for the last ten to fifteen years so they can build something completely out of keeping with Abingdon if the right people had been given the contract in the first place it would have done much better you only need to walk around the meadows and you can see the way the council have let it deteariate over the years so i will go with option A so i think most Abingdon people will go for.

  3. Old Abingdon

    Im going for A i belive the outside theartre wouldnt get used as much as the pool in the summer there is massive ques for the pool .i also like the idea in A for a riverside cafe would be a nice place to sit on a summers day

  4. Susan Dawes

    I like C – much more funding to pay for all the other facilities, like adventure playpark for older children, outdoor gym, sensory gardens, art trail, even an ice rink in the winter months!

  5. Dave

    Large versions of the options, showing the whole of the Abbey Meadow have been posted just inside the meadow, close to the splash pool, offering the opportunity to view the options in full, and enjoy the meadow, before making your views known.

  6. Steve

    I’m going for A, we should keep the pool, for future generations to enjoy, the other options, B) basically adding another cafe or C) having great toilets are very woolly and can easily be watered down, if you excuse the pun. The council could easily say that the funds didn’t go far enough on B and C to do much whereas option A commits to something.

  7. Houdini

    Keep the open air pool. Build a better changing room (that building has seen it days), add in a cafe with an outside area to sit ….. not some state of the art ugly modern building though please ….. something with beautiful French windows opening up to look at the river?

    Be nice if the cafe/restaurant could be open in the evening. How nice to sit by the river, with lights etc.

    Shame the old paddling pool was replaced with the weird splash thing. Spent many happy hours there when the children were little. The splash thing looks ugly when it’s not in use.

    But ….. definitely keep the pool.

  8. Steveo

    I think it’d be tragic to lose the pool, I learned to swim there as a kid! Option A for me!
    I like the outdoor theatre idea, but that should be put in the adjacent park. That way in the summer you could have all different performances, with anything from Abingdon drama club, to local bands. Anything is a possibility if thought out well.

  9. Mh

    The open air performance space faces into the morning sun. Could give rise to practical problems. Audience space limited by river to rear.

  10. Andrew

    Option B appears show show the line of tall trees next to the playground no longer there. Are they really going to cut them down?

  11. Neil Fawcett

    Personally I don’t think we should just accept that there are only three options for how to improve Abbey Meadow or an arbitrary figure of £500K to be spent.

    The ‘consultation’ with representatives from various community organisations based on lists the Vale holds was completely inadequate and the outcome seemed to be pre-determined.

    I was very unhappy with how the meeting was organised. rather than having an ‘open’ discussion about Abbey Meadow they split us into three groupings from the start around the three different types of development that they had come up with.

    As the evening went on it seemed to me that we were being led to the conclusions that they had started with, and heavily influenced by the budget that had been set, rather than it being a genuine discussion about how Abbey Meadow could be improved.

    They then came up with this consultation on those three options, and the Abingdon Area Committee (a Vale Council committee made up of councillors from the Abingdon Area) also raised a lot of questions about how the ‘consultation’ was being done.

    I don’t think they’ve done any proper costings that take into account both capital and revenue implications. The experience elsewhere is that if you invest a reasonable amount in the capital you can reduce your ongoing revenue costs, and that’s what they should be looking at here.

    As to what local residents can do? Well I will be responding, supporting the option that keeps the pool, but making a very strong comment that the consultation process is inadequate and that they should run a much more open consultation with much more flexibility around the eventual outcome and potential budget.

    I would encourage as many other residents as possible to do likewise.

  12. Colin A.S.R. Galloway

    Has anyone consider dog bins ie for bags and either droppings or bins for general rubbish that people leave behind. ie bottles, cans etc. I volunteer to litter pick, you may have seen me with my trolley going though park and waitrose and back to Audlett Drive where I live.

  13. daniel

    Neil, thank you for a clear update and explanation on things to date. For further clarity though…who are “They”?

    ” They” appear to decide on alot of what happens in, and to our town. Perhaps if we had more view of who “They” are, what they exactly do, on what measurables they are judged…we might be in a better position to question “Them”, and ” They” have to justify themselves and finally become accountable…

    Just a thought.

  14. HelenP

    The Vale council is run on a Cabinet system – i.e. a small group of councillors from the ruling group come up with the policies. (As opposed to the Town council which is run on a Committee system where members of all parties are represented)
    To try and clarify who “They” are in this case – I understand the plan originated with the Cabinet, in conjunction with Council officers. The consultation meeting was directed by outside consultants, with some Council officers in attendance.
    On arrival we were asked which of the three options we were interested in (i.e. before we even knew what they were) – and were grouped according to our choices.

  15. Geoff Bailey

    What is going on to the far right of B?It looks like an ice/skating rink? which would be a high maintenance job.It will be a shame to see the pitch and putt go.Back in its heyday of the 80s this was a superb facility and a well maintained course but the Council gradually let it deteriorate.As for the outdoor swimming pool it was fine until the Tennis & Leisure Centre opened but again it is has always been a bit of a drain on Council budgets.I see Daniel is being sarcastic again…..

  16. Jenbms

    Thank you Neil for your comments. I have registered my preference for keeping the pool – keep the population fit rather than stuffing them with yet more cakes!

  17. daniel

    Thanks HelenP. Sounds like we are well and truely done for then!

    No one on the cabinet represents Abingdon – which is mainly why the town is so massively sidelined in all other areas too, the ‘council officers’ are unelected people, employed by us, who come up with and implement whatever policy they may choose – with no recourse to the people of Abingdon – it would be interesting to know on what they are measured when it comes to their PDRs etc. Are they ‘good at their jobs’? If so, says who, based on what?.. And then, finally…because all of the above are so lacking…yet more of our money is frittered away on ‘consultants’. I would be hugely interested to know on what basis THEY get paid…and under what circumstance their inept deliverance of projects means their huge fees we pay them are clawed back for us.

    Who’s idea was AbITs for example, suggested by what consultants? Because, I, for one, feel we are due a refund.

    And the consultants for the new ock street crossings…one assumes, whether they work or not, we will be lumbered with them, and they’ll have their pocket full of cash?

    It doesn’t bode well for Abbey Meadow.

    There is a distinct possibility that the whole development can be guided, honed, decided and implemented…by people who don’t even live within 10 miles of the place.

    If there’s anyone left who still has any good feelings about this whole thing…I admire your optimism.

  18. James

    The biggest thing to sort out in the park is the conflict between pedestrians (mainly dog walkers) / pram pushers & young family / cyclists both leisure and commuters making any of the activities above more awkward than it should be, not least due to the heavily rutted paths and muddy edges.

    Most of the above would be sorted with wider paths and better designation between different users, all of which is relatively low cost too.

    Presumably as such things dont look nice on drawings they will get ignored.

  19. Rachel

    The final 7 bullet points on “improvements we will consider” are the same for each of the 3 options.

    I personally don’t see why the “improvements we will make” under the 3 scenarios have to be mutually exclusive.

    How can I get on this cabinet?

  20. daniel

    Rachel – get yourself elected on to The Vale as a councillor…then, who nose how you make it on to the cabinet – but if you did, I am sure you’d enjoy the expenses, and then…although you will be ‘on’ the cabinet, it would likely do a fat lot of good….as you’d just be a single, loan voice for Abingdon…and likely vetoed at every opportunity.

    Go for it? I’ll give you a vote….

  21. Kelly Simpson

    I cannot believe ‘they’ would again even think of closing the pool. Improve it and let future generations swim safely out of doors.

  22. newcomer

    It’s amazing how little can be done with £500K, especially if consultants carve out their slice first. My initial thought when I first heard of this project was that it was a pre-election sop from The Vale in an attempt to appease the Town for the huge amounts it’s looted out of Abingdon. I haven’t changed my mind, especially as there’s an initiative to get rid of all the Oxfordshire District Councils and replace them with a unitary council … not that it’s been give much publicity.

    I’d opt for keeping the pool, but there’s a lot more which could/should be done. For example, would it be possible to (long) lease a space on the Meadow for a restaurant/coffee-house chain to build a cafe, perhaps attached to the pool? This would have the advantage of not involving public money (with income from the lease) and professionals running the enterprise thus helping avoid the mistakes made with the Guildhall. If professional caterers didn’t think this was a commercial option we might assume that the the tax-payers will have had a lucky escape.

  23. ppjs

    Neil’s description of the “consultation” event suggests a very old management technique: concealing a wider choice that would complicate matters. It’s like the magician’s use of misdirection – Watch this hand (while the other does the business).

    When I was a student, I was told that in examination questions I should beware of accepting an “either/or” choice; consider “neither” or “both”. I have adopted this principle throughout my life.

    Why are these options being offered me? Why is the choice so narrow? What is being hidden from me?

  24. Hester

    I think this issue (and, dare I mention it) the Guildhall one raise an even more fundamental one. Do we believe that leisure and community facilities are services which our Councils should provide (whether directly run or contracted out) – and fund, in the same way as they provide and fund play areas, cemeteries, flower displays, Museum, Library etc?
    If the answer is Yes we should stop using words like “subsidise”, “loss” etc and just use “fund” and “cost” – much less emotive and judgmental words. However we should also face up to financial realities: under the current regime, Council budgets are capped so increased expenditure in one area means cuts elsewhere. If there was some flexibility would we be willing to pay more Council Tax to fund these facilities?
    Personally, my answer to both these questions is Yes – I think well- presented “municipal” facilities make a big difference to a town or village and create community focus. But, as Newcomer says the £500k currently provided for wont go far, so maybe before we reply to the consultation we should each consider how we feel about the underlying questions?

  25. oxonchris

    Love the ‘additional improvement we will consider’ which is nicely vague and can’t wait for them to plumb in the electricity supply for the mobile ice rink which is obviously high on the abingdonians wish list……NOT!

  26. Julian

    Hester…please do not mention the Guildhall in a post that has nothing to do with that subject? Please wait for the future Grouse page to bring up non topic issues. Thank you. :0)

  27. daniel

    Hi DoL, thanks for the link…I was hoping someone may save me searching for it 😉

    …I wouldn’t want to get too bogged down in The Cabinet, who they are, how bad they are for the town etc…as, at least we have an opportunity to vote them out when they continue to screw us all over year after year…

    We should really be concerned about the organ grinders, behind the scenes. The ones without faces. The unelected. The unaccountable. The ‘council officers’….and the consultants they throw our money at….and those consultants can deliver, or not…they still get paid.

    Having said that…i hope they all choose some nice flowers this year…

  28. Coggin

    I too have gone for option A as I think the outdoor swimming area should stay but the Abbey Meadows could become a much better place to spend the day. The cafe would be better if it was larger, you could even have an indoor seating area for meals and outdoor seating and picnic areas for all the hords of families that use the park. The crazy golf (I think it’s still there) really needs to be removed or remodelled, does it make money or get used very often, it could become a better revenue stream. An area to play football, a zip wire and climbing wall could all be great addtions. £500,000 will not go far so I would imagine not much will happen.

  29. Peter Del

    The other day, which was bright but cold, I went to the Waterside bistro at Benson, it was full, so I sat outside.
    Something like that with an open air pool for the summer might be a winner; parking is already available.
    Perhaps the people at Benson could be approached to run it, they clearly know what they are doing.

  30. Rachel - the other one

    I think the pool is important but I also think that a riverside restaurant/cafe is a good idea. We know from research done by Chaps that people come to Abingdon for leisure more than shopping and if the riverside became a destination like the River and Rowing museum/cafe at Henley that would be a good thing.

    The reality is that for a good part of the year the Abbey Meadow is a pretty chilly place to walk or stand about watching small children in the park. It needs something that is an all year round reason to visit and a cafe with hot food and indoor community space would certainly be it.

    Portsmouth sea front has to new cafes on the promenade which are rustic looking and doing very well.

    A park I visit when in Southampton has a great cafe and community room which is run by a community interest company Dig about there to see how they use PV cells on a gazebo and ground source heat pump as well as heat exchanger in the kitchen to make it as carbon neutral as possible.

    Abingdon really doesn’t need to re-invent the wheel! “They ” need to get out and about and see what other people have done.

  31. Captainkaos2

    Sounds like Hobsons choice, a pool or a restaurant?or a this or a that? why can’t we have it all? and before any Vale Councillor says we/they cant afford it, well we damn well could if we were paid the true amount outstanding from the Old Gaol, Moreover, did I see a planning application back in December by Abingdon School to replace the all weather track at Tylsey park? so the vale has gone ahead and given, yes GIVEN Tylsey park to Abingdon school because they don’t have the skills to run it (that old chestnut/guildhall)
    Tylsey Park, a chunk of land given to the people of Abingdon as part of the development of the estate opposite, sits bang in the middle of the proposed 1200 housing site, so the question is, “if the vale didn;t have the expertise to run it for the benefit of the community it was given to, ( a very poor job indeed) why didn’t they sell the site for housing instead of giving it to a public school already awash with money? at one million pound an acre the 20 acre site should have generated enough money for Abingdon to have created all the “stuff” the meadows needs along with a foot bridge over the Thames too !

  32. Hester

    Captain K – I must have missed that planning application – just searched Vale website back to October and can’t see it. Do you have the What were they going to replace the all-weather track with?

    David Buckle Is in record as having said last September “Regarding Tilsley Park .. I can assure you that there is no prospect of Tilsley Pak being redeveloped for housing for the foreseeable future. It will remain as an important recreation asset for the people of Abingdon and surrounding area”
    So long as Abingdon School keep to their part of the bargain and maintain the site for public use that seems to me much better than building all over it – surely we need these more structured sports facilities as well as general leisure areas like the Abbey Meadow.

  33. Peter Harbour

    Option A is the only Option that will keep the pool, as others have noticed. There is tremendous support for the pool,proven by two petitions and campaigns and with the new management company the pool’s prospects look good.

    Anyone who gets a monthly membership of the Leisure and Tennis Centre will automatically be able to swim at Abbey Meadow. So will anyone who joins the other facilities that GLL run across the Vale and South Oxfordshire. So I predict a bumper season with record attendance, because members of any sports activity including swimming anywhere in the two district council areas will discover they can swim outdoors for free at Abbey Meadow or the Riverside!

    I am delighted so many on this blog have said they will support the pool. But how do we get the message to schools, parents, sports clubs etc that unless Option A is chosen by the majority, the pool will go? We only have five weeks to sort it.

    Please ask your friends, family etc, whether or not they live locally, to support the pool by responding to the consultation. That is within the spirit of the consultation because the council’s stated aim is to increase footfall by attracting people from elsewhere.

  34. Peter Harbour

    The consultation document is laid out for kids. The plans are unlabelled and difficult to read. Options A, B and C are all shown in the plans but the online version is not the same as the printed one.

    The pretty pictures don’t correspond to the plans. Frankly this consultation document is a shambles. Did it go before scrutiny?

    The online consultation checks your postcode and name. The printed one doesn’t. this is an invitation to fraud and it means that the response to the survey can only be an indication of people’s wishes and would never stand up to serious scrutiny.

    And we have had to pay for this consultation?

    I believe that the posters down at Abbey Meadow may show the plans more clearly so I must go down and photograph them unless the council will do us the favour of putting them online.

    Further criticism of the online documents is that it is possible for people to respond to the questions without reading that the pool would be destroyed if Options B or C are chosen and that for one of B or C (I forget which) the line of beautiful poplar trees would be torn down.

    Thus the way the consultation has been set up is open to both misinterpretation and fraud.

  35. Rachel

    Don’t worry pool fans. This evening I used the phone book to find names and postcodes of 1,999 residents, and they have all voted for option A

  36. daniel

    So…is no one ‘on the council’ addressing the issue raised here regarding how this whole process is being carried out?

    Or do we just hope that when the decision is crobared into what “they” want, it kinda fits with something we’re prepared to settle for?

    If the process is not fit for purpose…why will the decision be?

  37. Peter Harbour

    Hi Daniel
    I wrote to Matthew Barber, leader of the council to say I was disgusted with the consultation process because the document that people will read “doesn’t even say that if the second and third options are chosen then the pool will be closed. Talk about a slanted consultation! ” to which Matthew replied
    “I’m sorry but I disagree. I think this brief notice fairly sets out the options in brief summary and there is plenty more detail available in the consultation documents.”

    Well yes there is plenty more but given the signposts to the “plenty more” supplied in the consultation process, many might respond without knowing that Scenarios B and C will lead to destruction of the pool. The only good sign post is but that signpost is not given out. It leads directly to the consultation document. Why is there no signpost leading directly to the consultation document for heavens sake?

    I could start criticising the consultation document but it will raise my blood pressure too much. Suffice it to say it looks like a document aimed at kids and at people who can’t read plans. And they could try labelling it and then they could check that the online version is the same as the printed version. It isn’t. And they should offer a prize to the first person who can work out from the plans in the booklet where the proposed bandstand will be. Or how many sculptures are proposed in a meadow – THIS IS NOT A PARK!!!

  38. Peter Harbour

    I thought Neil @14 made a lot of sense. If Neil would convene a meeting many of us might attend. I was told there are no District Council Meetings whatsoever during the whole of this period of consultation but I see there’s a Scrutiny Committee on 26th March There are a few Town Council Meetings F&GP on 10th, Full Council on 25th. Contact your local councillors people if you want democratic representation,

  39. newcomer

    Peter Harbour … as with the Guildhall, the problem here is that the politicians involved are amateurs when it comes to the issues they are addressing. This has nothing to do with political leaning and everything to do with competence. Consultants are no solution as it’s their job to string out a job as long as they can to make as much money as possible … they’ve no interest in serving the public.. None of the above have any interest in open processes as that would reveal that they are just fumbling in the dark.

    If the councils are really serious about finding out what taxpayers want they should do it properly and openly.

    In addition, the Cabinet structure moves us further away from democracy as it gives too much power to the self-reichteous (and yes, that’s spelled the way I meant to spell it).

    Meanwhile, whatever charm Abingdon has is being sold down the river and you can’t buy charm back.

  40. hester

    Re post 47 – I am confused (not a rare occurrence these days!). The hard copy leaflet clearly says that under options B and C the outdoor pool would go, so I went to the Vale website and followed the most obvious route there i.e clicked on the link from the banner headline on the front page. That said “IMPORTANT – please read our consultation document carefully before submitting a response. The document explains the project in more detail, describes what each scenario would involve and the scope for additional improvements. ” The warning to read the consultation document first is repeated when you go into the questionnaire.

    So i followed the link to the consultation document and found a 10-page doc, the first few pages being identical to the hard-copy one and clearly stating that the pool would be removed in Options B and C.

    So maybe I was just lucky and oicked the right route – but hopefully others will do the same!

  41. Peter Harbour

    Hester you got the information but I think you will agree that many will not click on the hyperlink nor on the tab on the bottom right on the page – for fear of vanishing down a black hole or whatever. maybe I too am confused or bemused!

    I do not understand why I the Consultants do not publish a direct link to the consultation booklet, which is .

    Easy, isn’t it? But I feel a little reassured that you found it easily when you followed the links.

  42. Peter Harbour

    “Oicked” is indeed a good one, Hester. I keep typing
    “Abbey Meadow Poo”.

    Don’t know what that implies? A dog’s breakfast, but much later?

  43. Elizabeth

    You are the first to comment on it, Lesley. I did wonder if I was seeing things. There will be more than Loch Ness monsters swimming in the river if we continue with global warming.
    The pool was built way back in the 1950s to give families a safe place to swim and have fun. What a far sighted Council it was then. They were concerned to create an alternative to swimming in the river. The pool was not heated so we have advanced a little. Concrete does not last forever without some amount of TLC and cost. The pool is used; it is an amenity; we do not want to see it destroyed.

  44. Loch Ness Monster

    Here there be dragons, Elizabeth, as all can see on Option A.

    There be monsters elsewhere, too but no prizes for guessing where!

  45. Tim Oates

    I shall be voting for Scenario/Option ‘A’, there is no other alternative. Thinks! Who is the cultural vandal amongst the unelected/unaccountable officers who decided to use the word “scenario” in place of the more accurate word “option” ?
    Oxford Dictionary states: Scenario = a written outline of a film, novel or stage work or as a possible sequence of future events! Whereas Option = a thing that is or may be chosen, the freedom or right to choose, a right to buy or sell something in the future. So it’s Option ‘A’ then!
    This so-called consultation is a version of local ‘pork barrel politics’ dreamed up by Vale Cabinet Cllrs., who are all resident in the West of the Vale and have been using Abingdon as a ‘cash cow’ to fund their pet projects for years. Vote Option ‘A’, do we really want to regress to swimming in the river with all it’s attendant health risks?

  46. Loch Ness Monster

    Thou shalt not win prizes Mr Oates but thou hast guessed where-else there be monsters!

    Please get the dragons from Option A to smoke them out – or I swear I’ll leave the comfort of Loch Ness, where I am believed to be a tourist attraction, and come and reside in Ye Olde River Thames, close to Abingdon Bridge and we will see who is a tourist attraction and who a health hazard.

  47. Tim Oates

    Welcome Nessie!, get yourself down here and quickly too. Options ‘B’ and ‘C’ need to be put down as quickly as possible, never to be seen again.
    This sham consultation is a typical product of the ‘management consultant gravy train’ so beloved of our incompetent civil service/local government, unelected, unsackable bureaucrats in this country!
    With a restaurant planned in the public forecourt of the Old Gaol, the Nag’s Head and the Upper Reaches, along with Cosener’s House we don’t need any more riverside restaurants. What we do need is a revitalised outdoor pool fit for the 21st.century, a smart café/bistro and a bandstand in Abbey Meadow!.

  48. David Snowden

    Surely Option “A” must be the only one; it is anyway flexible to accommodate most requirements. The alternatives would be for tragic closure of this pool which has been neglected for far too long. Healthy outdoor exercise and space rather than yet more inducements to eat and drink should be the overriding consideration. Fighting body fat by the frequent use of a pool, so much enjoyed by all age groups, must be a strong principal. The Council has an obligation to encourage exercise rather than food consumption and may one day be legally liable to fulfil this obligation.

  49. naomi richardson

    I also started a fb page Abbey Meadows consultation discussion. I will collate comments on here and submit to the council (even if I don’t agree with them ;). For disclosure of interests, I personally think all the options sell Abingdon short, but we have to vote for option A as a first step to make sure that the pool stays in the plan. Naomi

  50. naomi richardson

    12,000 people used the pool last year in the four short months for which it was open. The council are representing the pool as a burden, but you cannot measure the value of a public asset in pounds and pence. What value can you put on the civic identity of Abingdon, living by the river, playing by the river? What value on the mental and physical wellbeing afforded by splashing about outdoors? What value on the happy memories of days out with the family enjoying the pool, the park, the relaxed atmosphere? Wallingford, Hinksey, even a small village like Woodstock manage to have outdoor pools, why not a large and growing town like Abingdon. Why do we have to lose our pool? We’re set to have new houses built on every margin of the town to add to the 10 years’ of in-fill (brewery, penlon, etc). Will Abingdon residents have to get in their cars and travel to access leisure and recreational facilities? Is such a scenario good for Abingdon socially or economically? This is the last portion of Thames riverside with public recreational access, everything else has been sold off and built on. Can we afford to lose Abbey Meadows by letting the pool be turned into a ‘riverside restaurant’, only available to those that can afford it? If this happens, we will be paying to bulldoze over a public asset to set up a private commercial business. Another restaurant to add to all those in Abingdon and two new ones in the Old Gaol. The outdoor pool is part of what makes Abingdon unique. The pool is an asset not a burden and a confident town should invest in the pool and make it as good as Hinksey, Wallingford and even Woodstock. Does Abingdon deserve less? I don’t think so.

  51. Loch Ness Monster

    The answer my friend was blowing in the wind and landed splash bang in front of me as I swam past the pool looking for a nice juicy councillor or two …

    Of the three, Option A’s the most cool
    ‘Cos it will save your Open-Air Pool
    Vote B and it’s closed
    With C it’s bulldozed
    So please “Vote Option A” – that’s the rule!

    If there are any humans still reading this, please vote A

  52. Peter Harbour

    There’s a new way to show you care for the pool at

    This was started last night at 8pm and almost 1200 signatures have appeared to date with loads of nice comments. But voting on the 38 degrees website is entirely separate from the council’s consultation vote – oh and please remember that the council document can be voted upon by every man, woman and child.

    More detail at

  53. Mike

    Loch Ness Monster, I actually wrote that limerick but I well know that nothing’s safe once you send it in an email. Good idea to put it on the blog. Anyone please use it as it makes the situation clear in a fun and memorable way.

  54. Loch Ness Monster

    Sorry Mike
    When I found the Limerick in the Thames the name of the author was blurred and a couple of the lines were hard to read. But even a monster could see it was good.

    Please tell us the best version and full credit for a message that even Nessy can understand.



  55. Mike

    Curiouser and curiouser, LNM! Could you explain “in the Thames” please? Did someone think it was so good they were reading it on the riverbank gazing at the pool through the bars when a gust of wind blew it away? Or maybe there is a more prosaic explanation. You had a few words different from my original but it reads well so I’m happy to leave it as you found it.

  56. Loch Ness Monster

    I think you have got the picture Mike. The thing is you can’t hold a good Limerick down. Did I tell you the one about … ? On second thoughts maybe even for a Loch Ness Monster this is not the place and Mr Backstreeter might chop off my head if he can catch me.

  57. Loch Ness Monster

    Just been in the Market Square this morning looking for a few tasty councillors. Still hungry!

    Are they keeping a low profile?


  58. Elizabeth

    Somewhere way back on this string of comments, Abmum made all the important points we hold most dear — your description of the not needed restaurant; the effect Thames River swimming had on David Walliams;the fact that other towns are re-investing in their run down lidos;the attraction of visitors to the pool from the surrounding villages.
    The officers have pointed out that the cost of improving the pool would be the most expensive option. But this is the area of the Meadow that draws people to that part of Abingdon and the pool has suffered from minimal maintenance for as long as I can remember. The Reception area and changing rooms also need money spent on them. The pool will be open this summer, we who care that it continues to give pleasure to families and individuals of ALL ages should have patience and look forward to great things from our council in 2016.

    The revitalising of the Abbey Meadow doesn’t have to be done in one fell swoop. Cannot other good things be added over the next few years. The present Leader of the Council has said he views this as a ten year plan and so it should be, whoever is running the District council after the May elections.
    Improvements to the Kiosk, turning it into a decent café (open all the year round?) would be welcomed, with chairs and tables on the terrace and a contracted out professional group running it. This would bring the revenue the council needs to plough back into the Abbey Meadow.

  59. born and bred abingdonian

    I am sending my vote and I wish to see option C. I have read through the list of comments and must admit I think a lot of the replies could be used on the stage. Are most of these people treating this consultation with any seriousness. If, as I have read, it is costing £4.80 to subsidise each swimming admittance then it surely is not used by enough people to warrant the expenditure that it now needs to update it.

  60. abingdon resident

    I would like to vote for option C.

    I would like to see the trees on the riverbank either removed or well pruned as a majority are falling into the river and if there is a walk around the river bank it will obscure the view up the Thames.

  61. naomi richardson

    Save Abbey Meadows Outdoor Pool: who might support the pool if elected?

    I sent out a letter to every candidate standing for a seat on the Vale of the White Horse District Council or Abingdon Town Council asking what their position was regarding the Abbey Meadows Outdoor Pool.

    I asked them whether they were pool positive and if they had signed the petition at:

    Here is the summary of replies received. Please note that I am not affiliated with any political party. I just thought that if the outdoor pool is an issue that is important to you, then you might want to know who agrees with you on this issue. Names are presented in alphabetical order.

    1. Who is pool positive and signed the petition:
    Jim Abram (UKIP), Samantha Bowring (LIB DEM), Halima Brewer (GREEN), Margaret Crick (LIB DEM), Michael Ellwood (GREEN), Neil Fawcett (LIB DEM), Alistair Fear (LIB DEM), Tobias Fett (GREEN), Mike Gould (LAB), Jim Halliday (LIB DEM), Jeanette Halliday (LIB DEM), Lionel Howard (CON), Angela Lawrence (IND), Rob Maddison (LIB DEM), Jan Morter (LIB DEM), Christopher Newton (LIB DEM), Paul Norton (GREEN), Tim Oates (NHAP), Helen Pighills (LIB DEM), David Pope (CON), Alison Rooke (LIB DEM), John Skinner (LIB DEM), Janet Walker (LIB DEM), Denise Watt (LAB), James White (LIB DEM). Of the parliamentary candidates, Helen Salisbury (NHAP), Layla Moran (LIBDEM) and Sally Copley (LAB) have signed the petition.

    2. Who is pool positive but did not sign the petition:
    Duncan Brown (LIB DEM), Richard Bullock (GREEN), Dennis Garrett (CON), Vicky Walker (LIB DEM).

    3. Who replied but is neutral regarding the pool:
    Tony DeVere (LIB DEM)

    4. Who failed to reply to my letter:
    Alice Badcock (CON), Mike Badcock (CON), Marilyn Badcock (IND), David Bartlett (LAB), Charlie Birks (LIB DEM), Jonathan Bowden (ROAR), Katherine Burton (ROAR), Merv Chadwick (CON), Gina Darling (CON), Katie Finch (CON), Robert Hall (CON), Brian Hedley (CON), Darren Houlden (LIB DEM), Vicky Jenkins (CON), Mervin Knight (CON), Pat Lonergan (LIB DEM), Sandy Lovatt (CON), Monica Lovatt (CON), Hermann Matheson (CON), Anthony Mockler (ROAR), Bobbie Nichols (LAB), Lorraine Oates (LIB DEM), Chris Palmer (CON), Judith Penrose-Brown (LIB DEM), Natalie Quinn (LAB), Guy Rogers (CON), George Ryall (LAB), Jake Smith (UKIP), James Sweeten (ROAR), Andy Todd (CON), Daniel Wilkinson (CON).

    NB: There was no one who replied who was against keeping the pool open.

  62. naomi richardson

    Just to say that the ‘£4.80 to subsidise each swimming admittance’ was promoted by the council to make the pool seem expensive. It is not a good economic indicator as the pool is open for such a short time. Even if the pool was at full capacity every session, the fact that it is only open for four months for a few hours each day makes it cost more per swim. Following upgrading, Hinksey Pool is now run on revenue with no extra subsidy from the council; How? Well, by opening for 8 months and with sessions from early morning to late evening. Then you can get enough people through the door to pay the way. The opening season, hours of the pool and condition of the pool have all been suboptimal; this is what costs the money. It does not mean that the pool is not used or needed.

  63. Steven

    Why is our pool and children’s water fountains not opened until so late in the year? Last weekend in Wallingford I saw children playing in their water fountains, and I read in the Oxford Mail that Woodstock outdoor pool was open… and as noted here, Hinksey pool opened several weeks ago, but still nothing in Abingdon.


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