Rascals, Rot and Ruin at Old Abbey House

Old Abbey House
Old Abbey House has been unused and unoccupied since the town council and citizens advice moved out in 2014. The building was boarded up two years ago to stop vandalism, and rotating climb guards added more recently.
Old Abbey House
A lot of roof tiles are broken above the lower half of the building.
Old Abbey House
The roof on the higher part looks better, but mischief makers are still getting up there and causing damage.

Old Abbey House is owned by the Vale of the White Horse District Council. The Conservatives were in charge up to May 2019 and proposed using it as Social Housing. The Lib-Dems have been in charge since May 2019. They were putting together a strategy document about managing VWHDC buildings when the Coronavirus Pandemic struck.

25 thoughts on “Rascals, Rot and Ruin at Old Abbey House

  1. PPJS

    This was one of the more predictable outcomes of leaving the premises unoccupied and uncared for; it’s very sad to see. The building was one of the glories of Abingdon.

  2. Ant

    Surely with many of them working from home, the remaining Vale staff should move into Old Abbey House and give up their large pleasure palace next door for conversion into affordable housing – or Waitrose shoppers.

    1. The lady

      Affordable housing ..take a look at magnet close and see what these people do to affordable housing

  3. Rosemary Ann Perrow

    This is what our visitors see when they go to Abbey Meadows.
    If they visit by river, they see The Upper Reaches.
    No wonder Abingdon isn’t fulfilling its tourist potential.

  4. PPJS

    Who are “these people”?
    Surely not the public school types of the Bullingdon Club whose anti-social behaviour is excused because they speak nicely and have been expensively educated…

  5. Janet

    People think that Sovereign who manaage the social housing in Abingdon are taking people from other districts as mostly all the people who have moved into social housing in South Abingdon recently have been black families. They do not look like local families.

    1. Hester

      Janet, this is a dreadful comment and wrong in almost every respect.
      The original post was about vandalism and the Vale’s handling of Old Abbey House – and the idea of converting it into social housing was a passing whim of the previous council, so irrelevant now.
      Many of us have witnessed examples of groups engaging in anti-social behaviour – I can only speak for myself, but those I have seen have been overwhelmingly white, so to link the issue to race/colour is misleading at best, inciting racial hatred at worst.
      Comments like “people think that mostly all….” are a classic form of spreading misinformation – and in this case racist attitudes: there is a lot of social housing all around Abingdon, not all managed by Sovereign, and the allocation criteria are controlled by the District Council. Turnover is not high, so the numbers of new people moving in are not high either, so your “mostly all” could be a very small number indeed. Please try to base your judgements on facts.
      Having a local connection is one of the eligibility criteria – where it is waived it is usually because of special circumstances like being a refugee, or fleeing from domestic violence. Some of those applying are people who have come out of the (British) army: their local connection may have been short lived because they have had various previous postings, but they would therefore not be eligible elsewhere either and to penalise people because they have served our country would be grossly unfair.
      But the most shocking part of your comment was that “They do not look like local families”. That is such a classic example of racist language that, if I had not seen other comments you have made over the years, I would have thought it was said in joke. With everything we have seen about the Windrush scandal and the current discussions over racial labelling and stereotyping I find it deeply saddening that someone who I know tries to help others in her community can be so uncaring in this respect.

      1. Janet

        It is true. There was a comment earlier on about social housing. I live in South Abingdon so know what is going on here. I live on an estate with mostly social housing. Severai houses have become empty here with people moving to other areas so we have had new tenants move in. It is not racist. It is a statement of fact. Some social housing providers are taking families from other areas. For instance Birmingham have bought up a lot of social housing in Cornwall and have moved families from Birmingham to Cornwall.

        1. oxonchris

          Janet, It may be as you say, a statement of fact that ‘new tenants move in’ but to single out their skin colour and compound the issue by stating they ‘don’t look local’ has been perceived quite rightly as racist, you may think it’s not but it is.

          You could have made your point and contributed to your ‘rational argument’ without referring to skin colour or what people look like. I for one in this multicultural society would like to know what a ‘local person’ looks like particularly with the diversity I see in the town every day.

          1. Janet

            There are double standards here. The arguement put forward when planning for private housing estates in Abingdon is ‘local people must have houses’. When social housing was council people had to have lived in the area for 2 years before they could put their name on the housing list. This ensured that local people were not moved down on the list by people just moving into the area. Local people could get housing where their families and support systems and work was. However, things have changed. A local woman with 3 children made homeless by a mariage break up applied for social housing and was told that she would not be able to get social housing. A councellor who approached the housing association for her said that the way that the council and housing associations allocate housing is not transparent. Councils with large housing lists are moving people from the areas where they have family and children are at school to other areas sometimes many miles from where they grew up. The waiting list for housing is very long and thanks to the right to buy where councils sold off housing and did not build any more social housing is scarce for the low paid. My concern is that Abingdon is accepting people from other areas to the detriment of local people. I am not saying that this is happening but people are allowed to ask questions. I find it amusing that people who live in middle class areas in Abingdon where there is no social housing should tell me who my social housing neighbours are.

        2. Chris John

          It is racist because you used the colour of someone’s skin. However I wouldn’t have expected any less of you Janet

    2. Iain

      Shame on you Janet. It really is about time you stopped making this sort of racist remark. If you cant see that it is racist perhaps it is time for you to seek out some education.

  6. Flamingo Lane

    Janet, I came to live in Abingdon some 22 years ago, from somewhere outside of Oxfordshire. I have stayed here ever since, and both my children have been brought up and schooled here, and still live and work in the town. Does that make us ‘local people’ as far as you are concerned? Or would the colour of our skin be a better guide to enable you to pass judgment?

  7. Robin

    It’s about time Janet and her poisonous ill-informed racist and xenophobic comments were removed from this forum.

  8. Hester

    I am not in favour of banning people – it just gives the hate-brigade even more to complain about. However I do think they should be politely and civilly called out.

  9. Robin

    Hester, for the most part I tend to agree with you about banning people with views that differ from my own and the way it gives them the opportunity to claim martyrdom on the cross of free speach. The person in question here, however, has a long history of popping their head up to make inaccurate, irrelevant and offensive comments and then failing to respond when they are quite rightly called out, only to pop up again on some random thread with further statements in a similar vein. While a forum like this should quite rightly allow the free and frank discussion of differing views, it should not become a medium for offensive, inaccurate and ill-informed dog whistle propaganda.

  10. PPJS

    And the earlier comment about “these people” goes unchecked?

    Lumping people into groups convenient for disapproval, disdain or detestation is something we have to grow above.

  11. Janet

    That is not true Robin. I will always try politely to answer any question and justify my remarks. It is my policy not to insult anyone as I prefer rational arguement.

    1. Iain

      Sadly your statement above was both insulting and racist. If you cant tell that then perhaps you should refrain from making remarks?

  12. Robin

    In which case Janet, it would be good to hear

    Which people think the local council’s ‘local connection’ guidelines for the allocation of social housing are being ignored and what evidence do they base those alligations on?

    Are you suggesting that there is something inherently bad about black families making use of social housing? If not, what was your reason for mentioning their colour?

    What particular visual attribute/s lead you to believe the people you have seen are not ‘local families’?

    I look forward to hearing your polite and rational arguments.

    1. Janet

      Hello Robin. I have already replied to Oxonchris further up the page and it will not allow me to post again. The reply to your comment as as the reply to Oxonchris. Sorry about that but apparently the page will not allow me to post twice.

  13. R.

    But Janet, in your reply to oxoncris you make no mention of your racist remark and have avoided replying to Robin’s request to explain it by claiming that the page will not allow you to post twice. Really?


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