Parish Council

Community Orchard Opening, Village Picnic and Barbecue

Sunday 11th June, Tickers Folly Field, from 12 noon

Sustainable Blewbury, with support from Blewbury Primary School PTA and the Pre-school, are celebrating the opening of Blewbury’s Community Orchard with a party – a village picnic and barbecue. There will be music from Blewbury Learner Brass Band and a range of activities for all ages.

Everyone is welcome to enjoy the PTA barbecue or bring their own picnic. We will have a real ale bar (the ‘Wagon Inn’, backed by the Blewbury Wagon) serving local beers, apple juice and soft drinks. There will also be a stall selling cake using orchard and garden fruits such as apples, plums and berries.

Some of the activities planned include:

  • Pre-school annual sponsored kite flying and picnic
  • Tug of war
  • Welly wanging
  • Story teller
  • Pond dipping
  • Information about the orchard, local environment and other Sustainable Blewbury activities

So come along, party in the orchard and make it a great village event!

Sustainable Blewbury Leaf Clearance

A big thank you from Sustainable Blewbury!

We would like to thank all the people who helped us clear the footpaths of leaves on Sunday 27th November. A vital part of how this was organised and done was due to Heather Richards, of the BVS.

There were so many of you scattered round the village we could not thank everyone individually. A special thank you must go to all the Blewbury school children who asked their parents to come with them to help rake leaves, and to David Hollick and Glen Meadows who collected all the bags of leaves in Mark Shayler’s trailer, pulled by the Parish Council tractor.

We hope you all enjoyed the cake at the Blueberry afterwards: a final thank you to the Blueberry for providing free tea, coffee and squash for all the workers.

The weather was fine, and it turned out to be a real community event, with a record amount of leaves collected: 180 bags! Some are being used at the allotments, some at the SB Permaculture site, and the remaining 100 bags will be taken to Agrivert at Benson to become part of the compost that local farmers appreciate.

Jo Lakeland and Eric Eisenhandler, co-Chairs of Sustainable Blewbury

 

Village Hall refurbishment

Fundraising continues apace.

We have been awarded a grant of £10,000 by the Garfield Weston Foundation; the Parochial Church Council has donated £1000; and Pete and Jeff’s Music Quiz raised £650. We have received donations from a number of businesses – Magnox Ltd, David Harber and Savages – and personal donations continue to be received. We are hugely grateful for all these contributions and have now raised nearly £300,000. Thank you for your support and generosity. Depending on how the current discussions with builders turn out, this means that we will be able to make a start on phase 1 shortly.

We missed making the final of the Aviva Community Awards by just 3 votes. Thanks to everyone who voted for us. With two other projects, we have though made the final of Tesco’s ‘Bags of Help’ scheme. You have until 31 December to pop into Tesco, pick up a token at the checkout and vote for the Hall. We’ve won £1000 by making the final and we stand a chance of winning £2000 or £5000. Please do support our project.

For those of you who prefer to contribute to charity online, we have now opened an account with Virgin Money Giving. Go to http://bit.ly/BlewVH16 and make a donation. It couldn’t be easier.

A merry Christmas and happy New Year. Steve White

 

 

 

Village Hall refurbishment

We have had an encouraging response to the latest questionnaire, with 95% of people saying they completely or broadly supported the proposed refurbishment.

There was also a wide range of comments and suggestions which will help to finalise the design. As this Bulletin is published, we will be evaluating the tender response from builders. This will determine what we think we’ll be able to afford overall and exactly what we can do in phase 1. Clearly, this will also depend on the money we raise. We have had a contribution of £433 from the Women’s Institute and, as a result of a very successful Bonfire Night, the BVS has decided to donate another £1000 towards the project. We are grateful for these contributions which are very welcome. Following the publication of the pamphlet and promotional film, both of which can be viewed on the project’s pages on the village website, we have also now received donations from individuals amounting to £11,600, which with the Gift Aid top-up is worth £14,300. In total, the village has now raised over £45,000 through fund-raising events and personal donations. We are grateful for every donation, no matter how small. If we can maintain momentum, there is no reason why we can’t raise at least as much again.

We have also had a number of offers of help in kind, which are also appreciated. If you haven’t already done so, please do consider donating to the project, bearing in mind that for higher rate taxpayers the donation will be set off against your higher rate tax. You can find out how to donate in the pamphlet or on the website or ask me.

Thanks also to all of you who voted for the project’s entry for an Aviva Community Award. We are waiting to hear if we have made it to the final.  Steve White

 

Sustainable Blewbury

Village Leaf Clearance: This year it is on Sunday afternoon, 27th November. Please meet us on the Play Close at 2 pm. We are running it with the help of the BVS and Parish Council. We all use the footpaths so please help us clear them of slippery leaves. Bring rakes and barrows if you have them, or you can borrow ours. There will be tea/coffee/juice and cake for volunteers afterwards at The Blueberry (who are kindly sponsoring the event).

Blewbury Garden Market Extra: A quick reminder that you can buy locally made bread and cakes for the weekend at the Post Office on Saturday mornings from 9.30 am – so call in before doing your weekly shop! Any unsold bread is put in the freezer so is available during the week as well. If you feel like occupying a couple of hours with baking on a Friday, bring your efforts along and we will sell them for you (10% retained, split between PO and SB). We also sell preserves and occasional produce (such as Jerusalem artichokes) all week.

Apple juicing: Sincere thanks to everyone who came along with their buckets of apples and saved this wonderful resource from being wasted by turning it into delicious juice! Thanks also to our team of volunteers, who spent many hours cleaning and preparing apples for the shredder and washing down the equipment afterwards. If you still have apples on your trees, you can hire our equipment for £10 – contact angela.hoy@sky.com.

Thermal imaging of houses: We will again be borrowing the Vale’s thermal camera in January in order to help people improve their home’s insulation. This can make it warmer, save money and reduce carbon emissions – a triple win. We image your house and provide a report free of charge. If you would like your house imaged, or re‑imaged to check improvements, please email us at info@sustainable-blewbury.org.uk or phone Jo Lakeland (850490) or Eric Eisenhandler (850558).

Community Orchard: See separate item elsewhere in this Bulletin.

BLEWBURY FREECYCLE

FREE ITEMS TO A GOOD HOME

E-MAIL TEL NO.
Gate leg folding veneered wooden table 30″ wide, 13″ folded depth, 60″ fully extended.

Ann Dendy

ann@dendy.co.uk

850760

Kenwood Multi Pro food processor with cutters etc.  Hardly used.

5 pairs of professionally made long (82-84″) triple lined heavy duty curtains with pencil pleats and ties, Beige background blue/grey motifs and thin brick red stripes.

1 pair professionally made lined curtains (61″ x 55″) Pale Blue print on cream background, blue lining pencil pleats and ties.

1 pair lined lighter weight curtains (45″x52″) Red/orange with cream and green pattern.

Tall stainless steel patio heater in working order.  Gas bottle NOT included.

Margaret Cooper

Agc.mc1@gmail.com

 

851725

Metal shelf system suitable for garden shed, 1.5m high, 4 shelves 75cms x 30cms including nuts and bolts

Pair of wall-mounted cottage-style pine corner shelves – H 82 cms, cross section 56 x 40 x 40cms

Ellen Bramhill

ellen.bramhill@btinternet.com

850022

Fridja clothes steamer

Sony Playstation

2 x acoustic guitars

Squire Fender electric guitar

Yamaha electric guitar

Marshall amplifier (45w)

Amstrad CD player

John Lewis Scroll Wall light fitting with glass shade – NEW

Dunelm Chrome Band Wall 2 light fitting – NEW

Chris and Jane Buss

jbuss22c@gmail.com

850710

Old ‘stone’ sink 18x30x6 (inches)

Books: ‘The Original Water-Color Paintings of John James Audubon for The Birds of America’ 431 Exact Reproductions from the Original Collection

Canada/A Year of the Land produced by the National Film Board of Canada

Mark Vaughn

mark@mvaughn.demon.co.uk

850233

Metal Xmas tree stand for use on the floor – quite long legs, very stable.

Assorted ceramic flower/cachepots

Lyn Blackie

blackies10@btinternet.com

850795
About 100 bricks for hardcore, soak-away, etc.

Peter Saunders

pahsaunders@gmail.com

850245
To freecycle your item please send a short description, email & phone number to Lydia Inglis (lydandmuz@gmail.com)

We welcome new members. If you would like to become involved in Sustainable Blewbury, or to receive our free Newsletter, please contact us at: info@sustainable-blewbury.org.uk

Community Orchard – News from the Coggers

After months of planning and consulting, we are almost ready to start planting!

The first 20 or so trees have been ordered, stakes, labels, tree guards and posts have all been specified and planting will take place in December. It will take a few years for the trees to become established and to bear fruit, but you should then be able to pick a Warwickshire Drooper for your breakfast (it’s a plum) or a Reverend Wilks for your supper (it’s a cooking apple).

A number of people have kindly volunteered to help with the planting. If you would like to add your name to the list then please contact John Ogden (jogden@blewbury.net). For those who can help it would be very useful if they could bring along a spade and perhaps a large board or groundsheet – and a wheelbarrow could be useful to help with mulching around the trees. The weekend of the 3rd December is one possible start date but we will be in email contact with all volunteer COGGERS before then.  John Ogden

 

Blewbury Footpaths

One of the joys of living in Blewbury is the ability to navigate the village and its environs through the network of footpaths, bridleways and byways, commonly known as public rights of way.

Gone are the days when the paths were kept clear by flocks of sheep and labourers who worked for local landowners. In these times the maintenance of footpaths has to be planned and paid for.

The Parish Council regularly receives complaints/comments about the state of the footpaths and we act where we can. However we would like to clarify some rights and responsibilities.

The duty to maintain public rights of way rests with the Highway Authority, in our case Oxfordshire County Council through their Countryside Access Team. The Oxfordshire Parish Guide to Countryside Access reads as follows: ‘the County Council has a duty to maintain the surface of rights of way. It must be recognised that they are essentially countryside paths, usually with an earth surface, and so, depending on the type of soil, some mud should be expected, particularly during winter months. The County Council will seek to maintain rights of way in a condition suitable for their use by the public, i.e. a footpath in a condition for use by walkers. In this it is assumed that the user will wear appropriate clothing and footwear (for example walking boots, or wellingtons in the winter’.

Parish Councils have a right to maintain public rights of way and Blewbury, in common with many other villages, has undertaken the maintenance of footpaths within the built area of the village. This work is carried out by our lengthman, with the assistance of volunteers and Council members on some occasions, and paid for through the parish precept element of the council tax. The amount of time and money we have available for this work is finite.

Responsibility for vegetation along the side of footpaths and roads in the village lies with the residents whose boundary lies along the public right of way. Many of our residents keep these boundaries well trimmed back – others are not so conscientious.

At the moment OCC has limited resources as does the PC. Grass cutting by the local authority has been reduced to a minimum and the PC is reviewing how to continue the previous level of maintenance as parishioners have complained about unkempt undergrowth.

It would be most beneficial if all residents would pay attention to the land, paths, pavements and verges outside their homes. Clearing leaves, cutting grass or just clearing litter from a small area would help enormously. Two Village Clear Up days a year are scheduled and organised between Sustainable Blewbury and the Parish Council – more volunteers to clear leaves and occasionally help spread gravel on these days would be very helpful. We are well aware that many parishioners already do their bit to maintain and improve the village and that pressures on people’s time have never been greater. But most of us love what Blewbury is – a charming, vibrant village. It will not stay that way if we don’t collectively make an effort to maintain the features that make our village unique.

Update on the Vale Local Plan

The independent  inspector’s report of the Vale’s Local Plan is quite encouraging for Blewbury as it might put a stop to major development in the AONB.

The interim report of his findings has been published and in particular the examiner refers to two sites around Harwell and Didcot (which includes Blewbury) and says

The Plan envisages that housing allocation sites 12 and 13, which are located within the North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), would be developed for around 550 and 850 dwellings respectively. This would be major development, which the Framework indicates should be refused except in exceptional circumstances and where it can be demonstrated it is in the public interest…….. I conclude that modification of the plan to delete sites 12 and 13 is thus necessary. This would be a reduction of 1400 planned houses but more importantly set a precedent for future incursions into the AONB.

In appendix 1 he states that the Five Year Housing Land Supply Outcome assuming deletion of housing allocation sites 12 and 13 from the plan still exceeds requirement.

His interim results can still be challenged but they are encouraging. They cannot , unfortunately, be applied retrospectively.

The full pdf document can be found here.

 

Village Hall refurbishment project update

I am delighted to report that Wren have approved a grant of £50,000 for Phase 1 of the project and the Doris Field Trust have approved a grant of £1,000.

The recent concert in St Michael’s by Jonathan Lakeland and Claire Barnett-Jones also raised £1,000 towards the project. We are very grateful to everyone involved in securing these contributions. We are now well on the way towards our target of £500,000, having raised or had pledged over £250,000 towards the refurbishment.

We hope to start Phase 1 later this year. There is still, though, much to do and at a quickening pace. Our architects are about to submit an application for Building Regulations consent and are preparing tender documents. Only when builders have responded to these with firm prices will we be clear exactly how much the work will cost. In parallel, fundraising continues, with a number of further grant applications having been submitted and a promotional film being made by Didcot Sixth Form College (thanks to the unsuspecting passers-by who were grabbed for interview last week). We have applied for Gift Aid status from HMRC and, once we have their response, we will let people know the arrangements for personal donations. Thanks again for all the ideas, questions and help. The project won’t succeed without the continuing support and encouragement of everyone in the village.  Steve White

PUBLIC RIGHT OF WAY BETWEEN WOODWAY (WHITE SHOOT FARM) AND BOHAMS ROAD

The PC was extremely pleased that Beeswax Farming has created a Permissive Pathway across its land between the top of Cow Lane and Rubble Pit Lane.

They responded positively to our request and we are grateful to them. However a Permissive Path is made at the discretion of the landowner and in order to ensure that we retain a public right of way the PC intends to submit an application to make the track from the top of Woodway to Bohams Road a Bridleway/footpath. This will take a considerable amount of time but we are starting to collect evidence in support of this application now.

We would like all users – dog walkers, walkers, cyclists, horse riders etc – to fill in the evidence form which could be obtained from the Post Office or downloaded here. Guidance on how to complete the form can be downloaded here.

To see which area will be covered by this application, you can consult this map.  Please identify the stretch of the path for which you can provide evidence and mark it on the map.

Please return the signed hard copy of the form and the map to Jane Gibson – 5 Westbrook Green or the Clerk, 83 Dibleys. Remember that you can provide evidence not only of your own use but that of others using Question 12 on the evidence form.

The more evidence we can provide the better and we must be able to cover a period of 20 years or more. Both current and historic evidence will be most useful.

Image above and maps:
© Crown Copyright and Ordnance Survey Rights
Parish Council PSMA OS Licence No.100041147