This feature in today's Witney Gazette
set the webmasters imagination going
Team cycles 150 miles in support of workmate
A team of RBS workers cycled 150 miles from Banbury Cross to Charing Cross and raised 13,000 for the Pancreatic Cancer Action charity. The three-day cycle ride was in support of their work colleague and friend Wendy Butler who is terminally ill with pancreatic cancer. Their Corporate Dynamos team of seven started their journey by calling at Wendys house near Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire on Friday, July 8, and ended at Charing Cross station in London on Sunday, July 10. Wendy, human resources director for RBS Bank corporate division in London, thought she was fit and healthy until a routine check-up four months ago revealed she had pancreatic cancer that had spread to her lungs and liver. Surgery is not an option for the mother- of-two.
Ali Stunt, of Pancreatic Cancer Action charity, and herself a rare survivor of the disease, said she was thrilled that Simon and the team had raised such a significant sum.As a charity we are determined to change the numbers and create greater awareness of pancreatic cancer amongst the general public, medical community and government, ensuring more people are diagnosed earlier in time for surgery. Wendy is such a wonderful person, her strength of character and zest for life is impressive, she said.
Simon Eacott who is RBS corporate divisions director of change management, said it was a great team effort. He said: We are very grateful for the generosity of all our supporters in helping the important work of Pancreatic Cancer Action and supporting our very special colleague Wendy who is an inspiration to us all. To support the Corporate Dynamos visit www.charitiestrust.org/members_data/event/corporate_dynamos/index.htm
Liz Leffman reports on Dean Pit latest
Dean Pit and Greystones came up at the full council meeting at West Oxfordshire District Council on Wednesday 27th July. There was a lot of discussion, and it was denied that the closure of Dean Pit will cost 1 million. So maybe we have been misinformed. We are asking the county council to confirm how much they have budgetted for the closure, so we shall see.
The discussion centred on the cost of keeping Dean Pit open, with claims from Conservative councillors that it would need a major upgrade costing up to 1 million. But our enquiries have revealed that the only upgrade that the Environment Agency require would be an improvement to the drainage system, so that instead of draining to a soakaway, water would be held in a tank which will extract pollutants such as oil, and clean water released into the gorund. The tank could be emptied regularly and does not need to be connected to mains drainage. It is hard to see how it could cost anywhere near to 1 million, and it is quite likely that if the site were moved to Greystones, the same would be needed.
Oh, and how would the new site at Greystones be paid for According to West Oxfordshire, with a grant..... from the county council, who are closing Dean Pit!!! So a massive saving for taxpayers, then.
Hopefully our District Councillors had something to say this time round. ED
Also, there are still some places on lessons w/c 1 August and 8 August.
To find out more, visit The Lido, call or visitwww.chippylido.co.uk
Press Association. Quotes of the Day July 23rd
A real feat of engineering''- Sarah Burton's description of the wedding dress she designed for the Duchess of Cambridge.
It's a terrible shame that these spivs have brought the town's name into disrepute'' - Former town councillor Gerry Alcock on the so-called Chipping Norton set.
As the guy walked up I could see he was heading for Rupert so I shouted 'Careful'. I don't know if that was a bad thing to do. Within that room and for everyone watching, it tilted the balance of sympathy in Rupert's direction. He was a victim'' - Journalist Nick Davies on the Rupert Murdoch foam pie incident.
I'm still growing up, and when you're working every day, you don't really get a chance to figure out who you are. So with the time off, I'm able to think, pray and just kind of grow up'' - Teenage singer Justin Bieber, who is taking a month off.
Readers from a few years back will remember that the Parish Pump is where your editor digs up the dirt on important local issues and ends up getting the handbag treatment from Cicely Maunder. Speaking of whom...would you believe she is at it again. Last week Cicely marched into the shop of the lady organising the "Stop Sainsbury's" campaign and suggested that as a conservative party member the said shopkeeper should consider saying less in public about the Sainsbury issue. So is it true that supporting the Sainsbury's bid is now official Conservative policy Could it have anything to do with all the lovely goodies Sainsbury's have promised the District Council - not to mention offers to contribute towards youth clubs, roundabouts, libraries, town hall roofs etc As Parker Knoll left town axing 5oo jobs WODC presented them with a farewell gift worth millions when they allowed development of a large part of their site for housing. It was a solemn part of that deal that 5 acres would be retained for small business units. Now that commitment has been dumped and WODC are in deep consultation with Sainsbury's about a supermarket. This is not just general pre-application chat but serious negotiation. For example the precise route which delivery lorries are to take has been agreed. For the life of me I don't know why but a little bird tells me they will be required to enter town down Banbury Road, negotiate the double roundabout and go back up London Road. Can this possibly be true Not quite. Sainsbury's have been persuaded to pay for a complete reconfiguration of the double roundabout - including using half the green area in front of the cop shop - just to make things easier for Sainsbury's delivery lorries. But things do seem to be getting confused. At the "Stop Sainsbury's" public meeting held last Thursday, Councillor McHugh reported to the meeting that he had been talking to the Chairman of the Uplands Planning Committee - Councillor Haines - who had told Patrick that he was personally opposed to the Sainsbury's scheme and all the officers were as well. So in Patrick's judgement there was nothing to worry about. This was actually the first time that Councillor McHugh has ever opened his mouth in public so we would like to believe him but we do wonder whether perhaps Patrick has got the wrong end of the stick. The Co-Op were out in force at the meeting. Faced with the charge of being an expensive store the half a dozen "suits" from the Co-Op said they were trying hard but admitted they would never compete with the big boys on price because they simply lacked the buying power. A slightly batty lady with an American accent said she was representing Transition Chipping Norton (pardon) and said their research showed price wasn't important. It was all about the range of goods on offer. (Yeah right) Nonetheless the Co- Op hoped Chippy would remember what good citizens they had been - taking over the Post Office and all. They would be making technical objections to the Sainsbury scheme but relied on townspeople raising their own objections in their own words. They would be very happy to pay for posters , leaflet distributions, and any research designed to oppose the Sainsbury application. The Chairman should have immediately kicked that offer straight into touch. However there wasn't really a proper Chairman - only Ken Norman proving once again what a great stand-up comedian he is but just how hopeless he is at politics. But even Ken was not as ridiculous as the oleaginous Will Barton offering to help local traders prepare their objections to Sainsburys. Surely none of the businesses in town could be so daft as to have any confidence in Will's advice He after all was responsible with his old mentor Mary Neale for engineering the collapse of our Chamber of Commerce, then organising the useless Partnership as well as failing to come up with any employment-generating projects to utilise 400,000 which was on offer from the County. This time round he seems to have just been sent along as Barry Norton's nark. But the Co-Op hadn't finished with their surprises. They warned us that they were putting in a second planning application - with the objective of increasing the selling area on the ground floor level of the Beales Department Store. The arcade will be eliminated and incorporated into the store as selling space. A new entrance from Top Side will be created further along - through the chemists perhaps That idea will go down like a lead balloon in the town. The arcade has established itself as one of the most useful and agreeable spots in the town centre. I do feel sorry for the Chippy Tories having to defend the outrageous policy U-turns which the Tory district council keeps making. Here's another one. Having provided cast iron reassurances that Greystones would never be used as a rubbish dump (I can vividly remember Councillor Biles scoffing when I made the suggestion to her recently) they have now decided to put in a planning application for just such a development. WODC rigged the whole thing last Wednesday. On the morning of the actual Cabinet meeting they circulated the proposal as a late extra agenda item. As a result many councillors were not aware the item was on the agenda at all. I know that Eve Coles, Patrick McHugh and Hilary Biles did not attend the meeting. Not sure about Annie but I doubt she was there. She is usually away with the fairies. It seems very likely that this last minute proposal was discussed with nobody from Chippy present. As Glyn Watkins points out in his splendid letter to the Daily Mail below a dump at Greystones would have the laughable effect of moving an eyesore away from the PM's backyard and dumping it on Jeremy Clarkson's doorstep. There could be some sharp talking at the next picnic get together of the Camerons and the Clarksons. A rubbish dump at Greystones would have the effect of making it virtually impossible to sell Greystones House for commercial use. This is a project which the Town Council have been working on for more than two years The Town Council spent considerable sums on sorting out conveyancing issues and the District Council were familiar with all the details. This was a period when various representatives of WODC were denying that Greystones would be used as a dump. In retrospect this now looks like deliberate misrepresentation. Any price paid now for Greystones House will be derisory. The Muslims in town have always shown interest in the building as a potential mosque but have not been able to raise the asking price. Well this could be their big opportunity. Try an offer Mr Hassan. Lots of criticisms about the new Town Council. Nobody knows who the Mayor is and from all accounts most of the guests for free booze at his Mayormaking were from out of town. His penetrating remarks about the Chipping Norton Set being nothing sinister - just a group of friends meeting for supper have made him look a bit naive. And what about discipline - apparently an incredibly small number of councillors turned up to the Civic Sunday Service which has caused much comment. The 2011 class of Tory councillors need some more coaching on what is expected. Step forward Cicely who once gave me a real tongue lashing for missing a Remembrance Day service. I hope she plans to be as tough on the new Tory councillors as she was on me! However one area attracting lots of compliments is the new allotments regime where apparently the complaints of the allotment holders are being taken seriously for the first time in years. Well done Mr Davidson. However, lots of complaints about performance at the new hospital/care home. Not many people seem to be finding the First Aid unit actually staffed and I've been told often that the physiotherapy unit doesn't have its act together yet. (Who exactly is monitoring all this And just what is the League of Friends up to these days) Someone who works at the Care home was rung up in a panic over the weekend and asked to come in because the care home was running on just two staff for 36 patients. OK its holiday time but the picture building up is not encouraging. Lovely new building and a staffing shambles. Years of argument and lots of people still think the hospital is not a serious project. But then lots of people also warned that the Order of St John have virtually no experience in running a hospital. Hands up who knows what Glyme Hall is. Its the new 1m community centre building - paid for by central government - and now handed over to a Board of Trustees who have to find the money to run it. A bid for 28,000 from a County Council fund towards first year costs has just been approved so thats at least a start...but more fundraising and hiring out is going to be necessary. So who exactly are the Trustees and who are the members of the Youth Committee Who has been presented with a 1m chunk of real estate and who banks the 28,000. In the best Chippy traditions this is all secret. Some recruits were made at the last Town Council but apparently - despite his protestations at election time of deep concern for the youth of the town - David Lydiat could not be persuaded to serve - even when virtually ordered to do so by Hilary. Is the Board of Trustees truly representative Are the Labour party represented We should be told - after all its all public money.
Letter from ex-Councillor Glyn Watkins
Dean Pit closure will mean 36-mile trip
RESIDENTS are calling on a council to halt the closure of a rubbish tip serving thousands of people including Prime Minister David Cameron. From September, householders in Chipping Norton and the surrounding area face a round trip of up to 36 miles to dispose of junk, after the Dean Pit facility is closed.
The campaigners say the decision affects about 22,000 people who live within a nine-mile radius of the recycling centre, including Mr Cameron, who lives in Dean. The move is part of Oxfordshire County Councils waste strategy to close two of its eight recycling centres to save 750,000. A centre at Stanford in the Vale is also due to close, but the council plans to open a 3m flagship recycling centre in Kidlington next year.
Earlier this week, campaigner Liz Leffman handed a petition of almost 2,000 signatures to the county councils cabinet in a bid to get its decision to close Dean Pit over-turned or delayed. Ms Leffman, of Charlbury, said: The county is proposing to open a new recycling centre in Kidlington, except its a very long journey between Chipping Norton and Kidlington. The worst thing is it wont be open until April next year, and that looks doubtful as they havent got planning permission and they havent put the contract out to tender. The chances are there will be no recycling in the area for six months. She said residents faced the round-trip of up to 36 miles, compared to four miles.
In a separate move, West Oxfordshire District Council has agreed to look at creating a recycling centre on its land in Greystones, in Burford Road, Chipping Norton. The council would have to submit a planning application, and if approved, say it could open this autumn.
Ms Leffman said: On the whole we would welcome this plan as an alternative to having to travel to other sites across the county. However, if the idea is to close Dean Pit and move it three miles up the road, then that would be a poor deal for local taxpayers, and we will continue to campaign for Dean Pit to stay open.
A county council spokesman said Dean Pit would close at the end of September as part of the new household waste recycling centre strategy. If WODC open their own recycling centre, this could be an effective replacement which is closer to a local centre of population.
Immigration raid at Cafe le Raj
SIX people were arrested in immigration raids in West Oxfordshire last night. Four Bangladeshi men were arrested at Caf Le Raj in Horsefair, Chipping Norton, two for overstaying visas and two for entering the country illegally. Two Bangladeshi men were arrested at the Jaan in Oxford Street, Woodstock, one for overstaying his visa and the other for entering the UK illegally. The UK Border Agency said a third man was found to be working illegally but was not arrested as he has an outstanding application lodged with the Home Office.
Others were arrested in related operations in Henley and Twickenham at the same time as the Oxfordshire raids, 6.30pm on Thursday. Three men were arrested for at Cafe Le Raj in Henley and six were arrested at Twickenham Tandoori.
The agency said all restaurants were believed to be linked through their ownership and owners could be fined up to 10,000 for each employee arrested. Those arrested in Chipping Norton and Woodstock are in detention pending their removal from the UK. Their employers have a right to show whether right-to-work checks were carried out.
Chippy woman fights for life after three-car crash
A woman from Chippy was fighting for her life last night after being cut from the wreckage of her car. The woman was airlifted to hospital with life-threatening injuries yesterday after a crash between three cars. Emergency crews were called to the collision on the A361 near Chipping Norton shortly before 8am. The woman was driving a silver Daihatsu, which was involved in a collision near the B4026 with a blue Renault Clio and red Ford Fiesta. She was cut from the car and airlifted to the John Radcliffe Hospital to be treated for serious head, chest and leg injuries. Police described her condition last night as critical. Two other people were taken to the Horton Hospital in Banbury by ambulance. Their injuries were believed to be minor. Fireman Malcolm Jones, who attended the incident, said: The force of the impact had significantly deformed the vehicle and crews worked in unison to release the casualty who was quickly removed and conveyed to hospital. The road was closed for five hours while investigations were carried out and debris removed.
Tuesday 26th July Update A woman left with severe head injuries in a horrific three-car crash on the A361 last week remained last night in a critical condition at the John Radcliffe Hospitals neurological unit. The woman, who has not been named, was airlifted to hospital on Thursday morning, after the silver Daihatsu she was driving was involved in a collision with a blue Renault Clio and red Ford Fiesta close to the junction with the B4026. A Thames Valley Police spokesman said the woman remained in intensive care and her family was maintaining a bedside vigil.
WODC DUMP ON CHIPPY YET AGAIN
Despite all the denials we have received that WODC were planning to use Greystones as a waste dump, it all turns out to be true after all. Tory toff Lord Chadlington has spent a fortune on research and a PR campaign to close Dean Pit. Now we are suffering the consequences. The Rugby Club, the Chippy Swifts, The Bowls Club are to get a huge rubbish dump as a neighbour - just as some of us predicted. At today's Cabinet the following proposal was put forward....
(a) That approval is given to enable the submission of a planning application for the development of a household waste recycling centre at Greystones, Chipping Norton;
(b) That authority be granted to spend up to 10,000 on the appointment of a planning agent, if necessary, to be financed from existing WPEG grant funding; and
(c) That a further detailed report be brought back to Cabinet setting out the options for the site and the business case.
1. Greystones depot sits beside the A361 on the Chipping Norton to Burford road. It ceased being used as an operational depot in the 1980s. There are five building units on site and currently only one is let. This results in an income of around 3000 per year.
2. It is intended to relocate a small street cleansing operation currently occupying a building in Albion Street into one of the units. Even with this the site will have a significant amount of unused capacity.
3. Oxfordshire County Council is closing a household waste recycling centre in nearby Dean (Dean Pit) on 30 September. The creation of an alternative site would provide an alternative for the local community. Oxfordshire County Councils Waste Management team are supportive of this proposal.
4. Cabinet is requested to note that a fuller report on options for the Greystone site will be submitted to a future meeting, as reflected in the Cabinet Work Programme. The purpose of this report is solely to enable preparatory work to be undertaken so that in the event of a decision to pursue the use as a household waste recycling centre then the scheme could be progressed without undue delay.
The Editor comments: Users of the Sports grounds will - with every justification - be up in arms about regular traffic along the access road - a constant stream of cars and HGVs
This will make the sale of Greystones House impossible. I hope the Town Council is getting a claim for compensation prepared
I hope our District Councillors kicked up a stink at the Cabinet meeting. Everybody should ask Annie what she had to say on our behalf.
Has anyone told Mr Clarkson about this He is going to have a great view of the dump from his terrace. Not sure what his mates in the Chipping Norton Set will think about that. Perhaps he will agree to be Patron of the newly-formed "No Rubbish at Greystones Action Group" (NORGAG)
Thursday am: The plot gets thicker and dirtier. Apparently this was a late addition to the agenda. The proposal was e-mailed to councillors at 9.30 am on Wednesday morning. THIS MUST BE AGAINST PROCEDURAL RULES. At least one District Councillor from Chippy was not even aware it was being discussed. In the discussion the petition organised against the closure of Dean Pit was used as evidence that the people of Chippy were very unhappy with the closure and were demanding a replacement facility. This all beggars belief. God knows what WODC think they are doing to this town. The Mayor needs to get a strong protest into his chum Barry PDQ. But that would probably mean that he wouldn't be invited to Lord Chadlington's next garden party (For new readers information. Lord Chadlington is the owner of Dean Manor. He is also the President of the West Oxfordshire Conservative Association. He commissioned a PR campaign and some research to persuade WODC and OCC that Dean Pit should be closed. The Prime Minister also has a house in Dean. Lets hope there nave not been any "inappropriate" conversations between council officials and prominent Dean residents)
Summer Open Evening
Ball Colegrave is the leading supplier of bedding and pot plants to the professional horticultural industry. The Summer Open Evening is being held on Wednesday 27 July and this is the only date this year that the grounds will be open to the public. Visitors are welcome to view the spectacular trial grounds, colourful gardens, patio displays and possibly the largest display of hanging baskets and containers at their leisure from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. You will also have the chance to see the 8 acre display of horticultural delights and to preview the new plant varieties that will be available in garden centres from Spring 2012. Tickets cost 2.00 with children under the age of twelve admitted free. A contribution from the admission fees will be made to our local hospice, Katharine House, and the David Colegrave Foundation. Light refreshments provided by an outside caterer will be available for purchase, but you are welcome to bring your own food and drink if you prefer. Contact Sharon on 814 702 for more details.
Ball Colegrave Ltd Milton Road West Adderbury Banbury OX17 3EY
Conmen preying on Oxfordshires elderly hit record levels
REPORTS of conmen preying on Oxfordshires elderly and vulnerable have hit record levels, it emerged last night. Rogue trader teams were inundated with more than 500 scams last year, almost three times the number of reports compared to four years ago.
The Oxford Mail has learnt organised gangs have conned victims out of 816,456 in the 12 months to April this year. In 2007, there were only 182 reports of scams, compared to 524 in 2010/11. Deputy chief executive of Age UK Oxfordshire Penny Thewlis said rising cases of doorstep crime was worrying. She said: Rogue traders pose a persistent threat to older people, and this significant rise in doorstep crime rates is a real cause for concern. However, we believe older people can protect themselves from scams if they have the right information and advice. Do not be pressured into making any payments, particularly in cash, or signing any documents until you have had a chance to think about it, or discuss it with family or friends. Do not let yourself be rushed and do not be afraid to ask a salesperson to leave. If they refuse, call the police.
ROGUE traders who conned pensioners out of more than 800,000 were jailed for seven years, following trading standards investigations.
In May 2010, Scott Jackson and Mark Shepherd were jailed after targeting an elderly academic and a dementia sufferer in Oxford in a three-year scam. In March 2004, they told 85-year-old dementia sufferer Mary Turpin that one of her chimneys was tilting and some roof tiles needed replacing at her North Oxford home. Jackson, of Willow Street, Leicester, and Shepherd, of The Beeches Caravan Site, Chipping Norton, repeatedly told the former Oxford High School teacher that the house required maintenance work. Over 15 months she paid them a total of 364,906 for work which should have cost just 30,000.
The following year, the conmen targeted 81-year-old retired Oxford University academic Dr Francis Marriott, who lived in Botley. Dr Marriott paid out 506,880 for building work, which was later assessed as being worth no more than 55,000. Shepherd was jailed for four-and-a-half years after admitting fraud, obtaining property by deception, two charges of obtaining money transfer by deception, and attempting to obtain property by deception. Jackson received a two-and-a-half year sentence after admitting two counts of obtaining money transfer by deception and a charge of attempting to obtain property by deception.
Letter from Simon Kelner Editor-in-Chief of The Independent
Any morning now, we're going to wake up to the following news story: "The phone-hacking scandal has claimed its highest-profile victim yet with the shock news that God has decided to resign."
"In a televised statement, God said that after hundreds, if not thousands, of years in which his integrity has not been questioned, the latest revelations have made it impossible for Him to continue His work without the distraction of being dragged into the ongoing investigation. If Rupert Murdoch is ultimately responsible for the hacking scandal, said God, then someone has to take responsibility for Mr Murdoch, and that has to be me. I have always known that the buck stops here. Sources close to God say that He was particularly upset that the town of Chipping Norton (people who live there regard Oxfordshire as "God's own county") has been dragged into the scandal. He has always been rather partial to "Chippy", as He calls it, and regards it as a model for the English market town rather than as a byword for scandal, privilege and entitlement. I take responsibility, He added, for creating a landscape so alluring, yet so close to both London and Daylesford Organics, that it was inevitably going to be attractive to media types who have nothing more on their minds than a little light networking over the weekend. Visibly moved during his resignation address, God said that, having withstood the adverse publicity of wars, famines, floods and earthquakes, He found it baffling that a scandal which hadn't caused death and destruction, and in which nobody was rendered homeless, should bring about His downfall. His friends claim that He feels let down by his public relations advisers. One said that He is particularly angry that the Archbishop of Canterbury has been absent from the airwaves, given his usual readiness to comment on any subject in the news. God concluded His address by pointing to some of His recent achievements - like the victory for goodness on The Apprentice, and the 93rd birthday of Nelson Mandela - and simply added that He wished His successor well..." And now back to John Humphrys, who's interviewing Theresa May.
Chipping Norton hacked off with link to scandal
THE real Chipping Norton set is standing up to be counted after becoming fed up the towns name being linked to the News of the World phone-hacking scandal. Residents fear the towns reputation is being tarred because of the links to the area of the so-called Chipping Norton set. The group of friends is made up of key movers and shakers, including Prime Minister David Cameron, who is the towns MP, former newspaper executive Rebekah Brooks and News Corporation boss Rupert Murdochs daughter Elisabeth.
Chipping Norton resident Keith Ruddle, 61, (pictured left) a member of the team of volunteers who produce the Chipping Norton News newsletter, said: There has been obviously a lot of press about the Chipping Norton set and I think a lot of people in the town get a bit cheesed off to be honest. Chipping Norton itself is a working Cotswold town with a lot of history and heritage. A lot of the attention has been around a small number of individuals who dont actually live in Chipping Norton, they live out in the sticks.
Former town councillor Gerry Alcock has also become increasingly annoyed with the link to coverage of the hacking scandal. He added: I think its a terrible shame that these spivs have brought the towns name into disrepute. Its appalling. They have got nothing to do with the town and the town has got nothing to do with them.
Mayor Chris Butterworth added: The residents and town council, and the people who work in Chipping Norton, are the real Chipping Norton set.
Mr Ruddle yesterday offered Mrs Brooks a job at the newsletter after she resigned as chief executive of News International on Friday. Chipping Norton News is published monthly by a 20-strong team of volunteers and has a circulation of about 2,000. Dr Ruddle said the experience would help the former editor of The Sun and News of the World get back to the basics of journalism.
Girl Guides Brownies and Rainbows end their year with a party
Celine Johnson ( Left) presented with her girl guide badges.
Girl Guides Brownies and Rainbows with their team leaders at the end of year BBQ and swim at the lido.
Pictures by Joe Johnson
"The music has been good all day. quality and variety."
"It was a great atmosphere on a lovely sunny day.
Lots of food and drink and people relaxing in the sun".
(Thanks to Glyn Watkins for the pics)
Phone-hacking connection is Chipping Norton's unwanted claim to fame
Graeme Garden and other residents say they would prefer it was on the map for reasons other than 'sleazy journalism'
Photograph: Sam Frost for the Guardian
As the strains from the Chipping Norton Silver Band faded away, the writer and comedian Graeme Garden leapt on to the stage. "So, what do we think of being associated with the Chipping Norton set" joked the Radio 4 panellist and founder member of The Goodies. The crowd, gathered for the town's festival, looked rather bemused. "In favour" asked Garden, the master of ceremonies. A couple of muted cheers. "Against" Even feebler boos. Indifferent, it seemed, was the answer from the hundreds gathered in the market square to celebrate their community. Last week's tumultuous developments in the phone-hacking scandal have put this West Oxfordshire market town firmly on the political map. In the scenic countryside that surrounds the town resides a powerful political and media elite. Dinner and garden parties bring together neighbours such as the prime minister, David Cameron, whose constituency home is just four miles from that of Rebekah Brooks, the beleaguered chief executive of News International.
Ten minutes' drive away live Matthew Freud, the PR guru, and his wife Elisabeth, daughter of Rupert Murdoch. At the heart of the Chipping Norton set, their influence is immense. But, until the recent News of the World drama turned a harsh spotlight on this Cotswold coterie, Chipping Norton seemed blissfully unaware it was at the centre of much intrigue.
"I can think of more acceptable reasons for Chipping Norton to be put on the map, rather than through any association with sleazy journalism," said Garden, who has lived here for 30 years. "But Chipping Norton will get over it. I speak as one not invited to any of the powerful parties. Not one of the set. None of them are here, are they" he said, casting an eye over the crowds sitting on straw bales and wandering through the numerous fund-raising stalls as local musicians performed, "Do you think they will turn up"
Before this week, few in Chipping Norton knew their neighbours included the striking, flame-haired Brooks, former editor of both the News of the World and the Sun. She lives two miles from the town, in a luxury barn conversion, with her second husband, Old Etonian Charlie Brooks, the former jockey, horse trainer and now thriller writer. It was at their home that Cameron was guest at a Christmas get-together that included James Murdoch, chairman of News Corp. A full guest list has never been disclosed, despite numerous inquiries by the Guardian after it discovered the dinner took place. That discovery came just after Vince Cable, the business secretary and no fan of Rupert Murdoch's, was relieved of his responsibilities to decide on Murdoch's attempt to take full control of BSkyB. Brooks, it would appear, is rarely, if ever, spied shopping on Chipping Norton's picturesque but modest high street. This week, with her photograph gracing every front page the good folk of Chipping Norton certainly all now know of her.
"We would prefer to be put on the map for more positive things," sighed Chris Butterworth, the town's mayor, wandering round the raffle and cake stalls. I don't really know what the Chipping Norton set is. We're not part of it anyway," joked the Conservative councillor. "I am sure it is just an informal thing. I don't think it is sinister in any way."
His wife, Sue, the mayoress, believed it had all been taken out of context. "Surely people are allowed to have supper at Christmas with their neighbours" she said. Neither had seen Brooks in town. "I don't think many people knew she even lived here until all of this," said the mayoress. "Such a lot has been made of the celebrity factor. But we have a lot of well-known people in the area because it is a beautiful place, and people are allowed to get on with things."
One of the better-known personalities living nearby is Jeremy Clarkson, the Top Gear presenter and Sun columnist. It was at his Chipping Norton home that Brooks met her second husband, Charlie, an old pal of Cameron's. The prime minister even turned up for the launch of his latest thriller, Citizen. Cameron's close social links with the "set" are further evidenced, reportedly, by his willingness to appear as Top Gear's The Stig in a video tribute at Clarkson's 50th birthday party. The prime minister has also been known to go riding with Brooks.
The leafy lanes around the town are also home to Charles Dunstone, the Carphone Warehouse boss, Alex James, the Blur bassist, and the millionaire property developer Tony Gallagher who bought his 17th century estate from the Tory-turned Labour former minister Sean Woodward. Cameron's aide Steve Hilton lives nearby in a barn conversion in Burford.
At the local Chequers pub, David Hawker, local resident and constituent, believes the prime minister might want to put some distance between himself and the set. "It's not ideal for the PM. He's a good chap in my view. But, as things have turned out, he will want to distance himself in order to be seen to be impartial." But other are less tolerant and are annoyed at the way their town has acquired recent fame. "Chipping Norton has been on the map for a lot better things throughout history," said Don Davidson, an independent councillor, former town mayor and one of the festival organisers. It should be known for what we are seeing here today. Real community spirit. Rather than for the outrageous things that have been taking place at Wapping".
!0th July 9.41 am. Above the rooftops of Chippy
Thanks to Heather Hayes from Bliss Mill for the photo
Parish councils are to be given sweeping new powers to run their local neighbourhoods - including licensing pubs and bringing in parking schemes
Parish councils are to be given sweeping new powers to run their local neighbourhoods - including licensing pubs and bringing in parking schemes. Local communities will also be able to operate libraries, museums and even deal with low-level anti-social behaviour under power to the people plans to be announced on Monday. The Sunday Telegraph understands that the driving force behind the coalitions flagship public services white paper will be new moves towards localism and away from top-down Whitehall knows best approach. Senior government courses say this will mean devolving powers as far down as possible - to small neighbourhood bodies such as parish councils and their equivalents.
Currently parish and town councils deal only with such minor issues as allotments, public toilets, pathways, village halls and litter.
However, the white paper will propose a big extension of their powers which would effectively see small groups of local residents take over responsibilities which are now held by larger bodies such as town halls and county councils. They could rule on licensing hours for pubs and clubs, bring in new traffic restrictions in towns and villages, including speed limits, and run parks and leisure facilities.
A coalition source said: We want people to be given the green light to take over local services to ensure they are run by the local community, for the local community. We need to end once and for all this way of making decisions from the top down and assuming that Whitehall or county councils know what best suits individual neighbourhoods. Parish councils can do all that.
Ministers say the proposals will build on plans already announced to let neighbourhoods take charge of planning - with residents given the chance to approve or reject neighbourhood plans in local referendums.
The white paper will also commit ministers to investigating ways of making it easier for groups of people to band together to run local services. It will propose allowing individuals to be given cash budgets by the government to buy services for themselves rather than being dictated to by local authorities in several key areas including treatment for the elderly and those with long-term health conditions, ad the parents of special-needs children.
BRING IT ON!
How Ronnie Barker swapped comedy for antiques
IT WOULD be difficult to imagine Russell Brand or Ricky Gervais taking a break from stardom to stand behind the counter of an antiques shop in deepest West Oxfordshire. But that is what comedy legend Ronnie Barker chose to do after deciding he had had enough of television comedy, which he considered increasingly vulgar. Bad language and gags about bodily functions were repugnant to this national icon. And after creating and writing so many jokes and sketches, and appearing in such massively successful shows as Porridge, The Two Ronnies and Open All Hours, Mr Barker had also come to believe his own well of humour was drying up. Id run out of ideas, and to be honest, Id done everything I wanted to do. And Im sorry to say the material coming through wasnt such good quality, he reflected, when asked why he had withdrawn at the height of his fame. He had settled in the small west Oxfordshire village of Dean, the perfect home for a man determined to disappear off the professional radar. He would also realise one of his few unfulfilled ambitions, to run his own antiques shop.
He opened it in Chipping Nortons High Street, christening it The Emporium. In many ways it was really just an extension of his hobby of collecting antiques, memorabilia and Victoriana. It was said his postcard collection alone extended to 53,000 items. The story of his search for peace in the tranquillity of the Oxfordshire countryside, before his death, aged 76, in Katharine House Hospice in Adderbury in 2005, is touchingly told in the biography Remembering Ronnie Barker, published in paperback this month. Author Richard Webber spent months tracing Mr Barkers old school friends at the City of Oxford High School and people who remembered his early acting career.
Once the star unwittingly bought an antique cabinet from a man who turned out to be a convict. The crook was apparently dressed in his blue prison uniform and home on leave when he duped Barker into buying the item, which resulted in Ronnie being questioned by police and released without charge. Then there was the time when the shop was visited by two under-cover Sun reporters, who offered Mr Barker a silver salver, which had been valued at about 1,000 by a leading auction house. When he offered them 20, the Sun ran a story highlighting the difference between its value and Mr Barkers low offer. The little shop run with his wife Joy, who died last year, closed in 1999. Troubled with diabetes and heart disease, toward the end he would put off seeing friends because he did not want them to see his weight loss.
But Prof Ronald Spiers, who retired to Chipping Norton, recalls seeing Mr Barker at the local branch of Barclays just months before he died. He said: I remember waiting in a queue when Ronnie came out from an office with a young attractive manageress, who had a bundle of files under her arm. She was leading the way and turned to Ronnie saying, Im afraid this is something well have to go upstairs for. Ronnie replied, Oh, its a long time since anyone said that to me. The whole bank queue erupted, little suspecting they may well have witnessed the great Ronnie Barkers final performance.
What a bloody cheek!
COMMUNITIES should consider buying their own road salt to combat snow and ice, according to Oxfordshires deputy chief fire officer. Colin Thomas told a review into planning for severe winter weather that bags of salt could be stockpiled by communities for use in case delivery lorries could not get through.
Oxfordshire County Council also pledged to have more staff available to answer calls for assistance and to work more closely with the Highways Agency to keep major roads open. Mr Thomas said there was a potential for communities to stockpile more salt, but at their expense. He told councillors looking into the authoritys preparations for wintry weather: The idea [is] to enhance that communitys resilience. If the network is jammed, getting salt out is difficult. The authority has already said it has no plans to provide more roadside salt bins.
Spokesman Owen Morton said: Were currently reviewing how we manage these grit bins, with the aim of providing a more reliable resource for use by local communities. He added: Theres nothing stopping local communities and parish councils from stockpiling additional salt to fill these bins, at their own expense, to ensure they are better replenished.
Summertown Liberal Democrat councillor John Goddard told the Oxford Mail: The availability of more grit is welcome. Having to pay for it is not. If grit is needed, then it should be provided by the county council. We all pay our council tax.
Alice Powell credits Oxfordshire for motorsport career
Renault UK driver Alice Powell says living in Oxfordshire has helped her to progress in her motorsport career. Williams, Renault and rally specialists Prodrive are all based in the county, and Powell, from Chipping Norton, trains at Renault in Kidlington. "I'm near Renault and Silverstone is just up the road, so I'm really lucky as it's definitely helped me in my career," she told BBC Oxford.Living here definitely has advantages, it's easier to make contacts."
The 18-year-old added: "I'm quite lucky to be able to train at Renault, training there with F1 trainers and making good contacts is fantastic. It's a great help to use their equipment too, so it's definitely a big plus." Powell is the only woman competing in the Renault UK championship this season and believes the sport needs more female drivers. The sport just needs a female role model to be successful so more women can come and join in," she said. We have got more people coming through like Danica Patrick and Pippa Mann, so people like that can open door for other females. Obviously being the only girl gets good attention because you're a woman in a man's world, but you still have to prove yourself.People outside will says 'she's just a girl,' but I proved by winning the BARC last year that it's not just a man's sport."
How Hilary has fought for the Youth Centre
"Localism" and the "BIG Society" are the new buzz words. When OCC decided to cut youth service funding in Chippy it looked certain that the new Youth Centre under construction would turn out to be a white elephant. Hilary Biles stepped in and made a personal commitment to find a way of using the facility - with volunteers, fund-raising, sponsorship, and renting rooms to third parties. It looks as if she will succeed. Anyway Hilary has so impressed the top brass at the County Council and they are so proud of her that they submitted a Report about her project to the recent Local Government Association Conference. (As you read this remember that this is the same lady who was sacked by Barry Norton from the WODC Cabinet for fighting to protect from cuts a crucial fund to help maintain community halls in the District). Here's the County Council report.
Chipping Norton Youth Centre
Chipping Norton is a town of approximately 6,000, 17 miles north of Oxford. In 2010 a successful bid was made to Partnership for Schools to co-locate Chipping Norton Young Peoples Centre and the County Councils Adult Learning Centre in brand new premises. Subsequently, in the face of financial pressures, Oxfordshire County Council redesigned the delivery of services for young people and in Chipping Norton council youth provision was withdrawn. This decision not only threatened the ongoing delivery of youth services but also made the County Council potentially liable for 800k if the building was not completed or used for the original purposes.
The response of the local councillor, Cllr Hilary Hibbert-Biles, Conservative (pictured left), was to take on personal responsibility for ensuring that the building would be completed on time and that ongoing management and operation would be community-led. The scale and complexity of this project meant that a successful outcome was far from certain and the visibility of Cllr Hibbert-Biles leadership meant that failure would be personal. Indeed at many points along the journey failure seemed the most likely outcome.
Officers struggled to make the shift from requirements for a council-owned and run building to one that is community-led. This particularly applied to the Councils Adult Learning service, that took time to understand the difference between sub-leasing from the new management committee rather than being responsible for the operation of the centre. Faced with delays caused by Oxfordshires normal working practices but which threatened the building being completed and opened on schedule, Cllr Hibbert-Biles escalated issues to senior officers, Cabinet members and the Leader.
As officers began to shift to make the necessary changes to processes and policies, Cllr Hibbert-Biles spent much of her time communicating with members of the community managing expectations, explaining delays and maintaining the necessary support. Using her local knowledge and networks she brought together District and Town councillors, the local Police, school, church and others to form a management committee.
The building is now on track to open on schedule in September 2011 with a community-led management committee and an application has been submitted to Oxfordshires Big Society Fund to support the first year of operation after which point the centre will become self-financing.
Key learning: There are many lessons that can be drawn from Cllr Hibbert-Biles work in Chipping Norton not least that vision and tenacity are necessary attributes for the councillor as social entrepreneur. What strikes most forcefully, though, was the scale and complexity of the project and the personal and political risks associated with failure. In a non-localist world, Chipping Norton would simply have had to accept that its new facility was not going to be built. In Oxfordshire, a council determined to support local councillors and the communities they serve to take on a greater role in the design and delivery of services, there was the opportunity to save the centre. To make good on this opportunity though Cllr Hibbert-Biles had to assume visible local leadership. These kinds of opportunities, and the risks associated with them, are a corollary of localism. Whether or not to take them on, and how to make a success of them if they do, are challenges that will increasingly face councillors as social entrepreneurs.
Chipping Norton 'one of safest places to live in country'
CHIPPING Norton is one of the safest places to live in England and Wales, according to chief inspector Colin Paine (pictured left). He told members of the town council at a meeting last week that maintaining the very low level of crime was quite a challenge because one or two incidents could significantly push up the percentages.
The West Oxfordshire police chief, who took up his post in April, said: Policing will be dealt with in a robust way. I want officers to be friendly and approachable and have good relationships with the community, but crime must also be dealt with quickly before evidence and witnesses start to disappear. Crime figures for burglary throughout West Oxfordshire rose significantly in the 12 months to April 2011 but recently, because of cross border co-operation and following a number of arrests, he said the level had now fallen again.
After the meeting the chief inspector spoke of the effects of the budgets cuts imposed by Government because of the national economic crisis. He said Thames Valley Police was being forced to make savings of 55 million over four years. The overwhelming majority of the savings is coming from the restructuring process, which has saved 16m already. More savings, he said, were being made by forces sharing services, such as IT departments. The good news is that the number of frontline officers has been maintained.
Chf Insp Paine said he could not guarantee the situation would not change in the coming years and that some reductions in police officers could occur.
The webmaster writes: This isn't what the Police were telling us when they wanted the town to spend 16,000 a year on closed circuit TV cameras in the town centre!!
Fight to save Dean Pit has 1,000 backers
MORE than 1,000 signatures have been gathered by campaigners against the closure of a household waste recycling site. Chipping Norton town councillors are backing the bid to urge county councillors to think again over the closure of Dene Recycling Centre, near Charlbury. Town councillor Eve Coles said: We are strongly against the proposal to close Dene Pit. We want the county to reconsider its decision. I have already got plenty of signatures to hand in to the council offices next month.
Spearheading the campaign is Liz Leffman. She said: We fear that closing Dean Pit will encourage fly-tipping and generate more traffic on the roads travelling greater distances to the next facility. Dene Recycling Centre is set to close in September but campaigners are to present county councillors with their petition at the next full council meeting on July 28
The picture shows Liz Leffman who is a LibDem campaigning for Chippy Hospital a couple of years ago
When landscape gardener and Daily Telegraph reader Robert Caswell won a place on a STIHL Experience Day and was asked to test out STIHLs KombiSystem range of garden equipment, he couldnt believe his luck. Robert and and his business partner son, Mark, already use some STIHL tools for their family garden and their work, but they were particularly interested in STIHLs ingenious KombiSystem range. One of five powerful petrol KombiEngines can be used with any of the 12 easy to attach KombiTools, including hedge trimmers, a pole pruner, grass trimmers, and bristle brush.
We were delighted to be asked to test the KombiSystem because of its versatility and the large range of attachments available, said Robert, 55, who lives in Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire. One of our vehicles is a small van and because you can break the KombiTools down into a small length and an engine, its ideal for us. Now were planning on buying more of the tools to use with it.
Robert has found the leaf blower particularly useful: Its quite a big piece of kit, and while most are hand-held, the KombiTool blowers shoulder strap makes it more comfortable to use and more powerful than others, he said. We also wanted the brushcutter and chose the one with a blade and not a trimmer line because it gets through thick weeds like cow parsley, thistles and docks. Next Robert wants to buy the pick tine for digging over flower borders: It is excellent because you can reach into the borders standing up, instead of having to get on your hands and knees, he said.
Robert finds the STIHL equipment he already owns to be easy to use and hard wearing. Weve had tools for 15 years and theyre still going strong. Because we use our equipment five or six days a week, it has got to be reliable.
Its two Goodies to be true for hospice
FAMOUS faces from the world of television and sport united at a charity cricket match in aid of Katharine House Hospice. Household names including Star Treks Sir Patrick Stewart and The Goodies Graham Garden and Tim Brooke-Taylor, came together for Sundays fundraising event at Enstone Cricket Club.
Villagers from Enstone, including Sir Patrick, took to the field representing the Katharine House Hospice team while their celebrity opponents made up the Goodies team.Sir Patrick said: Im sacrificing myself today for a good cause, but as someone who was born not far from the birthplace of [former Yorkshire and England cricketer] Geoffrey Boycott Im hoping something will have rubbed off. Excluding Sir Patrick, the Katharine House Hospice team was made up of members of the Enstone Cricket Club, while the Goodies welcomed the experience of former England cricketers Neal Radford, Neil Smith and Devon Malcolm.They were joined by soap actors including Ryan Philpott (Eastenders), Charlie Dale (Coronation Street) and Richard Avery (Emmerdale) and presenter Jonnie Irwin of A Place In The Sun Home And Away.
Its an absolute privilege to play this kind of game of cricket, but to have any sort of contribution towards a hospice is an honour beyond words because its something I feel very strongly about, said Mr Irwin. If us coming here and having a great day of cricket benefits others than we are very lucky.
The match was organised by the Lords Taverners, which was founded for avid cricket followers to encourage the participation of disabled and disadvantaged people in a wide range of sports. Mr Brooke-Taylor and Mr Garden did not take part in the match, but took to the sidelines to cheer on the teams. Mr Garden said: As an Enstone man I have got split loyalties with my team of the celebrities playing against my home team of Enstone. The match, which was won by the Goodies, was preceded by a marquee lunch and followed by a charity auction with lots including a 2005 signed Chelsea shirt. To date, 3,000 has been raised from the event to support the work of Katharine House Hospice.
Chairman Neil Gadsby said: This has been an absolutely wonderful day from the Lords Taverners and local people. Its another example of people who step forward with fantastic fundraising ideas, not just from time to time, but on a regular basis to keep the hospice going.
Claire wins National Time Trial
Claire Sadler (38), from Wilcox Road Chipping Norton, represented Thames Valley Police in the Emergency Services National Cycling Time Trial Championships, held in Yarm, Cleveland on 25th & 26th June. Claire won both the ladies 10 mile time trial and the 25 mile time trial in fairly windy conditions with a time of 25:25 for the 10 mile event and 1:02:52 for the 25 mile event. Claire who works in IT Training for Thames Valley Police, was delighted with her wins.
Cameron protege loses his figures
BEDBLOCKING in Oxfordshires hospitals has got drastically worse in the past six months, new figures show. The Department of Health figures put the number of patients who were well enough to go home but couldnt because the correct care was not in place for them, at 129 on one day in May up from 89 in December. The figures showed the number of days people were stuck in hospital was 4,012 days last month, compared to 3,077 days six months previously.
Yet Arash Fatemian, (pictured above) the county councillor responsible for social care, who six months ago pledged an improvement, disputed that bedblocking was getting worse in the county. He told the Oxford Mail last night there had been a downward trend in the number of people according to internal Oxfordshire County Council figures, but a power cut that hit the city yesterday meant he could not produce them
Webmaster adds: Arash was elected to the County Council in June 2009. His website says: "Since April 2010 I have been the Executive member with responsibility for the Adult Social Care policy of a high profile, top-tier council at a time of fast-paced and radical national change" Less than a year to the cabinet. Election to Cabinet in nine months...What kind of fast track is this guy on Lets hope he's up to the job. Did he get the vacancy on the Cabinet created by the dismissal of the outstanding Ian Hudspeth who had the audacity to challenge the Leader of the Council.
Christopher Shale, the Chairman of the Local Tories who sadly died at Glastonbury over the weekend said in his leaked report on the state of the Conservative party in West Oxfordshire: the local party appeared "graceless, voracious, crass, always on the take", and needed to radically change. Looks as if the Tories have lost someone who really knew what he was talking about!
A 19-year-old was cautioned for possession of a small quantity of cannabis after a raid in Horse Fair, Chipping Norton, on Wednesday 22nd June. He was also given a caution for handling stolen goods. Sgt Colin James, of Thames Valley Police said: What this shows is that if people give us information they will see us act upon it.
Vandalised. The Speed Camera on Worcester Road
Thanks to Kristel Withers for the pic.
A new map has been produced showing all the cycle, bus and train routes in west Oxfordshire. Councils, cycle groups andenvironmental organisations have come together to produce the map.
ONLY one problem as far as Chippy is concerned!!
Richard Fairhurst - webmaster of the Charlbury website and guru of all things bicycling writes:
The Oxford Mail are being a little creative in describing it as covering "all the cycle, bus and train routes in west Oxfordshire". It doesn't and it was never meant to. It's actually the "A40 corridor map" - i.e. Witney, Carterton, Eynsham.
We put in Woodstock as well because there was a little spare space and
lots of people commute from there to Oxford by bike. The front cover
carefully says "Carterton, Eynsham, Witney and Woodstock" and not "West
Oxfordshire"! As you've observed on chippingnorton.net in the past, people don't generally commute from Chippy by bike - unlike the other four
settlements - so the same type of combined bus/train map wouldn't be
relevant. (There are, of course, already free bus maps for Chippy from
both OCC and Stagecoach.)
It didn't cost WODC anything - I did all the cartography for free, the
research was done by volunteers too, and we used the Ordnance Survey's
new royalty-free data for the basemap. We're now working on a leisure-focused cycling map for the whole
district which will include Chippy quite prominently - in fact, one of
the key people contributing to it is from Chippy.
David Cameron's neighbours vent anger at
pothole fix outside PM's country pad
DAVID Camerons neighbours are furious after the road outside his country pad was resurfaced while theirs is still blighted by potholes. Despite huge council cutbacks, workmen completely relaid the quiet country lane outside the PMs 2million constituency home in Oxfordshire last week. But motorists on nearby roads have to make bone-jarring journeys on routes pock-marked with holes
Neighbours of the Camerons in the village of Dean, near Chipping Norton, say their roads now resemble the surface of the moon. Former school cook Jenny Bodman, who said Oxfordshire County Council had told residents it lacked funds, fumed: It gets you niggled, wed like answers. But the council insisted: We respond to reports of potholes and generally go out and fix them daily. If youre looking at favouritism to Mr Cameron, thats not the case.
What the Daily Mirror obviously didn't know was that there was a big summer bash at Dave's on Friday evening for local Tory bigwigs. Goodness knows what Cicely would have said if the road was in a mess. She obviously got Highways jumping.