The next meetings will be at 8pm on Monday 8th July and 'provisionally' Tuesday 6th August at the Stonewater Common Room. All residents welcome (but please let us know ahead of the date if you're coming)!!

Friday, 27 May 2016

Visit to the Energy Recovery Facility at Ardley ERF

I have sometimes wondered where everything goes that we put into our rubbish bins and, although I have always been an avid recycler and done the usual separated recycling, I would feel guilty about putting anything into the rubbish and on into landfill.

Then, through Abingdon Carbon Cutters, I heard about a visit to the Energy Recovery Facility which opened last November at Ardley, just north of Bicester where they have a new way of dealing with all the tons of rubbish we produce.

I visited it recently and was amazed.  It is a huge facility built by Viridor using state-of-the-art waste management technology developed in France and Germany.  We were welcomed with a very interesting talk, then split into two groups, donned protective clothing, and given a guided tour.  It was fascinating to see the massive 35m high structure and the miles of piping and cables.  The whole visit was really informative, very clean and not at all smelly, as I had expected!

The facility has two huge furnaces where the rubbish is burnt at 850ºC.  The hot air is then pumped out, cooled and purified and the steam produced during this process generates electricity, about 29 megawatts (MW) of which 3 MW are used to run the plant and the rest is fed into the National Grid.  This amount is capable of producing enough electricity to run 38,000 homes, and the infrastructure is already in place to provide central heating for Bicester Eco Town in the future.

This self-contained process produces about 10,000 tonnes of ash per year which is used for road building and can also be processed into carbon neutral breeze blocks for use in construction. Brilliant!

What is more, in the future they may be able to dig up and use the old landfill sites, and they can also burn the horrible plastics that can't go to into the recycling.

I have had to re-adjust my recycling habits since my visit as I wasn't aware of the different types of plastics and the way they should be recycled.  Plastics that make a 'crinkly' sound,i.e. salad bags, crisp packets, etc., I have now learnt, should go into rubbish.  The recyclenow website gives some more up-to-date information on what things go where.

I would thoroughly recommend a visit and tours can be arranged by contacting Alexandra Pyle, Waste Recycling Officer at the Vale on 01235 540566 or e-mail

The next visit will probably be 4th August.  Viridor also have a great Visitors Centre, organize school visits and engineering apprenticeship schemes.

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Gardening - the Garden in Spring 2016

Martin Gulliver writes - This is very much dependent on the weather - Spring can come early or late but this is a general guide:
  • As snowdrops fade, split them up to increase stock.
  • Prune and feed roses - cut back any dead or diseased stems and cut remaining stems back to a couple of outward facing buds above the ground on hybrid tea and floribunda roses.
  • Cut back and feed perennials - they can also be split now when new growth is apparent.
  • Sow hardy annuals now either direct in the ground or in pots to plant out later.
  • Feed all borders – weed them first then apply a mulch.
  • Top dress containers - scoop off the top 2” of soil and replace with fresh, and give them a feed.
  • Start sowing early veg, including carrots, parsnips, radish and spring onions.
  • Early potatoes that were chitted in February can be planted out now.
  • Try sowing a few salad crops...sow in succession to get a steady supply.

Sunday, 15 May 2016

Plant Swap

For all Tithe Farm and Ladygrove gardeners!!  There will be a Plant Swap on Saturday 21st May on the driveway at 39 Masefield Crescent between 3pm and 5pm ... 'come rain or shine'.  Bring along your extra plants, surplus seedlings or spare cuttings and be ready to 'swap' ..... all for FREE!!

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Neighbourhood Watch - Policing Update May 2016

Cycle theft: There have been four reported cycle thefts from Abingdon town centre over the last month.  Please make sure you lock your bike if leaving it unattended.

On Sunday 10 April, PCSO Ali Blood attended The Freewheeling Spring Cycle Festival.  She spent the day security marking over 100 bicycles and offering crime prevention advice.  If you would like to have your bike security marked or would like more information on how to keep it safe, please get in contact with the neighbourhood team.

Shoplifting: There have been a few shoplifting offences over the last month.  The neighbourhood team will continue to patrol the town centre shops on a regular basis to try and deter theft.

Anti-social behaviour (ASB): On the whole ASB is still on the decrease.  We are still carrying out high-visibility patrols to disperse and deter any groups.  If you witness any ASB please call our non- emergency number 101 to report it.

Purse theft
: After several purse thefts were reported recently in Waitrose, Abingdon, PCSOs Ali Blood and Susie Shepherd spent much of their time during the first two weeks of April speaking to customers and handing out crime prevention advice and purse bells.  The neighbourhood team would like to remind you to keep your valuables safe and secure when you are out.  If you would like more information on safety and security, please get in contact with the neighbourhood team.

Parking close to road junctions: 
We have received complaints about cars being parked on Shelley Close, too close to the junction with Northcourt Road.  If you are using the facilities at Northcourt Road please park considerately.  It is advised that you do not park within 10 metres of a junction.  Any vehicle found to be an unsafe distance from the junction will be liable for a £30 Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN).  Parking near to a junction restricts a driver’s view of the road when pulling out and is also unsafe for pedestrians wanting to cross.

Community engagement:  On 20th May PCSO's Sylvia Davies and Clare Eddery will be attending Ambitious Day at Rush Common School in Abingdon, where the children will be learning about ‘ People who help’.

The Abingdon PCSO's have been attending Junior Citizens at the Oxford Fire Station over the last month. Year 6 children from all over Oxfordshire, including Abingdon, are put through different dangerous scenarios including internet safety, house fires, railway lines and stranger danger. It is a fun and interactive day and the children are taught how to keep themselves safe and call the emergency services.

'Have Your Say' meetings:

Have Your Say meetings are an ideal opportunity for local residents to speak to their local police officers and PCSOs about any local issues, no appointment is necessary just turn up and speak to your local officers. Upcoming Have Your Say meetings are:

•  Wednesday, 11 May 2016, 11am – 11.45am at the Vale of White Horse Leisure and Tennis Centre, Audlett Drive, Abingdon with PCSO Sylvia Davies

•  Saturday, 28 May 2016, 11am – midday at Peachcroft Christian Centre, Lindsay Drive, Abingdon with PCSO Sylvia Davies.

Further meetings will be publicised locally and on the force website at

Contact us:  If you want any advice or would like to contact the neighbourhood team you can call us on the police non-emergency number 101 or if it is an emergency then dial 999.  You can also contact us via email:  Please note this email address cannot be used to contact Thames Valley Police to report crimes or for any urgent matters.  To view information on your neighbourhood team visit the Thames Valley Police website at: Receive free local crime alerts and crime prevention advice by registering at today.  This allows anyone who signs up to choose what updates they receive and how they would like to receive it.

Winter Quiz Results

Thank you and well done to all who entered the Points of the Compass quiz in the last newsletter – the winner was Jacqueline Scott of Wordsworth Road who won a box of chocolates.  Well done Jacqueline!!!The answers are: (1) Northern Lights, (2) East of Eden, (3) South Australia, (4) South Pacific, (5) West Side Story, (6) Southern Cross, (7) Great Western Railway, (8) North Sea route, (9) Eastenders, (10) South Pole, (11) La Fanciullia del West, (12) North Korea.

Sunday, 1 May 2016

Councillors News - To Mark the Queens 90th Birthday

On Wednesday 11 May the honorary Freedom of the Vale was awarded to the Abingdon based 3 Regiment RLC, 4 Regiment RLC and The Rifles.

The award was made at a special meeting of Vale of White Horse District Council by Chairman Cllr Mike Badcock.

To mark this prestigious honour scrolls were presented to representatives from each of the regiments.

White Horse leisure and Tennis Centre

Visitors to the White Horse Leisure and Tennis Centre in Abingdon are set to benefit from a major programme of investment, which will see the current gym substantially extended, new state-of-the-art fitness equipment installed and a new crèche area created.

The new gym space, which will be extended by 290sqm, will boast £136,000 worth of new kit.  This will include the latest Technogym ‘Excite’ equipment comprising treadmills, recline bikes, crossovers and synchro machines – offering a full cardiovascular workout.  The additional space and new equipment will mean that up to 50 more customers will be able to use the gym at any time.  In addition, all fitness equipment currently located in the existing gym will be replaced and upgraded thanks to a further £246,000 investment.

A new outdoor crèche area is also planned, devised to give young children more space in which to play, while their carers are using the leisure centre’s other facilities.

The gym changing rooms will be refurbished with the introduction of new showers, toilets, wash basins, lockers, paintwork and lighting. The main entrance to the building will also be improved thanks to the installation of an impressive new canopy, while public art will also be installed throughout centre.

The roof of the extended gym area will be an environmentally friendly ‘Green Roof’ featuring plants and vegetation to absorb any rain water that falls on the new building.

The £1.7million improvements are being funded by Vale of the White Horse District Council and GLL, which operates the council’s Better leisure centres.

The work is due to start on Sunday 15 May and is expected to be completed just in time for Christmas.

Cllr Charlotte Dickson, Cabinet Member for Leisure at Vale of White Horse District Council, said: “We’re very keen to ensure our leisure centres provide residents with the best experience and facilities possible.  This £1.7million investment from the Vale and GLL will make a huge difference for people visiting the White Horse Leisure and Tennis Centre, especially those using the gym.  There will be much more room and new equipment meaning many more people can be accommodated at peak times.”

Ben Whaymand, Partnership Manager GLL, said “The White Horse Leisure and Tennis Centre is a fantastic community facility. The work comes at an exciting time when we are investing £1.7m by extending the existing gym, and introducing state-of-the-art fitness equipment.

“The gym changing rooms at the leisure centre will also receive an upgrade as part of this work.
“This will be a massive difference to the existing facility offering a wider range of equipment for our customers, and adding benefit to their membership.”

Abbey Meadows Project

Thanks to a £615,000 investment from the Vale, Abingdon’s Abbey Meadow is set for a major overhaul. Following a significant public consultation last year the Council has announced a reburbished pool building with a new changing area; an extended children’s splash area; two new exciting adventure playgrounds; new picnic seating; new public toilets open all year round and a new multi-use games area.  The majority of work will begin after this year’s summer season.


Keen gardeners in the Vale of White Horse can take advantage of some of the district councils’ upcoming offers and discounts.

Existing garden waste customers can leave double out for collection between 16 and 20 May.

Any extra garden waste needs to be in an open box or bag by the brown bin, but not in trade bags as waste crews won’t empty these.

If residents sign up to the garden waste service in June or July, they’ll get ten per cent off their annual fee.  During this time existing customers can get the discount off their annual fee for an extra bin.

Councillor Elaine Ware, cabinet member for waste at Vale of White Horse District Council, said: “This is the perfect time to sign up for our garden waste service.  It’s very simple – you just put your brown bin out on the same day as your green bin, and we’ll come out and collect your garden waste.  If you’re having a bit of a spring clean, make the most of all the waste services we have to offer – we collect small electrical items and textiles, too.”

I welcomed the freeze in charge for brown bins in the budget earlier this year, together with the freeze in council tax for the 6th year running this represents a real cut in the Vale element of the council tax while at the same time maintaining a high level of service, with your help we can be the number 1 recycler in the country.

I know many of you are concerned about the refugee situation and how decisions made at central government might affect us.  As I understand it there will be a small number of families coming into the Vale over the next few years under the Syrian response.  From a personal view I am pleased to hear that compassion is at the heart of our response.  Last week Host Abingdon launched – an inspirational Q&A with Patrick Kingsley, a journalist who has worked  over the last years reporting on the migrant  crisis

To finish with a quote from the evening

“the history of Europe and the USA is one of migration”