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Friday, Mar 02nd

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Conserving the Sibfords and Burdrop

Cherwell District Council has produced a draft appraisal for the Sibford Ferris, Sibford Gower and Burdrop Conservation Areas and is seeking comments.

The consultation runs to 16th March

Sibford Ferris Conservation Area was first designated in November 1985 and covers the older part of the village. Sibford Gower and Burdrop were similarly designated in January 1988.

The draft document is the first appraisal of these conservation areas. It: analyses the special character and appearance that it is desirable to preserve or enhance and suggests a management plan for the villages. It also proposes some amendments to the boundaries
 and proposes buildings for inclusion on the Local List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Importance.

Councillor George Reynolds, ward member for Sibford, said: "These appraisals are very infrequent so it is an opportunity not to be missed.

"I would urge everyone in these three villages to take a look at these documents and make their views known."

The exhibition will run from 3.30pm to 6.30pm followed by the public meeting from 7pm to 8.30pm.

Anyone wishing to find out more should attend this or visit where all relevant documents can be found.

Responses to the consultation can be emailed to email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or sent by post to Design and Conservation Team, Strategic Planning and The Economy, Cherwell District Council, Bodicote House, Bodicote, Banbury OX15 4AA.

Those with questions should contact Charlotte Morbey on 01295 227970.

Go-ahead for flood relief project

bamptonfloodWork on a long-awaited scheme to help reduce the risk of flooding in Bampton and RAF Brize Norton has started.  The scheme, driven by West Oxfordshire District Council, has involved several agencies including the Ministry of Defence, Thames Water, Oxfordshire County Council and local flood forum groups.

Flooding has been a problem in the area for many years due to the existing watercourse system being unable to cope with storm water running off from NE Carterton after heavy rain.

Areas most affected by previous flooding are the road around the BP garage in Brize Norton, the RAF base and the downstream village of Bampton.

A new ditch will divert all but a minimal flow of water, away from the watercourse into an under-used balancing pond owned by Thames Water.

Construction work for a new ditch was given the go-ahead, following agreement with Thames Water giving Oxfordshire County Council consent to use the balancing pond.

Laurence King, Principal Engineer at West Oxfordshire District Council, helped coordinate the project and obtained funding through an Environment Agency grant. He said, “Diverting water into the balancing pond will reduce the flow of storm water in the watercourse and reduce the risk of flooding around Brize Norton, the RAF base and Bampton. Progressing the scheme has involved different organisations and we have worked alongside flood forum groups. I am sure it will be hugely welcomed by local residents and the MOD.”

Cllr David Harvey, West Oxfordshire District Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment, said: “We hope that this work will help provide protection, and some peace of mind, for those whose homes are most at risk.

“Our Council has taken the problem of flooding extremely seriously and work has been on-going since the terrible floods of 2007 to secure and carry out as much flood protection work as possible in the affected areas across the district.”

Visitor guide launched

096442 a0306275Cherwell's accommodation providers and attraction owners braved snowy conditions to gather at Banbury Museum on 10 February. They were joined by Councillors Nicholas Turner, lead member for customer services and Deputy Chairman Colin Clarke (pictured l - r) as they launched the 2012 holiday and short breaks guide for North Oxfordshire.

Eight per cent of all jobs in Cherwell are supported by tourism expenditure, which was worth just under £66 million to the local economy in the last year.

Cherwell District Council produces the guide, supported by advertising from local industry. The aim is to attract visitors to the area and guide them on the best ways to spend their time here. The guide is distributed nationally through the Tourist Information Centre network and more locally at motorway service stations and visitor attractions.

Alongside the dedicated website,, there is now an app which can be downloaded free from the app store on iTunes - just search for North Oxfordshire Official Visitor Guide. The pages of the guide are beautifully recreated with the benefit of interactive web and email links. All links open up within the app itself, meaning you can return to the page you were viewing easily.

Councillor Turner commented: "As a north Oxfordshire resident I'm passionate about promoting the area. Encouraging the visitors we have to spend longer in the area has to be beneficial for independent businesses and the local economy in general. It’s not just the lovely surroundings, our heritage and great hospitality, but the packed calendar of events and festivals that happen locally, which make this a destination I’m proud to promote."

Fearless Buddies step up to fight crime in Thames Valley

police-lightsThis week a brand new initiative to create 1000s of crime-fighting Buddies is being introduced by Crimestoppers into every secondary school in Oxfordshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes.


Young people are more likely to be affected by crime than adults and contrary to popular belief they are not always the offenders.


‘Buddies’ is an innovative initiative that introduces young people to the charity’s website, enabling them to take a stand against crime - safely and anonymously. 


Phil Gomm, Deputy Chair of Thames Valley Crimestoppers, who created the project, commented: “Buddies is for young people between the ages of 11-18 years, who will be given the resources and knowledge to keep themselves safe from crime and ultimately work towards making their communities safer places in which to live.  We are delighted to be piloting the Buddies scheme here first as I believe we can demonstrate how to create future generations of fearless doers, rather than scared onlookers.”


The Buddies Scheme run by the independent charity Crimestoppers in Thames Valley will work closely with schools’ police officers, communities and many other partners and offers all local secondary schools, and adults working with young people, the opportunity to register for Buddies and receive a new, free, resource to educate and empower young people about fighting crime.  The program is structured to tackle subjects such as cybercrime & bullying, drugs & alcohol, gun & knife crime, vandalism and violence and looks to challenge pupils' perceptions, stimulate debate and encourage good citizenship.


Buddies links seamlessly with, the youth brand that introduces young people to the Crimestoppers safe and anonymous service where the public can pass on information about crimes by phone on 0800 555 111 or online at


Tour De Trigs to return for 2012

It has been announced that the popular 50 mile competition hike around north Oxfordshire is set to return at the end of the year.

The event, first held in the early 60s, sees teams of three hike around a 50 mile course during a 24 hour period - it has previously attracted competitors from as far a field as the USA.

The last two Tours (2011 and 2010) had been cancelled, the 2010 event due to seriously inclement weather. A previous tour had also been cancelled due to the Foot and Mouth outbreak.

The 2012 Tour de Trigs will be organised by a combination of Banbury charities, although it seems that the Scouting organisation, who have overseen the previous events, will not be as actively involved this year.

The search begins to find 2012’s most wildlife friendly farmer

sesame-demonstration-plot-for-webThe RSPB has launched its annual search to find the farmer that does the most for nature.  The Nature of Farming Award aims to find the farmer who has put in the most work on their land to help wildlife in the countryside. The competition is run by the RSPB, supported by Butterfly Conservation and Plantlife, and sponsored by The Telegraph.

The conservation charity has already received a high level of entries, with applications being accepted until the 20th April.  Last year’s winners, Carolyne and Somerset Charrington of Treshnish Farm, said: “We were extremely proud to have been chosen as the winners of the RSPB Telegraph Nature of Farming Award last year.  It was a huge boost to our confidence and proved that what we’ve been doing in terms of farming, conservation and sustainability is working.”

After the closing date, entries will be shortlisted to eight regional winners, and then a panel of experts will decide which four should go through to the national finals.  There will also be a highly commended category, to recognise the efforts of farmers who have excelled in their support of farmland wildlife.

Anna Broszkiewicz from the RSPB in the Midlands, said: “It’s a great opportunity for farmers across the Midlands to showcase what they are doing every day on their farms to look after the fantastic wildlife of our countryside.”  The UK public will decide the overall winner by casting their votes online, over the phone, via The Telegraph, or at country shows throughout the summer.  Last year the competition attracted an unprecedented number of votes, with over 22,000 people backing their favourite finalist.


RSPB Head of Species and Habitats Conservation and one of this year’s judges, Darren Moorcroft, said: “There are so many great farmers out there who have taken the small and simple steps, like putting in skylark plots and wild bird seed mixtures, which makes a real difference to health of our countryside.  “The standard of entries and winners since we launched this award in 2008 is truly inspirational. I can’t wait to see this year's gems.”

This year’s judging panel:
Darren Moorcroft - RSPB
Head of Species and Habitats Conservation
Martin Warren – Butterfly Conservation Chief Executive
Victoria Chester – Plantlife Chief Executive
Fergus Collins – Countryfile Magazine

All the details on how to enter can be found on the RSPB website at –

The EU LIFE+ Programme funds RSPB work which supports wildlife-friendly farming that furthers sustainable development.

New badminton sessions at Spiceball

Denmark-an-emerging-country-for-Badminton-58323Cherwell District Council is launching a series of new badminton sessions at Spiceball Leisure Centre in Banbury, in collaboration with Go Active and Badminton England.

The Active Women sessions are for women aged 16 and over only and run every Mondays from 30 January, 12.30pm to 1.30pm. Sessions cost £2, or you can bring a friend and pay £1 each There's no need to book, just come along and have a go.

And there are also new Family Fun sessions led by a fully qualified coach on Sundays from 11.30am to 12.30pm, starting 5 February.

Cllr James Macnamara, Cherwell District Council's lead member for environment, said: "It doesn't matter if you're an experienced player or if you've never played badminton before, as there'll be a fully qualified coach on hand to guide you through the session and offer hints and tips. And once again, because the council is working in partnership with Go Active it means we can bring offer these low cost opportunities at no cost to the council tax payer."

For further information on the sessions email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or phone 01295 221744. For information on local sporting activities visit

For media enquiries please contact:
Tony Ecclestone
Phone: 01295 227942
Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

HMC to host exciting new Motoring Record Breakers exhibition in 2012!

inspirationBeing the year of the Olympics and hopefully a year when plenty of British athletes will break records; the Heritage Motor Centre is set to host an exciting new exhibition entitled “Motoring Record Breakers”. The exhibition, which will run from 11 February – 2 September 2012, will present the best of motoring record breakers including some of the fastest British cars, the slowest, smallest, most economical and the more wacky record breakers. Visitors will have the opportunity of exploring vehicles that created new horizons and take a journey into history with a selection of vehicles that have helped change the face of motoring. Some of the exciting cars on display include the Sunbeam 1000hp, the first car ever to set a land speed record of over 200mph and the steam car 'Inspiration', which holds the land speed record for a steam car which it secured in 2009. The previous record was set in 1906!

Tim Bryan, Head of Collections at the Heritage Motor Centre stated “Our Motoring Record Breakers exhibition is an exciting collection of amazing vehicles which we are thrilled to be exhibiting. Featuring an eclectic mix of vehicles – some of the giants, and minnows, of motoring history, the exhibition will bring them to life with both adult and child-friendly interpretation. This exhibition really is a must for everyone and not just car fans!”

Families can also enjoy a special Half Term 'Record Breaking' fun week from 11 - 19 February. A themed quiz and trail will take place all week along with a special free family craft day on Thursday 16 February. Taking place in the Education Room from 11am – 3pm, families can work together to create exciting crafts, and perhaps even set some records of their own! The HMC is also continuing with its record breaking theme at Easter. From 31 March – 15 April, children can join in with record breaking egg-citing fun & make and race their own egg car, plus quizzes and other crafts and activities. Craft days will also take place on Thursday 5 & 12 April. Normal museum admission prices apply and children can take home what they make.

There is no extra charge to see the Motoring Record Breakers Exhibition as it is included in the standard Museum entry fees. Museum prices are: Adults £11, Child £8 (5-16 years) under 5 free, Concessions £9 & Family £34 (2 adults & up to 3 children). Motoring Record Breakers is just one of many exciting and unique events to take place at the Heritage Motor Centre in 2012. To find out more information please visit the website at