Archive for April, 2012

Sustainable Witney meets Sustainable Elsewhere

April 27th, 2012

A week ago yesterday, Brigitte and I attended a social event for CAG Oxfordshire. CAGs, or Community Action Groups, are local volunteer groups “[organising] events and initiatives to raise awareness and take action on climate change issues” – Sustainable Witney is officially one of them, and they’re all networked through the tireless efforts of Simon Kenton and Peter Lefort.

Although we’d neither of us turn down free wine and some of Simon’s home-made dips, Brigitte and I agreed that the main reason to turn up was to talk to other likeminded people in CAGs from the length and breadth of the county (in the case of the Westmill Wind Farm Co-operative, nearly in Wiltshire!) That way we could more easily work out how we might all help each other with our events, and also share knowledge and resources.

If CAG Oxfordshire is all about the network, then this event was all about the networking! That meant that ultimately it was inspiring and useful in roughly equal measures. On the one hand it reminded me of all the work that Sustainable Witney is trying and succeeding to do; at the same time, it got us to share both the effort and the fruits of our labour with other organizations.

And so while we were talking to Westmill Co-Op about our plans for Bike Week 2012, we also formulated some plans to maybe lead a ride out there on the Saturday and link up with lots of other local groups at an open day; while we were finding out about Groundwork Thames Valley’s spinoff Oxfordshire Green Schools, we also discussed pooling our resources to promote a possible future ReFashion event in Witney; and when I went to say hello to a master composter to see what they were up to, he incidentally mentioned that I needn’t put the effort in to turn my whole compost heap. My own lumbar regions will be grateful for that last, chance meeting, for some time to come.

CAG Oxfordshire helps Sustainable Witney to do great things, and we’ve got a lot of them in the pipeline. So watch this space.

TGiF – I Bike The Way I Like

April 27th, 2012

Carbon Conversations

April 25th, 2012

Concerned about climate change and want to reduce your carbon footprint? How about coming along to Carbon Conversations?

The aims of Carbon Conversations are to:

· help you explore feelings about climate change

· use your creativity to look for solutions

· make plans you feel comfortable with

The details are:

· Six 2 hour meetings held in the evening locally over 3 months with a small group of 6 to 10 people and 2 facilitators

· Each meeting addresses the key areas of a person’s carbon footprint eg the home, travel and food in a supportive and non-judgmental way and involves discussion, understanding and practical plans. See the Carbon Conversations website for more information.

· The cost of attending the sessions would be about £20 to pay for the Carbon Conversations Handbook

If you are interested in attending a course then please email Sustainable Witney: just click on Contact on the green bar at the top of the page, fill in your details and click the Submit button.

TGiF – Message in a Bottle

April 20th, 2012

Green Cafe – Bridge Street

April 20th, 2012

CLR inquiry: no news is good news?

April 16th, 2012

We posted earlier about the county council’s potential breach of planning permission over the Cogges Link Road, but you might be wondering what’s happening with the inquiry into the road.

It’s worth remembering that the public inquiry last autumn was not about planning permission for the road. It was about whether the county council can force local landowner the Mawle Trust to sell their land in order to build the road. Forcing someone to sell land is known as a compulsory purchase order and requires an inquiry to establish whether it’s justified by a “compelling case in the public interest”. That decision is ultimately made by Justine Greening, Secretary of State for Transport. Her decision is not expected to be made public until May, almost certainly after the district council elections which take place on the 3rd.

County council begins work on CLR

April 16th, 2012

We’re still waiting for the outcome of the Cogges Link Road inquiry, but it appears that Oxfordshire County Council has jumped the gun and begun work without waiting to hear what the Department of Transport says. Members of Witney First report that digging has begun at the Farm Mill Lane site (adjacent to the Sainsburys roundabout).

» Read more: County council begins work on CLR

TGiF – Restaurants with a view…

April 13th, 2012

Be The Change – High St, Methodist Church

April 13th, 2012

Tell Oxfordshire County Council about your local bus routes

April 11th, 2012

Oxfordshire County Council are running a consultation about bus routes in the Chipping Norton, Charlbury and Witney area. You should respond if you possibly can, and if you do it online it will only take a few minutes (see below for details.) It’s important that your voice is heard, because even when councils aren’t trying to save money as they are at the moment, then “consultation” can often mean “doing the groundwork for an argument to cut services.”

The services affected include: 23A, 50, 50/S3, 233, 243, 811, C1/T1, X8, and X9. Towns and villages affected by any changes to these services would include: Chipping Norton, Steeple Aston, Shipston-on-Stour, Woodstock, Enstone, Yarnton, Burford, Milton-, Ascott- and Shipton-under-Wychwood, Crawley, Finstock, Ramsden, Stonesfield, Kingham, Hailey and of course Witney. So a lot of you reading this will probably want to respond! (A full list of services and villages under review is available here.)

According to the council website, there are a few ways of responding to the consultation:

If you want to complete the online version of the questionnaire, you do have to register for an account on the county council website: registering is never fun, but I did so myself and it was pretty straightforward; got an confirmation email within a minute or two. Depending on the amount of detail you want to leave, the online questionnaire takes between one and maybe ten minutes.

There’s plenty of time to complete the survey – it closes on June 8th – but it would be great if lots of people did so, so please tell your friends. Filling out forms and telling councils what use you make of local services (and how they could be better) can be a chore at times; but if it gets us an improved bus service, or even simply preserves the services we currently have, then such a chore might be worth while.

TGiF – Are you sitting comfortably?

April 6th, 2012

And here’s part two…

Why no 20mph in Witney?

April 4th, 2012

Rodney Rose, the county council cabinet member for transport

From today’s Oxford Mail

…Mr Rose, reacting to a call to impose 20mph limits in Witney, said: “Unless enforced, they are a waste of money.

“It does slow things up a little bit but not as much as an enforced 20mph speed limit would.

“If I got police support for 20mph, I would be much more inclined to put more (20mph limits) in across Oxfordshire. But until it is enforced it is not worth the investment.”

Read the full story with comments from WitneyBUG and 20s Plently for Us here…

New 20mph limits ‘waste of money’ because police won’t enforce them