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Didcot Diary Issue 9 July 2013

Willowbrook Refurbishment Parks & Lakes Didcot Town Fayre

Welcome to the ninth issue of the Didcot Diary. In this issue we are pleased to report on the progress of Didcot’s first town Fayre. The list of particpants is growing daily and there will be a good mix of activities for all the family and lots to see and do. More information is on pages 3 , 4 and 8. This issue also contains some important information for allotment plot holders about greenhouses and polytunnels, an update on the refurbishment of the Willowbrook Leisure Centre, both on page 5 and your views on a proposed Community Orchard are sought on page 12. The Civic Hall is pleased to announce that they are now able to hold weddings and civil ceremonies on the premises . There is a package to suit weddings of all sizes and styles so

Contents Didcot Town Fayre


Baking Competition




Willowbrook Refurbishment


Park Life


Ladygrove Lakes


Knobbly Knees & Glamorous Grans 8 Didcot Parkway


Guidepost Trust


Edmonds Park


Frequently asked questions


Get ready for winter


Great Western Mainline


Bird Ringing


Community Orchard?


Weddings in the Civic Hall


Citizens Advice Bureaux


Temporary Road Closure


Didcot Access Group


What’s on at the Civic Hall


if you are planning a wedding why not give Rachael a call and see what facilities the Civic Hall can offer, see page 13 for details. The recent sunshine has brought many plants into bloom and the Diamond Jubilee Garden at the rear of the Civic Hall is a perfect backdrop for photos. Let’s hope this is the start of a long warm Summer!

Didcot Town Fayre Our plans for the first Didcot Town Fayre continue to take shape with more groups and organisations signing up to take part almost every day. The timetable for the arena tent has been drawn up and confirmed participants are: Beat Street Jive, Egyptian Dance, Didcot Diamonds Cheerleaders, Mel’s Zumba and BOKWA, the All Saints School choir, the Gospel Choir, the Angels Stage School and Funksta Dance. As well as all these performances the Phoenix Drama Group are organising knobbly knees & glamorous grans Competitions. You could spend a fantastic afternoon being entertained in the arena but there is lots more on offer for all the family. There will be Victorian swing boats, bouncy castles, face painting and dog agility demonstrations. You will be able to make a bee house or plant some seeds to take home, watch the amazing Grove and Didcot Gymnastics team put on a display, decorate some cakes with the Home Farm Trust, guess the name of the teddy and tombola stalls. If this isn’t enough to tempt you, there will also be a produce show. The entries will be created entirely from crops that have been grown on local allotment sites. There will be a baking competition, and you don’t need to be as good as Mary Berry to take part, so why not get out your mixing bowl and join in the fun. All the details can be found on page 4. And if you are looking for a unique gift or if you want to treat yourself you might find something perfect among the lovely items on sale in the craft tent. Food and drink, including a beer tent and the Scouts bbq, will be on sale all afternoon.

Entry is free and so are many of the activities so bring all the family and join us for an afternoon of fun in the park.

Saturday 13th July 2013 between 12noon and 5pm in Edmonds Park.


Didcot Town Fayre BAKING COMPETITION Do you love the Great British Bake off? Do you think you or any member of your family can bake as well as the competitors on the show? Do you want to take part in the first Didcot Town Fayre? If you answered yes to any of these questions why not bake a cake and take part in the Didcot Town Fayre Baking Competition? The Didcot Town Fayre Baking Competition is being organised by local residents as part of The Didcot Town Fayre. There are three categories, two for adults and a children’s section. The categories for adults are a plain Victoria sponge made using a 6oz/3egg recipe, to be sandwiched with a filling of your choice; and/or 12 decorated cupcakes. Competitors can enter one or both categories and there is an entry fee of £1 per entry. Children under 16 can enter any baked item they wish and there is no entry fee for children. Entries must be delivered to the baking tent and be displayed for judging by 12.30pm on the day, Saturday 13th July. Entries will be judged by the Mayor and the organisers soon after this time and there will be a prize awarded to the baker judged best in each category. The prize giving will take place in the baking tent at 3pm. Why not get together as a family or with friends and see who is champion baker, you might surprise yourself!

For more information or an entry form please contact Karen Dodd or Sue Atkins on 01235 812637 or email or call in to the Information Centre. The Information Centre is located inside the Civic Hall on Britwell Road. 4

Allotments At the meeting of the Allotment Liaison Group held on 8 th April 2013 allotment site representatives asked if the Council would grant permission for greenhouses and polytunnels to be erected on allotment sites. This request was referred to the Environment Committee who have agreed that greenhouses and polytunnels can be erected on allotment plots with the following conditions: 1. Any greenhouse or polytunnel erected must have plastic cladding. 2. Structures must not exceed 2m x 2m and be securely anchored. 3. Any damaged greenhouses or polytunnels must be removed when the site is vacated. If you would like to know who your allotment site representative is, how to become a site representative or any other information regarding allotments in Didcot please contact Sue Atkins on 01235 812637 or

Willowbrook Leisure Centre Regular users of the Willowbrook Leisure Centre will be aware that the Gym and CafĂŠ have been closed for a short period of time to allow refurbishment works to take place. During the closure Willowbrook members were able to use the gym at the Park Club on Milton Park and it is hoped that any inconvenience to members was kept to a minimum. The work has included redecoration, new flooring (pictured left) and furniture in the cafĂŠ and replacement of the cardio gym equipment. If you have not yet been to see the newly refurbished Willowbrook it is definitely worth making time to do so. 5

Park Life The cold wind has held back plant growth with roses not coming into bloom until late June but grass and weeds seem to grow whatever the weather and the gardeners have been busy trying to keep them under control. The gardeners have also been busy planting summer bedding into the flowerbeds along Broadway, at the Civic Hall and at Cemetery. Some seeds were sown in the Broadway beds but germination has been very slow. The hanging baskets have made a welcome return this year; there is a mix of 4 colour ways; Red/yellow and white, pink/blue and yellow, blue/yellow and white and burgundy/blue and white. The baskets are expected to provide a good show through the summer and into autumn. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------The more eagle eyed residents of Didcot have already noticed the latest addition to Ladygrove Park; a new nest swing. The old spinning net had to be removed due to vandalism and it has been replaced with the swing pictured left. Nest swings have proved very popular in other parks and this has been installed in time for the summer holidays. Happy holidays! 6 a side football The Didcot Town Youth held a popular 6 asides tournament at Edmonds Park on 15th and 16th June. This event was well attended and despite the occasional heavy rain shower, everyone enjoyed the football.

Edmonds Park Outdoor Gym The bid for funding for the outdoor gym at Edmonds Park will be submitted for consideration in early July – the consultation feedback form on this project have been very helpful and thanks go to everyone who took part. If the bid is successful the installation of the gym is planned for the autumn.


Park Life Skate Park At the skate park some Tigermulch has been laid to replace areas around the ½ pipe part of the extension where the grass had worn away and there was some soil erosion that was causing mud to be transferred to the skating surface - which is not good news. The Tigermulch has several advantages over grass – as well as being hard wearing it can be ridden on and it is useful as a run off or overshoot area.

Ladygrove Lakes This summer has seen a lot of young ducklings at the lakes, along with a few Canadian geese. The adult geese have now moulted and long brown wing feathers can be seen scattered all round the lakes.

Fishing Club news The fishing season is well underway and some fishing matches have already taken place at the lakes. The Rutherford/Appleton Labs and the Police vs Fishing club members matches have taken place; the junior member’s match is scheduled for 28th June and Jim’s Charity match is scheduled for 30th. All income from this match goes to Cancer Research in memory of Jim Goodall, the fishing club’s founder club secretary. Matches held so far have landed some large fish and It is certainly worthwhile coming to see the weigh in to see the mix of fish are being landed and their condition – there are some heavy weight carp in the large lake. The Environment Agency will be holding an open day at the lakes on Friday 16 th August from 9.30 am until 4pm. If you want to try fishing but don’t have any gear then book a slot with one of the professional coaches on site. They will teach you how to set up a rod and get fishing plus how to land and handle a fish. For other anglers, this is an opportunity pick up some tips from real professionals. It is a good event for all age groups so give it a try!


Didcot Phoenix Drama group are very pleased to be part of the first Didcot Town Fayre, especially as 2013 marks their 30 year anniversary of performing as a group in the town. On the day of the Fayre, members of the group will be entertaining by being there in full 'Hi-de-hi!' character and costume to hold two themed competitions. All are welcome to take part in either a 'Glamorous Gran' or “knobbly knee” contest - of course you need to be a Gran for the former but you just need to have knees for the latter, and the cast members will decide who has the knobbliest! See you there and Hi-de-hi!! More information about the Didcot Phoenix Drama Group production of Hi-Di-Hi can be found on page 15. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Didcot Parkway The Didcot Parkway Station Interchange project is being funded and delivered by Oxfordshire County Council in partnership with South Oxfordshire District Council. The first phase was completed at the beginning of May. Work started at the station last September but was halted temporarily when some of Didcot’s railway heritage was uncovered, including the remains of an old building and an ash pit from the days of steam. Since then work has included the installation of an underground storm water storage tank, extensive new sewers and drains, and completely new electricity distribution. Retaining walls have been built that gradually raise the lower car park into the upper level, new lighting and more extensive CCTV have also been provided. Work is now progressing in the upper East car park and will switch to the west car park in late-summer. The whole project is expected to be completed in Spring 2014. More information can be found on the project website at The artist’s impression of the completed West car park and walk way is supplied courtesy of Oxfordshire County Council 8

Guideposts Trust The Guideposts Trust will be holding an open day on Wednesday 3rd July between 10am and 3pm.

The theme will be Wheelchairs and Mobility Scooters and the organisers hope to have a range of manual and electric wheelchairs and a range of mobility scooters available for viewing. There will also be information on wheelchair and scooter accessories (clothing, storage, ramps etc.) All are welcome to attend the Open Day, no appointment is necessary, just drop in for a coffee and a chat. The Guideposts Trust are located at: Abingdon Resource and Wellbeing Centre Audlett Drive Abingdon Oxon OX14 3GD For more information call 01235 524857 or go to the Guidepost website:

Edmonds Park The refurbishment work on the sports courts at Edmonds Park has been completed and the courts opened to the public on Saturday 25th May, just in time for the Bank Holiday weekend. The courts will be closed to the public on Monday and Thursday evenings to allow Didcot’s Netball and Basketball teams to practice and on some Saturday mornings to allow basketball matches to take place. Notice will be given of which Saturdays these will be.

Pictured left are Didcot residents enjoying the new courts.


Information Centre

In the Information Centre we have noticed that some questions tend to get asked more often than others. In this section we aim to provide answers to some recurring issues.

Q. I am 80 years of age and have been told by a friend that I can get reduced council tax-is that true? A. The South Oxfordshire District Council (SODC) will grant some concessions but unfortunately, age is not something that qualifies for a discount. If you live alone you will qualify for a single occupancy reduction of 25% of your bill; and you may be entitled to a discount if you meet other criteria such as being a student nurse or a full time students or a carers (but not if caring for a spouse, partner or child). Please contact Council Tax at SODC on 0345 3022313 if you would like to know more. Q. Now that a few of our buses have changed their times, has there been a new book of timetables produced by Oxfordshire County Council? A. There is not one in the pipeline at the moment but watch this space! Printed copies of the most popular routes can be obtained from the Information Centre, or, call 01235 812637 and a copy will be posted to you. All bus timetables can be found on . Q. Do Tappins or Whites still do their Daily Tour programme in the summer months? A. Unfortunately not. Tappins only run a free bus to Millets Farm and shop on Tuesdays. The bus leaves from Abingdon on number M2. Check with the Information Centre for times and pick up. Q. I can remember at the last Art Exhibition one of the artists had created a print of the Didcot Power Station. Call me sentimental but can I still obtain a copy? A. The artist concerned was Charlie Davies and the piece was called’ You’ll miss us when we’re gone’. Framed prints are £35 each from the Information Centre

Get ready for winter! Summer has only just arrived but we can sure that winter will soon be here again and after the ice and snow of last winter preparations are already underway for this year. As part of these preparations the Council is considering how much salt to buy.

To help with the calculation it would useful to know of any footpaths in town that were not sufficiently salted last winter so if you know of any area that would benefit from salting in icy conditions please ring 01235 812637. While all requests will be considered no commitment to treat any specific areas can be made at the moment. 10

Electrification of the Great Western Mainline Network Rail have advised the Council that as part of the electrification of the Great Western mainline some de-vegetation work is necessary. It is essential that all woody vegetation within 6.6 metres of the outside running rail on both sides of the track is cleared. This will safeguard the overhead electrical lines from touching and falling vegetation. Once cleared, this area will be maintained to avoid vegetation encroachment, although it is expected that low level shrub will remain in place. Tree works have already been carried out at Foxhall Junction. Ecologists are on-site all day and they are working closely with the vegetation clearance team; fastidiously monitoring trees, scrub and areas that are to be cleared. A number of old bird nests have been encountered where no birds have been seen 'sitting' but Network Rail want to categorically confirm that this is the case before removing vegetation so an aerial inspection will be made prior to the trees being removed, supported by the ecologist being present. Areas that are identified as requiring further investigation are marked with black and yellow tape and no taped trees will be removed without the ecologist’s consent. The next phase of the works is expected to take place between Didcot and Royal Wootton Bassett during July, August and September 2013.

It is anticipated that work between Tilehurst and Didcot is likely to take place toward the end of 2013 or in the early part of 2014 but at the present time Network Rail are unable to provide definitive timescales. However, it is advised that some localised vegetation works are expected to take place before the end of 2013 to enable the supports posts to be erected. A program of works for the erection of the support posts is currently being devised and no specific dates are available for when this work will take place in the Didcot area but Network Rail will continue to notify the Council and residents effected by the works when dates have been confirmed. Pictured right are workmen at the Foxhall Junction.


Bird Ringing The Berkshire Downs Ringing Group (BDRG) have recently been carrying out bird ringing on the local Starling population near to the Ladygrove Lakes. BDRG was formed last year and its small group of licensed volunteers perform field work on behalf of the British Trust for Ornithology’s Ringing Scheme.

Much has been learned about birds by watching them but ringing allows individuals to be identified giving a much better understanding of birds lives. Data that can be provided includes information about survival, productivity, dispersion and migration. The rings used are very light weight, don’t hamper the birds in any way and are equivalent to a human wearing a wristwatch. Birds are caught for ringing using a trap as pictured right, as birds walk into the trap a wooden dowel perch is dislodged, tripping a wire that holds the entrance door up. This type of trap is easy to use and as Starlings tend to feed in flocks several birds can be caught at a time....but the adults are more wary than juveniles and tend to become trap shy after being caught once. Any person finding a ringed bird should report the details should be to the European Union for Bird Ringing at This web address and the Natural History Museum address are stamped onto each of the rings.

For more information look at either of these websites: or

Community Orchard? The Council has received a request for support for a community orchard in one of the local parks. Fruit trees have great ornamental value when in bloom and have the added bonus of producing fruit. The request will be referred to the Environment Committee later this year and it would be useful to know what local residents think about this suggestion. Please contact the Outdoor Services Manager on or 01235 750034 to let us know your views on a community orchard. 12

Looking for a wedding venue? Didcot Civic Hall is a unique venue for marriages, civil partnerships and other civil ceremonies, set in the heart of Didcot. The building is charming and stylish with modern amenities and subtle dĂŠcor throughout. The landscaped garden provides a beautiful back drop for photos and adds to the charm of the venue. There is free parking for over 100 cars and dedicated parking for the bridal party. Planning your wedding can be a daunting task, with decisions to be made and questions to be answered. At the Civic Hall, the team have the experience to guide you through decisions and offer suggestions that will make your day memorable and unique. However large the guest list from 20 to 200 people, we look forward to arranging all your requirements from the civil ceremony to wedding breakfast and evening reception. The Civic Hall will not only give you the facilities you are looking for, but also offer you every assurance that your perfect day is safe in our hands. The management and staff at Didcot Civic Hall can offer you that assurance - from when you first visit us to see our facilities to when you arrive on your special day. Our dedicated and professional team will be there to help and guide you to ensure that your day runs smoothly. For more information call Rachael Spindler on 01235 512436 or email

Citizens Advice Bureau Two years ago when the Civic Hall closed for refurbishment the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) moved to their new home in the old Dales Building in the High Street, pictured right. The closest car park to the CAB is located across the Broadway near the Orchard Centre, pictured below, and most local buses service the bus stop at the Orchard Centre which is just across the road from the High Street. CAB offer a 10 minute drop in service during the week or appointments for longer consultations. For more information please call 08444 111 444 Monday to Friday between 10am and 4pm. Information about many issues is also available on the CAB website: 13

Temporary Road Closure The Oxfordshire County Council (OCC) has given notice that the Manor Railway Bridge will be closed from week commencing 8th July 2013 for an estimated period of four weeks. The closure will allow rail bridge maintenance and carriageway resurfacing work to take place. Access will be maintained for emergency service vehicles and the works. The diversion route will be via the Station Road, Abingdon Road and the Northern Perimeter Road as shown below. More information is available from OCC on 0845 310 11 11.

The Didcot Access Group If you are a disabled person who would like to take an active role in improving accessibility in Didcot or if you would like to highlight an issue to others you could contact the Didcot Access Group. The group meets every two months, if you would like more information contact Mark on 01235 818284.


What’s on at the Civic Hall In keeping with their tradition of putting on events and shows for the community, the Didcot Phoenix Drama group are performing an hilariously funny stage version of the hit 1970's BBC television series, "Hi-de-hi!". The show, which will run over three shows on Friday 12th July at 8pm and Saturday 13th July at 3.30pm and 8pm at Didcot Civic Hall, is adapted from Jimmy Perry and David Croft's original scripts by Paul Carpenter and Ian Gower. This classic theatrical sitcom is full from start to finish with mirth, merriment, mishaps and madness and is not to be missed! Come and watch Jeffrey, Gladys, Ted, Spike, Peggy and the other camp crew members as they take you on a non-stop roller-coaster ride through 1950's holiday camp mayhem. It's a show for all the family, young and old alike – and that's just the cast! Tickets are priced at £8 and £6 concessions and are available from the Information Centre in the Civic Hall, or by emailing or telephoning 07963 562740. For further information please visit the group website at You can see the cast in action at the Didcot Town Fayre, see page 3 for more information.

Regular Events As well as special performances the Civic Hall is home to many regular events such as: Ceroc Modern Jive, Synergy, the Didcot Ladies Afternoon Group, Older and Bolder, Egyptian Dance, Zumba, Yoga, The Women's Institute Evening Group and Pilates. This is just a small section of the activities that take place in the Civic Hall. The hall also has rooms of various sizes that can be hired for events such as conferences, training or parties. For more Information or to make a booking please contact Rachael Spindler on 01235 512436 or 15

Didcot Town Council All Saints Ward Annie Birchall 07788 645989 c/o Didcot Town Council Nick Hards 01235 510146 184 Abingdon Road OX11 9BP Jane Murphy 07970 932054 Bramley Cottage OX14 4DP Margaret Turner 01235 812958 18 Bosleys Orchard OX11 7NY Robert Bulman 61 Oxford Crescent OX11 7AL Ladygrove Ward Tony Harbour 01235 810255 48 Prestwick Burn OX11 7UZ Neville Harris 01235 511363 180 Abingdon Road OX11 9BP Chris Harrison 07531 025403 106 Wessex Road OX11 7SU Roger Hawlor 01235 519061 11 Haydon Road OX11 7JB Phil Hayward 01235 819799 19 Ouse Close OX11 7FE Bill Service 01235 510810 15 Nunney Brook OX11 7FW Northbourne Ward Vacancy Bernard Cooper 01235 811806 1 Loyd Road OX11 8JX Axel Macdonald 07425 176404 56 Campion Hall Drive OX11 9RN Peter Read 01235 211754 6 East Street OX11 8EJ Scott Wilgrove 01235 812181 130 Wantage Road OX11 0AJ Park Ward Margaret Davies 01235 816496 15 Evenlode Drive OX11 7XG Eleanor Hards 01235 510146 184 Abingdon Road OX11 9BP Des Healy 01235 212102 19 Collingwood Avenue OX11 0AL Catherine Kiely 01235 811596 195 Broadway OX11 8RU John Moody 01235 210242 in July, 63 Norreys Road StaffOX11 0AW Council and Committee meetings August and

September 2013 July Planning and Development


Finance and General Purposes


Personnel and Administration



Planning and Development


Finance and General Purposes (if required) September


Planning and Development






Planning and Development


Finance and General Purposes


Dominic Stapleton Karen Dodd Brenda Andrews Sharon Hickman Sue Atkins Paul Copley Steve Andrews Richard Dowling Justin Strong John Jones Neressa Copley

Town Clerk Deputy Town Clerk Outdoor Services Manager Finance and Administration Information Centre Manager Grounds Supervisor Gardener Gardener Gardener Gatekeeper Pavilion Cleaner

All meetings commence at 7.30pm and are held in the Civic Hall unless otherwise stated. The Council operates a policy of public participation at meetings. For more information please contact us by phone 01235 812637 or

email to or write to Didcot Town Council, Civic Hall, Britwell Road, Didcot, Oxon, OX11 7HN or visit our website

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