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Post Office Closures a Devastating Blow to the Cotswolds

Features by Tony No Comments »

Cotswolds MP Geoffrey Clifton-Brown today spoke with representatives from Post Office Ltd and received the final details of which branches are going to be affected by their closure programme.

The exact details are under embargo until Tuesday 5th February, when the public consultation begins. However, Mr Clifton-Brown commented “Residents of the Cotswolds have been deeply concerned for some time about this matter. Following the news I have received today I am appalled at the decisions taken by Post Office Ltd, our region has been the hardest hit across all of Gloucestershire”

“I have demonstrated on numerous occasions my commitment to fighting to protect rural services, and as a community we now have another battle on our hands”

Mr Clifton-Brown will be organising a series of public meetings in the affected parishes on the Friday 8th and Saturday 9th February, details of which will be released on Tuesday 5th February through all local news sources.

Source Geoffrey Clifton-Brown MP (Cotswold)
www.geoffreycliftonbrown.com

A brief history of underwear at Museum talk

Events, Features, Places by Adam No Comments »

Discover underwear through the ages when local costume expert Shelagh Lovett Turner comes to the Corinium Museum for an afternoon talk.

‘The Allure of the Unseen’, an informal ‘talk with tea’, will take place at the Park Street Museum on February 21st, where visitors can discover more about the range and styles of underwear worn through time.

There will also be the chance to see some historic underwear from Shelagh’s own stunning costume collection, as she will illustrate her talk with some fascinating underwear examples. These will include petticoats and pantaloons, the pure silk of the 1930s and the man-made fabrics of the 1950s and 60s.

The talk will be followed by plenty of time for questions and an informal chat with Shelagh over tea, coffee and cake.

‘The Allure of the Unseen’ runs from 2pm – 3pm and tickets cost £3 per person – booking is essential to avoid disappointment.

For more details, to find out about other Museum events, or to book tickets, please telephone the Corinium Museum on 01285 655611 or email museums@cotswold.gov.uk

Source: Cotswold District Council

Related Articles:
Historic shoes and footwear fairytales at the Corinium museum

Half-term history fun at Corinium Museum

Events, Features, Places by Adam No Comments »

Have a sneaky peek at anything from history and hairy beasts to shiny shoes this half term when the Corinium Museum hosts a range of fun events for children.

The Park Street museum will hold historical sessions from February 18th-22nd, which will shed light on the Stone Age, the Romans and the Tudors, while another hands-on event for youngsters is all about ‘Sparkly Shoes’.

The first activity to take place during the school break is part of the Museum’s ‘Archaeology Seminars’, and will look at the Romans in the Cotswolds.  It is aimed at 9-12 year olds and will allow children an up-close look at Roman artefacts.  This event is being held on Wednesday February 20th, from 10am-11.30am.

Also on February 20th is a ‘Sparkly Shoes’ activity, where children can create their own glittery and street-wise shoes, while drawing inspiration from the Museum’s current ‘Cinderella Shoes’ exhibition.  This will run from 1pm-3pm and costs £1 per child.  Each child must be accompanied by an adult.

Two more events will follow on Thursday February 21st, with ‘Wonderful Woolly Mammoths’ (10.30am-12pm) aimed at the 7-11 year old age bracket.  In this activity, children will look at the unique, elephant-like animals who roamed the world during the Stone Age, and they will be able to create their own Mammoth model.

The ‘Tudor Life’ family event, also on Thursday February 21st, will examine how the Tudors lived, and parents and children will look at costumes and artefacts, as well Tudor etiquette and dancing.  Visitors will also get the chance to make a Tudor pomander and hat to take home.  This session runs from 2.30pm-4pm.

For more information on any of these events, including admission prices and availability, please ring the Corinium Museum on 01285 655611 or email museums@cotswold.gov.uk

Source: Cotswold District Council 

Ofcom announcement is music to the ears for Cotswold Residents

Features by Tony No Comments »

Ofcom have decided to award the local Digital Radio Multiplex licence for Gloucestershire to Muxco.

Cotswolds MP Geoffrey Clifton-Brown has expressed his delight and said “Throughout my political career I have campaigned vigorously to ensure that rural areas receive the same level of service as urban areas. It is fantastic news that the residents of the Cotswolds will be able to have access to this exciting and innovative broadcast medium”

Of the two companies bidding for the licence Muxco offered the best coverage to the residents of the Cotswolds, with an estimated 92% of adults in Gloucestershire able to receive a DAB signal.
In expressing his congratulations to MuxCo, Mr Clifton-Brown said that he was looking forward to working with them in the coming months and years to ensure the residents of the Cotswolds receive the best possible service.
Source Geoffrey Clifton-Brown MP (Cotswold)

www.geoffreycliftonbrown.com

DAB stands for Digital Audio Broadcasting and involves technologies that broadcast sound digitally across radio waves. This means audiences enjoy digital quality sound that’s hiss and crackle free.
DAB can also transmit many services in a single area of airspace that takes almost the same space as just one FM station, giving listeners a hige choice of radio entertainment
www.getdabdigitalradio.com

MuxCo Ltd is a joint-venture between National Grid Wireless and Folder Media and was created to work with local radio partners and bid for local DAB digital radio licences. In each area MuxCo parners with other media companies to collectively bid for each licence.
MuxCo Gloucestershire is owned by UKRD(25%) , Murfin Media Ltd (25%) , Town and Country Broadcasting ltd (25%) and MuxCo Ltd (25%). The twelve year licence could achieve coverage of an area with an adult (aged 15+) population of around 460,000.
In each area a number of stations broadcast together in a “multiplex”. The multiplex operator holds a licence and builds a transmitter network. This operator then contracts with lots of different radio stations to broadcast on its platform. The services proposed at the time the licence was awarded were as follows:-
Severn Sound, Gold 774, Star 107.5, Easy Radio, Shuffle, Smithy Rock, Local Live, UCB UK, Traffic Radio, Variety Pop Rock, BBC Radio Gloucester, Podcast Channel

Source MuxCo Gloucestershire
www.muxco.com

Gloucestershire Council tax survey results released

Features by Adam No Comments »

Today (30th January) Gloucestershire County Council released the results of its survey asking residents their views on the level of council tax increase for next year. Nearly 3000 people took part and, whilst the results were close, 56.7% opted for a council tax increase including extra money to pay for essential flood protection measures.

The survey used three methods: an online survey; a random phone poll; and a questionnaire to the council’s citizen panel. Participants were asked to vote for one of three council tax rise options, all of which included a base increase 3.8%, a figure below the current rate of RPI inflation and below next year’s percentage increase in the basic state pension.

Whilst Option 1 was the single biggest choice, an overall majority of people voted for either Option 2 or Option 3, in favour of some sort of extra levy to pay for flood prevention measures, such as improved drainage. The results also varied according to District. For example, a relatively large number of Tewkesbury residents favoured option 3 and the Forest of Dean had a high proportion of votes for option 1. This is probably due to the fact that these areas were the most and least affect affected by the flooding this summer.

The Cabinet will consider the results and make their decision at a special Budget Cabinet meeting on 6th February 2008.

Cllr Barry Dare, leader of the Council, says: “I’d like to thank everyone who took part in the survey. I really wanted to know what Gloucestershire people thought about this – and I am grateful that they took the time to let us know. I probably shouldn’t be surprised that the results are so close – this has always been a difficult issue. My Cabinet and I will now have to think very carefully about which option we now recommend to Council.”

Source: Gloucestershire County Council

Related articles:
County Council gives public choice over council tax

Cotswold Council sets £10m budget for 2008/09

Features by Adam No Comments »

Cotswold District Council’s share of the Council Tax bill is set to rise by 3.5% – or just under 9p per week – it was agreed today.

A meeting of full Council set the authority’s net budget for 2008/09 at £10.2m, resulting in a £4.64 increase for the average Band D household to £137.15 a year for District spending.*

Council Tax makes up a quarter of the Council’s budget, with a further 25% coming from central Government support. Around 40% is made up in income from fees and charges, with the remainder coming from interest on the Council’s investments.

Council Leader Cllr Lynden Stowe said after the meeting: “The level of Council Tax reflects our aim to keep increases broadly in line with inflation and represents good value for money for the range of services we provide.

“Like all councils, we are facing increased financial challenges due to the rising costs of utilities and fuel and the increasing pressure on local authority pension funds.

“This year, Cotswold is seeing a reduction in Government support in real terms as rural districts have lost out to urban areas. We are left to find ways to bridge that gap and produce a balanced budget without passing on too much of the burden to our Council Tax payers.

“We’re doing this by working more efficiently, such as joint working with other Councils, and by increasing or introducing fees and charges, such as car parks and green waste.”

Budget consultation carried out by the Council revealed that residents believe the ‘user should pay’ for services such as car parks, leisure, museums and public loos.

In 2008/09, the Council proposes to balance its budget by making an additional £1.5 million in income and a further £160,000 in efficiency savings.

Cllr Stowe added: “Drawing up the budget is a challenging task but we are certain our spending reflects our priorities of a cleaner, greener District; providing value for money and supporting our communities.”

*Note: The total Council Tax bill for District households will not be known until the County Council and Police Authority set their precepts. The District Council formally sets its Council Tax on February 26.

Source: Cotswold District Council

Related Articles:
Cotswold Council joins crackdown on Council Tax fraud

Vision for Cirencester gets the green light

Features by Adam No Comments »

A major partnership project to transform Cirencester in the 21st Century was given the seal of approval by Cotswold District Council today.

A Vision for Cirencester aims to make the town of one the UK’s most attractive and economically viable market towns, befitting its role as the ‘Capital of the Cotswolds.’

CDC is working closely with Cirencester Town Council, Gloucestershire County Council, local organisations, businesses and the community to shape the Vision.

At a full Council meeting today (January 29), Cotswold District councillors endorsed the Vision document, which sets out five themes to be tackled: Character, Connectivity, Commerce, Choice and Culture.

Portfolio holder for Development Services Cllr John Birch said after the meeting: “This is an exciting time for Cirencester as all the projects and strategies under the Vision umbrella are being drawn together to help us plan for the future. It’s important to stress that Cotswold District Council is just one of a number of partners involved in helping to shape and deliver this Vision.” Read the rest of this entry »

Cotswold Council joins crackdown on Council Tax fraud

Features by Adam 1 Comment »

Cotswold District Council is joining a national crackdown to ensure residents are not wrongly claiming Council Tax discounts.

All local authorities are required by law to take part in the Government’s National Fraud Initiative, overseen by the Audit Commission.

The Council will be using information supplied by property owners and residents to check whether people claiming the single person’s discount of 25% are genuinely living alone.

Portfolio holder for Property & Benefits Cllr Nick Parsons urged anyone claiming a discount whose circumstances have changed to get in touch with the Council so that their Council Tax bill can be reviewed and, if appropriate, be corrected.

He said: “Of course we are keen to make sure that anyone who lives alone is rightly claiming the discount to which they are entitled.

“However, we will be making checks to identify cases where there are two or more adults living at a property which should therefore not be receiving a discount.”

The checks cross-match information with other government departments and show whether more than one resident has ordered goods or services from an address.

Cllr Parsons added: “The Council must investigate and take action against false claimants in order to stop the burden falling on the vast majority of law-abiding council tax payers in our District. Council tax fraud is a criminal offence and cheats are likely to face prosecution.”

The Council is also urging anyone who lives alone who is not currently claiming a discount to get in touch and find out what they are entitled to by calling the Council Tax team on 01285 623033.

Source: Cotswold District Council

Gloucestershire gets extra funding for children with emotional and mental health needs

Features by Adam No Comments »

Gloucestershire has been named as a Pathfinder authority by the Government for supporting children and young people at risk of or experiencing emotional or mental health needs.

That means that Gloucestershire County Council and Gloucestershire Primary Care Trust (PCT) working together will get additional funding from the Government to support these vulnerable children through their schools. This will be £325,000 for 2008/09, £222,000 for 09/10 and £155,000 for 10/11.

Improving the emotional health and wellbeing of children and young people is a key priority in the Gloucestershire Children and Young People’s Plan. This funding will help implement our Emotional Health and Wellbeing Strategy, which has just been agreed by all the main organisations working with children (January 2008).

Gloucestershire will be targeting four groups of schools, selected on the needs of children in the area – one group in Gloucester, one in Cheltenham, one in the Forest of Dean and one in Cirencester. The project will be evaluated during its second and third years to find out whether it’s been successful and whether it could be extended to the rest of the county.

The Pathfinder funding will help schools develop existing services which have an impact on children and young people’s emotional health and well-being, including healthy schools, work to tackle bullying and a primary mental health worker for schools. It will also build on services already delivered successfully for children and young people by organisations working together, including implementing the Emotional Health & Wellbeing Strategy, services provided by Youth Offending Service (YOS) and health and social care professionals working together to support vulnerable children in care.

General services will be aimed at the whole school community, with more targeted services for children with greater needs and support aimed at vulnerable groups, including children with disabilities and Black & Minority Ethnic children.

It’s hoped the project will have an impact on:

  • Reducing persistent absence from school
  • Reducing permanent exclusions
  • Reducing referrals to social care and CAMHS (Child & Adolescent Mental Health Service)
  • Reducing re-referrals to social care and CAMHS
  • Increasing the number of children choosing healthy lifestyles
  • Raising the educational attainment of children
  • Increasing the number of children who are ‘happy’ or ‘quite happy’ most of the time

Cllr Joan Nash, Cabinet Member for Schools, said: “I am delighted that Gloucestershire County Council has been awarded this status. This will build on the good practice already going on in the county’s schools to promote the importance of good mental health. This funding will enable relevant services to target those children and young people who are most in need of prevention and intervention. This will not only impact on their mental wellbeing, but will also improve their overall health and ultimately, their educational attainment.”

Jan Stubbings, Chief Executive of Gloucestershire Primary Care Trust, said: “The award of Pathfinder status is testament to the effective joint working and co-operation that exists between the NHS, County Council and a range of other community partners in Gloucestershire. This extra funding and the opportunities we now have to develop existing services means we can do even more to support vulnerable children and young people and lead on developing best practice which will benefit other areas of the country.”

Gloucestershire is one of 25 council areas named as Pathfinders for the Targeted Mental Health in Schools project.

Source: Gloucestershire County Council

Gloucestershire Root, Fruit and Grain Society – Results and Annual Report 2007

Events, Features, Food and Produce by Tony No Comments »

Gloucestershire Root, Fruit and Grain Society logoThursday 24th January 18.30 The Annual General Meeting will be held at their HQ Bisley House

The Gloucestershire Root, Fruit and Grain Society (GRFGS) was established in 1863 and its aim is to encourage the improvement of all forms of agricultural practices and products. Its Patron is The Prince of Wales.

Annual Report 2007 – President’s Report

“Possibly the strangest year on record for agriculture with the confusion of Foot & Mouth and Blue Tongue restriction zones compounded by flooding in July!

Bearing in mind that many people had their houses flooded and their summer totally disrupted, the cancellation of the Tillage Event cannot be viewed as a disaster but this certainly dampened the spirits of members this year.

Throughout these trials and tribulations however, our members have remained buoyant and resilient and this has paid off to some extent with increased optimism in the arable and dairy sectors.”

Annual Report 2007 – Competitions Officer’s Report

“This year we reciprocated the Championship Judging with the Banbury Agricultural Society; another area of which few of us had any great knowledge or experience. As in past years the opportunity to visit and examine the farming in a new territory was much enjoyed by the judges from both Societies.

The flooding on 10th July had disasterous consequences on many farms whether stock or arable, and disrupted our judging schedule somewhat as can be imagined. The only casualty for the Competitions was the Arable Championship which was not finally judged, a big disappointment for those who had entered some excellent crops.”

However, after prolonged scrutiny of the results the Premier Award for the most points won in the Competitions was a tie between Springhill Estate, Seven Wells, Moreton-in-Marsh and Ponsonby Farms, Lechlade.

Boddington Estates, Boddington, Cheltenham won The Farm Championship and for the second year running Springhill Estate won the The Livestock Championship. A new class this year, Oilseed Rape Establishment, was won by Ponsonby Farms and the Kingston brothers from South Farm, Wootton-under-Edge and Tresham Farm, Tresham won The Best Dairy Herd, Best Managed Grassland and Clamped Silage Classes between them.

A full list of 2007 Trophy Winners is included in the Annual Report but our local farm (local to this website) R & J Baldwyn, High Crest, Hidcote Boyce, Chipping Campden had a good year getting equal 5th place for most points scored in the Competitions with the following results;

Arable Championship – Cotswolds Region – 3rd Place (with a 1st Place in the Barley section), Profitable Wheat Class – 4th Place, Malting Barley Class – 2nd Place, Bagged Silage Class -4th Place, Fodder Beet Class – 2nd Place and Best Managed Grassland – 2nd Place. Well done.

Gloucestershire Root, Fruit and Grain Society
BK
Bisley House
Green Farm Business Park
Bristol Road
Gloucester
GL2 4LY
Telephone 01452 880101
www.grfgs.com

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