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Roll out of new Cotswold waste service to begin in Birdlip, Cowley and Coberley

Features by Adam No Comments »

The roll-out of Cotswold District Council’s new waste and recycling service has begun in earnest.
People who live in and around the three villages of Birdlip, Cowley and Coberley will be the first in the District to start using the new service in March.

Read the rest of this entry »

Cotswolds MP overwhelmed by response to Post Office Meetings

Features, Places by Tony No Comments »

Seven public meetings organised by Cotswolds MP Geoffrey Clifton-Brown took place this weekend in Rendcomb, Stratton, Weston-sub-Edge, Blockley, Guiting Power, Aldsworth and Meysey Hampton to discuss the closure of these Post Offices and those in the surrounding areas.

Read the rest of this entry »

Face 2 Face for Gloucestershire Parents

Events, Features by Adam No Comments »

A network to support parents of children with disabilities will be launched later this week.
Face 2 Face is a network of trained befriender volunteers who help parents to come to terms with news that their child has a disability and to offer them positive support and advice.

The scheme will be launched on Thursday 14th February at the National Star Centre in Ullenwood. Parents of children with disabilities are welcome to come along to meet the befrienders and to find out how the scheme works.

Read the rest of this entry »

500 marathons by 2012- superman Steve Edwards is going for it in record time.

Features by Tony No Comments »

Steve EdwardsCotswolds based Steve Edwards is aiming to run 500 marathons by 2012. Running them is not unique – others have done it before, believe it or not – but Steve wants to run his 500 marathons world record challenge in an average time of under 3hours 20 mins and this tight time factor is certainly unique.

Steve, who is lives at Moreton-in-Marsh has currently run 447 marathons at an average time of 3 hours 18 minutes so he is well on course for his target. He ran the Gloucester Marathon in 3 hours 15 minutes in January and his schedule for the next three months is as follows:-

Draycote Water Marathon Rugby Warwickshire – 17th February
Duchy Marathon Redruth Cornwall – 9th March
Dumfries Marathon Dumfries Scotland – 23rd March
Taunton Marathon Taunton Somerset – 6th April
Flora London Marathon – 13th April
Rotary Shakespeare Marathon Stratford-upon-Avon -27th April

Even this three month schedule means running a marathon on average nearly every two weeks!!

We shall be reporting his time for each marathon as it takes place but in May he will taking part in a special challenge – the Brathay 10 marathons in 10 days challenge – which will be outside his 500 marathons attempt ( I can well understand why) and we will be reporting upon this event separately.

As part of this 500 marathon challenge Steve is continuing to represent and raise awareness of the Spinal Injuries Association (SIA) and their involvement in the “Rebuilding Lives Through Sport” (RLTS) initiative. SIA, which is based in Oldbrook, Milton Keynes, is a UK charity dedicated to supporting the 40,000 people in the country who are paralysed through spinal cord injury.

SIA has been chosen as “Official Charity” for the 2008 Flora London Marathon and half of the money raised by the SIA’s London Marathon Team will be allocated, as grants, to encourage participation in wheelchair sport.

“Sport can play a crucial role in rebuilding confidence and relieving isolation following spinal cord injury but only a tiny percentage of people actively participate with any regularity.RLTS is a fantastic way of promoting the benfits of wheelchair sport both to people living with spinal cord injury and to the wider disabled community”
Source:Spinal Injuries Association

Steve began running marathons over 20 years ago and by 1990 had become the youngest person (at that time) to run 100 marathons. In 1992 he broke the world record for running the most marathons run in a single year running an incredible 87 marathons in the 52 week period with an average finishing time of 3 hours 14 minutes. Then came challenge number three which will coincide with the London Olympics and Steve reaching 50 when he aims to retire from competitive marathon running with the 500 marathons chalked up.

Training is obviously of immense importance to Steve and in some ways the marathons act as long training run when they come in rapid succession. However, midweek he is still out every night running some 30-40 miles per week.

“The marathon is widely known as the ultimate test of athletic endurance, 26.2 miles of running, a gruelling and punishing event that tests the limits of one’s resolve to overcome fear with sheer guts and determination”
Source: Steve Edwards

www.spinal.co.uk

For the forthcoming Brathay “10 Marathons in 10 days Challenge” Steve can be sponsored on www.justgiving.com/steveedwards10in10

Cotswold leader slams Eco Town proposal at Long Marston

Features by Adam No Comments »

Cotswold District Council Leader Lynden Stowe has slammed developer-led proposals to build a mega “eco town” at Long Marston, Warwickshire. The site is barely half a mile from the specially-designated Cotswolds AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty).

Cllr Stowe said: “This new town of ‘solar shoeboxes’ would be an unmitigated environmental disaster for the surrounding areas”In particular the wider infrastructure, extending well in to the heart of the Cotswolds will be completely unable to handle the huge additional volume of traffic that would be generated.”

“Nor would it be possible to build new capacity to highways, power lines, water, sewage and drainage systems without “butchering” the northern parts of the Cotswolds AONB, including Gloucestershire, Warwickshire & Worcestershire.

He added: “I can barely think of a more unsustainable location for an Eco Town. I urge the Government to place the whole scheme in the bin – for good”

Cllr Stowe was also angry that these proposals had not even been forwarded to Cotswold District Council as the neighbouring planning authority for comment.

Gloucestershire County Council moves up to four stars

Features by Adam No Comments »

Gloucestershire County Council is celebrating becoming one of the highest performing councils in the country this week.

The Audit Commission confirmed Gloucestershire’s jump from three to four stars in its Comprehensive Performance Assessment.

This includes a “Direction of Travel” judgment, which indicates how likely the council is to improve in the near future: Gloucestershire is ‘improving well’. In its report the Audit Commission said that the Council offers good value for money and that it has the capacity, with its partners, to deliver its plans.

Peter Bungard, Chief Executive of Gloucestershire County Council said: “This is excellent news and recognises the hard work and dedication of county council staff. We have been working incredibly hard to improve our services across the board and I am delighted that this has been recognised. Even though this is the top rating awarded to councils, we know that we can make our services even better for residents and have every intention of doing just that. ”

The Audit Commission highlighted a number of areas in which the Council has progressed during the twelve months and these include:

  • Transport policies are supporting strong economic development and road safety has improved
  • Social care services for adults have improved
  • Gloucestershire is in the top 25% for educational achievement in the country
  • Emergency planning is strong and effective
  • Partnership working is effective

The inspection for the corporate assessment took place during September and October; only one month after Gloucestershire was hit by a flooding and water crisis. Gloucestershire County Council was the lead local authority in the emergency, with its Fire & Rescue Service involved in the battle to save Walham electricity sub-station and protect Mythe water treatment plant. The council could have deferred the corporate assessment in light of the emergency response and huge clean up operation, but chose to go ahead.

Councillor Tony Hicks, Lead Cabinet Member on Performance said: “2007 will be remembered as a key year in Gloucestershire’s history and the county council played a huge part in the emergency and recovery response to the summer flooding. I am delighted that we have been formally recognised as an excellent council – one of only 3 in the southwest. I would like to take this opportunity to personally thank council staff for their dedication and hard work over the last three years. We are now truly an excellent council and working hard to improve the quality of life for residents right across Gloucestershire.”

The Commission also identified areas for improvement, which the council will now work hard to address to ensure that it retains four-star status in the future. These include further improvements in adult social care and addressing operational issues in some areas of safeguarding children.

The full corporate assessment will not be published in detail until 19th February 2008.

Source: Gloucestershire County Council 

Gloucestershire Council tax – Cabinet recommends extra investment in flooding

Features by Adam No Comments »

Gloucestershire County Council’s Cabinet today recommended a 4.9% council tax increase for next year – which includes a 1.1% levy to tackle flood prevention.

Cabinet members voted unanimously to opt for a 3.8% rise, plus an additional 1.1% investment in drainage clearance (option 2 in the recent council tax survey).

The recommendation comes after Gloucestershire was hit by the worst flooding in 60 years during Summer 2007 – leaving the council with costs of £35 million and the likelihood of further floods in the future.

Cllr Ray Theodoulou, Cabinet Member for Resources, presented the budget report to Cabinet, he said: “This decision has been a difficult one but acknowledges the huge amount of public feeling we’ve seen since the floods of 2007, with people asking for much more investment in our drainage systems. I want to thank everyone who took part in our residents’ survey, the results of which have influenced the decision we’ve made here today. We are still committed to keeping costs low and providing excellent services, but this additional levy, if approved by council, will help us to address the urgent work needed to protect residents against future flooding.”

Cabinet’s decision was supported by the results of the recent council tax survey, in which the majority of people who took part (56.7%) voted for some kind of additional flood levy. In response, the Cabinet has chosen Option 2, which is a 3.8% council tax increase with an additional 1.1% to create a £2.3m ‘flood fighting fund’. This enables the council to raise £4m to spend on capital projects, so in 2008/09 the council will be dedicating over £6m in total to flood relief projects.

The council tax increase would equate to £1036 a year for a band D property, an increase of 93p per week.

The proposal will now go before a meeting of Full Council on 20th February, where all county councillors meet to make the final decision on next year’s council tax and budget. The meeting will take place at 10am In the Council Chamber, Shire Hall, Gloucester and is open to the public.

Source: Gloucestershire County Council

Related articles:
Gloucestershire Council tax survey results released
County Council gives public choice over council tax
Cotswold Council sets £10m budget for 2008/09

Cotswolds MP Organises Public Discussion on Post Office Closures

Features, Places by Tony No Comments »

Geoffrey Clifton-Brown MP for the Cotswolds has arranged a series of public meetings for all affected residents to discuss the proposed round of Post Office closures in the Cotswolds.

The meetings will serve as an opportunity for people to hear more about and air their views on the effects of the closures, to learn more about the consultation process and to hear the options available to residents.

Mr Clifton-Brown is urging anyone with an interest to attend: “We need to work as a community to respond to the challenges put before us by these announcements. Cotswolds residents showed their unity of purpose and strength of character during the summer floods and we must now work together again”

Details are as follows:

Date/Time Location Affected Post Offices
Saturday 9th February
09.00 – 10.00
Weston-sub-Edge Village Hall Weston-sub-Edge
10.30 – 11.30 Blockley: St Georges Hall Blockley, Longborough
12.00 – 13.00 Guiting Power Village Hall Guiting Power, Temple Guiting
14.00 – 15.00 Aldsworth Village Hall Aldsworth, Sherborne
16.15 – 17.15 Meysey Hampton Village Hall Meysey Hampton

Residents wanting further information about these meetings should contact Gloucestershire Conservatives on 01452 371630 

Source: Geoffrey Clifton-Brown MP Cotswolds
www.geoffreycliftonbrown.com

Related Articles:
Post Office Ltd Delivers Crippling Closure Programme

The Return of Ulysses – a new book by local author Professor Edith Hall

Features by Tony No Comments »

The Return of Ulysses: A Cultural History of Homer’s Odyssey – written by local author Professor Edith Hall and published by I B Tauris & Co. Limited.

Edith Hall who lives near Bourton-on-the-Water in the Cotswolds is a scholar of classics and cultural history and holds a joint Research Chair in Classics and Drama at Royal Holloway, University of London where she directs the Centre for the Reception of Greece and Rome. She also co-directs a research project at Oxford University and is Chairman of the Gilbert Murray Trust.

Described by the poet Colin Teevan as “the Thierry Henry of Classics” (what a wonderful quote) Professor Hall has focussed her research on racism, sexism and class prejudice in the ancient Greek and Roman worlds.

She has made many TV and Radio appearances, regularly appearing on Radio 4, including Melvyn Bragg’s In Our Time and Woman’s Hour, as well as acting as a consultant for professional theatre productions.

Professor Hall was also the model for Ethel Spurgeon who was the heroine of Stephen Prasher’s novel The Cellar at the Top of the Stairs and the model for the goddess Hera in the stage play by Colin Teevan Alcmaeon in Corinth.

The Return of Ulysses: A Cultural History of Homer’s Odyssey is her sixth book and is an enlightening look at how Homer’s Odyssey has resonated in West and offers a thematic analysis of the poem’s impact on social and political ideas, institutions, and mores from the ancient world through to the present day. Proving that the epic poem is timeless, Edith Hall identifies fifteen key themes in the Odyssey and uses them to illustrate the extensive and diverse effect that Homer’s work has on all manner of inquiry, expression, and art.
Source: The Johns Hopkins University Press

The book, which is written in an accessible and lively way and with beautiful illustrations, explains the popularity of the story of Odysseus trying to get home to his loyal wife Penelope, but delayed by one-eyed giants and beautiful nymphs and sirens.

There is a strong focus on films inspired by or adapting the Odyssey, including the Coen Brothers O Brother Where Art Thou, Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, 2001: A Space Odyssey as well as novels such as Margaret Atwood’s The Penelopiad: The Myth of Penelope and Odysseus (Canongate Myths).

Professor Edith Hall is the author, co-author, editor or co-editor of a number of books on classics, myth and the ancient world including Greek Tragedy and the British Theatre 1660-1914 (co-authored with Dr Fiona Macintosh) 2005 and The Theatrical Cast of Athens: Interactions between Ancient Greek Drama and Society: Interactions Between Ancient Greek Drama and Society 2006.

www.ibtauris.com
The Return of Ulysses: A Cultural History of Homer’s Odyssey is available from our Cotswold Bookstore www.cotswoldbooks.com now and is listed under “Books by local authors”.

Post Office Ltd Delivers Crippling Closure Programme

Features, Places by Tony No Comments »

Final details of the Post Office Closure Programme, made public on Tuesday 5th February 2008, have been described by Cotswold MP Geoffrey Clifton-Brown as more devastating than the Beeching Railway cuts of the 1960s.

“For a constituency as rural as the Cotswolds the level of proposed closure will be a disaster. For many people, particularly the elderly, this will have a massive negative impact upon their lives.”
“The most distressing aspect is the fact that if we are successful in saving one Post Office, another will have to be closed either in the Cotswolds or one of our neighbouring constituencies.”

The Post Offices at Meysey Hampton, Weston-sub-Edge, The Beeches and Stratton are to be completely closed.

Meanwhile the following are to receive outreach services with limited hours per week:
Blockley – 14 hours
Longborough – 9 hours
Guiting Power – 8 hours
Colesbourne – 5 hours
Sherbourne – 5 hours
Aldsworth – 3 hours
Rendcombe – 3 hours
Temple Guiting – 2 hours

“It is essential now that we take our fight forward against these proposals. I would urge everyone in the affected areas to attend the public meetings I will be arranging on the 8th and 9th February in the affected areas. Details will be made available of the final timings later this week. ”

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

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