New-look Abingdon shopping precinct wins praise

New-look shopping precinct wins praise

Ian Collett, owner of The Bookstore outside his shop in the precinct

Revamped Abingdon precinct

First published in News Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter covering Abingdon and Wantage, South Oxford and Kennington. Call me on 01865 425431

SHOPPERS at Abingdon’s revamped Abbey precinct say they like its new look after a £4.5m facelift, despite ongoing building work.

Developer NewRiver removed the 1960s arcade’s canopies, replaced wooden benches, and created two new two-storey units.

The upgrade, paid for by precinct owners Scottish Widows Investment Partnership (SWIP), was due to be completed before Christmas.

A spokesman for the firm said the work was completed yesterday apart from “snagging” – the process of identifying and resolving defects – which will continue into January.

Shoppers Jean Pugh, 75, and Sherley Howard, 73, from Radley, said they thought the builders had done a good job in difficult circumstances.

Mrs Pugh said: “I think they have done a great job.

“They have worked very hard, and it is near enough finished.

“They have had to compete with pedestrians, it isn’t just building.”

But she added: “We are just still all wondering what the new shops are going to be.”

Mrs Pugh said she would like to see a department store in the precinct, such as BHS or Marks & Spencer.

Mrs Howard said: “Abingdon needs something like that which sells everything, so you don’t have to go through the hustle and bustle of Oxford.

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“When it is all finished I think it will bring trade into Abingdon.”

The redevelopment was originally due to begin in February and be completed in October.

But the project got off to a shaky start when it was delayed two weeks into March by legal complications.

McLaren Construction, contracted by SWIP, has repaved the precinct, given shops new pitched roofs and created two new shops – one of 4,800 sq ft and one 2,400 sq ft – but retailers have yet to be found to occupy the units.

The construction process was beset by criticism from independent shop owners who said the work was deterring shoppers, and was responsible for a drop in trade.

But even they agree the new look is an improvement.

Ian Collett, owner of The Bookstore, said: “I think if you have got a man on a cherry picker, it is not finished.

“But it does look so much better already.”

Pillars between shop fronts were supposed to be covered in brick, which is still to be carried out.

And, yesterday, paving was still being put in place.

SWIP spokesman Martin Hughes said: “This was quite a challenging project as the contractors had to cope with working in a busy shopping centre and with adverse weather conditions.

“Apart from snagging and a few minor details, work has been completed prior to Christmas and we are in discussions with retailers about taking the new units.

“We hope to make an announcement on occupiers early in the New Year.”

Comments (13)

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9:41pm Sat 22 Dec 12

Myron Blatz says...

Just what the people of Blackbird Leys need - so when is Stagecoach going to start a leather-seated 'gold' direct bus service to Abingdon, every four minutes? Also, when is London-Blackbird Leys- Berensfield Airport going to open - surely Cllrs Price and Tanner can somehow get one of those EU Lotto Grants, as we approach the 2013 County Elections?
Just what the people of Blackbird Leys need - so when is Stagecoach going to start a leather-seated 'gold' direct bus service to Abingdon, every four minutes? Also, when is London-Blackbird Leys- Berensfield Airport going to open - surely Cllrs Price and Tanner can somehow get one of those EU Lotto Grants, as we approach the 2013 County Elections? Myron Blatz
  • Score: 0

9:43pm Sat 22 Dec 12

benjamin says...

Didcot has beaten Abingdon for the best shops. Also, the were up and running several years ago. Not to mention lots of free parking, right in the centre.
Didcot has beaten Abingdon for the best shops. Also, the were up and running several years ago. Not to mention lots of free parking, right in the centre. benjamin
  • Score: 0

9:48am Sun 23 Dec 12

aneetertrader says...

Yawn Yawn, Boring Boring, if your business is that bad Ian then I suggest you close down and clear off, I for one am sick tired of your constant moaning, its the same for all of us you know and while you keep popping up spreading negativity about the town you're doing none of us any favours. Shut up or SHUT UP !
Yawn Yawn, Boring Boring, if your business is that bad Ian then I suggest you close down and clear off, I for one am sick tired of your constant moaning, its the same for all of us you know and while you keep popping up spreading negativity about the town you're doing none of us any favours. Shut up or SHUT UP ! aneetertrader
  • Score: 0

11:37am Sun 23 Dec 12

Man on the Green says...

One of the things that has most adversely affected Abingdon in recent years has been its 'tribalism'.

Ian Collett's comments were fair and balanced; he is generally pleased with the new look, but somewhat disgruntled that it has taken so long and that the promoters are claiming it's all finished when it is clear to all (except it seems to the sadly aggressive and indeed rather hypocritical 'aneetertrader') that there is still some fairly important work needed to complete the make-over.

This desire to slag each other off seems to have become part of the vernacular of Abingdon life, and is responsible for much of the disillusion with both the political 'class' and the Chamber of Commerce, each of which seems to spend more time involved in in-fighting than in trying to realise Abingdon's very real potential.

The way forward starts with getting rid of the dead wood and starting over with a fresh and less jaded team of politicians and of business representatives. The town really needs more individuals in the mould of Hester Hand of the Friends of Abingdon, i.e. people who look to encourage positive change whilst preserving the best of the past (because that is part of what makes it such a special place) and fewer of the 'same old, same old' politicians who have so shamefully peddled the future of Abingdon for their own petty standing (and the rich vein of allowances that comes with their multiple mandates).
One of the things that has most adversely affected Abingdon in recent years has been its 'tribalism'. Ian Collett's comments were fair and balanced; he is generally pleased with the new look, but somewhat disgruntled that it has taken so long and that the promoters are claiming it's all finished when it is clear to all (except it seems to the sadly aggressive and indeed rather hypocritical 'aneetertrader') that there is still some fairly important work needed to complete the make-over. This desire to slag each other off seems to have become part of the vernacular of Abingdon life, and is responsible for much of the disillusion with both the political 'class' and the Chamber of Commerce, each of which seems to spend more time involved in in-fighting than in trying to realise Abingdon's very real potential. The way forward starts with getting rid of the dead wood and starting over with a fresh and less jaded team of politicians and of business representatives. The town really needs more individuals in the mould of Hester Hand of the Friends of Abingdon, i.e. people who look to encourage positive change whilst preserving the best of the past (because that is part of what makes it such a special place) and fewer of the 'same old, same old' politicians who have so shamefully peddled the future of Abingdon for their own petty standing (and the rich vein of allowances that comes with their multiple mandates). Man on the Green
  • Score: 0

2:00pm Sun 23 Dec 12

Abberdon says...

Well, let's face it, the demolition of the old buildings that were there, to bild the shopping alley that has just been revamped, was a bad decision, but years ago. The street is an eye sore that reflects the poor architecture of the time and fiddling with it might not improve it. It is a shame that the wet weather facility, the awnings, were demed ot be redundant. Given the rain we have, they are not at all. Sadly, the issue of traffic flow and speed is not being addressed with this revamp, and until that has been, there will be little change in the town centre, which is a nightmare and not worth risking the time to visit. Easier to take a bus to Oxford than drive into Abingdn.
Well, let's face it, the demolition of the old buildings that were there, to bild the shopping alley that has just been revamped, was a bad decision, but years ago. The street is an eye sore that reflects the poor architecture of the time and fiddling with it might not improve it. It is a shame that the wet weather facility, the awnings, were demed ot be redundant. Given the rain we have, they are not at all. Sadly, the issue of traffic flow and speed is not being addressed with this revamp, and until that has been, there will be little change in the town centre, which is a nightmare and not worth risking the time to visit. Easier to take a bus to Oxford than drive into Abingdn. Abberdon
  • Score: 0

2:32pm Sun 23 Dec 12

TonyH says...

Well, it looks a bit better, but the canopies have mostly gone, what a good idea with the recent wet weather. No decent big shop, other than Boots, and the only place for one is where the horrible Poundland presently is, with its supposed bargains (that aren't really). The person though who mentions free parking in Didcot doesn't seem to realise you get 2 hrs in Abingdon these days (St Helens & multi-storey).
Well, it looks a bit better, but the canopies have mostly gone, what a good idea with the recent wet weather. No decent big shop, other than Boots, and the only place for one is where the horrible Poundland presently is, with its supposed bargains (that aren't really). The person though who mentions free parking in Didcot doesn't seem to realise you get 2 hrs in Abingdon these days (St Helens & multi-storey). TonyH
  • Score: 0

9:29am Mon 24 Dec 12

Iain L says...

Man on the Green - I think what you are asking for is that a wider variety of people stand for election in our town, I know all three parties have to work hard to find people willing to stand as candidates for local elections and there are precious few people who put themselves forward as independents.

Part of the problem is that as soon as you stand (or find yourself elected as I did) tgen you become branded as a politician. Politicians are then collectively lumped into one category regardless of whether you are that deplorable woman who disappeared off to the jungle or one of the many committed and hard working people I meet frequently who are really just volunteering to help their community.

If you wish to get a 'better' set of folks on the council can I suggest some more practical steps, rather than taking anonymous pops on sites like these:

1. Don't talk down 'politicians' indescriminately - some are good, some are less so. If you wish to comment take the trouble to find out which are which before chucking us all in together.

2. Mention the good as well as the bad. We're humans too and need a bit of positive encouragement at times.

3. Put your money where your mouth is - if you don't like what's happening then make yourself know and put yourself forward at the election - there's one coming up in May!

By the way - I agree that Hester would make a great Councilor!
Man on the Green - I think what you are asking for is that a wider variety of people stand for election in our town, I know all three parties have to work hard to find people willing to stand as candidates for local elections and there are precious few people who put themselves forward as independents. Part of the problem is that as soon as you stand (or find yourself elected as I did) tgen you become branded as a politician. Politicians are then collectively lumped into one category regardless of whether you are that deplorable woman who disappeared off to the jungle or one of the many committed and hard working people I meet frequently who are really just volunteering to help their community. If you wish to get a 'better' set of folks on the council can I suggest some more practical steps, rather than taking anonymous pops on sites like these: 1. Don't talk down 'politicians' indescriminately - some are good, some are less so. If you wish to comment take the trouble to find out which are which before chucking us all in together. 2. Mention the good as well as the bad. We're humans too and need a bit of positive encouragement at times. 3. Put your money where your mouth is - if you don't like what's happening then make yourself know and put yourself forward at the election - there's one coming up in May! By the way - I agree that Hester would make a great Councilor! Iain L
  • Score: 0

10:14am Wed 26 Dec 12

Man on the Green says...

Iain, I think if you were to read my comment again less defensively, you would find that I had plenty of good things to say both about the Town and its tremendous - but still largely unrealised - potential.

I no longer live in Abingdon, or even the Vale, so would be ineligible for election there, but retain a huge affection for the place, and retain many friends there.

I was worn down by the frank corruption over AbITS (including direct threats to my family and me for daring 'to speak truth to power'), and the readiness of all too many councillors to put their sometimes highly prejudicial and undeclared personal interests before those of those they were supposedly elected to represent, and indeed to knowingly put lives at risk through the acceptance both of unacceptably high pollution levels (way in excess of legal limits and at levels that now pose a 'direct threat to human health') and of the crazy new 'traffic management system' (sic).

I watched a lovely woman die at the top of West St Helen Street because councillors hadn't had the courage to follow the experts' recommendations to close the Wharf to through traffic.

The political class as a whole has to regain the respect of the electorate, whether at national or local level. Our trust and confidence have been collectively betrayed, not only by the parliamentary expenses scandal but by repeated failures to address the issues that matter to the public at local, district and county level, let alone even listen to those people directly.

The latest demonstration of pork barrel politics (the disclosure that each county councillor has a dedicated 'slush fund' to buy electoral support in their area) only serves to confirm what everyone has suspected, namely that local council officers and elected councillors just haven't "got it".

I admire those like Iain who put themselves forward to make a difference, but they will only succeed if they i) grasp the nettle and dispense with the incompetents at the top of so many council departments, including the very top; ii) reinstate proper mechanisms for public and political accountability by restoring to the scrutiny function its essential rôle as a check on unbridled power, iii) make 'portfolio' payments dependent on performance. For example, if Oxfordshire's schools continue (inexcusably) to under-deliver, cut the lead member's over-generous allowance. If our roads are paralysed by heavy showers because the Council's contractors have failed to clear the gullies, withhold part of their performance-related payments, and stop the Council member's allowance. If the contracts turn out to be badly framed, so that recovery proves impossible, stop payments to the advisors, officers and so-called experts who drew them up.

Get a grip!
Iain, I think if you were to read my comment again less defensively, you would find that I had plenty of good things to say both about the Town and its tremendous - but still largely unrealised - potential. I no longer live in Abingdon, or even the Vale, so would be ineligible for election there, but retain a huge affection for the place, and retain many friends there. I was worn down by the frank corruption over AbITS (including direct threats to my family and me for daring 'to speak truth to power'), and the readiness of all too many councillors to put their sometimes highly prejudicial and undeclared personal interests before those of those they were supposedly elected to represent, and indeed to knowingly put lives at risk through the acceptance both of unacceptably high pollution levels (way in excess of legal limits and at levels that now pose a 'direct threat to human health') and of the crazy new 'traffic management system' (sic). I watched a lovely woman die at the top of West St Helen Street because councillors hadn't had the courage to follow the experts' recommendations to close the Wharf to through traffic. The political class as a whole has to regain the respect of the electorate, whether at national or local level. Our trust and confidence have been collectively betrayed, not only by the parliamentary expenses scandal but by repeated failures to address the issues that matter to the public at local, district and county level, let alone even listen to those people directly. The latest demonstration of pork barrel politics (the disclosure that each county councillor has a dedicated 'slush fund' to buy electoral support in their area) only serves to confirm what everyone has suspected, namely that local council officers and elected councillors just haven't "got it". I admire those like Iain who put themselves forward to make a difference, but they will only succeed if they i) grasp the nettle and dispense with the incompetents at the top of so many council departments, including the very top; ii) reinstate proper mechanisms for public and political accountability by restoring to the scrutiny function its essential rôle as a check on unbridled power, iii) make 'portfolio' payments dependent on performance. For example, if Oxfordshire's schools continue (inexcusably) to under-deliver, cut the lead member's over-generous allowance. If our roads are paralysed by heavy showers because the Council's contractors have failed to clear the gullies, withhold part of their performance-related payments, and stop the Council member's allowance. If the contracts turn out to be badly framed, so that recovery proves impossible, stop payments to the advisors, officers and so-called experts who drew them up. Get a grip! Man on the Green
  • Score: 0

1:08am Fri 28 Dec 12

Abberdon says...

Have to agree with Man on The Green.

Abbberdon has gone downhill fast, and every move to retrieve it seems to make matters worse.

Who is the idiot that designed the traffic flow and road infrastructure, for instance, and allowed TESCO to impose itself on such an inadequate road system?

Who is the fruitcake who refuses to lower the road speeds in the urban area to reflect a) what is already able to drive at b) the priority for safer roads?

Who has allowed housing to be built in flood zones along the river?

Who agreed to the bad ideas for changes to the (already and longstanding) ugliest shopping centre in the world, leaving shoppers in the pouring rain with roof overhangs now gone?

When Abberdon folk prefer to go to Didcot, for gawds sake (hard to believe I know, but I have seen that written here a number of times), instead of shopping in their own town, something is very wrong indeed.

Forget about contracting out council work and just make sure you have professional staff running well trained and equipped workers with overseers who know how the work should be done.

Contractors always fiddle the books, having submitted too low a price for the work to undercut the next hopeful, leaving us all out of pocket and the work not done properly, as with the blocked drains, so it seems.

As for the whinge about being 'branded' as a politicians, well, that's what you are.

If you want to stand above the rest of the gormless crowd, be they on council or in parliament, then it is not hard to build a profile of honest dealings by speaking out, speaking up, being honest with electors and insisting your colleagues do their job better.

If the council, as a whole, has a bad reputation with electors, perhaps they need to look at how they communicate with electors and what it is they are trying to say, and why?

There is nothing wrong with a PR department, so long as it is not all about hiding the bad work and manufacturing excuse after excuse, something politicians are well known for.

Man of The Green says 'get a grip', I say, 'do the job you are elected to do', but not just to you, to all of the various levels of councils we suffer from, and the local MPs
Have to agree with Man on The Green. Abbberdon has gone downhill fast, and every move to retrieve it seems to make matters worse. Who is the idiot that designed the traffic flow and road infrastructure, for instance, and allowed TESCO to impose itself on such an inadequate road system? Who is the fruitcake who refuses to lower the road speeds in the urban area to reflect a) what is already able to drive at b) the priority for safer roads? Who has allowed housing to be built in flood zones along the river? Who agreed to the bad ideas for changes to the (already and longstanding) ugliest shopping centre in the world, leaving shoppers in the pouring rain with roof overhangs now gone? When Abberdon folk prefer to go to Didcot, for gawds sake (hard to believe I know, but I have seen that written here a number of times), instead of shopping in their own town, something is very wrong indeed. Forget about contracting out council work and just make sure you have professional staff running well trained and equipped workers with overseers who know how the work should be done. Contractors always fiddle the books, having submitted too low a price for the work to undercut the next hopeful, leaving us all out of pocket and the work not done properly, as with the blocked drains, so it seems. As for the whinge about being 'branded' as a politicians, well, that's what you are. If you want to stand above the rest of the gormless crowd, be they on council or in parliament, then it is not hard to build a profile of honest dealings by speaking out, speaking up, being honest with electors and insisting your colleagues do their job better. If the council, as a whole, has a bad reputation with electors, perhaps they need to look at how they communicate with electors and what it is they are trying to say, and why? There is nothing wrong with a PR department, so long as it is not all about hiding the bad work and manufacturing excuse after excuse, something politicians are well known for. Man of The Green says 'get a grip', I say, 'do the job you are elected to do', but not just to you, to all of the various levels of councils we suffer from, and the local MPs Abberdon
  • Score: 0

8:16pm Fri 28 Dec 12

Iain L says...

Man on the green - maybe I am being a bit defensive but I find it frustrating as a newish town councilor to be told that I am 'dead wood' and 'jaded'.

It's unsurprising that people aren't keen to stand when faced with fairly random criticism as to the actions of their predecessors. Sure, thick skinned people who are unconcerned about their neighbours may brush these comments off, but if I understand you right, these are precisely the sorts of people you are trying to discourage.

I understand many people are frustrated at AbITS. But you also need to note my frustration at having this thrown at me:

1. It was the policy of a council that I have not stood for or been elected to - I am a town councilor.

2. It was enacted in 2001 and implemented in 2006. OCC changed administration in 2009 and both the vale and the town changed in 2011.

3. You don't know how I feel about AbITS anyway.

I know this sounds very whiney. I genuinely welcome debate, but feel that sweeping generalisations don't help anyone.

Anyway, come back and visit Abingdon again sometime soon, you'll see a big difference in the last couple of years, you will be able to park for free, you can visit the lovely county hall museum which is looking splendid, pop in and see the refurbished rooms in the Guildhall, admire the much improved Bury Street (hopefully with some new stores soon), enjoy one of the plethora of market place events, not to mention enjoying the towns historic and river attractions.
Man on the green - maybe I am being a bit defensive but I find it frustrating as a newish town councilor to be told that I am 'dead wood' and 'jaded'. It's unsurprising that people aren't keen to stand when faced with fairly random criticism as to the actions of their predecessors. Sure, thick skinned people who are unconcerned about their neighbours may brush these comments off, but if I understand you right, these are precisely the sorts of people you are trying to discourage. I understand many people are frustrated at AbITS. But you also need to note my frustration at having this thrown at me: 1. It was the policy of a council that I have not stood for or been elected to - I am a town councilor. 2. It was enacted in 2001 and implemented in 2006. OCC changed administration in 2009 and both the vale and the town changed in 2011. 3. You don't know how I feel about AbITS anyway. I know this sounds very whiney. I genuinely welcome debate, but feel that sweeping generalisations don't help anyone. Anyway, come back and visit Abingdon again sometime soon, you'll see a big difference in the last couple of years, you will be able to park for free, you can visit the lovely county hall museum which is looking splendid, pop in and see the refurbished rooms in the Guildhall, admire the much improved Bury Street (hopefully with some new stores soon), enjoy one of the plethora of market place events, not to mention enjoying the towns historic and river attractions. Iain L
  • Score: 0

1:41am Sat 29 Dec 12

Abberdon says...

Parking for free is a shocking policy these days. In makes the very silly traffic system impossible with far more vehicles than can be parked cruising around looking for a spot, and it costs ratepayers a fortune.

Parking should be used as a policy to coerce people into public transport, on to their feet and on to bikes.

The council will know when it gets the price right, when parking is easy to find at any time of the day.

When conservatives spruik the virtues of 'the free market', they really need to live by their principles too, and giving away free parking space at the expense of the public purse is the complete opposite of free-market economics.

Unless I am mistaken, Abberdon suffers the same brand of partyl political droogue as sit in Downing Street, so how about some real Conservative policies from the Council?

End this free parking nonsense.
Parking for free is a shocking policy these days. In makes the very silly traffic system impossible with far more vehicles than can be parked cruising around looking for a spot, and it costs ratepayers a fortune. Parking should be used as a policy to coerce people into public transport, on to their feet and on to bikes. The council will know when it gets the price right, when parking is easy to find at any time of the day. When conservatives spruik the virtues of 'the free market', they really need to live by their principles too, and giving away free parking space at the expense of the public purse is the complete opposite of free-market economics. Unless I am mistaken, Abberdon suffers the same brand of partyl political droogue as sit in Downing Street, so how about some real Conservative policies from the Council? End this free parking nonsense. Abberdon
  • Score: 0

11:38am Sat 29 Dec 12

Man on the Green says...

Iain, I think you're not only being hypersensitive but perhaps deliberately misreading my comments.

Clearly, as a relatively newly elected town councillor, you aren't amongst the 'dead wood' that I was highlighting. But - despite your protestations that the town council had nothing to do with AbITS - the truth is that it was part of the tripartite "Steering Group" made up of representatives from the town, district and county, and the very people that the town council has brazenly appointed to represent the town's interests on the Traffic Advisory Committee are amongst those most responsible for rejecting the experts' recommendations and (fatally) compromising the outcomes of the scheme. Replace them by some new faces and there may be some chance of alleviating the worst effects of AbITS, which continues to blight the town and its prospects.

Politicians need to learn to listen, and even more to accept that their parties have not always got things right in the past. The Tory hierarchy in the County punished Abingdon for daring challenge its hegemony, and behaved appallingly over AbITS. As a town councillor, you may have little direct influence on the OCC, but you can demand accountability, from both them and the district.

I regularly return to Abingdon, and have used the lift to access the lovely basement café in the museum several times, and congratulate the town for its vision and especially its invaluable financial contribution (money well spent) - even if others didn't follow all the way. There are some fantastic shops in town, such as Outdoor Traders, and Pâtisserie Pascal, which are always worth the detour.

But the town is still in crisis, and needs a new approach. I welcome your enthusiasm and willingness to debate, just as I deplore the lack of engagement of others whose refusal to face up to their (repeated) failures continues to hold the town back.
Iain, I think you're not only being hypersensitive but perhaps deliberately misreading my comments. Clearly, as a relatively newly elected town councillor, you aren't amongst the 'dead wood' that I was highlighting. But - despite your protestations that the town council had nothing to do with AbITS - the truth is that it was part of the tripartite "Steering Group" made up of representatives from the town, district and county, and the very people that the town council has brazenly appointed to represent the town's interests on the Traffic Advisory Committee are amongst those most responsible for rejecting the experts' recommendations and (fatally) compromising the outcomes of the scheme. Replace them by some new faces and there may be some chance of alleviating the worst effects of AbITS, which continues to blight the town and its prospects. Politicians need to learn to listen, and even more to accept that their parties have not always got things right in the past. The Tory hierarchy in the County punished Abingdon for daring challenge its hegemony, and behaved appallingly over AbITS. As a town councillor, you may have little direct influence on the OCC, but you can demand accountability, from both them and the district. I regularly return to Abingdon, and have used the lift to access the lovely basement café in the museum several times, and congratulate the town for its vision and especially its invaluable financial contribution (money well spent) - even if others didn't follow all the way. There are some fantastic shops in town, such as Outdoor Traders, and Pâtisserie Pascal, which are always worth the detour. But the town is still in crisis, and needs a new approach. I welcome your enthusiasm and willingness to debate, just as I deplore the lack of engagement of others whose refusal to face up to their (repeated) failures continues to hold the town back. Man on the Green
  • Score: 0

6:19pm Sat 29 Dec 12

Pseudocream says...

Michael a few comments on your recent rants .

'This desire to slag each other off seems to have become part of the vernacular of Abingdon life " - You seem to be setting a good example of "slagging people off ".

''The way forward starts with getting rid of the dead wood and starting over with a fresh and less jaded team of politicians and of business representatives''- Since you left for Witney there have been elections . Just about enough of the " deadwood" went to get some progress going . Iain L was one of those elected . He seems to me to be a relatively non political but very capable man. The Town is lucky to have people like him ! Yet you decide to have a pop at him and lambast a load of history at him . Why do you think he put himself forward for election ? Was it because he liked the way Abingdon had been mismanaged for so many years ? Why do you think so few capable , relatively non political people that we need in local government put themselves forward ? One of the reasons is they probably get put off by obsessive people like you ? Have you got nothing better to do at 10. 14am on Boxing Day than have a rant "Get a Grip " ? Try picking a fight with your shaving mirror - it works for me !

Oxfordshire Schools are a County Council responsibility .Witney must need a few candidates in this years County Elections, why not put yourself forward ? Or try your hand as an Independent ?

Your time in Abingdon has left you suffering from acute political sceptisemia ( Expert opinion ? ) . It can take some years to fully recover from this condition . Even with incorrect treatment I still get the odd attack.

I suggest you learn to cope with an imperfect world it's the only real cure . Tribalism" is everywhere it's part of our evolution and is probably going to be around for a few more thousand years as long as we don't all kill each other first . "Deadwood " always accumulates on committees. People who want power should not be allowed to have it "Experts" are not always that expert . Common sense is not that common . Abingdon's traffic will never be cured - unless we have tens of thousands of new houses and then get a second bridge sometime in the next two hundred years ? Building projects go over budget and take longer than expected - in this case about twenty years !

As for the "Town in Crisis " it definitely was in crisis . However it might be slowly on the up : Old Gaol almost done , Museum ( extravagant cost but nice) , Guildhall , Market Square , Nags Head open , huge Investment coming in Crown and Thistle . Lastly , ScottishWidows have just invested 4.5 million of private money into the town centre ! Why here, when so many similar schemes were on hold or scrapped? You are right Abingdon has real potential . I hope all the people and businesses of Abingdon can benefit from an upturn in the coming year or two . After twenty years of waiting , Abingdon is on the brink of transformation.
Michael a few comments on your recent rants . 'This desire to slag each other off seems to have become part of the vernacular of Abingdon life " - You seem to be setting a good example of "slagging people off ". ''The way forward starts with getting rid of the dead wood and starting over with a fresh and less jaded team of politicians and of business representatives''- Since you left for Witney there have been elections . Just about enough of the " deadwood" went to get some progress going . Iain L was one of those elected . He seems to me to be a relatively non political but very capable man. The Town is lucky to have people like him ! Yet you decide to have a pop at him and lambast a load of history at him . Why do you think he put himself forward for election ? Was it because he liked the way Abingdon had been mismanaged for so many years ? Why do you think so few capable , relatively non political people that we need in local government put themselves forward ? One of the reasons is they probably get put off by obsessive people like you ? Have you got nothing better to do at 10. 14am on Boxing Day than have a rant "Get a Grip " ? Try picking a fight with your shaving mirror - it works for me ! Oxfordshire Schools are a County Council responsibility .Witney must need a few candidates in this years County Elections, why not put yourself forward ? Or try your hand as an Independent ? Your time in Abingdon has left you suffering from acute political sceptisemia ( Expert opinion ? ) . It can take some years to fully recover from this condition . Even with incorrect treatment I still get the odd attack. I suggest you learn to cope with an imperfect world it's the only real cure . Tribalism" is everywhere it's part of our evolution and is probably going to be around for a few more thousand years as long as we don't all kill each other first . "Deadwood " always accumulates on committees. People who want power should not be allowed to have it "Experts" are not always that expert . Common sense is not that common . Abingdon's traffic will never be cured - unless we have tens of thousands of new houses and then get a second bridge sometime in the next two hundred years ? Building projects go over budget and take longer than expected - in this case about twenty years ! As for the "Town in Crisis " it definitely was in crisis . However it might be slowly on the up : Old Gaol almost done , Museum ( extravagant cost but nice) , Guildhall , Market Square , Nags Head open , huge Investment coming in Crown and Thistle . Lastly , ScottishWidows have just invested 4.5 million of private money into the town centre ! Why here, when so many similar schemes were on hold or scrapped? You are right Abingdon has real potential . I hope all the people and businesses of Abingdon can benefit from an upturn in the coming year or two . After twenty years of waiting , Abingdon is on the brink of transformation. Pseudocream
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