Cotswold News - Latest News from the Cotswolds

Cotswold News


The Cotswolds News page brings you some of the latest news from the Cotswolds including Cirencester, Burford, Fairford, Bourton on the Water, Lechlade, Stow on the Wold and other towns and villages of the Cotswolds.

Competition to find best photos of West Oxon

8th July 2010

Residents are being given the chance to win photographic equipment by sending special images of West Oxfordshire to the District Council.

The Council’s tourism team is looking for images that capture West Oxfordshire, from panoramic views to action shots, images of market towns or villages, wildlife or people simply enjoying the local area.

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COUNCIL PUTS DOWN PLEDGE TO TACKLE CLIMATE CHANGE

Apr 14th, 2009

Cotswold District Council has laid down a marker in a bid to tackle climate change with a pledge to cut carbon emissions by a quarter by 2015.

The Council has recently produced a comprehensive 76-page ‘Climate Change and Carbon Management Plan’, where it pledges to help the environment by cutting carbon dioxide emissions by 25% in six years’ time, making an overall financial saving on energy expenses of over £1.5 million.

It is also anticipated that achieving this target – through partnership working with The Carbon Trust and other local authorities and energy efficiency bodies – would result in a cumulative saving of over 6,000 tonnes of CO2.

This will be achieved by a range of different energy-saving projects, including installing a pool cover to conserve energy at the Council’s leisure centre at Bourton-on-the-Water, the installation of more energy-saving lighting across the Council and a reduction in the number of meeting agendas distributed to Council staff.

There are also initiatives to switch computers screens off when not in use, reduce the number of desk-top printers across the Council, to print documents on both sides of a page, and make sure lights are switched off when staff leave a room.

The work will be carried out across the Council, including projects with the Council’s five leisure centres and the Corinium Museum, and will aim to improve emissions from buildings as well as through the Council’s transport fleet and business mileage.

Cotswold District Council’s Cllr Mark Tufnell, portfolio holder for the environment and the political sponsor of the Carbon Management Plan, said: "The Council’s Climate Change and Carbon Management Plan is a strategic action plan bringing together work to reduce the Council’s carbon footprint and tackle the growing pressures from increasing energy expenditure.

"The Council looks forward to taking advantage of the opportunities presented by climate change, whilst addressing the risks it presents, and delivering the benefits of carbon management across the District."

Kirsty Merritt, Cotswold District Council’s Climate Change and Carbon Management Officer, said: "Since the Council first got involved with the carbon management programme there has been a lot of support for the work and the long-term aims that could be achieved.

"It’s great to see so many Council workers getting involved and engaged with the project and I hope that we can maintain this momentum."

Cotswold District Council first got involved with the issue of carbon management after signing up to The Nottingham Declaration in February 2008, a public declaration that the Council would play its part to tackle climate change.

The Council then successfully applied to take part in the sixth phase of the Carbon Trust’s Local Authority Carbon Management Programme, joining the scheme in April 2008.

Find The Easter Bunny At The Corinium Museum

Easter 2009
Spring into the Corinium Museum over Easter and take part in a whole host of fun holiday events.

Young visitors to the Cirencester Museum will be able to take part in a special ‘spot the Easter Bunny’ trail. There will also be chances to win a chocolatey prize and you can also enter the Museum’s special prize draw.

As you walk round the Museum – located in Park Street – children can spot Easter Bunnies and discover some fascinating facts about Easter traditions.

They will discover the answers to questions such as ‘why do we have the Easter bunny?’, ‘where do hot-cross buns originate from?’ and ‘what did people think would happen to an egg if it was laid on Good Friday and then kept for 100 years?’

If they find all the rabbits and uncover all the answers they will win a prize.

Isobel Milne, Commercial Services Manager for the Museum, said:

“This is a great trail and I know that kids will enjoy trying to find the bunnies.

"Our special bonus is that one lucky visitor will win a year’s family season ticket pass which gives free entry to the Museum all year, as well as some of our great family workshops.“

The competition will run from April 3rd-19th, and costs £1 from the Museum Reception to take part (normal admission rates apply).

For further information, please contact the Corinium Museum on 01285 655611.

Free Swimming For The Over 60s In The Cotswolds

March 27th, 2009

Pensioners in the Cotswolds will be able to make a splash with free swimming in the District’s leisure centres from April 1st 2009.

The scheme will run for two years up until March 31st 2011 and is open to anyone over the age of 60. Cotswold District Council received £60,000 in government funding to join this nationwide project, with the aim to boost sport and fitness and provide a legacy from the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The three Council-run swimming pools that will be taking part are based at Cotswold Leisure Cirencester, Cotswold Leisure Bourton-in-the-Water and Cotswold Leisure Chipping Campden.

If you would like to take the plunge, you can apply for a free swim card in person at any of the three Cotswold Leisure centres. You will need proof of age and identity, for example a driving licence or passport.

Cllr David Fowles, Cotswold District Council’s Portfolio Holder for Sport Culture and Enterprise said:
“It’s fantastic that we can offer all older people in our district the chance to do some healthy activity – free of charge.
“Helping to improve the quality of life for older people is one of our priorities and this will help many of our residents to keep fit and stay active.”

The Past Comes Alive, Thanks To Museum Events

March 4th, 2009

Get to grips with prehistoric life with a series of events to promote National Science and Engineering Week at the Corinium Museum this month.

The Cirencester venue will hold five activities to highlight its collection of fossils and explore life during the Jurassic period, as part of the ten-day celebration of science, engineering and technology that runs from Friday March 6th to Sunday March 15th.

The first of these events is Jurassic Cotswolds, a short gallery talk with the Museum’s Outreach Officer Emma Stuart, which is being held at the Cirencester museum on Tuesday March 10th (12.30pm). Booking is essential and the cost is included in admission.

Also on Tuesday March 10th is Beneath Jurassic Seas, an evening lecture with Dr Neville Hollingworth at the museum (7pm-8pm). This talk will examine life at the Cotswold Water Park in prehistoric times, examining Jurassic and Ice Age fossils. This costs £5 and booking is essential.

An event on Sunday March 8th, called Rainbow Science, will allow the whole family to look at the fascinating use and meaning of colour in times gone by. There will be plenty of simple scientific experiments and a chance to paint a colourful abstract picture. This event, from 2.30pm-4pm, is included in admission and children aged 5 and up are welcome.

Dr Hollingworth will also be hosting the Fossil Hunt event, which is being held on Sunday March 15th at the Cotswold Water Park (10am-1.30pm). This activity, in partnership with the Water Park costs either £10/£5 and booking is essential.

During the whole of National Science and Engineering Week, a special exhibition of photos from the Corinium Museum’s fossil and geology collections will be on show at the Moreton Area Centre, High Street, Moreton-in-Marsh. Photographing Fossils will run from Friday March 6th to Sunday March 15th and admission is free.

For information on any of these events, please contact the Corinium Museum on 01285 655611 or email museums@cotswold.gov.uk

Subway Painting Project Starts In Cirencester

28th January 2008

A project to paint part of Cirencester has got going this month as budding young graffiti artists decorated a well-used underpass in the town.

The Chesterton underpass, which links Chesterton Lane with Deer Park School and Cirencester College, now has a new lease of life after an on-going project to paint it in a ‘street-art’ style started on Saturday January 24th.

The project - which now features a wide range of colourful images and art - was first launched in 2006 when students at nearby Deer Park School painted the subway during their Enrichment Week, but following an act of vandalism in 2008 – which wrecked parts of the artwork – it has been painted white.

Cotswold District Council is one of several partners on the project, which also includes Deer Park School, Cirencester College, the Chesterton Project, local businesses and Gloucestershire Police.

The funding for the project has come from several sources, including the Council, and it is hoped the underpass can be decorated on a regular basis.

Cllr Clive Bennett, Cotswold District Council’s Portfolio holder for Safe and Strong Communities, said:

“This is an excellent opportunity for young artists to display their skills. The council is pleased to support this project which will add interest to the underpass.

“The main users of the underpass would appear to be youngsters going to and from school and college so this is art by youngsters for youngsters. Hopefully it will not become a target for vandals."

It is hoped that painting the subway can become a rolling project to keep young people interested and proud in the environment in which they live.

The underpass is owned by Gloucestershire County Council, who is responsible for its structure and upkeep.

Help To Keep The Cotswolds Clean And Tidy

28th January 2009

Litter-pickers across the Cotswolds will be doing their bit this spring to keep their towns and villages clean and tidy.

Cotswold District Council’s annual ‘Spring Clean’ event allows community groups to get out and improve the appearance of their town or village by targeting known litter hot-spots within their area.

Groups taking part collect crisp packets, food cartons, drink cans and other litter, and the Council helps out by providing free litter-picking tools, high-visibility tabards, gloves and litter sacks – and arranges for hundreds of sacks of rubbish to be collected afterwards.

Any events held in March and April 2009 and organized through the Council are also covered by its insurance.

Scott Williams, the Waste Manager at Cotswold District Council, said: “The involvement from community volunteers and members of the public to help out with the annual Spring Clean event is always greatly appreciated.

“The Council has a limited budget to clean the streets and look after the upkeep of the District. Our waste teams cannot be everywhere at once, so it is hugely encouraging that so many volunteers are prepared to support our efforts to keep the Cotswolds clean.”

If you would like to organise a clean-up and would like to order bags and gloves, please contact Cotswold District Council’s waste department on 01285 623000 or email caroline.ballinger@cotswold.gov.uk

Community's Views Sought On Future Of Cotswolds

17th December 2008

Cotswold residents are being urged to have their say on the future development of the District.

Cotswold District Council planners are currently working on the Local Development Framework (LDF), which will replace the Cotswold District Local Plan and will guide development and land use in the District to 2026

The first and main document to be prepared under the LDF will be the Cotswold District Core Strategy.

Work on the Core Strategy has focused, in recent months, on collecting information on the main settlements, which has included consulting the larger town and parish councils. This has helped in gaining a better understanding of what communities are likely to want for their settlements in the future.

The information that has been collected has given an indication of each settlement’s sustainability and potential suitability for further development.

As part of the Core Strategy development, a Settlement Hierarchy Topic Paper has now been produced.

The purpose of the Paper is to seek views on a number of possible options for grouping Cotswold settlements, based on their current roles and existing service provision.

This will then help to inform how future development should be shared between Cotswold settlements. The Paper is currently out for consultation and the deadline for submitting comments is Friday 9th January 2009.

To comment, please log onto http://consult.cotswold.gov.uk/portal to view the document and to submit comments.

For further information, please contact Tiina Emsley, Principal Planning Policy Officer, on 01285 623547.

Fairford Leisure To Host Wacky Children In Need Event

11th November 2008
Splatter sports centre staff with custard pies as part of a Children In Need charity afternoon at Cotswold Leisure Fairford.

The After School Club at Fairford Sports Centre – which hosts children between 4-11 years old – will host a fund-raising event as part of the nationwide charity drive on Friday November 14th (3pm-6pm).

There will be an opportunity for children to get their own back on leisure centre staff with some pie throwing – every yellow custard pie thrown at sport centre staff donates 10p per throw to Children in Need.

Also on offer is cake decorating/selling, a giant Pudsey coin fund raiser, a bouncy castle, a disco and party games and races.

All children are invited to wear a Pudsey Bear bandana, which can be bought in Asda or Boots.

The normal After School Club session fee of £5.90 or £7.00 will be donated to Children in Need. The Cotswold Leisure Fairford ‘After School Club’ operates Monday to Friday from 3pm to 6pm during the school term.

Children from Fairford Primary School are collected at 3pm and a minibus is available from Kempsford Primary School.

For further information and to book a place please contact Cotswold Leisure Fairford on 01285 713786 or email fairfordsportscentre@cotswold.gov.uk

New Recycling Banks For Two Cotswold Villages

30th September 2008
New recycling facilities have been introduced in two Cotswold villages.

A large recycling bank for all types of plastic bottles has been installed at Birdlip, just past the village primary school on Roman Road.

Meanwhile, at South Cerney, a container for Tetra Pak type drinks cartons has been added to the recycling facilities at the Upper Up Playing Field car park.

However, the paper, glass and can recycling banks at the railway station car park in Kemble have been removed on the instructions of the landowner, First Great Western. Efforts are now being made to find a suitable alternative site for the containers.

Cotswold District Council Waste Manager Scott Williams said: “We want to give residents as many opportunities as possible to recycle their waste and hope these new facilities will be well used by the residents of Birdlip and South Cerney.

“It is disappointing that the recycling banks at Kemble have had to be removed from the station car park but we will work with the local community to try to find an alternative site.”

Residents throughout the Cotswold District are urged to use facilities responsibly by ensuring that the correct materials are put in the recycling banks and that no waste or recyclables are left outside or on top of containers.

If recycling banks is completely full, residents can report it to the Council on 01285 623123 so that arrangements can be made for them to be emptied.

Mr Williams added: “Ninety-nine per cent of those residents who use the recycling banks are doing a great job but there are a few people who abuse the facilities.

“There have been cases of rubbish being dumped next to facilities and people putting the wrong materials in the banks. We would urge this small minority to stop acting selfishly and think more about the environment.”

Museum Lectures In Praise Of Medieval Churches

3rd September 2008

The art and design of the medieval church will be in the spotlight at a series of afternoon lectures at the Corinium Museum, Cirencester, throughout September.

Guest lecturer Avis Lloyd will be illustrating the lectures with drawings and photographs from his own collection. The images include art and architecture from Wiltshire, Somerset, Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire churches.

The lectures, which run from 2.30pm to 4.30pm are aimed at beginners and those with some knowledge of the subject. The subjects covered are as follows:
9th September: - Introduction to Late Medieval Architecture
16th September - Material World: Purbeck, Alabaster and Wood in the Late Medieval Church
23rd September- Bejewelling Sacred Space: Stained Glass between the 13th and 16th centuries
30th September - Madonna and the Lily: Marian iconography and symbolism

The cost is £6.50 per lecture (£6.00 for Friends of the Corinium Museum and Annual Season Ticket holders) or £24 for if you block book for all four lectures (£20 Friends of the Corinium Museum and Annual Season Ticket holders)
Booking is essential. To book or for further information, please contact the Corinium Museum on 01285 655611 or e-mail museums@cotswold.gov.uk

Cotswold Coffee Morning Gives £500 To Charity

19th August 2008

Coffee and cakes were snapped up this month when keen staff at Cotswold District Council raised £500 through a charity Coffee Morning.

The event, held on the morning of August 14th, was attended by more than 100 staff at the Council’s Trinity Road offices and also included a book sale and raffle.

The gathering – part of a series of charity events that the Council supports – was held to support the county’s Air Ambulance service and the Everyman charity, which raises funds to help fight male cancers.

CDC’s Hilary Beach, chair of the Council’s Staff Forum, said the event was a huge success: “I thought it went very well, and was a great effort on everyone’s part.
“A lot of hard work went into the morning and everybody did their bit, whether it was through baking cakes, helping with the raffle, or simply through donations.”

Anyone wanting any information on Cotswold District Council and its services should contact the Trinity Road offices on 01285 623000.

Second Community Day Comes To Cirencester

8th August 2008

An event to help bind communities and offer advice and information to residents will take place in Cirencester later this month with a second Community Day of Action.

Cotswold District Council and its partners The Chesterton Project and Cirencester Town Council will be hosting the event in Cranhams Lane, Cirencester on Monday August 18th. A host of stalls and sessions will offer advice to residents on crime reduction, waste and recycling, activities for the young and old, tourism, and clubs and societies operating in the area.

The event, which runs from 1pm-6pm on the Thistle Patch, will have numerous statutory and voluntary agencies/organisations involved, including the Youth Service and Connexions, as well as a circus skills workshop, a kick-boxing demonstration, street dance and other stalls. There will also be practical advice available on housing and Council Tax, and contact details for important local voluntary organisations and support groups such as the drugs advice line FRANK, Crimestoppers and racial equality groups.

It is being held in partnership with Gloucestershire Police, the Chesterton Project, Village Agents, People for You, and Fosseway Living, as well as the Safer Cotswolds group and Gloucestershire County Council.

Cotswold District Council’s portfolio holder for Safe and Strong Communities, Cllr Clive Bennett, said: “These sessions are a great way of talking to local residents and I hope as people as possible can come along.

“The aim is to give advice and information about the whole range of Council services, including benefits, safety in and out of the home, and the opportunities for play and other activities.

“This is yet another way we want to get our message across to the people of the Cotswolds that we are help to help you out.”

Other Community Days of Action are currently in the pipeline. Dates and venues will be announced at a later date.

Summer Of Fun To Be Launched This Month

7th July 2008

A jam-packed schedule of fun activities for children and teens is being lined up with the launch of Cotswold District Council’s successful ‘Summer off the Streets’ programme this month.

The programme – which started in 2007 – will return to the Cotswolds with this summer’s official launch on July 11th in the Council Chamber at Cotswold District Council’s Trinity Road offices.

Last year’s ‘Summer off the Streets’ programme saw more than 1,900 youngsters across the Cotswolds get involved in a whole host of activities and events during the school holidays at youth centres, leisure centres, schools and the Corinium Museum.

And this year, in response to consultation with children and young people, extra activities have been added to the busy schedule thanks to a grant of £200,000 from the Big Lottery Fund last December.

Activities planned for 2008 include –


As well as these events, there will be sessions called 4US2, which features dance and multi-sports for children and young people with disabilities aged seven and over at the Cotswold School in Bourton on the Water.

All sessions are taking place in a variety of locations, and A5 brochures – with full details of all the summer’s events – have already been handed out to schools and centres across the Cotswolds.

Summer off the Streets is part of Cotswold District Council’s wider ‘Play Matters’ strategy, a document which outlines play projects planned across the Cotswolds, and what was needed to provide more play opportunities in the future. This was written with help from a range of outside agencies, include the Gloucestershire Youth Service and the Cotswold Local Strategic Partnership.

For further information, please contact Cotswold District Council's Community Safety Team on 01285 623000 or visit the Council’s website on www.cotswold.gov.uk

Waste Team Working Hard With New Bin Deliveries

3rd July 2008
Cotswold District Council is working hard to deliver bins to the small number of households in the District which have yet to receive their containers for the new waste and recycling collection service.

Collections under the new service started on Monday, 23rd June, but a few residents are still waiting for their containers, including grey wheeled bins or beige bin bags for the fortnightly collection of non-recyclable landfill waste.

Cllr Mark Tufnell, Portfolio Holder for the Environment, said: “More than 98% of households have received their bins and bags and are recycling much more of their rubbish as a result.

“However, we fully appreciate how frustrating it is for those few remaining residents who are still awaiting their deliveries and we apologise to them for that.

“It is inevitable in a project involving more than 38,000 properties across 450 square miles that there will be some problems and I would like to thank residents for the patience and tolerance they have shown.”

Special waste collections have been arranged for properties which have not yet received their new containers.

The Council is also posting out small supplies of beige bin bags to these householders which they can use for the collection of non-recyclable waste under the new service until their containers are delivered.

Cllr Tufnell added: “We are putting on extra crews to send out the remaining bins to ensure they are delivered as soon as possible.”

Cotswold DC Unveils Second Phase Of Flood Review

5th June 2008
A report detailing the work required to increase resilience against future flooding in the Cotswolds has been published today as the second stage in a major review of last summer’s emergency.

The document, drawn up by Hyder Consulting and funded by Cotswold District Council, follows the initial report published in February naming the 20 most affected settlements in the District.

It identifies the improvements and repairs needed to land drainage that could be carried out in each town or parish - either by riparian owners, the Environment Agency, County Council, District Council or water authorities - or combinations of these bodies.

CDC will now be inviting Town & Parish Council representatives from the 20 settlements to attend workshops to discuss the report’s recommendations.

Cllr Clive Bennett, Portfolio holder for Safe & Strong Communities, said: “With the completion of stage two of the review, we now have a blueprint for the future of increased flood resilience in the Cotswolds.

“It is important to stress that this is a long-term plan and the responsibility to deliver it lies with a number of different agencies.

“CDC has invested part of its Flood Recovery Grant to fund this review so that the bigger picture can be seen and hopefully acted upon by all the organisations and individuals involved.

“It is an excellent, detailed report which we hope will enable both ourselves and others to provide many of the solutions required to ensure the District is better prepared for future floods.

“We are hoping the long-term outcome will be to reduce the impact should the unprecedented events of July 2007 ever be repeated, but we must not underestimate the amount of work required.”

The report draws on a wealth of information gathered since the floods that followed torrential rainfall on July 20th.

Consultants from Hyder visited each of the 20 settlements, investigated potential improvements and discussed the communities’ flooding history with residents and representatives of town and parish councils.

Discussions then followed with the Environment Agency, Gloucestershire County Council and Cotswold District Council to ensure a co-ordinated approach.

Cllr Bennett added: “Hyder has worked very closely with our partner agencies to agree the identified priorities. Everyone is now keen to get on with the next stage – the practical work on the ground.”

Around 1,150 properties in 79 towns and villages across the District’s 450 square miles were affected by last July’s floods.
The following 20 settlements are those identified in the Hyder reports as the most affected: Moreton-in-Marsh; Chipping Campden; Bourton-on-the-Water; Lechlade; Fairford; Willersey; Whelford;, the Watermoor area of Cirencester; Naunton; Poulton; Lower Slaughter; Andoversford; Barnsley; Northleach; Southrop; Weston-sub-Edge; Eastleach; Aldsworth; the Chesterton area of Cirencester; Bledington.

Cotswold District Council is to appoint a consultant engineer to help identify and work on land drainage issues in the wake of the floods.


Dog Fouling Fines On The Cards

27th May 2008

On-the-spot fines could be issued to dog owners who fail to clean up after their pets if new control orders are adopted by Cotswold District Council.

Dog fouling was identified by residents and Town & Parish Councils as a chief concern about dogs during a recent consultation carried out by the authority.
Now the Council is taking steps to crack down on the problem by proposing a control order that will allow officers to issue fixed penalty notices to people who fail to remove dog faeces.

The order, for the entire District, would apply to any land to which the public is entitled or permitted to have access – such as pavements, playing fields and parks.
Offenders would face a fixed penalty charge of £75 - or prosecution in a magistrates’ court which could lead to a fine of up to £1,000 if they fail to pay up.

The Council is currently consulting on the proposed order and wants to hear residents’ views by email or letter by July 3rd before making a final decision.

Portfolio holder for Community Services Cllr Edward Horsfall said: “We receive a steady number of complaints about dog fouling and we want to take positive action to resolve the problem.
“Not only is dog fouling messy and offensive - it poses a risk to public health. We want to show the small minority of dog owners who think that it is okay not to clear up that we are serious about tackling this issue.
“Our current system for dealing with offenders is restrictive and our only recourse is to take people to court.
“A control order would allow our frontline environmental services staff to issue fixed penalty notices as they go about their work across the Cotswolds. They would also be able to investigate residents’ reports of persistent offenders.”

Cllr Horsfall stressed the Council would continue its drive to encourage responsible dog ownership.

He said: "This is as much about education as enforcement. We offer free biodegradable ‘poop scoop’ bags at our offices in Cirencester and Moreton-in-Marsh.
“Any suitable bag can be used to pick up dog mess. The waste can be deposited in one of the many ‘dog bins’ or litter bins in the District or double bagged and put out in the household waste.”

Residents may view the proposed control order by visiting the Council offices at Cirencester or Moreton or online at www.cotswold.gov.uk. For a postal copy, please telephone 01285 623000. Anyone wishing to comment should return their views by July 3rd.

A report will go before the Council’s Cabinet in July and if Members decide to go ahead with the order, it could be in place by September 1st.

Corinium Museum Gets Grant For Pre-School Packs

13th May 2008

Exciting new programmes are getting off the ground at the Corinium Museum after staff received a grant of £1,400 to develop work with the under fives.

The funding, from the Museum Libraries and Archives South West, is already being used to develop ways to improve toddlers’ learning styles though exciting lesson ideas and activities.

Meetings have taken place between staff at the Park Street venue and Stepping Stones Nursery in Cirencester to develop equipment and activity ideas to entertain pre-school groups, and staff have since developed a special box called ‘Shoes and Stories’.

This box will be loaned out to nurseries and pre-school groups for a small charge, and is available for either a week or half a school term. It contains teachers’ resources and lesson plans, as well as replica historic shoes, shoe games and brass rubbings, and books featuring stories about shoes such as Cinderella.

It was initially trialled at four different nurseries in and around Cirencester with positive results, and staff hope a Museum-based Early Years service can be introduced in the future, where loans boxes, activity sessions and resources for pre-school groups will be available.

Museum Education Officer Rachel Holtom said: “Children can try on, amongst others, Tudor style ‘bear claw’ shoes, medieval-style, knee-high boots and Victorian ankle boots.
“The box aims to help expand their vocabulary, introduce them to the concept of the past and generally help them to understand their world.”
“We have wanted to develop our learning resources for pre-school children for a while now, and this grant will really kick-start our understanding of how children of this age learn, and what pre-school organisations need to provide this.”

Anyone who may want further information on the Corinium Museum and any of its exhibits or services should contact them on 01285 655611, by email museums@cotswold.go.uk

Cotswold Gets Council Tax Increase At 3.5%

26th February 2008

Cotswold District Council today set its Council Tax for the coming financial year. A meeting of full Council agreed to add £4.64 to its share of the annual average bill (Band D), a 3.5% increase.
Gloucestershire County Council has increased its Council Tax by 4.9%, or £48.35 per year for a Band D property, while the Gloucestershire Police Authority has increased its bill by £8.96 (4.99%).
The total average tax, made up of these three elements, will be £1361.97 - a £61.95 (4.8%) increase on the current year's tax. In addition, the majority of residents pay a sum to their parish, which varies across the District.
Cotswold District Council Leader Cllr Lynden Stowe said after the meeting: “The level of District 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.
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.”

The Band D bill for residents of the District is as follows:
Gloucestershire County Council: £1,036.37
Cotswold District Council: £137.15
Gloucestershire Police Authority £188.45
Total excluding parish: £1,361.97
The amount charged by Town and Parish Councils varies from zero to £106.58 (Tetbury, Band D).

Roll-Out Of New Cotswold Waster Service Begins

12th February 2008
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.

Today (12th February), a letter is being delivered to them to prepare them for the changes, which include:
A new weekly collection of food waste for composting
An optional charged-for weekly collection of garden waste for composting
A new fortnightly collection of card and cardboard for recycling
The continuation of the current fortnightly collection of paper, glass, cans and tins for recycling
The collection of non-recyclable waste fortnightly in grey wheeled bins or in Council-supplied beige bin bags

Coberley resident Sarah Mattos is looking forward to the new collections.

“As a family, we already try to recycle and compost as much of our waste as possible,” said Sarah, a chiropractor and mother-of-two.
“The new collections of food waste and cardboard will mean that far less household rubbish from the Cotswolds will end up being buried at landfill sites. That’s why I think the new service is good news for everyone.”

Later this month (from 26th February), households in the Birdlip, Cowley and Coberley area will receive their new receptacles, including a 10-litre food waste container and a reusable blue sack for card and cardboard.
Their first collections under the new service are due to be made on Tuesday, 11th March, with households across the rest of the District set to follow in April.

Roadshows will be held across the District to inform residents about the changes, starting in Birdlip, Cowley and Coberley on Monday, 10th March.

Cllr Mark Tufnell, the Council’s Portfolio Holder for the Environment, said: “I’m delighted that the new service is about to begin.
“With the help of our residents, we predict we can cut the amount of waste we bury at landfill sites by nearly a quarter and increase our recycling rate to around 60%.

“The new service involves significant changes to the way in which everyone’s waste will be collected but the overwhelming majority of our residents are enthusiastic recyclers and they understand why we simply cannot continue to dump most of our rubbish in huge holes in the ground.”

Thousands of residents have already signed up for the new weekly collection of garden waste, which will cost £30 for an annual licence for a garden waste wheeled bin or £30 for a supply of 50 brown paper garden waste sacks.

The current free fortnightly collection of garden waste will stop when the new service is introduced. Anyone who has not yet indicated that they want to pay for the garden waste service can still do so by visiting www.cotswold.gov.uk/go/wastesurvey or by calling the Council’s waste hotline on 01285 623123.

Residents to have say in Cotswold Water Park’s future

23rd January 2008

People living within the Cotswold Water Park are being invited to comment on plans for its future during a six-week public consultation.

Commissioned by the Cotswold Water Park Joint Committee, which is made up of the five local authorities with responsibility for the area, together with the Cotswold Water Park Society, the plans set out a long-term strategic vision for the development of the area over the next 20 years.

As well as residents, all those interested in having a say in the area’s future are being asked to visit the Cotswold Water Park Society’s website (www.waterpark.org) where there is an on-line survey to capture residents’ opinions and feedback.

“This consultation is an exciting opportunity for residents to shape the future of their neighbourhood,” commented Dennis Grant, chief executive of the Cotswold Water Park Society. “I’d encourage anyone interested in the future of this area to visit the website and give us their views on our plans.

“The vision for the future includes a number of exciting proposals which we believe will significantly benefit both local residents and visitors. However, we’re keen to ensure that local residents have the opportunity to review and comment on our plans, which is why we have launched this consultation.”

Suggestions up for debate include:

- a ‘conservation corridor’ from near Kemble to Lechlade, linking a number of significant nature reserves and conservation-based visitor attractions
- a water sports complex to include an Olympic size rowing course that could host regional competitions and offer training opportunities as well as provide a venue for local events such as dragon boat racing
- a national angling centre to support what is already a major sport in the area and build on existing water sports and tourism facilities
- eco-friendly, family orientated and water related leisure developments
- diversification of existing agricultural land to provide potential for the growth of biomass fuels, provision of tourist accommodation or increased sustainable farming

Under the plans, local residents will also benefit from an integrated network of recreational routes, including footpaths, cycle paths, bridleways and towpaths. There are also plans for a water taxi to travel along the Thames and Seven Canal and North Wiltshire Canal. These will provide opportunities for sustainable travel between the numerous towns and villages within the Cotswold Water Park, allowing residents and visitors to explore the area.

Councillor Shaun Parsons, chair of the Joint Committee representing the relevant local Councils added: “We believe that there is a real need for a soundly planned future for the environment of the Cotswold Water Park. We want people living in towns such as Fairford, Lechlade and Cricklade and villages like South Cerney and Ashton Keynes to benefit from both the conservation proposals and leisure and recreational opportunities provided by such development opportunities and for the local economy to see significant gains from increased visitor interest.”

In addition to the online survey, a number of workshops are being held with Government and non-government agencies and other organisations with a stake in the park such as landowners, mineral operators and those responsible for the recreational facilities.


More details are available on the Cotswold Water Park Society website www.waterpark.org. Comments can be made via the online consultation until the 7 March 2008.

Cotswold Residents Recycle A Christmas Cardboard Mountain

2nd January 2008

Keen environmentalists in the Cotswolds have been recycling unprecedented amounts of card and cardboard over the Christmas period.

There are now eight large cardboard recycling containers sited across the Cotswold District and one of them – at Kingsmeadow Tesco, Cirencester – was full up within just two hours of being emptied last Friday (28th December).
“We have been overwhelmed by the success of our cardboard recycling during 2007,” said Ralph Young, Cotswold District Council’s Director of Environmental Services.
“During the year, we increased the number of cardboard banks from two to eight and have seen the amount of cardboard being recycled in the District increase from around two tonnes to 20 tonnes per month.
“The amount of card and cardboard being recycled reached unprecedented levels over Christmas due to all the extra packaging and staff from the Council and our contractors have been working very hard to keep up with the demand.
“There have been a few occasions when the recycling banks have overflowed but we have now increased the frequency of collections at all sites and are confident we will stay on top of the situation in the New Year.”

A small minority of residents made the Council’s job more difficult over the Christmas holiday period by dumping general household waste at recycling sites.

Mr Young added: “The vast majority of Cotswold residents are keen recyclers and most of those who use the recycling banks are doing a great job. However, there are a few people who abuse the facilities by dumping non-recyclable waste. We would urge this small minority to stop acting selfishly.”

To find out more about recycling services in the Cotswolds and information on your nearest recycling banks, visit www.recycleforgloucestershire.com.

Follow the recipe for a healthy holiday season

Monday 17th December 2007

Stay safe and healthy this Christmas by making sure everything you serve at your festive feasts is cooked and prepared properly.
With the array of poultry which is traditionally served up over the festive season, Cotswold District Council is urging residents to take care in the kitchen by offering safe and simple cookery tips.

And the Council’s Environmental Health team has been taking festive culinary advice from the Food Standards Agency after the Government body released a survey recently into people’s Christmas eating habits.

The biggest danger the public faces when preparing Christmas lunch is spreading bacteria while washing the turkey. As many as 80% of people usually give their poultry a quick wash under the tap, which can see harmful bacteria splash onto worktops, chopping boards, utensils and dishes.

Cotswold District Council’s Public Protection Manager Kate Bishop said:
“Cooking the annual Christmas meal can be a daunting prospect and there are a number of things to consider to make sure that you don’t give your family and friends food poisoning. You can not just wash off the germs that cause food poisoning from poultry. In fact washing your poultry is more likely to spread germs than have any health benefit. The only way to kill these germs is to properly cook the bird in the heat of the oven.”

Another health danger is faced by not cooking your turkey properly - results from the FSA survey show that almost one in five people are not aware when their turkey is cooked properly, while more than 40 people out of the 2000 surveyed have suffered what they believe to be festive food poisoning in the past five years.

Ways of confirming if the Christmas roast is properly cooked are –
Additional food safety hints and tips for Christmas – which include simple cleaning and hygiene measures, poultry cooking advice, and turkey defrosting times – can be found on the Food Standards Agency’s website at www.eatwell.gov.uk

Christmas Creativity Comes To Moreton In Marsh

3rd December 2007

Get creative this Christmas in Moreton-in-Marsh with the Corinium Museum’s Outreach Service.
Outreach Officer, Helen Arbon will be holding a ‘Festive Fun’ workshop at Cotswold District Council’s Moreton Area Centre on Thursday, December 20th.
Suitable for 7 to 12-year-olds, ‘Festive Fun’ is a creative, art workshop with a Victorian theme from 2.30pm to 4.00pm.
Children will have the opportunity to make Victorian style cards and decorations for their Christmas tree – just in time for the festive season.
There will be plenty of sparkle on offer, with gold and silver paper, sequins and glitter as well as doilies, coloured feathers, tissue paper and other art materials.
Spaces are limited, so to avoid disappointment please contact the Moreton Area Centre on 01608 650881 to make a booking.
The workshop costs £4.00 per child or £2.00 for annual season ticket holders or Friends of the Corinium Museum.
For further details, please contact Helen Arbon, Outreach Officer, 01285 655611

Help To Shape The Future Of The Cotswolds

16th November 2007
Residents can help shape the future of the Cotswolds by giving their views on the first major stage of the production of an overall development strategy for the District.

Public consultation on the Cotswold District Core Strategy to 2026 started recently with the publication of an Issues and Options paper.

Cotswold District Council is inviting members of the public to comment on the paper up to Friday, December 21st.

This is the first major stage in the production of the Local Development Framework, which will in due course replace the Cotswold District Local Plan.

The Issues and Options consultation paper sets out initial ideas on what issues the Core Strategy should consider, and the Council is encouraging the public to get involved and share their views.

Portfolio Holder for Corporate Planning Cllr Carole Topple said: “The aim of the Core Strategy will be to deliver a long-term spatial vision for the area, including an overall development strategy for the District to 2026, and policies for steering and shaping that strategy.”

Members of the public who have access to the Internet can log onto the Council’s consultation portal at http://consult.cotswold.gov.uk/portal to view the Issues and Options paper and comment online.

Alternatively, they may follow the link from the Forward Planning web pages on the Council’s website (www.cotswold.gov.uk).

Anyone who would like a printed copy of the Issues and Options paper should contact the Forward Planning Team at Cotswold District Council on 01285 623547.

Forward Planning Manager Chris Vickery said: “The District Council welcomes feedback from anyone who is interested in shaping the future of the District, ideally making use of the new electronic consultation facility, which should make it more convenient to submit comments.”

Cotswold District Council's Plea To PM Over Plans To Move Fire Staff

18th October 2007

Cotswold councillors have called on the Government to abandon plans to move Gloucestershire’s Fire Control staff to Taunton.

A meeting of Cotswold District Council backed a motion resolving to write to the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Hazel Blears, strongly urging a review of policy.

The motion, put forward by Cllr Deryck Nash and seconded by Cllr Sue Jepson, called upon all the MPs of the county to sign a petition on the 10 Downing Street website to save the Tri-Service Control at Quedgeley, near Gloucester.

Councillors fear that moving Fire Control staff to Somerset may have a serious impact on the speed and efficiency of emergency response in a rural area such as the Cotswolds.

Council and Conservative Group Leader Cllr Lynden Stowe said: “The impressive response by the emergency services to the July floods shows how essential it is that fire control staff need to be working in close proximity to their police colleagues. This proposal to move them to Somerset simply makes no sense and we urge the Government to think again.”

The motion, which records the Council’s gratitude to all emergency services, military staff and volunteers who played a vital role during the summer floods, noted that the Audit Commission had warned that relocating fire control staff from the Tri-Service Centre would have a ‘major, negative impact.’

Councillor Peter Martin, Leader of the Independent Group, said: “This move may save money – but it will cost lives. It is essential that local knowledge is retained because it speeds up the response times and accuracy with which the emergency services can be directed.”

Cllr Nash, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group, said: “I am delighted that the motion received all-party support from District Councillors. Relocating the fire control staff to Taunton would be a major setback to community safety in the Cotswolds.

“I would urge the people of the District to get behind their Council and lobby the Prime Minister by signing the petition on the Number 10 website today.”

The petition may be viewed at www.pm.gov.uk and closes on February 9th 2008.

Drivers In The Cotswolds and Stroud Areas Warned Not to Leave Valuables In Vehicles

Friday October 12th

Police in the Cotswolds have appealed to drivers to take their valuables with them whenever they leave their vehicles in a bid to prevent more motorists becoming victims of crime.

APS Mark Godsland, Crime Reduction Officer for the Cotswold District, said: "We are doing all we can to reduce car crime and we would ask motorists to help us by adopting a common sense approach to vehicle security.

Since the beginning of September there have been 10 reported crimes of theft from motor vehicles throughout the Cotswold and Stroud Division.

Offenders will target Sat Navs and other electronic goods including high value stereos, digital cameras, Ipods, laptops and mobile phones.

However, items such as suitcases, screwdrivers, a golf trolley and CDs have also been taken.

"Most car crime is opportunist and entirely preventable. If a thief cannot spot valuable items inside a vehicle they are unlikely to break in," explained APS Godsland.

And he continued: "If people have items in their cars which are not needed for a journey they should remove them. When leaving their vehicle they should take valuables with them and leave nothing on view.

"Heavy items such as laptops can be a hassle to carry around, but the inconvenience pales in comparison with having to pay to replace stolen equipment and repair vehicle damage caused by criminals."

APS Godsland advised motorists to run through a simple checklist of security measures every time they park their vehicle.

"Vehicles should always be left locked, with alarms and immobilisers set," he said.

"You should remove all valuables, including, if possible, stereos and other entertainment systems and not leave items under seats. If you are parking on the road for the night you should do so on a well-lit street. Should you have an after marker Sat Nav system, remove the cradle as well and clean off the tell tale sucker marks.

"If you're considering either buying or receiving one of these for Christmas this year, do please heed our advice and not become another Victim. Additional information to help prevent this type of crime can be found via the link to the Force web site: http://www.gloucestershire.police.uk/crimereduct/4.html


"By taking these few simple measures motorists can significantly reduce their chances of becoming a victim of car crime," he added.

Anyone with information about car crime is asked to call Cirencester police on 0845 090 1234, or ring Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111."

Store joins growing list of Cotswold recycling sites

7th September 2007

New recycling facilities have been introduced in the car park of Cirencester’s Waitrose supermarket.

Cotswold District Council has put recycling banks for paper, cans, glass and plastic bottles at the Sheep Street store.

The Council’s Waste Manager, Scott Williams, said: “Funding for these new recycling banks was approved by councillors earlier this year.

“They are part of the Council’s ongoing commitment to increasing recycling facilities in the District and reducing the amount of waste we send to landfill.

“We want to make it easier for residents to recycle as much of their waste as possible and are grateful for the co-operation of retailers who allow us to site facilities on their land.”

Woman Dies After Falling from Bridge on to A419

Friday August 17

Police are investigating the death of a 19 year-old woman who fell from a road bridge on to the carriageway of the A417, near Cirencester, in the early hours of Friday August 17.

The woman, who comes from Cirencester, had been walking along the A429 with a group of friends at around 2.30am, when she fell from the bridge crossing the A417/A419 onto the northbound carriageway.

Police believe she may have been hit by a vehicle while lying in the road.

The coroner and the woman's next of kin have been informed of her death, and a police investigation is under way. The death is being treated as unexplained at this time.

Police want to speak to anyone who may have witnessed the incident. They are particularly keen to hear from drivers of Heavy Goods Vehicles who would have been driving past Cirencester on the A417 at around 2.30am.

Anyone with information is asked to call Gloucestershire Police on 0845 090 1234, quoting incident number 58 of August 17th.

Cheltenham Borough Homes hosts picnics for tenants

9th August 2007

For the second year running, Cheltenham Borough Homes is organising picnics in 5 of their neighbourhoods.
Due to the success of last year’s picnics, families of Cheltenham Borough Council’s tenants and leaseholders who live in the Bush Court, Lygon Walk, Castle Blocks, Hobart House, Pates Avenue and St Peter’s neighbourhoods will be invited along to one of the five events.

The picnics, each lasting two hours, will take place on each Thursday of the summer holidays and will run between 12noon and 2pm, the first one being this Thursday 9 August. There will be fun and games including a bouncy castle, circus skills, face painting, mask and badge making, as well as an emphasis on healthy food.

Cheltenham Borough Homes will also be using these events to build positive links with customers and consult them on proposed improvements to the services on offer. This consultation will include gathering feedback on neighbourhood meetings, neighbourhood agreements and anti social behaviour. Cheltenham Borough Homes’ man-in-a-van will also be giving lessons in basic household maintenance.

This year the council’s waste management team will also be present to encourage more recycling within the neighbourhoods.

Paul Stephenson, assistant chief executive (service delivery), said: “Last year’s picnics were such a great success we could hardly wait to do it all again! This is a fantastic opportunity for our customers and staff to address a whole range of issues and to get to know each other better. I would encourage all of our tenants and leaseholders to go along and have some fun.”
Cllr Chris Ryder, cabinet member for quality of life, said: "The picnics were so well received last year that Cheltenham Borough Homes have decided to organise these events again for residents of all ages to come along, join in and have fun. Residents can also have an informal chat with officers, over a bite to eat."

There will also be a raffle at each of the picnics and prizes have very kindly been donated by The Everyman Theatre.
The picnics have been sponsored by Cheltenham Bouncy Castle, The Everyman Theatre, Kraft Foods Ltd, Print by Design, LA Fitness, Cineworld Cinema, Connaught PLC, C & R Decorating and Maintenance, Travis Perkins and Bullock Construction.

Council Tax And Business Rate Relief After Flooding

2nd August 2007

People forced to move out of their homes or businesses by the floods may be granted council tax or business rate relief by Cotswold District Council.

For empty and unoccupied properties, the Council is offering up to three months relief on business rates and up to six months on council tax.

The Council estimates at least 600 homes and more than 200 businesses suffered some flooding during the recent emergency. However, it added that not all of these properties were thought to be now unoccupied.

Anyone wishing to make a claim for council tax/business rates relief needs to put their request in writing to Revenues, Cotswold District Council, Trinity Road, Cirencester, GL7 1PX. Householders need to state when they moved out and where they are now living. Businesses need to say when they had to close. Both council tax payers and business ratepayers need to supply a contact telephone number.

If you would like further information before submitting a claim, please call 01285 623033 (Council Tax) or 01285 623034 (business rates).

New recycling service for Cotswold Businesses

19th July 2007

Small businesses in the Cotswolds will soon be able to recycle much more of their rubbish.

Plans for a new commercial recycling scheme, called y-waste, were today (Thursday 19th July) approved by Cotswold District Council, which will provide up to £24,700 from its Economic Development Fund to set up the service.

Councillors hope that y-waste will enable businesses in the District to recycle up to 90 per cent of their waste.

Council Leader Lynden Stowe said: “We are delighted to be able to fund the y-waste service in the Cotswolds.

“The Council is not responsible for the collection of trade waste but we are really keen to help local businesses and the wider community by increasing commercial recycling opportunities in the District.

“We are committed to working with traders in the Cotswolds who have told us there is a demand for a service like this which will enable them to recycle as much of their rubbish as possible in the easiest way.”
Y-waste is a not-for-profit social enterprise which was first set up in Stroud last year. It will initially be rolled out from September in Cirencester and four other market towns. Once established there, y-waste hope to expand the scheme to other parts of the Cotswold District.

The service works in conjunction with Smiths, a contractor based near Gloucester, to provide bespoke, efficient and cost-effective collections which are timed to suit individual businesses. The pricing structure rewards customers who recycle the most and y-waste guarantees that all waste that can be recycled will be recycled.

Carole Garfield, co-founder and director of y-waste, said: "Businesses have responded positively to this new scheme, which was first set up in response to demand from traders in Stroud who wanted to recycle more.

“We now look forward to working with many more businesses in the Cotswolds who will enjoy the benefits of using a single contract for all their waste management needs and being able to recycle much more of their rubbish."

The new service will also enable traders to comply fully with their Duty of Care regulations which state that commercial waste must be disposed of responsibly. And it has already proved hugely successful in the Stroud District.

Georgie James, Showroom Manager of the Minchinhampton Architectural Salvage Company, is an enthusiastic supporter of the service.

“As our business deals with reclaimed building materials, the fact that we can recycle virtually everything else through y-waste complements our company ethic very well,” she said.

The Priory Inn, Tetbury, wins another food and drink award

9th July 2007

For the second year running, The Priory Inn, Tetbury - the family friendly gastro-inn in the heart of the Cotswolds - has received the prestigious Cotswold Life Food and Drink Award for “Most Distinctive Local Menu” voted for by the restaurant-going public.

For the full story see the Tetbury page


Cotswold Firms Scoop Awards In New Schools Project

21st June 2007

A new awards scheme has encouraged more employers to offer Cotswold teenagers a taste of the world of work.

The Cotswold Work Experience Award scheme recognises the efforts made by local firms to help young people learn new skills.

The scheme is run by Cotswold District Council in partnership with Trident Trust who have for many years matched pupils with employers for a week-long work experience session. Other partners in the new scheme are SLS Training, Connexions Gloucestershire, JHP Training and Cirencester College.

Businesses ranging from nurseries, offices, shops and restaurants to a football club, a museum and a castle took part in the pilot awards scheme involving pupils from Kingshill School, Cirencester and Farmors School, Fairford.

The 103 employers were given a Gold, Silver or Bronze award according to how well the placements worked for both the business and the young person involved.

Gold winners were Cirencester businesses, Spray Tech, D&J Sports, Bright Eyes Early Years Centre, Powells Primary School, Waitrose supermarket, Just Maude and Tanners Solicitors, plus the South Cerney Outdoor Education Centre, the Bridge Restaurant, Fairford and Lechlade Little Learners.

Silver winners from Cirencester were Audiosoft Ltd, James Slater & Co, Cirencester Town Football Club, Perry Bishop & Chambers, Bright Horizons Family Solutions and Eurest. Also picking up silver awards were Farmors School, 7a Coffee Shop and RAF Charitable Trust Enterprises, all of Fairford, and North Cerney School.

The awards scheme was such a success that it is now being rolled out to all secondary schools in the District as part of their work experience weeks.

Cotswold District Council’s Community, Health & Housing Manager Rosemary Lynn said: “The awards scheme has encouraged a wider range of employers to come forward and offer young people the chance to work alongside adults as part of a team.

“Work experience is invaluable as it allows pupils to, develop new skills and bring what they’ve learned in the classroom to the workplace. Hopefully, it will give them confidence and help them come to a decision about what they want to do with their future.

“We were overwhelmed by the support we received from local employers and are very grateful the effort they put in to making this scheme work by offering high quality placements.”

If you run a local business and would like to offer work experience to a young person, please contact Rosemary Lynn on 01285 623560.

Cirencester Police Appeal For Information About Suspicious Motorist

18th June 2007

Police are appealing for witnesses after a motorist asked a young girl to get into his car in Cirencester on Wednesday June 13th.

At around 3.45pm the 12 year-old girl, who lives in Cirencester, had been walking along Chesterton Road towards the Love Lane Industrial Estate.

As she reached the Social Services Social Club, opposite the Nissan garage, a green 4x4 car pulled up beside her.

The male driver wound down the front passenger window of the car and called to the girl to get in.

Scared by the man's actions the girl ran away from the scene down Bridge End, a nearby No Entry road.

The man drove off towards Love Lane.

Police are keen to speak to anyone who may have seen the man or the 4x4 vehicle he was driving.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Gloucestershire Police on 0845 090 1234, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111, quoting incident number 556 of June 13th.

Sports Coaching On Offer Over The Half Term Holidays

18th May 2007

Keep children of all ages fit and active in the school holidays at half term by taking part in sports coaching sessions offered at four different venues throughout the Cotswolds.

The multi-sport coaching days have an emphasis on fun, fair play and teamwork and cover a range of sports including football, cricket, rounders, hockey, lacrosse tri-golf and tag-rugby.

The coaching days run from 10am till 3pm and cost £10 a day per child. There is, however, an opportunity to join the scheme as a member and receive a 50% discount on all course fees.

Any child aged between 5 and 16 years old may attend, but spaces are limited so advance booking is essential.

For more information or for a 2007 brochure call Youth Sport Development Officer, Scott Burry on 01285 623447

Waste Taskforce Takes Recycling Message To Streets

24th April 2007

We can help you to recycle and compost even more of your rubbish! That’s the message being spread by canvassers working in the Cotswold District over the next three weeks.

Cotswold residents are already top of Gloucestershire’s recycling league with rates topping 40 per cent. And the canvassers from Resource Futures will be advising householders how they can do even better by making the most of all the recycling and composting opportunities provided through the District Council.

They are working this week in the Chesterton area of Cirencester and will then move to villages west of the town, including Siddington, Preston , Driffield, Harnhill, Ampney Crucis, Ampney St Peter, Poulton and Ampney St Mary. The final area of the District to be canvassed will be the villages between Chipping Campden and Moreton-in-Marsh, including Blockley, Draycott, Aston Magna, Paxford, Ebrington, Toddenham and Lower Leamington .

The work in the Cotswolds is the first phase of a county-wide canvassing operation being funded by central Government through the Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) – and all the canvassers will wear identity badges.

Cotswold District Council Waste Manager Scott Williams said: “It is extremely important that we increase the amount of recycling and reduce the amount of waste going to landfill because we are rapidly running out of sites in which to bury our waste.

“We are promoting home composting which, alongside our black recycling boxes and green waste collection service, is reducing the amount of waste sent to landfill.

“However, many residents still do not realise how much of their rubbish can be recycled and composted. That is why the canvassers from Resource Futures will be out and about to explain just how easy it is to make a positive impact on the environment by simply separating out your waste.”

For more information on the Council’s recycling facilities call 01285 623000

Crackdown on Uninsured Drivers Leads to 1,100 Vehicle Seizures

Wednesday 18 April

A crack down on uninsured drivers has led to more than 1,100 vehicles being seized in just six months.

On September 28 2006 Gloucestershire police launched a campaign aimed at getting uninsured vehicles and those not being driven in accordance with their licences off the roads.

Between then and March 31 2007 a total of 1,104 cars, vans, and motorcycles - an average of 46 each week - have been seized, and Martin Gray of Gloucestershire Constabulary said the approach was yielding great success.

"In the past, whenever motorists were caught driving without insurance or not in accordance with their driving licence they were dealt with through the courts by way of a fine and penalty points on their licence. Their vehicle was left on the side of the road for them to later return and possible drive away again," Martin Gray said.

"However, new powers given to the police under Section 165 of the Road Traffic 1988, now mean that we can actually take their vehicles away from them to prevent them continuing to use the vehicles illegally, and, in many cases, using those vehicles to commit other crimes.

"In operations running throughout the county since September 2006 we have used intelligence coupled with Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) technology to seize these vehicles.

"Some of the vehicles seized have been unroadworthy, their drivers have not had driving licences and they have literally been lethal weapons on our county's roads.

"We hope our success will act as a warning to anyone thinking of driving illegally in Gloucestershire and that they will think again. We have the means and willpower to curtail their activities for the benefit of the law abiding motorists in this county who use the roads legitimately."

Under the seizure powers now available to police, if an officer has reasonable grounds to believe someone is driving without insurance or not in accordance with their driving licence and, are unable to provide proof of insurance at the roadside, the vehicle will be surrendered immediately and the driver will be handed a plastic bag to put their possessions in before continuing their journey on foot.

Motorists can't claim their cars, vans or motorbikes back until they have produced evidence of valid insurance and a licence and paid a statutory fee. This is £105 plus £12 for each day the vehicle is confiscated. They will either be issued a £200 fixed penalty ticket (plus 6 points) or face a court appearance.

If the motorists don't pay up and produce their documents within 14 days of the seizure, the vehicle will be crushed or sold. Police will then seek to recover the costs of removal and storage, which by then will amount to £273.

The motorist has eight weeks to pay their fees before the matter is handed over to a debt collecting agency and serious debtors may be taken to the county court.

Of the 1,104 vehicles seized between September 28 2006 and March 31 2007, 581 have been released back to the motorists. Others have been crushed or sold, and 10 vehicles have been repossessed by finance companies.

Leisure Centre Celebrates Year of Success

2nd April 2007

The Cotswold Leisure Centre Cirencester celebrates its first birthday on April 4th – and will look back on a year of success.

The £8.5m building, owned and run by Cotswold District Council, has clocked up a grand total of more than 341,000 visits to use the facilities which include a 25m pool, learner pool, Relax Zone, gym, squash courts, dance studio and sports hall.

So far, 3,230 people have taken out one of a range of membership offers.

Members and casual visitors return time after time, with a total of 58,560 workouts in the gym, 9555 visits to the Relax Zone and 19,381 attendances at exercise classes.

More than 130,700 dips have been taken in the pool, 36,700 people have used the sports hall and 12,700 have played squash. There have been 25,000 attendances at swimming lessons and 34,000 attendances at school swimming sessions.

Group Manager for Leisure Jamie Nesbit said: “We’ve got off to a fantastic start. The number of people using the centre has far exceeded our expectations. Interest in health and fitness has boomed in recent years and the gym, with its top of the range equipment, has proved especially popular.

“Nationally, people are being encouraged to become more active more of the time and we hope the facilities at the centre are helping Cotswold residents to do just that.

“We are being well supported by local sports clubs and schools and are confident that we can continue to compete with the private sector,

“We are looking forward to our next project, which involves improvements to the gym at Fairford Leisure Centre.”

Bogus Caller Warning To Residents In The Cotswolds

Wednesday March 21st

Police are warning residents in the Frampton Upon Severn and Northleach area to be extra vigilant after two incidents involving bogus callers.

The first incident happened at around 10.15am on Tuesday 20 March at an address in Frampton Upon Severn.

A man called at the house of an elderly couple. He asked if they wanted any guttering work done, they said no and he went away. Shortly after a second man called at the house saying he needed to check the water pressure, whilst doing this the original man returned assisted with the supposed check of water pressure and they then left together.

When they had gone the couple noticed around £150-00 was missing.

The first offender is described as a white man, around 5ft 8inches tall, aged in his late twenties with short dark hair. He was wearing a blue jumper and black trousers.

The second offender is described as a white man, around 5ft 8inches tall, aged in his late twenties, with a medium build and short brown hair. He was wearing a blue or black jumper with blue jeans.

The second incident happened at around 12.30pm on Tuesday 20 March at an address in Northleach.

An 83-year-old woman answered the door to a man who asked to check the water pressure. She took him into the kitchen and he asked her to run the tap. He then left and when he had gone she noticed over £1,000 in cash was missing.

The man is described as white, aged in his late teens or early twenties with short dark hair. He was wearing a dark blue jumper, worn jeans and grey trainers. He was also wearing a blue knitted glove on his right hand.

Police would remind people to be extra vigilant when answering the door, always use the Stop, Chain, Check rule.

PC Mark Godsland, Crime Reduction Officer for the Cotswolds and Stroud Division, said: "It is extremely important that people remember never to let any strangers into their house unless they are satisfied they are genuine callers with genuine reasons for being there.

"People should always follow the stop, chain, check rule and keep their doors locked or on the chain until they have checked the caller's identification.

"Genuine callers will not mind waiting or even being turned away if the homeowner is not comfortable with letting them in.

"We would also remind people to keep their doors and windows closed and locked, even when they are in the house."

The stop, chain, check rule is...

* STOP - Are you expecting anyone? Is your back door locked?
* CHAIN - Put the chain on before opening the door
* CHECK - Ask for caller's ID and check it by phone.


If you have any information about either of these burglaries you should call police on 0845 090 1234 quoting incident 128 or 236 of 20 March or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.

Cotswold Leader Speaks Out Over Health Service Concerns

9th March 2007

Strong concerns about the future of health services in Gloucestershire have once again been voiced by Cotswold District Council.

Council Leader Cllr Lynden Stowe spoke out after Cabinet received an update on the planned NHS community health model for the District.

He said: “We remain extremely concerned for the future of our health services and the impact that cuts and changes will have on our rural communities.

“While we welcome the plans for more community mental health workers for the North Cotswolds, we are very worried about the closure of the Memorial Centre in Cirencester.

“Patients with mental health problems no longer have a ‘drop-in’ facility in the town and, to date, no alternative provision has been made which was promised in the public consultation.”

Cllr Stowe said the Council was also still concerned at the overall loss of bed numbers in the community hospitals - especially when Cheltenham and Gloucester hospitals are at capacity as they have been recently.

He said: “The District has an ageing population with a projected increase of 53 per cent in the number of people aged over 85 between 2001 and 2011. A reduction in local community hospital beds will have a significant impact on the Cotswolds if the new community model of care doesn’t come up to scratch.

“Day services for older people are suffering. The closure of the two Day Hospitals at Bourton and Moreton is putting pressure on voluntary day centres to find extra capacity, but we fully acknowledge the efforts being made by local Leagues of Friends to support alternative local centres.”

The Council will be closely monitoring the effectiveness of the new community health model, where more patients will be treated at home.

Cllr Stowe added: “Transport remains key to the success of the new model of healthcare. Most of the changes will increase travelling, which is bad news for our rural area, which covers 450 square miles. Whatever happened to quality local services and sustainable communities?”

“We will continue to call on the Government to give us fair funding for Gloucestershire, where spending on health services is 12 per cent lower per head than the national average.”

Communities get £300,000 Bosst From Second Homes Fund

7th March 2007

More than £300,000 of council tax paid by second home owners has been earmarked to spend on services for Cotswold residents by the District Council’s Cabinet.

The Council is expecting to receive between £300,000 and £317,000 from Gloucestershire County Council as its share of the Second Homes Fund in 2007/08.

The District Council’s Cabinet has agreed that the money should be spent as follows:

* £100,000 to crack down on crimes such as fly tipping, dog fouling and litter

* Up to £56,000 on tackling climate change by extending the Warm & Well scheme for residents’ homes and researching renewable energy measures for Council buildings

* £20,000 on a waste minimisation and information campaign ahead of changes to our refuse and recycling service later this year

* £15,000 towards the cost of employing two part-time falls prevention officers

* £12,500 on a project to recruit more people to take up voluntary work

* £10,000 towards sports activities for children and young people

* £10,000 on research into the availability of low cost homes for local people

* £5,000 towards youth activities

* £5,000 on the STEP project, prevent young people from dropping out of school, training or employment

* £3,500 on increasing energy efficiency advice for residents.

The remaining £80,000 is to be allocated to projects commissioned by the Cotswold Local Strategic Partnership.

Council Leader Councillor Lynden Stowe said: “It’s appropriate that that money collected from people with second homes in the District should be put back into the community.

“We’re very pleased to be able to divide this money between such a varied array of services. Around half is being spent in line with the three important countywide themes of waste, affordable homes and renewable energy – all issues of major importance here in the Cotswolds.

“The rest will be going towards specific projects that help our increasing elderly population and activities for our children and young people.”

The District’s Council’s plans for allocating the money will now be submitted to the County Council Cabinet on April 20th..

Driver Dies in Cheltenham Coach Crash

2nd March 2007

Police are appealing for witnesses following a fatal coach crash in Cheltenham this morning.

Police were called to St Margarets Road at about 7.40am after the coach struck two or three vehicles and then collided with the cinema.

The driver, a Gloucester man in his fifties, was the only person injured. He was taken to Cheltenham General Hospital by ambulance but was later pronounced dead.

Police are now investigating the cause of the collision.

The road has been closed from Winchcombe Street to Monson Avenue to both vehicles and pedestrians and officers are therefore urging members of the public to be patient and to plan their journeys around alternative routes where possible. Restrictions are also in place on roads leading onto St Margarets Road.

Residents Of South Cotswolds Invited To Police Community Meeting

Wednesday February 21st

Cirencester residents are invited to discuss policing issues with officers at their local Police Community Consultative Meeting (PCCM) later this month.

The Cirencester Inspector Neighbourhood Area has four PCCMs annually - the latest of which takes place at 5pm on Wednesday February 28 at St Anne Edwards School, South Cerney.

The latest date was organised after a PCCM arranged for earlier in February was cancelled due to bad weather.

Organised by Gloucestershire Police Authority, PCCMs give the public a chance to discuss any policing issues they may have with a member of the Authority and with officers working in their community.

The feedback obtained during the meetings is used by police to assess their progress, plan future operations and help determine local policing priorities.

"If you have concerns about crime and disorder in your area come along and tell us about it, " said Insp Steve Williams, of Cirencester police.

"For the PCCM to be effective it is important that a wide variety of views are expressed on local policing issues, and everyone involved within the community is invited to attend."

Woman Seriously Hurt in A40 Collision

5th February 2007

At shortly after 1pm on Sunday February 4 a single vehicle collision took place on the A40 at Little Barrington, near Burford.

A Proton Persona was being driven towards Cheltenham when it left the nearside of the carriageway, collided with some trees and came to rest on its roof in an adjacent field.

The driver of the vehicle, a man in his 60s and from Cheltenham, sustained minor injuries and was treated at the scene.

His only passenger, who was a 61-year-old woman, also from Cheltenham, sustained serious head injuries and was flown to the John Radcliffe hospital where she remains in a serious condition.

The road was closed for 5 hours while an investigation was carried out at the scene. Any witnesses who have not yet spoken to police are asked to ring 0845 090 1234 quoting incident number 237 of February 4th.

Cotswold DC unveils plans for wheeled bin service

18th January 2007

Wheeled bins for general household waste are set to be rolled out across the Cotswolds from this autumn.

Cotswold District Council’s Cabinet today voted to approve plans to replace the current kerbside collection of an unlimited number of black bags with a wheeled bin service.

But councillors assured residents that special arrangements would be made for householders unable to cope with a wheeled bin.

Cllr Mark Tufnell, Portfolio holder for Development Services and the Environment, said: “It is extremely important that we have a collection service that increases the amount of recycling and reduces the amount of waste going to landfill.

“We are already promoting home composting which, alongside our green waste collection service, is continuing to reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill.

“The key is to introduce a wheeled bin service. It will be of great benefit as it will contain waste within bins, will have health and safety benefits for those who collect the rubbish and prevent animals from generating unwanted litter by ripping bags open.”

The Council is also looking into the possibility of making separate kerbside collections of cardboard and kitchen waste.

Cllr Tufnell added: “The County Council is not yet at the stage where they can make a firm commitment to an In Vessel Composter facility which can deal with kitchen waste. We need to retain a degree of flexibility in our plans so that we can collect waste in a mixture required by the County Council, who are the disposal authority.”

Kerbside collection of plastic bottles remains uneconomic but the District Council will be making it easier for residents to recycle. Plastic bottle banks are currently available at 21 of the District’s 52 recycling bank sites and more are to be introduced.

“Increasing the number of plastic recycling banks is a much more cost-effective solution than providing a kerbside collection of plastic bottles,” added Cllr Tufnell.

Cotswold residents are already taking the recycling message on board, with rates in the District topping 42 per cent.

Council Leader, Cllr Lynden Stowe said: “We are already top of the recycling league in the county – and that’s where we very much want to stay.

“This is the next step in continuing to deliver top quality waste collection services for the people of the Cotswolds, while keeping as much waste as possible out of landfill.”

Cotswold District Council Unveils Move To Cut Environmental Crime

18th January 2007

Cotswold District Council is stepping up measures to reduce environmental crime and anti-social behaviour, it announced today.

The Council’s Cabinet voted to implement wide-ranging powers to address issues such as fly-tipping, littering, dog fouling and abandoned vehicles under the Clean Neighbourhoods & Environment Act 2005 and the Anti-social Behaviour Act 2003.

The Council has decided to employ two Environmental Wardens who, along with other enforcement officers, will be able to issue fixed penalty notices for environmental crimes, starting at £75 for general litter offences.

The new wardens will also rigorously investigate fly-tippers in a bid to bring more offenders to justice.

Cllr Mark Tufnell, Portfolio holder for Development Services and the Environment, said: “This Council has taken a very robust stance on fly-tipping. By implementing this act and employing two environmental wardens for two years we will have even greater control on such issues.”

Implementing the new powers and employing the two new wardens is set to cost the council £100,000 over two years, to be paid for from the Council’s share of council tax paid by second home owners in the District.

Council leader Cllr Lynden Stowe said: “The emphasis is on education, not enforcement, and we are keen to work in partnership with the community.”

The Council is currently running a Keep The Cotswolds Clean campaign to spread the message that tossing rubbish out of cars, dropping cigarette butts, discarding gum and dumping waste will not be tolerated.

To back up the message, the council has added £25,000 to its £750,000 street cleansing budget in 2006/07 and is adding another one-off payment of £25,000 in 2007/08.

Thames Water lifts hisepipe ban

18th January 2007

Thames Water is today (8am, 18 Jan 2007) lifting the hosepipe and sprinkler ban in force across its supply region since April 2006.

The decision, which has been taken in consultation with the Environment Agency, follows four months of above-average rainfall (September 2006 to December 2006), which have eased immediate concerns about water resources following the record drought that began in November 2004.

But the company is asking customers to stick with water-saving tips that helped avoid the need for more severe restrictions in the region last summer. Meanwhile, Thames Water continues its drive to reduce leakage, particularly in London.

Richard Aylard, External Affairs & Environment Director at Thames Water, said:

“The good news is that the recent wet weather has allowed us to fill our reservoirs.

“It has taken some time for the rain to seep down into underground aquifers that keep rivers and reservoirs topped up during the spring and the summer, but groundwater levels throughout the catchment are also rising and are expected to have generally recovered to at least near-normal levels by February.

“This all means that keeping the hosepipe ban in place is no longer justified.

“We regretted having to impose the ban, our first in 15 years, but given the severity of the drought, a cautious approach was needed to keep taps flowing without harming the environment by taking extra water from rivers.

“Our customers responded very positively to our appeals to use water wisely. Demand fell by as much as ten per cent, even at the peak of the heatwave in July.

“We remain extremely grateful for their help. Combined with the hosepipe ban, it helped ensure that we could maintain essential supplies throughout last year, despite the two previous very dry winters.

“But we do need to ask all our eight million customers to keep saving water wherever they can. Amazingly enough, London receives less rain than Rome, Dallas or Istanbul, so we need everybody to make water saving a part of their everyday lives, all year round. Population growth and climate change add to the need for us all to use water wisely.

“Thames Water remains focused on reducing London’s unacceptably high leakage rates. Currently, for example, our rolling programme to replace the capital’s oldest, leakiest mains is moving into new areas of the City and the West End, as well as south of the river in Croydon. Many of the pipes are over 150 years old, dating back to the reign of Queen Victoria.

“This ambitious project, started in 2002, will see us replace over 1100 miles (1800 km) of the cast iron Victorian pipes with more flexible plastic ones by 2010. This is expected to deliver savings of over 140 million litres a day.

“Crucially, the work allows us to install a more efficient, streamlined network than the maze of pipes that has evolved over many decades.

“Together with ongoing work to find and fix leaks elsewhere in the network, our total investment to bring leakage down is over £500,000 every day.”

£1 facelift for Cotswold loos

15th January 2007

A £1 million refurbishment of public toilets in the Cotswold District is due to get under way on Monday, January 22nd

The Council is planning a rolling programme of facelifts for many of the conveniences it owns.

The work, where possible, will see modern, spacious cubicles with direct access from the street replace cramped, outdated facilities.

The new-look loos will allow the Council to make a small charge of 20p per use. With more than one million visitors each year, the income will help to pay for the investment in improved facilities.

Contractors Healthmatic will start the refurbishment programme at three of the most-used sites.

Work is due to begin at Church Rooms, Bourton-on-the-Water on January 22nd and during February at the Brewery car park, Cirencester and Maugersbury Road, Stow-on-the-Wold. Work at these three sites is expected to be finished by Easter.

Meanwhile, visitors will be directed to alternative toilets at the Forum car park, Cirencester, Rissington Road car park, Bourton and the Market Square, Stow, which will all be refurbished later in 2007/08.

At the Brewery car park site, four ‘direct access’ cubicles are planned. Each user – male or female – will pay 20p to use their own cubicle, complete with hand washing facilities. There are no shared areas and the cubicles are large enough for a parent and child to use comfortably.

The same arrangement is planned for Maugersbury Road, Stow, with three cubicles.

At both sites, one of the cubicles will have facilities for people with disabilities, who have free access to the toilets with a RADAR key.

Refurbishment of the Church Rooms, Bourton, will be more traditional as the toilets are housed in a Grade II listed building. It is planned to have an attendant who would clean and take payments.

Portfolio holder for Development Services & Environment, Cllr Mark Tufnell, said: “This is a major investment to greatly improve facilities for our residents, shoppers and tourists.

“The new loos will be more spacious, efficient and easier to keep clean. The lack of shared areas at most sites means they are safer to use and there are fewer opportunities for vandalism.

“Although we do not have to provide loos by law, we choose to do so because the service is valued - both by our residents and the many visitors to the Cotswolds.

“We are aware that many of our current conveniences are not up to scratch and I am sure that people will be willing to pay a small charge to use new, modern facilities.

“By the end of the refurbishment programme in Spring next year, I am confident the Cotswolds will have some of the best loos in Britain!”

Details of the full refurbishment programme will be finalised later this year.

Three Injured In Crash On A46

15th January 2007

Gloucestershire police are appealing for witnesses after three people were injured in a three-vehicle road traffic collision near Tetbury during the evening of Friday January 12th.

At around 5.30pm a silver Mercedes C220, a black Mercedes E280 and a green Audi 90 collided on the A46 about one mile away from the Calcot Crossroads on the Nailsworth side.

The driver of the Mercedes C220, a 21 year-old man from Hertfordshire, was taken to Gloucestershire Royal Hospital by ambulance with leg injuries. He remains in hospital at this time in a stable condition.

The driver of the Mercedes E280, a woman from Tetbury, was also taken to hospital with leg and chest injuries that were not considered life threatening. She was accompanied by her son, a passenger in the car, who sustained a suspected broken wrist.

The driver of the Audi, a 50 year-old man from Tetbury, was uninjured during the crash.

The A46 was closed at the scene for five hours to recover the vehicles and allow a police investigation to take place.

Anyone who witnessed the crash is asked to contact police on 0845 090 1234 quoting incident number 495 of January 12th.

Police Issue Criminal Damage Warning To Motorists

9th January 2007

Police in the Cotswold and Stroud Division are warning drivers who park on the road of the need to protect the wing mirrors of their vehicle from vandals.

In recent weeks police have received several reports of offenders damaging vehicles by smashing the wing mirrors.

APS Mark Godsland, Crime Reduction Officer, said, "The Division is working hard with communities and partners to reduce the opportunity and possibility for damage to motor vehicles.

"We would encourage motorists who park on the streets, especially where there is little room, to ensure that both wing mirrors are turned inward to reduce the opportunity for malicious, and accidental, damage.

Gloucestershire Constabulary recently launched a high-profile campaign to clamp down on criminal damage of all kinds.

"Police are determined to crack down on the vandals who cause nuisance and misery to hundreds of people each year," said APS Godsland.

"It might seem like a bit of harmless fun to spray a wall with paint, jump on a car bonnet or damage a wing mirror, but it is the innocent victims of this kind of mindless damage that are left to pick up the pieces - and the bill.

"Often the people who cause such damage don't realise it could lead to them being arrested, sent before the courts and ending up with a criminal record. This can have drastic consequences in the future, especially when it comes to getting a new job."

Anyone with information about car crime is asked to call Cirencester police on 0845 090 1234, or ring Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.

Body found in missing woman hunt

3rd January 2006

Police looking for a missing 93-year-old woman from Burford have found a body. The dead woman has not tey been formally identified.

Appeal for missing woman - Burford

3rd January

Police in Burford are appealing for information as to the whereabouts of a 93-year-old woman, who was reported missing yesterday evening (02/01).

Winifred Cox, known as Molly, was last seen at her home in The Hill at 5pm. She is 4ft 7ins with short grey hair, green eyes and stooped. She likes to walk around Burford town centre and maybe in that area.

Officers would ask people in Burford to look out for Molly and anyone with information, or who believes they have seen her, should contact the Police Enquiry Centre as soon as possible on 0845 8 505 505.

Drivers In The Cotswolds: Don't Leave Valuables In Your Vehicle

Wednesday January 3rd 2007

Police in the Cotswolds have appealed to drivers to take their valuables with them whenever they leave their vehicle in a bid to prevent more motorists becoming victims of crime.

APS Mark Godsland, Crime Reduction Officer for the Cotswold District, said: "We are doing all we can to reduce car crime and we would ask motorists to help us by adopting a common sense approach to vehicle security.

"Most car crime is opportunist and entirely preventable. If a thief cannot spot valuable items inside a vehicle they are unlikely to break in.

"If people have items in their cars which are not needed for a journey they should remove them. When leaving their vehicle they should take valuables with them and leave nothing on view.

"This applies as much to low value items, such as compact discs and loose change, as it does to very valuable items like laptop computers, digital cameras and satellite navigation systems.

"Heavy items such as laptops can be a hassle to carry around, but the inconvenience pales in comparison with having to pay to replace stolen equipment and repair vehicle damage caused by criminals."

APS Godsland advised motorists to run through a simple checklist of security measures every time they park their vehicle.

"Vehicles should always be left locked, with alarms and immobilisers set," he said.

"You should remove all valuables, including, if possible, stereos and other entertainment systems and not leave items under seats. If you are parking on the road for the night you should do so on a well-lit street.

"By taking these few simple measures motorists can significantly reduce their chances of becoming a victim of car crime."

Anyone with information about car crime is asked to call Cirencester police on 0845 090 1234, or ring Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.

Christmas waste collections in the Cotswolds

18th December 2006

Refuse collections will not be made in the Cotswold District on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year's Day, resulting in a double collection of waste and recycling and/or a change of delivery date for some residents.

Week beginning December 25th:

There will be no collection on the 25th or 26th.

Collections will take place as normal on 27th, 28th and 29th.

Week beginning January 1st:

There will be no collection on January 1st.

Households whose collection is usually on a Monday will both waste and recycling collected on Tuesday, January 2nd.

Households whose collection is usually on a Tuesday will have both waste and recycling collected on Wednesday, January 3rd.

Wednesday's, Thursday's and Friday's collections all roll on one day - requiring the final collection of the fortnight to be made on Saturday, January 6th

Dreaming of a green Christmas in the Cotswolds

18th December 2006

Cotswold residents will be celebrating a green Christmas – thanks to two new recycling initiatives by the District Council.

An extra 250 tonnes of waste is generated over the festive season every year – and now the Council is making it easier to slim your bin.

For the first time, skips for cardboard will be placed at the recycling bank sites at the Old Station car park, Cirencester and the Maugersbury Road car park, Stow-on-the-Wold.

The skips will be installed for a trial period on December 18th and can be used for every type of cardboard from Christmas cards to toy and food packaging.

And this year, residents in the Cirencester area will get a helping hand to recycle their real Christmas trees.

The Council has joined forces with Dobbies Garden Centre at Siddington, to turn trees into compost.

The centre will take delivery of trees between December 27 and January 14, ready for shredding by the Council's contractor on January 8 and 15.

Cllr Mark Tufnell, Portfolio holder for Development Services and Environment, said: "We're very grateful to Dobbies for helping us to boost recycling.

"Residents who can't make it to the garden centre can take their real trees to the Household Recycling Centre at Fosse Cross or chop them into sections and put them in their green garden waste bins.

"We want to remind people that a great deal of their Christmas waste can be recycled - from trees and cards to plastic, glass and cans.

"And what can't be recycled - such as wrapping paper or unwanted gifts - can be reused or donated to charity."

Glass jars and bottles, newspapers and magazines and cans can be put into the Council's kerbside recycling boxes.

Plastic, foil, textiles and shoes can be put in the appropriate containers at the Council's recycling bank sites across the District or taken to Household Recycling Centres.

Wrapping paper and gift bags can't be recycled - but can be saved to use again next year!

Unwanted gifts and toys can be given to charity shops or toy libraries, swapped with friends or sold at car boot sales or on the internet at sites such as eBay and Loot.

Neighbourhood Watch Scheme Set Up In Northleach

18th December 2006

Residents of Northleach have teamed up with police to start their own Neighbourhood Watch (NW) group in the Market Place area of the town.

The scheme, which encourages local people to work together with police to detect and deter crime, was officially launched at the start of December.

Members of the scheme will liaise closely with police and Police Community Support Officers and act as a point of contact between officers and the wider community.

In future, police warnings and appeals will be sent to NW co-ordinators in the group, who will then pass on the information to a network of local households.

PCSO Mark Williams, who has been instrumental in establishing this new NW scheme in Northleach, said: "The scheme has been very effective in other Cotswold communities and we're hoping it will prove to be just as useful in Northleach.

"The scheme helps police to prevent residents from becoming victims of crime by the rapid passing of information through the NW network. Equally, the network is a useful tool for local people to tell police of anything suspicious taking place in their area."

Charities profit from library sales

14th December 2006

Seventy five charities are set to benefit from Christmas card sales in the county’s libraries this year, with customers already spending over £20,000.

The Christmas cards sold on behalf of Card-Aid are on sale in 29 libraries across Gloucestershire. With twelve more days to go to Christmas Day there’s still plenty of time to purchase cards and also stock up with favourite reads, films and music for the festive period.

County Councillor, Ron Allen, cabinet member for libraries, said: "This is wonderful news for all the charities involved. I would like to thank all our customers for their continuing to support this annual event."

Additionally, Gloucestershire Libraries are supporting the Cobalt Appeal, by collecting in used Christmas cards when the festive season finishes. The Cobalt Appeal will turn old greetings cards into new handmade cards, which they will sell on, raising vital funds. Collection points will be open in all the county’s Libraries in the first two weeks of January 2007.
County Councillor, Stan Waddington, cabinet member for environment, said: "Let's all make it a New Year’s resolution to recycle and start by taking our old Christmas cards to the local library after the festivities, and at the same time help the Cobalt Appeal."

Police Release CCTV Pictures Of Chipping Campden Armed Robbery

Tuesday December 12th

Police investigating an armed robbery that took place in Chipping Campden during November have issued three CCTV pictures of the man responsible for the raid.

CCTV image of Chipping Campden armed robberyBetween 12.45pm and 1pm on the afternoon of Friday November 17 a man entered the Lloyds TSB bank in the High Street, Chipping Campden, and handed the cashier a note.

The note demanded money and stated that the male was in possession of a bomb.

A quantity of cash, in the region of £750, was handed to the offender who then left the bank.

The male is described as white, in his 20s, with a slim build and short, dark, spiky hair.

He was clean-shaven and was wearing wraparound sunglasses and a cream coloured jumper, possibly a roll neck, which was pulled up to cover his chin.

Anyone with information about the robbery, or who recognises the person in the CCTV images, is asked to call Gloucestershire police on 0845 090 1234, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111, quoting incident number 233 of November 17th.

Cirencester Police Issue E-Fit After Male Exposes Himself

11th December 2006

Cirencester police have released an e-fit image of a male who exposed himself to a woman in Tetbury during November.

The offender exposed himself to his victim, a woman from Tetbury, as she walked her dog along Railway Walk at around 4.30pm on Friday November 17.

E-Fit of man sought following Cirencester and Tetbury incidentsWhen the woman challenged the male he ran off.

He is described as white, in his late teens, around 5ft 10ins tall with a slim build.

He had broad shoulders and was wearing pale blue jeans and a black hooded top.

The description is similar to that of a male who exposed himself to a woman and two teenaged girls in two separate incidents in Cirencester on Friday December 1.

At around 4.50pm the two girls had been walking past the scout hut on Cotswold Avenue when a male came out of the bushes and started following them.

He called to the girls who turned around to see that the male was exposing himself and masturbating.

He ran off towards the Watermoor area.

A short time later, at around 5pm, a 54 year-old woman from Cheltenham was returning to her car in Lavender Lane, Cirencester.

As she placed a bag in the back of the vehicle she noticed a male walk past her and loiter nearby.

When the male walked closer to the car the woman saw that he had exposed himself and was masturbating. The male then walked off.

Anyone who recognises the e-fit, or the description, is asked to call Cirencester police on 0845 090 1234, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111, quoting incident number 403 of November 17.

Man Sought Following Indecent Incidents in Cirencester

4th December 2006

Police in Cirencester are appealing for information after a woman and a teenager were victims of indecent exposure on Friday, December 1.

The first incident, in Lavender Lane, happened at around 5.25pm when a woman was walking back to her car from the Trinity Road direction.

The victim was aware that a man in a hoodie was standing behind her as she was putting her bags in the back seat of her car.

She then saw the man walk past the car and hesitate before coming back towards her.

As he got closer she realised that he was exposing himself and conducting a lewd act.

The victim screamed and the man walked off.

He is described as white between 24 and 30-years-old with a slim build, broad shoulders and around six foot tall. He was wearing a navy hoodie and has dark hair with a fringe and small eyes.

A second incident, on the same evening, involved a man of a similar description following a 15-year-old girl and her friend through Lavender Lane at around the same time.

The man is believed to have followed the girls, standing very close behind them conducting a lewd act through his clothes.

He is described as white, around 5" 7 with a skinny build.

He is thought to be in his late teens or early 20s with dark eyes and a misshapen nose. He was wearing a dark hoodie and jeans.

Anybody with any information on these incidents is asked to call 0845 090 1234 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111 quoting incident numbers 463 of December 1 and 570 or December 1.

Cotswold District Council leader voices support for Farmers

1st December 2006

Support for the leading role played by agriculture in the Cotswolds was voiced by the District Council this week.

During a Council debate over the management of rural estates in the county, Council Leader Cllr Lynden Stowe told fellow members that farming was vitally important to the local economy.

He said:” Farming’s role in wildlife and woodland management helps to maintain the unique heritage of this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, which brings so many visitors to our District.

“We recognise the leading role that Cotswold farmers have in generating sustainable food production for this District; welcome initiatives that promote local food to local people; and acknowledge that these schemes help minimise waste and carbon emissions.

“We further recognise the valuable contributions made locally by tenants of the Rural Estate of Gloucestershire County Council, and confirm our confidence in the County Council to manage one of the best rural estates in England.”
Following speculation in the media and concerns raised by tenant farmers, the County Council recently discussed the future of the rural estate and moved to reassure tenants that the council's farming estate is secure.

Community Safety Week Comes To The Cotswolds

30th November 2006

A special week of events to highlight action being taken to reduce fear of crime in the Cotswolds gets under way on Monday, December 4.

Community Safety Week is being organised by the Safer Cotswolds partnership, whose members include Cotswold District Council, Gloucestershire Constabulary, Cotswold and Vale Primary Care Trust, Gloucestershire County Council, the Fire Service and Police Authority.

Advice, information and presentations will be on offer throughout the week about personal safety, protection of property, efforts to tackle anti-social behaviour, domestic violence and criminal damage.

Cotswold District Council Portfolio holder for Strong & Safe Communities, Cllr Clive Bennett, said: "It is important to reiterate the message that the Cotswold District remains one of the lowest crime areas in England. The week will show how we’re working together to make the Cotswolds an even safer place to live, work and visit."

On Monday (December 4) Community Safety Manager Les Haines and Anti-Social Behaviour Co-ordinator Tim Dowan will be gathering shoppers' views on crime in the Cotswolds and feeding them back to a Police Consultative Meeting at the Council’s Moreton Area Centre at 7.30pm.

Les said: “We'll be making the point that while people’s perceptions are that crime is getting worse, this is not the reality in the Cotswolds where crime is falling.

“Crime is below national average and the latest figures show that theft from vehicles and robberies are down by one third and burglaries have dropped by 18 per cent."

Neighbourhood Watch Co-ordinator for the North Cotswolds Andy Fogden will be on hand with help and advice in Moreton-in-Marsh on Tuesday (December 5), where he will be selling personal alarms at a bargain price of £2, designed to alert people to attempted bag snatches. Alarms will be on sale at the Moreton Area Centre and at the town's police station from 10am.

On Wednesday (December 6) a Neighbourhood Watch event to show the advantages of Smartwater - a sophisticated property marking system - will take place at Wyck Rissington village hall at 7pm. All are welcome.

And on Thursday (December 7) youngsters in Andoversford will be announcing their plans to brighten up a graffiti-hit bus shelter.

Finally on Friday (December 8), Safer Cotswolds will be unveiling the new form of transport for Police Community Support Officers in the District - electric bikes. The battery-powered bikes have been funded from the pot of council tax money paid by second home owners.

And the county's mobile youth unit will call into Cirencester on Friday afternoon to offer advice to parents and young people who want to learn more about substance misuse. Ryan Dowdeswell, from the Young People's Substance Misuse Service (YPSMS), will on hand in the van at the Brewery Car Park, near Tesco's from 2.45pm to 5pm.

Inspector Steve Williams of Gloucestershire Police said: "We are pleased to be involved with our partners on Community Safety Week. It is a good opportunity to let local people know what work is underway in their area to ensure they remain safe and that crime and disorder remains low in the area."

Cotswold District Council in urgent plea on future of Post Offices

29th November 2006

Cotswold District Council has called on the Government to protect village life by saving rural post offices from closure.

A meeting of Council yesterday, a motion was carried asking the Government to immediately confirm that it will continue to financially support rural post offices across Gloucestershire.

The motion, proposed by Council Leader Cllr Lynden Stowe and seconded by Gloucestershire County Council Leader and District Councillor Barry Dare, recognised that post offices are particularly valued by some of the District’s more vulnerable residents.

Cllr Stowe said: “It is vital to protect services in our rural areas and market towns. Post offices are often cornerstones of thriving and sustainable communities.

“In many villages, such as Mickleton where I live, there is no bank and one in seven residents relies on the post office to be able to withdraw cash.

“That cash is then spent in the wider local economy, helping to sustain our communities.

“If we lose our rural post offices, many people will be stuck without vital services. The Government doesn’t appreciate the realities of rural living. Many villages don’t even have a bus service and some people just can’t afford to travel to larger towns on a regular basis.

“We know some postmasters are finding it hard to make a living and we want to see immediate action from the Government to secure the future of these vital services.”

The Council will now write to the Secretary of State for Trade & Industry to demand immediate reassurance.

Cotswold District Council warns of change to travel token scheme

28th November 2006

People over 60 in the Cotswolds will soon be given their annual choice of receiving a free bus pass or travel tokens.

Cotswold District Council, which runs the scheme, is sending a review form to more than 10,000 eligible residents.

However, the Council is warning travellers that bus company Stagecoach West will not be accepting Cotswold District’s travel tokens from 1st April, 2007

Director of Support Services Dave McIntosh said: “This move by Stagecoach may affect how people decide between travel tokens or a bus pass.

“People need to decide whether they wish to continue receiving tokens, so that they can use taxis and “Dial-a-Ride” type services; put them towards a Senior Citizen’s Railcard and use bus services other than those run by Stagecoach or whether they wish to receive a bus pass.”

Applicants cannot receive both tokens and a pass – they may only have one - and may not change their choice until the following year.

Unfortunately, the Council is not in a position to advise people individually on the best course of action. Any queries about which operator will accept which concession need to be addressed to them directly.

The Council is asking people to fill out the form and return it as soon as possible using the envelope provided.

Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust Celebrates 20,000 Members

25th November 2006

At its AGM (Saturday 25 November) Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust celebrated passing the 20,000 members mark, a major milestone for the county’s leading conservation organisation.

The Trust, which was founded 45 years ago in 1961, now has 3.5 per cent of the population of Gloucestershire as members, making it one of the best supported Wildlife Trusts in the South West.

“This is a tremendous milestone for us,” says Dr Gordon McGlone, chief executive of Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust. “It underlines how much the people of Gloucestershire care about the county’s wildlife and environment, and that they’re willing to take action to preserve and promote them.

“Our membership is the bedrock of our organisation. It’s only through the support of individuals, families and corporate partners that we’re able to do the work we do, on the scale we presently do it. Today is a day to celebrate our members and the work their support enables us to undertake in Gloucestershire.”

The Trust’s membership profile has changed considerably over the years. Previously dominated by dedicated naturalists, the Trust’s membership now also embraces a growing proportion of ‘recreational’ and family supporters, many of whom regularly visit nature reserves and frequent the Trust’s wildlife events and open days.

This growing diversity in its membership has enabled the Trust to expand its core areas of work, which now include:

* Management of 73 nature reserves (2500 acres) in all parts of the county, ranging from the great expanse of ancient woodland at Lower Woods near Wickwar to the tiny Badgeworth Nature Reserve near Cheltenham, home to the rare and beautiful Badgeworth Buttercup.
* Interpretation of landscapes and wildlife, including information boards at nature reserves, way-marked walks and informative leaflets
* Campaigns and projects to protect particular species, oppose developments that would threaten habitats, raise community awareness, encourage individual action such as lobbying local MPs and decision makers to gardening in a wildlife friendly way.
* Education at its Conservation Centre in Gloucester, providing formal environmental education to around 3,000 Gloucestershire school children every year.
* Partnering with other organisations and land owners to address the fragmentation of the countryside and ‘join up’ habitats, allowing species to move and migrate naturally as the impact of climate change hits them.
* Organising a county-wide programme of events and activities including guided walks, talks, wildlife workshops, rural skills and nature reserve open days
* Monitoring the county’s wildlife populations and contributing data to the Gloucestershire Centre for Environmental Records, a Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust led project managed by Gloucestershire Wildlife Management
* Innovating with projects such as Don’t Waste Wildlife, a flagship initiative to promote wildlife friendly living through home composting and wildlife gardening. The Trust is hoping this area of its work will expand to embrace wider sustainable living issues, helping individuals in Gloucestershire reduce their carbon emissions and the impact of climate change.

“It’s our members and their support that enables us to do this work,” continues Gordon McGlone. “I think of it as a virtuous circle. We promote and protect Gloucestershire’s wildlife, we raise people’s awareness and they support us, enabling us to do more to support the wildlife and wild places they care about. Add to this the widening agendas of climate change and the countryside being a ‘natural health service’, and what we’re offering members is highly relevant and far reaching. Hence the record-breaking level of support we’re celebrating today, which I hope will continue to increase as our work in Gloucestershire continues to develop.”

Membership of the Trust costs from just £2 a month. Join on-line at www.gloucestershirewidlifetrust.co.uk, phone 01452 383333 or visit the Trust’s Conservation Centre at Robinswood Hill Country Park, Gloucester.

All I want for Christmas is … a stag beetle???

21st November 2006

This season’s ‘must have’ Christmas gift in Gloucestershire is a dormouse, barn owl or even a stag beetle according to the county’s Wildlife Trust.

Gloucestershire’s leading conservation charity is offering people the opportunity to ‘adopt’ one of six species of wildlife that are native to Gloucestershire and in need of a bit of extra help.

Species up for adoption include barn owl, brown hare, stag beetle, otter, dormouse and water vole, with money raised going directly into conservation work for the species adopted.

“This would make a brilliantly unusual gift for anyone who appreciates the county’s wildlife and countryside,” says Natalie Beecham of Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust. “It would also be great fun for children, who are among the most passionate about our environment. Christmas is a time for giving, so here’s an opportunity to help give some of our native species a fighting chance of survival in the county.”

Each adoption costs between £10-20. Adopters receive an adoption certificate, photo, fact file and, if under 16, a pop-up craft activity plus colouring sheets.

Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust has been running the scheme for a couple of months now and so far the most popular species being adopted is the dormouse, followed by the barn owl. Surprisingly for the Trust, the least popular species so far is the otter.

“We’re hoping Christmas will help raise the otter in the rankings,” continues Natalie Beecham. “Until recently it had been extinct in the county for 30 years but is now making a come back to our water ways. This is certainly a species that needs a lot of proactive conservation work to encourage its return, so we’re hoping that with this scheme we’ll get a bit of help from Father Christmas.”

Details of the six species up for adoption:

The dormouse has become extinct in seven other UK counties, but there’s a stronghold in Gloucestershire. They are nocturnal, which means the sleep during the day and are active at night.

The stag beetle is scarce all over the UK and only found in five places in Gloucestershire. Males can measure up to 8cm including their ‘antlers’ – so you’d know it if you saw one.

Water voles – aka ‘Ratty’ from Wind in the Willows – could be extinct in Gloucestershire in our lifetimes unless we curb their decline. Populations have dropped by 83% in the county over the last 20 years, mainly due to habitat loss and the American mink which likes to eat them.

The Brown Hare can run up to 48 miles an hour. It can also leap 8ft forward and almost as high. The species is declining nationally, but there are some strongholds in the Cotswolds and Severn Vale.

The otter is returning to Gloucestershire’s waterways after an absence of more than 30 years. They’ve been sighted at a number of Trust nature reserves and are thought to be breeding in the county.

The barn owl is in decline in Gloucestershire due to changes in farming practices. Many nesting sites have also been lost through barn conversions and the removal of hollow old trees.

If you’d like to adopt a species for Christmas, please ask Santa Claus to call 01452 383333 or visit www.gloucestershirewildlifetrust.co.uk for more details.

Bank robbery in Chipping Campden

21st November 2006

Police are appealing to the public for help in tracing a man who robbed a bank in Chipping Campden during the afternoon of Friday November 17.

The man entered the Lloyds TSB bank in the High Street, Chipping Campden, between 12.45pm and 1pm and handed the cashier a note demanding money and stating that he had a bomb.

A quantity of cash, thought to be in the region of £750, was handed to the offender who then left the bank.

The male is described as white, in his 20s, with a slim build and short, dark, spiky hair.

He was clean-shaven and was wearing wraparound sunglasses and a cream coloured jumper, possibly a roll neck, which was pulled up to cover his chin.

Anyone with information about the robbery is asked to call Gloucestershire police on 0845 090 1234, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111, quoting incident number 233 of November 17.

Going for Gold! Help the Corinium Museum to save treasure

20th November 2006

Cotswold residents and visitors are being urged to back a £20,000 campaign to keep a rare 3,000-year-old Bronze Age gold hoard in the District.

The 59 pieces of gold were discovered by a metal detector enthusiast on land in Poulton in 2004.

They were declared treasure earlier this year by the coroner and may now be sold, with the proceeds being split between the landowner and the finder.

Coriniun MuseumNow the Corinium Museum has launched a Going For Gold appeal to buy the hoard so that it can go on show in Cirencester.

Cotswold District Council’s Curator of Museums John Paddock said: “This is a very rare and important find and we would love to be able to raise the money to keep it in the Cotswolds. If it is sold on the open market, it may go abroad and be lost from the area forever.”

The unique collection of chopped items and fragments of gold are thought to have been the stock of a goldsmith who buried it 3,000 years ago – either to use again or as an offering of thanks to the gods.

The hoard, which is thought be dated between 1300 and 1150 BC, is the only such Bronze Age gold collection to be found in the Cotswolds.

Cllr David Fowles, Portfolio holder for Leisure and Cultural Services said: “The Council will be contributing some of its own money towards the cost but we can’t do it alone.

“We’re asking the residents of the District make a donation – whatever they can afford – to help us put this special collection on permanent display at the Corinium Museum.”

Kevin Ronaldson, Chairman Friends of Corinium Museum, said the newly formed organisation was backing the fund-raising campaign. He said: ”Although we have only just launched the Friends this September, we have already attracted a lot of members and are optimistic that we can provide valuable support to the appeal.”

Collecting boxes for donations are available in reception at Cotswold District Council offices in Cirencester and Moreton-in-Marsh and at the Corinium Museum.

Cheques should be made payable to the Cotswold Museums Charitable Trust and sent to Going For Gold, The Corinium Museum, Park Street, Cirencester, GL7 2BX.

If you pay income tax or capital gains tax, the Trust can help your money go further by claiming Gift Aid of 28p for every £1 donated. We need your name, address and postcode for this – please pick up a form at Council offices or the museum, or download one from the council’s website at www.cotswold.gov.uk.

Green Fire engines for Gloucestershire

18th November 2006

Fire Service vehicles in the county are now going green following the announcement that they will be running on environmentally friendly biodiesel fuel. As part of the county council’s commitment to a greener Gloucestershire Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service will be running vehicles from its four wholetime stations in Gloucester, Cheltenham, Stroud and Cirencester, on bio diesel.

Fire service vehicles in Gloucestershire to use bio dieselThe new fuel will reduce CO2 emissions and reduce the environmental impact of our fleet. The fuel will be used by all its vehicles, including fire engines, and there is no need to adapt any of the vehicles to use the new fuel.

Chief Fire Officer Terry Standing, said: “As a Fire and Rescue Service it is vital that we have the best and most efficient vehicles to provide an effective emergency response to the public. However, that must not be at the expense of the environment and this is one move we can make to minimise that impact. We are confident this is just one measure in a programme of moves we can make to become a greener service.”

Some fire engines in more rural locations will continue to fill up at local petrol stations due to their geographical locations, however all Service vehicle drivers will be encouraged to fill up at the new biodiesel stores wherever possible.

There are also ongoing talks with other County Council departments about whether their vehicles could eventually use the Fire Service greener fuel stores to fill up as well.
The service already has two fire vehicles fitted with catalytic converters, and has just commissioned three new fire engines to be built, all of which will be fitted with catalytic converters as standard. These will be delivered early next year.

These new fire engines are part of a £700,000 programme to replace older vehicles over 2007/2008 which was approved by Gloucestershire County Council earlier this month.
County Councillor Barry Dare, Leader of Gloucestershire County Council, said: “Our plans for greener fire engines come as part of our commitment to help build a greener Gloucestershire. I am passionate about our council doing its bit to fight climate change. I am very proud of the hard work that our Fire and Rescue Service staff have put in to take this important step.”

County Councillor Shaun Parsons, Cabinet Member for Community Safety, said: “The County Council is committed to providing a modern fire service fleet for the people of Gloucestershire, while ensuring we do everything possible to meet the green agenda.”

Report Gloucestershire potholes - 24/7!

14th November 2006

Is there a hole in your road, on the route to work or perhaps the school run? People in Gloucestershire can now report potholes 24 hours a day online.

Last year 2,254 people called Gloucestershire County Council to report a pothole and only 97 people reported one via the website. It's hoped to increase that by at least 200% in the coming year.
image depicting Report a pothole online

Cllr Stan Waddington, Cabinet Member Environment, said: "The online reporting facility offers people in Gloucestershire a convenient, quick and cheap way to report a hole in the road outside work hours, when the children are in bed or whenever it suits them. I would encourage more people to give this great service a go."
image depicting Streetlight

An average of 13,000 people across the county already access the County Council's website every day

New Tool in Fight Against Crime

14th November 2006

New Tool in Fight Against CrimeThe latest tool in the fight against crime is taking to the roads of Gloucestershire.

A new Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX FQ-340 has been bought by the Constabulary to make sure that the force can keep pace with the criminal fraternity.

The new car will be not be used for routine traffic enforcement, but to effectively target criminals on the roads.

Inspector Charlie Laporte, of Gloucestershire Constabulary, said: "The Mitsubishi Evo has long been recognised as being one of the most high performance cars available for use on the roads.

"Some of the criminals we deal with in Gloucestershire have access to this type of car themselves and it is only right that we do everything we can to keep pace with them.

"This vehicle will only be driven by our specially trained pursuit officers, and offers the force an effective tool in the fight against crime. We are confident that when we need to use it the car will help us to bring down crime and catch offenders more easily across the county."

The car is marked with police livery and fitted with the latest digital video equipment for recording incidents and evidence.

A number of other UK police forces use the Mitsubishi Evo.

Christmas at Blenheim Palace

11th November 2006

Blenheim Palace is opening its doors and welcoming visitors to enjoy the Palace dressed for Christmas in all it's Victorian elegance. From 11th November to 10th December, Wednesday to Sunday inclusive, the Palace and its courtyards will be transformed into a winter wonderland, offering visitors a truly magical experience.

Estate grown Christmas trees will sparkle in the colonnades, greeting visitors as they stroll through the Great Courtyard. Inside, glowing fires will provide a warm welcome to this unique baroque Palace. Elegant decorations adorn stunning Christmas trees in the Great Hall and Long Library adding to the traditional festive atmosphere and spot the Victorian toys as you wander through the beautiful rooms. In the Saloon, visitors can see the Marlborough family's spectacular Christmas table decorated with sparkling silverware, beautiful crystal, flowers, ribbons and baubles.

A traditional nativity scene has been set in the impressive chapel, while carol singers, organists and brass bands will bring the music of Christmas to life on Sundays until 10th December. Full tours of the Palace will run throughout the day, except on Sundays.

Stir-Up Sunday will be taking place in the East Courtyard on 12th November. This tells the story of the Christmas Pudding, from it's origination on the journey of the Magi, to the 13 ingredients in the pudding. Our lovely Victorian cook will be giving live demonstrations on how to make a traditional pudding and packs will be available to take away and make yourself. Then you will have a chance to stir the big pudding and make a special wish. Hot chocolate, mulled wine and hot sandwiches are available from midday. Demonstrations will run at 12.30pm, 2.00pm and 3.30pm.

Take the stress out of Christmas shopping and visit Living Crafts for Christmas from Friday 17th to Sunday 19th November. Celebrating the best of British crafts, there is no better place to stock up on presents and stocking fillers than in the courtyards of Britain's greatest Palace. Find unusual gifts from amongst a stunning range of the highest quality work created by around eighty of the country's top craftspeople. The craftwork includes beautiful jewellery, ceramics, textiles, art, leather goods, puzzles, toys, fashions and photography. Mouth-watering festive delicacies will also be available with homemade chocolates, flavoured cheddars, seasonal pies, chutneys and more. Spiced ales, meads, and mulled wines will delight your senses and tantalise your taste buds.

And Blenheim's own unique shops provide an array of beautiful Christmas decorations, gifts and home grown food such as Blenheim Water, Blenheim Honey and a specially selected range of champagne, wines and liqueurs. The combination of books, handcrafts, toiletries and luxurious arts and crafts, inspired by the beautiful Palace and Grounds, make shopping a delight.

Freshly cut Christmas trees will be on sale from 2nd December at the Pleasure Gardens or at Blenheim sawmill, Combe. Grown on the estate, over 1300 Norway Spruce, Serbian Spruce, Nordmann Firr and Scots Pine will be sold during the three weeks until Christmas. The trees, which take a minimum of 6 years of specialist care and attention to get to a saleable size, are freshly cut from the estate only days before they are put on sale with the benefit being that they last longer in your home.

On 10th December, join us for Carols in the Courtyard. From 2pm, school choirs and a brass band will be leading a celebration of Christmas before the Palace closes. Hot chestnuts and Christmas fare will be available.

Chipping Norton says ‘Buzz off!’ to anti-social behaviour

9th November 2006

Chipping Norton is tackling anti-social behaviour head on by fitting the Mosquito, an ultra-sonic device, in the Westgate Shopping Centre to deter trouble-makers.

The Mosquito system generates a pulsed ultra-sonic tone at around 16Khtz, which is close to the limit of the hearing range of people under 25 years old. While the noise causes no physical pain or damage to the body, it does become extremely annoying after five to 10 minutes of exposure, resulting in youngsters leaving the vicinity of where the system is fitted.

The Mosquito will be installed in the main pedestrian area of the Westgate Centre following complaints from shop owners and nearby residents that groups are gathering and causing trouble. The system will only be turned on at specific times to target problem periods and the majority of people over 30 can only just hear the noise, if at all, due to natural age-related hearing loss. The high frequency also means the noise is unable to penetrate solid objects so won’t be heard outside the premises.

“The system is already widely used by police and local authorities around the UK but this is the first time it will be installed in North Oxfordshire,” explains PC Simon Towers, Anti-Social Behaviour Manager for the West Oxfordshire Community Safety Partnership. “It has received great results elsewhere in the fight against anti-social behaviour so we are hopeful it will have the desired effect in tackling one of Chipping Norton's Neighbourhood top priorities.”

One of the businesses expected to benefit from the installation of the Mosquito Unit is the Co-op Supermarket. PR Manager for the Midcounties Co-operative, Adrian Barradell said: “We are aware that young people hanging about the entrance area to the shopping centre have, in the past, been off putting for our customers. We welcome the installation of the Mosquito Unit and hope it will reassure people, especially those visiting the store in the dark winter evenings. The key thing about the Mosquito is that it can be activated as and when it is required and it has been shown to be a useful tool in tacking anti-social behaviour.”

The Chipping Norton Neighbourhood Action Group held its annual review of priorities at the end of last month with a total of 320 members of the public being surveyed regarding their concerns about safety and quality of life. The results have been calculated and 'youths hanging around' remains one of the top three priorities for the Group to tackle over the next 12 months.

Cotswold Conservative Group Gains Two New Members

7th November 2006

The Conservative Group on Cotswold District Council has two new members –Cllr Ben Jeffrey (Moreton-in-Marsh) and Cllr Jim Parsons (Avening).

The two councillors have ‘crossed the floor’ from the Independent Group, bringing the Conservatives’ total number of seats on the Council to 30 out of 44.

Council and Conservative Group Leader, Cllr Lynden Stowe, said: “I have always respected the views of Ben and Jim and am delighted to welcome them to the Conservative Group.

“Jim has keen views on issues affecting the NHS, while Ben is particularly interested in matters affecting Moreton-in-Marsh and the north of the District.

“I am sure their years of experience in representing the people of Avening and Moreton-in-Marsh will prove an invaluable asset to us.”

Cllr Jeffrey has served on the District Council for 23 years, while Cllr Parsons was elected in 1999.

Cotswolds And Stroud Residents Urged To Turn Away Door-To-Door Salesmen

3rd November 2006

Police in the Cotswolds and Stroud Division are urging local residents to turn away anyone who comes to their door attempting to sell them goods or services.

The advice has been issued after a 72 year-old woman was pressured into paying £350 to offenders for weeding her garden.

The woman, who lives in Sunnyhill, Stroud, answered a knock on her door between 11am and mid-day on Saturday October 28.

The man on the doorstep, who had two teenaged males with him, claimed to be a gardener and offered to carry out work on the woman's property.

The woman agreed a price of £39 with the man to cut some weeds, but after carrying out just one hour's work he returned and asked the woman for £350 for his efforts.

She paid the man in cash at which point he, and his assistants, left the area.

He is described as a white male, approximately 30 years-old, wearing a green jumper and a full overcoat. The teenaged boys accompanying the man were also white and aged between 16 and 18.

PC Tim Griffiths, of Stroud police, urged residents to turn away anyone going door-to-door attempting to sell products or services.

"Trusting someone who calls at your door is a big risk," he said.

"You have no idea of their history, the quality of what they are trying to sell or their ability to fulfil any services they may be offering.

"Also, if something should go wrong you will have no means of contacting them.

"To avoid the risk of being a victim of unscrupulous callers, residents are advised to turn away ALL doorstep sellers of goods and services.

"If you need work doing in the garden or around the house, call a reputable company that has its details in the phone book and make an appointment for them to come round."

Anyone with information about the incident in Sunnyhill is asked to contact Gloucestershire police on 08945 090 1234, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111, quoting incident number 274 of October 28.

Force Warns Vandals - "We'll See You in Court"

2nd November 2006

A crackdown is being launched against criminal damage, with a warning being issued to offenders that they will be prosecuted and taken to court if arrested for committing such offences.

Criminal damage, which includes graffiti and vandalism, is an increasing problem in Gloucestershire.

Offenders arrested for causing criminal damage can be dealt with in a number of ways, depending on the severity of the offence.

Low level offences may be dealt with by way of a caution or a fixed penalty notice, rather than with a court prosecution.

But police are now vowing to get tough in an attempt to address the situation and, wherever appropriate, offenders will be taken to court.

Superintendent Neil Mantle said: "Criminal damage is sometimes seen as a victimless crime, because it is most often committed against property such as cars, shop windows, buildings and street furniture.

"But there is always someone on the receiving end of the damage who needs to go to the expense of having repairs made or graffiti cleaned off.

"It is not only inconvenient, it is also upsetting to those who take pride in their property to have it damaged in this way, and there is no reason why someone who is either drunk or has nothing better to do should be allowed to get away with such destructive behaviour.

"We need to get the message across that crimes like this are serious and anyone we catch for these offences will now more than likely end up in court.

"Something that seemed like a bit of fun or a way to pass five minutes will not seem so funny with a criminal record that lasts many years."

Statistics for criminal damage in Gloucestershire demonstrate there has been a nine per cent increase in offences for the three months from August to October 2006 compared to the same period in 2005.

Fairford Police Issue Picture Of Valuable Stolen Clock

1st November 2006

Fairford Police have issued a picture of a valuable clock stolen during a house burglary in Lechlade earlier this month.

Fairford Police Issue Picture Of Valuable Stolen ClockThe clock, which is worth more than £2,000, was taken from a property in Wharf Lane, Lechlade, between 9pm and 9.50pm on Wednesday October 25.

Offenders smashed a ground floor window before leaning inside and stealing the clock from the windowsill.

Anyone who knows the whereabouts of the clock is asked to contact police on 0845 090 1234, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111, quoting incident number 570 of October 25.


Cotswolds And Stroud Police Target Vandals Across The Division

1st November 2006

Police in the Cotswolds and Stroud Division will be increasing town centre patrols and seeking to press charges against anyone arrested for vandalism, in a bid to reduce incidents of criminal damage in the area during November.

Officers have always had the option of dealing with those caught committing acts of criminal damage in a variety of ways, from cautions and fixed penalty notices to arrest and charge, depending on the circumstances.

During November however, Cotswolds and Stroud police will be looking to prosecute offenders whenever possible in a bid to reduce vandalism in communities across the area.

Chief Superintendent Dean Walker, The divisional commander, said: "We are committed to reducing criminal damage in the Cotswolds and Stroud Division, as we are well aware of the distress, fear and frustration such activity can cause residents and communities.

"We have always been able to call on a range of disposals when dealing with those responsible for criminal damage. For minor cases, or when circumstances dictated it was the right option, we have been able to deal with offenders by way of caution or a fixed penalty notice.

"During November, however, we will be looking to press charges against anyone we catch committing acts of vandalism.

"A lot of criminal damage is committed by people who, whether through boredom or as a result of excess alcohol, decide it will be fun to destroy other people's property.

"We want these people to know that if they continue to act in such an irresponsible manner there is every chance they will end up with a court appearance and, ultimately, a criminal record."

In recent weeks officers in the Cotswolds and Stroud division have made several arrests in relation to multiple offences of criminal damage.

In the early hours of Tuesday October 17 Stow police arrested an 18 year-old local man in connection with a spate of vandalism that occurred in the town.

The charges related to damage caused to four shop windows and 10 cars in Stow between 12.30am and 1am.

The man, who was also charged with one offence of public order, appeared before magistrates in Cheltenham on Wednesday October 25.

On October 21 two teenaged boys, aged 17, were arrested after several cars parked in the town were damaged.

The youths, both of whom are from Chipping Campden, are currently on police bail pending further enquiries until Thursday November 23

Warning To Cotswolds Residents About Suspicious Raffle Ticket Sellers


Police in the Cotswolds are warning homeowners to be on their guard against callers attempting to obtain their personal and bank details by posing as raffle ticket sellers.

Members of the public have contacted the police about such activities on two occasions since Wednesday October 18, and officers are concerned they may call on other homes in the area.

On October 18 two men called at a house in Park Close, Fairford, and asked the occupant if they would like a free prize draw ticket to win a Nissan Micra car.

During a brief conversation the men tried to get the homeowner to divulge personal details, including bank account details.

The men, one of whom was short and 'tubby' and the other tall and thin, left at the resident's request.

On Sunday October 22 a man called at a house in Down Ampney at approximately 1.30pm.

He offered the occupant a ticket for a free prize draw and asked them to supply personal details in return.

When the man refused to give the resident the ticket or explain the nature of the draw he left the area.

He is described as white, in his mid 20s with a stocky build and dark hair. He was wearing a black bomber jacket and dark trousers.

Anyone with information about either incident, or who has experienced a similar situation, is asked to call Gloucestershire police on 0845 090 1234, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111, quoting incident number 97 of October 20.

Appeal For Witnesses After Burglary In Lechlade


25th October 2006
Police are appealing to the public for information after offenders broke into one home and attempted to break into another in Lechlade during the evening of Tuesday October 24.

The two incidents happened in Oak Street, Lechlade, between approximately 10pm and 10.30pm.

In the first instance offenders smashed a window at the rear of a property owned by an elderly woman and searched a room in the premises before leaving empty-handed.

The second incident saw offenders smash a window at the rear of a property just a few doors away. No entry was gained on this occasion.

Anyone who saw or heard anything in the area at around the relevant times is asked to contact police on 0845 090 1234, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111, quoting incident number 649 of October 24.

Have your say on Cotswold spending plans


Cotswold residents will get their chance to have a say on how the District Council’s budget is spent at a series of public meetings.

Council leader Cllr Lynden Stowe and Chief Executive Bob Austin will host the five evening meetings in market towns around the District.

All meetings start at 7pm and the dates and venues are:

* Monday 30th October - Dolphin Hall, Tetbury
* Wednesday, 1st November - CDC Moreton Area Centre
* Thursday, 2nd November - CDC Council Chamber, Cirencester
* Monday, 6th November - Cotswold School, Bourton-on-the-Water
* Tuesday, 7th November - Community Centre, Fairford

The meetings are open to anyone who would like to be involved. They will start with a short explanation of the Council’s finances – including where it gets its money from, where it goes, what the Council’s priorities are and how council tax bills are structured.

We will also explain the financial challenges the Council faces, the decisions that need to be made before next year’s budget is finalised early in 2007 and the Council’s financial strategy for the next four years. There will then be an opportunity to ask questions and put forward your views.

Cllr Stowe said: “This may sound a bit heavy, but we really want to hear what people have to say about council tax increases, increases in fees and charges and potential service changes.

“We’ll be giving people more information about what the Council has to do to balance the books - just like any family has to plan its household budget.

“For example, everyone knows that gas and electricity bills are going up. We are looking at an extra £150,000 on fuel alone next year.

“Rather than proposing a big council tax increase to cover that and other extra costs, we will be talking about a combination of measures. This could include delivering services more cheaply or a reduction in services, balanced by increased fees and charges and a small council tax increase.”

Councillor Stowe called on more Cotswold residents to make the effort to come along to the meetings and make their views known.

He said: “In the past, these meetings have not been particularly well attended and I really hope more people will turn out and join in this year.

“Those who do come always tell us they find the events informative and thought-provoking. Did you know, for example, that all the services Cotswold District Council provides cost the average council tax payer just £2.50 a week?”

The meetings follow on from two workshops the Council held recently with residents and representatives who work with ‘hard to reach’ groups such as very elderly, the homeless and people with disabilities.

The main messages from people who attended the workshops were:

* A council tax increase around the level of inflation is acceptable. A smaller number of people would support a higher increase.

* CDC should raise income by charging for discretionary services, such as planning advice.

* Where possible, the Council should cover its costs by increasing charges for facilities such as leisure, museums and parking. People could then choose whether to use these services rather than subsidise them through council tax.

* Residents should pay less for services than tourists and people who work in the Cotswolds.

* The Council should continue to spend on priority areas of affordable housing and protecting our environment.

For more information about the meetings, please contact the Council on 01285 623101.

Police Warning To Users Of Internet Auction Sites


20th October 2006
Gloucestershire police are urging members of the public to be wary of a scam being employed by criminals on popular Internet auction websites.

Officers have received several reports from members of the public who have had large sums of money stolen from them after they attempted to sell items via the web.

The scam works by offenders selecting an item online, usually a high value item such as a car or motorbike, and agreeing to buy it for the seller's price.

The offender then sends the seller a fake bankers draft for more than the agreed sum, sometimes several thousand pounds more, and asks the seller to transfer the difference to a third party account or address.

The scam relies on the fact that banks will show a cheque in the seller's account before checks to determine if it's fraudulent or not can be carried out.

PC John Loveridge, of the Cotswolds and Stroud Division Crime Management Unit, said the scam was a quick and easy way for criminals to make large amounts of money.

"If, for example, someone has an item on sale for £3,000 the offender will send them a bankers draft for, say, £7,000, and ask the seller to transfer the £4,000 difference to a third party for 'shipping' or other reasons," he said.

"Victims are usually asked to do this via an agency such as Western Union so the transaction is instant.

"The unwary seller, thinking they will be reimbursed, transfers their own money to the account specified by the offender. It is only later, when the bankers draft is found to be fake, they realise they have effectively helped a thief to thousands of pounds of their own cash."

PC Loveridge urged users of Internet auction sites to take extreme care when using them.

"Users should read the security advice given on these websites thoroughly, and check out prospective buyers and sellers as much as possible before committing to a deal," he said.

"If something seems unusual or too good to be true, trust your instincts and alert the police or the website.

"There is often little recourse for victims of Internet fraud. In lots of cases addresses or accounts given by offenders are based overseas, making it extremely difficult for police in the UK to trace and apprehend those responsible."

Cotswold District Council back project for better school dinners


A purpose-built training facility to turn out top-class school cooks is planned in Cirencester - with the backing of Cotswold District Council.

The Council’s Cabinet today agreed to support a bid for £25,000 of second homes funding towards the £150,000 project at the Royal Agricultural College.

The project aims to train cooks to provide better, fresher and healthier menus for schools and care homes in the Cotswolds and surrounding areas.

Council Leader Cllr Lynden Stowe said: “We’re delighted to help the Cotswold Local Strategic Partnership play a leading role in helping this project move forward as it will help so many important sectors of the Cotswold community.

“Children and elderly people will benefit from better meals, jobs will be created and local companies will be picked to supply foods. It’s an all-round winner.

“The recent campaign by Jamie Oliver for healthier school dinners shows there is a real need for such a facility to help tackle national trends such as childhood obesity. We want to see this project succeed and become a centre of regional excellence in the Cotswolds.”

The RAC is pay £60,000 towards the costs, with further funding support from Stroud College. The project – The Healthy Eating for Schools & Carers Training Facility – is also hoping to secure funding from Hartpury College, Gloucestershire County Council and Swindon Borough Council.

The project, which hopes to be up and running in Spring 2007, has identified a need to train the 500 school cooks in Gloucestershire and is also planning to serve Swindon and Wiltshire.

With a rapidly-growing ageing population in the Cotswolds, there is also a need to train care staff, as healthier eating can help older people to fight off illnesses, reducing the strain on health services.

The £25,000 recommended by Cotswold District Council would be paid through the Cotswold Local Strategic Partnership, which has been awarded more than £100,000 of second homes funding by the Council this year to spend on its themes of community safety; health; economy and skills; and environment.

The grant is subject to the approval of Gloucestershire County Council, which holds the fund, made up of council tax paid by second home owners.

Trip to Finland is slammed as 'junket' by Cotswold leader


Cotswold District Council leader Cllr Lynden Stowe has condemned a planned trip to Finland by a fellow member of the South West Regional Assembly (SWRA) as a festive ‘junket’.

North Wiltshire District Council member, Cllr Ruth Coleman (Liberal Democrat), told the Assembly in a report that she was proposing to make the trip ‘before the end of the year’. It follows a meeting of Graham Watson, MEP (Liberal Democrat), with Lapp representatives in Brussels recently.

Cllr Coleman said in her Committee of the Regions report: “The Lapp people have been lobbying actively for better support for their language and culture . . . and we hope to have a meeting with local Lapp representatives in Finland before the end of the year.”

But Cllr Stowe will tell the next meeting of the Assembly in Exeter on Friday (October 20) that he thinks the trip is a waste of tax payers’ money.

He said: “Given the season and the destination, this sounds suspiciously like a pre-Christmas junket to me; Santa Claus and reindeer come to mind. I’m no expert, but I find it hard to believe there are a significant number of Lapp people living in the South West of England.

“Why is this trip needed so soon after Mr Watson’s meeting in Brussels? It’s a disgrace and a waste of Cotswold tax payers’ money, which goes towards funding the South West Regional Assembly.”

Cllr Stowe, who is the Cotswold district representative on the SWRA, called on the Government to scrap regional assemblies, which are made up of councillors from all local authorities and various other unelected representatives.

He said: “I’m asking the people of the Cotswolds to join me in calling upon the Government to abolish all regional assemblies and instead invest the money in priority areas such as affordable housing and increased recycling.”

Cotswold Supports Campaign for Better Backs


16th October 2006
A national campaign to tackle back pain in the workplace is being highlighted by Cotswold District Council.

The Better Backs Campaign, which starts today (October 16th) is a joint effort between the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and local authorities.

In 2004/5, 4.9 million working days were lost in Great Britain due to back pain, costing the economy billions.

The aim of the campaign is to reduce the number of employees suffering back pain caused, or made worse, by work.

The District Council’s health and safety team will be out and about in the Cotswolds advising employers on how they can help their staff avoid back problems.

Health and Safety Officer Tracy Wain said: “Research has found that many workers suffer back pain. This is bad for them and for business.

“Everyone can do something to minimise back pain and reduce its impact. Not only does back pain create a significant impact on those affected but their co-workers and family.”

Here is a list of simple do’s and don’ts that will help deal with back pain:

DO:
• Stay as active as usual, if possible. But see your doctor if you are worried about the back pain or if the pain persists or suddenly gets worse.
• Take simple pain relief to help with the pain, check with your doctor or pharmacist about which type of pain relief is best.
• Speak to your employer or your worker’s representative to discuss what can be done to help you stay at work. This may mean changing your duties until you are fit and well.

DON’T
• Unless your doctor has told you to, don’t take to your bed and wait for the pain to go away. Usually the sooner you get back to normal activity, the better.
• Worry. Back pain is rarely serious and unnecessary worry can sometimes delay recovery.

Tracy added: “There are many simple steps you can take to keep your back healthy, like taking exercise and staying active, using lifting aids and checking your posture.”

For more information on this campaign please visit www.betterbacks.hse.gov.uk or phone HSE’s infoline on 08453450055.

If you wish to speak to an Officer at Cotswold District Council, about work related back pain, please phone 01285 623000 and ask to speak to a Health and Safety Officer in the Environmental Protection team. Any calls will be treated confidentially

Falling Crime in Gloucestershire welcomed by Home Office Minister


Record police numbers in Gloucestershire combined with nearly 1,900 people undergoing drug treatment helped to cut domestic burglary and vehicle crime by more than 10 per cent last year, Home Office Minister Vernon Coaker said during a visit to the county on 19th September.

Mr Coaker was speaking as he visited community safety teams in Gloucestershire to meet people at the frontline, as well as the substance misuse centre in Gloucester. A total of 1,869 people were treated for drug misuse in Gloucestershire in 2004/05, which helped to contribute to a big fall in crime: domestic burglary fell by 14 per cent in 2005/06 while vehicle crime was slashed by 16 per cent in the same period. That figure rose to almost 20 per cent in Gloucester alone.

Mr Coaker said:

"Drug treatment and visible policing improve community safety and enhance a community’s wellbeing. By getting more people into drug treatment we improve individual lives. But we also increase the quality of life for all because we know drug-misusing offenders can cause crime. Drug treatment teams, working in tandem with police and communities, make a big impact.

"Gloucestershire Police has shown admirable commitment to frontline policing with its safer community teams. This focuses on providing a visible police presence, allowing police to respond to community concerns and providing important assurance.

"More visible police means more reassurance for communities."

There are 1,289 police officers in Gloucestershire, an increase of 156 on nine years ago. They are backed by increasing numbers of Police Community Safety Officers (PCSOs), who tackle anti-social behaviour and provide on the street assurance, complementing the work of police officers. Gloucestershire Police currently employs 87 PCSOs and aims to increase that number to 158 by April 2007.

Gloucestershire Police focus on visible policing through its safer community teams which aim to tackle grassroots problems. Since they were introduced two years ago these teams, made up of a police sergeant, four police constables and two PCSOs, have worked with communities to tackle priorities such as anti social behaviour.

At a higher level, Gloucestershire is divided into Inspector Neighbourhood Areas where there is a local police station and inspector providing 24-hour police cover. The overall aim is to provide a citizen focused police service responsive to local needs.

Motorists Urged To Stay Out Of Stroud On Half Marathon Day


Friday October 13, 2006
Stroud police are urging motorists to avoid the town on the morning of the annual half-marathon - or risk facing significant delays.

This year's event, which is scheduled to start at 10am on Sunday October 22, is expected to involve up to 2,000 runners.

Most of the 13 mile race will take place on country roads and lanes around Stroud, but some sections will see participants running on roads in the town.

Consequently police will be implementing temporary road closures on several routes to ensure the safety of runners and motorists.

The roads due to be closed during the half-marathon are:

* · The A419 Cainscross Road between Cainscross Roundabout and the Gannicox Lane junction with Cainscross Road - from 9.30am until 1.30 pm.

* · The B4008 Standish Lane between Standish Church and the junction of the A38 - from10.20am until 11.45am.

* · The Nupend (Grove) Lane running from the A38 at Whitminster to the entrance to the Little Chef at the island on the A419 near Chipmans Platt - from 10.30am until 12 noon.

* · Paganhill Lane in both directions - from 10.50am until 12.30 pm.

Insp Nick Holmes, of Stroud police, said motorists could help keep traffic congestion to a minimum by staying out of Stroud on the morning of the race.

"Due to the various road closures it is likely there will be significant delays for motorists who attempt to drive into Stroud during the morning of October 22," he said.

"The event starts at 10am and the bulk of the runners are likely to have completed the course by around 1pm.

"Between these times we would ask drivers to help us by seeking an alternative route around Stroud, or by staying away until the conclusion of the race."

Insp Holmes said the co-operation of motorists would mean fewer problems and ensure a successful and enjoyable event.

"The half marathon is a fantastic occasion for the town. It attracts participants from all over the country," he said.

"Our aim is to make the day as enjoyable for local people as it is for those taking part, but we can only do this with the public's help."

The Stroud Half-Marathon is organised by the Stroud & District Athletic Club.

Force Helicopter Unit Donates Cash To Charity


Wednesday October 11, 2006
Members of the helicopter unit hand over a cheque for £500 to Cloud 9 organisers and children going on the next trip to America

A Gloucestershire charity has benefited from a £500 donation, thanks to officers from the force helicopter.

Gloucestershire Cloud 9 charity take children who are ill, have spent long periods of time in hospital or who suffer from painful medical treatment on the holiday of a lifetime to Florida.

Gloucestershire officers working for the Western Counties Air Operations Unit (WCAOU), the helicopter unit that is jointly shared with Avon and Somerset police, have made the donation after raising the cash through sales of popular helicopter merchandise bought through their charity fund.

The unit sell everything from pens and mugs to mousemats and t-shirts to raise money to give to worthy causes in the county.

Also included in the fund are donations given to the unit following voluntary talks and information sessions given to local groups and societies.

Gloucestershire Cloud 9 has been chosen in recognition of the fantastic work the charity does in bringing happiness to the lives of Gloucester's special children, giving them an opportunity that may otherwise have been denied them due to the confines of their illness.

The charity exists on a voluntary basis helping children aged 8-15 who suffer from chronic ill health or disability, such as cancer, leukaemia, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, asthma, diabetes and heart and lung disease. These children bravely spend their young lives coping with serious ongoing problems that will deny them the freedom of childhood that we all take for granted.

Many of the Cloud 9 children spend frequent periods of time in hospital often undergoing painful treatments, invasive surgery and a lifetime of medical intervention that will continue into their adult life.

Cloud 9 offers these children an all expenses paid holiday of a lifetime to Disney World Florida accompanied by a team of carers who provide the medical care and support that they may need.

In November Cloud 9 embarks on their 15th trip to Florida, which includes visits to Disney world, Universal Studios, the Epcot centre, MGM Studios, Sea world and many other exciting theme parks. The highlight of the trip is the experience of swimming with dolphins at Discovery Cove.

But the donation isn't the force's only link with the charity, Hucclecote Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) Kevin Lee has been part of Cloud 9's fundraising committee for the past decade, and this year takes his seventh trip to America with Cloud 9 as a carer.

Pc Steve Mills from WACOU said: "We are over the moon to be able to support Gloucestershire Cloud 9 and help them continue with their amazing work.

"We hope the donation will go some way to helping to bring a smile to another child's face and ensuring that children with life threatening illness and disability in Gloucestershire can realise their dreams."

Gloucestershire Arrests as Part of Five-Force Operation


Gloucestershire Constabulary is at the centre of a major police operation involving five forces which led to 14 arrests in a series of raids this morning (Tues Oct 10).

Search warrants were executed at a number of addresses in both Cheltenham and the Cotswolds with six people being arrested within Gloucestershire, and other arrests taking place in Oxfordshire and Worcestershire.

The arrests are a significant development for Operation Haul, which was set up in October 2005 jointly by Thames Valley Police, West Mercia Constabulary, Warwickshire Police, Wiltshire Police and Gloucestershire Constabulary to target an organised crime network believed responsible for 23 serious offences throughout the five force areas.

Thames Valley Police Asst Ch Con Francis Habgood, Operation Haul commander on behalf of the five forces, said: "The crimes being investigated by Operation Haul include some of the highest profile - and highest value - burglaries this country has ever seen.

"I make specific mention of the raids on Ramsbury Manor, in Wiltshire, in February; Woolley Park House, in Berkshire, in April last year; Stanton Harcourt Manor, in Oxfordshire, in November last year; Rendcomb Manor in Cirencester, also in November last year, and Ombersley Court in Worcestershire in October last year.

"In total, detectives have investigated over £30 million worth of crime over a 21 month period. The five forces together have recovered approximately a third of this, including an ATM from Sonning Common in the last few months and around half of the antiques stolen from Ramsbury Manor.

"These arrests should demonstrate that where criminality does not recognise police force boundaries, neither do we - we will work together very closely to ensure that suspects are identified and brought to justice, and I hope that the communities within the five forces take some re-assurance from this."

Gloucestershire's Assistant Chief Constable, Operations, Mark Polin, said: "This phase of the operation has been many months in the planning and we are delighted that things have now come to fruition in the way they have.

"To have five forces collaborating on such a large scale operation is an indication of the excellent working relationships we have formed and the determination to stamp out serious criminality, whether on a local scale or across force boundaries.

"Let this be a warning to the criminal fraternity that, whatever it takes, we have the will and the operational capability to tackle them."

The offences being investigated by Operation Haul are as follows:

* Theft of ATM at Strensham Services, north bound Carriageway, M5 motorway, Worcestershire, between 2100 hours on 31st December 2004 and 1st January 2005.

* Burglary at Woolley Park House, Woolley, Berkshire. Between 2200 hours 9th April 2005 and 0030 hours on the 10th April 2005.

* Burglary of Wilsons Stores, 32 Fairview Road, Hungerford, Berkshire. 0058 hours on the 21st of May 2005.

* Burglary of J. H .Thorpe Television and Audio specialists, Alderminster, Warwickshire at 0100 hours 29th July 2005.

* Burglary of The Treasure Trove, 12 The Green, Broadway, Worcestershire at 0310 hours on 29th July 2005.

* Burglary of Robert Welch Studio, Lower High Street, Chipping Camden, Gloucestershire at 0415 hours 1st October 2005.

* ATM theft at Nationwide Building Society, 6 High Street, Twyford, Berkshire at 0356 Hours on 29th August 2005.

* Burglary of Minster Lovell Post Office, 68 Brize Norton Road, Minster Lovell, Witney, Oxon at 0500 hours 10th October 2005.

* Burglary of Ombersley Court, Holt Fleet Road, Ombersley, Worcestershire, at 2050 hours on the 12th October 2005.

* Theft at Countrywide Stores, A4430, Bearley, Warwickshire at 1515 hours on 20th October 2005.

* Burglary of Ramsbury Hill House, Ramsbury, Marlborough, Wiltshire at 2010 hours on 21st October 2005.

* Burglary at Warneford Place, Sevenhampton, Swindon, Wiltshire at 1930 hours on 24th October 2005.

* Burglary at Spetchley Park, Worcester, at 1310 hours on 8th November 2005.

* Burglary at Broombank Caravan Park, Newnham Bridge, Tenbury Wells, Worcestershire between 0830 hours and 1720 hours on 10th of November 2005.

* Burglary at The Manor, Main Street, Stanton Harcourt, Witney, Oxfordshire at 1950 hours on 16th November 2005.

* Burglary at The Crown of Crucis Hotel, Ampney Crucis, Cirencester, Gloucestershire at 2250 hours 21st November 2005.

* Burglary of Rendcomb Manor, Rendcomb, Cirencester, Gloucestershire, at 1500 hours on 23rd November 2005.

* Burglary of Cottage Garden Nurseries, Badsey, Evesham, Worcestershire at 2330 hours on 19th January 2006.

* ATM theft at National Westminster Bank, Mortimer, Reading, Berkshire at 0315 hours on 27th January 2006.

* Attempted Burglary at Compton Graze, Little Compton, Moreton-in-Marsh, Gloucestershire at 1620 hours on 31st January 2006

* Burglary of Ramsbury Manor, Ramsbury, Wiltshire at 2230 hours on 1st February 2006.

* ATM theft at National Westminster Bank, Peppard Road, Sonning Common, Oxfordshire at 0200 hours on 7th March 2006.

* Burglary of Woolley Park House, Woolley, Berkshire between 1450 hours and 1620 hours on 25th April 2006.

Woman, 26, Injured In Crash In Stow


Monday October 9, 2006
A woman is in a critical condition in hospital after the vehicle she was driving was involved in a crash near Stow on the Wold during the evening of Sunday October 8.

The woman had been driving down Stow Hill on the A429 in a red BMW 316 when the vehicle lost control and left the road on the nearside at around 10.27pm.

The car collided with a road sign and a stone wall causing the driver, a 26 year-old local woman, serious injuries.

She was taken to Cheltenham General Hospital by ambulance, where she remains at this time in a critical condition.

Anyone with information about the crash is asked to contact Gloucestershire police on 0845 090 1234, quoting incident number 618 of October 8.

Gloucestershire Residents Can Go Interactive


Residents in Gloucestershire are now able to access their local council through their remote control.

Looking Local gives residents with Sky or Cable television access to council services by pressing their interactive red button. And all seven of Gloucestershire’s councils have now signed up.

There are around 100,000 Sky and Cable (NTL / Telewest) subscribers in Gloucestershire, almost 40% of the population, and this latest initiative follows a move by local councils to be as accessible as possible to local people.

Cotswold District Council Portfolio holder for Customer Services, Cllr John Burgess, said: “This is yet another way to access your local council and find out more about the services we can provide. Lots of people are happier using a remote control then they are the internet or even the telephone and councils have to keep up with the demands of new technology. We hope Looking Local will give residents who have little opportunity to access council services in the usual way, to get in touch and find out more.”

The project went live today (October 6th ) and services available include:

* school term dates
* bus timetables
* request a voting form
* tourist information and legal advice
* report abandoned vehicles, potholes, noisy neighbours, faulty streetlights, etc.
* request a recycling box
* send in comments, questions, feedback and complaints
* contact your councillor
* request a call back from the council

The pilot project will run for a trial period and if it proves a success with residents, councils will increase the number of services available through your remote. This could include jobs and library book renewals.

Councils taking part are: Cheltenham Borough Council, Cotswold District Council, Forest of Dean Council, Gloucester City Council, Gloucestershire County Council, Stroud District Council and Tewkesbury Borough Council.

The project is funded by Gloucestershire Electronic Partnership includes the county council and the six district councils working together to improve the quality of and access to the many services they provide.

Gloucestershire Police Team Up With Nigel Marven To Fight The Illegal Trade In Wild Animals


Gloucestershire Police and the RSPCA have teamed up with well-known naturalist and TV presenter Nigel Marven to draw public attention to the illegal trade of endangered species in the county.

Nigel, the popular Naturalist, Filmmaker and Presenter of ITV's Prehistoric Park, BBC's Sea Monsters and Channel Five's Rhino Adventure and Big Cats, kindly agreed to take in two tortoises recovered at the beginning of September 2006 following a joint investigation by Gloucestershire Constabulary and the RSPCA.

The enquiry was launched after police received reports that two very young Mediterranean Spur-Thighed Tortoises (testudo graeca sp), believed to have been taken from the wild, had been sold, illegally, in a Cirencester pub.

A 19 year-old man and 23 year-old woman were spoken to by police as a result, and it became clear that they had bought the tortoises from an unknown male three to four months previously.

Both individuals, who were unaware of the laws controlling the sale of protected species, co-operated fully with the investigation and no further action was taken against them. The two tortoises, which were in good condition and aged about 11 months old, were subsequently surrendered into the care of the RSPCA for re-homing.

As part of the investigation there was a need to identify the species of tortoises and officers were greatly assisted by Marc Ormond, Herpetologist at Cotswold Wildlife Park.

Marc not only identified the tortoises, he was then able to help by putting the police and the RSPCA in touch with Nigel.

Once the situation was explained to Nigel he was very keen to help by welcoming the two young tortoises into the collection of animals he keeps at his home near Bristol.

Expressing his concern about the unnecessary trading of wild animals, Nigel said, "Keeping reptiles and other exotic pets is extremely rewarding, but there's absolutely no need to remove any animal from the wild.

"Always buy from well-established, reputable suppliers of captive-bred animals; they're easy to find, and they'll always give advice on how to properly care for your pets.

"While I welcome these two new arrivals I'm obviously concerned that a black-market trade in protected species continues."

PC Jon Palfrey, of Cirencester police, said: "Although this story ended well, with the two tortoises going to a good home, it is important to raise public awareness of the illegal international trade in endangered species.

"Offences were committed in the sale of these tortoises, and the actions of the male who sold them are a clear example of how the illegal trade in endangered species reaches all parts of the World.

"What might be seen as the cheaper option to obtain these animals - taking them from the wild - does not consider the cost to the environment and the animals within it. All of us must consider how our actions affect the Flora and Fauna on our planet and act accordingly."

Both Gloucestershire Constabulary and the RSPCA are appealing for the public to come forward with any information they may have in relation to any offence relating to wildlife or the international trade in endangered species.

Anyone with information about the sale of the two tortoises in Cirencester is asked to call 0845 090 1234, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111, quoting incident number 258 of September 5.

Police Seek Victims Of County Fuel Thief


Petrol station owners are being urged to get in touch with police if they have been the victim of a male thought to have stolen petrol from more than 50 filling stations in Gloucestershire.

Officers believe the male offender is responsible for targeting petrol stations around the county since approximately April 2005.

On each occasion the offender filled his car's petrol tank before telling the cashier that he had no means of paying for the fuel.

He would leave a false name and address with the cashier and promise to return the following day with payment. On each occasion he failed to do so.

In a bid to trace all the premises that may have been targeted by the offender officers are urging petrol station owners to get in touch if they recognise themselves as having been victims of the male.

Between approximately April 2005 and December of the same year he drove a blue Rover 100 with the registration R376 CGD.

After this time he drove a silver Rover 400 with the registration P610 BDD.

Anyone who has been the victim of this offender, or who has any information about the crimes, is asked to contact PC Beverley Smith on 0845 090 1234, or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Local Connections Policy For Rented Homes


A new scheme that takes into account people’s local connections when allocating affordable rented homes has been agreed in the Cotswolds.

Working in partnership, Fosseway Housing Association (FHA) and Cotswold District Council have agreed to establish a local lettings policy.

The Council transferred all its housing stock in 1997 to FHA, which is now the largest registered social landlord in the District.

The new policy means Fosseway and the district’s other main housing associations can identify properties that may be suitable when considering people with local connections.

Council leader Cllr Lynden Stowe said: “The Council has no say in who should be housed, but we are very keen to ensure people with local connections have opportunities to rent an affordable home.

“We are very pleased that Fosseway has agreed to take this policy on board. While it’s important that housing need will always come first, local connections may now be used as an additional determining factor when letting homes.

“I hope that working with Fosseway on this scheme will go some way towards building sustainable communities where people with strong ties to the Cotswolds can live.”

Stephen Cook, Managing Director of FHA, said: “We share the Council’s objective to build sustainable communities and believe that a flexible approach, tailored to certain properties that become vacant, will contribute towards this.

“There are almost 4500 applicants on the housing register and we have only 400 vacancies each year. All our vacancies are advertised in the local newspaper, and it will clearly show where a local connection criteria has been agreed. Naturally, applicants need to ensure that their details held by HomeView are fully up to date in order to benefit from these new agreements.”

Stow Police Meet With Youngsters To Discuss Anti-Social Behaviour


Police in Stow on the Wold recently held a meeting with local young people in an effort to foster greater understanding and to discuss community concerns regarding perceived anti-social behaviour in Stow Square.

The meeting, which took place at Stow police station during the evening of Thursday September 28, involved many of the young people who regularly visit Stow Square, local Acting Police Sergeant Ian Ranford, PC Gary Brewer and PCSO Melanie Cheesbrough.

During the meeting, which lasted more than an hour, officers and youngsters discussed the views of some in the community that anti-social behaviour is becoming an issue in Stow Square.

"The youngsters we spoke to were well mannered and respectful," said APS Ranford.

"They told us that most of the problems caused in Stow Square could be attributed to a smaller group of young people - notable by their absence from the meeting.

"I, in turn, was able to explain to them that the police were committed to working alongside all members of the community to ensure that crime and the fear of crime is reduced, and that we would continue to provide regular, high visibility patrols within the area.

"The meeting definitely broke down some barriers.

"The young people have asked to meet again in a few weeks to discuss how the matter has progressed, which we are more than happy to do.

"I also discussed with them the possibility of a representative from the group attending Stow town council to talk about local issues.

"Since the meeting we have maintained good relations with the youngsters who attended, and our regular patrols are now met by them with enthusiasm.

"We're hoping this spirit of co-operation and mutual respect persists in future."

Tim Tackles Anti-Social Behaviour


A new face has been taken on by Cotswold District Council to help take action against anti-social behaviour in the community.

Anti-Social Behaviour Co-ordinator Tim Dowan has joined the Council’s Community Safety team, working with the Safer Cotswolds partnership, housing associations, town and parish councils and the youth service.

The team not only issues penalties and deters anti social behaviour by supporting communities, but also works to provide sensible and creative solutions to problems ranging from graffiti and fly tipping to noisy neighbours and drunken vandalism.

Tim said: “Everyone has heard of ASBOs, but they are only one of a number of actions we can take, which include:

* A letter – often an official a letter will persuade a person to think about and change their behaviour or the behaviour of their children.
* A visit - which has an even more direct and powerful message.
* An ABC – Acceptable Behaviour Contract – a voluntary agreement which highlights exactly what changes a person need to make to their behaviour.
* ASBO – Anti Social Behaviour Order – requires the courts’ agreement, but is a powerful official tool to curb continued negative and/or escalating behaviour.

Tim added: “There are many other powers that we can use - all are considered very carefully and only put into place when absolutely necessary.

“There is much that we can do which is positive – supporting communities to help themselves is a big part of our work. For example, our underpass arts projects with schools create a sense of ownership and pride. Young people are less likely to damage something created by their peers.

“I think we are very lucky to live in an area which really has very low levels of crime, but we all recognise that, when it does take place, anti social behaviour can have a big impact on people’s lives.”

Tim previously worked for the West Gloucestershire Primary Care Trust, where he helped to introduce the smoke-free NHS policy across the county.

Cllr Clive Bennett, Portfolio holder for Strong and Safe Communities, said: “We’re very glad to welcome Tim on board. Anti-social behaviour impacts on individuals, families and communities: it prevents a peaceful community life and degrades the environment.

“But you don't have to tolerate it. We’re working hard with our partners to combat the different types of anti-social behaviour and are really making a difference on the streets.”

Part of Tim’s work involves talking to community groups about positive action they can take against anti social behaviour. Email tim.dowan@cotswold.gov.uk or telephone 01285 623000.

New Lease of Life for Old Prison


A 200-year-old Georgian prison is being given a new lease of life with the opening of a stylish 21st Century coffee shop.

Image of Blades coffee shop at the Old Prison, NorthleachBlades opens on Monday (September 25) at the Old Prison, Northleach – formerly the Cotswold Heritage Centre.

Business owner Felicity Blades hopes to attract families, businesspeople and tourists with real coffee and locally-produced food.

The venture got off the ground following a £200,000 investment in the building’s future by its owner, Cotswold District Council.

The cash injection has not only enabled Blades to open in the former shop area, but has given the Cotswolds Conservation Board larger offices in the heart of the building.

Visitors will also be able to see, free of charge, the historic courtroom and parts of the rural life collection – including agricultural implements and waggons, from the Lloyd-Baker collection - in an open storage area outside.

The 200 rural life items have not been on display since the building was closed to the public by the previous Council in 2002. At the heart of the collection is a group of 23 farm wagons and carts - one of the largest publicly-owned regional collections anywhere in the country.

District Council museum staff and volunteers have spent the summer months cleaning and conserving items from carts to seed drills in readiness for the opening.

Image of Blades coffee shop at the Old Prison, NorthleachCouncillor David Fowles, Portfolio holder for Sport and Culture, said: “The new coffee shop and cleaned and conserved collections look great and are sure to attract people to Northleach and the Cotswolds.

"The investment by the Council is a very positive move to bring an important historic building back into public use after listening to the wishes of local people.”

The coffee shop, which will be open seven days a week, all year round, will employ six local people and will serve coffee, tea, wine, beers, hot snacks, a daily special and a selection of cakes.

Mrs Blades, whose husband Nick runs the Fruit Cakes store in Northleach, said: ”Much of the food will be brought from the same local suppliers as we use in the shop – it’s all freshly-made, simple fare.

“We want to attract customers from all walks of life – from families with small children to tourists who are passing on the Fosse Way. We’re hoping we will build up a crowd of regular customers who will come in for a cup of coffee and a relaxing read of the newspapers. People are also welcome to use Blades for meetings – we’ve got fixed and hotspot internet access.

“The Old Prison is an amazing building in an excellent location and we’re looking forward to making a success of this venture with the Council.”

Image of Blades coffee shop at the Old Prison, NorthleachCotswold Museums Service Collections Officer Judy Mills said: “We are very pleased that visitors will be able to see, free of charge, part of our rural life collection.”

Much of the collection was brought together by the late Miss Olive Lloyd-Baker whose family owned estates south of Gloucester and in the hills of the western Cotswolds. She set out in the late 1960s to build up a collection of agricultural ‘bygones’ and kept them at the family home at Hardwick Court.

When Miss Lloyd-Baker died in 1975 the collection was accepted by HM Treasury in lieu of estate duties, and transferred to Cotswold District Council.

The collections can be viewed until the 1 November, after which the items must be protected from the weather during the winter months. They will go back on display from April 1, 2007.

Free information sheets will be available on site – a wagon catalogue and a catalogue of the agricultural implements. The collections can also be viewed on line at www.cotswold.gov.uk
Opening hours are:

* Monday to Saturday 8.30am to 5.00pm.
* Sunday 10.00am to 4.00pm.

Telephone +44 (0)1451 860 715

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