Ellie GillThe co-ordinator of Marlborough's successful Communities Market has been selected to spearhead a national campaign involving 500 markets and 3,000 stallholders.
Ellie Gill has been appointed manager of the Love Your Local Market Roadshow, a government-backed initiative led by the country’s leading markets organisation, the National Association of British Market Authorities.
“Naturally I have a real interest in bringing this event to Wiltshire and hope to be working with town councils and Wiltshire Council in showcasing the best of what our county has to offer,” Ellie told Marlborough News Online.
“And of course we'll be putting on something special in Marlborough to celebrate Love Your Local Market fortnight.”
Love Your Local Market was conceived in 2012, following the publication of retail guru Mary Portas' review into revitalising town centres.
Around 200 local authority markets – including Salisbury and Devizes - took part in events last June.
New traders and business start-ups were offered a Table for a Tenner, a promotion that was adopted by Marlborough Communities Market on its launch last summer.
The national roadshow will also include Harrogate at Farm & More on February 12, Borough Market, Southwark on February 21, Darlington on February 21, Wisbech on March 7, Scunthorpe on March 8, Barnsley on March 13, Loughborough on March 21 and Bolton on March 28.
The next Marlborough Communities Market will be held on Sunday, February 3. And from March the market will be held bi-monthly, with events on March 3 and 17. For a full list of dates, log on to http://marlboroughmarket.org.uk
On Sunday (February 3) local violinist Tom Bott will be taking the Town Hall’s Assembly Room back in time with the sounds of his High Society Orchestra – and tea. It’s the first of four ground-breaking Sunday live music sessions harking back to the days of the Palm Court orchestras.
Tom is a professional violinist who lives in Pewsey with his wife and their young son and even younger daughter. He plays regularly with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and is guest principal second violinist with the National Symphony Orchestra.
When he’s not playing with one of the classical orchestras, Tom teaches at St Gabriel’s School for Girls in Newbury. It’s a busy family life as his wife Kim – they met at music college – teaches piano four days a week at Marlborough College.
Besides those commitments, he runs Tom Bott’s High Society Orchestra which plays in London and the south of England - principally at private functions such as weddings. He’s long wanted to find a ‘residency’ for the orchestra and as hotels seem only to be able to afford a pianist or at best a trio, he’s seized the chance to put on a series of concerts at Marlborough Town Hall.The High Society Orchestra in action
As Tom told Marlborough News Online: “Once we’ve got a regular audience we can consider putting on larger concerts and events – like a New Year’s Viennese ball. I like the idea of socialising with a background of good live music – it’s digging back into the past – the era of the big hotels and their ballrooms.”
Tom’s grandfather (pictured left) ran a similar orchestra under the title ‘Bernard Bott & His Orchestra’ from the 1930’s onwards in the grand hotels and pavilions along the south west coast of England. Before this, Tom’s great-grandfather ran the show with ‘Herbert Bott & His Orchestra’ performing around Leicester.
Tom inherited his grandfather’s violin and his library of nearly one thousand pieces of sheet music, from Viennese waltzes and English light music, to Hollywood classic film scores by the likes of Irving Berlin and Rogers & Hammerstein.
The Town Hall sessions will be in two afternoon sittings each with sixty seats – one at two o’clock and one at three-thirty (the latter is already sold out for the first Sunday.) The food will be provided by Sarah Hicks. See our What’s On calendar for ticket details.
The dates for the first season are February 3, March 3, April 7, and May 5. And there are plans for a second season of a Sunday-a-month starting in September.
His plans for these unique events have been supported by Marlborough’s Mayor Edwina Fogg - as she explained to Marlborough News Online: “I got to know Tom Bott when he offered to play for free at the Town Hall for the Diamond Jubilee celebrations. His orchestra played beautifully, so when he said that he was thinking of putting on tea dances, I encouraged him.”
“The Assembly Room is a lovely setting, with a tea to rival the Ritz, by our own local caterer, Sarah Hicks, and superb dance music - anyone for a foxtrot?”
There will be room for those who want to join the Mayor in a foxtrot – or perhaps a Sunday waltz. And there will be glasses of bubbly available for those who need prompting to take to the floor.
Tom travels a lot – the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra play in many concert halls around the country and the national Symphony Orchestra has an annual fixture aboard Cunard’s QM2 on a transatlantic crossing. So a regular season of concerts close to home seems a very good idea.
Tom thinks the Town Hall’s Assembly Room is the perfect size for this sort of concert – and his Orchestra will be represented by a quintet to suit the space and the acoustics. There will be violin, viola, cello, double bass and piano. All are local musicians except the pianist who’s from Stamford – and he has a lot of work to do as he plays the wind and brass parts as well as the piano part itself.
Just right to chat or to listen, or to chat and listen, as the Assembly Room becomes a musical time machine taking us back to way people were entertained and cheered during those austerity years of the late nineteen forties and early fifties – the days of the BBC’s Light Programme.
For more details visit the High Society Orchestra website.
A man alleged to have stolen thousands of pounds from the Bridge Garage, Marlborough, walked free from Swindon Crown Court on Monday after the Crown dropped a theft charge against him.
Hassan Ibrahim, 40, of Drayton Walk, Walcot, Swindon, had pleaded not guilty to a single count of theft. But Colin Meeke, prosecuting, revealed that the case could not go ahead because the key witness, the garage's owner at the time of the alleged offence, Zubair Dean, had emigrated to Thailand.
"Numerous attempts to contact him have been made without success,” he told Judge Douglas Field. “Contact has been made with his son.”
"Mr Dean may be willing to give evidence from Bangkok, which is not unreasonable, but the date of trial is inconvenient as his wife is due to give birth.”
"We have tried to get in contact with him but have not established that Mr Dean will attend to give evidence in this trial. It is not a case where his statement can be read. It is not a case where the Crown will proceed further."
Mr Ibrahim was alleged he have stolen thousands of pounds from the service station where he worked between the beginning of November 2011 and Wednesday April 11 last year, but no evidence was offered against him.
The judge entered a formal not guilty verdict and the accused walked free from the court.
Wiltshire's Chief Constable, Patrick GeentyWiltshire Police’s website crashed for five minutes yesterday (Wednesday) when the force became the first in the country to offer new jobs for police constable recruits earning an initial £19,000 a year.
More than 100,000 applicants bid for the handful of 15 places in the wake of police forces across the country losing officers as a result of government funding cuts as part of its comprehensive spending review.
Wiltshire’s main website at its Devizes headquarters had a holding page while the site was experiencing a high volume of hits. But the site crashed for five minutes at 4pm when the job application first went live.
The county force, the first to be set up in the UK, revealed last week that they would take on new constables, the only way to apply being online. And that resulted in a colossal response of more than 282,000 hits in the first hour.
“There was a five-minute delay in the recruitment tool being live due to the fact that we had over 100,000 hits in the first five minutes,” said a police spokesman. “However, IT managed to get it up at 4.05pm.”
“In the first hour there were 282,500 hits on the website for the recruitment. The website temporarily had a holding page placed on it due to the high level of traffic we had been receiving. Certain systems have had to be closed whilst the recruitment process goes on in order to ensure that it doesn't crash.”
Applicants were also able to apply via the Wiltshire Police Twitter and Facebook site, which pushed up the huge response from the unemployed, between the ages of 18 and 57, seeking to become bobbies on the beat.
They had to have a minimum of five GCSEs or the equivalent, including English and maths and be fit and all applicants had to live within Wiltshire, Avon and Somerset, Gloucestershire, Devon and Cornwall, Thames Valley, Dorset, Hampshire or South Wales in order to apply.
Newly-appointed Chief Constable Pat Geenty had earlier announced: “I am delighted that we are in a position to open our recruitment for police officers. Although the service is facing many challenges, policing remains an excellent career choice.”
“It offers an exceptionally diverse career in public service, offering individuals the chance to make a real difference to local communities.”
Claire Perry and her daughter Eliza with villagers at the sign marking Marlboroughs link with GunjurSet out here are a selection of pics from the recent visit to Gunjur in the Gambia by Claire and Eliza Perry. Many thanks to Dr Nick Maurice for the use of the pics.
Claire Perry paints the last bit of Gunjurs new market hall partly built by Marlborough students last summerEliza Perry chatting with Culay Touray a daughter of the family who were hosting the PerrysClaire Perry with Dr Nick Maurice and staff of Gunjurs Lower Basic School at the Marlborough Block of classrooms built by MBG volunteers in 1985Claire Perry with Lilli Loveday from Marlborough who lives in The Gambia and works for an American charity on education and womens rightsClaire and Eliza at the offices of TARUD the NGO founded with MBG for development projects in GunjurAfter officiating at the opening of the new market hall, Claire bought some vegetables grown by Gunjur women
Habeas corpus auditionsThe curtain has not long fallen on the successful November production of “When We Are Married” but The Marlborough Players are already seeking actors and actresses for their summer production of Alan Bennett’s comic farce “Habeas Corpus”, to be performed at Marlborough Town Hall from 19th to 22nd June 2013.
With roles for males and females of all ages, open auditions will be held on Thursday 21st February from 7.30-9.30pm and on Sunday 24th February from 2.30-4.30pm at Church Hall Cottage, Silverless Street, Marlborough.
Whether you are a regular at treading the boards or a complete novice everyone is welcome. For more information call the Director David Williams on 01672 513913, check out the details on www.facebook.com/themarlboroughplayers or go to www.marlboroughplayers.co.uk
Set in the 1960’s Habeas Corpus is a rollicking farce which beautifully sends-up the impact of the sexual revolution on the staid, traditional middle classes.
From a randy vicar, and a rampant doctor, to a frustrated spinster and a baffled domestic, Bennett’s first play is as saucy as an English postcard and promises theatre goers an evening of good old bawdy British seaside humour.
Wiltshire's new Archdeacon, The Revd Ruth WorsleyThe Rev Ruth Worsley, who is a chaplain to the Queen, is to become the first female Archdeacon of Wiltshire, the Salisbury diocese announced today (Monday).
Currently parish development officer for the Diocese of Southwark in London, 50-year-old Mrs Worsley will be taking up her new post next month.
She will be responsible to Bishop Nicholas Holtam for the life and work of the parishes in the deaneries across the south of the county, as well as additional diocesan-wide responsibilities.
“We are delighted to be welcoming Ruth to take up the particular responsibilities associated with being Archdeacon of Wiltshire,” said Bishop Holtam, former vicar of St Martin’s in the Field, in London’s Trafalgar Square.
“She has a welcome blend of parish, deanery and diocesan experience which is just what we need as we continue to develop our sense of renewal in mission.”
Mrs Worsley, who is married to Howard Worsley, who is also a priest. They have three sons – Nathanael, Jonathan and Benjamin.
The new Archdeacon said: “I’m delighted to be moving to the wilds of Wiltshire from balmy Bermondsey. I’m looking forward to working with a great bunch of people who are seeking to discover more of God.”
“Living in a family of men who are ‘outdoorsy’, I admit I’d rather curl up in front of an open fire with a good book. However, a friend has offered to take me fly fishing!”
Neil HamiltonDeputy prime minister Nick Clegg has come under UKIP fire following his surprise announcement that he believes the coalition government’s austerity programme “may have gone too far.”
Neil Hamilton, chairman of Wiltshire UKIP, who has announced that his party will fight all the Wiltshire parliamentary seats at the next election, accused Mr Clegg of “bare-faced deception,”
In a statement to Marlborough News Online, the former Tory MP asked: “ Is Nick Clegg just pig-ignorant - or deliberately dishonest?
“He says 'austerity may have gone too far'. His implication is, we have had big cuts in public spending. This is bare-faced deception”.
Mr Hamilton pointed out that far from spending less, Tory chancellor George Osborne had enthusiastically carried on with the last Labour government's rake's progress.
“This is the reality,” he declared. “Government spending actually increased during 2010-11 and fell back by only 1.5 per cent last year. It is more than £22 billion higher than in 2008, when the financial crisis erupted.”
“Osborne plans to cut spending by only 5 to 6 per cent by 2016-17 -- just like Cameron's EU referendum promise this week, so far away, who cares?”
“Let's be honest about this. Ministers are addicted to spending our money and what they can't extort from us in taxes, they just print. Government spending is 50 per cent higher in real terms than 10 years ago. Yes, that's right. 50 per cent higher today than in 2003.”
And Mr Hamilton asked: “What is it that the government wasn’t supplying 10 years ago that we now cannot live without?”
“Government is spending £5 for every £4 raised in taxes and the National Debt is going through the roof. It is rising by £120 billion every year.”
“It's an odd kind of austerity where the Chancellor presides over a doubling of the National Debt in five years. It took previous governments over 300 years -- from 1694 to 2009 -- to run up a debt of £700 billion.”
“George Osborne has equalled that in just five. In 2009, he inherited a debt of £700 billion from Labour. By the next election in 2015, it will have risen to £1.5 trillion.”
“That's progress, I suppose. Well, whatever it is, it certainly isn't austerity. Clegg should try telling the truth about his government's complete failure to cut public spending, but that would break the habit of a lifetime.”
Amy Huggins - winner of the Rotary Young Chef South of England district semi-finalsPraise for today’s students determined to make a success of their lives in times of austerity has come from Marlborough and District Rotary Club in the wake of its sponsorship of two annual club competitions.
One is for the Rotary Young Chef, where 14-year-old Pewsey Vale School pupil Amy Huggins has won the South of England district semi-finals and the other is Joyce Seabrook, 14, from Wellington Academy, Tidworth, who is competing in the national final for the Rotary Young Photographer competition.
Joyce Seabrook, competing in the national final for the Rotary Young Photographer competitionBoth are examples of Rotary helping young people in the community, the talents of the two girls admired by Gerry Hooper, who, as chairman of Marlborough Rotary’s community services committee, helped to organise the events.
“They really are the clever ones,” Mr Hooper, now retired from his electronics company, told Marlborough News Online. “They are an antidote to our trouble times.”
“Some of the pupils I’ve met are worried about the future, others are not. These competitions inspire them to succeed, now and in the future. Their enthusiasm is quite marvellous to see.”
Amy in particular took on six other contestants in the Young Chef semi-finals, held in Cirencester. Their challenge was to produce a three-course meal for two people costing no more than £15 – and with the accent on healthy eating – in two hours.
They then presented their meals to the three judges, top chefs from Gloucestershire, who, announcing Amy the winner, declared they were impressed by the high standard of preparation and presentation.
All seven pupils had previously won their own school competitions, Amy being encouraged by Brigid Sparke, who teaches food technology at Pewsey Vale School, and accompanied her to the event.
Joyce Seabrook was one of two pupils from Wellington Academy taking part in the Young Photographer competition – the school has never entered before – and has won through to the final of the intermediate section with photographs based on the theme of Peace.
The national unemployment figures for December 2012 (published January 23) again brought better news with 12,100 fewer people claiming Job Seekers’ Allowance. And the wider estimate – including those unemployed but not claiming the allowance – showed a drop of 37,000 in the September-November quarter bringing the rate down to 7.7 per cent.
These figures also showed the trend towards part-time working slowing with a significant increase in full-time jobs. During the quarter the number of people working part-time because they could not find full-time jobs fell by 23,000, but at 1,390,000 was still 73,000 higher than for the same period last year.
The overall figures for the Devizes constituency barely changed between November and December 2012 with the claimant rate staying at its traditionally low figure of 1.7 per cent. There was however a significant drop in unemployment among those aged twenty-four and under.
Figures for job centre vacancies in each constituency which have given some indication of future employment prospects, are no longer being published. However, some impact in the constituency is to be expected in future months from the 800 full-time jobs being cut at Honda’s Swindon plant.
On top of those 800 jobs, 300 contract workers are expected to be released by Honda in February. And this week the first announcement of job losses among Honda’s local suppliers saw 370 jobs going at a major Swindon logistics company.
One estimate is that including the full range of Honda’s suppliers, the job losses in the area could eventually total 3,000.
January’s figures brought little comfort for high streets. Besides the major recent chain- store casualties, wages are still growing well below the rate of inflation.
Total pay (including bonuses) increased by just 1.5 per cent over the year to November, and regular pay rose by 1.4 per cent. With consumer prices increasing at 2.7 per cent, the cut in real earnings goes on – meaning there is less money for people to spend on the high streets.
Shelley Parker and CCTVShelley Parker, Marlborough’s new town clerk who starts work on Monday, will have at least one major project on her desk to work on – the introduction of a CCTV system in the town.
After a heated debate, the town council last night (Monday) adopted the 10,000-word report of Councillor Nick Fogg calling for the introduction of a simple deployable camera system to protect the town.
And a majority of councillors believe that Mrs Parker is the appropriate person to take charge as she introduced the CCTV project in Cricklade, where she was town clerk for the past four years.
A copy of Councillor Fogg’s report is to be put on the town council’s website for residents and retailers to read, and consultation will take place with Marlborough Chamber of Commerce and the police, who had no representative s present at last night’s meeting.
In a wrangle over procedure, town councillors rejected a proposal by Tory Councillor Noel Barrett-Morton that a working party of councillors, Chamber of Commerce members and the police should identify the CCTV system required and its funding before the town council went ahead with the scheme.
After a debate that has been going on for 11 years over CCTV in Marlborough, councillors demanded that the talking had to stop and action taken immediately.
Councillor’s Fogg report, which has the support of Grant Taylor, Wiltshire’s CCTV controller, calls for a system of cameras that can be deployed to hot spots, as and when needed, plus the provision of a permanent camera outside Marlborough town hall.
The latter would protect the building itself but also cover nearby shops, which have become the victim of window-smashing vandals, while the other cameras would cover specific anti-social problems and areas hit by thefts from cars as well as shops.
In presenting his report, Councillor Fogg, one of Marlborough’s two Wiltshire councillors, thanked Grant Taylor for his help and guidance.
“He has read this report and said it was a fair assessment of the situation,” Councillor Fogg pointed out. “He believes CCTV is no more than a tool and should not be used as a stand alone solution. You must be able to justify to use of public space for CCTV, justification being to show there is no other effective solution.”
And he added: “A lot of CCTV has been provided more in hope than in judgment, often as a result of the activities of very enthusiastic but not particularly important people.”
“As a result a billion pound industry has grown up which, in the view of the Home Office and other important sources such as the Metropolitan Police, has not been particularly effective.”
“Scotland Yard’s anti-terrorism unit reiterates that saying that in fact that most public CCTV is possibly a waste of time, very little is being used effectively.”
He asked: “Is there any point in it?” and continued: “Yes, there is in various situations. Firstly, and this is what Grant Taylor says, it is very valuable in identifying who was where at a particular time. That is one of its main functions.”
“Secondly, and this may come as a slight surprise, it has become a great asset in, not policing, but surveying public events such as when the Olympic torch came through Marlborough. It is very valuable for the safety of the public to do that.”
One of the vital aspects of the report is the identification of the Marlborough area as one of the safest in the county, if not the country.
“That is one of the really encouraging factors , that this area has very low crime statistics compared to others, possibly the lowest in Wiltshire,” declared Councillor Fogg.
“Too often a negative picture of Marlborough is presented by various people. This is part of a wholly positive picture that we have one of the lowest crime rates in the country.
“We mustn’t talk down this area. It is not in anyone’s interests to do so.”
Councillor Nick Fogg, author of the new CCTV reportA breakthrough in the two-year battle to bring CCTV cameras to Marlborough’s High Street will be presented to the full town council at its meeting on Monday.
It comes in the form of a comprehensive 10,000-word report from Councillor Nick Fogg, twice Marlborough’s mayor, who is now recommending an innovative approach to keep the historic market town safe.
This will be through the introduction of a bank of CCTV cameras that can be redeployed to hot spots of crime such as shop-lifting, vandalism, anti-social behaviour as required – and at limited cost compared to comprehensive coverage of the whole of the High Street, side roads and car parks.
“Redeployable cameras could provide the most efficacious way of providing CCTV in Marlborough,” the report declares. “Apart from the possibility of providing a permanent system, where the number of incidents of vandalism have occurred, most other examples of anti-social behaviour seem to be the ones causing a nuisance rather than criminal activity.”
“Such incidents tend to be peripatetic rather than concentrated on one place, moving about as a result of social pressures or change of perpetrators, so a system that could reflect changeable factors is most likely to prove effective.”
Similar systems, the report points out, are being used in other towns and shopping centres, among them St Alban’s, Cambridge, Broxtowe and Hackney.
Comparative statistics in Councillor Fogg’s report cover the latest police figures for recorded crime in Devizes, Calne, Royal Wootton Basset, which have CCTV systems, and Marlborough itself without any surveillance.
And it points out: “Anti-social behaviour in Marlborough fell from 41 reported incidents to 33, a fall of 19.9 per cent. The latest statistics on December 18 show a further fall of 23 per cent from the previous year.”
“Criminal damage, which normally mirrors, anti-social behaviour, also saw a 25 per cent reduction.”
The report adds: “It is gratifying to discern that crime rates in the Marlborough area are low in comparison with other comparable areas, although this should be no cause for complacency.”
“Indeed, it may be said that not only does the Marlborough area possess what is probably the lowest crime rates in the county, it has one of the lowest in the entire UK.”
“It is even more gratifying to learn from the police statistics that the rate is falling in terms of most criminal activities, the exception being theft from cars, but, according to the police, this mainly takes place in local ‘beauty spots’, not in Marlborough High Street or adjacent areas.”
The reasons for this are surprising, the report revealing: “One obvious suggest is that the Marlborough area is noted as being particularly prosperous and that high crime rates are generally associated with areas of poverty and deprivation.
“This viewpoint is at least partially belied in the fact that Marlborough’s East Ward features amongst the 20 most deprived in the country. Marlborough’s low crime rate cannot be related entirely to the prevailing prosperity of the area.”
Some of the potential CCTV locations in Marlborough for redeployed cameras are listed as the protection of the town’s car parks, the junction of High Street, Kingsbury Street, Patten Alley and Perrins Lane where shop windows have been smashed, and the High Street to provide a “feel good” factor.
Other hot spots might be Hughenden Yard, where young people often congregate, The Parade, the scene of late night disruptive behaviour, Priory Gardens, to stop reported incidents of anti-social behaviour, plus the recreation ground, similarly affected.
Tottenham House, centrepiece of the Savernake EstateThe Earl of Cardigan has been cleared in court of attacking a trustee on the famous family's Savernake Estate, on the edge of Marlborough, and announced his delight and relief at being found not guilty of a criminal charge.
David Brudenell-Bruce, 60-year-old ancestor of the Earl who led the Charge of the Light Brigade in the Crimean war, had been accused of assaulting John Moore by beating him during an altercation in April last year.
He also faced a charge of criminal damage after he threw a handful of debris at a Mitsubishi L200 driven by an estate employee last May.
The assault offence was said to have happened after the Earl had lost a High Court row over ancestral portraits belonging to the 4,500-acre Savernake Estate, which Lord Cardigan wanted to sell to raise funds.
But Salisbury magistrates yesterday (Thursday) decided that the Crown had not prove its case beyond reasonable doubt on both counts, on which he was found not guilty.
Leaving the court, Lord Cardigan said: "I am delighted and relieved. I wasn't looking for trouble on either incidents. On both occasions this happened on my own property and they came to me."
Estate trustee Mr Moore, a barrister’s clerk, had told the court Lord Cardigan "looked like a man possessed" as he was verbally attacked and spat at by Lord Cardigan, but Mr Moore denied goading him during the incident.
Mr Moore claimed: "I think he just loses control and I think that is what happened - he lost control."
Mike Pulsford, defending Lord Cardigan, suggested to Mr Moore he started the conversation and accusing him of "destroying the estate" and goading him further.
"You were persistent in trying to rile David, you were being totally offensive from the beginning," Mr Pulsford told Mr Moore.
Lord Cardigan, who lives in Savernake Lodge, told the magistrates: "We were just slinging insults at each other. We mutually blamed each other for the sad state my family estate has been reduced to."
"We flung all sorts of insults at each other - childish stuff. We were shouting rude things at each other."
He denied using a bamboo cane to hit Mr Moore and also denied spitting at him.
The court was also told of a separate incident in May last year when Lord Cardigan allegedly threw gravel at a pick-up truck being driven by estate foreman Leslie Kyle.
Lord Cardigan said that Mr Kyle had reversed onto his lawn and he had thrown some gravel at the vehicle after shouts to the driver to get off the lawn had failed.
Mr Kyle insisted he had not driven on the grass and said the gravel caused several chips, a dent and scratches to his vehicle's passenger door.
But the magistrates found the Lord Cardigan not guilty of both charges, Dr Pauline Tremlett, chair of the bench, pointing out that there was "no doubt there is a long-standing acrimonious relationship here."
However, she said the Crown had not proved its case beyond reasonable doubt on either count.
Councillor Nick Fogg has a new scheme ready to go that would put electrical power points along the High Street. And he wants the Marlborough Area Board to provide £12,000 to get the scheme going.
The main reason for the scheme is to stop the pollution of diesel fumes and noise from the electric generators used during the Mop Fairs – pollution which has brought complaints. Councillor Fogg says these power points could also be used for the Christmas lights, Apple Day and markets – including the Community Market.
The Showman’s Guild who run the Mop Fairs and favour the scheme, say that most towns and cities in France and Germany have such systems. Making the plans a reality would put Marlborough ahead of other towns in Britain.
The Marlborough Arts Association already have a similar power point in Priory Gardens – primarily for the Marlborough International Jazz Festival.
Each point would cost about £6,000. If the Area Board provide start-up funds, further money would have to be raised – and raised quickly as the cabling would need to go in when the High Street is re-surfaced this summer.
In the longer term one or more of the outlets could become a charging point for electric vehicles. It is still to be decided whether such a scheme would be administered by the Town Council, the Community Market or by Transition Marlborough. According to Councillor Fogg’s paper which will be put to the Area Board on Tuesday (January 29) this decision may come down to how best to get round paying VAT on the project.
The scheme will appeal to many people who live and work in the High Street. But as it will tie the Mop Fairs more firmly to the High Street, not everyone will be in favour.
Bob Holman of the Food Gallery told Marlborough News Online that it is not only the smell of diesel and noise from the generators that affects the High Street. If there is a Saturday between Little and Big Mops, his turnover is well down for three Saturdays running as people are not sure when the High Street is closed and do not risk coming in from the villages.
And he loses trade from visitors to the town: “Visitors to Marlborough have emailed me and said they’d found our website, tried to get to us and found the High Street closed.”
“If someone could show me – or Marlborough – the statute confirming that these Mop Fairs have the right to be in the High Street in perpetuity, that’s fine. Then we’ll accept it, shut up and move on.”
There is victory in sight in the battle launched 20 years ago by ARK to stop the export of water from the River Kennet aquifers to supply households in Swindon.
The only trouble is that it won’t happen until 2015-2016, seriously disappointed Action for the River Kennet has revealed.
The good news is that Thames Water has announced that construction of the £15 million pipeline between north and south Swindon to link all homes in Swindon to Farmoor reservoir will begin in next year, says ARK.
This means that water from the Kennet Valley will no longer be essential to keep Swindon’s taps flowing, so in times of low flow the chalk stream Kennet, currently over-flowing, can be protected.
Thames Water will be required to stop water abstraction from the little River Og, which will have significant benefits both for the Og and for the River Kennet below Marlborough, leaving more water in the river.
The bad news is that the best completion date expected is 2015-2016. So Thames Water will continue to export water from the Kennet Valley for another two or three years, any reduction in water exports having to wait for the pipeline to be completed.
And with this in mind, Thames Water has now applied to extend their licence to abstract water at Axford.
“This time last year the upper River Kennet was completely dry, with more water being exported to Swindon than was flowing in the river through Marlborough,” ARK director Charlotte Hitchmough, told Marlborough News Online.
“At last it looks as though Thames Water will be able to reduce their water export from the Kennet, particularly in times of low flow, but we are disappointed that it has taken so long to reach this point.
“Over the coming few years we will continue to keep up pressure until the export of water from the Kennet Valley stops.”