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January - "OCTAGON MOTORSPORTS SPENDS £4 MILLION ON SILVERSTONE" - In 2003 Octagon Motorsports UK will spend £4 million on a series of construction projects at Silverstone as part of its commitment to provide improved facilities for both teams and spectators prior to this year's Foster's British Grand Prix. Most of the developments are already in progress and are expected to be completed ahead of the British Grand Prix on the 20th July 2003.

AMBULANCE PLANS FOR BANBURY -BANBURY could be in line for a bigger, better ambulance station, under plans to modernise the service in Oxfordshire. The proposals unveiled by Oxfordshire Ambulance NHS Trust last week, would involve the sale of the current station in Cope Road, and Chipping Norton's ambulance station, along with six others across the county. An estimated £1.6m could be raised by the sales allowing the stations to be consolidated into three sites at Oxford, Banbury and Didcot. The Kidlington base would be used for training and staff development. The trust says the closures would not affect the service as the stations are only used for vehicle storage and staff facilities.

March - SKATEPARK WORK LATEST - AROUND 30 people turned up at Brackley skateboard park to take part in some building work. The team completed a four-metre high ramp and started work on other ramps. Several customers from the Red Lion pub were among those who helped. Landlord Nigel Wiles said: "Everyone enjoyed it and came away with a good feeling." The Turweston Road park will include skateboard and roller blade ramps and tracks for trial and BMX bikes. Other working weekends are planned.

CHARLTON RESIDENT'S LANDMARK BIRTHDAY -
It is alleged by the noise that some cute scot laddie named Dougal from Hogg Lane in Charlton recently celebrated his 40th year - Rumour has it!!

NEW VISION FOR BRACKLEY TOWN - A TOWN centre piazza with shops and live events is just one part of a vision for Brackley unveiled this week. The new-look centre, surrounded by trees, is just one of the ideas put forward by Brackley Vision, the town's market town partnership, on Wednesday. The piazza would involve creating an open pedestrian area on Lower Market Place with extra parking and a coach bay built into Upper Market Place. The action plan has been formed from surveys, known as health checks, carried out by Brackley Vision on business, the environment, community and transport over the past six months, in a scheme funded by the Countryside Agency set up to improve market towns.
Ken Whitehead, Brackley Town Clerk and chair of Brackley Vision, said: "This research has allowed us to identify real ways that we can improve Brackley both for the people who live in the town but also to attract tourists." It is hoped that funding for initiatives, which include encouraging retail, business, leisure and youth facilities, will come from the lottery, the Town Council, South Northants Council, Northants County Council and other regional funding bodies.
A list of proposals put forward aim to boost the economy in the town, attract retail and business, and bring in more shoppers and tourists.
Backing will be given to theatre development proposals and suggested relocation of the Brackley Cottage Hospital to a larger site. Marc Coleman,
a member of Brackley Rotary and former headteacher of Brackley Junior School, said: "I think that consultation with people in the town has been, and will continue to be, extremely important. In doing so we can begin to see a really bright future for Brackley." Alison Smith, administrator at Brackley Cottage Hospital who helped carry out the health checks, said: "We all hope for a new hospital and the more people that get on board the better to make this happen as quickly as possible." The Countryside Agency has now given further funding to continue to employ Bob Carter, who is co-ordinating the project, for another year to allow implementation of the action plan.

ASDA IN BANBURY? - Major supermarket chain ASDA plans to open a store in Banbury as soon as a suitable site becomes available.
The announcement comes following speculation that the retail giant was planning to make a move on the site currently occupied by aluminium firm Alcan which is set to close this year.
The company was bought by American chain Wal-Mart in 1999 and is ranked as the country's third largest supermarket firm. It recently announced plans to invest £1billion to construct between 30 and 40 stores throughout the UK over the next three years. The nearest ASDA store is 15 miles away in Leamington.

April 2003 - COULD CONGESTION CHARGES APPEAR IN THE THAMES VALLEY? - The sheer number of cars on the A40 and A34 into Oxford
means drivers have to crawl along bumper to bumper. Now the Government's being urged by the South East regional Assembly to look at new ways of reducing the volume of cars. They've called for a feasibility study to be done into how affective congestion charges would be in the region. But most motorists in the area are against the idea. But after the success of the scheme in Central London, the Government may now be looking at the idea much more favorably

"SCARY" MOVES ON! - It is with great regret we report the Jennifer and Peter Griffiths of Main Street are moving from the village to pastures
new up north after spending some 20 years in the village. Both have been a large influence on activities in village events.
Peter has been active in many village Panto's in the past and most will remember his participation as "Scary Spice" in the Spice Girls act on Millennium Eve. We all wish them happiness in the move and hope they return to visit, soon.

FURTHER PARACHUTIST DIES AT WESTON-ON-THE-GREEN AIRFIELD - A 28-year-old serviceman has died during a parachute jump at an airbase in Oxfordshire. The victim was taking part in a recreational jump with the RAF's Sports Parachuting Association at RAF Weston-on-the Green at around 1230 BST on Friday 19 April.
The identity of the man and the cause of the accident have yet to be released.
The incident was the second parachuting accident in the area this week.

INQUIRY AFTER PARACHUTIST DIES AT HINTON-IN-THE-HEDGES AIRFIELD - 24 hours after the accident that so far remains unexplained, the sixty four year old man, who's yet to be formally identified, was seen spinning in the air before hitting the ground. It's not yet known what happened to him but his parachute IS thought to have been in full working order. He was airlifted to the John Radcliffe hospital in Oxfordshire
but died earlier today. Staff at the Hinton Airfield say it was his 9th sky-dive and he was fully fit, despite his age. A joint inquiry continued today involving Northamptonshire Police and the British Parachute Association.
In a statement from the British Parachute Association "we do our best to stop these accidents occuring. At this stage we don't know why it happened or what caused it, But we are investigating." Their findings are being prepared for the coroner - ready for an inquest to be opened.

THE RAVEN GROUP SELECTED BY SNC FOR BRACKLEY DEVELOPMENT - THE Raven Group has been selected by South Northamptonshire Council as its preferred developer partner to revitalise College Place, Brackley. Members of SNC's Cabinet decided on Monday, 14 April that of the four developers that had submitted proposals to redevelop the site, the Raven Group had submitted the strongest set of proposals. The Council's independent property consultants, GVA Grimley, have also recommended the Raven Group,
Four national development companies submitted proposals to the Council in December 2002 on the future shape of the College Place site,
which the Council exhibited in the town. All showed plans revitalising the area with mixed development containing shops, offices and houses.
Having selected the developer partner, the Council now see consultation as a key part of the planning process. The Council will now enter
detailed negotiations with the Raven Group to devise a redevelopment scheme that meets the Council's objectives. This will form the basis of future planning applications, which will be decided upon by the Council's Development Control Committee. The four shortlisted developers were:·
Bellway Homes · Pegasus Retirement Homes · Raven Group · Redrow Homes

BRACKLEY LEISURE CENTRE REVEALED ITS NEW LOOK - on Saturday, 12 April with an official opening ceremony to celebrate the newly refurbished site. The facility, which is managed by SERCO Government Services on behalf of SNC, has recently undergone a £2.3 million refurbishment in a bid to provide the local community with a premier health and fitness facility. The revamp has almost doubled the size of the leisure facility, with a brand new building containing a 60 station gym, a dance studio, a health suite and a new crèche.
If you require any further information contact Corrie Strickland, Communications Officer on (01327) 322305.

SNC SELECT NEW SPORTS DEVELOPMENT OFFICER - COLIN Hull is the new Sports Development Officer at South Northamptonshire Council.
Part of Colin's initial work will be to get to know the various partners, schools and sports clubs in the district. The long term aim will be to
promote the positive benefits of sport and leisure with a view to encourage people to become involved in sport, not just in terms of participation but also in coaching and administration.

RECYCLE URGE BY SNC - HOUSEHOLDERS across South Northamptonshire are being urged to recycle their old Yellow Pages and phone books,
the new edition of the Yellow Pages (with a sandcastle on the cover) and new books are currently being distributed across the area and the
SNC's Environmental Services team is advising residents that there are many ways to recycle the old ones. They can be placed in the paper recycling bank at Farthinghoe Recycling and Re-use Centre, near Brackley. For more information please contact SNC Environmental Services
on 01327 322352.

THE PRINCESS ROYAL VISITS CHARLTON - The recent visit of Princess Anne to our village was a success despite the rain, a great number of people braved the weather and turned up to greet her. Lady Juliet Townsend, Lord Lieutenant of Northamptonshire, escorted the Princess and introduced her to Mr Pat Locke, Charmain of our Parish Council, South Northamptonshire Council representatives and those from The Bedford Pilgrms Housing Association who where responsible for the new housing Project in Myers Way and Myers Close. The Princess talked also to
Mr John Cliff (the School headmaster) and some children, and after planting a tree on the Green of the new development she chatted to a
number of residents before continuing on with her schedule for the day at Silverstone Racing Circuit.

May 2003 - SOUTH NORTHAMPTONSHIRE COUNCIL ELECTION RESULTS - FOLLOWING the South Northamptonshire Council elections on
1st May 2003, the composition of the Council is now: Conservative: 30 seats (previously 29 seats), Independent: 6 seats (previously 4 seats), Labour: 4 seats (previously 6 seats), Liberal Democrats: 1 seat (previously 3 seats), Other: 1 seat (previously 0 seats) Therefore the
Conservatives have retained control of the Council . The average turnout was 35 per cent.
Election results can be viewed on the Council's website: www.southnorthants.gov.uk There have been no boundary changes since the previous South Northamptonshire Council election in 1999.

UPPER HEYFORD BLAZE - A HUGE blaze at the old US Air Force base at Upper Heyford caused heavy damage to a disused bowling alley.
The fire had taken hold of the roof and quickly spread through the insulation into the interior of the building. It was tackled by firefighters from
six towns across Oxfordshire, with eight engines from Deddington, Bicester, Kidlington, Woodstock, Wheatley and Banbury called to the scene .. The teams wearing breathing apparatus tackled the flames as they spread through the roof space.
A mobile hydraulic platform, extra water carriers and several other support units were also called to the scene.
The cause of the fire is being investigated by Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue, but it says there is no suspicion of foul play at this stage. It also
caused smoke damage to mats and other gymnastic equipment inside. The former bowling alley is part of the proposed Heyford Park development at the base and is used by Olympic athletes for training sessions. North Oxfordshire Consortium, which is developing the site, is sure the damage will not affect any plans. The consortium's chief executive Keith Watson said: "The building is used on a low key basis from time to time by minority Olympic sports such as fencing and pitching for training purposes. "This building, which is fully insured, and the adjoining gymnasium are to be retained in our development plan and will be made available in the future as a private sports facility."

NEW CABINET LINE UP FOR COUNCIL - FOLLOWING the elections on 1 May, South Northamptonshire Council's new seven-member Cabinet has now been appointed. The announcement was made at the Council's annual meeting (Tuesday, 27 May). The Cabinet is the main decision-making body at the Council and meets once a month.
The Leader of the Council, Councillor Sandra Barnes will be the Cabinet's Chairman and Councillor Mary Clarke will be Deputy Chairman of the Cabinet. The other appointments are as follows: Councillor George Smith, Councillor Graham Smith, Councillor John Townsend, Councillor Alan Walker and Councillor Martin Wilson
The individual portfolios will be announced shortly. The chairmen for the cross-party Review and Development committees, Development Control and Licensing Committees will be elected at the first meetings.

NEW CHAIRMAN FOR COUNCIL - Councillor Robin Digby has been elected the new Chairman of South Northamptonshire Council. Councillor Digby (Astwell ward) took over the chain of office from Councillor Janet Eliot at the Annual Council meeting (Tuesday, 27 May.) The major role of the Chairman is to act as civic figurehead and ambassador for the Council and the District of South Northamptonshire. Each year a variety of fundraising events are held with the proceeds being donated to the charities chosen by the Chairman. During his year of office, Councillor Digby has chosen to support the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and Leukaemia Research Fund.
Councillor Digby said: "My theme for the year is working in partnership. As the Council will be continuing its work on the Local Strategic Partnership, it is my wish to help this succeed. It is therefore my intention to meet with all groups within South Northamptonshire to show them our commitment to the ongoing success of our District and the contributions they can make." The new Vice-Chairman of South Northamptonshire Council is Councillor Frank Pinny (Cogenhoe ward). Councillor Digby will represent the Council at civic events and ceremonies across the district, county and further afield, actively promoting the well being of our local residents, businesses and communities.

December 2003 - TRANSPORT IMPROVEMENTS IN NORTHAMPTONSHIRE - A £21.5 million boost for transport in Northamptonshire is set to bring improvements to public transport and ease congestion. Northamptonshire County Council was told this week that it would receive £21.5 million from the government for highways and transport plus nearly £14 million for the Isham bypass, which was also given the go-ahead. The bypass will run between the towns of Kettering and Wellingborough.



LOCAL NEWS 2003
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