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Neighbourhood Plan

The Town Council has started the process of creating a Neighbourhood Development Plan for Abingdon.

The steering group is made up of 8 interested residents and an Abingdon Town Councillor:  

Cllr Grace Clifton:

Grace is a Town Councillor for Northcourt ward and is the Council link member on Steering Group.  On the Town Council, she sits on Planning and Amenities and Recreation Committees. Outside the Council, Grace is a Senior Lecturer in initial teacher education.  She is mad about outdoor swimming and is keen to see how we can enhance our use of the Thames and surrounding green spaces in our plan. 

Simon Hills (Chair):

Simon Hills grew up in Abingdon and has always maintained strong links with the town. He now lives in London where he works in the City as an expert in bank risk management and regulation. Until the onset of the Covid pandemic he returned often to Abingdon where he has a house in the centre of our town.  Simon is keen to create an inclusive, sustainable Neighbourhood Plan that is an actionable vision of an even better future Abingdon in which to live and work.

Robin Tucker:

Robin Tucker is a business consultant living in west Abingdon who works with local technology, space and environmental businesses, and is also a Trustee of the Earth Trust, based in Wittenham, and Cycling UK.  He is keen to see an Abingdon that is easier to get around by walking and cycling, that makes the most use of the precious assets that we have in the river, green spaces, nature and heritage, and that works for a thriving diverse community.

Jim Driscoll:

Jim Driscoll is a self-employed architectural technician and musician who lives in North Abingdon. He is the creative director of Folk Weekend: Oxford and has also been involved with Make Music Day, Abingdon.

Jim is interested in ecological and social justice issues and is involved in the Abingdon Neighbourhood Plan to do what he can to help make Abingdon a greener and more equitable place to live for all its inhabitants.

Hester Hand:

Hester is involved in various voluntary activities around the town. She is an adviser at Citizens Advice which gives her a wide view of the issues facing local people. Much of her other voluntary work has been to raise awareness of what the town has to offer: setting up the “What’s On” calendar and the “Community FreeSpace” and helping to run the annual Heritage Open Days and Bank Holiday Walks. She is also keen to make it an even better place to live and works for this through the Friends of Abingdon Civic Society. She sees the neighbourhood plan as an exciting opportunity to get more people involved in shaping the future of our town.

James Wigmore: 

James Wigmore is a designer and qualified gardener. He set up Abibike, a local cycling campaign group and is a founding member of Abingdon Liveable Streets.He is a member of Abingdon Athletics Club and has run several marathons. James is passionate about an environment that is healthy and believes that the Neighbourhood Plan may help to secure this.

Angharad Saunders:

Angharad is a human geographer by background and so is passionate about places and about how we make them survive, thrive and become beacons of independence and ingenuity. Abingdon has so much that is great, and it also has so much potential. She wants to help create an Abingdon where vacant shops are replaced by thriving services and cultural entities; where the centre embraces the river that hovers behind it; where the town is a ‘destination’ not just a dot on the map and a town that is accessible – Shes a mum, with a pushchair, and marshals various wheeled vehicles with small drivers, she needs a town hospitable to movement.

Paul White: 

Paul has lived in Abingdon his whole life.  His background is in mapping and transport planning.  He currently works in the transport policy department of a London Borough, specialising in writing traffic management orders.  This is his main interest in the Abingdon Neighbourhood Plan and feels that he can give professional views regarding any developments and how they can affect transport and traffic within the town. He has an interest in team sports within the town and am Chairman of Abingdon Vale Cricket Club and in the winter months he will watch either of the town’s senior football clubs.

All steering group minutes are reported to the Planning, Highways and Consultations Committee. Minutes of these meetings can be found here.

To understand exactly what a Neighbourhood plan is please find some useful slides here.

How do you begin to understand a complex and historic place such as Abingdon?

PLACE Assessment: 

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This system of PLACE assessment – Planning, Landscape, Architecture, Culture and Engineering – is one way of breaking down these complex and interrelated issues into five different categories. These 5 x downloads at the bottom of the page will help you ask the right questions about the places around you. The answers will help provide a better understanding about the variety of topics that the neighbourhood plan can focus upon.

How to run your own local PLACE assessment

  1. Download copies of the PLACE handbooks from the town council website
  2. You will also need to download a copy of a map of your local area – free online mapping services work just fine
  3. Working with as a group of 5 x local residents, each member of the group takes one of the handbooks and a map
  4. As a group, walk around a defined part of your neighbourhood, making observations based on the prompts and questions in the booklet – or you can run a digital version using Zoom and Google maps
  5. This exercise should take no more than 2-3 hours max. perhaps on a weekend
  6. Photograph/screenshot and email your results back to us, or print and post
  7. Do let us know what you think of the exercise – we always want to improve things!

Who are the people that prepare a neighbourhood plan?

Well, it is usually a steering group, made up of both local people and elected councillors. This steering group will often work alongside an appointed consultant (in this case, Feria Urbanism) on behalf of the “qualifying body” – which in this case is Abingdon-on-Thames Town Council. To find out what sort of skills are needed for an effective and well-balanced steering group, click on the PDF document below titled "Skills Audit" to find out more.

November 27th 2020 Update

The project team wishes to extend its thanks to all those who have so generously given up their time to contribute to the crowd-sourced mapping project. We are now developing a rich set of baseline data for the town, based around the themes of planning, landscape, architecture, culture and engineering. The project team have been busy transferring the raw PLACE assessment data as shared by the volunteers to a Google map system. 

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These screen shots show just how detailed these results are. However, there are still gaps in the mapping coverage. In particular, we still require data from the eastern side of the town, around the Radley Road. There are also gaps towards the north west, south of the Dunmore Road and gaps towards the west of town, north of the Marcham Road. If anybody out there is willing and able to undertake PLACE assessments for these areas, do please get in touch with the project team via the dedicated email address abingdon-neighbourhood-plan@outlook.com

30th November 2020 Update

Last night we were delighted to meet with representatives of the various societies and groups in Abingdon to hear about their priorities and get their input into our emerging plan.  It's not too late to get your society or group involved - please send an email to: abingdon-neighbourhood-plan@outlook.com letting us know what projects or initiatives your group, club or society would like to see implemented in Abingdon over the next few years.  

17th February 2021 Update 

The newly formed Neighbourhood Plan Steering group for Abingdon is really keen to capture a wide and representative range of voices.

In the next few weeks themed, virtual focus groups are being held to gathers views and ideas. The Eventbrite registration links for the 10 x focus groups have been set up and are detailed in the link below. There are 15 places per group so please sign up soon to avoid disappointment. 

Neighbourhood Plan Focus Groups | Abingdon-on-Thames

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