Autumn 2014 Newsletter


Sunday 21st September - Global Climate March - 21st September

19th to 21st September – Shipston Food Festival

Saturday 27th September - Permaculture Group Apple Pressing


Friday 10th October – Warwickshire Transition Network

Lifeways, Albany Road, Stratford

Monday 13th October – Permaculture Pub Chat

Red Lion, Long Compton

Transition Shipston & Surrounding Communities “Network”
Over the last few years Transition Shipston has inspired or been involved in many local community and environmental initiatives - not just in Shipston but also many nearby villages. There have been community gardens... orchards... chickens... bees... and solar panels. From these activities several groups have emerged that now that have a life of their own. Transition Shipston & Surrounding Communities has now decided to act as a local networking organisation of these groups rather than attempt new initiatives. To do this we hope to organise gatherings such as the summer party that we had in June in Stretton. The next gathering is a Barn Dance on November 14th in Stretton-on-Fosse Village Hall organised jointly with Transition Chipping Campden – see below for details.

November 15th 7.30 pm
bar, ticket includes ploughman’s supper
Tickets £7 in advance & £10 at the door
A joint event with Campden and Shipston Transition groups.
Tickets: Tel: 07967111338 or

Or Transition Shipston Tel: 07973 846605, email:

*Licence applied for

Support Blackwell Solar Farm
The Transition Movements has always been in favour of renewable energy as an important weapon against climate change. The more decentralised the energy supply the more resilient our communities will be in the future especially with the possibilities of oil and gas being in short supply. There are now solar farms near Chipping Campden, Willersey and Mickleton so a solar farm near Blackwell must be welcomed. The solar farm near Willersey is now offering bonds for local people to invest in- see below. Some local people consider the fact that the farm will be partially visible from the top of Foxcote Hill as a reason to reject the farm despite all its advantages so here are some of the arguments for the solar farm:
  • There will be considerable environmental benefits to the proposal. The wildflower corridors around the panels will be an enhancement to the biodiversity of the area and will help provide much needed forage for bees and other insects
  • The land will not be taken out of agricultural use as sheep will be allowed to graze under the panels.
  • After additional screening promised by the developers the solar panels would not be visible from the nearby surrounding roads, footpaths or buildings although there would be limited visual impact from one or two positions on the road along the Ilmington Hill.
  • At a time when there is considerable uncertainty about world energy supply with the unrest in the Middle East and Eastern Europe it is important that we become more self-sufficient in electricity as a country. The electricity generated by the solar farm will make a major contribution to this.
  • It is important that communities all play a part in reducing carbon emissions and stopping climate change. Acceptance of this solar farm will be the contribution of the people in all the surrounding villages to this.

Comments should be lodged on the Stratford District Council website  These should be made as soon as possible as the Council Planning Committee will discuss the application soon.

Big60Million Solar Bonds

Big60Million Solar Bonds are now on sale enabling UK residents to invest in Willersey Solar Farm and offset their electricity bills for the next 5-years
• Bonds offer fixed 7% return (gross) to investors
• The average size investment received so far of £4,389 per investor offsets (before tax) the equivalent of over half (53%) the average household electricity bill – every year for 5-years with the investment returned afterwards or the option to reinvest
• Over £500,000 in Solar Bonds purchased and reserved in first three weeks of sales

Big60Million Solar Bonds are now selling in substantial numbers. Hundred thousands of pounds of Big60Million Solar Energy Bonds have been bought in the first few weeks of sale, following the launch of the first Big60Million project secured against Willersey Solar Farm.

Global People's Climate March - 21st September

The World Leaders' Climate Summit in New York this September will be a key moment in the fight against climate change. The march organised in New York aims to be the biggest climate demonstration the US has ever seen, and over 900 solidarity events are planned globally on the same weekend.
The Campaign against Climate Change is helping to organise the People's Climate March in London along with many other organisations including Avaaz,, UKYCC, People & Planet, Operation Noah, Wake Up London, Oxfam, Art Not Oil, BP or not BP, CAFOD, UCL Students' Union, Greenpeace UK, Rising Tide...
Travelling from Shipston: there is a train from Banbury leaving at 10.53 and returning 16.36. Unfortunately there are no coaches from the area but some others are going by car.
Join the March! 12:30 pm Temple Place (Embankment) – Sunday Sept 21st
For more see...

Shipston Food Festival

Shipston Food Festival will take place over three days, beginning on Friday 19th September with the Beer Festival at Shipston Rugby Club. On Saturday 20th, entries will be invited for the baking competition and the-all important judging will take place.

The Town Square will host the main event on Sunday 21st, with the High Street and Market Place expected to be full to bursting with gourmet goodies. The event is being sponsored by Hook Norton Brewery, Cooperative Food, Shipston Card, Taste of the Country and KMS Litho Print.


June 2014 Newsletter

Transition Shipston & Surrounding Communities
June 2014 Newsletter

Sunday 8th June 3pm to 6pm – Flowers Wood Open Afternoon
Flowers Wood, Darlingscott Road, Nr Ilmington
Tuesday 10th June 7.30 – Transition Shipston Steering & Energy Group
Black Horse Pub, Station Road
Sunday 15th June - Permaculture Group Visit to Forest Garden
Grahame Bale's Forest Garden near Rugby
Saturday 28 June 11.00 - Community Energy Warwickshire’s AGM
Lifeways, Stratford

Shipston Supermarket Development
The appeal at a Public Enquiry by Ainscough Strategic Land against the rejection of their proposal to develop land on the Campden Road for housing and a supermarket will be re-convened on 8th July. 
The Public Enquiry was adjourned last year in order that a further Retail Impact Assessment be made. The updated Assessment was published a few weeks ago and contains no change from the original assessment. It states that Shipston requires 400 square metres of additional retail space in the town centre... not the 2,500 square metre out-of-town supermarket that is being proposed by ASL! We also understand that ASL have reduced their funding offer to the town if the planning application is accepted from £1.7m to £0.8m. Besides the impact of the proposal on the town centre there would also be detrimental effects on jobs. Additional population will put stress on the already overloaded roads and the medical centre.
It is important that the Inspector has the benefit of the spectrum of views from local residents, local traders and businesses and local councillors.It is extremely important that the inspector has the views of the opposition to the scheme .
You can help by sending your objection in before 10th June by email to:
Or by post to: Leanne Palmer, Major Casework, Planning Inspectorate, 3/26 Hawk Wing, TQH,
2 The Square, Bristol, BS1 6PN

Some key points for the objection:
1.       There is no pressing need to develop a supermarket – satisfaction (in general) with current provision and options in the town centre, online or happy to go to Stratford etc if needed
2.       If the appeal proposals were allowed, the experience of other towns shows that too much trade is taken from the town centre, changing the character of quintessential English town centres for the worse and for ever
3.       The proposed development would reduce the likelihood or necessity to use town centre shops. 
4.       The proposed development would not increase the likelihood for people to shop in the town centre
5.       Certain stores (such as the Coop) catalyse footfall and town centre patronage and you would not want to see that reduced
6.       Happy with the town centre balance of retailers and local services
7.       Happy to see the Coop and others willing to invest in the town centre. Coop store expansion and new Post Office (terms are in the process of being agreed) will be open at the end of this year.
Dramatically reducing footfall and destroying sustainable trade in the town centre jeopardises the future of both the Post Office and the last remaining bank in the town centre
8.       You do not want anything to jeopardise the town centre and therefore consider that the development of a supermarket on Campden Road is not worth the risk
Shipston Heritage Centre
The Shipston Heritage Centre was launched at the Shipston Wool Fair on Monday May 26th. It will be available to move around locations in Shipston to give people an insight into how important the wool industry has been to the growth of this area. The first home for the centre will be the Post Office, with a number of artefacts at other locations around Shipston on a ‘wool trail’.
The Heritage Centre is a community-led project to provide visitors and local people with an overview of the history and significance of the wool industry and sheep farming to the area as well as increased footfall into Shipston shops and eateries,
The Centre will be made up of a number of different portable, mobile units and graphics to provide visitors with an engaging overview of the interesting facts about how significant the wool industry was to the development and wealth of Shipston-on-Stour and the surrounding area. This pop-up centre is modular and easy to move around any number of locations in Shipston, including empty premises and visitor-friendly venues in Shipston.
Volunteers are needed to help run the centre. If you would like to volunteer call on 01608 662180 or contact Susan Banfield, Project Manager, T: 01789 228012

Anyone interested in Brewing?
Last year several Transition Shipston supporters started brewing cider from the glut of apple juice we had. Now a group is being set up for anyone interested in home brewing (all types). The group is for beginners or those who have knowledge to share. If you would like to be involved in forming a new group based in Shipston contact Alex on 07764753530 or

Extreme Energy
At his excellent talk organised by Transition Stratford on “extreme energy” the speaker Paul Mobbs mentioned that he had undertaken a detailed analysis of Public Health England's report on the health impacts of shale gas, showing that it produced conclusions at odds with the evidence it had reviewed.
Towards the end of the article there is also a useful summary of the various actions being taken by the UK Government to weaken the assessment and monitoring of the risks of unconventional gas and oil - so much for the argument that the industry might cause health and pollution problems in America but in Britain there will be proper regulation!
We’ve now set up an e-mail group to keep people interested in the topic in touch with developments – one of which is Paul’s publication of a detailed review of the health effects of shale. If you would like to join the e-mail group let me know.

The RSPB has launched a petition calling for the Government to protect from fracking areas of importance to wildlife. That may see a bit limited, but it will cause problems for the Government as it prepares to announce the award of licences for oil and gas exploration across large parts of the country.

Flowers Wood Open Afternoon
Sunday 8 June at 2pm till 5pm
Organised by Stretton Biodiversity Group & Ilmington 20:20 Group
Its twenty years since the late Dennis Flower gave four acres of land half way along the road between Darlingscott and Ilmington to the Woodland Trust.  Children from Ilmington School were amongst those who on a chilly December day a year later in 1995, to plant the first trees.
Come along on Sunday afternoon and explore the wood and its ecology... learning about the butterflies and insects that have made the site their home. There will be walks and talks by local experts about the birds, insects, wildflowers and trees.
This is a family outing open to all from Ilmington, Stretton on Fosse, Shipston and surrounding villages. Refreshments will be provided in a gazebo but it would be wise to bring weatherproof clothing and wellies.
Directions from Stretton: take the gated road out of Stretton... cross over the Campden Rd... carry on along the lane for 1.5 miles... at the tee junction turn left... after 0.5 miles turn left... the entrance to the wood is after 100 yards on the right.

Green Doors
In September - the weekend of the 20th -21st - Cheltenham holds its fourth 'GREEN DOORS' event, where homes that have installed ecological measures to be greener are open to the public. Mark it in your diaries and visit

Phone: Dave Passingham 01608 661816

April 2014 Newsletter

Tuesday 15th April 3.00 to 6.00 – Solar Farm Exhibition
Blackwell Village hall
Sunday 27th April 9.30 Queen's Avenue Orchard Planting
Queen's Avenue Play Area
Monday 28th April 8.00 Permaculture Group Pub Meet
Red Lion, Long Compton
Monday 29th April 5.00 Biogas Plant Visit
Hangman's Hall Farm, Park Road, Broad Campden GL55 6UX
Wednesday 7th May 7.30 – Transition Shipston Steering & Energy Group
Black Horse Pub, Station Road

Solar Farm at Blackwell - electricity for up to 4000 houses
One of the aims of the Transition Network is to support local energy generation so that we can become more resilient in the face of possible future world gas and oil shortages. A solar farm that could supply most of the houses in Shipston and the surrounding villages on our doorstep will be just what we need to keep the lights on in a crisis... therefore the proposal for a solar farm located between Ilmington and Blackwell can only be welcomed. The solar panels would cover approximately 22 hectares of farm land and could generation up to 14 megawatts. It would contain 59,000 solar panels and meet the needs of at least 3,000 – 4,000 average homes annually.
There will be a public exhibition on Tuesday 15th April 2014 from 3pm to 7pm at Blackwell Village Hall where we can look at the plans and discuss them with the developers. We welcome the development but would like to know:
  1. Who owns Wirsol? Are they an ethical company?
  2. How do they plan working with the communities around Blackwell Grange?
  3. How do they see the Community Foundation Fund working?
  4. How open are they to negotiating how the communities will benefit and in what form?
  5. Can small animals like chickens be kept under the panels or crops grown?
  6. What are the key milestones and dates for this project?

Some of us will be going along at 5.30 to ask the questions and hope to have a quick discussion about what we've learned at about 6.30.

Shipston’s Neighbourhood Plan needs your input!
Shipston is producing a Neighbourhood Plan - something that will help to shape what, where and how development occurs in the town over the next 20 years. From housing to green spaces, healthcare to schools, jobs to joined up infrastructure - the document needs input and ideas from the community.  Initial engagement and evidence gathering has occurred, but there is more to be done. More people are needed to get involved in small teams of volunteers looking at key areas of the Plan - Economy, Housing, Infrastructure and Environment. These groups are working on gathering a wealth of evidence, understanding and interpreting this, and from that platform, developing ideas and options which ultimately feed in to develop the Plan.
Once the options have been worked up, further public consultation will take place to produce a Neighbourhood Plan that will reflect ideas from the community and that will stand up to scrutiny by the District Council.
The time-scales are challenging and so any involvement across any of the groups, or indeed more generally views and ideas, is urgently required - the aim is to be able to use these firmed-up options to write the plan from September 2014. Time commitment is by no means onerous and you do not need to be an "expert" in any one of the topics mentioned, but an interest in supporting the process of helping our Town to develop in a way that benefits and reflects the longer term needs and views of the community would help!
If you feel you could input any ideas, help or support to this process please get in touch with the Project Manager, Erry Lilley urgently: 07775 765572
Keep an eye out for further updates in the Shipston Forum, visit or follow @Shipston_NP on twitter.

Community Energy Warwickshire - community share offer launched
Community Energy Warwickshire has already installed solar panels on Warwick and Stratford Hospitals and is now launching a second community share offer. You can invest any sum from £250 upwards, provided that your total shareholding will not exceed £20,000.
They hope to raise £110,000 by the end of June 2014 which which will be invested in further solar PV projects at local hospitals. You can read all about it on the CEW website,
For more information contact Barbara Cooper,, 01789 290736

Herb Garden Planting
The next planting at the Queen's Avenue Community Orchard is on Sunday 27th April when we will be planting herbs and building a “log garden”. Anyone interested in helping please come along at 9.30 in the morning.

Energy From Waste Visit
The Transition Shipston visit to the Northwick Biogas near Chipping Campden has now been arranged for Tuesday 29th April at 5pm. We will have a tour of the anaerobic digester plant, the electricity generator and the small test laboratory that may take up to one and a half hours. For more information about biogas processing see:
Meet at: Hangman's Hall Farm, Park Road, Broad Campden GL55 6UX. Park in old farm yard at 5pm and we will be taken up to the processing plant
If you would like to join the visit can you let me know: Dave Passingham 01608 661816

Greening the Vale
Following the premiere of Greening the Vale at the Regal Cinema, Evesham, you can now view it online
Many thanks to Alistair McGowan, Alan Miller, Mike Coe, Lizzie Stoodley and Caroline Sutton for producing a wonderful film, to Steve Martin and David Haslam for conceiving and nurturing the idea, and to all the wonderful people who gave their time and enthusiasm to share their achievements in Greening the Vale.

Allotments must not be sold off!
Eric Pickles, the Communities Secretary, is examining plans to free local authorities from a 103-year-old obligation to provide plots of public land for cultivation by gardeners. The proposals could see local authorities, many of them strapped for cash under government-imposed cuts, selling off allotment land for social housing or even for profit to major companies.
Can you sign and then circulate this please - it's a petition to Tell Eric Pickles that allotments must not be sold off! See link: 

March & April News

Friday 14th March 7.00 – Live & Local
Stretton-on-Fosse Village hall
Sunday 16th March 9.30 Queen's Avenue Orchard Planting
Queen's Avenue Play Area
Monday 17th March 7.30 Permaculture Group Pub Meet
Red Lion, Long Compton
Monday 24th March 7.30 – Transition Shipston Energy Group
Black Horse Pub, Station Road
Wednesday 26th March 6.45 - Queen's Avenue Play Area Group
Black Horse Pub, Station Road
Wednesday 2nd April, 7.30 – Transition Shipston
Black Horse Pub, Station Road

Live & Local Show - ‘MuHa’ in concert

March 14th at 8pm, Stretton-on-Fosse Village Hall

MuHa are an international band with Eastern European roots who bring together an original repertoire of contemporary folk songs with Russian lyrics and flavours from Africa, Asia and Latin America.

You’ve seen the flyers but want to know more? Visit the band’s website: then phone me to book your tickets: Geri Hunting on 01608 662848. What better way to spend a Friday night – have a drink and share an evening of original music and fun with your local friends? Tickets still available!

A lot of people keep bees because they produce honey, one of the healthiest and most natural foods and one which has been valued by man since prehistory as a sweetener. Others keep bees because they are interested in the study of bees and of their habits; bees are fascinating creatures and there is always something new to learn about them. With no means of dealing with the varroa mite that is now present in all UK honey bee colonies, a feral honey bee nest is unlikely to remain viable for more than a couple of seasons. With the help of beekeepers it is only managed colonies that can survive to carry out the essential pollination of our food crops. Beekeeping is an enjoyable open-air hobby bringing you in contact with people from all walks of life. Bees can be kept by almost everyone except a very small minority who are allergic to bee stings. We can all, however, play our part in supporting the honeybee and other pollinating insects by planting bulbs, shrubs and trees in our gardens - especially varieties that flower early in the year.
Introduction to Beekeeping
Shipston Beekeepers are holding an “Introduction to Beekeeping” day on Saturday 29th March at Oxhill Village Hall, Main Street, Oxhill CV35 0QU.  The day will deal with the basics of beekeeping for the complete beginner or those with very limited experience of this craft.
Arrive at 09.30 for coffee prior to a prompt 10.00 start.  Refreshments, a light lunch and a practical beekeeping reference manual are included in the day’s price of £45.  The event is scheduled to finish at 15.30 approx.
Contact Douglas Nethercleft on 07850 352905 or to book your place. Places still available!

Community Energy Companies

Investing in community energy companies is an ethical option to saving in banks. There are now over 160 community energy companies in the country. Our own Community Energy Warwickshire has no projects ready for investment at the moment but here are some websites that list some other community energy projects that are open for investment from around the country:

1. Community Shares:
The Community Shares Directory contains all the key information for all enterprises considering or launching a community share offer.

2. Abundance

Abundance lets you take control of where your money is invested, by allowing you to put it directly into UK ethical and sustainable energy projects

Anyone can invest from just £5 and get regular returns of 6-9% IRR.

3. Sharenergy
Sharenergy is a not-for-profit organisation which helps communities find, build and own renewable energy generation throughout the UK.
You could:
  • Get involved in running your local green electricity generation plant
  • Invest some money and get a decent return
  • Provide an energy generation site and earn rent

4. Trillion Fund

Is a group of project developers, asset managers, energy boffins, tech geeks, journalists and campaigners who are all motivated by two things: helping people to do something important with their money and generating more clean energy for us to use.
They are called Trillion Fund because this name represents the scale of investment needed worldwide to prevent climate change reaching damaging levels. It's a huge number, but crowd investing in renewable energy projects is one answer.
They offer a portal to investments in renewable energy projects, whether they are crowdfunds, bonds or shares in a local co-operative or PLC.

5. Community Energy Warwickshire
Our local energy company has installed solar panels on Warwick and Stratford Hospitals but has no projects to invest in at the moment. Watch their website for future opportunities:

Queen's Avenue Community Orchard Planting

The next planting at the orchard is on Sunday 19th March when Shipston Cubs & Scouts will plant a hedge using the a free Wild Harvest tree pack awarded to them by the Woodland Trust. This includes 30 hazel, 30 blackthorn, 5 crab apple, 15 dog rose, 15 elder.

We are planning to plant herbs around flowers around the fruit tree and build a “log garden”. Anyone interested in helping contact Polly

Permaculture Orchard

The Permaculture Group are planning to convert an existing orchard into a permaculture orchard with pigs, chickens and bees. One of the key permaculture ideas being used is the “tree guild”. Here is a link to an example of how to build an apple tree centred guild

The next pub meeting of the group will be at the Red Lion in Long Compton at 7.30 Monday 17th March. For more information contact Jenny Lanham – or join the 3 Counties permaculture group

Energy From Waste Visit

The Transition Shipston visit to the Northwick Biogas near Chipping Campden has now been arranged for Tuesday 29th April at 5pm. More information to follow.

For more information about biogas processing see

If you would like to join the visit contact: Dave Passingham 01608 661816

20's Plenty
At the recent meeting of the Stratford Cycle Forum
it was agreed that the Forum should support and encourage the adoption of 20 mph speed limits in town centres across Stratford District rather than piecemeal. This would encourage walking and cycling and hence reduce congestion in Stratford and other towns across the District. This follows the recent adoption of a 20mph speed limit in Alcester High Street which was warmly welcomed by those present. It was also agreed that the Forum should join forces with Stratford Society in promoting traffic free areas within Stratford town centre.

The Cycling Forum consists of cyclists from across Stratford District. Cycling issues are discussed and suggested improvements to the cycling network are made. The Forum meetings are often attended by District and County Council officers and Councillors who take any matters forward. A recurring issue for cyclists is the number of potholes and the length of time taken to repair them. The meeting heard that in January Warwickshire CC had fixed only 24% of the potholes reported and that it ranks 99th in the list of UK highways authorities in this respect. Members of the Forum are planning to carry out surveys of the major roads in the town and provide WCC with suggestions for improvements.

For more information about the Cycling Forum contact