January / February 2013 Newsletter

Stop the Supermarket – Thursday 24th January 6.00

One of the main aims of Transition Towns is to help build the local economy by supporting local businesses and preserve existing small shops. This is not just nostalgia but a practical way that we can save local jobs and expertise. Experience has shown that when a supermarket moves into a town at a distance of more than 300 metres from the existing town centre the footfall in the centre falls drastically and the traditional shops start closing. This leads to the decline of a whole local supply chain involving not just food & goods suppliers but also many other suppliers (e.g. plumbers, electricians, shop fitters, printers, accountants etc.). See http://www.tescopoly.org/

Shipston is lucky in having one of the best traditional High Streets in the country. If the proposed ASL development on the Campden Road which includes a supermarket goes ahead it will inevitably lead to the decline of the town centre. The jobs that are promised by the supermarket will not make up the loss of local jobs. The jobs they offer will be low skill and low wage. With the weather we’ve been dealing with this week, it’s been noticeable that the supermarkets completely ran out of fresh produce but the local shops had an abundance of fruit and veg; meat; fish etc. Where would we have been in Shipston if we had relied on supermarkets during the snowy weather?

If you want to keep Shipston as a thriving Market Town come along and
at the
Stratford District Council Planning Committee
6pm 24th Jan, Shipston High School

What Should We Put In The Recycling Bin?
On Friday Nov 30th a group from Transition Shipston visited the Material Recycling Facility (MRF) run by Pure Recycling in Ettington. This is where all our household recycling is taken to be sorted. It was agreed by all that it was a fascinating visit. The building is a massive hangar covered with conveyor belts and hoppers. Giant drums somehow separate the paper and magnets sort the metal. But most amazing was the optical sorting of the plastic into three different bins. Each plastic type is identified by a “magic eye” as the item passes along the conveyor, a nozzle then tracks the item and blasts a jet of air which blows it into the correct bin. This happens several times a second!
After the tour we had a very informative chat with one of the engineers in charge. We asked questions about exactly what we should be putting in our recycling bins at home. These are some of her answers:

Yes to soft plastic bottles and containers. No to Plastic bags
Yes to glass bottles and jars. No to other glass, e.g. windows, glasses
Yes to aluminium containers. No to plastic coated aluminium foil e.g. coffee packets

She said that although people put some quite inappropriate things in their recycling e.g. mattresses! Pure will find a company who will take it away for specialist recycling rather than it ending up in landfill. 85% of glass can be recycled. The remaining 15% is classed as dust and used as aggregate for roads and cement.

For more information on what happens to your material, please visit Pure Recycling's website for an in-depth look at the recycling process. Alternatively, you can watch a short film showing how the material is processed. http://www.purerecycling.com/home.html

Queen's Avenue Play Area & Orchard – Volunteers Needed
At a meeting with Wicksteed the chosen play equipment suppliers for the Queen's Avenue Park last week it was decided to go ahead with the first phase of the construction starting at the end of March. This would entail selecting the main items of play equipment that can be purchased for £35000 - which is the total amount of funding already committed.

In order to save some money it was agreed that the works listed below could be undertaken by local contractors and/or a volunteer group.

Volunteer Group Tasks
  • Removing rubber tiles and recycling.
  • Removing concrete bases and re locating swing A frames.
  • Re-filling the hole with top soil, rolling out and adding grass seed/turf.
  • 3 metre high kick fence can be erected any time before or after project. Can we source and install – Mike?
  • Pathway. Needs re edging with timber edging and re surfacing – to be completed after all construction work.
  • Orchard tree planting... Wicksteed will provide a grid drawing for location of trees so that they will not obstruct the installation of the play equipment at a later date..

The first volunteer day (date to be arrange) will need to to removal of rubber tiles/concrete swing bases. Could anyone volunteering please contact: Polly Taylor tinkers@btinternet.com or davepassingham@hotmail.com

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 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.
Shipston Beekeepers are holding an “Introduction to Beekeeping” day on Saturday 9th March at the Old Free School, Brailes OX15 5HT.  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 £40.  The event is scheduled to finish at 15.30 approx.
Contact Douglas Nethercleft on 07850 352905 or djn0001@aol.com to book your place. Numbers are limited.

Local Portland Sheep Wool
This year I have produced wool from our flock of Portland Sheep , the oldest registered rare breed in England and our Black Welsh Mountain Sheep. I wondered if this locally produced, British Rare Breed, undyed wool, may be of interest to members of Transition Shipston. The wool is sold at the Shipston Needlecraft shop. See http://www.armscotemanor.co.uk/Armscote%20Manor%20-%20Portland%20Sheep%20Wool%20-%20Order%20Form.pdf
With best wishes
Deborah Williams

Brailes Gardening Club Talks

Brailes Gardening Club meets once a month at the Free School, Lower Brailes. Visitors and new members are very welcome. Talks start at 7.30 pm.

Future talks include:

21st February 2013
Rosemary Collier – ‘Controlling pests of vegetables’
21st March 2013
Neil Cook - 'The recreation of the gardens at Hanbury Hall'.
18th April 2013
David Willatts – ‘Twenty five years in Brailes - organic fruit and vegetables from my cottage garden’

To join the club, or for further information, please call Rosemary Collier on 01295 680127.