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 np@shipstononline.org
Keep an eye out for further updates in the Shipston Forum, visit
www.shipstonnp.org 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, www.cew.coop.
For more information contact Barbara Cooper, barbara.cooper@phonecoop.coop, 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: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anaerobic_digester
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 davepassingham@hotmail.com 01608 661816

Greening the Vale
Following the premiere of Greening the Vale at the Regal Cinema, Evesham, you can now view it online http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IEno7KtVXU8&feature=youtu.be
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: https://submissions.epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/61225