Welcome to the Rudloe and environs website.
Here you will find news, articles and photos of an area that straddles the Cotswold Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in north-west Wiltshire.
Contributions in the form of articles or photos are welcome. Even those with completely contrary views to mine!
Thanks to the website builder 1&1 and Rob Brown for the original idea.
Rudloescene now, in January 2014, has a sister, academic rather than anarchic, website about Box history here: http://www.boxpeopleandplaces.co.uk/
It contains thoroughly professional, well-researched articles about Box and its people.
Contact rudloescene through the 'Contact' page.
Quarry Wood in late autumn.
26th November 2019 - once again, a bit of a melange of 'news' from wider Corsham. A Freedom of Information request to Wiltshire Council has revealed the cost, to the ratepayer, of the 'remodelling' at the Cross Keys junction. You know, that junction where we now have a broad expanse of pavement where nobody walks and a new pelican crossing to the 10 (is it?) homes to the north of the junction. An X31 service driver expressed amazement at the installation of the pelican crossing as in his 10 years on the route he had never seen anyone crossing the road here.
A 2019 Christmas quiz: why put a pelican crossing at a spot where no one (effectively) ever crosses the road? And a Christmas prize (bottle of wine) for anyone who spots and photographs (not faked) someone using the crossing. But not only that, the crossing is on the wrong side of the junction. In order for any Corshamite who would wish to cross to the north side of the A4 just for the hell of it, he/she would first have to cross Cross Keys Road where there is no controlled crossing!
The given reason for the remodelling was that 'the traffic signals were reaching the end of their life' but as long as they were working, why spend £374,000 (I repeat £374,000!) on a project which was, effectively, unessential especially in these days of austerity and desperate need of funding in other areas? Which brings us to the other remodelling in 2014 ...
In March 2014, the A4/Leafy Lane junction was remodelled, over many weeks and at great expense (I estimated a six-figure sum at that time). For the local users of this junction this remodelling was unnecessary, illogical in certain aspects and made negotiation of the turns involved more difficult and problematic. The issues with the remodelled junction are ...
For westbound drivers on the A4, the 'deceleration lane' for Leafy Lane was removed and, with an adverse camber (pushing the car towards the road centre) on the turn into Leafy Lane, drivers have to come almost a complete stop in order to negotiate the turn. Following drivers also have to come to (almost) a complete stop which some are reluctant to do, so overtake using the hatched area (and the right-turn lane beyond) out of frustration. Given the volume of traffic heading for the estates (400+ homes) along Leafy Lane and beyond, a deceleration (or left-turn) lane here was appropriate/logical. What is certainly not appropriate/logical is the 120-metre (20-car?), right-turn lane for westbound traffic into Lower Rudloe Lane created by the remodelling. There are about 20 homes and a farm at Lower Rudloe; why make a right-turn lane for 20 cars to 20 homes and a farm whilst removing a left-turn ('deceleration') lane for the 400+ homes? Illogical. Not only that but the turn for the regular (every 20 minutes) buses exiting Leafy Lane heading west is now so tight (following the removal of the 'acceleration lane') that it cannot be negotiated easily if there are vehicles in the right-turn lane for Leafy Lane.
As I say above, I estimated a 6-figure sum for this remodelling at that time which, given the cost of the Cross Keys remodelling, is more than likely. More money wasted in a time of austerity.
4th January 2019 - in a jumble of 'news' and images from Corsham, Chippenham and Rudloe to start the rudloescene year, we first see George (with his Christmas teddy behind) at the door of the John Parker Gallery twixt the Martingate precinct and Corsham High Street. George is watching out for people who have travelled 1,300 miles across Europe to become homeless in Bristol. 'They' are ferried by a gangmaster to Corsham, Bath, Chippenham and elsewhere every day (with exceptions) in order to sell the Big Issue which classifies them, according to Government, as being in work and so enables access to the benefits system. The 'exceptions' are holiday periods when they make the 1,300-mile trip home.
Below, we have another image courtesy of the John Parker Gallery. This is the assembled (by famille Turner) 1930s GWR jigsaw of a Castle class locomotive at the head of the Cheltenham Flyer crossing Brunel's fine bridge across the Thames at Maidenhead. There are/were a number of these original GWR jigsaws for sale at the gallery over the Christmas period.
Now we move to Chippenham and the Bridge and Emery Gate car parks which are (but have been much worse) an absolute disgrace. I say 'have been' as an email to Wiltshire Council in October elicited a clean-up of sorts. The gallery of photos below shows the state of the car parks in October; the last three photos shows the, still awful, state of the Emery Gate car park and its environs today (4th January 2018). But don't worry, "austerity is over" (Madame May) and the weekly £350 million will soon enable our councils to get to grips with the dreadful state of our built environment (or will that all go to the NHS?).
Moving to the world's local bank now in Chippenham High Street and from one pile of shite (excuse my French) to another of a different kind. A sign in the window of the HSBC bank in Chippenham High Street should caution against slogans, in this case "Together we thrive". The 'we' in this case is HSBC bank itself not its customers as it offers paltry interest rates in spite of its being one of the world's biggest companies with capitalisation/profits running to many billions.
But the sign itself illustrates the absolute bullshit prevailing within the bank and its branches. "Working in thriving towns and communities across this country". Really - what about Corsham (and Melksham) which HSBC abandoned forcing its customers to travel to Chippenham to do business. "Who help you everyday" - the idiots can't even use English - 'everyday' is an adjective, as in an everyday object such as a teaspoon, in this context 'every' and 'day' are adjective and noun (two words). And the bank was founded by a scotsman called Sutherland (first name Thomas) - I suppose Thomas better fitted the bullshit. "Together we are part of something far, far bigger". What something?
After railing against the prevailing nonsense, we return to the tranquility of the By Brook Valley with Kingsdown, Farleigh Down, Bathampton Down, Bannerdown and Lansdown providing the backdrop.
18th October 2018 - all hope is gone ... The photograph below, taken on 18th October, shows the BANES recycling collection lorry in Larkhall Square, Bath. Can you see the small piece of paper on the pavement adjacent to the cab? This is a lottery ticket which has just been chucked out of the window by the lorry driver.
15th October 2018 - hardly believable news on a short, round trip to Chippenham Station. rudloescene readers will be aware of the Chippenham A350 bypass roadworks at the McDonald's roundabout, specifically the A4 widening at the Pudding Brook traveller (is that correct, as 'they' are not travelling?) site.
The Highways Agency/Wiltshire Council/whoever has created a three-vehicle right-turn lane into the three (or four?) residence Pudding Brook site. Unbelievable, a dedicated lane and associated hatched areas just for three or four homes - how much would this have cost? And what is the point? For vehicles (but I've never seen any) travelling from the west and wishing to turn into Pudding Brook, a simple solution is to continue on to the roundabout, return along the A4 and turn left. Unbelievable.
And the second bit of unbelievable news on this short trip to Chippenham? The Rowden Arms has its Christmas tree up - on the 15th October! Unbelievable!
23rd August 2018 - unsustainable immigration, development and the loss of valuable agricultural land
If the dear reader (if, indeed, there are any) can be bothered to take a ‘butchers’ at the midsummer 2017 article here: https://www.rudloescene.co.uk/localities/rudloe/midsummer-2017/ (midsummer 2017) he or she may see that the supposed requirement for the construction of hundreds of thousands of new homes across the country is questioned. Simply looking at the local picture of getting on for a thousand new homes, the question of where all these people are coming from comes to mind. We have 100 homes at Copenacre, 170 in ‘Park Place’, 88 at Dickens Gate, 150 still in the offing (but hopefully not) above the working mine at Pickwick, 180 at the ex-RAF Rudloe No. 2 Site in Westwells Road, 110 now proposed at Sands Quarry (the Donkey Field), 10 at Neston Gardens and 64 at Corsham Rise. The total here for west Corsham alone is 872 but this does not include the additional accommodation being built at Wadswick Green or other, small, developments like the ‘executive’ development at Lower Rudloe. The standard rate of occupation is, apparently, 2.3 people per household so 872 homes will bring just over 2,000 newcomers to west Corsham.
Migration Watch UK, the lobby group, estimates that about 5.4 million of the total population increase of 6.6 million between 2001 and 2016 was the result of immigration, once births to new immigrants were included. This gives an average of 337,500* immigrants per year yet we hear year after year that the Government is committed to bringing net migration down to sustainable levels (this apparently means tens of thousands). So we see that immigration is, and has been over many years, an order of magnitude greater that the level that UK governments have indicated is sustainable. But who, in government, is making this link between unsustainable immigration, population growth and the supposed requirement to build hundreds of thousands of 'sustainable' new homes across the country? *The latest, 2017, figure is 328,000 with 101,000 from the EU and 227,000 from outside the EU.
In the meantime we are losing thousands of acres of agricultural land to development (about 65 acres in west Corsham alone). The following recent rudloescene articles show what will be lost at just one of the west Corsham sites, the 12-acre Bellway(owner Robert Payne)/Bath ASU (Chris Watt and the Masrich Pension Scheme) site: https://www.rudloescene.co.uk/localities/rudloe/skynet-verge-jul-2018/, https://www.rudloescene.co.uk/localities/rudloe/rudloe-farewell-jul-2018/, https://www.rudloescene.co.uk/localities/rudloe/skynet-berries-aug-2018/.
Further articles illustrate the environmental damage that will result from these developments. The 21st September 2017 article here: https://www.rudloescene.co.uk/news/rudloe/ (21st September 2017 article) contains yours truly's representation to Wiltshire Council for the Masrich Pension Scheme commercial development. And an article, dated 1st February 2018 (1st February 2018 article), includes the file 'link' to the representation on Bellway's 88-home housing development.
10th March 2017 - over three hundred pied wagtails were roosting in the London plane tree in the new Southgate square in Bath on Tuesday 7th March. Whilst a bit of an 'isolated' tree (there is only one) the square is protected from winds and weathers on all sides so, presumably, this is why it was chosen as a roosting site. I would imagine that roosting here might continue for some days so we will go down towards dusk this evening to see if we can catch them coming in again (and we did ... and they did).
Our Friday, 10th March, visit to Southgate reminded us that this is no longer a public space but is owned by Aviva Investors and British Land as is Brunel Square with its Vaults Restaurant Quarter on the site of the former station car park. The reminder was that as we were waiting for the pied wagtails, we noticed a number of security staff patrolling the area, one of whom was the daughter of an old acquaintance.
Such streets are no longer in the public domain but are the subject of 'public realm agreements' between councils and developers. So while the public is winning new rights of access in the countryside, these rights are being taken away in towns and cities. The same thing has happened in Corsham with the Martingate Precinct which is privately owned by Bill Hall's company Martingate Centre (which also owns Newlands Road car park).
The photo above is of the roosting wagtails on Friday, 10th March, at around 5:45 pm. The photo below is of a roost of silly girls who were constantly trying to scare the wagtails away by clapping their hands.
5th September 2016 - after two-and-a-half years, the poster of stylised trees in Walcot Street is being augmented with 'cartoon' cyclists to celebrate stage five of the Tour of Britain ending in Bath on 8th September. The original poster was supposed to be in place for just two weeks but it is still there after thirty months.
In the picture above, the artist's dog sits under the unfinished poster and in the image below, in order to get a perspective on his piece de resistance, the artist views the work from the other side of the street.
2nd August 2016 - as rudloescene's first competition (also dated 2nd August 2016) was, incredibly, won within about ten minutes of it going online, here's another one. Where is this house with painted 'windows' (a trompe l'oeil) which were presumably blocked at the time of the window tax? Another bottle of wine offered to the first person to pinpoint its location.
4th January 2017 - it seems that we went from the sublime to the ridiculous (too easy to too difficult) with this quiz as five months on, the silence is deafening and another bottle of wine has gone begging (maybe no one looks at this website). Any road up, this house is in Bloomfield Road, Bath (beyond Bear Flat towards Odd Down).
4th March 2016 - First Bus to scrap the 231 Bath-Rudloe-Corsham-Chippenham service from 24th April
Below, the reader will find an email sent to James Gray, our North Wiltshire MP, last night (3rd March 2016) regarding the First Bus proposal to scrap the 231 service. I have also copied the email and requested responses from the First Bus CEO Tim O'Toole and MD Giles Fearnley and Wiltshire Council. And below that there are three emails to the First Bus CEO and MD (amongst others) dated 13th December 2014, 12th December 2015 and 14th December 2015 about the complete unreliability of the 231 service. I make the point that, given its unreliability, it is hardly surprising that customers have preferred the reliable competitor, Faresaver. Not mentioned in the last night's email is the fact that in recent months, First Bus has elected to 'streamline' its service by avoiding Pewsham and Batheaston - this may have had some effect on its income from this service.
|Pewsham Estate, Shops||1730||1805||1907||2004||2143|
|Chippenham, Bus Station  arr||1738||1813||1915||2012||2151|
|Chippenham, Bus Station  dep||1743||1819||1917||2014||2153|
|Chippenham, Railway Station||1750||1826||1922||2019||2158|
|Cepen Park South (Sainsburys)||1803||1839||1934||2031||2210|
|Corsham, Newlands Road||1812||1848||1942||2039||2218|
|Rudloe, The Estate||1820||1856||1950||2047||2226|
|Box, Post Office||1827||1903||1956||2053||2232|
|Ashley, The Northey||1830||1906||1959||2056||2235|
|Bath, Bus Station ||1855||1926||2019||2116||2255|
14th October 2015 - Community Governance Review meeting at Corsham Community Campus
This meeting of the Working Group on Parish & Community Governance Reviews was arranged in order to take views on the proposals for the Corsham and Box parishes. The meeting agenda, which includes 'frequently asked questions' and a three-page survey can be found in the pdf file at the foot of this article (note that there is no 'Page 2' which was blank).
Scores of people (probably a couple of hundred) attended the meeting, principally Box and Rudloe residents, and many good points were made for keeping the status quo. The impression was that if any proposal were to be accepted, it would be the 'counter' proposal from Box Parish Council (agenda item 3b) for the part of Rudloe Estate which is presently in Corsham Parish to be moved to Box Parish.
As the photo indicates, when it comes to throwing Rudloe to the development wolves both parish councils are happy to do so without any thought for the problems that existing householders have. There are no services at Rudloe - the only shop, on Rudloe Estate, closes this month. Do the councils not appreciate that a substantial amount of money is foregone on bus or taxi fares in order simply to get to shops? Parts of Rudloe have been described by Wiltshire Council as "deprived". So where better to put another 88 homes than in a deprived area without services?
Corsham Town Council (CTC) Planning Committee voted "unanimously" to support the 88-home development at Rudloe and, interestingly, voted unanimously against the 150-home proposal at Pickwick. This, I believe, indicates CTC's true view of Rudloe - that they care little for the community. At tonight's meeting, the only arguments we heard from CTC were about "new" residents (of new developments) and what community they would wish to be part of (we heard nothing about how they support or propose to support existing residents) and the boundary anomalies (however, CTC's proposal would simply replace one set of anomalies with another - see next para). The author of the Corsham proposal, the former Town Clerk, now CEO, was conspicuous in his silence.
So, no good rationale was offered by CTC for their proposal. Even their proposed boundary which was to be based "on fixed features which are likely to remain in place for many years" has been arbitrarily modified to follow a new access road to Wadswick Green which divides Manor Farm's holdings (so part of Manor Farm would be in Box, another part in Corsham).The poor showing from CTC indicates that there really is no solid foundation to their plan.
Returning to sporting analogies, as made in my piece in the 7th October article, if this was a boxing match, Box won by a KO in round 1 or if a tennis match, by a WO (walkover).
With regard to the meeting agenda below, the included survey is a bit of a minefield as, for example, question 7 says "How far do you agree or disagree thet the proposed changes to the parish boundaries where you live will improve the following factors". But what proposed changes? Those proposed by Corsham or those proposed by Box? The only solution is not to insert any ticks in boxes but to provide a narrative answer. Surveys should be returned either to the email or postal address given on 'Page 8' of the survey by 30th October.
7th October 2015 - Public Consultation Meeting on Corsham and Box Boundary Review
A public consultation meeting regarding the Wiltshire Council Community Governance Review and the proposals from Corsham Town Council to change the Corsham and Box parishes boundary will take place at Corsham Community Campus on Wednesday 14th October 2015 at 7pm.
Corsham Town Council's proposals may be found in the .pdf document below. Box Parish Council's responses to the proposals are to be found in the Word (.doc) document below.
A thoughtful piece on the proposed changes from Alan Payne of Box People and Places can be found using the 'button' below. Note that the area proposed to be annexed and highlighted in yellow in Alan's article has now been changed (by Corsham Town Council) and no longer includes Chapel Plaister and Wadswick.
Locals' views on the proposed change may also be found at the Box People and Places website through the further 'button' below.
And I have put in my fivepenny-worth in the third file below.
27th September - some pictures of the supermoon and lunar eclipse taken with a hand-held, compact camera using standard settings.
15th August 2015 - news for nerds
There follows a gallery of photos taken along the main railway line between Chippenham and Bath before and during the engineering works preparing the infrastructure for electrification. The line closed on 18th July; work is scheduled for completion by 31st August.
Interesting how, like our motor industry before it, our railway industry has now been appropriated by foreign companies. The fine (in their day) Intercity 125 HSTs, designed and built by British Railways Engineering at Derby and Crewe will, after 40-odd years sterling service, be replaced by Japanese trains. The goods (ballast) trains running up and down the lines during electrification infrastructure work are German- and French-owned (DB Schenker and Colas) - the engines are American, built in Canada. The principal infrastructure contractor is Hochtief (German).
Governments of all shades, since the war, have sold Britain down the river. This is typified by what has happened to our railway and its engineering prowess.
20th March 2015 - 'the end of the world' as seen from Rudloe (a solar eclipse, super 'new' moon and spring equinox together). Strangely, a crescent-shaped shadow appears at the bottom-right of all these photos - it was not seen in photos taken before or after the eclipse shots.
Here's some up-to-date news - a House of Commons report on litter and fly-tipping published on 14th March 2015 and reported by rudloescene on 16th March 2015. The full text of the report may be found here:
Further links to report documents may be found through this www.parliament.co.uk committees webpage:
However, the report doesn't appear to tell us anything we didn't know already - in my cynical opinion this is just a worthless, bureaucratic exercise. If I'm still around in 12-years time, I have no doubt that the litter problem will be much worse than it is today.
12th September 2014 - The Tour of Britain comes to Bradford-on-Avon
21st July 2014 - Vulcan bomber over By Brook Valley
Oh we of little faith. We were informed by 'a correspondent' that the Vulcan would be coming over at 1:50pm on Monday afternoon so we dutifully went to the top of Box Hill and waited. We gave up at 2:20pm and returned home only to catch sight of it doing a turn and passing over the very spot we had just left.
16th June 2014 - proposed parish boundary change
The map readers out there will see that the proposed new boundary is defined (north to south and west) by Leafy Lane, the B3109 (Bradford Road) to Fiveways, the A365 to its junction with The Wansdyke and thence a short stretch of The Wansdyke to then join with the existing boundary in Neston Park.
The proposed annexation takes in, inter alia: Rudloe, including the approved Hannick development of 88 homes and commercial premises; Fiveways Trading Estate; the former RAF Rudloe No 2 Site where a planning application for 170 homes is proposed by year-end and Thorneypits, Chapel Plaister and Wadswick including Manor Farm.
The following is a response from the Corsham Town Clerk to my email on the subject. The 'Community Governance Review' paper attached to the Town Clerk's email follows the extract.
Regarding the Community Governance Review (Boundary Review) this was dealt with at the Council (Planning) meeting on 2 April 2014 (Minute PL 125/13) see: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/47728031/Planning/Minutes/Planning%20Minutes%202%20April%202014%20DM.pdf. Wiltshire Council invited all local councils in Wiltshire to put forward suggestions for reviews earlier this year. The Town Council had been considering the issue for some time prior to that and it features in our Strategic Plan 2014-2018 – see: http://www.corsham.gov.uk/information/Resources/Strategic%20Plan%202014%20-%20approved%20-%20one%20document.pdf. We will be submitting our rationale and justifications during Wiltshire Council’s formal consultation period.
24th May 2014 - The Bear at Box
The photo was taken on Wednesday 21st May in the last days of any outward signs of The Bear as a pub. By Saturday, it was open for business as The Bengal Bear with "the finest Bangladeshi and Indian cuisine".
With the demise, over the years, of The Legion, The Chequers and now The Bear, Box village has just one watering hole remaining - The Queens Head.
The more adventurous (and mobile) could try The Northey (a tad dear), The Quarryman's (a long uphill hike), The Swan (an even longer hike) or perhaps The Rudloe Arms (idiosyncratic to say the least with a fairly paltry choice of alcoholic beverages but the garden on a summer's evening (25th July) is delightful).
22nd January 2014 - accident in Bilbury Lane, Bath
This accident occurred at around midday when a truck-mounted crane shifting a generator toppled over onto the flat-roofed extension of The Lamb and Lion pub.
6th January 2014 - flooding at Batheaston
Certainly nowhere near as bad as the Christmas Eve flooding but the meadows are awash with 'new' floodwater now after more heavy rain. Many of the photos show piles of trunks and branches from the trees, in the substantial patch of land adjacent to the car sales pitch, that were cut down in autumn 2013.
The supposed reason for the felling, according to the Environment Agency, was to guard against trees, or tree parts, falling into the river and fouling the weir downstream. However, I would have thought that all the pictured tree parts were in far greater danger of being washed downstream than well-rooted trees.
27th October 2013 - transformer en-route from Avonmouth to Melksham
The biggest load to pass through Wiltshire - a 254-tonne transformer on a 112-wheel low-loader with tractor units front and rear passes through Rudloe at 1pm today. The associated convoy even had a tree surgery team. The route was designed to avoid the railway bridge at Melksham that would not have been able to cope with the weight so the Wiltshire leg was A350 to Chippenham, A4 to Corsham/Pickwick, B3109 to Fiveways, A365 to Shaw, B3353 through Shaw then Westlands Land to the sub-station.
I guess that for the A365/B3353 junction at Shaw, the low-loader would have to proceed past the junction, the tractor units detach, turn around and re-attach to face the opposite way in order to negotiate the acute bend. If anyone knows what actually happened, please send answers on a postcard to .....
20th September 2013 - information from Hannick Homes
See the 'News', 'Rudloe' pages for the latest information on the proposed development.
In Pickwick and Rudloe, proposed housing and commercial developments on greenfield sites are causing local people much heartache and concern. The proposed Pickwick site, illustrated in the background photo of the Pickwick page, is the field on the A4 opposite St Patrick's church. The AGM of the Pickwick Association held at the Hare & Hounds on 24th June attracted more than 100 people, most of whom attended to find out what was happening over this development.
With so many brownfield sites (Copenacre, RAF Rudloe No 1 and 2 sites, HMS Royal Arthur, Rudloe Estate (density increase), the former Leafield Engineering explosives factory at Westwells, the Flamingo Club) available for development, local people cannot understand why greenfield development could be proposed.
The planning process appears, to the layman, to be a shambles. There is a plethora of documents (the Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment (SHLAA), the Housing Land Supply Strategy or Statement (HLSS), the Core Strategy, the Local Plan and many others) which must have taken an age to produce and describe a situation whereby any development should firstly take place on brownfield sites.
It is difficult to glean the correct position with regard to the strategic housing requirement. A stand at the Hannick Homes exhibition on 22 June stated that the wider Corsham area needed to provide 475 homes by 2026 (this is the Core Strategy figure for Corsham Town). The brownfield sites in the Rudloe/Westwells area alone can provide in excess of this figure over the coming years so why propose developments on greenfield sites?
A national campaign was started on 29 June addressed to Eric Pickles, the Communities Secretary and Nick Boles, the Planning Under Secretary to stop speculative developers taking advantage of loose or undeveloped planning strategies at local level. The campaign webpage can be found here:
Please help this campaign by signing the petition.
A couple of years on now (writing in July 2015) and the hoped for support for the petition seems wildly optimistic. Just 81 people signed, due largely to the author's principle of eschewing social media, 'likes', 'everybody's talking about', crowdsourcing and so on.
Thanks for the genuine support from the eighty-one.