Update on Upper Rissington - Summer 2017

  • Officers Mess, Upper Rissington
  • Officers Mess, Upper Rissington
  • Upper Rissington Village Hall
  • Upper Rissington Village Hall
  • Co-op Upper Rissington
  • Pilates 4U
  • Maria Martin of Blue Court Textiles

Keelin McLeman unveils more exciting developments in this rapidly up-and-coming, thriving community

For the last seventeen years, local independent estate agents Harrison James & Hardie have always championed the newest village on the block as Upper Rissington has undergone a gradual metamorphosis from abandoned RAF base to desirable Cotswold hotspot.

Co-owners Karen Harrison and James von Speyr clearly heeded their own advice, settling here with their young family in 2004, and perhaps it is no surprise that Karen was appointed specialist adviser for the developers when planning permission was granted to build new homes on the old light industrial park.

As a parent-governor Karen was similarly employed as consultant in the transition of Great Rissington primary school as it became a split-site provision with Upper Rissington, during which she also ran a fund-raising campaign that brought in £17,000 for a minibus to ferry children between the old and the new buildings, now in constant daily use.

Today Harrison James & Hardie is still very much seen as the agency of choice for both old and new homes, handling around 95% of re-sales and representing Linden Homes in the development of the Officers Mess

“This last phase of development is a perfect metaphor for Upper Rissington in its slow transition from an ugly decaying monolith into a beautiful and worthy investment,” says Karen. “Serendipitously, the village has become home to many talented entrepreneurs, successful company directors and creative thinkers, all sharing an extremely positive, forward-thinking ethic, with clubs offering everything from archery to yoga in addition to a broadening range of amenities.”

Whilst hall and school were simultaneously built, the Village Hall only opened last July only after concerted efforts by a small but fiercely committed group of volunteer residents. A Charitable Trust was set up in June 2017 to oversee the hall’s on-going management and development. Chairman Dean Beard says: “This is a vital hub for an increasingly vibrant community. It’s been a long slog negotiating the lease but now that we have it, we’re all enthusiastically looking forward. It’s a wonderful provision with a great future and a focused team to ensure its success.”

Meanwhile, barely two years after the Upper Rissington site first opened its doors there has been such high demand for school places that an extra classroom will be built by September and more room within the existing building given a new, separate facility for Rascals pre-school within the school grounds boasting three classrooms plus a kitchen, office and cloakrooms. These significant improvements come at a fitting point in the school’s history as a worthy legacy for retiring head teacher Liz Pearce, aptly reflecting all her commitment to a lengthy, exhausting but rewarding, successful transition.  

Recently married Mrs Pearce extended a warm welcome in her latest newsletter to new head teacher Mrs Sue Dawes, who will take over in September.  “It is so exciting that after all this time, pre-school provision for the Rissington area is securely in place at last. This has been a wonderful place to work. The children and families are so caring and supportive and it has been a particular joy to see how the community is growing together to build a thriving and exciting place in which to live.”

In May, Mrs Pearce and two pupils were part of a welcoming party for Badham Pharmacy’s newest branch after yet another hard-fought battle supported by residents, the primary school, county and parish councillors.  “With persistence we succeeded in ensuring a much needed facility and a more sustainable community,” said delighted local councillor Mark MacKenzie-Charrington at the opening launch.

Congratulating fellow councillor Dr Nigel Moor for his invaluably informed persuasion on the merits of the application to NHS England, the pharmacy provides two private consultation rooms and offers a range of free health checks, urgent repeat medication, treatment for minor ailments, a free delivery service for mobility-impaired patients and dedicated medication dispensing for care homes in the local area.  

Next door, the brand new eco-friendly Midcounties Co-operative store has also finally opened following an eagerly awaited £350,000 relocation investment. Recruiting seven employees to the original team at the old Sopwith Road site, this significantly larger venture - unveiled by the Upper Rissington Scout Group - has already proved highly popular by providing a far greater range of fresh produce including many local suppliers from Gloucestershire.

Rubbing shoulders with The Runner Bean - offering a range of fitness and relaxation classes including Pilates4U - and a busy licensed bistro at The Hangar offering a number of regular social events, these invaluable amenities provide a natural meeting place for local residents. Given the Officers Mess is not set for completion until 2018, no doubt the village will attract more businesses and similarly invested residents over the coming months - perhaps most likely to gain immediately is Maria Martin of Blue Court Textiles, a local independent enterprise making bespoke curtains and blinds!