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From the The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald, first published Thursday 6th July 2006.

SOLDIERS from the hit television show Bad Lads Army were in Corsham over the weekend to put pupils through their paces at Box Highlands summer fete.

The special guests were invited along to help the school's Friends group raise money, as well as ensuring an entertaining 1950s style bootcamp experience.

Joe Murray, who lives in Rudloe and whose daughters attend the school, stars as a corporal in the ITV show, which will run for its fourth season, starting next week.

He said: "The new series is called Bad Lads Army Extreme and viewers can expect it to be extreme by name and extreme by nature..

"All I can tell you at this point in time is that the bad lads suffered like they have never suffered before and we all enjoyed making them suffer."

As well as Mr Murray, there were four other soldiers from the series on hand to start races and organise special command tasks for the youngsters.

Sergeant Tim Weston, Corporal Jim Bush, Corporal Jack Newton and Sergeant Jack Godwin, all from the popular show, travelled from up and down the country to be there on the day.

Mr Murray said: "We finished filming the show last Saturday in Dorset and five of us from the programme came down to help them raise money and obviously because I have family connections there anyway.

"It was a great day, although the turnout wasn't as good as we hoped it would have been, and especially after the other corporals and sergeants came from all over the country to be there.

"I think it was due to the World Cup that we didn't get as big a turnout as we had hoped."

Mr Murray was a sergeant major in the Army until four years ago and travelled extensively during his career.

He got involved in the television programme after simply going up for a casting audition and landing the part. He said: "I have done all the series of Bad Lads Army from when it started and I'm really looking forward to the new episodes starting next Tuesday."

Mr Murray, who lives in Clift Close with his wife Penny and three daughters, said he got involved with the school fete because his wife is joint chair of The Friends of Box Highlands and his daughters Olivia and Charlotte are pupils there.

He said: "My daughters had a great time and were really pleased that I came down to the school.

"I think a lot of the mothers were very pleased to see us, too."

Children who went to the fete were awarded medals by the television stars for taking part in a number of tasks.

Mr Murray said: "There was a tug-of- war between the Bad Lads men and firemen from the RAF base at Basil Hill, which of course we won. We were then taken on by kids from the school and they beat us hands down."

The total raised has not yet been finalised.

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From the The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald
Newsquest Media Group 2006


From the The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald, first published Sunday 23rd Apr 2006.

A man has been arrested and bailed pending further inquiries following a sexual assault on a woman in Rudloe on Thursday.

The incident happened at about 11.45pm on Skynet Drive. A man in his 30s was subsequently arrested.

Police said a silver car was connected with the incident.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective Constable 1853 Melanie Carosi at Chippenham Police Station on 0845 408 7000 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.

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From the The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald
Newsquest Media Group 2006


From the The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald, first published Thursday 2nd Mar 2006.

Residents are celebrating victory after controversial plans to build a new accommodation block at the prestigious Rudloe Hall Hotel were thrown out by North Wiltshire District Council's development control committee.

A petition containing 117 signatures opposing the new scheme described by planning officers as a pick-and-mix design with rocket booster' towers was handed in at a meeting on Wednesday last week.

Members of the Rudloe Residents Action Group also attended the meeting to voice their concerns and Box parish council clerk Margaret Carey added further weight to the tide of opposition.

The hotel already has planning permission to build an extra accommodation block but the new application proposed a new design which is larger than the original and includes four large towers, balconies and extra rooms.

Richard Fisher, speaking for the hotel, described the new scheme as an interpretation of the Regency style, a charming new building that would delight the community.

"It will give the community something special," he said.

The community, however, did not seem impressed.

Residents had written 33 letters of objection complaining the architecture was unsympathetic, that it would damage the rural character of the area and spoil a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Rudloe Hall Hotel is a large Grade II listed building built in the high Victorian Gothic style dating back to 1875 and Box parish council was concerned the new plans would not enhance it.

Mrs Carey said: "Box Parish Council supports refusal. This block is larger than the existing hotel and will have a detrimental effect on the listed building."

At the meeting, planning officer Brian Taylor said the proposed towers looked like rocket boosters.

"I think it is a very poor design," he said.

Coun Tudor Jones said the hotel was dealing in a form of artistic blackmail' by circulating a picture of the old design which he said appeared like an East European warehouse and a brighter picture of the new scheme.

The plans did find support from Coun Peter Davis who described it as imaginative, forward-looking and eco- friendly.

"We're desperately in need of tourist accommodation. People are forced to go to Bath for a hotel when they would like to stay in the country areas," he said.

After the meeting Mr Fisher took the refusal on the chin and said they were not overly disappointed about the refusal because building work would begin on the original design in about eight weeks time.

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From the The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald
Newsquest Media Group 2006


From the Wiltshire Times, first published Friday 24th Feb 2006.

Designs for a new apartment block on the Rudloe Hall hotel estate have been rejected by the district council.

Plans to build 36 self-contained rooms in a separate building from the hotel were approved last year.

On Wednesday, North Wiltshire District Council turned down the design that included bays, turrets and balconies at the front of the building.

But they approved plans for a pitch and putt golf course as well as a solar-heated swimming pool and four silver domes to heat the pool.

Richard Fisher, marketing director for Rudloe Hall said: "The application was passed except for the new design of the building.

"That was disappointing, it was obviously too much for them and so we are left with a less ambitious but still elegant Regency-style building.

"The new development will bring lots more jobs to the area as well as taking tourists away from Bath and into north Wiltshire. It will bring more business to traders in the area, which will eventually lead to a better infrastructure with schools and other leisure amenities.

"The interesting thing is that all the apartments are laid out as individual hotel rooms, which can be joined up to form suites or two or three bed apartments with their own lounges and kitchens."

Mr Fisher said the hotel was "breaking new ground" with its design.

He said: "The swimming pool will also be a lovely natural swimming lake that is heated all year round by the solar domes.

"We have also applied to extend the hotel itself and that will start when this development is finished."

Work on the new development will start within a month and the golf course, swimming pool and apartment block should be finished within nine months.

Rudloe Hall is set in 15 acres at the top of Box Hill and overlooking the Bybrook Valley. The Gothic-style building dates back to about 1875 and is Grade II listed.

Box Parish Council has fiercely opposed the plans as the 36-bedroom block is larger than the existing hotel.

They also said the construction of the golf course is not in keeping with the area of outstanding natural beauty.

More than 30 residents have written to object to the plans on the grounds it would be an encroachment into the green belt, the height of the new building and damage caused to the rural character of the area.

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From the The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald
Newsquest Media Group 2006


From the Wiltshire Times, first published Thursday 5th January 2006.

PRIME Minister Harold Wilson planned to survive a nuclear war by taking refuse in a bunker under Corsham.

The Labour PM, who was in power between the mid 1960s and early 70s, his cabinet and top civil servants would have fled to Burlington Bunker.

The details have emerged in a top- secret cabinet paper from 1975, which was declassified this week and released by the National Archives.p> Until recently the Government refused to admit the 240-acre bunker, located at the Spring Quarry complex 120ft under Box Hill, even existed.

It was designed in the 1950s to accommodate 5,000 civil servants and top politicians for a year if nuclear war ever broke out.

The bunker even had its own pub a replica of the Whitehall tavern the Red Lion and broadcasting studio.

Information about the bunker was officially made public last year when it was decommissioned.

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From the The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald
Newsquest Media Group 2006