Here are some photos from the Annual Council meeting last night. This is the first meeting of the new 4 Year term for Witney Town Council. Cllrs Duncan Enright and Joy Aitman were elected as Mayor (Chairman) and Deputy Mayor respectively and Cllrs Rosa Bolger and Luci Asbourne as Leader and Deputy Leader of the Council. Committee chairs were also selected.
A calendar of all future meetings is available on the town council’s website and a full press release will be issued shortly.
You will notice that the Union flag is flying at half mast today. This is to mark the Repatriation of Guardsman Mathew Talbot of the 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards.
The aircraft will land at approx 1.30pm. It is estimated that the cortege will pass the Memorial Garden at approximately 3.30pm, reaching the John Radcliffe Hospital approximately 4.30pm
Norton Way will be closed from approx. 2.30pm, whilst Station Road, Brize Norton, will be closed for approximately 10 minutes once the cortege leaves Britannia Gate at RAF Brize Norton.
There will be road closures in place at the Marston Ferry Road / Cherwell Drive Junction, Marston Road / Cherwell Drive Junction, and at the entrance to the John Radcliffe Hospital. Please expect severe delays in this area whilst the road closures are in operation.
‘With regret, the Mayor’s Big Band Evening in conjunction with the Oxfordshire Youth Music Service on Friday 10th May has been cancelled due to low ticket sales. We apologise for any inconvenience and will be contacting those who have purchased tickets for a full refund.’
part of the budget setting process undertaken by Witney Town Council entails
reviewing expenditure from previous years and calculating an expected cost for
the year ahead.
the cost of vandalism and associated anti-social behaviour is very difficult
since it fluctuates so much, year on year.
for the municipal year 2018/19, so far, record 21 incidents of damage or theft
costing in total, just over £4,000. Twelve of these occurred in play and sports
areas, four in bus shelters, three in our cemeteries and a further one each at
the Lake and Country Park and Lakeside allotments.
shelter has been targeted 3 times with panels being burned, resulting in the
need to replace both the Perspex and the community art work displayed. More recently, the inside of the shelter has
been subjected to graffiti. This has
added £480 to the cost of the original refurbishment of the shelter and
installation of the art work.
The implementation of risk management measures by Witney Town Council helps to reduce the impact and cost associated with vandalism to some extent, but repairing and replacing damaged equipment still takes money away from other areas where it could be usefully spent.
It is easy to
dismiss vandalism as a minor offence, but actually it has a big impact on
communities and distorts the perception of a cared for and safe environment for
both residents and visitors to the town.
A spokesperson for Witney Town Council said,
“Witney has a great
community spirit. However, there is a small but determined minority who
choose to ruin things for others. The council cannot afford to continue
endlessly replacing and repairing at the expense of the council taxpayer. We
would far rather spend money on enhancing our town’s existing facilities and
investing in future projects to meet the needs of our growing town. “
Although the Town Council operates a policy of regular inspection and is quick
to repair, remove or prevent access to damaged equipment, the repeated
destruction is disheartening when hardworking community groups within the town
are fundraising to provide new play areas where they live.
The chair of the Community Services Committee commented,
“At each Community Services Committee meeting we receive a number of reports and sadly the vandalism report is one that isn’t getting any shorter. That being said our works team are quick to respond and will always prioritise making areas safe to use. “
In the latest incident the dry stone wall separating Tower Hill Cemetery and Fieldmere Play area has an extensive hole where the wall has been kicked down over the Easter Weekend. This will cost around £1000 to repair. A good deal of this cost will be offset as the town council’s own works team are skilled in dry stone walling.
The Town Council reports all incidences of vandalism to the Police. If anyone has witnessed any acts of vandalism or has information about those responsible they are asked to contact Witney Town Council on 01993 704379 or Crimestoppers, anonymously on 0800-555111. If you witness vandalism actually taking place please call 101 to report it.
The Town Clerk has sent the following letter on behalf of the Mayor of Witney to Madame Lilyane Lissignol, the Mayor of Le Touquet, expressing sympathy for the devastation of Notre Dame Cathedral
We heard the news of the fire in Notre Dame Cathedral with dismay. Though it is hard to imagine the depth of your sense of loss at the devastation of such an ancient and cherished part of your country’s heritage, the shock and sadness is shared by your friends in your twin town of Witney.
We hope the firefighter who was injured makes a speedy recovery and we are thankful that no lives were lost in the battle to save this historic landmark.
We extend our best wishes to you and your countrymen and hope that you are able to preserve and restore as much as possible of this magnificent building and its contents.
Witney Town Council is currently recruiting for the following position: MAINTENANCE FOREMAN [ASSISTING THE OPERATIONS & ESTATES OFFICER] Reporting to: Operations & Estates Officer Responsible for: Staff – Maintenance team Resources – Budget control within sphere of work Hours: 37 hours per week [Flexible as some early mornings/evenings and week-end work will be required, as well as being on a rota for emergency call outs] Grade/Salary: SCP 22-26 £26,317 to £29,636 Location: The Leys Depot Job Summary:To head up the Council’s Maintenance Team and co-ordinate planned and responsive facilities management, maintenance and repairs across a wide range of premises and services. There is also a requirement to manage services contracted out and other contracts.To be responsible for the duties associated with the burial of the dead and cremated remains within the Council’s Cemeteries.Working with the Operations and Estates Officer and the Public Halls Officer ensuring services, buildings and premises are compliant with relevant legislation and Council policy. In particular providing technical support on the on-going maintenance, security and safety of Council premises/facilities.The post holder will also be required to assist the Operations and Estates Officer in the delivery of projects, both minor and major. The post holder will work closely with technical teams and contractors. Full details on our Vacancies Page
Our yearly survey aims to find out what you think about the Town Council Services and to gather feedback from you about which planned projects you see as a priority. Once we have your feedback detailed plans can be put in place.
To take our survey you can visit Survey Monkey here
to Forces Support, Bereavement and
Veterans charity, visitors to Tower Hill cemetery are now able to take a
seat in the old section of the cemetery while visiting the Commonwealth War
Graves. The cemetery contains around a dozen war graves and the beautiful steel, handmade bench is sited in a section
which contains 4 marked graves and one unmarked. The generous offer of the
bench by Forces Support who have
recently moved their HQ into West Oxfordshire, was made during last year’s WWI centenary
year which saw the war graves covered in blankets of scarlet poppies.
very fitting that the bench which features a poppy and the words ‘Lest We
Forget’ overlooks the single unmarked war grave in the section, which is that
of American, John Christiansen. Christiansen, a
member of the RAF, died thousands of miles from his homeland in an accident at
Witney Aerodrome aged just 28 years old in September1918.
The Witney Gazette report of his funeral states that, ‘In the pretty little cemetery at Witney he
lies and his family can be assured that his last resting place will be
carefully tended by the inhabitants for whom he gave his life.’
One hundred years on the grave is the focus for the new
bench, along with a Centenary Oak tree sapling given by Oxfordshire County
Council, in partnership with The Woodland Trust. Snowdrops surround the bench and make it the
perfect stopping off point for those wishing to pay their respects.
of Witney Cllr Brenda Churchill, thanked Forces Support for their generous gift
‘It’s the perfect bench to have there
among the War Graves, a very thoughtful donation at an appropriate time by
Forces Support and I am sure that it will be appreciated by everyone that
visits. The location of the bench at that particular spot means that the town
of Witney continues to fulfil this most honourable of obligations to Corporal
Christiansen and his family’.
Prohibition of Through Traffic and
Waiting and Temporary Speed Restriction
to 20 MPH
Date of Order: 27 May 2019
Coming into force: 2 June 2019
Order is being introduced because of routine surface dressing works which are
anticipated to start on 2 June 2019 up to and including 8 June 2019
effect of the Order is to temporarily prohibit any vehicle proceeding or waiting
on the A40 between the slip road for A415 to Bernard Gate and slip road for the
unnamed road to South Leigh ,Eastbound and Westbound carriageways.A temporary
speed limit will also be in action during this notice.
5300 metres between A415 Bernard Gate and unnamed Road South Leigh
Appropriate traffic signs will be
displayed to indicate when the measures are in force.
are included for police, fire and ambulance services and for the works and for
access to premises which are only accessible from the closed section of road.
The alternative route for traffic affected by the closure is via A415 –
A4095 – A44 – A40
Order will remain in force for a maximum period of 18 months or until the works
have been completed whichever is the sooner.
Traffic Regulations Team (T6419 / RAG
) for the Director for Infrastructure
Delivery, County Hall, Oxford OX1 1ND. 0345 310 1111.
All our budget information can be found in the latest edition of the Witney Town Council Newsletter which has been delivered to all the homes in Witney. There is also news about the Annual Town meeting and the yearly survey to find out what you think about the Town Council Services and to gather feedback from you about planned projects. If you want to be even more involved there is information about becoming a town councillor.
If you want to read the newsletter online it’s here
And to take our survey you can visit Survey Monkey here
On Friday 1st March Witney Town Council held its annual Civic Reception for specially invited guests at which Mayor, Councillor Brenda Churchill, presented the Citizen of the Year awards. The awards celebrate the shining lights in our community from the past year; those that go above and beyond and give just that little bit more to the benefit of the town. Witney is fortunate to have so many people quietly undertaking all this incredible work. The winners are people that are often so unassuming they seem unaware of the extent of their achievement or the positive impact their actions have on others.
Musical entertainment for the evening was provided by 93 year old Dennis, an accomplished amateur pianist who is self taught, having been told by his music teacher that he would never master the piano! Air Cadets from 2120 (Witney) squadron assisted guests and organisers throughout the event to ensure that it all went without a hitch.
Photographs from the evening can be seen on our Facebook page or with each winner’s story below
Here are the details of the winners of this year’s awards
Peter Brading – Outstanding Service to Community Peter founded Witney Talking News, for the visually impaired in 1978 having organised the fundraising of £4,500 to purchase the recording equipment. About to celebrate its 40th anniversary, Peter has served as chairman and volunteer during this time. The weekly service provides an hour of spoken news to 80 people living in and around Witney. Listeners appreciate the familiar voices and the friendly tone and can be assured that if they encounter any problems with the play back equipment Peter will pop in and sort it out for them. It is the unanimous opinion of the committee members of Talking News that Peter’s public spirited devotion, his continued enthusiasm and energy deserves public recognition.
Janet Currah – Valued Contribution to Education Janet and Jacqueline have been nominated together for contributions ‘well beyond the school walls’ alongside excelling in their professional roles. Janet spent a good number of years at Henry Box responsible for the liaison with primary schools ensuring that transition from primary to secondary education for every child was safe and secure. She demonstrated great understanding of the needs of everyone. A sponsor said, ‘It is said that by the time a child started at Henry Box School, they could be sure that at least one teacher knew their name and face, their family and their history- and that is Ms Currah!’ Janet has also helped generations of teachers in her role as a specialist in behavioural support. She is rightly regarded as a model of good teaching and high professionalism across the town.
Jacqueline Mainwaring – Valued Contribution to Education
Janet and Jacqueline have been nominated together for contributions ‘well beyond the school walls’ alongside excelling in their professional roles. Jacqueline’s efforts alongside colleagues and a supportive head were instrumental in turning Henry Box School into a successful Languages Specialist school. Not only did she achieve tremendous results with her students there but she also provided language lessons in primary schools and in the wider community. Her passion for languages was infectious. Her version of The Very Hungry Caterpillar in French was a particular favourite with many children. A sponsor remarked that ‘ she is without doubt one of the most inspirational and enthusiastic teachers I have had the pleasure to observe in action’.
Dianne Parkes – Mayor’s Special Award
Dianne, along with her husband Nigel is a founding trustee of the charity Joss Searchlight. Set up, following the tragic loss of their son to cancer in 2011, the charity has helped countless other children and their families, offering physical and emotional support while also devising an education programme in schools to ease the return of young cancer patients to the classroom.
In 2018 Dianne organised the first ever 6 week long Witney Wonderland festival which raised money for the charity and St Mary’s church. The event brought the community together to enjoy a number of festive elements including a Christmas Tree festival, gin and wine bars, a photograph exhibition, live music and celebrity poetry and of course, Father Christmas. We hear plans are already underway for this year’s Wonderland.
Windrush Bike Project – Outstanding Commitment to Community
This community project helps volunteers gain skills and confidence through rescuing and refurbishing abandoned bikes alongside trained mechanics. The social enterprise has taught hundreds of schoolchildren and disadvantaged young adults in West Oxfordshire since forming in March 2017. Many of the repaired cycles are offered for sale to fund the workshop sessions. Others are donated to low income families. The project offers membership to people from all walks of life. The group of volunteers are passionate about the role of cycling in helping to clean up air pollution and give their time willingly to inspire others to indulge in some healthy cycling. One sponsor said, ‘The stringent safeguarding and friendly inclusivity is very reassuring for those of us with vulnerable family members.
YOUNG CITIZEN OF THE YEAR 2018 Yasmin Digweed
As chair of the Witney Youth Council Yasmin has demonstrated great enthusiasm in establishing the group despite the obvious difficulty in getting groups of young people together at the same time with their rather busy timetables and social lives!
During her tenure she has provided a mature and calm presence and successfully steered the group meetings. She has applied continuity through agenda items and followed up on actions and decisions taken at meetings.
The Youth Council undertook a successful consultation and fundraising exercise at Witney Town Carnival, led by Yasmin and has identified a number of different projects and activities for the town that the group would like to fund from their small budget.
Yasmin has recruited new members and continued to promote membership of the Youth Council as a positive and worthwhile experience and works hard to ensure that things move forward. She is a great advocate for young democracy.
CITIZEN OF THE YEAR 2018 Linda & Graeme Young
This year’s Citizen of the Year Award is actually a joint award. It goes to a husband and wife team who have demonstrated the qualities of drive and determination combined with what has been described as endless commitment and enthusiasm.
Linda & Graeme founded Witney Day Centre which caters for people over the age of 60. Every Thursday up to 40 members attend and are treated to a seated exercise session by Linda, a two course lunch and entertainment including arts & crafts sessions and live music. Singing and dancing is encouraged and inclusivity being the aim, even those with disability walker frames are enabled to join in with the aid of volunteer helpers gently ensuring they are confident and safe. Not only do Linda and Graeme ensure that each member is well cared for and entertained while attending but they also support, encourage and offer guidance to their volunteers to help them achieve new goals.
For some of the members this is the only social contact and companionship they may have on a weekly basis and is crucial in combatting feelings of loneliness and isolation. Having identified the need for provision of this kind of service, Linda and Graeme found and secured the venue and then negotiated donations of furniture and food. Finally, along with the help of some special volunteers they were able to get the service up and running.
Many members are delivered by family or taxi but there are those for whom attending would not be possible without transport specially laid on. This comes via a minibus that was purchased as the result of some intensive fund raising all of which is incredibly time intensive. Graeme drives the minibus all around Witney, sometimes making two journeys to ensure that all who want to attend are able to get there. The minibus is also used to take members on occasional outings to events such as Remembrance Day and Christmas Lights switch on.
Although the centre is open between 10am and 3pm, the time devoted to the day to day business of running it extends far beyond this and Linda and Graeme certainly put in the hours collecting food from the supermarket donations organising entertainment and even visiting members who are unwell in their homes or in hospital.
The service is just over a year old now and we hope that it will continue to thrive and provide such a welcoming and nurturing service.