Category Archives: News

The Witney WWII Air raid

Map depicting concentration of bombs dropped in Witney and surrounding villages
Map depicting concentration of bombs dropped in Witney and surrounding villages
This weekend marks the 80th anniversary of a World War II Luftwaffe bombing raid on Witney where two bombs impacted in the Church Green and Eagle Brewery areas in the south of the town overnight on 21st-22nd November 1940. The bombs were designed to cause a large amount of property damage and in this they certainly succeeded.
The buildings close by to the first explosion on Church Green, numerous homes and the grammar school would certainly have suffered blast damage. Notable buildings such as the church and police station, along with the council offices, had windows blown out. The almshouses at 28-38 Church Green also suffered damage. There is shrapnel damage to the white railings close to the dip in Church Green itself that identify the impact site of the first bomb.
Thankfully, the only injuries were minor ones with no major casualties at all.
Earlier bombing raids had also taken place in surrounding villages such as Stanton Harcourt, Brize Norton and Aston so it is unsurprising that Witney also received this unwanted attention.
Mayor, Joy Aitman discovers more in a chat with local historian, Derek West. 
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Climate, Biodiversity and Planning Committee Virtual Meeting Link 6pm 24 November 2020

You can watch the meeting via the link below:-

https://zoom.us/j/94995800786?pwd=a3h5ZHE5OW0wemZESEFEVVRYZ0Qrdz09

Passcode: 206844
Or iPhone one-tap :
United Kingdom: +442034815240,,94995800786#,,,,,,0#,,206844# or +442039017895,,94995800786#,,,,,,0#,,206844#
Or Telephone:
Dial(for higher quality, dial a number based on your current location):
United Kingdom: +44 203 481 5240 or +44 203 901 7895 or +44 208 080 6591 or +44 208 080 6592 or +44 330 088 5830 or +44 131 460 1196 or +44 203 481 5237
Webinar ID: 949 9580 0786
Passcode: 206844
International numbers available: https://zoom.us/u/abpxnKOKJt

You can find the agenda under the Councillors, Meeting and Minutes tab on our website.

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Doorstep Christmas Switch On

Christmas Doorstep Switch on poster
Christmas Doorstep Switch on poster
Bring some sparkle and magic to Witney with our Community Doorstep Switch On! From Burwell to Deer Park, Windrush Valley to Madley, Thorney Leys to Cogges and everywhere in between.
Light up your home, your business or shop, and our whole town with others in your community in our doorstep challenge.
Break out the decorations and some festive snacks and get decorating. We want everyone to get involved and switch on at the same time. Light a string of fairy lights, a window, or your whole house!
Don’t forget to share pictures of you getting creative and joining in with the festive spirit across social media, using the hashtag #Witneymagic
Post photos of your house In the comments to enter the best decorated house competition
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Witney’s Outstanding Citizens

This year Witney Town Council has been unable to hold its Civic Reception at which the Mayor normally presents 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.  As soon as we are able to celebrate with them in the way they deserve, we will do so, but until then here is a little bit about each of our winners. You will soon see why they were selected as 2019’s stars.

OUTSTANDING COMMITMENT TO THE COMMUNITY 2019- West Oxfordshire Community Transport

 

The familiar WOCT fleet
The familiar WOCT fleet

 

 

 

 

 

This wonderful organisation uses the strapline ‘powered by people’, and there couldn’t be a more accurate description for this warm hearted, community minded group of paid employees and volunteers. WOCT is a Community Benefit Society and one that is truly a lifeline for many of our residents, many of whom may be elderly or vulnerable, who might not otherwise have access to important public services or employment.

Its existence covers a gap in local transport services and helps people retain their independence and take part in community and social activities.
The organisation is agile in responding and adapting to fluctuating levels of need, and proactive in keeping passengers informed of any timetable or route changes. This kind of reassurance has been more important than ever during this year’s COVID-19 crisis.  WOCT does all this in the most personal of ways. For example, there are active social media channels issuing regular service announcements such as tracking links for buses so that, in inclement weather, passengers do not have to wait outside in cold or rain for too long for their bus!

While they were unable to run during lockdown they kept in touch with members and set up welfare calls. They followed up with a passenger survey to see if people were shielding and to ascertain how nervous they were about resuming travelling and what they wanted. They then implemented safety measures such as Perspex screens and sanitisers to help passengers feel safe on board.

The WOCT team are deeply appreciated by their passengers. The friendly and supportive relationship between the drivers, and the passengers they all know by name, means that inevitably, the care and concern isn’t all one way. It was touching to note during the first lockdown how passengers were calling to check on the health and wellbeing of their drivers. And in return the WOCT crew were offering an emergency contact for anyone in need.

This from their Facebook page, “A warm hello to all of our passengers from the team here at WOCT. We hope you are all keeping well in these strange times. A large number of you have been calling in to check that all of our drivers are keeping well, and we want to reassure that they are all fine, and they are sending their kind thoughts back to you all too. We are all looking forward to the day when this awful virus is behind us and we can start serving the community again. In the meantime, please everyone stay at home and stay safe. Andrew L and David M are still manning the phones, and if anyone is in need of anything urgently, please don’t hesitate to give us a call. If we can help we will.

All the very best in the meantime to you all from the team.”

A second post promising to retain services while possible through the second lockdown, elicited more gratitude. “I can not thank you enough for all your hard work your drivers and people behind scenes and keeping me getting to work through the hard time.”

 Cllr Duncan Enright, who was Mayor when WOCT were selected for this award sums up how much a part of the community WOCT is, “Many residents see WOCT as a lifeline, and town businesses appreciate the trade they get from regular services. The community bus has featured in the national news, cooperative awards and even earned Witney a mention in a song by electronic band Underworld!”


 

YOUNG CITIZEN OF THE YEAR 2019 James Boxer

James Boxer, Young Citizen of the Year 2019
James Boxer, Young Citizen of the Year 2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This year’s Young Citizen of the Year is somebody that many of us will recognise. In the words of Tania Kirby, of Guideposts Charity, someone he often volunteers alongside, “James is an active community citizen. He is a face people recognise, and a name that brings a smile to people’s faces.”

 He has volunteered for many charitable organisations throughout Witney and West Oxfordshire, year-round, and whatever the weather for more than 10 years. He works in two charity shops and is a dedicated and successful poppy seller, fundraising for the Royal British Legion, raising between £1600 and £1700 each year.

  Jess Jenkins, Community fundraiser for the Royal British Legion, says how valued he is, “It is not often that the Legion attracts people of James’ age to volunteer and this makes him even more special to us, opening up dialogue with a  younger generation that is sometimes harder for us to reach”  


Chris Stephens, Witney Poppy Appeal Organiser added, “James has done a marvellous job for RBL for a number of years in all weathers, going above and beyond what he has been asked to do, without the slightest grumble and I can’t think of a more deserving recipient of this award.”

 James also volunteers at community events such as LibFest, The Witney Music Festival, Witney Carnival, Witney Pride and Countryfile Live, gladly giving his time for free to keep these events safe and happy for those attending. He regularly spends whole days out in the heat or the wind or the rain to support others having a good time while missing out on fully enjoying these events himself, as a guest.

Muzo Academy’s Snezhana Stoykova explains how James has always helped with their gigs and events and was on hand to help pack and move all the equipment from the Rock Barn to their new home at the Music Rooms.  She adds, “He never hesitates to give up his time to help various local causes- definitely worthy of receiving the Young Citizen of the Year award!”

 More from Tania, who speaks of him with the utmost admiration. She says, “I have been blown away by James’ work ethic, his passion for helping others, his constant offers of help and support. He is one of the most reliable people I have ever worked with and from talking to others in the community, many, many people agree. He is a very humble man and does not gloat about the amazing work he does for free for all types of organisations, but is magnanimous about his tireless work, seeing it as a way of being able to give back to a community that supported him through his teenage years.

She added, “He doesn’t just turn up and volunteer. He turns up, learns about what the message is and actively promotes whatever organisation he is there to promote.

He is a true ambassador, not just for Guideposts Charity, but for vulnerable people everywhere, as well as being an ambassador for Witney and the true face of inclusivity and diversity in our town.”

 This incredible commitment to volunteering and helping others would be admirable from anyone, but when you learn that James himself, lives, with disabilities, then it becomes all the more remarkable.

His mum, Debi, proudly lists James’ achievements and says that he will look to help wherever there is space for him to do so. Then she reveals that at the age of 11 James had a cancerous brain tumour removed followed by both chemo and radiotherapy, which has left him with some considerable challenges, particularly deafness. James fills his days with helping others, but above all, he would love to have a paid job. When he was younger he wanted to be in the services, or a firefighter.

 She continues,  “We are so proud of James and all that he does. Many people would use this as an excuse to do nothing, but James is always looking for something to do to help. He is frustrated by the COVID-19 situation as of course many of the events he helps at have been cancelled. But currently, he is looking out for our neighbours and checking that they are alright, and nobody needs anything.”

 James is indeed a shining example of citizenship, and as such, it is with great pleasure we award him as our Young Citizen of the Year.


 CITIZEN OF THE YEAR 2019 Chris Ody

 Chris Ody, Citizen of the Year 2019
Chris Ody, Citizen of the Year 2019

For a number of years Chris has been performing as CODY providing acoustic singalong sessions mainly in the local care community.

His daughter Arwen tells how he is out on a more or less daily basis, travelling around Witney and West Oxfordshire, visiting elderly people, some of whom have become isolated, depressed and disinterested in the world around them.
“Armed with just a guitar and a large song book , performing songs from their youth he brings them a small burst of happiness. Even those with more severe difficulties have been known to get up and dance or tap their toes along with his music

The venues are mostly residential homes, day centres, lunch clubs, coffee mornings, 100th birthday parties etc.
Chris works with lots of local dementia groups and social clubs mainly for the elderly or for people needing care. His performances include lots of interaction, chat, stories, and songs that everyone can join in with. Sadly, this year, these have been restricted to online video sessions, or garden singalong shows.

Mandie Acock, Lifestyle Support Coordinator at Rosebank Care Home supports Chris’ nomination,
“I have been booking Cody to perform for our residents for almost ten years now. He is one of our top entertainers. He has such a wonderful way with our residents, knows them all by name and makes the effort each and every visit, to sit and talk with them, and to sing WITH them, and not just to them. He is always bubbly and happy, and never rushes. He delivers every time. We sing with him, we dance, he dances too. It’s just a fun and uplifting experience for all. CODY deserves this recognition! He does so much for our local community and he is such a kind and genuine person. The world needs more CODYS!”

Chris certainly works hard. Last year along with 24 local care homes, he also provided sessions for Witney Hospital, MS Society in Abingdon, The Shake Shop in Witney and Carterton, Sue Ryder Centre in Nettlebed, Witney Rotary Club, Witney Dementia Action Alliance, and Abingdon Hospital.
Kim Longford and Debbie Hackett, owners of The Shake Shop, wrote to us about Chris,

“We have been very lucky to have had Chris perform at many of our community events. Chris has generously given his time for free at some of our charity occasions and is always a happy and joyous addition. He may be best known for his rapport with the elderly but is equally brilliant with children and their families. Chris is an absolute asset to Witney and brings joy with his music wherever he goes. He most definitely makes a positive difference to the lives of the people that he comes across in his work as a talented musician. We are happy that, through our business, we have acquired a lovely friend, who is kind, giving and generous in all ways.”

 Arwen explains how in December last year he performed more than 40 gigs in care homes, to the point where he was losing his voice and feeling genuinely exhausted. He did all this while caring for his own family and helping out his parents where he could. Arwen’s granddad has Alzheimer’s disease and has frequent appointments, and Chris takes him to these.

 Arwen says “This makes my dad’s service so much more worthy of recognition, as he has seen at first-hand how it feels to see your parent deteriorate with Alzheimer’s. I see him use this to inspire himself, to do what he does for the elderly in our community. His heart is completely in his work. He comes home and tells wonderful stories of the people he meets and makes genuine friends wherever he goes.”
She continues, “He may not be able to change the community from a social policy point of view, but I do believe he makes a small change to a large number of people within the local community. What he does changes people’s lives.”

It seems Chris has always been community minded. In previous years he has taught people to play the guitar and regularly refereed local youth league matches. In Oxford he was referee for the Man vs Fat club, helping to promote healthy lifestyles for men in the area. He certainly keeps busy and loves his work putting smiles on faces. He described his days to us,

“It’s a simple format that seems to work well, it’s a wonderful job, I get lots of positive feedback and regular re bookings. If I were paid in smiles, I’d be a millionaire!”


Witney is extremely 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. It is really disappointing not to be able to make the awards in person this year, when we have people and organisations that add so much value to our community and contribute to the big heart for which Witney is renowned.

Witney’s Mayor, Cllr Joy Aitman sums up our winners,

“I read about all our recipients with a huge lump in my throat. We, the residents of Witney, are truly honoured to have these marvellous people within our community.  I look forward to meeting with them in the future and celebrating their achievements.” 

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Policy, Governance and Finance Virtual Meeting Link – 23 November 2020

 

Please click the link below to watch the meeting at 6pm
https://zoom.us/j/93654872686?pwd=WEF6YWRnMWtaZmhGaVUyTEZ1T1VFdz09
Passcode: 517707
Or iPhone one-tap :
United Kingdom: +442039017895,,93654872686#,,,,,,0#,,517707# or +442080806591,,93654872686#,,,,,,0#,,517707#
Or Telephone:
Dial(for higher quality, dial a number based on your current location):
United Kingdom: +44 203 901 7895 or +44 208 080 6591 or +44 208 080 6592 or +44 330 088 5830 or +44 131 460 1196 or +44 203 481 5237 or +44 203 481 5240
Webinar ID: 936 5487 2686
Passcode: 517707
International numbers available: https://zoom.us/u/abH7jNYXRm

 

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Temporary Emergency Road Closure at Witney, 14 Oxford Hill, OX28 3JR

Temporary Traffic Regulation Notice – S14 Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984

Temporary Emergency Road Closure at Witney, 14 Oxford Hill, OX28 3JR

 

Oxfordshire County Council has been informed of a temporary emergency road closure on the Oxford Hill whilst main clamp 0 to 6” cway works are carried out for public safety reasons.

 

A temporary Emergency Notice is being made to implement the temporary closure and will operate from 12 November 2020 up to and including 16 November 2020. This is a 24 hour road closure

 

A single Temporary Emergency Notice can last for 21 consecutive days maximum.

 

Access will be maintained for emergency service vehicles and for those frontages within the closure area, subject to the progress of the works and liaison with the works supervisor.

 

Further information regarding the emergency works may be obtained by contacting Thames Water Helpdesk on 0800 316 9800.

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Stronger Communities Committee Virtual Meeting Link – 16 November at 6pm

When: Nov 16, 2020 06:00 PM London
Topic: Stronger Communities Committee

Please click the link below to watch the meeting

https://zoom.us/j/98422341224?pwd=OFBYbmxGYjFMcXB0N2xXUjZ5OG9GZz09
Passcode: 181754
Or iPhone one-tap :
United Kingdom: +442039017895,,98422341224#,,,,,,0#,,181754# or +442080806591,,98422341224#,,,,,,0#,,181754#
Or Telephone:
Dial(for higher quality, dial a number based on your current location):
United Kingdom: +44 203 901 7895 or +44 208 080 6591 or +44 208 080 6592 or +44 330 088 5830 or +44 131 460 1196 or +44 203 481 5237 or +44 203 481 5240
Webinar ID: 984 2234 1224
Passcode: 181754
International numbers available: https://zoom.us/u/adFNbUZ1OZ

 

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Temporary Road Closure and “No Waiting” Restriction at Duckington, Unnamed Road to Curbridge

POSTED ON BEHALF OF OXFORDSHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL

Temporary Traffic Regulation Order – S14 Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984

Temporary Road Closure and “No Waiting” Restriction at Duckington, Unnamed Road to Curbridge

Map showing location of closure
Map showing location of closure

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the interests of public safety it will be necessary for Oxfordshire County Council to close a section of / the length of Unnamed Road to Curbridge to facilitate carriageway repair works / repairs.

Map showing diversion route
Map showing diversion route

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Temporary Traffic Regulation Order (TTRO) is being made to implement the temporary closure and “No Waiting” restriction and will operate from 11 January 2021 up to and including 19 February 2021. This is a 24 hour road closure.

 

(The maximum duration of a TTRO on a road is 18 months and on a footpath is 6 months, or until completion of the works, whichever is the earlier.)

 

Notice of intention to make the Order will be published in the local press.

 

Access will be maintained for emergency service vehicles and for those frontages within the closure area, subject to the progress of the works and liaison with the works supervisor.

 

A copy of the drawing showing the extent of the closure and the alternative routes for traffic is attached.

 

Further information regarding the works may be obtained by contacting  Oxfordshire County Council on 0345 310 11 11

 

T8255/AC

 

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Advance Notice – Road Closure – Lew Road 2 December 2020  09:30 to 15:30

Posted on behalf of Oxfordshire County Council

In the interests of public safety, it will be necessary for Oxfordshire County Council to close the road and impose a ‘No Waiting’ restriction as detailed above to facilitate carriageway patching works.

Map showing location of closure
Map showing location of closure

 

 

 

 

 

 

A temporary Notice is being made to implement the temporary closure and will operate on 2 December 2020 between 09:30 and 15:30.

A Temporary Traffic Regulation Notice is being made to implement the temporary closure and restriction and will operate on the days shown above.

Map showing diversion
Map showing diversion

 

 

 

 

 

 

Please note that Notices for urgent works can last up to 5 consecutive days only.

 

Access will be maintained for emergency service vehicles and for those frontages within the closure area, subject to the progress of the works and liaison with the works supervisor.

 

A copy of the drawing showing the extent of the closure and restriction and also the alternative route for traffic is attached.

 

Further information regarding the works may be obtained by contacting Oxfordshire County Council on 0345 310 11 11.

 

T8304 / RAG

Date:     11 November 2020    

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Remembrance Day Video 2020

The Corn Exchange
The Corn Exchange

 

 

 

 

 

 

Witney Town Council created this special, Remembrance Day service video for 2020, to help our residents safely commemorate the fallen and ensure that they were still honoured, and remembered, during these unprecedented times.

All those taking part in the video were filmed on separate days and times, and observed social distancing advice. All the photos showing crowd scenes or organisations parading are from previous years.

Although we could not include all the huge numbers of people that normally take part, we managed to include some representation from our veterans and our young people, who were not able to parade this year.

Veteran members of The Royal British Legion laid wreaths and proclaimed the Exhortation and Kohima for us. Members of the Youth Council also laid a wreath, an air cadet paraded a standard and this film was produced and directed by a local, young videographer.

James of Jamco Productions with Rev Toby Wright
James of Jamco Productions with Rev Toby Wright

 

 

 

 

 

 

We would like to thank everyone who took part for their time and contribution and we look forward to seeing everyone together again, next year.

LEST WE FORGET

 

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Our Facilities During Lockdown

As we head into a new period of lockdown between November 5th and December 2nd this is a reminder that Witney Town Council is still operating and here to help you if we possibly can.
Here is a list of the facilities that are still open and available to you.

 Photo of The Leys
Photo of The Leys

 

 

 

 

 

 

All our parks and play areas. (Except for the MUGAS (Multi Use Game Areas) at Burwell and King George V)
Lake and Country Park
Leys public toilets
Windrush Cemetery
Tower Hill Cemetery

There are rules about the cemeteries-
Cemetery
18 (10) A person who is responsible for a crematorium or burial ground must ensure that the crematorium or burial ground is closed to members of the public, except—
(a) for funerals or burials,
(b) commemorative events celebrating the life of a person who has died, or
(c) to allow a person to pay respects to a member of their household, a family member or friend.

The following facilities are closed for now
Town Hall
Corn Exchange
Burwell Hall
Leys Skate Park
Muga pitch at Burwell recreation ground
Muga pitch at King George V recreation ground

With shorter days and fewer opportunities for social contact be sure to make use of our green spaces for taking some exercise, or enjoying some fresh air, or just for a change of scene.
Witney has a fantastic community support network, so please keep looking out for your immediate neighbours.

Our staff are working from home for the most part, but you can still contact us by telephone and email and we will be continuing to issue information on our website and social media platforms along with press releases, copies of which are placed in the public noticeboard by the Town Hall.
We look forward to resuming normal service again in a few weeks and in the meanwhile keep Hands, Face, Space -ing!

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Halls, Cemeteries and Allotments Committee – 9th November at 6pm- Virtual Meeting Link

To watch the meeting please click below:-

https://zoom.us/j/93186511532?pwd=M0ZoeTJmNllaN3ZxdGJFWERmNUtqZz09

Passcode: 487947
Or iPhone one-tap :
United Kingdom: +442080806592,,93186511532#,,,,,,0#,,487947# or +443300885830,,93186511532#,,,,,,0#,,487947#
Or Telephone:
Dial(for higher quality, dial a number based on your current location):
United Kingdom: +44 208 080 6592 or +44 330 088 5830 or +44 131 460 1196 or +44 203 481 5237 or +44 203 481 5240 or +44 203 901 7895 or +44 208 080 6591
Webinar ID: 931 8651 1532
Passcode: 487947
International numbers available: https://zoom.us/u/ac2YnBIFXq

 

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Advance Notice – Temporary Road Closure, Finstock- 8 Feb -22 March 2021

POSTED ON BEHALF OF OXFORDSHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL HIGHWAYS DEPARTMENT
Temporary Traffic Regulation Order – S14 Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984
Temporary Road Closure at Finstock, Witney Road
A request has been received from Sunbelt Rentals Limited for a temporary road closure to apply to a section of Witney Road, whilst essential brick work repairs and water proofing works are carried out.
A Temporary Traffic Regulation Order (TTRO) is being made to implement the temporary closure and will operate from 08 February 2021 up to and including 22 March 2021. This is a 24 hour road closure.
(The maximum duration of a TTRO on a road is 18 months and on a footpath is 6 months, or until completion of the works, whichever is the earlier.)
Notice of intention to make the Order will be published in the local press.
A copy of the drawing showing the extent of the closure and also the alternative route for traffic is attached.
Further information regarding the works may be obtained by contacting Kelly Wilcox on 0370 0500792 or email centralsurveys@sunbeltrentals.co.uk
T8203/AC

Map showing closure and northern part of diversion route
Map showing closure and northern part of diversion route

 

Map showing closure and southern part of diversion route

Map showing closure and southern part of diversion route

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Witney War Memorial 100 years old

Witney War Memorial 100 years old picture
Witney War Memorial 100 years old

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Witney War memorial was dedicated on 12th September 1920, making it 100 years old this year.
It was designed by Thomas Rayson, and built by Axtell and Son at a cost of £870 1s and 3d.
Although the unusual circumstances of 2020 have precluded many of the events and celebrations that we would normally be enjoying, the memorial will have a special wreath of knitted poppies placed on it this weekend to mark its special year.
Poster including a photo of the war memorial being unveiled
The dedication of the war memorial