Witney Town Council Implements Inclusivity & Diversity Panel

Building on an existing, robust equality policy, Witney Town Council plans to research and apply additional diversity initiatives so that it better serves our community, and, as an employer, ensures that all are given the support and opportunities to succeed and reach their full potential as individuals, regardless of background.

Can you help the Town Council do this? We are looking to engage with people from minority demographics and communities in the town, to share their ideas and experience with us. If you take a strong interest in our town or have ideas about changes you would like to see, then you have just what we are looking for. To find out more about sharing your ideas and expertise please drop an email to info@witney-tc.gov.uk and we can put you in touch with members of the panel.

Liaising, with community groups and other relevant bodies will extend consultation and interaction with people from a wide range of ages and backgrounds at all levels. Understanding the scale and scope of diversity, will help the Town Council challenge definitions and champion change, where needed, within its own organisation and the wider community.

Cllr Owen Collins, Chair of the Stronger Communities Committee, said,

As a Council we are absolutely committed to representing the whole town – including those demographics who have been historically under-represented, or who have previously found barriers to their engagement.

 As our community evolves, so too must the Council, and I encourage anyone who has ideas on how Witney Town Council can better reflect the people it serves to get in touch and help us create that positive change.”

As part of its annual review process the council looks to evaluate and improve the way it is meeting equality legislation and statutory requirements and how these are put into practice.

Witney Town Council recognises that in a constantly evolving world, no matter how much it is already doing well and what has already been achieved, being fully paid up members of a global society will require further steps in this journey. By adapting and augmenting what it already does to reflect the changes in our community, it can be instrumental in expanding a thriving, inclusive environment and workplace culture that fosters and embraces respect and values diversity.

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Climate, Biodiversity & Planning Committee, 6pm Tuesday 3rd November – Agenda & Virtual Meeting Link

Planning Agenda 03.11.20

Planning Applications 03.11.20

Please see the link below which will enable you to watch the above committee meeting on Tuesday 3rd November 2020 at 6pm via Zoom.

If you would like to speak on any agenda item listed please contact the Town Clerk (townclerk@witney-tc.gov.uk) 24 hours prior to the meeting so the necessary arrangements can be made.

Please click the link below to join the meeting:

https://zoom.us/j/94946927524?pwd=cSs4c3F2MmtidGtvdXZ4dW1ERnoxZz09
Passcode: 093645
Or iPhone one-tap :
United Kingdom: +443300885830,,94946927524#,,,,,,0#,,093645# or +441314601196,,94946927524#,,,,,,0#,,093645#
Or Telephone:
Dial(for higher quality, dial a number based on your current location):
United Kingdom: +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 or +44 208 080 6592
Webinar ID: 949 4692 7524
Passcode: 093645
International numbers available: https://zoom.us/u/adgWrUB3AQ

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Children’s Christmas Card Competition

Every year we ask Witney’s children to get creative and design an official Christmas Card for the Mayor and this year is no different.

The Council is calling on all the children of primary school age living in Witney to help out. Your mission is to create a fabulous Christmas themed design. Below you can see some of the previous entries.

Previous entry Father Christmas

 

 

Entries can be submitted via email or post and we have provided a template for you to use. Please return your entries to:
info@witney-tc.gov.uk or Witney Town Council, Town Hall, Witney OX28 6AG

 

Witney Town Council Christmas card Competition template 2020

Previous entry Christmas Tree

 

We must receive all entries by 5pm on the 16th November. There will be prizes for 1st 2nd and 3rd.
Don’t forget to pop your name, age, school and contact details on the form when you return it.

 

 

The overall winning design will be made into the official card used by the Mayor and Town Council.

Previous entry - The Buttercross

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St Mary’s Church Veteran Cedar To Be Felled

The fractured canopy of the Cedar
The fractured canopy of the Cedar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once again Witney Town Council finds itself in the unenviable position of having to carry out the felling of a veteran tree that has become dangerous. The Cedar of Lebanon (Cedrus libani) in St Mary’s Churchyard has dropped several large limbs over the last 2 years, damaging and further endangering Grade II listed tombs, memorials, and other structures.

The Town Council, which is responsible for maintaining the churchyard, has been monitoring the tree’s health, but despite remedial works undertaken by the council’s retained tree works contractor, the decline in the health of the tree is irreversible.  The huge tree is likely to be around 200 years old.

Following the most recent failures, Witney Town Council commissioned a firm of local Arboricultural Consultants, experts in managing and preserving the landscape and environment, to provide an assessment of the risks and available management options.

Unfortunately, the 18m tall tree has lost much of its vitality, the crown is thinning (over a quarter has been lost), and it presents a high risk of further shedding of fractured boughs, predominantly from the canopy. Following bat and other surveys that showed the tree was not being used as a habitat, it has been recommended to remove the tree completely.

Given the age and visual impact of the tree it is likely to leave quite a gap in the churchyard and there will be a lot of wood to remove as a result of the felling. There are hopes to repurpose as much as possible with St Mary’s Church hoping to salvage some of the wood to use for internal and external furniture.  Meanwhile, the Town Council’s Estates team is investigating having a memorial bench created somewhere close by along with the possibility of work by professional woodcarvers installed on The Leys.

Councillor Owen Collins Chair of the Stronger Communities Committee remarked,

“The Cedar of Lebanon has been a presence on the Witney skyline for decades, so it’s an enormous shame that it is now both irreversibly unhealthy and thus unsafe. However, we’re committed to replacing the cedar, and making good use of the wood, so that after 200 years in Witney it can live on for many more years yet!”

Although not a true native of the UK, having been introduced in the late 1700s, the Cedar of Lebanon has become commonplace on large estates, and especially in Churchyards where their familiar evergreen branches have strong biblical connections.

Once the tree is removed the Conservation Officer has requested that a replacement Cedar of Lebanon is planted as close as possible to the original site. It should be good for another 200 years!

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Remember at Home

In a year where we cannot do things in the way we would choose, we are having to adapt and find new ways to do things. There will be wreaths on our memorial as there is every year, but no parade or service. People are being asked to observe the 2 minutes silence on their doorsteps or front gardens as a demonstration of gratitude and respect in their communities.

 

Remember at Home Poster
Because this year means different
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Advanced Notice – Road works Ducklington Lane

Map showing close up of closure area on Ducklington Lane
Map showing close up of closure area on Ducklington Lane

 

Map showing diversions for Ducklington Lane Road closure
Map showing diversions for Ducklington Lane Road closure
Posted on behalf of Oxfordshire County Council
 
TRAFFIC REGULATION NOTICE
ROAD TRAFFIC REGULATION ACT, 1984
 
Notice is hereby given pursuant to Section 14(2) of the Road Traffic Regulation Act, 1984, that the Oxfordshire County Council
 
TEMPORARILY PROHIBITS THE USE OF THE HIGHWAY
BY ALL MOTOR VEHICLES
 
LOCATION: Witney, Ducklington Lane, OX28 4TT
(partial closure on Southbound carriageway)
REASON: Road reinstatement works (plane and resurfacing)
 
DURATION: Starting on 16 October 2020 (at 20:00hrs)
The anticipated completion date is 17 October 2020
(at 06:00hrs). One-night partial road closure.
(Traffic Regulation Notices cover a maximum of 5 consecutive days)
ACCESS: Limited access will be maintained for emergency service vehicles and for frontages within the closed section of road, subject to the progress of the works
 
SUGGESTED ALTERNATIVE ROUTE: The alternative routes for traffic are
via a combination of Northbound Ducklington Road (A415) – Southbound
Curbridge Road (A4095) – Station Road (A4095) – Station road (A4095) –
Aston Road (B4449) – Cote Road (B4449) – Northbound Standlake Road
(A415).
Enquiries to 0345 310 1111
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No Big Switch-on, But Christmas Lights Will Shine in Market Square

 

Witney's Christmas Tree from 2005
Witney’s Christmas Tree from 2005!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Among the large events we are hearing have been cancelled, we now know that the Christmas Light Switch-on organised by the Rotary Club of Witney and grant funded by Witney Town Council is not going to take place. This is down to the ongoing pandemic and potential spread of the Covid-19 virus.

The Switch-on, due to take place on Friday 27th November attracts thousands of people to the Market Square making it impossible to maintain safe social distancing and comply with coronavirus control measures in crowds of that volume.

The popular Children’s Advent Fayre run by Witney Town Council will not take place on Sunday 29th November either, as the nature of the activities makes sanitisation between users and sessions impractical.

The Town Council shares a deep sense of disappointment along with everyone that normally attends these important community events. Public safety and uncertainty surrounding the pandemic precludes traditional events that draw large crowds being held, for the best of reasons, but it is still hard to come to terms with the postponement and cancellation of so many.

In a year that is lacking so much cheer, Christmas has very definitely not been cancelled though. The Christmas lights will still appear in the Market Square and these will be turned on by the contractors once installed. This year, there will be an extra Christmas tree outside the Corn Exchange too. Councillor Luci Ashbourne has suggested that families and businesses across the town hold their own mini switch-on of Christmas lights at 6pm on the town’s traditional Switch-on night, so that our town is still illuminated. Councillors have also agreed to reinstate the Best Decorated House competition, so will be looking for the homes with the biggest impact in their wards from which to select a winner.

Councillor Ashbourne said,

Although we can’t all be together in person, we’re determined that this Christmas, Witney’s community spirit will still shine through – literally!

We’d love as many people and businesses as possible to have their own switch-on on November the 27th, lighting lanterns, trees or fairy lights in their doorways, gardens or windows, to prove that even though we must stay apart, we can all still play a part.”

 

Councillor Owen Collins, Chair of the Stronger Communities committee added,

“It’s with enormous regret we’ve had to scale back the traditional celebrations this year, but public safety is paramount and sadly we had little alternative.

Despite the lack of events, I’m certain the lights themselves will look as beautiful and festive as ever, and I hope that the people of Witney will join us in simultaneously turning on their own lights – large or small – on the 27th of November and helping to provide some much-needed light in these dark times!”

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Climate, Biodiversity and Planning Committee Meeting – 6pm 13 October 2020 – Agenda & Virtual Meeting Link

Climate Biodiversity & Planning Agenda – 13 October 2020

When: Oct 13, 2020 06:00 PM London
Topic: Climate, Biodiversity and Planning Committee

Please click the link below to watch the meeting :
https://zoom.us/j/97949696683?pwd=R0ZpZ0NRemFSdzA1QTdzcm96YUYyUT09
Passcode: 695386
Or iPhone one-tap :
United Kingdom: +442034815237,,97949696683#,,,,,,0#,,695386# or +442034815240,,97949696683#,,,,,,0#,,695386#
Or Telephone:
Dial(for higher quality, dial a number based on your current location):
United Kingdom: +44 203 481 5237 or +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
Webinar ID: 979 4969 6683
Passcode: 695386
International numbers available: https://zoom.us/u/aJDEjBHGA

 

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Full Council Meeting 12 October 2020 at 7pm – Agenda & Virtual Meeting Link

Full Council Agenda – 12 October 2020

Full Council Agenda Supplement – 12 October 2020

When: Oct 12, 2020 07:00 PM London
Topic: Full Council Meeting

Please click the link below to watch the meeting:
https://zoom.us/j/94214016300?pwd=NURWb085U1A4ZVJjMnNVMFhGUDNQUT09
Passcode: 409665
Or iPhone one-tap :
United Kingdom: +442034815240,,94214016300#,,,,,,0#,,409665# or +442039017895,,94214016300#,,,,,,0#,,409665#
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: 942 1401 6300
Passcode: 409665
International numbers available: https://zoom.us/u/addPxIE10H

 

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A Different Remembrance Day for 2020

Traditionally, in early August, the Town Council works with the Witney Branch of the Royal British Legion to finalise plans for Remembrance Day.  In this extraordinary year, taking a steer from the Witney Branch, and in line with ongoing Covid-19 restrictions, Remembrance Sunday is looking very different for our town.

Recently, our local Royal British Legion Branch have written to inform us that County and Branch officials have been asked to pass on to members that they are not to parade and will not lay wreaths as they normally do for Remembrance Day this year. This has been a very difficult decision for them to take and they are hugely disappointed.

Witney's War memorial
Witney’s War Memorial

 

 

 

 

 

 

Even the poppy appeal has been cut back drastically by the charity, which fears putting some of its most vulnerable volunteers and veterans at risk. Street collections will not be going ahead in Witney this autumn, with the organisation looking to rely on contactless donations instead this year. If you would like to support the Royal British Legion in their fundraising efforts during this difficult time, there are lots of ways you can do so on their website including some quite unusual things. You could, for example, undertake a sponsored poppy run!

https://www.britishlegion.org.uk/get-involved/things-to-do/events

 

The cancellation of the parade, in particular, will be felt especially hard. Our Remembrance Day event is always extremely well supported by residents, and everyone who has ever attended can attest to the enthusiastic contributions of the various youth organisations, along with the church and Witney’s Town Band. Unfortunately, public gatherings of large numbers of people are currently restricted by Covid-19 regulations, and the safety of all involved is paramount.

Despite this, it is both proper and important to recognise the great sacrifices made for us by previous generations. Between them Witney Town Council and the Royal British Legion will ensure that the memorial is dressed with the wreaths that are normally placed there by wreath laying organisations in time for Armistice Day. However, there will be no road closure, no parade, and no service at the memorial, so acts of remembrance will be of a more personal nature. One suggestion has been that people observe a 2 minute silence on their doorsteps at 11am, much in the way that people clapped for the NHS.

The Town Council is also planning to work with members of organisations that normally take part to bring together a meaningful and respectful online presentation that can be enjoyed safely by all.

Witney Town Mayor, Cllr Joy Aitman remarked,

As a Town we will always remember and honour our veterans and those who lost their lives for us. This year, as with many events, we must do so in our own personal way. Parades and services are important but the safety of our residents remains a priority. “

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Car Free Day – 22 September – Fix My Street

 

Car Free Day Poster

Car Free Day Poster

 

While you are out and about enjoying getting around Witney without a car, if you spot any problems connected with pavements, roads, footpaths and cycle tracks report the problem on the Fix My Street app.

https://www.fixmystreet.com/

Reporting them here means they are sent directly to the local authority responsible for fixing them and if you leave your contact details, they will update you with any progress.

 

#CarFreeDayWitney

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Car Free Day – 22 September – Local Bus route planner

Car Free Day poster
Car Free Day Poster

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Taking the bus?
Take a look at bustimes.org

This clever website will tell you the number of every bus route that departs from any bus stop in Witney! Clicking on the bus route numbers takes you to the next screen where it tells you when the next buses are due and where they are heading. (no guarantees that real time bus details are accurate!)

The stops are all listed alphabetically to make life easier so from Abbey Road to Wood Green School and all points in between, it is all an absolute doddle!

You can look up bus stops and times for other places too, not just Witney.

#CarFreeDayWitney

https://bustimes.org/localities/witney

 

Screenshot of bustimes.org page showing all stops
Screenshot showing bus stops

 

 

 

 

 

 

Screenshot of bustimes.org showing all the buses from a particular stop

Screenshot of buses from a particular stop

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Car Free Day – 22 September -Cyclestreets route planner map

#CarFreeDayWitney

Car Free Day Poster
Car Free Day Poster

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you have not discovered this  yet it’s a fantastic journey planner for a bike journey. You pop in your start and finish point and it will give you routes you can take that are either the fastest, the quietest or a balance of the two.
It will add all these extra snippets of data too:

Journey time: 41 minutes
Distance: 4¾ miles
Calories: 107 kcal [?]
CO2 avoided: 1.41 kg [?]
Quietness: Very hostile
Route has very busy sections
Traffic lights: 1

Cyclestreets app screenshot
Cyclestreets app screenshot

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

https://www.cyclestreets.net/
also available as an app

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Car Free Day – 22 September -Cycle Racks

Car free day Poster
Car Free Day Poster

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

You will all be familiar with existing cycle racks around town, but we do have some new ones and some of the older ones have been replaced. You will also find some of the faded cycle lane markings have been repainted to make them clearer.
Locations of new racks:
• Bridge at the Mill St end
• Lower High St Shops, by bus stop to Oxford
• Corner of Welch Way by the flower bed
• Deer Park shops
• Fettiplace Rd shops, round the side
• Windrush Place, by the bus stop into Witney
• Church Green (near the Post Box)
• Mill Walk (around the corner from where Hacketts was)
• The Leys (along the avenue of trees nearer the church end)
• Market Square (Replacement rack to mend the broken one adjacent to where Bills was)
Cllr Ruth Smith said
There has been demand for bike racks at these locations for some time and a few had run into snags and stalled in the past. This COVID-recovery active travel funding is a very welcome opportunity to make shopping and leisure easier for individuals and families, with cycle parking where it was noticeably lacking.
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Official Site of Witney Town Council

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