Armed Forces Day – Flag Raising Tuesday 21st June 19.00 hrs

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All are welcome to join Deputy Mayor Cllr Chris Woodward, representatives of Oxfordshire Battalion (The Rifles) Somme Coy – Witney Detachment ACF, 2120 Squadron (Witney) Air Cadets, Councillors and staff.

Please gather beneath the Town Hall for 19.15. The Union flag will be lowered and replaced by the AFD flag which will be raised by the Mayor’s cadets.

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Tesco Funding for Outdoor Space Projects – Closing Date Soon

bagsGroundwork South, an environmental and community charity, are working in partnership with Tesco to administer their Bags of Help community grants scheme, funded by the 5p carrier bag charge.  The grant scheme funds a wide range of outdoor space projects that provide community benefit.

 

They’ve received lots of applications but the scheme is currently under-subscribed in our area, so we are making sure groups have  heard of this opportunity who might be interested in applying.

Elligible projects include  local spaces such as play areas, woodlands, community gardens/allotments, public parks, school grounds that need improving.

Llocal groups or charities who have or are involved in outdoor areas might also be interested? – Environmental groups, schools, assisted living facilities, scout and guide groups, etc. within Witney?

 

The application process is pretty straightforward – you will need to apply online at

www.groundwork.org.uk/tescobagsofhelp

This website has loads of information about the funding scheme.

 

The deadline for you to submit your application has been extended until 19th June so you have plenty of time to fill it in. If you need help or would like to run a project past please get in touch for anymore more information; with

 

Katherine Davies

Green Spaces Supervisor &

Community Enabler (Tescos Local Community Grants Scheme)

Groundwork South (Thames Valley Area)

Direct Dial:     07702 532755

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Cogges Meadow Park – Oxlease Survey

The Cogges Meadow Park Community Group is a new voluntary organisation of independent local residents to support improvement of outdoor spaces for people to enjoy, play, exercise and relax.

They are working with Witney Town Council and local stakeholders to improve the Oxlease Area; known to many locally as Wadard’s Meadow.

Please take this opportunity to complete a short survey to help them know how you use this area and what improvements can be made by clicking on the link below

Oxlease Recreation Area Community Survey

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Witney’s New Mayor and Deputy Mayor

chris h for profile web

Witney’s new Mayor is Councillor Chris Holliday who as a Town Councillor serves the East Ward of Witney. Originally from Yorkshire, Chris has lived in West Oxfordshire for 20 years, and has lived on Madley Park for the last 10 with his wife Lisa and 3 daughters. He served for a number of years in the Armed Forces. Now retired, he commits much of his time to the local community which includes being a Trustee of Madley Park Hall and Cogges Welfare Trust. For relaxation Chris enjoys reading and going to the cinema with his family, collecting political cartoons and in October will begin his BA (Honours) History degree with the Open University.

The mayor has chosen Ditto as his supported charity throughout his term.

Set up 4 years ago, D.I.T.TO, (Doing It Together To Overcome), is a unique group that offers help, advice and support to a wide range of disabled, elderly and vulnerable people, (regardless of age), and their carers.

 

Deputy Mayor is Councillor Chris Woodward is 30, happily married to Jayne since 2012 and enjoys home life with their 2 year old Golden Labrador, Meg! He joined the council in the 2011 elections and has been an active member sitting on most standing committees since the start. Chris is proud to serve as Facilities Manager at the Iffley Academy, an Ofsted Outstanding school for children with special and complex educational needs. He brings a wealth of operational experience to the council, having   been a governor at both Witney Community Primary School and Wood Green. Chris is also proud to sit on the board of trustees of Witney Educational Foundation and the new Corn Exchange Trust. He is relishing the challenge!

 

Cllr Woodward commented,

 

“I am absolutely thrilled and honoured to accept the office of Deputy Mayor. It’s a real privilege to be working with our brilliant new Mayor Chris Holliday. Witney is a fantastic town with magnificent Cotswold character. Both Mayor Chris and I love to meet and help people as much as we can; and we can’t wait to get started

 

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Fitness Fiesta May 14th – Don’t miss this unique opportunity to trial some classes for free!

Fitness Class Fiesta Poster 14.05.2016Witney Town Council is working with Clubbercise to bring you a very different sort of Community Coffee Morning! Witney’s 1st Community Fitness Class Fiesta will be held at the Corn Exchange on Saturday 14th May between 11am – 6pm.

Free classes will include; Hiit, Kettlecise, Pure Stretch, AbCore, Jazzercise, Kangoo Jumps, Piloxing, Boogie Bouncing, Clubbercise and Zumba.

This is a great opportunity to trial a free class and find something that suits you.  Let’s get Witney moving.

Healthy food options are available.

Further details can be found by clicking on the poster above.

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Grave Levelling in Tower Hill Cemetery

DSC02401As part of our on-going, long term Cemetery Maintenance Program we will be carrying out grave levelling work in Tower Hill Cemetery. This will involve adding layers of topsoil and seeding the surface of selected graves that have sunk.

Some graves are noticeably more in need of this than others and these will take priority. Work on all graves that need levelling will be undertaken in time.

Work will begin in early May 2016

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Grass Repair at the Leys Splash Park

ablurDue to the popularity of the Leys Splash Park and Adventure Play area, repairs are necessary to the grassed area just inside the gate. While the ground is levelled and seeded the main gate will remain locked, but access to the park is still possible via a fence panel a little further along. We apologise for any inconvenience and thank you for your co-operation. Work will finish by the end of May.
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Your Next Community Coffee Morning is Very Physical! Join The Fitness Class Fiesta!

Fitness Class Fiesta Poster 14.05.2016

Witney Town Council is working with Clubbercise to bring you a very different sort of Community Coffee Morning! Witney’s 1st Community Fitness Class Fiesta will be held at the Corn Exchange on Saturday 14th May between 11am – 6pm.

Free classes will include; Hiit, Kettlecise, Pure Stretch, AbCore, Jazzercise, Kangoo Jumps, Piloxing, Boogie Bouncing, Clubbercise and Zumba.

This is a great opportunity to trial a free class and find something that suits you.  Let’s get Witney moving.

Healthy food options are available.

Further details can be found by clicking on the poster above.

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Market Square Noticeboard

As part of the second phase refurbishment of the Market Square the noticeboard outside Baker’s the Butchers has been removed. We are working with West Oxfordshire District Council to find a suitable spot to site a new board. In the mean time if you are holding an event in our halls we can continue to display your posters in the noticeboards at the relevant halls. We do not have space for any other posters at this time.

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What Are We Hearing From You?

 

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Who’s been having their say on our survey? We’ve been looking at some of the early results. More women than men have responded and over 50% of those responding are in the over 50 age range.

It runs until the end of April, so make sure yours is one of the voices being heard. These are some of the hot topics being mentioned this week.

 

Have your say here: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/TVZKWXY

 

 

 

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Memorial Stability Testing Update

Our memorial Stability Testing programme at Tower Hill Cemetery will soon be coming to an end. Do you have one of these on a memorial you own?

unstable memorial

What is this?

This is a notice that has been attached to a memorial that has failed a stability test. It is there for two reasons. We need to be able to trace the owners and we also need to warn that there is a potential hazard.

Why was it tested?

The council is required by law to carry out memorial testing every five years.

Why has it failed?

A professionally trained specialist has determined that this memorial does not meet current safety standards. This criteria is not set by the council and we must abide by the law.

What do I do?

All we ask at this stage is that you contact us on the following number and leave your name and a contact number so we can call you back.  01993 704379

What happens next?

Once we establish the owners of the Exclusive Rights of Burial (the owner of the grave plot and any memorial placed on it) we will contact the owners to explain what happens next depending on the test results.

We need to ensure that our records are up to date and that we are talking to the owners who are the only people who can make a decision about what happens next.

More information

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/326725/safety-burial-grounds.pdf

 

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Dementia Friendly Witney

Dementia friends

 

Here’s a great initiative for the town. Witney Town Council is supporting this with subsidised letting of the Corn Exchange for some training sessions. Help Witney become a Dementia friendly community and book a session.

The Corn Exchange is the venue for the next Dementia Friends Information Session on 7 April at 4pm.
If you can spare an hour to help make Witney, Oxfordshire a more dementia friendly community please call Suzi on 01993 768557 or email suzi.morgan@richmond-villages.com.

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Market Square Refurbishment 2nd Phase

the mkt sq

 

Work to start on town centre improvements

A high footfall area in the centre of Witney is to be repaved making it safer and more attractive for residents and visitors.

The area is at the lower end of the Market Square, near the Woolgate entrance by Bakers Butchers.

Starting on 5 April, it is expected to last around 3 weeks. During this time there will be access for shoppers and traders.

As well as re-paving the renovation will include new street furniture and additional seating.

Cllr Warwick Robinson, Cabinet Member responsible for planning said “Improvements are necessary to this very busy area and repaving will make a huge difference to the visual appearance at the heart of the town. It complements the refurbishment work done in recent years to the central Market Square area and to the historic Corn Exchange building.”

“We hope that any disruption will be minimal and I am sure traders and shoppers will be keen to see improvements. I’d like to thank them in advance for their understanding and cooperation whilst the work is taking place.”

Adam Highmore-Talbot, Woolgate Shopping Centre Manager said he was delighted the work was going ahead. He said, “It will make a big difference to the entrance to the Woolgate. The area has been in need of improvements for some time and the additional seating will be well received by those visiting the shopping centre.”

Oxfordshire County Council repaved the central Market Square area in 2013 and Witney Town Council completed its Corn Exchange renovation project in June 2015.

The cost of the repaving work and new street furniture is £30,000. The scheme is paid for by developers of new housing estates in Witney.

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Tower Hill Cemetery Easter opening

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Tower Hill cemetery bollards will be lowered throughout the Easter period, from 9am on Thursday 24th March through until the morning of Tuesday 29th March. Memorial stability testing has been taking place this month. If you notice a sticker on a memorial that belongs to you please get in touch with us after the Easter break and we will talk to you about what this means. You can find out more here.

http://www.witney-tc.gov.uk/news/memorial-stability-testing/

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Annual Town Meeting 2016

atm

There were 75 attendees at this year’s Annual Town Meeting, just beating the 73 that came along in 2003 to discuss the burning issue of the future of Marriotts Close (the old Witney FC ground) and certainly outstripping the 2 that showed up in 1984 to discuss the provision of Arts in the town and cycle racks across Langel Common.

It’s gratifying that so many people took the opportunity to come along talk to their elected representatives and to ask questions.

Representatives from the Police Inspector Matt Fishwick and Sergeant Kerry O’Leary opened the proceedings. Inspector Fishwick gave an overview of policing and crime figures in Witney. There has been restructuring due to budget cuts, but neighbourhood policing has not been affected.

 

Reports from each of the Standing Committees detailing updates of the council’s project and work were delivered by the Committee Chairmen. The Town Council’s 2016 Corporate Plan survey was highlighted and residents encouraged to respond to this. It’s available online through links on the Town Council Website and Facebook Pages and hard copies can be obtained from the Town Hall on request. Closing date is 30th April, so there is still plenty of time to have your say.

 

The Town Council’s new app, available on Google Play and the App Store was launched and some of the features presented as a slideshow.

 

Questions from members of the public covered improvements for other parks in the town and the possibility of CCTV being installed at The Leys. There were also questions about the progress of the Corn Exchange.

 

The question of communication and how the Town Council communicates with its residents is still an issue for many. The Town Council has been working hard on improving communications including the intended delivery of a newsletter to every household.

 

The subject of hedge clearance at Thorney Leys was also discussed. Some residents were anxious to know how soon replanting would be taking place.

 

Problems with footpaths, road surfacing and HGV traffic were discussed along with the Corporate Plan and the possibility of this feeding in to a Neighbourhood Plan.

 

Parking issues featured largely in discussions. Along with the problems of pavement parking some residents were experiencing parking difficulties. Residents in Corn Street and Church Green have an on street parking time limit of 2 hours, meaning that cars have to be moved. The main request from residents was for a resident’s permit system for parking outside their homes.

 

Other matters raised by the general public included, the lack of lighting outside the Methodist Church (particularly in the shopping area that joins the Witan Way car park to High Street).

 

Threatened cuts to local Bus services proved to be an issue of serious concern for many residents.

 

Displays at the back of the room offered the opportunity to suggest changes to the format of the Annual Town meeting, asking residents what they would like to see more, or less of. There were hard copies of the survey, newsletter and all the publications the Town Council issues.

 

All of these publications are also available on our website. The full minutes from the Annual Town meeting will be available there shortly for those who would like to see them or from the Town Hall on request.

 

Sharon Groth, Town Clerk said;

 

“The Annual Town Meeting is just once a year, but your councillors are happy to hear from you at any time. Please continue to feedback to us or raise questions at other times.”

 

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Memorial Stability Testing

Witney Town Council is undertaking the next stage of an on-going programme of memorial safety checks in our cemeteries to ensure they are safe places for you to visit. The program is a legal requirement to be carried out every five years following a number of accidents, including some that have been fatal, that have occurred across the country in recent years.

Tower Hill, being our oldest cemetery, is most likely to be at risk of having headstones that may fail safety checks so we are starting there, but Windrush Cemetery will also be included in the program.

Each memorial headstone will be tested to make sure it’s not at risk of falling over and injuring someone.

Notices are in place at Tower Hill cemetery while the testing is taking place. A specially trained stone mason will start by doing a visual inspection of the memorial, followed by a hand test. This will involve pressure being applied to the memorial to check for movement. In most cases, there will be no movement and a record will be kept that the memorial has passed the test. If the memorial moves it will fail the test.

We have previously carried out a demonstration of how the checks are performed but if you have any questions please ask.

It is the responsibility of the grave owner, or their next of kin, to make sure that the memorial headstone is kept in a safe condition, so for those that fail the owner will be asked to get it repaired at their own cost.

Where we have contact details a letter will be sent to the registered owner of failed memorials asking them to contact us within one month to determine what action they would like taken.

The options are:

  • We can lay the memorial flat so that it cannot pose any danger to anyone
  • The memorial can be staked and banded as a temporary measure until fully repaired by an approved stone mason.
  • The memorial owner can employ a stone mason to bring the memorial back to within current safety standards.

Please do not try to move or make repairs to the memorial yourself.

Memorials will be checked every five years. Memorials that have had repairs made will join the 5-year inspection cycle.

We understand that this is a very sensitive issue and we will make every effort to contact memorial owners before laying any memorial flat, but there is a time limit of one month for this so that we can keep the program moving forward, make the area safe and complete the inspections in a timely manner. If you own a memorial headstone, please check that we have the correct contact details for you by calling 01993 777820.

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