Yesterday evening we were made aware of a problem with a potential contamination of the water in Queen Emma’s Dyke. The Environment Agency and Thames Water were both onsite investigating.
Witney Angling Society’s Chairman, Andy Lawson, has called with an update this morning, confirming that dead fish were found in Queen Emma’s Dyke, the stream alongside the lake, but that they had been working to rescue as many as they cou…ld. The Environment Agency has dammed the dyke upstream while their investigations continue so if you are visiting the lake you will notice that the dyke has been reduced to little more than a trickle. Sadly, you may also see some remaining dead fish in the stream.
Witney Lake is self-contained and no water courses feed directly into it. We have not been notified of any contamination to the Lake itself, but our usual advice stands; that we do not encourage swimming or allowing your dogs to swim in the lake which contains untreated water.
If we receive any further information we will update our social media and website pages.
After careful consideration of the options, the Council recommends that the Public Halls committee reconvenes as a matter of urgency to put together a comprehensive plan to run the hall. With the freedom to actively promote and market the Corn Exchange Witney Town Council is confident that it will continue to attract a variety of hirers and take the hall forward as a successful and versatile hireable space for the people of Witney.
A Volunteer Recruitment Day on Thursday October 13th is being held by Volunteer Link-Up in conjunction with Witney Town Council as one of a series of community events that the Town Council supports. Refreshments will be provided by Cogges Meadow Park group, who are fundraising to bring about improvements to the play area at Cogges.
Organisations are invited to bring a stand to the event to showcase their organisation, highlight the work they do and the kind of opportunities they can offer volunteers.
The recruitment day is also an opportunity for enthusiastic individuals interested in volunteering in Witney and the surrounding area to find out how they could give their time to help improve local services.
Patricia Chirgwin, Manager of Volunteer Link-Up said;
“‘West Oxfordshire is an amazing place to live, with wonderful people willing to help when they know there is a need. This event is being held to showcase local organisations that do incredible jobs supporting the residents of the district. These organisations do need support to continue – and we hope that the people of West Oxfordshire will come forward to find out more about what these groups do – and hopefully offer their help.”
Volunteers bring fresh ideas and approaches and enthusiasm to the organisations they volunteer with, but it’s a two-way street as there are a number of benefits to be gained by volunteering.
For some, volunteering can be a means to finding permanent employment, or an opportunity to experience new challenges which may prompt a career change. For others, volunteering offers social benefits.
Here are ten great reasons to volunteer.
• Give something back to an organisation that has impacted on a person’s life, either directly or indirectly
• Make a difference to the lives of others and your own
• Feel valued and part of a team
• Spend quality time away from work or a busy lifestyle
• Gain confidence and self-esteem
• Gain new skills, knowledge and experience and develop existing ones
• Enhance a CV and improve employment prospects
• Gain an accreditation
• Using one’s professional skills and knowledge to benefit others
• It’s a chance to socialise and meet new people, make new friends and get to know the local community
Witney Mayor, Councillor Chris Holliday added;
“The Volunteer Recruitment Fair is a great way for local voluntary groups and organisations to come together for some valuable networking. This enhances their ability to provide better services. The volunteers of this town are seen as a vital means of providing support for some of our most vulnerable residents.”
Make 2016 the year you decide to get involved. Make a start by coming along to the Corn Exchange on October 13th between 10am and 2pm and find out more about the volunteering opportunities available locally. If you represent an organisation and would like a stand please contact Mrs Patricia Chirgwin on 01993 776277 or
The bedding plants from the formal planting scheme in the large rectangular raised bed at the end of Welch Way have been removed today and will be available for members of the public to take from outside our depot at the Leys (next to the Coffee Shed)for the next couple of days. Please bring a bag or container to take some in and please note that you cannot access the depot by car. You can park at the top of the Leys and walk down . The plants are free of charge as we love to see them recycled, but if you would like to make a donation to The Mayor’s charity Ditto we are happy to accept that here at the Town Hall. Please only take what you can use. Plants only available during office hours and while stock lasts.
HIGH STREET, WITNEY. OVERNIGHT PARKING SUSPENSION FOR 5 NIGHTS
Temporary Traffic Regulation Notice – S14 Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984
Temporary Parking Suspension – Witney, High Street on 3 October for 5 nights (19:00 – 05:00)
In the interests of public safety it will be necessary for Oxfordshire County Council to suspend the parking as detailed above in order to facilitate carriageway maintenance works.
A temporary Notice is being made to implement the temporary parking suspension and will operate on the nights shown above.
Access will be maintained for emergency service vehicles and also limited access for those properties within the closure area, subject to the progress of the works. Please note that access routes will depend on exactly where the works vehicles are at any time and may need to be negotiated with the gang on site as necessary.
A copy of the drawing showing the extent of the closure and also the alternative routes for traffic is attached.
There will be a joint military and civilian exercise at RAF Brize Norton next week:
The RAF, civilian police, ambulance, fire and country council are required to test their resilience and emergency planning on an annual basis.
RAF Brize Norton are playing host to this year’s exercise. Local residents should not be alarmed if they see increased blue light traffic in the area.
The set up for the exercise will begin Monday 19th September, where a decommissioned aircraft fuselage will be brought onto the station.
SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 25TH AT 6.30PM
There is also an online petition at
The Boundary Commission for England has today launched its initial proposals for new constituency boundaries. This marks the start of 12 weeks of consultation on these proposals, during which people are invited to view and comment on the new boundaries.
The BCE is an independent a political impartial public body, and must makes its recommendations for new Parliamentary boundaries to Parliament in September 2018. This is the first of three rounds of consultation before this date.
To view and comment on the consultation please visit http://www.bce2018.org.uk/
A hard copy of the consultation document with maps is viewable at the Town Hall.
We are all set up and about to open. We have a range of old Witney Gazettes that you are very welcome to leaf through and some fascinating entries in the constabulary register. From being prosecuted and fined for ‘stealing a quantity of turnip tops’ to being charged with vagrancy after being found ‘ Wandering in the town of Witney at night with a loaded pistol and not giving a good account of himself.’
Download the treasure trail, solve the clues and follow the route round Witney to discover all the sites you can visit
Heritage Open Days is England’s biggest heritage festival involving 40,000 volunteers across the country. It is a once-a-year chance to discover gems on our own doorstep free-of charge.
In Witney a range of buildings will be open to the public on one or more days between 8-11 September including Witney Town Hall, Witney Blanket Hall, Cogges Manor Farm, The Bishops’s Palace and St Mary’s Church. There will also be a range of tours, events and activities across the town.
For further information on Heritage Open Days please visit
On Thursday September 8th Witney Town Hall is hosting ‘Skeletons in Your Closet’, a unique chance to see what some of our forebears got up to almost 160 years ago.
Look up your local ancestors and discover their misdeeds in the Oxfordshire Constabulary Summons Register dated 1857 onwards! What were they charged with? What was their sentence? Some very familiar local names from Witney and the surrounding village are here.
The summons register is very old and hard to read but we have found some great entries. How about…Stephen Woodward, Labourer, charged with ‘absconding leaving his wife and family chargeable to the parish.’ He was committed for one month hard labour.
Or Alfred Day charged with ‘being the putative father of a bastard child’ . His case was dismissed with ‘police expenses not allowed’.
We will also have a selection of old copies of the Witney Gazette dating back as far as the 1950’s, along with other historical records and documents. Come and view them in the *Council Chamber which itself dates from circa 1780. Information on the History of the Town Hall will also be displayed. *Please note, the council chamber is a historic building and not DDA compliant. There is no lift access for wheelchairs and buggies.
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, Highworth Place
REASON: to facilitate sewer cleaning works
DURATION: Starting on 12 September 2016
The anticipated completion date is 13 September 2016 – (09:00 – 17:00)
(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: Via The Crofts.
Mark Kemp, Deputy Director – Commercial
Environment & Economy
DATE 11 August 2016
An Open Event for prospective county councillors is being organised to take place on Wednesday, 14th September from 7.00pm – 9.00pm at County Hall, New Road, Oxford.
The event is aimed at members of the community who have an interest in, or are likely to stand for election as a member of the County Council in May 2017.
As part of the evening, we have arranged for a cross-party panel of existing councillors to take part in a chaired discussion focusing on what it’s like to be a county councillor.
Statement re Gladman Developments Ltd
Burford Road 260 Houses Application
Witney Town Council is extremely saddened by the disappointing news that the Secretary of State has this week allowed the appeal by Gladman Developments which will permit the building of 260 homes at the Burford Road site.
At a Witney Town Planning Committee meeting in September 2014, when the application was first considered, 60 residents voiced their feelings to Town Councillors. The Town Council was extremely concerned that despite this strength of feeling the agents failed to engage in any consultation with the Council.
Despite the fact that both Witney Town Council and West Oxfordshire District Council unanimously opposed the plans, Gladman appealed to the Planning Inspectorate and the Secretary of State has made a ruling in their favour.
Whilst Witney Town Council accepts that it is realistic to expect Witney to undergo some reasonable growth, it remains committed to protecting the historic character of the town. Any increase in speculative planning applications is a cause for concern for Councillors and residents in that that unchecked development may be detrimental to the market town character of Witney.
Witney Town Council considers that major development should not take place without provision of the appropriate infrastructure.
Chairman of Planning, Cllr Alan Beames, who summarised all the concerns raised by the Town Council Planning Committee in a speech to WODC when it was determining the application, commented;
“I am disappointed that the planning appeal by Gladman Developments against refusal to build 260 Houses North of the Burford Road Site has been granted after recovery by the Secretary of State. The loss of views over the picturesque Windrush Valley by the residents of Witney will be sadly missed.”
“ notwithstanding the conditions attached to the permission, I remain deeply concerned with the sustainable impact this development will have on local infrastructure provision; Schooling, Doctors, Traffic, Site Drainage, Utility provision and the Environment”
- Witney Town Council objected to this application on the following grounds:
- Lack of sufficient infrastructure to cope with the additional residents of 270 houses e.g. roads, schools, doctors, contrary to Policies BE1, T1 and T6 of the WOLP
- No consultation with the Town Council, despite the developers claims to the contrary.
- The proximity of Flogas is a major health and safety issue and the HSE would consider the proposed development area to be a major casualty zone in the event of an explosion.
- The development poses an increased risk of flooding. Some of the houses on the proposed development would be category 3B in terms of flood risk. Any excess water will run down the valley and into the river. This is contrary to Policies NE8, and NE9 of the WOLP.
- Run off water into the river could also pollute the waterway which would be detrimental to native wildlife such as otters which have recently returned to the area, and water voles, which is contrary to Policies NE15 and NE7 of the WOLP.
- Amenity space and the obstruction of the view should also be taken into account – this is contrary to Policies BE2, B E4, H 2, H12 (ii) NE1. NE2and WIT3 of the WO
UPDATE ON ROAD CLOSURE AT CURBRIDGE
According to Oxfordshire County Council the Curbridge Road closure will remain in place for a further 3 weeks from Friday 19th August and is now due to reopen on Friday September 9th.
OXFORDSHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL
ROAD TRAFFIC REGULATION ACT 1984 – Section 14(1)
Notice of Temporary Traffic Order
Witney, Curbridge Road – Prohibition of Through Traffic
Date of Order: 6 June 2016
Coming into force: 13 June 2016
This Order is being introduced because of drainage works which are anticipated to take 7 weeks to complete.
The effect of the Order is to temporarily prohibit any vehicle proceeding in that part of Curbridge Road on the Curbridge side of Thorney Leys Road.
Appropriate traffic signs will be displayed to indicate when the measures are in force.
Exemptions are included for emergency 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 is via Main Road, Curbridge and Downs Road to Witney, Range Road, Deer Park Road and vice versa.
This 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 (Ref JaC) on behalf of the Director for Environment & Economy, Speedwell House, Oxford OX1 1NE. 0845 310 1111.
Witney Town Council is currently exploring options with regard to the future of Langdale Hall. Previously, under sale contract, purchasers failed to obtain the planning permission they were seeking, which would have retained and improved the existing building. As a result the purchasers have indicated they do not wish to proceed.
The former Drill Hall was put on the open market in July 2014 through property agents Bidwells. In November 2014 an unconditional offer was accepted from Iceford Ltd, trading as Neptune Homes, a bespoke home improvements company which would have brought significant benefits to the town.
Sharon Groth Town Clerk, said;
“It is a shame that an application to register the hall as an Asset of Community Value delayed the proceedings by 6 months, and subsequently changed the original offer to that reliant on Neptune Homes getting planning permission. However, the Town Council is now able to use this opportunity to re-evaluate the needs of a growing town, especially in light of the feedback received from the Corporate Plan survey carried out earlier in the year.”
Following a meeting of the Community Services Committee on 18th July, the Town Hall is now an official collection point for Oxfordshire West Food Bank. You will find a box in the downstairs lobby where you can leave your items. Our location at the top of Market Square and close to the bus stops means we are a convenient drop off point for many people. Like their HQ at Cottsway, the Town Hall is only open from Monday to Friday, so I am afraid we cannot take items over the weekend but there is another collection point in Waitrose that opens at weekends.
The food bank is currently suffering a bit of a shortage – here is their post from last week so if you can help out please do.
You can see our shelves are running empty – we’re having a Summer shortage!
We need your help now more than ever to restock on: Tinned Pies and Meat Stews, Long-life Juices and Squashes, Instant Coffee, and “Treats” (such as candy, crisps, snacks).
Treats are more important than you think – while the majority of items we give out are nutritious and are part of healthy meals, a treat or snack or even dessert at the end of a day can make a massive difference to morale and mental health.
They are also offering a challenge to see if you could feed yourself or your family on one of their emergency parcels. The list is here or you can find it on their Facebook Page.