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



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


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.


Tower Hill Cemetery Easter opening


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.


Annual Town Meeting 2016


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.”



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.


Commonwealth Day Flag Raising


The Commonwealth flag was raised at 10am today at the Town Hall, by Deputy Mayor, Cllr Chris Holliday and  Cpl Emily Harrison of 2120 Squadron, with Cllr Howard Chirgwin and Town Clerk, Sharon Groth.

The statement of affirmation was read and there is a display in the Town Hall until 1pm on Wednesday 16th march. Please drop in and view it if you are passing


Our New App


Our brand new Town Council App was launched at the Annual Town meeting last night. It’s a great way to stay in touch and access news and information about the town council and your town while on the move.

You can download it for free on Google Play for Android devices and Apple Store for Apple devices. Take a tour of some of the great features it offers.

There’s a Points of Interest Map to locate Civic Buildings, Public Halls and visiting sports teams will easily pinpoint the different pitches in the town. Find all our recreation grounds easily.

There’s a hot off the press local news feed from the Witney Gazette to let you know what is happening right now in the area.

Check out the Rewards tab, where we will be working with some of our user groups, tenants and other local attractions to bring you an occasional promotional item. Until the end of March you can get another game of Miniature Golf for free when you pay for your game at The Leys. Terms and conditions apply.

You can even mark the spot where you park (all our car parking is free) so if you are a new visitor you can use your phone to find your car once you’ve finished enjoying what’s on offer in the town.

If you turn on location and notification settings we can keep you in touch with what’s going on. We promise not to pester you and you can adjust your settings to suit your needs but it is a great way to add events to your diary and be reminded when things are going on.


Annual Town Meeting – Wed, March 9th -7:30pm

Poster 16
The Annual Town Meeting is a public meeting and an opportunity for residents to raise and discuss any issues that affect the town.
The meeting is hosted by Witney Town Council who will inform residents about work they have undertaken in the previous year and plans for the forthcoming one.
All residents are encouraged to attend and tell their elected representatives about the kinds of services or improvements to existing ones they would like to see implemented.

Road Closure – The Crofts

Crofts Closure Map



Notice is hereby given pursuant to Section 14(2) of the Road Traffic Regulation Act, 1984, that the Oxfordshire County Council



LOCATION:      Witney – Outside 2A The Crofts

REASON:            to facilitate a crane operation

DURATION:     18 March 2016 – One Day – 8.00am to 5.00pm

(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


Corporate Plan Survey Update

WTC Icon

Responses to our survey are coming in and making interesting reading! So far we have had comments about benches at the Splash Park, the lack of excitement and sparkle with the Christmas lights and that new playgrounds are needed. It’s also great to know that the Spitfire Flower Bed last year seems to have been well received!

Do you agree or disagree? Have YOUR say about the services we provide now and in the coming years at

Witney Town Council Corporate Plan Survey 2016


Have your say on Parking in West Oxfordshire

Parking Survey Pic

Residents, businesses and visitors are being urged to have their say on the future of parking in West Oxfordshire.

The District Council have drawn up an in-depth survey designed to gain feedback as we reviews users’ needs in a bid to enhance its provision of free parking.

The survey lists every car park they manage and asks for key information from users in areas such as how often you use it, for how long and the purpose of your visit.

The aim is to match future parking provision to the increasing needs of residents and businesses. They want to hear from as wide a cross-section of the community as possible, including families and those with disabilities

The survey needs to be completed by 29th February and can be found here West Oxfordshire District Council Parking Survey


Local Groups Invited to Submit Plans for Raised Bed Planting Scheme

Church comemm flower bed

A previous example of a community commemorative
bed from 2013


Local organisations are being asked to submit ideas for a planting scheme for the raised bed in Langdale Gate.

The planting scheme traditionally marks the anniversary of a group or organisation from the town. Previously it has featured anniversaries of the Church, the Scouts and last year marked the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain with an RAF roundel design.

If your group is celebrating an anniversary or you are marking a milestone moment then please get in touch and let us know. Your idea will be considered for the planting this year.

Chair of the Amenities Committee, Cllr Brenda Churchill commented;

“As Chair of Amenities I would like to encourage all community groups and individuals to come forward and design a flower bed to commemorate their milestone anniversaries. I am really looking forward to seeing the designs both on paper and in the flower bed.”

The Town Council needs to hear from you before Easter so that the design can be created and plants ordered.

Please call 01993 704379 or email




Thames Valley Police IAG – Your Chance To Be Involved

Thames Valley Police

Notification from Thames Valley Police

A  local Independent Advisory Group (IAG) is being set up in the Witney area and we want you to be involved.
The aim of the group is to listen to local communities and for them to act as a critical friend to the police.

The IAG seeks to maximise trust and confidence across all communities of our Local Policing Area through communication as well as asking for and acknowledging different views on local and Force wide policing issues. We are keen that the IAG truly represents all the groups and backgrounds which make up the Witney area.

We are keen to seek the opinions of people with a wide range of skills and experiences and an understanding of cultural issues. We are particularly encouraging people to join us from black, Asian and other minority ethnic communities who are currently underrepresented.

If you want to be involved or want more information please contact Gill Rawlins


Hold Your Own Meeting In The Town Hall Chamber

DSC00102a   DSC00103a

Did you know the Town Hall Chamber is now available for hire? The Chamber can seat 16 people boardroom style and is perfect for smaller meetings, training, interviews and conferences.

Dating from the eighteenth century, it is a fascinating mix of ancient and modern with good  WIFI access within the old stone walls.

There is a small kitchen nearby suitable for making tea/coffee and there are toilets on the ground floor (regrettably, due to the age of the building there is no disabled access).

A projector and screen is available at a small additional charge, along with a flipchart and markers.

The Chamber can be hired between 9.30am – 4.30pm Monday-Friday for a charge of £15 per hour.

Please contact our Bookings Office on 01993 777821 to book or for further details.


Official Site of Witney Town Council