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Witney Town Council Expresses Delight at District Playing Pitch Strategy

The news that West Oxfordshire District Council has adopted a Playing Pitch Strategy that both seeks to protect existing provision and looks to provide additional facilities, has been warmly welcomed by Witney Town Council.

football boots on grass

The District Council’s commitment to addressing the longstanding and undeniable shortfall of sports pitches matches the Town Council’s ambition to improve residents’ ability to take part in sports activities across our town by providing good quality, safe facilities for players of all ages. This is a great opportunity to work together to achieve this.

Leader of Witney Town Council, Cllr. Vicky Gwatkin commented,

“I really welcome WODC’s Cabinet decision to adopt the Playing Pitch Strategy (PPS) 2022. 

 Numerous and increasing demands are placed on all Witney’s green spaces which creates significant challenges for our staff and has inevitably resulted in difficult decisions having to be made and some unwelcome compromises. 

 We have been pushing for action for years to help relieve the pressure on our available sites – through expansion, facility improvement and a transfer of management to Witney Town Council to take advantage of economies of scale and a regular maintenance regime.  We are pleased the new administration is willing to work with us to achieve this goal and that there is a desire for the 2022 strategy to not just to be a tick box exercise, as evidenced by WODC’s agreement to appoint a dedicated resource to see projects through.

 This will inevitably take time – funds need to be realised, pitches need to be established or renovated and planning permission may be required.  From a regrettably standing start, in the last six months we have already made significant progress working alongside a receptive WODC and with the long-awaited strategy now in place, we have a prioritised reference point and stimulus to help bring about future change.”


Witney Town Council acknowledges the huge difference and positive impact sport has on the community and continues to prioritise work to reinstate the football pitches at The Leys. Latest work has included a slow-release fertiliser. There is more maintenance and repair work to be done but the pitches look to be on track to be back in use in the New Year.




Witney Town Council’s renovation of the town’s Corn Exchange is entering the final phase as new, retractable, tiered seating is about to be installed in the main hall.

The installation will provide comfortable seating for an audience of around 130 people and has been designed to maximise the remaining space where possible, while still ensuring accessibility is a priority.

Image of Corn Exchange Seating

Installation will start on 5th December. The work will be carried out by Hussey Seatway Ltd at a cost of £69,673.00.
Witney Town Council has funded the seating with money set aside for the refit of the Corn Exchange and has also been fortunate in securing a Community Facilities Grant from West Oxfordshire District Council.

Cllr Mel Jones, Chair of Halls, Cemeteries and Allotments said,

“I am delighted that the Corn Exchange refurbishment is going to make such a huge difference for the residents of Witney. I would like to thank the officers at the town council for all their support and work on this but would especially like to thank Councillor Owen Collins for his valuable input. 

Cllr Owen Collins, Chair of the Corn Exchange working party commented

I’m delighted that after numerous delays and doubts, the long-awaited retractable seating for the Corn Exchange finally has an installation date. Following the audio-visual equipment, this is a massive milestone in our journey to returning the Corn Exchange to an affordable, accessible arts centre for the people of Witney and beyond.

The modern seating will help make the Corn Exchange an even more appealing venue for local and touring productions, and will add to the versatility of the hall. Thanks to its retractable nature, we will continue to be able to accommodate a wide and varied programme of events, bringing creativity and culture back into the very heart of our town.”

This final phase brings to fruition the aspirations for the Corn Exchange to be a significant community arts and performance venue for the town.



Picture from behind of young people sitting together
Witney Town Council has distributed its Youth Funding Grant Project to five Youth organisations.
The Town Council received more applications for this fund than ever before and was not able to help all of those who applied, or award the full amounts requested. The successful applicants were those who demonstrated an immediate funding need and the greatest benefit to Witney residents.
These organisations run projects that have demonstrated a significant impact on the local youth community.
Got2B Community Interest Company was awarded £20,000 towards 2 detached youth sessions and project work.
Home Start Oxford received £10,000 to improve youth services in Witney – supporting babies and preschool children and their parents, through a range of indoor and outdoor age-appropriate sessions and groups.
Katharine Barber, CEO, Home-Start Oxford commented:
“Without funding from organisations like Witney Town Council we simply couldn’t continue the work we do. Austerity, Covid and now the cost-of-living crisis has hit families hard and demand for our services has never been higher. With the support we have been given from the Council, we have been able to continue to run our popular parent and toddler groups, giving parents access to weekly sessions they can enjoy with their little ones, and we have continued to provide one-to-one support by linking families with our trained volunteers. Our work centres on providing children with the best start in life, which will have a lasting positive impact for them. The funding we receive is ensuring that we are helping Witney’s youngest residents have exactly that. We would like to thank Witney Town Council for their continued confidence and support in our work to help Witney families when they need us most.”
APCAM received £5,000
APCAM is a comprehensive, free-at-the-point-of-need mental health service for families who are in mental health crisis.
Oxfordshire Music & Arts Trust received £2,500 to deliver 39 term time after-school tutorial/band sessions (for up to 20 bands/individuals at each.
The Parish of Witney, a group of five churches received £2,500 towards a project to provide a dedicated facility where youth work could be carried out.
All of this year’s budget has been allocated.
Cllr Owen Collins, Chair of Stronger Communities said,
“Since we launched the WTC Youth Services grant, it has been the Council’s privilege to be able to support so much of the excellent work that is being done to help young people in our town. This year, we saw a record number of applications for the grant, and were faced with another extremely difficult decision as to how to apportion the funding with the many incredibly worthy and vital organisations applying. It was incredibly hard, as in an ideal world all of these amazing causes would have all the support they need to thrive; nevertheless, I’m confident that we have been able to make a difference, to help them make a difference, to young people of all ages across Witney.”

Agenda for Climate, Biodiversity & Planning, Tuesday, 15th November, 2022

The agenda for Climate, Biodiversity & Planning, Tuesday, 15th November, 2022, 6.00 pm has just been published.

You can view this document when connected to the internal network using the link: Agenda details on intranet web site

To see the publicly available information, follow the link: Agenda details on public web site

Meeting venue: Gallery Room, The Corn Exchange, Witney

The following items are included in the agenda:

No. Item
1 Apologies for Absence
2 Declarations of Interest
3 Public Participation
4 Planning Applications
5 Minutes
6 Planning Decisions
7 Update from Park Ranger
8 Witney Traffic Advisory Committee Minutes – 27 September 2022
9 Finance Report: Revised Revenue Budget 2022/23 and Draft Base Revenue Budget for 2023/24
10 Revenue Growth Items, Special Revenue Projects and Capital Projects



Agenda for Stronger Communities Monday 14th November 2022

The agenda for Stronger Communities, Monday, 14th November, 2022, 6.00 pm has just been published.

You can view this document when connected to the internal network using the link: Agenda details on intranet web site

To see the publicly available information, follow the link: Agenda details on public web site

Meeting venue: Gallery Room, The Corn Exchange, Witney

The following items are included in the agenda:

No. Item
1 Apologies for absence
2 Declarations of Interest
3 Minutes
4 Public Participation
5 Communications Report
6 Community Engagement Report
7 Witney Forum
8 In Bloom Competitions 2023
9 Youth Services Awards 2022
10 Chat Bench
11 Covid -19 Memorial
12 Finance Report: Revised Revenue Budget 2022/23 and Draft Base Revenue Budget for 2023/24
13 Revenue Growth Items, Special Revenue Projects and Capital Projects



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.
The competition is open to all primary aged children creating designs at home, in school, with their Brownie pack or any other Witney organisation.
  • Design the illustration for the official Witney Town Council Christmas card. The winning design will be used as the Mayor’s official card. The Town Council will also use it and we will provide the winner with their own copies to send out too.
  • Closing Date is 5pm on Friday 28th October to allow us time to select the winner and get the cards printed.
  • This year we are looking for a square design and we have provided a template for you to use 
  • Please return your entries by email or post or by post to Witney Town Council, Town   Hall, Witney OX28 6AG.
We look forward to seeing them!
We must receive all entries by Closing Date: 5pm on Friday 28th October. 
There will be prizes for 1st 2nd and 3rd.
Don’t forget to pop your name, age, school and contact details on the picture when you return it.
The overall winning design will be made into the official card used by the Mayor and Town Council.




map of proposed speed calming measures on The Leys

NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that Oxfordshire County Council under the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 & the Highways Act 1980 proposes to construct the following traffic calming features in Witney, these proposals are being put forward in order to
improve pedestrian safety by reducing the speed of motor vehicles adjacent to the recreation ground and parking area:

The Leys – speed cushions, approx. 3m long, 2m wide and 75mm high, to be located approximately:
• 120 metres* west of its junction with Station Lane,
• 170 metres* west of its junction with Station Lane, and
• 220 metres* west of its junction with Station Lane.
* All dimensions are approximate, taken from the centre of the junction to the centre of the feature.

Documents giving more details of the proposals are available for public inspection online by visiting

Copies may be made available on request.

Objections to the proposals and other representations specifying the grounds on which they are made, may be sent in writing to the address below or via the web address above, no later than Friday 21st October 2022.

The County Council will consider objections and representations received in response to this Notice.

They may be disseminated widely for these purposes and made available to the public.

Traffic Regulation Team (Ref: JaC/12.6.410) for the Corporate Director for Environment & Place, Oxfordshire County Council, County Hall, New Road, Oxford,
OX1 1ND.



From time to time the RAF send out this information on what to do in the event of an emergency on the base. It is a routine piece of correspondence and no cause for alarm.
The text of the poster is reproduced below:
Emergency Instructions Guidance
In a major emergency involving RAF Brize Norton, if you are not involved in the incident, but are close by or believe you may be in danger, follow Government advice and:
GO IN to a safe building.
STAY IN until you are advised to do otherwise.
TUNE IN to local TV, radio or social media pages for more information
  • Go immediately into a house or building.
  • Close all external doors, turn off ventilation systems.
  • Close all windows and curtains.
  • Close all internal doors and go to a room facing away from RAF Brize Norton.
STAY Remain indoors until you receive instructions from the police.
TUNE your radio to the local radio stations (BBC Radio Oxford 95.2 FM & JACK 106.4 FM) or tune into BFBS Brize Norton on local DAB.
Resist the urge to use your mobile or landline telephones, unless it is an emergency, as doing so may cause congestion of the telephone networks.
In the unlikely event of a major incident, emergency instructions may also be available via social media pages:
Facebook: – Twitter: @RAFBrizeNorton – Local Council:
This leaflet is produced in accordance with the MOD Major Accident Control Regulations to advise you what to do in the unlikely event of a major incident occurring at RAF Brize Norton.
Please read this carefully and follow the instructions given if a warning is implemented.
Householders are advised to ensure that all occupants understand the instructions.
Responsible persons in business or community premises should also be familiar with the actions required to enable them to instruct occupants in the event of a major accident.
This leaflet should be kept in an accessible place and passed on to subsequent occupiers.
It should be prominently displayed in business or community premises.
Additional copies may be obtained from the RAF BZN Media Communication s Office.

Emergency Temporary Parking Suspension, No Waiting & No Loading/Unloading Restriction at – Witney, Avenue Two

This Order continues in force a parking/waiting suspension commenced 21 September 2022 by emergency Notice.
The order extends the provisions of the restrictions until approximately 30 October 2022.
The effect of the order is to prohibit waiting and loading in part of Avenue Two in Witney to complete site access and kerbing works.
Posted on behalf of Oxfordshire County Council:
Temporary Traffic Regulation Notice – S14 Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984
Emergency Temporary Parking Suspension, No Waiting & No Loading/Unloading Restriction at – Witney, Avenue Two
Oxfordshire County Council has been informed of a temporary emergency Parking Suspension, No Waiting & No Loading/Unloading Restriction on the Avenue Two whilst development works (278 program) are carried out.
A temporary Emergency Notice is being made to implement the temporary closure and is already operated from 14/09/2022.
The anticipated completion date of this emergency restriction is 04/10/2022 (full restriction 24hrs each day).
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 Bob Plant of Keith Cook Construction Ltd on 07732122800.

Letter of Condolence to the Royal Family from the Mayor of Witney

The Mayor of Witney has penned a letter of condolence to His Majesty the King and all the members of the Royal Family expressing the sympathy of the Town Council and residents of Witney on the sad passing of Her Majesty the Queen.

The letter speaks of the Queen’s devoted service across 70 years, “an  achievement that seems almost unimaginable to most.” and that she will be missed by many all around the world.

It also mentions the Queen’s fondly remembered visit to Witney in 1959.

There is mention of the Book of Condolence and the letter then finishes, “Our thoughts will be with the King and his family throughout this challenging time. With heartfelt and deepest sympathy.”



A Moment of Reflection on the Eve of the Funeral of Her late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

Black plain ER graphic
On Sunday evening Witney Town Council will be lighting the Corn Exchange purple.
The Cabinet Office has invited members of the public to take part in a National Moment of Reflection which will take place at 20.00 on Sunday evening, the eve of Her late Majesty’s funeral. More information is available here National Moment of Reflection – GOV.UK (
One suggested format for this is below.
Some will clap from their doorsteps, as we did for the NHS during the Covid lockdowns. Others may be planning to light a tealight, hold a minute silence, or make a speech such as that suggested below.
You may wish to follow this or do something less formal.
This is for people to decide for themselves. The important thing is for communities and individuals to feel comfortable marking the moment in a way that is meaningful to them.
A Moment of Reflection on the Eve of the Funeral of Her late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
By 19.55 members of the community will gather at a location of choice.
At 19.58 the convenor of the event will say:
Thank you all for gathering here this evening for this brief vigil on the eve of the funeral of Her late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
In a few moments we will join with people across the United Kingdom in a Moment of Silent Reflection. The start and end of the Minute here will be marked by a whistle. During the Minute we will have an opportunity, in silence, to reflect on the lifetime of service which Her late Majesty devoted to the United Kingdom, the Realms and Territories and to the Commonwealth.
The Queen was sure in her faith and steadfast in her duty, bringing constancy through 70 years of change. We will remember Her late Majesty with affection and gratitude and silently give thanks in our hearts for her unswerving devotion to us and to our Country.
Ladies and gentlemen, it is now approaching 8.00 p.m.
At 20.00 a whistle sounds
Silence will be kept
At 20.01 the whistle marks the end of the Silence
[In those places where it has not been read, the Proclamation of The King’s Accession may be read]
The vigil concludes with all present saying:
God Save The King
and the singing of the National Anthem
No photo description available.

CAR FREE DAY – What’s on

It’s just under a week to go to Car Free Day which is on Thursday 22nd September. With it falling on a Market Day there will be fewer activities in the centre of Town but we still have a lot going on and the usual amazing volunteer groups to help us out.
Windrush Bike Project start our Car Free Day activities with Buddy Rides at 8am.
These are for people who would like to cycle but are nervous of traffic. They will help with finding the best routes in and around Witney. You need to pre-book a slot on their website. There are free teas and coffees in 1863 for anyone taking part in a buddy ride as a thank you for making a cleaner and greener choice.
Windrush Bike Project are also ending our day with free DR Bike Bicycle checks and small repairs at their depot in Corn Street from 4pm to 7pm.
At 10am Steve will lead a short, safe route cycle ride to Ducklington and we will stand anyone that goes on the ride a free tea or coffee at 1863. Meet under the Town Hall.
From 10am to 2pm Thames Valley Police will be manning a market stall where they will offer Free bike marking. You can have your scooter done too.
At 10.30 am WODC will be taking people on a health walk for around 45 minutes. It will be suitable for most people and again there is a free tea or coffee for anyone that goes along. Meet beneath the Town Hall.
Cycling without Age will be with us between 11am and 2pm with their amazing electric trishaw. The trishaw makes it possible for older and vulnerable people to enjoy the experience of a safe and accompanied bike ride, something they may not have been able to do for years. We are really excited that they are coming along this year.
Don’t forget we also have our Walk to School /Active Travel Bingo which your children can complete over the course of the whole week.
We have a Car Free Day themed window in our Admin office too, with posters about useful apps for getting bus times and calculating safe cycle routes. There is also a list of some lovely local walks to try out. #CarFreeDay

Our New Logo

Why do we have a new logo?

The logo is part of the planned rebranding project (visual identity) which forms part of the Town Council’s Communications Strategy. It is also part our ongoing move towards greater accessibility which is driven by new website legislation.

The Town Council was established in 1974 and adopted the Town Crest to use on its official documents. The use of the Town Crest was not exclusive to the Town Council and has been used by other organisations in the town.

As we have moved into the digital age it has become apparent that we need a logo that is scalable and suitable for use across a variety of digital and print formats, that also depicts some of the town’s history. Our new logo provides an instantly recognisable way to identify Witney Town Council documents and social media accounts.

Like many other local authorities, the town we serve has seen considerable change over the last ten years and some of the demands and challenges we face have transformed the ways in which we work and how we deliver our services. In almost 50 years our logo has not evolved to reflect this and  our rebranding aims to address this.

The logo depicts three distinctive buildings, St Mary’s Church, the Buttercross  and the Town Hall, and incorporates the pascal lamb which features on the town crest and in the stained-glass window above the door of the Corn Exchange. The colours are inspired by traditional Witney blankets.

Witney Town Council's new logo

We will implement the new branding on our social media and documents and other items will be rebranded as they need replacing.


Witney’s New Park Ranger

Witney now has a Park Ranger.

The role is a new post, which has come about as a result of a review and restructure following the adoption of the ambitious Open Spaces Strategy.

Whilst the role will be primarily centered around the Lake and Country Park, the Council also has a significant tree stock which requires maintenance and future planning.

The Park Ranger role is also key to bringing fresh ideas forward to the Council to assist with meeting its objectives and aspirations.

Among the actions specified in the strategy are:

  • Drawing up and adopting a comprehensive arboriculture plan;
  • Identifying and implementing possible re-wilding areas;
  • Preparing an improvement and upgrade plan for angling facilities at the Lake and Country Park;
  • Preparing and adopting a comprehensive and improvement plan for the Country Park and Lake area.

Our ranger, Carl, will also be working to maintain and enhance existing habitats and promote safe use of the town’s open spaces.  He comes to Witney Town Council with a lot of experience, having previously worked for Oxford City Council, where he was one of a team looking after more than 30 parks and green spaces covering more that a 1000 acres.

Carl is very friendly and approachable and feels strongly about an integration of conservation and recreation. He places importance on the provision of areas where everyone can get the best experience possible.

There is an opportunity to meet him at the lake on Saturday 20th August between 9am and 12 noon.  Please come along and say hi. He would love to know what you think of the lake and meadows area.



Witney Town Council Youth Services Funding Applications Open

Young people sitting on the grass
Witney Town Council is delighted to be opening its Youth Funding Grant to applications again. This is an exciting opportunity for community and voluntary sector organisations, including existing organisations and those in the process of setting up.
Applications are open for one month until 1st September 2022. Successful submissions will be projects that have a measurable impact on key issues affecting our young people and that promote positive futures.  The pot has increased from £30,000 to £40,000 this year.
The Council will look favourably on those who create opportunities to be accessible to all young people, therefore applications demonstrating how they will extend their reach to young people who have not previously engaged with these opportunities are encouraged.
Cllr Vicky Gwatkin said;

“We introduced the Witney Town Council Youth Funding grant in 2020 to recognise the fantastic contribution various organisations make supporting and nurturing relationships with our young people.  The Town Council really value the expertise these organisations bring and their continued commitment to providing positive outcomes to such an important group within our community.

We are so pleased to have further increased the grant to £40,000 this year and encourage groups to apply for the current round of funding.”

Applicants will need to meet criteria as set out in the application process and will also be required to report back on the success of the project for which funds have been granted. They will be notified of final decisions in mid-October.
The 2021 fund pot was distributed to the following organisations
Got2B Community Interest Company
Home Start Oxford


Oxfordshire Music & Arts Trust


20mph Speed Limits Agreed for Witney

This Press Release has been issued by Oxfordshire County Council.

Witney brings in widespread 20mph speed limits

 Town becomes first to take advantage of council’s £8 million programme


picture of the Buttercross with 20mph superimposed

Read the story on the Oxfordshire County Council website or below:

Just over a week after Wales voted to make 20mph the default speed limit in residential areas to create safer, healthier, and quieter streets, an Oxfordshire town is following suit and implementing new 20mph restrictions.

Plans for dozens of 30mph roads in Witney to have their speed limits lowered to 20mph have been approved. It becomes the first town wide location in the county to make the change as a direct result of Oxfordshire County Council’s 20mph policy change and associated programme which was announced earlier this year.

Councillor Liz Leffman, Leader of Oxfordshire County Council, approved the measures at a meeting on Thursday [21 July]. The changes are expected to be implemented and new signage installed later this year.

Councillor Andrew Gant, Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways Management, said: “This is a landmark moment for our ambitious 20mph policy, which we are spending up to £8 million on over a three year period. Witney is the first and the biggest project we are undertaking in this phase of the programme and we believe these changes will make the town a safer, quieter, and less polluted place and will encourage more people to cycle and walk – reducing the county’s carbon footprint.”

Councillor Liz Duncan, Mayor of Witney and Chair of a Town Council Working Party set up to develop the scheme, said: “It is exciting to see this comprehensive 20mph scheme coming to our town, bringing improved road safety for residential streets, reducing the risks of death and injury. We have received many requests from residents for the reduced speed limit and this whole town approach will bring huge benefits.

“As well as safer streets, other similar schemes have seen reductions in traffic noise, better air quality and increased physical activity because with roads feeling safer, people are happier to leave the car at home and walk or cycle instead.”

The county council has been inundated with requests from towns and villages to bring in 20mph zones since it launched the policy in February. The first two phases of the project are now fully booked, although communities can still apply to be part of the third delivery phase which takes place in 2024 – 25.

Cllr Gant added: “Witney is just the start, and more than 70 other towns and villages will be benefiting from reduced speeds in the next financial year – followed by hundreds more in the next two years.

“The recent decision in Wales shows that 20mph is becoming the accepted speed limit for residential areas, and Oxfordshire County Council is at the forefront of bringing about that change. It is well-known that the survival rate for people involved in accidents increases as speeds are reduced.”

There is a clear link between the speed of traffic and the likelihood of accidents happening in which people are killed or injured. You are seven times more likely to survive if you are hit by a car driving at 20mph than if you are hit at 30mph.

The scheme is free to town and parish councils, with the county council funding sign-only changes for areas wishing to be part of the changes as long as locations meet the agreed criteria for 20mph restrictions.

Town and parish councils will be expected to fund any traffic calming measures or speed-activated signs that may be required to support the new limit in their areas.

Applications for 20mph streets and roads need to be supported by the parish or town council and by the relevant local county councillor. More information, including a timetable of where and when forthcoming projects are taking place, is available on Oxfordshire County Council’s website.

Oxfordshire County Council has already implemented five 20mph pilot sites to test the impact of the policy in Cuxham, Long Wittenham, Wallingford Central, Wallingford North, and Kirtlington. Early data has shown these measures have had a positive impact on reducing speeds.

While the council has been working alongside Thames Valley Police – who did not object to the 20mph proposals for Witney – the emphasis is on drivers adhering to the new limits through a change of mindset, rather than enforcement. It is hoped that as 20mph areas become more common, breaking the limit will become socially unacceptable for drivers.

The council is also committed to working with key stakeholders including bus, taxi, and haulage companies, as well as major businesses, throughout the process. Officers will work with the bus companies to ensure that the impact on services is minimal.

The changes, which had the backing of West Oxfordshire District Council as well as Witney Town Council, will also involve the reduction of some speed limits from 50mph to 40mph and from 40mph to 30mph around the town.

County council officers have said they will look to minimise potential street clutter by making sure only the legally required amount of signage is placed around the town.

The 20mph programme also fits in with the council’s vision zero policy, which aims to eliminate all deaths and serious injuries from Oxfordshire’s roads by 2050.


For more information about this release contact Oxfordshire County Council’s communications team on 01865 323870 or email