Agenda and minutes

Venue: Main Hall, The Corn Exchange, Witney. View directions

Contact: Town Clerk 

No. Item


Introductions and Welcome from the Mayor of Witney, Cllr Liz Duncan


The Town Mayor, Cllr Liz Duncan welcomed the public to the meeting and introduced herself and officers of the Town Council. She advised that a representative of Thames Valley Police was expected to attend.


Official Noting of the Town Councillor apologies for Absence


Apologies for absence were received from Witney Town Councillors L Ashbourne, M Jones, and H Eaglestone.


To receive and approve the minutes of the Annual Town Meeting of 25 April 2022 pdf icon PDF 385 KB


The minutes of the Annual Town Meeting held on 25 April 2022, copies of which were available at the meeting, were approved as a correct record and signed by the Chair.


Thames Valley Police

A Local Police Officer will attend the meeting to give a brief report and answer questions on any relevant matters raised at the meeting.


A representative from Thames Valley Police was invited to attend the meeting, however no representation was made. The Mayor asked residents that if they had any questions the Town Council would pass them on to the police for an answer.


To receive Reports from each of the Town Council's Standing Committees pdf icon PDF 46 KB

Additional documents:


The Mayor gave an update on her year as Mayor which included attending over 100 events representing the town council on behalf of residents. She had thoroughly enjoyed meeting so many residents of the town and she thanked all those in attendance.


The Chairs of the town council’s committees were then invited to give brief updates on their Committees’ responsibilities and an overview of what they had been working on during the past twelve months.


Cllr Aitman began as Deputy Leader of the Council and Chair of the Policy, Governance & Finance Committee, followed by, Cllrs Smith, Gwatkin, and Collins who introduced themselves as Chairs of the Climate, Biodiversity & Planning Committee, Parks & Recreation Committee, and Stronger Communities Committee respectively.


Deputy Mayor Cllr Collins thanked officers and staff of the Council for their efforts over the past year. He also thanked all the individuals who provide support services to the town and its residents for making Witney such a supportive community to live in.


Open Forum to discuss matters raised by the general public at the Meeting

Notice of such matters would be appreciated and should be sent to the Town Clerk.


Further to the updates from Committee Chairs, the Mayor opened the floor to questions from the public, beginning with the first four which had been submitted to the Town Clerk ahead of the meeting.


Q1. Urban Meadow and Verge Guidelines. Will the Town Council be following these guidelines within Witney Town? Will the mower operators be given appropriate instructions and monitored?


Cllr R Smith responded and explained that not all areas in Witney were owned by WTC. All Councils had plans to increase biodiversity, however some of these schemes had not been successful and the town council was no exception; it had tried multiple ground maintenance methods with varied success.


The Town Council does however maintain a wildflower meadow in Windrush cemetery and will add wildflower seed to Tower Hill & Curbridge Road roundabouts this year. If any of these swards successfully flower the cuttings can be collected and distributed over areas to promote species diversity using our “Grillo” grass cutting machine. Some schemes, such as the reduction of cutting in Quarry Road have not been welcomed by residents.


In October 2022 the town council’s grounds maintenance was brought in house so it now had qualified operators who were able to act more quicker and carry out action where required.


Q2. Does Witney Town Council monitor the potholes in the town? Who informs Oxfordshire County Council about the potholes that need repair? And How is it that a hole, like one outside the Windrush Pub, can have a white mark around it and be filled, while holes immediately before and after it are ignored?


Cllr D Enright (OCC) advised the County Council highways crew actioned repairs on receiving a report and were tasked to inspect the area for other potholes, however they were unable to relay whole section of road. He explained March was the worst time of year for potholes following the cold, wetter, winter months and repairs could not take place during that time. Money had been borrowed and more had been fixed this year than ever before; a trial of pothole ‘Superusers’ was ongoing to expediate reports.


He encouraged residents to report potholes via the Fix My Street online service. It was a nationwide scheme for reporting all manner of problems that residents encounter and reports in Oxfordshire would be sent to the relevant authority to deal with.


Q3. Do Witney Town Council and the residents of Witney have a say in the speed restrictions, the implementation and review of them?


I ask this because of what I see as inconsistencies in how they have been imposed across parts of Oxfordshire I have visited. I compare Woodstock Road in a busy built-up part of Oxford, where the speed limit is 30 compared with 20 on the Burford Road which could easily be 30 and then 40. I look at the speed limits in Charlbury and compare them to Witney.


Cllr D Enright (OCC) again replied confirming that most councils were moving to 20mph which would become the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.


Town Mayor's closing remarks and thanks


The Mayor thanked the public for attending the meeting and invited them to stay on now that the formal business was concluded to speak to the Councillors informally.


She also requested that any residents with questions for Thames Valley Police should leave these along with contact details and they would be passed on.