Archive for the ‘WODC’ category

A40 Corridor Consultation

November 6th, 2015

SWLeafLogoNewThe bottom line? More information required.

Sustainable Witney is worried about the quality of decision making on such an important topic and is requesting more information to come to an informed decision.

You may wish to do the same. You have until Sunday 8th November to respond to the consultation.

Sustainable Witney’s response in full:

FAO: Oxfordshire County Council


Response to Investing in the A40 Consultation 6 Nov 2015


Sustainable Witney strongly supports further investigation into the train and tram options for relieving congestion along the A40 Corridor.


Oxfordshire County Council has raised some interesting options for discussion, but has not provided enough information to make an informed decision on what will be the best longterm solution. No figures are given for the potential of each option to move people from their origins to their destinations in the future. Also, the consultation might be more accurately titled “Investing in the A40 Corridor” rather than just the A-road itself.


Sustainable Witney is concerned that OCC commissioned an engineering feasibility study into a dual carriageway between Witney and Oxford without properly investigating the potential of the other options too. This gives the impression that OCC has already decided what the longterm solution will be.


Sustainable Witney is dismayed that West Oxfordshire District Council has decided to support the dual carriageway as the longterm solution while stating that it does not support the train or tram options at all. There simply is not enough information at this stage to form such a conclusion. Again, it gives the impression that the longterm solution has already been chosen.


OCC and WODC recently backed a road solution in Witney which has cost the county and the district dearly in terms of legal costs, lost funding, lost officer time, and a depressing delay in resolving congestion within the town. We desperately need better, rigorous, evidence based decision making in the future.


The West Oxfordshire Local Plan 2031 gives anticipated housing delivery in the Witney and Carterton areas as 3,685 and 2,571 respectively.


  • What effect will that have on congestion in the towns themselves?
  • What effect would a dual carriageway east of Witney have on travel behaviour within those areas?
  • What effect could a light rail system have on travel behaviour within the towns and to Oxford and beyond?
  • What are the public health implications (something the district council is now responsible for) of locking the communities along the A40 corridor into a future of road based travel?

We are grateful to OCC for opening this conversation, now please let us have a thorough discussion.


Brigitte Hickman
Chair, Sustainable Witney

Woodford Mill Lighting Petition

September 24th, 2015

WitneyBUGBadge2014If you haven’t seen it or signed it yet you have until tomorrow to add your name to the petition calling for solar lighting on Woodford Mill meadow.

Better still, do it now!

The path from West End to Mill Street has an unlit section of 100m which makes the path unusable for many people – personal security is a major issue here in the winter, as is running into people or being run into by people you can’t see and who can’t see you.

Whether you walk or bike, be part of the change and sign today!


Seeing east Witney through different eyes for Bike Week

June 17th, 2014

The Saturday just gone, Witney Bike Users Group kicked off Bike Week 2014 with a cycling infrastructure safari. Leaving from Cogges at 1pm-ish, we meandered round the Cogges, Madley Park and Hailey Road estates, looking at cycling provision and what could be done better.

It was nice seeing familiar areas of the town through new eyes, especially at a genial pace and on such a sunny day. Somewhat less nice was the quality of the provision out there—the Cogges cycle racks hidden in bushes, the blocking metal gates and bollards that prevent any non-standard-size cycle or use of cycle trailers—but it was still cheering to start to see how cycling was starting to tie up across east Witney: from the bottom of Church Lane, there’s a continuous (if road-crossing) cycle track all the way up Madley Brook to join up with the Woodstock pavement path, which some of us hadn’t really appreciated before. Also, almost incidentally, our guide Kevin introduced us to a remarkable cafe: easy to get to, but hidden in deepest, darkest Elmfield….

All in all it was a great afternoon out, much more fun than you’d imagine from looking at cycling provision – plus we’ll get some great, useful information out of it to present to the council(s) and hopefully improve such future trips, both for idle flâneurs like ourselves but also for people simply wanting to get places.

Compost giveaway by WODC

June 15th, 2014

West Oxfordshire District Council are hosting another Compost Giveaway on Friday 27 June, at The Leys in Witney (down near the public toilets.)

More information on this blogpost.

WODC give away more compost in late June; plus freebies!

June 15th, 2014

West Oxfordshire District Council are hosting another Compost Giveaway on Friday 27 June, at The Leys in Witney (down near the public toilets.)

Times stated are 12pm–3pm, although the previous one at Cogges did arrive a bit earlier than that. We’re not saying camp out, but look sharp! Residents just need to bring their own containers, to get the compost on a first-come, first-served basis.

Also available for free will be food waste bins and caddies, kitchen caddy liners, recycling box nets and recipe books from the Love Food Hate Waste initiative. There’ll be discounted home composting bins too: half price, at just £10 each.

When it’s gone, it’s gone. So, gardeners: stick 27 June in your diaries!

Free compost this Fri/Sat for local residents

March 9th, 2014

If you live locally and want free compost, you should get down to Cogges Manor Farm this Friday and Saturday. In return for everyone giving WODC green-bin waste for processing, there’s now compost being delivered free!

Edit: breaking news; the compost will be delivered at 12 noon on Friday!

Each of the two days, a lorry will drop off the compost at the disabled car park for Cogges Farm. If you’re local to Witney, you’re welcome to bring your own sacks and get some free compost, for your garden or allotment. Bring your own sack and take it away.

But do look sharp: when it’s gone, it’s gone!

Thanks to WODC and SW’s Sian Stokes for organizing: if there are more compost drops in the future, we’ll definitely keep you posted, so why not register for updates?

Free compost: available from Cogges Farm for two days only

March 9th, 2014

Free compost, made from green-bin collections, will be delivered by WODC to the disabled car park of Cogges Manor Farm, from 12 noon, on Friday 14 and Saturday 15 March.

Local residents (including allotment holders) are invited to help themselves to a sack of free compost: bring your own containers. First come, first served!

WODC’s swap shop on New Yatt Road next Wednesday

February 27th, 2014

WODC are running their own swap shop on Wednesday 5 March, 11am-2pm at the Elmfield council offices on New Yatt Road.

You can swap unwanted items for lovely new things for free:

  1. Hand over your own items
  2. Receive one token per item
  3. Choose another item from the swap shop
  4. Exchange one token for this (new) item

For more details visit the WODC website.

The WODC swap shop is part of Climate Week 2014, a national campaign to raise awareness of climate-change issues, and to encourage people to live and work more sustainably.

Want your house to be thermally imaged? Bookings are open!

July 23rd, 2013

It feels like the wrong time of year to be thinking about heating your home, doesn’t it? But a well insulated, draught-proof house gives you options for keeping warm and cool; and whatever the temperature outside, it isn’t going to last….

So if you’re worried you might have a draught too many, or you normally just can’t get the house warm whatever you do, then help is at hand. We offer a voluntary service to Witney residents, where we take thermal images of the outside of your house. With these to hand, you can more easily work out what improvements to your home can have the most impact on its insulating properties. We’ll even have a public meeting some time in March 2014, where we’ll give you your images, explain the results, and offer you a one-on-one consultation with an expert.

Because of the nature of the survey, we have to do it in the colder months, but we’re now taking requests for November and February, when we’ll next have possession of the thermal camera offered by WODC.

Over a hundred Witney residents had their homes imaged by us in the season of 2012/2013: if you’re interested, then you should email us on, to get on the list for next winter!

(Also because of the nature of the survey, which is very weather sensitive; and because we’re volunteer-run and have limited time available: we can’t guarantee a time or date. But we’ll let you know when your house has been imaged! We should also be clear: there’s no commercial involvement in the public meeting, and no pressure to buy anything.)

Ducklington Lane Consultation

July 10th, 2013


The consultation on the changes to the Ducklington Lane, Station Lane, Thorney Leys junction opened today. Links to the consultation and the documents can be found here.

Better provision is made for walking and cycling but it still falls short of providing bike access to Thorney Leys Business Park and the Station Lane Estate. These and other issues with the design can be discussed with the county council in the Methodist Church on the High Street at the following times:

  • Friday 12 July – 3pm to 7pm
  • Saturday 13 July – 10am to 5pm

Let us have your comments too.


Ducklington Lane Proposals, Methodist Church

July 10th, 2013

Have your say on Ducklington Lane transport proposals

People are being asked for their views on proposals to tackle congestion along the ‘Duckington Lane Corridor’.

The proposed improvements will be on display at the Wesley Room, The Methodist Church, High Street, in Witney on:

  • Friday 12 July – 3pm to 7pm
  • Saturday 13 July – 10am to 5pm

County Councillor David Nimmo Smith, Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet member for transport, said: “The proposals are part of a wider vision for Witney which were approved by the county council’s Cabinet in March this year. I would urge anyone with an interest in the future of transport in their area to get along to one of the exhibitions or take a look online.”

It is hoped to tackle existing and future congestion problems, and to enhance pedestrian and cycle access, by:

  • Providing safer pedestrian crossing facilities on Ducklington Lane north and Station Lane;
  • Reducing congestion and delay by increasing the number of lanes at the junction approaches and through the corridor;
  • Improving wider traffic movements, including access to and from the A40, by optimising signal timings and road markings, making more efficient use of road space

Alternatively, you can see the plans 9am – 5pm from Monday 15 July until Friday 9 August 2013 at:

  • West Oxfordshire District Council Offices, Elmfield, New Yatt Road, Witney OX28 1PB
  • Witney Town Council, The Town Hall, Market Square, Witney, Oxon,OX28 6AG

The heating’s still on, but is your house now losing less?

March 29th, 2013

Before the Easter break is fully upon us, I wanted to provide a brief follow-up to the thermal imaging project. The Sustainable Witney volunteers have worked extremely hard on this project and given up their evenings to venture out into the cold, all in aid of helping residents of Witney to spot where heat (and therefore money!) is leaking from their homes. On behalf of them all, a huge thanks goes out to everyone who has been interested in this work, requested a survey of your property, and especially those who were able to attend the ‘See Your Results’ public event on 12th March. This took place in the early evening at West Oxfordshire District Council’s offices, and arriving slightly late, straight from a meeting in Oxford, I was confronted by a long queue stretching out of the door to the committee room and around the lobby – a fantastic turnout of residents eager to receive a one-to-one analysis of what their photographs showed.

At this point, I would have liked to have included a couple of nice photographs of the event, reported back on the number of people who attended, and provided summary feedback from the typical issues seen by Witney residents, from their thermal images. However, for me, the evening was a blur: I would estimate that I must have spoken to at least 30 residents, and my colleague Viviane a similar number, so a really good event, if not a little rushed. We did get round to everyone in the end, as we were being ushered out of the building as our booked time was well and truly over!

As the cold weather lingers on, I hope at least some of you have had chance to make improvements to your home in places identified by this project; whether that be a simple DIY job such as installing radiator foil to reflect the heat back into your home (were we able to spot the heat impression of all the radiators on your thermal images?!) or some draught-excluding brushes around that front-door, or perhaps some seal strip around the window, or a squirt of expending foam around the kitchen sink waste outlet. Perhaps you’ve got around to doing a bigger job; topped up the loft insulation, progressed wall insulation?

If you have any general questions about improving the energy efficiency, saving money on fuel bills, accessing financial assistance through Green Deal funding etc, the Oxfordshire Affordable Warmth Helpline is a good resource: 0800 107 0044. Lines are generally open 9 – 5, Monday to Friday (but is closed over the Easter break). There is still limited funding to be able to install some energy efficiency measures for free (such as described above: radiator foil, thermostatic radiator valves, draught-proofing) for qualifying residents in Oxfordshire; more information on the above Freephone number, or at

For more information on the work I do at United Sustainable Energy Agency (merging with National Energy Foundation in the new financial year), please see my profile here. As a Witney resident myself, I look forward to a similar project being repeated next year hopefully, building on the success of this year…

The first step towards a green Christmas

November 29th, 2012

This Christmas, you might be forgetting the diet and trying to forget the family animosities – but you can still remember to be responsible with your rubbish.

West Oxfordshire District Council says that last year, many people seemed to forget about recycling during the festive period. Recycling rates in the district dropped by around 6% in December and January. That’s a shame when Oxfordshire is normally one of the best counties in England for recycling. So this year, the council is making it easier than ever to dispose of your household rubbish in a sustainable way.

» Read more: The first step towards a green Christmas

Thermal Imaging & The Local Plan

November 21st, 2012

WODC’s Creating Futures magazine has also created another influx of requests to have homes in the area thermal imaged. We’re coming to the end of our first slot for the use of the council’s camera but fortunately we do have another booked for February.

Two things are clear though, people are really keen to reduce heat loss from their homes, and they do read Creating Futures!

If you haven’t read it yet there’s also a very good piece on the reshaping of the Local Plan following the demise of the Cogges Link Road. The Draft Local Plan is open for consultation with roadshows coming up in Witney, Carterton and Brize Norton – more details here…

Thermal imaging comes to West Oxfordshire

January 10th, 2012

OK, so you’ve finally fixed the dud units in your double glazing, and you’ve taken advantage of the local offers on loft and cavity insulation. You’ve got a draught excluder behind the front door and you’ve even fitted one of those brushes behind your letterbox.

It’s difficult, when you’ve made the obvious improvements, to work out what’s next on the list of fixes that can keep your house toasty and warm in winter, and cool in summer. If only you could see the heat loss from the property, as if it were a bright light shining from under the eaves; heat, like a car’s headlights, peeking out from the gap where the insulation wasn’t properly laid.

» Read more: Thermal imaging comes to West Oxfordshire