Welcome to Long Wittenham

Welcome to the website for the village of Long Wittenham, Oxfordshire, England. Within these pages you will find information on the village, the Parish Council and its activities, a directory of local businesses and services, information on clubs and groups, and lots of other things too.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Welcome to Long Wittenham

Neighbourhood Plan Consultation

Please tell us what you think about the Sustainability Appraisal Scoping Report which is now being circulated for consultation.

This report, available here, documents the current village situation, and the issues and challenges to take into account in our Neighbourhood Plan. It is out for consultation until Monday 16th November 2015

To respond with comments on the document, or for further information, contact the Parish Clerk: clerk@longwittenham.com

Posted in Parish Council | Leave a comment

Long Wittenham’s bus service 97 is under threat again

The county council is organising consultation meetings throughout the  county to outline its proposals to reduce bus subsidies as it wrestles with government cuts to its budget. By 2018 the council will have to make savings of at least £290m that will affect all services provided by the council.

In October the council’s Cabinet will recommend a budget for the next financial year that will be discussed at the February budget meeting.In the meantime the council wants to hear from the public about the likely impact a cut in bus subsidies would have in communities.

To keep our bus service it is really important that we all try to use it whenever possible. Leave your car at home occasionally and get the bus. This will help protect it from future cuts.

Long Wittenham Parish Council has stressed the importance of retaining the present bus service. Withdrawal would have a major impact on the lives of many, particularly elderly and disabled people who have no access to cars and who rely on the buses to get them to Didcot for shopping and other needs. There is no village shop.

It is important that villagers let the county council know their feelings about this vital issue. The parish council urges people to complete the feedback form. The deadline for responses is September 14th.

You can read the county council’s consultation document here and feedback your views here.


Posted in Parish Council | Leave a comment

Ultrafast Broadband in Long Wittenham – we’re almost there!

Thanks to everyone in Long Wittenham who’s already signed up for Gigaclear. The deadline to get a third of the village signed up is 10 July and we’re very close to the number of households we need to get Ultrafast Broadband in Long Wittenham – we’re almost there! broadband in Long Wittenham.

We still need more houses to commit

Gigaclear need a third of properties in Long Wittenham to sign up before they will give the green light to installing ultrafast broadband. So, if you haven’t already done so, then please do take the time to explore the impact it would have on you and on the village.

Why Gigaclear broadband?

Here are some of the reasons why many of those who have signed up have done so.

Have you suffered from landline service interruptions, been without a phone or broadband connection for a few hours or even, in some cases a few days, or complained about BT’s sneaky price increases?

Get Gigaclear and these will be a thing of the past. With their own network that doesn’t use the BT cabinet infrastructure there’ll be no suggestions of inter-company rivalry or sabotage as we have had in the past.

Do you have a poor mobile signal at home, maybe having one hot spot in the house as the one place the signal reaches you?

Put that behind you; introduce your mobile phone (and your visitors’ phones) to your Gigaclear router and enjoy high audio.

Do you use Skype to talk to far-off friends but suffer pixelated images and poor sound quality?

Skype over fibre won’t suffer like that!

Do you miss recording your favourite TV programme and the find the buffering makes it unwatchable over iPlayer?

Distant memories!

Do you realise that before long more and more TV broadcasts will be made over the internet and not via an aerial or dish?

BBC3 is probably going that way soon according to Radio 4 yesterday. And watching two programmes on two TVs may not be so easy with poor broadband service over copper. What will happen when you are sharing that bandwidth with neighbours?

Do you think you should wait for BT as ‘they are promising fibre broadband too’? 

Well yes they are but NO, they’re not in the near future! BT will be putting fibre to the cabinet (outside the Henderson’s) but from what they have told the Parish Council, this won’t be for at least a year. From there to every home it’ll be over the existing copper cables with its inherent problems and speed degradation over distance and age. That won’t change for at least a decade or more. In contrast Gigaclear brings fibre into your home – so wherever you are in the village, you’ll get the same ultrafast speed – and it will be as early as this autumn!

Do you think ‘I don’t work from home’ or if I do I don’t need access to files, documents etc?

Not now you don’t but is that statement futureproof?

Are you thinking  ‘it must cost more than BT’?

It may do, but if so, it’ll only slightly more (e.g. a fiver a month).  But most people paying BT for line rental and broadband are paying more per month than the Gigaclear base price of about £45 (and that gives you 50Mbps!).

‘I have just renewed my BT contract so I’ll wait until the 12 months is up.’

That seems a good idea but if not enough sign up then there won’t be a Gigaclear service to sign up to! To make it easy Gigaclear will delay the start of your service (and all payments) until the end of your BT contract.

Furthermore, when it comes to selling houses in a year or two there is likely to be a new class distinction in Oxfordshire: ‘connected villages’ and ‘unconnected villages’. The ‘connected villages’ will be attractive and open to everyone looking for a new home; the ‘unconnected villages’ will rule themselves out of a property search for the people who want to work from home occasionally and so avoid daily commuting, those with a family of teenage kids and those who want to watch TV when it suits them (and maybe legally skip paying the TV licence fee!). That will be a growing sector of the market.

And finally maybe you’re thinking you will have to change your computer or learn new keyboard routines

(no you won’t!), or lose your landline number or get a new email address (only in very rare cases).

If you have any questions, you can talk to Gary Brokenshire at Gigaclear on 07747 273936  or by emailgary.brokenshire@gigaclear.com (in my experience, they don’t do high-pressure selling).

Posted in Parish Council | Leave a comment

Road closure – Long Wittenham to Clifton Hampden

The road to Clifton Hampden will be closed from 13 July 2015 for five days whilst Oxfordshire County Council repair the surface, damaged in recent years through flooding.

Traffic will be diverted via Culham and Appleford.

Posted in Parish Council | 7 Comments

Bonfire Night 2014 – Final Arrangements

Here are the final details about Bonfire Night which takes place on Saturday 8th November at Ward’s Field from 6pm.

Tickets: A few advance tickets are still available and can be purchased from School, The Plough Inn and Clifton Hampden Post Office. Tickets will also be available on the night at the gate.

Guy Fawkes Parade:  This year, the event will begin with the announcement of this year’s winner of the Guy Fawkes Competition.

Thank you to Antonia Cotton who has helped to coordinate this event and Anne Ilsley who will judge the entries together with last year’s winners, The Cotton Family. Thanks also go to our generous sponsors of this event, The Plough Inn who have provided the prize for the winning guy.

Please come and show the families who have entered this year’s competition your support as they parade their Guy Fawkes to the bonfire at the beginning of the evening and watch with bated breath as one lucky villager gets to climb the bonfire to put the winning guy at the very top!

Food and drink: Remember to bring money to purchase delicious burgers, hot dogs and veggie options from our BBQ served to you by the Long Wittenham Ladies Cricket Team, delicious bottled beer, lager, wine and warming mulled wine as well as sweets and tray bakes from the Long Wittenham PTA!

Fireworks:  The fireworks will begin around 7pm. This is always a really super display provided by A40 Fireworks and this year promises to be no exception! A reminder that sparklers are NOT permitted on site so please leave them at home.

Directions to Ward’s Field:  From the school end of the village, proceed to past The Plough Inn to The Cross and continue straight on towards the Pendon Museum. The entrance to Ward’s Field is on the right hand side, after the last (pink) house on St John’s Row and before Pendon. There will be marshals on the night directing people, so don’t worry, you won’t get lost!

Parking: Parking will be available on the night in the Long Wittenham school playground and also at Pendon Museum. We request that people use these allocated parking areas and avoid parking on the road leading up to the site since we need to leave this clear for residents and emergency vehicles. Please park considerately.

We look forward to seeing you on Saturday night!

Wittenham Warriors


Posted in Wittenham Vision | Leave a comment

No guarantee of better bus service

The leader of Oxfordshire County Council says he can give no guarantee that Long Wittenham will have more buses next year – but he has pledged to work hard to bring about improvements to the service.

Ian Hudspeth met parish councillors and three villagers to discuss the decline since last December of Service 97. The county council subsidised service to Didcot was reduced from six buses a day to two with only one viable service involving a four-hour wait at Didcot for a return bus.

Thames Travel said the service even with financial support lost money. The parish council and villagers were angry with the reduced service and lack of consultation and sought a meeting with Mr Hudspeth to air their grievances.

Mr Hudspeth told the meeting that a review of all bus services in the county was underway and new services would come into operation next May. He urged the parish council to set out their case for an improved service.

Asked if he could give a guarantee that the village would get a better bus service Mr Hudspeth replied: “No. I cannot do that and raise expectations. It would be easy for me to give you a promise now but there are many aspects that have to be considered in our review of all services.

“But what I can guarantee is that after hearing your concerns I and my colleagues and staff will work hard to get the best possible service we can for Long Wittenham.”

Mr Hudspeth said that millions of pounds ever year were spent on bus service subsidies, concessionary fares to help pensioners and school transport. More than £3.5m alone went on concessionary fares over which they had no control because it was Government policy.

Councillor Ann Tomline raised her concerns about the abrupt withdrawal of service and said she was surprised that Thames Travel did not have to comply with a notice of withdrawal. County councillor Lynda Atkins said the council had to act quickly or face the prospect of having no service at all.

Mrs Tomline raised the prospect of a Dial-a-Ride service that operated in some northern counties. Mr Hudspeth said such counties received higher Government subsidies because they were considered to be in deprived areas whereas Oxfordshire was not.

Villager pensioners Don Caws and Vic and Gill Lester spoke of the hardships and the isolation a reduced bus service caused elderly people and those who did not own a car. Mr Caws said a return taxi fare to Didcot cost £24 and was too expensive for people on low incomes. Mr and Mrs Lester spoke of their difficulties in getting to and from Didcot, concerns expressed to them by many villagers. They wanted to see any new contract awarded to the previous operators of the service Whites instead of Thames Travel.

The chairman of the parish council Tom Bowtell drew Mr Hudspeth’s attention the council’s work in preparing a Neighbourhood Plan including a new village hub for a school, village hall, affordable houses and possible shop. He spoke about the impact Didcot’s expansion would have on traffic through the village, the need for a new cycleway and path to Clifton Hampden and the village’s concerns about a quarry and concrete plant proposed near Clifton Hampden.

Mr Bowtell thanked Mr Hudspeth for visiting the village to hear views about the bus service and other issues vital to the future direction of the village. He added: “It was a very useful opportunity for the council to impress upon Mr Hudspeth our deeply held convictions about important issues facing the village.” Mr Hudspeth said: “It was a very valuable meeting and I will be reporting back about the worries you have over the bus service and other issues. Now I have a much better understanding of your concerns.”

Posted in Parish Council | Leave a comment

Next meeting of the Long Wittenham Parish Council

The next meeting takes place on Thursday 11 September at 7.30pm in the Village Hall. The agenda will be circulated prior to the meeting. All welcome.

Posted in Parish Council, What's On | Leave a comment

Annual Parish Meeting 2014

More than 50 people attended the annual Long Wittenham Parish meeting at the village hall on June 5 and heard presentations from several organisations.

Parish council chairman Tom Bowtell outlined the main issues in which the council was involved. They included efforts to improve the bus service, completion of improvements to Northfield Lane and proposals to improve the appearance of Saxons Heath. Other issues included a proposed four-mile circular walk to Clifton Hampden, a village hub to include a new hall and school and a campaign for additional traffic calming measures to deter speeding traffic in Didcot Road.

The north-east Didcot expansion plan that will encroach into part of Wittenham parish and fears over higher volumes of traffic is a major concern. District councillor Celia Collett said the developers had still not submitted a planning application to South Oxfordshire District Council because of concerns about entrances to the site, open spaces in the area and flooding.

Mrs Collett said under the county’s new Strategic Housing Market Assessment more than 100,000 homes will need to be built up to 2031. It’s estimated that in south Oxfordshire up to 800 new dwellings a year will have to be built – 15,000 to 16,000 in total by 2031.

Cllr Janet Clarke reported on plans to improve the appearance of the Green at Saxons Heath and improve the surface of the path that links the area with Fieldside, a route used by children to and from the school bus stop.

Sue Tucker from the Wittenham-Thaon Twinning Association – created 15 years ago with the community in Normandy – said a visit this year to Wittenham had to be postponed because of the D-Day commemoration events in France. Mrs Tucker said plans were underway for a visit next year.

Dr Jane Manley the chief executive of the Earth Trust reported on the group’s activities in the Wittenham area including the development of a new wetland area along a two-mile stretch of the Thames with financial help from the Environment Agency. Improvements are to be carried out to the route from Northfield Lane to the river and to paths in Paradise Wood.

Dr Gabriel Hemery from the Sylva Foundation – a charity based at Little Wittenham that promotes woodlands – outlined plans for College Farm which the Foundation is developing. It’s hoped to attract small businesses working in wood to the site of a redeveloped former potato store building. A new pipe is to be laid which will help improve drainage along Little Wittenham road and there are plans to create a community orchard on land off Fieldside.

Two Long Wittenham Primary School children Martha-Mae Preece, aged 11 and Reggie Ducham (9) read reports on school activities during the year. Head teacher Carol Dunne said the school had received a very good Ofsted report. She said: “We are a small school with a small team but we have a big heart and have big aspirations.”

Bill Symonds and Derek Meadham from Long Wittenham Athletic football club reported on the club’s success in winning the North Berks Cup for the second season running. The club has won the cup a record 16 times since the competition began in 1907.

Janet Haylett from Wittenham Vision and History Group said the village was getting cleaner. The amount of litter gathered in “litter picks” had reduced from previous years and the trend was very encouraging. Work on improving The Pound – a small piece of land in the High Street – was continuing with clearance work and planting.

The plan is to create a wood chip path around the site with logs for a seating area. WV is working in conjunction with the History Group to create a sign that will be placed on the site. Mrs Haylett said the group was 30 years old. It would be marking the event with an exhibition on September 13 called “Witta’s Place, Witta’s People” to celebrate the village’s Saxon roots.

The Rev Anne Ilsley reported on St Mary’s Church activities during the year and Cllr Peter Rose talked about the new Good Neighbour Group that fosters closer ties between villagers and in particular those who have dementia and their carers.

The council’s vice-chairman Simon Thompson said plans to create a new village hub comprising a new school and village hall on land at Challis Farm had stalled and an alternative site further along Didcot Road was being considered. Mr Thompson said the council would be getting help from the district council in the creation of a village plan that would give the community better control of housing developments and identify sites for new homes in the village.

Posted in Parish Council | Leave a comment

Congratulations to the Athletic Club

Players and officials of North Berks League Cup winners Long Wittenham Athletic were praised for their commitment and dedication.

Speaking at the club’s annual dinner (june6) at Didcot Conservative Club league fixture secretary Charlie East said that at a time when the league had experienced a difficult season with several clubs pulling out, Long Wittenham had shown great strength.

He said: “You have won the cup two years running. Both the first and reserve teams performed well in the league and you have a youth team. It’s a tribute to the commitment and dedication of the players and those working hard behind the scenes.

“Last season several clubs struggled to get players and some went under but Wittenham kept going and showed what can be achieved. Players should not forget their roots and the clubs who gave them the chance to play football.”

Last season seven clubs withdrew from the league because they were unable to field teams. But on the positive side 11 clubs have applied to join the NBL next season. Mr East said: “Last season was difficult. It’s a great shame that some clubs can’t attract or retain players but we have gained clubs for next season and that’s good news for the league and the game.”

The NBL cup was first competed for in 1907 and since then Long Wittenham has won it a record 16 times. Club president Bill Symonds said: “It’s a great record and one which the club and village should be proud. It’s been hard work, week in, week out for both players and backroom staff but well worth the effort.”

The first team Player of the Year award went to Will Houseman and Mathew Saunders was chosen as the manager’s Player of the Year. The reserve team Player of the Year was Callum Bowler and the manager’s Player of the Year was Michael Learoyd.

The Sunday team’s Player of the Year award went to Joe Murphy and Steve Molloy was the manager’s Player of the Year. The most improved player was Joe Cheong. The Brian Hill Loyalty award went to Eddie Ireson who also took the club’s Man of the Year title.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Bus talks collapse

Hopes of an improved bus between Long Wittenham and Didcot have crashed. Now the parish council wants a face-to-face meeting with county council leader Ian Hudspeth to discuss what one villager described as the “worst bus service in 50 years.”

Last December Thames Travel slashed Service 97 from four buses a day to two because even with a subsidy it was uneconomic. The current service means that passengers catching the 10.34 from Wittenham arrive at 10.49 at the Orchard Centre. The return bus leaves one minute later. They have to wait until 13.50 for the last bus home.

County councillor Lynda Atkins has been working with the parish council to reduce the three-hour waiting time at Didcot with an extra bus but it could be achieved only at the expense of Moulsford losing its bus service.

She said: “Very regrettably it is now clear that we are not going to be able to sort out a bus timetable that is acceptable to other communities. There is no way to provide an extra bus journey for Long Wittenham without taking a hard-won service from Moulsford. Moving the problem elsewhere is not a solution.

“There will be a review of bus services for changes to be implemented next year. I will do all I can to make sure that things are sorted out and Long Wittenham gets an improved service to meet the needs of villagers.”

The collapse of talks has been met with an angry response from parish council chairman Tom Bowtell who said: “We have been treated very badly by both the county council and Thames Travel. There was no consultation with the council or villagers last December when Service 97 was slashed.

“We are down to only two buses a day and only one of those is viable. People have to wait three hours at Didcot for a return bus in the afternoon as the first bus turns round almost immediately for Wittenham. It’s causing a lot of hardship for many people, particularly the elderly many of whom rely on the buses. We want to talk the leader of the county council Ian Hudspeth as a matter of urgency.”

Retired pub manager Don Caws lives at the Three Poplars home park. He said the current bus service was hopeless, forcing people to wait three hours to get back home. “It’s causing a lot of hardship to elderly folk who do not have a car to get to Didcot for shopping and it’s particularly bad during the winter.

“I have to be in Didcot twice a week for medical appointments and shopping. Unless friends give me a lift there and back I have to go by taxi and that’s an expensive £22 round trip. It’s out of the reach of many pensioners.”

Greta and Charlie Jones from Saxons Heath have a car but used the bus until the recent changes. Mrs Jones said: “The service is appalling. You have to feel sorry for many older people without a car who rely on the buses and now find themselves isolated.

“I’ve lived in Wittenham for a large part of my life. Once we had buses to Didcot, Abingdon, Wallingford and Oxford but today’s service is the worst in 50 years. We deserve better.”

Posted in Parish Council | Leave a comment