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.

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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LWPC minutes from Meeting 10th April 2014

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Long Wittenham Parish Council – Minutes 13 March 2014

13 March 2014 minutes final

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Road to Clifton Hampden closed – 2 February 2014

The road from Long Wittenham to Clifton Hampden was closed again on the evening Saturday 1 February due to flooding.

Motorists are urged to respect the road closed signs and not to try and drive through the flood waters. Not only does it exacerbate damage to the road surface but could cause serious problems to your car if water gets into the air intake.

Oxfordshire County Council are constantly reassessing the flood levels and will reopen the road as soon as it is safe to do so.

 

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Petition and demonstration to save school buses

Long Wittenham Parish Council is encouraging all parents who have concerns about the impact of the proposed changes to the school bus service to sign a petition to save Oxfordshire’s school buses.

The petition can be signed online at https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/save-oxon-school-buses-1. You have until midnight to sign.

Supporters of the campaign are also invited to a peaceful demonstration at County Hall, Oxford on Tuesday 4th February at 12 noon. The vote on these proposals will be taken at a meeting of the Council’s cabinet starting at 1pm that day. Please go along and show the Councillors how strongly you feel about this issue.

 

 

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Bin collections – message from South Oxfordshire District Council

As you may be aware, flooding in South Oxfordshire and the Vale of White Horse is continuing to have an impact on waste collection services. This is due to a number of road closures across the two districts. The flooding and its associated impact is set to worsen over the next 24 hours.

We have been advising residents in both districts that, if their waste is not collected on their scheduled collection day*, they are to leave the bins on the roadside and crews will attempt to pick them up the following day.

At present, the increased severity of the flooding is having a continued knock-on effect on waste collections and these catch-up services are slowed down. The waste crews are working extremely hard to minimise any delays, however as the situation worsens this is becoming increasingly difficult due to the flooding itself, the associated road closures, and traffic congestion.

The Biffa street cleaning crews are currently working into the evening to assist with the filling and distribution of sandbags. These crews would normally be deployed to help the waste collection crews catch up after delays, but we are sure you’ll understand that protecting people’s homes from flooding has to be our first priority at the moment.

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Christmas Tree recycling at Bodkins

Christmas Tree Recycling will take place again at Bodkins.

Please return your tree between 5th and 9th January 2014. You will see a
designated area for leaving your trees. Please note not to drive on to the
grass as it’s extremely wet and will leave the area in an unsightly condition.

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Responding to Home to School Transport Consultation

Long Wittenham Parish Council has responded to Oxfordshire County Council’s consultation on home to school transport. You can read the Parish Council’s letter here.

The Parish Council is encouraging all parents who may be affected by the proposals to respond directly to the consultation. More information is available at https://myconsultations.oxfordshire.gov.uk/consult.ti/transport2015/consultationHome.

You can fill out the questionnaire online, write to the council at Home to School Transport Consultation, FREEPOST OXFORDSHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL or email your views to transport.consultation@oxfordshire.gov.uk.

Please note that the deadline for responses is Friday 20 December.

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