Greetings and best wishes for 2022 to the residents of Long Wittenham from the chairman of the Parish Council.
As the new year unfolds the village will see many changes. The new housing development by Vanderbilt should be completed by late Summer and the next phase of the village’s Neighbourhood Development Plan (NDP) is expected to take another step forward.
The NDP has cleared all the archaeological issues raised by Historic England and it is hoped that a public consultation will take place in January for six weeks. Following that, it should be possible to schedule a referendum.
Plans for the Community Hub will be presented at a public meeting on a date to be fixed in February by the council’s preferred developer, Thomas Homes. A planning application will be submitted to South Oxfordshire District Council (SODC) when the NDP has been passed by the examiner and adopted.
There will be two important steps associated with the Vanderbilt housing development. A new pedestrian crossing to the houses will be built in late January, and further along Didcot Road, a new build-out or chicane will be installed.
Both these features will have the effect of slowing down traffic as it moves through the village – all part of the new 20mph speed restriction which came into force in December. Most drivers appear to be abiding by the new speed limit. Further moves to reduce speeds will be discussed early in the new year.
Hopes are growing that the new cycle path from the village to the Barley Mow car park will be built next year. The project is included in the county council’s ‘long list’ but the village’s county councillor, Dr Pete Sudbury, says that he is optimistic that it will moved onto the ‘short list’ in the new year.
Dr Sudbury said he would be “pushing hard” for the cycle path to go ahead and for it to be included in the new financial year which begins on the sixth of April. He added: “There is a very strong case for the cycle path. It is oven-ready with land being made available by the Buxton family, the owners of the land between the pub car park and Lower Farm”.
The most expensive section of the cycle path will be between Lower Farm and the village. It presents structural challenges as it will have to be built over a deep ditch. The government is pledged to encourage more cycling and walking and has made money available to local authorities throughout the country.
The cycling charity Sustrans plans to start work on improving the bridleway between Moor Ditch and Acklings on the 10th of January. The project will cost more than £200,000. Work on a £2m boathouse by Headington School is expected to start this summer alongside The Maddy between the village and the Barley Mow pub.
Long Wittenham is entering an exciting new phase in its development as the community moves forward with new homes, a public referendum on the NDP, a 20mph speed zone, new cycle path, improvements to the west-end bridleway and a boathouse.
Gordon Rogers, chairman, Long Wittenham Parish Council.