Traffic, Free Parking and the High St – It’s all hanging together
Update Apr-23 –
Labour councillors look to the future of our town. Now our High Street has been opened to pedestrians, we are all enjoying the cleaner, safer space it has become. Browsing shop windows, sitting outside our wonderful cafes and pubs and meeting up with friends is much more pleasant now traffic has been reduced. Watch out next month for a public exhibition of ideas and plans for continued expansion of the high street opening. You will be able to contribute your ideas for the longer-term vision as well as immediate improvements as we take our beautiful market town into a cleaner, safer future.
The Tories want traffic back on the high street and will hand back the £2million fund. Witney needs investment after decades of stagnation and decaying local roads and services – Tory Westminster committed the UK to 20mph default in 2022. All parties around the UK are making the change. Early adopters are now reporting around 30% reductions in those killed and seriously injured. So a safer future too given the 350 recent road traffic accidents in recent years. Labour will continue to make WItney a brighter place to live, visit and shop for all.
It’s brilliant to see some proactive change at Marriott’s Walk Shopping Centre since West Oxfordshire District Council became its owners. Stores should expect more for their service charges, to deliver high impact, to bring higher footfall, to deliver better trading and contribute to a sustainable town centre for local businesses. With the public design & consultation on the high street £2mil investment starting after these elections, you need a strong voice to deliver change.
.We’re looking forward, not backwards, for Witney
There is no political impetus to introduce parking charges in West Oxfordshire’s towns and villages. Local Labour councillors have publicly stated no wish to do so and they know how strongly residents feel in favour of free parking.
The one exception is Woodstock. Woodstock Town Council has worked with the County Council to introduce town centre charges in order to make parking more available for residents. Woodstock has a level of tourism and local popularity unique in West Oxfordshire.
Parking enforcement in West Oxfordshire is returning to Oxfordshire County Council in line with the rest of Oxfordshire – and this includes responsibility for on-street parking, not carparks. Nevertheless, Witney Labour councillors do not support on-street charges.
Is the Conservative Party’s best idea for a conversation in the run-up to an election to allege that free parking is under threat? Your Labour councillors and candidates, in contrast, have put forward a wealth of constructive ideas on a broad range of issues.
Witney High Street – Let’s Improve it Together
Witney High Street is open for business, for active travel, for disabled parking and for soaking up the bustle of the town. Motor vehicles are restricted. Nonetheless, many in the town are worried about Witney’s businesses and worry that the town centre will decline. “Footfall” and takings are down in shops all over Witney.
Your Labour team is listening.
We are here to ensure the town centre is given the attention, design and investment it deserves, as Witney’s centrepiece. Our councils need to reassure people soon to capture everyone’s imagination and to help businesses across town so that patience does not run out. To find the right plan for a Market Town in the 2020s.
Procedurally speaking, West Oxfordshire District Council resolved keep the traffic restrictions on Witney High Street and then Oxfordshire County Council, with responsibility for roads, granted the Road Traffic Orders. Works to make the road junctions safer are being planned. When funding is secured, the opportunity exists to enhance the High Street into a space that honours Witney’s heritage and works well for residents’ shopping and community needs.