Witney

Local history

We meet at 10.00am on the third Wednesday of every month. Group Leader Donna Thynne

Committee members: Judy McGill, Jan Townley, Donna Thynne and Julie Walsh.

Please see our 2020 Programme below:

December 2019No meeting
15 January 2020Christmas lunch DT
18 February 2020Visit to Kingston Bagpuize House, please book via Jane Clarke of the Gardening Group NOTE CHANGE OF VISIT AND DATE JC
18 March 2020Quiz (Quiz Master to be selected) DT
15 April 2020Oxford guided tour DT
20 May 2020Visit to Filkins ... possible guided tour DT
17 June 2020Possible visit to Broughton Castle JW
15 July 2020Visit to The Saxon Hall House at Long Wittenham DT
19 August 2020Visit to Cogges Manor Farm and picnic DT
16 September 2020Visit to Rissington with a talk by Mick Walsh on the Souls Brothers - 5 brothers who all died in WW1 JW
21 October 2020Talk on maps by Donna
18 November 2020Visit to Ardley Recycling Centre - NOTE POSTPONED FROM 19TH FEBRUARY JT

Past Subjects

On 20th November 2019 a group member led a discussion about Witney Town Planning.

In the 1960s Witney planners realised that Witney needed some development and expansion. The
Welch Way development of the 1960s, was principally built to provide accommodation for workers
at Smith Industries, but it was seen as not very successful. The most ideal expansion would be to
create a balance between new facilities and retaining the ‘essence’ of Witney as a market town.
Initial planning applications involved large out-of-town shopping centre proposals but these were
not well received by the Council, who thought it would be the death knell of the town centre.
Abingdon was seen as an example of unsympathetic town planning as the old town is isolated in a
one-way road system.

It was decided to create the Woolgate Centre and the new Waitrose store on fields and a disused
mill site between the High Street and the River Windrush. Part of the large back gardens backing
onto the river were compulsory purchased for the development and to allow for the new car park.
Many of the trees in this area had tree preservation orders and so could not be cleared. This
contributed to the riverside walk and the landscaping of the Waitrose car park. The car park is seen
as exceptional example of car park landscaping and has been used an example of how it should be
done.

The planning department’s aim was to create a sympathetic compromise between country (lots of
open spaces), providing new amenities, and the town, and at the same time encouraging and
retaining local long standing family businesses and shops. Important elements of the town, like
Church Green, were preserved.

Ann showed how much energy and commitment it took to work on such a large project (finished in
1978), and how sympathetic planning decisions made a positive contribution to the town’s future
prosperity.

More Group Pages
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More Group Pages
Antiques and Collectables 2 Book group 1
Book Group 2 Book group 4
Croquet Film
First World War Gardening
German Conversation History of Art 2
Italian Appreciation 1 Local history
Outings Railways
Russian Language Science and Technology
Spanish Stately Home visits
Theatre Trips Walks longer 1
Walks Short 2