Woodstock Town Partnership

A beautiful and safe town set within accessible countryside
A thriving economy based on our strengths as an attractive visitor destination
A place with outstanding facilities for everyday life as well as for special events
A diverse community active in influencing its own future

 

The 1998 Town Appraisal

The last time the town was assessed was back in 1998 when a comprehensive Town Appraisal was prepared. It was well researched and secured considerable support from the residents. It was a well presented report and captured the mood of the times perfectly. And yet it failed to secure many of the aspirations that were revealed from all that hard work. Some positive changes were achieved and maybe some were just not realistic. Either way, we needed to revisit the Town Appraisal and to update it. Since 1998 it has become clear the competition for capital funding from government sources requires more rigorous research and a much stronger business case in order to succeed. Likewise the adoption and approval of a Neighbourhood Plan requires evidence based information and widespread consultation. That is what the Woodstock Town Partnership is partly about. The Partnership is a long term project to assess the strengths and weaknesses of our community, to determine its needs, to formulate a vision for the future and to seek funding to secure whatever infrastructure is required to deal with those needs and to see the projects through to completion. All this must be accomplished with the support and commitment of the town’s residents, its businesses and its public sector service providers.

But first, let us take a brief look at some of the key results of the Town Appraisal of 1998. In 1998 the town’s population was 2119. In the census of 2001 it was 2389 and in 2004, 2397. The probable present population is 2414. Many of the townspeople’s concerns in 1998 do not appear to have changed:-

  • 43% said there was a need for more affordable homes. Since then some affordable homes have been provided at sites on Banbury and Shipton Roads
  • 42% were concerned about "care in the community". Since then we have lost our warden controlled accommodation for elderly people at Caroline Court and Rye Grass. The accommodation remains but wardens are not now located in the town.
  • 76% thought there were too many lorries through the town
  • 67% were concerned about traffic speeds
  • 71% wanted to see some residents parking arrangements but there were mixed views on the level of parking generally.
  • 49% thought a bus service to Kidlington would be a good idea and would use it if provided. This now exists although the frequency of service is limited
  • Few respondents to the questionnaire had any particular views about the schools
  • In terms of capital investments, 42% supported the idea of a roof over the open air swimming pool and 35% were willing to pay an extra £10 on their Council Tax bill to pay for it.
  • The most popular recreational activity was walking in Blenheim (73%) closely followed by other countryside footpaths (66%)
  • 74% wanted the population of the town to remain about the same, and most seemed to think that the planning balance was about right (though many wanted to see a greater focus on planning conservation)

Generally speaking people seemed satisfied with their local services, the exceptions being police response times, and the lack of a regular and frequent street market. We now have a monthly Farmers’ Market.
With the slight exception of clothes and food shops it was generally thought that there were enough shops in Woodstock.
Recycling, even as early as 1998 was popular and most people recycled their glass and paper (but few recycled tin cans, and plastics could not then be recycled at all).
There was no clear view on whether more allotments should be provided. The town is about to open 16 full size (32 half size) allotments in Green Lane, the first for many years.
Litter did not seem to be regarded as a major problem but dog fouling was.
69% thought that Blenheim Palace should promote the town better and encourage their visitors to also visit the town.
The town’s health services were generally well regarded although the endorsement was not overwhelming. There was no clear consensus on social services in the town.

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