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

 

Introduction

Woodstock Market Town Partnership is an informal group of residents from Woodstock and the surrounding villages whose purpose is to bring together the various strands of public and commercial life in Woodstock for the greater good. Its objective is to develop a vision for the future of the town that will sustain it and protect its values. The partnership consists of Town, District and County Councillors, business people, representatives from Woodstock's schools, from the voluntary sector, and from the clubs, societies and sports associations in the town. Blenheim Palace also is represented on the group.
Residents may recall that some years ago the idea of a Town Plan Group was suggested and the Town Partnership has grown out of that original initiative. At that time SEEDA, the South East of England Regional Development Agency was establishing a Market Towns Fund in collaboration with the South East Rural Towns Partnership and the Countryside Agency. The fund provided some £7 million over seven years. That money has been fully allocated and the Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition government has said it will disband SEEDA in the interests of greater localism.

In place of SEEDA the new government is proposing Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEP) and Oxfordshire County Council was successful in establishing one of the first LEPs in the country.
The Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership was formally launched by the Business Minister, Mark Prisk MP, in March 2011, to be responsible for championing and developing the Oxfordshire economy. Working with businesses, academia and the public sector it is driving economic development across the county. The Partnership’s overarching aim is to be the catalyst for realising Oxfordshire’s economic and commercial potential. The Partnership supports and champions key programmes that are helping to further realise the economic dynamism of Oxfordshire:

a) Getting the county connected to fast broadband access and improve mobile phone coverage
b) Improving the skills of Oxfordshire’s workforce and those people about to enter the workforce
c) Increasing inward investment in Oxfordshire
d) Developing the business support services for Oxfordshire’s businesses
e) Improving infrastructure for growth and jobs

The extent to which funding will come to places like Woodstock as a direct result of the Local Enterprise Partnerships is unclear. It seems that the emphasis for the LEPs will be on encouraging the private sector to take up the employment slack created from the slimming down of the public sector. The current focus of the Oxfordshire LEP is with the proposed Oxfordshire Science Vale at Harwell and Milton Park which it is hoped will generate 8400 jobs and £10.5 million of additional business. Such inward investment in Oxfordshire can only be seen as positive for the future prosperity of the entire county and we will continue to observe the progress of the Oxfordshire Enterprise Partnership with interest.

At a more local level, the coalition government is keen to promote the concept of “Localism”. The Localism Act received the formal assent of parliament in November 2011 although further regulations are anticipated. One of the main features of the Act is the facility for local communities to draw up their own Neighbourhood Plans . Whilst these must not conflict with the spatial strategies of the principal authorities they do allow local town and parish councils to identify in precise terms, how they wish to see the future of their community develop. The Localism Act contains powers for local planning authorities to impose a Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) on developers for the provision local and wider public community facilities. Further funding can be secured through the government’s “New Homes Bonus”, which is awarded to Council’s adopting a housing growth strategy. It may well be that in the current financial climate, developer funding will be the only way to achieve substantial local capital investment and this will present a particular problem for Woodstock, whose residents have clearly indicated a preference for strictly limited further development of the town.

Nevertheless, the international recession will end. The economy will grow and the good times will return. And when they do, Woodstock needs to be ready to ensure that it is not left behind. We live in a competitive world and we have to run to stay still. Ask any business in Woodstock. It's only by constantly re-inventing yourself that you keep ahead of the competition. It's the same for our schools and our public institutions.

We hope that the Town Partnership will become a permanent fixture that will continually update its data and information and always be looking at how the town can be promoted in the best interests of its residents and business communities.


Pictures:    Top:  The ever popular Woodstock Carnival
                    Centre:  Switching on the Christmas Lights
                    Bottom Left:  Woodstock-in-Bloom
                    Bottom Right:  The ancient ceremony of
                                                "Mock Mayor" making

 

 

 

 

back to top