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

 

Woodstock - A Snapshot

Woodstock is a success. It is a success foremost because of the drive and energy of its residents but also because of a number of fortunate circumstances. For a start, its proximity to Oxford, a world class university city, has been a critical factor. Oxford’s intellectual talent has produced many 21st century industrial success stories from bio-technology industries to computing firms and publishing houses, all high value, high skilled businesses. Not that industry is new to Oxford, whose wealth was soundly established through the massive Morris Motors complex of the early twentieth century and now, equally importantly, is maintained as the home of the BMW Mini. Another fortunate circumstance has been the huge international rise in tourism and Woodstock’s proximity to the World Heritage Site of Blenheim Palace has undoubtedly assisted in the growth of the town’s economy. Woodstock has excellent communications links. It is conveniently located near to the M40 and within 30 minutes driving of the M4. These provide easy access to London, the Midlands and the South West as well as to international airports at Heathrow and Birmingham. Public transport to Oxford and thence by train to London is quick and straightforward.

Thus, Woodstock has become a sought after town to live in. Its appeal lies not just in its economic advantages but also its proximity to the open countryside of the Cotswolds and the physical attraction of the town itself. In the wake of this success, the schools and the public institutions of the town have thrived and entrepreneurs have seen Woodstock as a good place to establish businesses. But all of these positive attributes and advantages bring with them substantial pressures. The Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership states in its opening pages “Oxfordshire is an international economic powerhouse, driving new technology, new markets and ground-breaking developments which supports every aspect of UK industry and commerce. The county is the future economic engine for Britain, helping businesses flourish, transferring technologies into industry and delivering the entrepreneurs of tomorrow. Oxfordshire is the hub of Britain’s knowledge economy. It provides the technology, the development and the expertise which define much of the UK’s economic and commercial future.” This is all very well but the
demand for housing threatens the countryside and the townscape. Resistance to development creates an imbalance of demand over supply leading to escalating and unaffordable property prices. High property prices also affect business overheads and some less profitable retail outlets have been forced to close losing valuable services to the local community. Over the years we have gradually lost greengrocers, fishmongers, and recently a much valued hardware shop. Young families, unable to afford house prices in the town look further afield. The children of those that remain are fortunate to have excellent local schools but struggle to find worthwhile activities after school and during the holidays. Woodstock is unique locally in having its own self-funded youth club but the premises desperately need replacing if it is to continue to attract young people through its doors.

The town has an ageing population and many of today’s fit and healthy pensioners will require significant levels of support and care in years to come. Sheltered and residential care is available and provided to the high standards that are rightly expected these days but will there be sufficient provision in the future and is the rest of the town’s infrastructure, physical and social, up to providing for the needs of an ageing population? Traffic too, has become intolerable on occasions and the level of traffic has become a major concern. Events at Blenheim benefit many of the town’s businesses but create congestion on the town approach roads to the frustration of residents seeking to go about their daily lives. And it isn’t just Blenheim. The town’s success, its galleries and restaurants, its acclaimed museum and its architectural heritage, attract visitors from neighbouring parishes and from further afield and add to the problems of the town centre’s limited parking space.

It is these pressures, and others that demand answers. If Woodstock is to remain a success story; if it is to retain its attraction for visitors and residents; if it is to continue to be a sought after place to live, with good schools and social provision, we need to be constantly re-assessing our place in the wider world. It’s a competitive world and simply standing still will not do. We have to ensure that our town develops in the way we want it to, protecting our valued heritage, built and natural, ensuring that the population remains socially balanced for young and old alike and retaining the public and private services that ensure thriving communities.

The basic town statistics today are as follows:-

Town Snapshot
Answer       (Source of Data shown in Italics)
Number of Residents 3014 from 2001 ONS Census and rising by approx 0.7% p.a.to an estimated 3243 in 2012

ONS and OCC data Observatory
Percentage of Population over 65
Percentage of Population under 16
Total
27%
14%
41%

NOMIS data indicates 60% aged 16 to 64 (or 40% either 65 and over or under 16)
OCSI updated with ONS (NOMIS) and OCC Data Observatory
Number of economically-active residents 1954 for year 2010

ONS (NOMIS) and OCC Data Observatory
Number of jobs ?
Ratio of jobs to economically-active residents 48% in 2010 from updated statistics

ONS (NOMIS)
Jobs by industrial sector See chart 1 on following page

OCSI
Unemployment rate 2.1% in 2001 and not expected to have changed significantly

ONS (NOMIS)
Number of vacant shops 2
Ratio of vacant shops to total number of shops 2 out of 72 = 3%
Number of residents with post-school qualifications 32% with higher level qualifications
42% with lower level qualifications
26% with no (or unknown) qualifications

ONS (NOMIS)
Percentage of households without a car 19%
Number of households on local authority/housing association waiting lists There were 2494 people on the West Oxfordshire District Council’s Common Waiting List for Woodstock and the surrounding villages in 2004. Of these 1927 had points and 925 were in a priority group. The situation (by WODC’s own reckoning) has not improved since then.
Recorded crime rates 26 per 1000 population (for West Oxfordshire overall) BCS for 2006/7
Ranking in indices of deprivation Woodstock is in the 3rd decile nationally for income deprived people and 981st out of 1499 wards in the south east region. In the County it is 71st out of 137. This suggests a higher level of relative deprivation that might at first glance be assumed.
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