Witney North - Ward News
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Promoted on behalf of the West Oxfordshire Green Party, The Old House, 9 West End, Witney OX28 1NG
Meet Brigitte Hickman
​Your Witney North District Council Green Party candidate
Brigitte has lived in Witney with her husband and two children for the past 23 years. Previously a secondary school teacher working in Witney and Abingdon she has recently formed a small business delivering Bikeability cycle training to adults and schoolchildren in West Oxfordshire. In her spare time she co-ordinates the monthly Wheels for All project at the Artificial Turf Pitch, providing an opportunity for disabled children and their families to try out different types of cycles. Brigitte also organises events for Sustainable Witney including the popular Swap Shops at Cogges Farm Museum and promotes the Love Food Hate Waste initiative for Oxfordshire County Council by providing information to West Oxfordshire residents via stalls in the district.

Witney is a great place to live but getting around the town could be so much easier for everyone with some well planned improvements. Every new development in Witney could contribute to achieving this and Brigitte hopes to represent Green party supporters and all Witney North residents keen to guarantee a sustainable future growth for the town. 

In 2015 we submitted a petition to get the the Woodford Mill Path lit at night as it is dangerous in winter months especially. We collected over 500 signatures with many people stating that they do not feel safe using it at night and would like lights on the path.

The response from Oxfordshire County Council was not positive - see below.

Having considered the response, Brigitte's view is that the path is clearly used during the winter months, and the similar path across Langel Common is not spoilt by lighting, so this appears to have been a poor decision that needs to be put right. West Oxfordshire Greens are considering how best to take this further.

Here is the copy of the response from Sue Scane, Director for Environment & Economy

Thank you for submitting the above petition relating to the above which has been forwarded to us by West Oxfordshire District Council as we are the authority with responsibility for street lighting within the county.

I have carried out some investigations and discussed my findings with Councillor David Nimmo Smith who is the Cabinet Member for the Environment; this response is on behalf of us both. I have ascertained that when this area was at the planning stage it was decided that there would be no street lighting due to this being a flood plain and also it is not normally our policy to light rural footpaths. 

Currently this path/route is not fully adopted as public highway. In addition objections were made by members of the public on this path as it is looked upon as being an area of natural beauty and that placing street lights in this area would have a detrimental effect on the environment. 

I am sure that you are aware that the county council (along with all other authorities in the country) are suffering severe reductions to our budgets, and so any investigation of the potential for solar lighting in this area and any installation and maintenance cost could not currently be supported by the county council. 

The long term aspiration of both the district council and the county council is for the development of the West End Link within which there would be proposed a high level bridge which may include some form of lighting along a cycle route which would help alleviate the issue in this particular area. 

I am sorry that there is nothing further we can do at the current time to alleviate the issue. Yours sincerely 
Mark Kemp Deputy Director - Commercial 

West Oxfordshire Greens then asked:
a) you state that the pathway isn't fully adopted. Would you be able to be more specific please. Is the entire route not fully adopted or part of it only, and if so which?

b) you state that there were objections but it is unclear from your reply whether these were for a previous application to have lights, or were objections to its use as a pathway. Also, when (year) were these objections raised and would you be able to tell me how many people (not the personal details obviously) objected to either of the points mentioned?

Lastly, would the council be amenable (in principle and with no prejudice) to the provision of sponsored solar illumination?

Mr Kemp replied with:
A footway (metaled) was constructed from Mill Street through the Woodford Mill Development across the Windrush River and the water meadows. It stopped some 60m short of the west end junction, the reason being that it was the limit of the developers land. The developer paid for all the work. At that time the need for lighting was discussed but as the footway was across a flood plain and we were unable to rise it out of the flood plain without providing compensation for the loss of area for flooding it was decided by our Development Control and Street Lighting teams it would not be provided due to the fact that it is a secondary route and would only be usable for summer months. West Oxfordshire District Council also did not want to spoil the water meadows with a row of street lights across them. The last 60m of footway was provided by us following negotiations with the land owner. This footway was seen as a secondary low grade route as we wished to provide the west end link road that would have bridged the meadow and provided a high grade road with a cycleway and footway alongside it. This all took place in 2001

We would be quite happy to discuss further the possibility of solar powered lights but this would have to be funded by an external body along with the future maintenance and disposal of the spent batteries. The lighting would have to be set outside of the adopted highway and would have to be agreed by the land owner.

Brigitte Hickman
At love food hate waste - Tandem festival 
Cooking at community event
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