Category for COVID-19 Pandemic

New Bike Stands in Wantage

New Bicycle Stands have been installed around the Market Place and at the Bus Stop at the Charlton Road Roundabout to encourage cycling within the town.

 

UPDATE – Wantage is opening safely

The Town Council has taken on board the comments and concerns about the proposal to temporarily close the southern side of the Market Place from 12 July, with the loss of parking spaces. It is still keen to proceed with a scheme that provides more pedestrian space in the Market Place and assists social distancing.

Over the coming week the Town Clerk will be working with highway officers to consider how any loss of parking spaces can be reduced and determine how other concerns, including disabled parking, taxi parking, bus stops and loading/unloading can be addressed. This will also involve consulting with those that have expressed concerns. As a result the introduction of a scheme in the centre of the Market Place may be delayed. It is still planned to temporarily pedestrianise the area to the west of the Market Place, (in front of Marmalade, 30 Something and The King Alfred’s Head) from 4 July.

The Town Council is acutely aware both of the government’s desire that local authorities should take steps to ensure that opportunities for social distancing in our high streets are maximised and at the same time the need to support local retail and hospitality businesses who have been so badly hit during the lock down.  There remain a significant number of people who are anxious about leaving their homes let alone visiting the shops.  The more the Town Council can do to allay these fears by creating more and safer pedestrian space the better it will be for footfall in our Market Place and beyond.

The Town Council does wish to do the best for the town in these difficult times and would welcome thoughts or ideas on how best to provide additional temporary pedestrian space without losing too many parking spaces. As previously advised, please e mail: clerk@wantagetowncouncil.gov.uk with suggestions.

Wantage is opening – safely

Following the easing of the pandemic lockdown, the Government has tasked all Local Authorities to implement temporary measures to reopen their Town Centres and High Streets as safely as possible, and to make them more attractive and welcoming for pedestrians and cyclists. These temporary measures could last up to eighteen months.

The first step to facilitate safe use of the town centre will be to temporarily pedestrianise the area to the west of the Market Place, (in front of Marmalade, 30 Something and The King Alfred’s Head) that has been used many times for town events such as Wantage Brass and the Continental Day, and has tremendous potential for events and other uses. The long term aim is to  seek permanent pedestrianisation of this area. The temporary closure provides a test of the obstacles and issues that may need to be overcome to accommodate this. The temporary closure will proceed on 4 July.

In order to enable everyone to maintain social distancing we also plan to close the southern side  of the Market Place, along the lines that many will remember from when the fair was held for the twenty years up to 2015, with two-way traffic on the north side of the Market Place. This will be a temporary change but the Town Council will be consulting on various options to fine tune these changes.  It will also give everyone the chance to think about how they feel about longer term pedestrianisation in the town centre. Please note that during this closure all buses and coaches will have their routes diverted to use the bus stops in Seesen Way, or to alternative locations for picking up and putting down.  Taxis will relocate to Newbury Street. This closure will proceed on 12 July. We will be engaging directly with Grundon and Biffa to ensure waste services can collect. If you are using a different waste collection service, could you please advise?

To make the town centre more cyclist friendly, new cycle racks will be installed in various locations in the Market Place over the next few weeks.

Andrea Yates, the Town Centre Manager, and other members of the Council team, will be engaging with businesses and the public in and around the Market Place over the next few days to deal with any questions or queries. The team will be actively working with those affected by the closure to sort out ways of accommodating deliveries and collections.  If you would like someone to visit or call you, to discuss these arrangements, please email: clerk@wantagetowncouncil.gov.uk.  The Town Council does intend to conduct a survey, seeking views on this and future arrangements. More information on this will be published shortly.

An open letter from the Leaders of South and Vale District Councils

An open letter from Cllr Sue Cooper, Leader of South Oxfordshire District Council, and Cllr Emily Smith, Leader of the Vale of White Horse District Council.

As we come to the end of Volunteering Week, we wanted to express our heartfelt thanks and gratitude, on behalf of South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse District Councils, to all of the incredible volunteers who have stepped up to the plate over the past couple of months to make an enormous difference to their communities.

It was just over two months ago that the government announced the lockdown to try and control the coronavirus and keep the public safe. The method required to keep us safe also meant a significant number of very vulnerable people were suddenly completely unable to carry out the kind of normal day-to-day task we used to take for granted. This also applied to a whole new group of people who never previously needed any support with their lives.

Within days of the lockdown being announced, a staggering number of people had, without being asked, leapt to their feet to make sure everybody in their local community had what they needed. They set up shopping and food delivery services, they collect prescriptions, they walk dogs, and they are even just there to have a friendly chat with people who feel isolated and lonely.

It’s incredibly heart-warming to see the selflessness and care with which these wonderful volunteers go about their work.  In local government we talk a lot about community, which is a word that can mean different things to different people, but we believe in the past two months we’ve seen what that word really means.

Not only did these incredible volunteers step up to the plate at the start of the lockdown when their neighbours – and countless people they’d never met – needed them, but they continue to do so, day in, day out, tirelessly. We’re incredibly proud to be able to help link these volunteers together and to provide a service to ensure they are able reach the people who need them.

It’s quite difficult to put into words the depth of the gratitude we feel for all the volunteers in our district helping our communities make it through these difficult times, but on behalf of our councils and council staff, we’d like to say an enormous thank you. You are the best.

The importance of that selfless care and solidarity among communities has been thrown into sharp focus with other events in the world at the moment. Like many of you, we share in the sadness, horror and anger at the death of George Floyd in the US, and at the unfolding events that have followed.

On the surface it might not appear to be a local issue, but discrimination exists everywhere and this loss of an innocent life highlights just one of the ways it can manifest itself.

Time and again around the world, innocent people are persecuted, discriminated against and killed purely because of the colour of their skin or where they were born. It’s devastating that we’re well into the 21st Century and this remains an issue.

We share in the global outrage about this issue and it’s wrong to remain silent. At South Oxfordshire and the Vale we are fiercely committed to giving a voice to and representing all who suffer discrimination, persecution, hatred or injustice.

We practice equality, fairness and inclusion, and we believe in everybody – whoever you are, you are most welcome here. Through many of our services we work hard to ensure marginalised and isolated members of communities get all the support they need.

No one need accept injustice, no one is without a voice, but sometimes they need others to help their voice to be heard, and so we stand with all of our residents in saying we are absolutely committed to help create equal society for all.

Stay safe, continue to take care of each other, and please take care of yourselves.

Cllr Sue Cooper, Leader of South Oxfordshire District Council

Cllr Emily Smith, Leader of the Vale of White Horse District Council

COVID-19 – Council Meetings

Due to Government advice on social distancing relating to the COVID-19 pandemic, and changes to legislation permitting council meetings to be held using electronic means, meetings of the Town Council and its committees/sub-committees will be held remotely and online via Zoom. The page to join the Zoom meetings is here.  Members of the Press and Public are welcome to observe Council Meetings. Details of how to join a meeting will be also included on agendas posted on this website.

COVID-19 – Seeking information or advice?

In these difficult times a number of town councillors are happy to offer whatever help and advice they can provide to members of our community.

Contact details are:

Councillor Andy Crawford – email: andycrawford58@gmail.com
Telephone 01235 772134
Mobile 07427 880274

Councillor Angela Dunford angela.dunford12@gmail.com

Councillor Amos Duveen email: amos.duveen@whitehorsedc.gov.uk
Mobile 07791 512019

Councillor James Goodman jg16021971@gmail.com
Mobile 07837 326280

Councillor Jenny Hannaby  email: jennyhannaby@gmail.com
Telephone 01235 767056
Mobile 07736 893148

Councillor Tony Gilhome email: tony.gilhome@btinternet.com
Mobile 07843 632728

Councillor Alistair Menzies alimen51@gmail.com
Mobile 07825948043

Councillor Chris Walters email: tregonsee31@gmail.com

Councillor Caroline Wills Wright email: chippycaro@hotmail.com

For websites providing a range of information relating to COVID-19 see https://www.wantage.com/coronavirus/

Shielding our most vulnerable

Our most vulnerable residents across Oxfordshire will have recently received correspondence from the NHS, identifying them as high risk and advising them to strictly self-isolate for 12 weeks.

We know this long term restriction may cause additional concerns for those without any nearby support and we want to make sure any shielded resident, who doesn’t know where to turn, are not handling these additional worries alone.

Local authorities across Oxfordshire have worked with the local Voluntary and Community Sector, to develop a simple point of contact for those who have been told by government that they have been identified as extremely vulnerable, and who have no support network and would otherwise be completely isolated.

From tomorrow this new, dedicated line will provide our extremely vulnerable residents access to a central team who will be able to offer advice on a range of issues and will be operational from 8:30am to 8:00pm Monday to Friday, and 9:00am – 5:00pm Saturday and Sunday.

If you or someone you know has been identified as extremely vulnerable by the NHS and have no support network, please contact the dedicated team on 01865 89 78 20 or email shield@oxfordshire.gov.uk. If you live in Oxford City, you can also phone 01865 24 98 11 between 8:00am and 5:00pm or visit www.oxford.gov.uk/CommunityAssistance

For those residents who are not in a high risk category but still in need of support, there are a number of initiatives taking place across the county. You can visit Oxfordshire All In or Oxford Together for more information on community support near you.

In South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse, anyone that is not considered high risk and does not have a support network around them to help, will be able to call their dedicated support line from 27 March at 9:00am on 01235 422600 or email communitysupport@southandvale.gov.uk

The County, City and District Councils in Oxfordshire are all working hard to maintain frontline council services, so for any queries related to everyday council service please check out the County, City or relevant District website.

For more advice and information on COVID-19, please visit Public Health England.