Cycling and walking improvements set to come to Witney

Witney residents and visitors are set to benefit from improvements that will encourage cycling and walking in and around the town.

Oxfordshire County Council has adopted the Witney Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan (LCWIP), which will set out how to improve the town’s active travel network, reduce the reliance on single use motor vehicles and cut congestion.

Councillor Andrew Gant, Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways Management, said: “We want walking and cycling to become the everyday choice for short journeys or as part of longer journeys combined with using public transport in Witney and beyond.

“The LCWIP will help achieve a culture of walking and cycling. This can create a thriving, healthy, inclusive and climate sensitive community, where improvements enhance the environment that makes Witney a great place to live, work and visit.”

The council’s vision is that by 2041 Witney will have safe, convenient and well-connected walking (including wheeling) and cycling networks that are accessible for people of all abilities, ages and backgrounds. These networks will connect people to where they want to go, including excellent routes to access public transport.

More than 100 specific improvements are proposed in the LCWIP, including pedestrian and toucan crossings, footpath links, segregated cycle tracks, resurfacing and lighting.

The plan will be reviewed approximately every two years to ensure that it reflects local needs. The level of change in cycling and walking numbers will be monitored and modifications made if necessary.

Approval was given on 23 March by Cllr Gant at a delegated decisions meeting for the cabinet member for highways management.

The Witney LCWIP follows the implementation of town-wide 20mph limits last year, and comes ahead of aspirations to make Witney High Street a more accessible and pleasant environment for people to walk, cycle and spend time in. These will complement the measures to reduce through traffic on High Street and Market Square delivered in 2021 as part of the Active Travel Fund.

The Witney plan is the fifth LCWIP to be approved in Oxfordshire, following on from Oxford, Bicester, Abingdon, and Kidlington. Consultations have taken place for another in Banbury.

Implementing the plan is expected to make it easier for the council to negotiate funding from developers and the government once the design stage of the project begins.