Along with Woodstock Town Council, we have appointed Community First Oxfordshire to consult local people about the current and future needs of the town.
The charity will act as facilitators to help produce an infrastructure and community delivery plan for Woodstock.
The plan's aims are to ensure the special character of the town is preserved, facilities are enhanced where necessary, and the sites allocated for development on Blenheim Estate land are successfully integrated with the existing communities of Woodstock.
CFO will hold a series of open meetings, presentations and drop-in sessions throughout March to listen to ideas and work out priorities. They will also send out surveys as well as establishing specific forums to ensure as many people as possible, of all ages and backgrounds, get to voice their opinions.
Tom McCuloch, Joint-Chief Executive for Community First Oxfordshire, said:
“We are delighted to be working with Woodstock and will be doing our best to give everyone the opportunity to take part in the conversation about what the town needs.
We can think of few places which have been asked to shape their future in such an open and inclusive way.
The community plan will take shape over the next year. The first six months will see a wide-range of opinions and ideas gathered, while the second will see projects identified and prioritised, with strategies for delivering them seet out."
It is thought that priorities may include the doctor's surgery, schools and pre-schools, green spaces and parking.
Community First Oxfordshire has long-standing expertise in working with communities and neighbourhoods to find out their needs and develop strategies to make them happen.
They employ 'on the ground' community development workers ans undertake research in 'place-making', helping communities take forward the projects and ideas that matter to them and finding new ways to ensure places are welcoming, healthy and socially active.
The main launch event for the consultation process takes place between 10.00 and 14.00 with a presentation at 10.00 and repeated at midday at the Community Centre of Saturday, 9th March.
Further meetings and open sessions are scheduled for 12th March from 19.00-21.00 at the Marlborough School Enterprise Centre Library; 15th March between 14.00-16.00 at the Coach House Learning Centre, Oxfordshire Museum; 19th march at 19.30 as part of the annual town meeting at the Community Centre; and a drop-in session between 11.00-13.00 at the Oxfordshire Museum Café in 22nd March.
Blenheim Estate are currently developing land that we own at Woodstock East. The development, which will include a total of 300 new homes alongside plans for some small businesses' accomodation, is anticipated to take between five and seven years to complete.