An important document that sets out possibilities for how some locations in Abingdon town centre could be improved, has now been published.

After a meeting held last year by Vale of White Horse District Council, thousands of comments from residents, community groups, businesses and visitors have contributed to the newly published Central Abingdon Regeneration Framework Report (CARF).

In summer 2022, Vale of White Horse District Council and its consultant team including Carter Jonas and Glanville, asked people their views on some of the major issues and locations in central Abingdon, including three key sites owned by the local authority: The Charter, Abbey House and The Upper Reaches.

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Hundreds of people gave their views and hundreds more attended a two-day pop-up exhibition in a retail unit in Bury Street on June 17 and 18.

Many also completed an online survey that was open for four weeks until mid-July.

In total, 355 people attended the exhibition and 385 individuals responded via the survey, generating 4,305 individual comments.

Councillor Neil Fawcett, Cabinet Member for Strategic Partnerships and Place and ward member for Abingdon Caldecott, added: “The framework will not be prescriptive, it is not a formal plan but it is hoped it will act as a prospectus to guide and steer future development in Abingdon town centre “But we need to be realistic – the council cannot achieve this alone and will need partners and developers to work with us if we want to realise Abingdon’s potential.”

Some 61 per cent of respondents to the online survey either strongly supported or supported the CARF vision the council consulted on, whilst 24 per cent thought it could be improved.

Respondents highlighted the many great things about central Abingdon, with the most common being the river, access to green spaces – including Abbey Meadow and the playground, the history, character and aesthetic of central Abingdon, the Market Place, and the great variety of shops, particularly the independent shops.

Councillor Nathan Ley, for Abingdon North, said: “I’m grateful to the district counil for giving Abingdon and its people the attention and bringing us all together to share ideas for this framework.

“Personally, I thought it was great to join people last year in person and brainstorm ideas – and it turns out we all want similar things.

“Enhanced access, green spaces, safeguarding of the town’s unique heritage, increased retail offerings and enhanced infrastructure around the town for cycling and walking.

“We know this is the first step, and this will feed into other plans like the local plan, and I understand that no council can bring this to life on its own, but I hope the district council will help with funding and delivery.”


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This story was written by Matthew Norman, he joined the team in 2022 as a Facebook community reporter.

Matthew covers Bicester and focuses on finding stories from diverse communities.

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