National recognition for Marriotts Walk project
West Oxfordshire District Council has gained a national Community Partnerships Award for the Marriotts Walk development in Witney.
The award recognises how the council has worked in partnership with the local community, the developer (Simons group) and a number of other agencies on a regeneration project that has provided housing, jobs, shops, restaurants, a multi-storey car park and a five-screen cinema.
The awards adjudication panel said: “Marriotts Walk is an impressive development with a lot of positive outcomes. It has brought together a lot of people and engaged a wide range of stakeholders.”
Cllr Barry Norton, Leader of West Oxfordshire District Council said, “We are absolutely delighted to receive this award – it is tremendous recognition for a scheme that has been many years in the making and has involved many people and organisations. It is an excellent example of how partnership working improves communities, but key to the success of Marriotts Walk is the contribution from West Oxfordshire residents who told us 5 years ago what they wanted to see on the Marriotts site- this helped shape the new development.”
Community Partnership Awards are sponsored by the Local Government Chronicle and the Health Service Journal to recognise excellence in partnership working across health, social care and local government.
The award was presented at an event in London which brought together 500 key industry players from the public and private sectors. Emma Maier, Editor of the Local Government Chronicle said, "I would like to congratulate all of our finalists. Each of you has performed to an outstanding level, innovating and going the extra mile to achieve real benefits to your communities. In doing so you have impressed our expert judges and they have singled you out as deserving of special recognition.”
Work on the Marriotts development has led to the formation of the Witney Town Centre Forum, a partnership of retailers, service providers and local councils. Forum Members have worked to ensure that the Marriotts Walk development is fully integrated into the town centre and that the whole town benefits from the increased footfall it generates. The Forum has spearheaded improvements with environmental and marketing initiatives. For example there are now more litter bins through business sponsorship as well as improved street furniture and signage. To coincide with the opening of Marriotts the Forum produced large town maps, town guides and a new website.
Although West Oxfordshire has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country, unemployment figures have risen over the past year and so the creation of around 300 new jobs for Marriotts Walk, during a recessionary period has been welcome news, helping to keep the local economy buoyant.
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