Schoolchildren first to have their say on how to improve Banbury town centre

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Children from two of Banbury’s schools were the first to have their say on how to improve the town centre for a new project yesterday (Thursday November 9).

The new Banbury Vision 2050 initiative by Cherwell District Council, alongside HemingwayDesign and NEW Masterplanning, wants feedback from residents over what improvements they would like to see in the town.

Launched yesterday at Lock29, representatives from the council and HemingwayDesign spoke with students from North Oxfordshire Academy and Wykham Park Academy to find out what they wanted from the town centre.

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To hear from residents, an online survey will run until January next year, asking a number of questions, including people's perceptions of the centre, what it's like to live in Banbury, and what the future holds for the town.

Wayne Hemingway from HemingwayDesign and Cllr Donna Ford at yesterday's survey launch.Wayne Hemingway from HemingwayDesign and Cllr Donna Ford at yesterday's survey launch.
Wayne Hemingway from HemingwayDesign and Cllr Donna Ford at yesterday's survey launch.

Wayne Hemingway MBE, of HemingwayDesign said: “We are starting today with different ages of young people; we are going to ask for their opinions and do workshops with them. I’m especially interested in hearing from 16 to 25-year-olds because they are the ones who are making changes.

"When you look at the changes that have taken place over the past six or seven years on the high street, it has been driven by millennials and generation Z's because we have to find out what is relevant to the next generation without forgetting about the older generations.

"The young people have stopped using the high street for the right reasons, for sustainability; they are thinking about small independent businesses, about the cost-of-living crisis, and about climate change, so in a lot of people’s minds, overconsumption is not a good thing, so that’s why it's important to get their view.”

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The council has initiated the survey to find out what the people of the town want from Banbury as it grows and to put people’s ideas into action in the years leading up to 2050.

Cllr Donna Ford was present at the launch, she said: “The problems facing Banbury are the same as towns all over the UK. The high street is changing, and people’s shopping habits are changing, so we need to adapt and think about the future and how we are going to do things in 20 and 30 years time so we are ready for it.

"That’s why we are asking for everyone to help. The more voices we hear, the better informed we are to create a town centre vision that will unlock Banbury’s immense potential through to 2050.”

HemingwayDesign which has conducted similar surveys and projects in towns such as Kidderminster, Andover, and Lowestoft, will be analysing the results of the survey once it is completed.

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Wayne added: “I can’t express enough the importance of everybody having a say on this, all ages, not just the vocal minority. Digital engagement allows us to reach a large number of people, and we want to hear from them.

"We want thousands of people to fill out the survey, not just a few hundred; then we can get a real understanding of what people want.”

To find out more information about the Banbury Vision 2050 visit