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Join the conversation on plan to put communities at the heart of everything

Affordable housing, climate and nature recovery, and sustainable and inclusive communities – three things being set as the top priorities at the heart of Vale of White Horse District. 

Vale of White Horse District Council is setting a new council plan for the next four years and is encouraging everyone within the district to join in the conversation ‘At the Heart of the Vale’ – starting today (Tuesday 16 April 2024).

The district council is opening up a discussion around putting communities at the heart of all its goals to help the council focus on its residents’ needs and improving their communities.

The council has set out its initial ideas and the aim is now to open up a two-way conversation and find out what residents, businesses, community groups and organisations think. The feedback will contribute to the development of a new draft corporate plan for 2024-2028.

To find out more and take part, visit  

The conversation runs until Tuesday 14 May 2024.

Alternative formats (for example large print, Braille, audio, email, Easy Read and alternative languages) are available on request by emailing or call 01235 422425.

There will be a drop-in event this week people can come along to find out more:

  • Thursday 18 April – Didcot Civic Hall, 3.30pm to 5.30pm.

Information will also be available at a number of other locations, including at libraries across the district, at The Beacon Arts and Community Centre in Wantage and at the council offices in Abbey House, Abingdon. There is also a virtual exhibition available here.

‘At the Heart of the Vale’ outlines three key themes steering the council’s existing and aspirational plans within the Vale, covering:

  • Providing the homes people need
  • Supporting climate and nature recovery
  • Creating healthy, sustainable & inclusive communities

Alongside three core priorities and the council has also set out how it will approach achieving them.

Watch the Heart of the Vale video here to hear local people talking about what matters to them.

Cllr Bethia Thomas, Leader of Vale of White Horse District Council, said: “We want everyone to join in the conversation with us. What we set out now will influence the district over the next four years and will also have a wider reaching impact even further into the future.

“We have started the ball rolling with our ideas – but now we need to know if we are heading in the right direction. We can only do this by throwing the question out to our communities – what do we all want ‘At the Heart of the Vale’? I encourage as many people as possible to engage with us – as this is about all our futures. Over 770 people took part in the last corporate plan consultation – and I’d like to thank them and encourage them to speak to us again this time.

“We also want to ensure we speak to a whole range of people across our district – from young to old, urban and rural areas, and especially from those who perhaps wouldn’t normally get the chance to engage with us. There are lots of ways to take part – online, by dropping into our event this week or speak with your local ward councillor.”

The new plan seeks to build on the council’s previous strategic plan and what that has achieved over the past few years – and to now introduce an ambitious new approach and much more targeted focus on priorities.

At the end of the four-week conversation period, the council will use the feedback received to work a draft ‘At the Heart of the Vale’ 2024-2028 plan, which will be shared in the autumn. The draft council plan would be subject to usual democratic and scrutiny process before adoption of the final plan by Full Council in October 2024.

A council plan (sometimes called a strategic or corporate plan) seeks to establish a vision, ambitions and priorities for the council. It sets a ‘golden thread’ that runs throughout everything the council delivers.

Vale of White Horse District Council currently has a corporate plan 2020 -2024 that was adopted at full council on 22 October 2020. As this is the current corporate plan’s final year, the council now needs to set a direction for the next 4 years.

The council also recently completed a six-week Joint Local Plan (JLP) Preferred Options consultation with South Oxfordshire District Council. The JLP covers new planning policies that help address the climate emergency, protect and restore nature, and meet the needs of our residents. The JLP forms a part of how the council will deliver on its council plan priorities.