FAMILY and friends of a former West Oxfordshire council planner gathered for the unveiling of a plaque in his honour.

Barrie ‘Ben’ Webster, who died in 2011 aged 68, was a planner at West Oxfordshire District Council between 1974 and 2007.

A blue plaque in his honour was unveiled at the entrance of the Woolgate Shopping Centre in Witney last Friday.

Mr Webster devised the planning brief for the Woolgate Shopping Centre development, which went on to win awards for its planning.

His family, including his wife Hanne, sons Tom and Jan, brother Tim and grandson Benjamin, attended the ceremony.

Hanne Webster, who lives in Freeland, said: “It is a wonderful gesture and my family and I are incredibly touched and thankful on Ben’s behalf.

“He loved his work and it is lovely to see this lasting tribute to him, particularly in this location.”

Andrew Tucker, district council strategic director, said: “Ben was a highly original thinker who encouraged others around him to do the same.

“He was very popular and highly thought of by councillors and staff alike. He was greatly missed when he retired in 2007 and it was sad that he had so little time to enjoy his well-deserved retirement before illness overtook him.”