BUS passengers in Witney may notice one or two changes over the coming months.

Starting tomorrow, bus shelters across the town will, one by one, be given colourful makeovers.

The change is all the result of an innovative joint project between Witney Town Council and Abingdon and Witney College – believed to be the first of its kind in the county.

By the time it comes to an end, about half the bus shelters in the town will be adorned with student art celebrating the heritage of Witney.

With bus shelters deteriorating over the years, the council has long considered ways to boost their appearance.

One approach considered to help maintain the town’s 16 shelters was to hand them over to advertising agencies.

But councillors simply felt that wouldn’t cut it.

Duncan Enright, who came up with the idea, said: “We just kind of felt like it wasn’t in keeping with Witney.

“It’s such a nice-looking town and having the same kind of advertising and posters as everywhere else just wouldn’t be great.”

And so, councillors began to reach for a more adventurous solution.

Mr Enright said: “We were looking at opportunities for doing more artistic and generally creative projects.

“I came up with the idea of using the shelters as potential spaces for art installations and, at the same time, using them to promote local business.”

Mr Enright contacted the college, which was more than happy to get involved.

Art students were tasked with creating designs based on a theme of ‘Witney heritage’.

The completed works went on display in the Corn Exchange, Market Square, last Friday.

Included in them were a number of abstract pieces – but all used a key part of Witney’s history.

One of the designs captures Witney Carnival while some others use the Buttercross.

Utilizing another piece of the town’s history, Witney Railway Station is included in one of the student’s pieces.

The new project will continue to change each year. Mr Enright compared it to the Fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square, which is used to display a rolling programme of ever-changing artworks.

Businesses can sponsor a premium shelter – those in the Market Square – for £500 to £600 plus VAT. Other shelters can be sponsored for £133 plus VAT.

A shelter in Newland will become the first to be fitted with artwork tomorrow.