THE new Witney Town Council will be more 'open and inclusive', according to the ruling Labour group.

The first meeting of the new council takes place at 7pm this evening and the leading party's first change has been to move the location from the town hall to the Corn Exchange's Gallery Room.

This allows more space for the public and has better disabled access, with meetings also set to be streamed live and available online.

New town councillor, Rosa Bolger, is expected to be voted council leader this evening, with Duncan Enright set to be elected mayor.

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Labour are the majority party for the first time since the 1990s, after increasing their number of councillors from two to 11 in this month's local elections.

Mr Enright said: “We’re very honoured to have won people’s trust on such a scale.

“We’ve been building the number of Labour councillors over the last few years and working very hard to build the community within the council.

“We’d very much like to think that the town council will change the way it operates in years to come.”

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Ms Bolger added: “I think people are ready for radical change. We knock on their doors and talk to them, not just at election time, but all year round. We believe that if you make grassroots changes it affects everyone.”

Ms Bolger said she wanted to help 'make better use' of the Corn Exchange by turning it into a hub for the town, and introduce community wealth building projects to tackle inequality.

Labour has also pledged to boost opportunities for young people, with a second forum aimed at improving youth services in Witney held shortly before the election.

Members of other parties echoed this need, including new Conservative in Witney West, Thomas Ashby, who turns 20 on Sunday.

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He said: "I feel my fresh ideas and enthusiasm can help the town thrive over the next four years. Engaging with youth is one of my priorities, as is ensuring we have adequate infrastructure to cope with our growing population."

Mr Ashby is one of five Conservatives in the chamber, led by ex-council chief David Harvey.

The group leader is keen to continue infrastructure projects, like a BMX and skate park on the new West Witney development spearheaded by his late partner and ex-Witney mayor, Chrissie Curry.

He added: "We need to tackle areas of antisocial behaviour and vandalism and improve levels of communication between the town centre and the growing number of residents of Witney.

"Although we've lost a number of astute and clever councillors, their legacy continues."

Andrew Prosser is the only Green Party councillor and, along with Ms Bolger, raised the possibility of a 'car free day'.

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He said: "I want to help improve mobility in the town for young and old, providing better links with sports and recreation, and the surrounding countryside. This means better and safer routes around town for pedestrians, cyclists and users of mobility scooters.

He added: "To reduce congestion and improve air quality, and to start tackling the urgent climate crisis, we must drastically reduce emissions from petrol and diesel vehicles.

"Initiatives such as ‘car-free days’ have an important role to play here; in helping to change perceptions and encouraging us to develop better and alternative ways of travelling around."