Support for Vale Market Towns

The economic development team works with town councils, chambers of commerce and business groups in each Vale market town to increase footfall and trade in our town centres.  



Abingdon-on-Thames is a thriving market town on the banks of the River Thames in the heart of Oxfordshire.

Download the Abingdon-on-Thames inward investment fact sheet here.

Boosting tourism

Eye-catching noticeboards have been installed by the River Thames in Abingdon to help boost tourism in the town.

Installed by Vale of White Horse District Council, the attractive boards feature a comprehensive street map to show visitors where to find the local shops, pubs and restaurants and the best local attractions such as Abbey Meadows to ensure the town benefits from the spending power they bring with them.

The map also provides information on where people on a boating holiday can moor for up to three nights along the river at Abbey Meadow, Hales Meadow and Rye Farm Meadow.  Click here for more information on mooring space in Abingdon.

Independent Shops Project

In July 2017, Vale of White Horse District Council launched the Independent Shops Project which will see key partners working with the council to develop initiatives to support independent businesses in the town centre.

The scheme will develop a target list of the types of businesses which would complement the independent offering in the town centre.  The district council will then work with landlords and agents to identify and overcome issues which may prevent businesses from moving into the town’s empty shops, particularly those in Bath Street, Stert Street and the High Street.

The project will also work to attract pop-up shops to the town to allow potential retailers to test the market and to attract new independent businesses.


Read about the Oxford Etsy pop-up shop, opened with the assistance of Iain and the Vale of White Horse District Council Independent Shop Project, here.

Aside from the Independent Shops Project, Vale of White Horse District Council continues to support businesses in the town by contributing funds and resources to the Abingdon BID.  In year one (2016/17) the Vale contributed approximately £34,000 towards the scheme, in addition to ongoing support and advice from the council’s Economic Development team.

Chamber of Commerce

Vale4Business also works with Abingdon-on-Thames Chamber of Commerce. The aim of the chamber is to be the voice of the local business community in the promotion of the businesses, the town and economy of Abingdon-on-Thames and to act as a representative of businesses within Abingdon and surrounding area.

The chamber holds regular social and networking meetings on the 1st Wednesday morning of every month to enable members and their guests to liaise with other chamber members in the professional atmosphere of The Workstation, East Saint Helen’s Street.

You can keep up with the latest news on the Chamber’s twitter page here.

Dalton Barracks Development

The mixed-use, sustainable Dalton Barracks development will have created 1,200 new homes by 2031, consisting of a good mix of housing.

New services and facilities will be provided, including new schools, local employment opportunities and a substantial country park of at least 80 hectares.

Click here to read the Dalton Barracks Supplementary Planning Document.

Abingdon BID

In October 2015 the businesses of Abingdon voted to support the creation of a Business Improvement District (BID) for the town centre of Abingdon. This is the first BID in Oxfordshire.  Further information on the Abingdon BID can be found on the Abingdon BID website.

Click here to read the Abingdon BID board minutes, reports and the latest newsletter.

Further information

For further information about Abingdon please visit Abingdon-on-Thames Town Council or contact the Abingdon Information Centre on 01235 522711.


Botley is a suburban village on the edge of the Vale of White Horse district, close to Oxford.

Download the Botley inward investment fact sheet here.

West Way area regeneration

In January 2016 a Botley Centre Supplementary Planning Document was adopted by Vale of White Horse District Council’s Cabinet. The document can be viewed on the Vale Council website here.

Planning permission was granted on 16th September 2016, for demolition and redevelopment of the existing West Way Shopping Centre and adjacent buildings (excluding Elms Parade).

A new retail development is to be constructed with shops, financial services, restaurants, cafes, takeaways and drinking establishments on the ground floor, with development above comprising 140 residential units, a 123 bedroom hotel and 261 units of academic residential accommodation for university staff and students.

A new community building, incorporating a library and replacement baptist church and small flexible office space are included in the plans.

Further information on the planning decision and relevant drawings can be found on the Vale website.


Faringdon is a quintessential market town set on a limestone ridge overlooking the Thames Valley.  From afar the town is dominated by Folly Hill and its iconic tower.

Download the Faringdon inward investment fact sheet here.


Faringdon has a diverse economic base, supporting a range of sectors across approximately 500 businesses including around 60 shops in the town centre. There is a strong sense of entrepreneurial spirit within the town where currently 11% of the town’s resident population work from home based businesses, which is higher than the national average.

Businesses within Faringdon may be interested in joining the local chamber of commerce. The chamber is a voluntary organisation run by its members; a friendly group of local business people who represent business and professional interest within Faringdon and the surrounding area. Their aim is to support the trading interests of our members and promote the economy of our town and district.


In 2014, Faringdon’s Chamber of Commerce and Town Council jointly commissioned an Economic Development Strategy to help identify the economic issues facing the town, identify its strengths given its location, and identify potential uses for the employment land that is available for development. The strategy is also intended to be used as a basis on which to develop a retail masterplan for the town centre and to develop a commercial prospectus with key marketing messages to promote the available employment sites. The final report can be read here – Economic Development Strategy Final Report.

Faringdon benefits from two hours free car parking in Vale Council car parks every day.

Water Refill Stations

The Town Council have recently received funding from the Town Team, in order to obtain water bottles and refillable cups branded with a Faringdon refill logo. The next stage for the town is to gain funding for a water fountain in the town centre and ask local businesses to display a refill sticker, as part of the Refill scheme.

The Refill scheme allows businesses to let visitors know that they are welcome to come in and fill up their bottle for free.

The Town Council will be visiting local schools to hand out a free water bottle to each child. The sixth form students at Faringdon Community College will also be given a refillable cup to help promote the scheme.

To find out more information about the scheme and to register your business as a refill station, click here.

Walking trails

The circular walks around Faringdon explore hills, valleys and National Trust woodland.

Route 1 wanders through the village of Great Coxwell, focusing on the 13th century tithe barn.

Route 2 explores the Faringdon Folly Tower and surrounding woodland. The Tower, the last major folly to be built in England, has selective open days throughout the year.

For more information on walking trails in Faringdon, click here.


Grove is the largest village in the Vale of White Horse district and is situated around 1.5 miles from the historic market town Wantage.

The inward investment fact sheet for Grove can be downloaded here.

Grove Business Park

Set in 32 acres of land, Grove Business Park offers a range of office, laboratory, warehouse and storage spaces. The park employs over 300 people and is home to over 85 businesses, ranging from start-ups to established organisations. These specialise in IT, furniture manufacturing, logistics, forensics, electronics and life science.

Boston House Business Centre frequently hosts an array of networking workshops and events. The centre also has serviced office space and conference and meeting rooms for hire.

Click here for more information on Grove Business Park and its facilities.

Williams Advanced Engineering

Williams Advanced Engineering provides world class testing and manufacturing, engineering and technical innovation services. The company was the sole supplier of the battery system for the entire Formula E grid from 2014 to the end of the 2018 season.

The company was awarded the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in Innovation in 2018, for successfully designing, developing and delivering the batteries for all the Formula E championship cars.

Williams Conference Centre boasts several multi-purpose event rooms, featuring an original F1 simulator, a giant F1 Scalextric and a Williams Pit Stop Challenge. The Centre is also the home of the private Williams F1 Grand Prix Collection, housing over 38 pioneering race cars. On race days, the centre hosts live screenings with a link up to a driver, followed by tours of the collections.

The Conference Centre hosted the 2018 Vale4Business Awards and the 2019 South and Vale Business Awards evening ceremonies.

Wellington Gate

Previously known as Grove Airfield, the Wellington Gate development aims to provide a residential-led mixed use sustainable community, consisting of:

• 2,500 homes, including affordable housing and homes for the elderly
• A primary and secondary school
• A shop, community uses and a new civic space
• Play areas
• Playing fields for outdoor community sport
• New community park
• Mixed use local centre for all residents

Click here for more information on Wellington Gate.

Walking and Cycling trails

There are many scenic walks situated at the foot of the Ridgeway, with impressive countryside views. The ‘Old Grove Walk’ weaves through the village, exposing visitors to historic and picturesque features and buildings.

The Letcombe Brook flows through the village and the Grove Discovery Trailexplores one of its sections.

Cycling UK Wantage offers rides for beginners, families and more experienced riders, predominantly on the roads and occasionally along the local by-ways and bridleways. The group regularly start from Old Mill Hall in Grove.

To discover more about the walking and cycling trails in and around Grove, click here.


Wantage is a historic market town in the Vale of White Horse, thought to be the birth place of King Alfred, with an attractive market place surrounded by rural downlands.

The inward investment fact sheet for Wantage can be downloaded here.

The Economic Development team is responsible for the Love Wantage website, established in 2017 to promote local events, businesses and attractions. If you want to keep up to date with the latest news and events from the Love Wantage team, please visit the regularly updated Facebook page.

Kingsgrove Development

The Kingsgrove development is currently under construction in Charlton. The project promises to deliver 1,500 homes and a new primary school.

The site will also provide a neighbourhood centre, including community amenities, a pub/restaurant, shops, sports and recreation areas and office space, all set around a central park.

The developers are working to deliver a Community Employment Plan that outlines how local businesses and residents can benefit during the construction of the development. This includes opportunities for apprentices and meet the buyer events.

For more information on Kingsgrove, please click here.

Shopping in Wantage

Wantage is known for its strong variety of independent retailers, plus a number of national brands around the market place. Weekly markets happen on Wednesdays and Saturdays with the Farmer’s Market taking place on the last Saturday of each month.

Over at King’s Park in the heart of Wantage Town Centre, you’ll find a retail warehouse parade, with high street brands and supermarkets.

For more information on shopping in the town, click here.

The Beacon

The Beacon is one of the largest venues in the area and hosts an array of activities to suit people of all ages. Regular events include exercise classes, science and engineering talks, children’s soft play sessions and music classes.

The venue also screens the latest films and regularly invites comedians to perform.

To see what’s on at The Beacon, click here.

Walking and Cycling trails

There are plenty of beautiful countryside views to enjoy in the Berkshire Downs, particularly along The Ridgeway. There are also historic walks around the town and the Walking for Health group sets off from The Vale and Downland Museum every Thursday morning.

Cycling UK Wantage offers rides for beginners, families and more experienced riders, predominantly on the roads and occasionally along the local by-ways and bridleways.

To discover more about the walking and cycling trails in and around Wantage, click here.