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Wantage and Grove Campaign Group (WaGCG)
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On 8 January 2020 the District Council Planning Committee decided to refuse the planning application for a new Lidl store to be built on land just north east of the Mably Roundabout.
Grove Parish Council spoke in favour of the development but asked for a left turn only to be required on the exit of the carpark where it would have joined the A338.
Cycling UK Wantage objected to the application because of the impact on cyclists trying to cross the exit to the car park.
Jenny Hannaby (District Councillor) also spoke against the application, saying that large food stores in our area should be planned carefully and not be part of speculative development where they could impact the viability of existing stores. She was also concerned about the impact of an additional retail store on the A338 which is already over capacity at certain times of day and reminded the Committee that this would remove the separation between Wantage and Grove.
The committee discussed the application at some length and finally supported the Officers recommendation to refuse the application with a split decision 6 in favour, 2 against and 1 abstention.

10 Year Review

As we come into the new Decade we review the last ten years.

  1. In 2010 we still had the Vale Local Plan (approved July 2006) in which 7,150 dwellings were planned to be built in the Vale by 2016. By 2016 only 3,380 new homes were completed (1,100 around Wantage and Grove).
  2. It took until October 2019 to get the full version of the new Local Plan approved which requires 22,760 dwellings to be built in the Vale by 2031 (approximately 7,000 around Wantage and Grove).
  3. In 2011, Wantage Police Station closed and Council plans to turn the site into additional (much needed) parking came to nothing. It is now retirement apartments.
  4. In 2012, NHS England stated that the planning application for required extension to the Health Centre in Mably Way to cope with the increasing population would be submitted shortly. We are still waiting.
  5. In 2013, the Vale of White Horse Council considered a possible new leisure centre for Wantage and Grove and in 2018 plans for a small new Leisure Centre were put forward. These plans are on hold.
  6. In 2014, Wantage decided to prepare its own Neighbourhood Plan. Nothing has been seen since 2016.
  7. Also in 2014 Wantage won the Great British High Street Award for most improved town centre. Hurrah!
  8. In 2016, Wantage Community Hospital was temporarily closed to in-patients and now, nearly four years later, it remains closed to in-patients without any formal process having taken place.
  9. King Alfred's School has consolidated onto two sites and sold East Site to Bovis who are now building 150 new homes. Several primary schools have gained additional classrooms but the only new schools to open have been in Didcot.
  10. The possible re-opening of Grove Station was part of Network Rails long term plans in 2010 but is not mentioned in any plans now although there were positive noises from our MP.
In summary, in the last 10 years at least 5,590 new homes have been completed in the Vale of which about 1,500 are around Wantage and Grove and with the exception of minor school expansions no new infrastructure has been provided.

What are we campaigning about?

Some 7,000 houses are in the pipeline for Wantage, Grove and the surrounding villages. More may soon follow as the new Council is thinking about the plan to 2050.

Government guidelines say that development should be "sustainable". We do not think it is sustainable to put thousands of houses where medical facilities are increasingly inadequate, schools are virtually above capacity, there is little employment in the area, and roads to where there is employment are unsuited to commuting.

We came together to campaign for a better deal for our area. As it says in our Aims:

We are not against any development in Wantage and Grove but:

  • Developments should be proportionate and sustainable
  • The infrastructure should enhance and improve quality of life for its residents

Other Relevant Issues

Oxfordshire County Council Budget Consultation 2020-21

Oxfordshire County Council will set a new budget on 11 February 2020 and are consulting on their budget proposals until 29 January. For details see the Budget Proposals.

Oxfordshire Joint Spatial Strategy 2050

The consultation on the first stage, introducing the Oxfordshire Plan 2050, closed on 25 March 2019. For more details see our Oxfordshire 2050 Plan page.

Oxford-Cambridge Arc

Part of the Government growth plans to strengthen the booming economies of the UK’s science and technology hub include building up to a million new homes in an arc from Oxford to Cambridge. They also want to provide an outer orbital route around London, linking Southampton, the M3, M4, A34, M40, M1, A1, A14/M11 and Felixstowe which will impact the level of traffic on the A34 and therefore through Wantage. For details see our Oxford-Cambridge Arc page.

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