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Column 31st January 2018

My efforts to get Wantage and Grove a better bus service

We talked last week about the pilot Town Bus Service. This is a great idea but runs twice a day on a Wednesday and if you can’t make the timing then it doesn’t help at all. It’s nothing like a regular bus service.

At the Traffic Advisory meeting last week I asked about the possibility of regular buses to Charlton Heights, Lark Hill, Stockham and Ham Field and was told that this is unlikely but that it depends who shouts loudest.

The Traffic Advisory is a quarterly meeting at which County, District, Wantage and Grove Councillors meet with a Highways Officer and Police representative to discuss current issues.

This comment about shouting loudest came from a Councillor who lives on the Denchworth Road very close to a bus stop where the regular 38 service stops!

Surely as the 38 bus runs every 30 minutes from 10.10 until 15.10, it could be amended to run hourly on its current route around Grove and hourly around the outskirts of Wantage?

Or are none of the other Councillors interested in those in Wantage who don’t have cars and try to use public transport in accordance with County and District policies?

Then there is the perennial issue of parking. I asked again at the meeting about parking enforcement and received the usual response: “we are one of the very few District Councils in the whole country which has not taken parking enforcement away from the Police” - even though we know that the Police don’t have the resources.

One Councillor said that the District Council aren’t doing anything because the Councillors for rural districts don’t have a problem with parking enforcement.

I don’t believe that, because residents in rural communities have to come into Wantage, Abingdon or Faringdon for shopping, banking etc. and must drive because there are very limited bus services any more.

If people can’t park near the town centre they won’t use Wantage and will visit Didcot, Newbury, Reading etc. where parking does exist. Towns in the Vale will suffer and we only have our District Councillors to blame.

Even with lots of illegal on-street parking in the town centre, people in Wantage and Grove who live near the centres are finding more and more people parking on residential streets and walking into the shopping areas, and we expect this to continue. The only way to stop this is through the use of parking permits but then we’re back to who’s going to enforce them.


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