Following the front page story in the Herald last week, the Vale Local Plan Part 1 states that “the historic Market Town of Wantage and the nearby larger village of Grove are separate settlements with their own unique character and identity.
They have a strong functional relationship with many shared services including for health, education and leisure.
It is important that growth here is carefully coordinated to seek to ensure that service and infrastructure provision closely matches the needs of the two communities. Grove Airfield will contribute up to 2,500 homes to Grove and provide services and facilities. New development should be successfully integrated with the existing and newly planned communities.”
It also allocated 1,500 homes on Crab Hill, and 885 homes on Monks Farm and didn’t mention the permissions already granted for 380 homes at Stockham Park Farm, 85 homes being built on Chain Hill, 200 homes spread around East Hanney, 200 homes given permission at East Challow, 320 homes in smaller applications around Wantage and Grove or 150 homes given permission on King Alfred’s East site.
If my maths are correct then this is over 6,220 homes excluding any homes in the Hendreds or any of the smaller villages.
Local Plan Part 2 proposes an additional 130 homes on two sites in East Hanney and 400 more homes in North Grove (between the Grove Airfield development and the Monks Farm development.
So before anything else happens this would mean that 6,750 new homes are built within the catchment area of Wantage and Grove.
So far we have no new schools, no extension to the Health Centre, a 2 year long “temporary” closure to the in-patient facilities at the Community Hospital, the removal of physiotherapy facilities, no road improvements to the major roads through our community (A417, A338, B4507 and B4494), plans for a new leisure centre which will be too small before it is built, no improvements to any of our shopping areas in Wantage or Grove, reduced bus services which still succeed in blocking our Market Place once every hour and a statement from Network Rail last week at a planning meeting which said that there are no plans or funding to re-open Grove Station (it remains only an aspiration).
By the time all of the new 20,000 residents are living here we might have three new primary schools and a new secondary school and an eastern relief road round a quarter of Wantage, but anything else might still be pie in the sky…