Your comments on the proposed development plans - please make sure that your comments are also sent to the Council. For the relevant department see How you can help, thank you.
Building houses on Old Icknield school site is extremely short sighted [show detail]
The very idea of building houses on the Old Icknield school site is extremely short sighted seeing as we are building so many more homes in the area and that schools are already very overcrowded and struggling. Total nonsense
Sustainability factors include overburdened Medical Practices [show detail]
One further factor to be considered in the context of sustainability at East Hanney is the closure of the Grove Medical Centre from 1 February this year. The remaining partner's practice in Grove is being subsumed into the Mably Way practice in Wantage which, with all the development already approved in the town and up the A338, is likely to become overburdened in no time.
New Dwellings approved to date is 6,153 - Total Madness [show detail]
I have just calculated the number of new dwellings to date and it amounts to some 6153, can I just say, it is total MADNESS to expect Wantage/ Grove and Challow to cope with this totally unacceptable amount of growth. The problem is, no one cares if we become totally gridlocked, this part of the country is not suitable for such an influx of people regardless of what our illustrious, delusional leaders believe
Are there no initiatives to bring jobs to Wantage and Grove themselves? [show detail]
Are there no initiatives to bring jobs to Wantage and Grove themselves? I've been job seeking without any benefits! Since moving here three years ago, bar shop work, barely anything, and what there is is chased by absolutely huge numbers of overqualified candidates, and the salaries are very poor. Bringing a decent employer into Wanatge would help keep some of the additional traffic down, and would reduce pollution, I'm frustrated that over the past years, I hardly read anything about anyone doing proper work to try and encourage decent above low pay rated jobs here. We are likely to move as a result.
Why didn't Highways resurfacing follow the gasworks? [show detail]
I see highways have scheduled Mill street Wantage for June 2016. WHY did the schedule not follow on from the Gas mains work to prevent a second closure of this Road
Councils should build a Garden City and not overwhelm our Towns and Villages [show detail]
On Sunday 12 April I listened to Peter Jay's speech at the new homes rally in Wantage market place and was impressed by his views on sustainable development in Oxfordshire especially on the new homes aspect. The overwhelming case he made for the building of a new garden city to cope with all the housing the Government say we require would be effectively dealt with providing all the infrastructure necessary in one comprehensive plan.
The present divisive plans for out of proportion developments tacked on to small villages and towns in Oxfordshire could all be catered for without destroying the present rural nature of Oxfordshire's countryside. If the housing is so desperately required it makes sense to locate it within distance of the main centres of employment and build the infrastructure to support it at the same time. The proposed site at Steventon is probably not the only one in the shire that could be considered, but serious consideration should be give to this solution to a problem that threatens the future of many small villages.
If the powers that be insist that more housing be provided in this area then it would appear that the onus for providing this should be on their shoulders and help should be given to councils to build a purpose made facility in an area suitable for such development. We have a beautiful rural countryside and we should value this. There are too many considerations against the present plans and the cost of providing infrastructure on a piecemeal basis will be enormous; much better to have a well-planned new garden city which would attract people to come and live there rather than overcrowd the present school, doctor. dental and public service transport facilities, to say nothing of the inadequate roads which at present do NOT cope with everyday traffic.
Concerned about the removal of mature trees [show detail]
I am very concerned at the removal of mature trees in and around these developments. We can at least take steps to protect the buffer of trees between Phase 3 and the existing Stockham Park estate, and to protect the trees between Phase 2 and the Crown Cork and Seal works. Please, everyone, contact the Vale and ask if there are Tree Preservation Orders (TPO) on the trees around the site, and if not, apply pressure to get them.
Beware of dishonest developers and estate agents [show detail]
I would like to make one thing perfectly clear before I start, that everyone in this country of ours is entitled to have somewhere to live, after all, the United Kingdom according to the World bank is the sixth richest nation on the planet and therefore those that are unable to afford the so called luxury (I prefer millstone) of a mortgage should be given the right to a home. My point is, beware of dishonest developers and estate agents, it has come to my attention via a family member that on the so called Challow Fields site, the developers and estate agents are not being totally honest about the amount of Council Houses (Social Housing) being allocated. For example, the main Show house is available to purchase for in excess of £600000.00 ( please correct should you know otherwise) but what they are not apparently explaining to potential buyers is that eventually, directly behind the property will be a SH development. The Great Western Park development in Didcot, according to local builders/carpenters/plumbers/ is already showing signs of a negative equity problem, should this Government or any other not pay heed to these sings then we will eventually have another financial meltdown.
You can't double the number of houses in Wantage without proper infrastructure. [show detail]
I have lived at Stockham Park for 30 years. Not only do I think far too many new houses have been approved WITHOUT PROPER INFRASTRUCTURE but I have just heard that St Mary's Convent will also be built on. This is insane ! You can't double the number of houses in Wantage to such an extent without schools, Health Centers,proper ROADS etc... I am strongly opposed to all this. Yes, we need more houses, but we should build NEW TOWNS if we need such large numbers. I am quite disgusted at the way things are thrust down people's throats with no consideration for the views of local inhabitants. Nicole
I am horrified at the huge number of houses without any infrastructure [show detail]
I am horrified that the huge number of houses are being built here in and around Wantage without any infrastructure, no roads, Denchworth road will be impassable. No school places for children, green spaces are being lost faster than I can find somewhere else to walk. We are supposed to get infrastructure when developments happen yet developers are ignoring this. New development being built across the road from me Stockham Park, is destroying all the places we walked, and now they are trying to have a 2nd and third phase! Allowance for parking is completely insufficient, green spaces separating villages is disappearing, it feels like there is a complete invasion of developers who are destroying Wantage and will leave us with nothing except masses of houses, no roads, no green spaces. I am deeply concerned at the ability of these people to destroy where we live at such speed. Dawn
This development will have access onto a busy road where a youth was killed [show detail]
This development will have access onto a busy road, Denchworth Road, a road where two lots of children cross to get to school and where a youth was killed walking towards Grove. Camel roundabout cannot cope with more traffic. The houses are being built but there is no progress on school places being available for the children coming to live in them - we really should refuse to let our 4 year old children be bussed out to village schools. This part of Wantage , Segsbury ward has no services at all, there is no employment being invested in in Wantage consequently traffic will increase with people travelling out of Wantage to work . The Health Centre and the Hospital need better facilities - please explain what sustainable development means because this does not seem to come into that category. Joyce
You just couldn’t make this up, it is so absurd. [show detail]
The above proposed development can only be understood either as the consequence of extreme stupidity, in which case all those in office concerned should be replaced immediately, or in terms of corruption, in which case all those directly responsible should be in jail.
The objections are so numerous and serious, they must have been stated many many times.
Why is nobody listening?
Highways infrastructure, is just one of many. The tiny roads onto which the extra traffic will pour, are already saturated during rush hour periods. Even a year ago you recorded that 570 cars per hour were travelling on Denchworth Road in the rush hour. Have you seen how tiny and congested Denchworth Road is, at peak times?
And what about education provision?
And what about healthcare provision?
And what about the implication for local parking?
And what about the pledge to keep Wantage and Grove as separate entities?
And what about the destruction of green spaces?
Is there not also an issue with drainage and potential for flooding?
If I hear that dreadful euphemism of “sustainable blah blah blah” one more time, I too shall need to be certified. Ken
Quality of life [show detail]
I believe that the biggest mistake ever is being made by accepting the proposals put forward by developers and not pushing for what is really needed for quality of life. Whether the Council know what is needed I have no idea. In my view it is this. All people need their own space. The flats do not even provide places to put washing out to dry, a basic requirement, let alone a small area of green space for each flat. Homes are being given very small gardens. Children outside the garden have to be supervised and parents have only a limited time to be able to provide this level of supervision. They need their own space. When basic personal recreational space is not provided this can lead to antisocial behaviour. We have seen it all in the past in the 60's and we are seeing this kind of thing happen in Wantage now - whether it has any proven relationship to surroundings I do not know, but I do believe it does. Has nothing been learned? Councillors should be made to go and live in the ghettos they are providing. And as for the basis of the projected figures for the future, it must be completely in error and the figures really are not achieivable - how can the councils even deal with such a volume of building, yet alone find somewhere to put it? However, no-one seems to be able to disprove what the government are trying to push. What is going on?
We are constantly amazed that Planners continue to give permission [show detail]
We are constantly amazed that the County Planners continue to give permission for large developments in Wantage and Grove without a requirement for an improved infrastructure to support it. The population of Grove and Wantage has more than doubled in the past 10 years and is set to double again in less than another 10 years. What was once a small market town has now been developed beyond recognition and without the infrastructure to support it. Because there are few local jobs the population has to travel to work either via the A338 the A417 or the Harwell Road. Have any of the Planning Committee tried to get out of Wantage in the mornings during rush hour, or when there's been an accident or incident on the A34, or back into Wantage in the evenings? It's a nightmare and one that gets worse year on year. STOP DESTROYING OUR TOWN AND ITS ENVIRONS BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE!
Road Closures are barely worth moaning about [show detail]
The electrification of the GWML will bring untold benefits to the passenger and freight users of that line, including all the passengers, and will also benefit those living near the line due to a reduction in air pollution. Some bridges will need replacement for this, so you are just going to have to put up with road closures for a relatively short time. It's not the end of the world, and indeed is barely worth moaning about.
Don't turn our villages into towns [show detail]
From the latest news update regarding the A338 rail bridge closure, it appears we have been sold down the river by Ed Vaisey and our councillers yet again ! I would hope after the Euro elections they will see how mistrusted they all are. I find the whole situation, bridge closure, house building program a complete disgrace, and it appears there's nothing we can do, it all seems to be rubber stamped. What we need here is a new set of councillors and Nigel Farage instead of tories who are in the pay of the developers and network rail it would seem !!! Its a very sorry situation to see our villages turned into towns and cities which the majority of us do not want. So much for democracy.
Water Voles & Grass Snakes to be displaced by housing [show detail]
I have walked every day for the last 10 years in the fields adjacent to Stockham and along the canal between Stockham and East Challow. I have regularly (but not frequently) seen water voles in the canal. At the end of April 2014 I spotted a grass snake in undergrowth at canal edge (they are not creatures who make themselves obvious). I think this area is a vital natural open space and it will be a disgrace to see it gradually swallowed up by housing.
Chaos on the A417 AGAIN! [show detail]
The recent (13/14 May) chaos on the A417 is a classic example of the problems we face. We need to collect and use these examples to press for more action. In this case Southern Electric erected a small set of roadworks in Hendred dip during 13 May and dug a small hole - and then left them unstaffed. The result was massive queues that evening and again the next morning. Leaving Harwell campus just after 18:00 on the 13th, I met the end of the queue just north of Harwell North Drive, 2.5 miles from the roadworks! On evening of 14 May OCC got Southern Electric to man the roadworks and lights - and there was no big queue. Good result. But why do we always have this bad first day with A417 roadworks so that OCC has to tell the utilities how to run roadworks properly?
It's all about Profit for Developers [show detail]
Nobody talks about the suitability of development proposals any more, they just talk about how long it takes to get them approved.
The government’s goal is simply to get as many developments approved as possible as quickly as they can, to benefit the economy.
Unfortunately for them, the priority for local authorities is often to restrict developments to only allow those that are beneficial to the community where they are proposed to be built.
The two priorities are in conflict, and not surprisingly it is usually local residents who suffer at the hands of the planning system. When local authorities put the interests of their communities first and refuse planning permission, the developers simply go to appeal and the Planning Inspectorate overturns the decision.
This is not about planning at all, it is not about localism. It is just about profit for developers from start to finish.
Everyone totally ignores the instructions from the Planning Minister [show detail]
Whilst Julie Mabberley spells out all the problems with the vast developments being approved by the Vale planning committee, she, like the planning officers, totally ignore the instructions from the Planning Minister that:- Ensuring that infrastructure is provided to support new developments, and noting how the infrastructure should be considered when assessing the suitability of the sites The Vale has permitted development of over 600 housing units already, and have approved plans for another 2,000 plus housing units with no infrastructure plans for transport, mainly the A338 and A417, No primary school places until at least another 550 houses are built AND OCCUPIED, no local employment and no increase in recreational facilities until more than half the Airfield development is completed. Does the Vale propose that children should be bussed out of area, or do they propose to limit the sales to families without school age children. The Vale is planning a local plan to cover the infrastructure of The Science Area, BUT NO INFRASTRUCTURE PLANS FOR WANTAGE/GROVE, although 2.500 housing units are 'in the pipeline' The Vale Planning department does not consider that our concerns need to be addressed!
Are our planners insane? [show detail]
Are these people insane? How will the A roads in the wantage area cope with Grove airfield + crabhill? These alone will be unsustainable for commuters, but then adding the parasitic traffic from this development at Steventon and Hanney will kill the area. What about local democracy?
If roads are too busy, can't the station be opened? [show detail]
Can't the old station be reopened so people can use the trains to go to work?
Monks Farm is not wetland? [show detail]
I was amazed by the new screening application for more houses at Monks Farm. The letter from Savills claims that Monks Farm is not wetland. But if you stand on Old Station Road, it's obvious that the site contains significant wetland species (extensive clumps of rushes) - and that these are relicts of growth from last summer. So the ground was wet even in the hot summer of 2013 - and the present flooding of the site is just a natural response to heavy rain. Indeed it's the positive natural response we need, in that it stores water, and lets it flow into Letcombe Brook as a slow safe trickle. Are there any natural history experts out there who can check for more wetland species? It strikes me that the Council should be pushed to challenge Savills on this. Savills' claims appear to be inconsistent with the evidence currently on the ground at Monks Farm.
Nobody Wants This Monster on Our Door Step [show detail]
It seems to me more houses are being added on a daily basis to the developments at Grove and Wantage ! It also seems fairly obvious the majority of residents do not want this monstrous expansion of our village. These developments will totally spoil our village and the road network being built after the house is totally crazy. It is fairly obvious developers are out for a quick buck, and our politicians seem to be in their pocket. I suggest posters/billboards are posted around Grove airfield warning potential house buyers their houses are being built on a flood plain. We need STRONG action here so politicians/councillors sit up and take notice. NOBODY WANTS THIS MONSTER ON OUR DOOR STEP.
Keep up the good work! [show detail]
We must keep going. This insane planning cum local government financing "system" has to be reformed sometime (doesn't it?). And repeated rational arguments backed up with facts and figures are probably the only way to get this done.
Dubious forecasts in the Local Plan [show detail]
I have been casting my eye over the latest VWHDC horror story (draft Local Plan Part 1). What a PR disaster this document represents! I draw your attention in particular to para 1.9. You will note that the whole Plan essentially hangs on a growth forecast prepared by Cambridge Econometrics. Curiously this document is not yet available to the general public so one wonders how the VWHDC came up with such an erudite Plan without the final version of a document so axiomatic to its formulation.
Cambridge Econometrics is a well known consultancy staffed primarily by economists. I have worked with some top economists in Whitehall and Stanford Research Institute. Good people but they have enormous difficulty dealing with the reality that continuous growth is infeasible on a planet with finite resources, particularly when population growth and material aspirations remain unchecked. Unfortunately the Treasury has been wedded to this continuous growth notion for decades and now presides over a giant "Ponzi" scheme which is becoming ever more unstable as accumulated debt is not matched by growth - and, in the longer term, cannot be. So the "forecasts" made by Cambridge Econometrics for job creation in the Vale will have large error bars attached to them. Even good forecasting models are rarely accurate to better than +/- 50%. To estimate housing demand at 20,560 up to 2031 on such flimsy evidence is akin to the Met. Office forecasting a long hot summer in 2029! Let's hope the developers show some common sense and do not build ahead of actual requirements.
few places will face such an expansion [show detail]
Based on the feedback from the Planning meeting, we might as well live in a dictatorship! However, I expect it's the same in lots of places in southern England though few places will face such an expansion of existing towns.
Do we need a riot? [show detail]
Thanks to Julie for her updates and for the energy that she brings. I hope to move to SW Oxfordshire this year and this insight is very valuable. I think the community is lucky to have Julie with her excellent understanding of the policy and legislation relevant to development and who makes the case so well for the supporting infrastructure essential for future sustainability. I suggest that if there is a significant element of family housing proposed youth facilities with suitable premises are planned now. I live in an area where this was not done and where much of the housing was delivered at around the same time. The result was an explosion of frustration by young teenagers, some very unpleasant antisocial behaviour and in the end a genuine riot that the local policy had a major challenge to quell. As a local councillor I campaigned for a range of different kinds of provision and met with fierce opposition for a while - this only diminished when the riot and other extreme behaviour was at its peak!
A Garden City? [show detail]
1) Has no-one seen how waterlogged this field gets?
2) Has no-one seen the Deers, owls and red kites, the kestrels and what-not that use this land to feed off?
3) Has anyone actually seen a successful garden city?
4) Has anyone considered how much noise, smell, and light pollution we will suffer from.
To express an opinion, see below.