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Newsletter 24 December 2019

As it's the 24th December, we would like to wish you all a happy Christmas and best wishes for the new decade.

First, a quick review of planning over the last 10 years:

  • 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).
  • 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).
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • In 2014, Wantage decided to prepare its own Neighbourhood Plan. Nothing has been seen since 2016.
  • Also in 2014 Wantage won the Great British High Street Award for most improved town centre. Hurrah!
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 previous 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.

Now, the Lidl application will come to the Planning Committee on 8th January and the recommendation from the Officer is to refuse this application on the grounds that it will harm the vitality and viability of the Grovelands Centre (including the potential loss of the Post Office) and it fails to protect the visual and physical separation of Wantage and Grove. We'll see what the Councillors have to say at the meeting. For the agenda and papers of the meeting go to Vale Planning Agenda 8 January 2020

We have a new MP. He doesn't live in the Constituency and we haven't heard any news about him having a constituency office here but we hope that someone advises him that there are significant planning and health service issues in the area which he needs to be aware of.

For details on any major development please go to our Current Developments Page.

For updates on road closures see https://one.network/ (previously Roadworks.org).

Thanks for reading.

Best wishes
Julie Mabberley

Campaign Manager
Wantage and Grove Campaign Group
www.wantageandgrove.org 


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