See this analysis of the traffic levels to and from Wantage based on the 2011 census.
Paragraph 2.28 of the Local Plan Part 1 states "It is important that growth across the district, including within the Science Vale UK area, the Enterprise Zone sites and at Wantage and Grove, within Harwell Parish east of the A34, and elsewhere, should address the constraints presented by the existing road network."
Quote from the Highways authority:
"Following on from the consented Stockham Farm development (work on site has commenced) off Denchworth Road, further development proposals have now been submitted for land to the west of Stockham Farm and these are currently being considered. The County Council has recently responded to these proposals in its formal statutory consultation with the District Council. The impacts of proposed major developments to the north east of Wantage (Crab Hill) and on Grove Airfield have also been fully evaluated as well as those for the further proposed development at Stockham Farm.
The highway authority acknowledges and shares your concerns regarding existing traffic levels and the impacts of these developments on the local road network and, notably, on Denchworth Road and its junctions. The Grove Airfield transport assessment has, for example, determined that with or without development the Denchworth Road/Mill Street/A417 Challow Road/Ham Street junction in its current form will operate over capacity in the future with substantial queuing in the peak periods.
Associated with all of these proposed developments, the highway authority has sought to secure packages of measures to mitigate the effects of additional traffic and specifically, in respect of Grove Airfield, these include proposals to provide improvements at the junctions of Denchworth Road/A417 Mably Way and Denchworth Road/Mill Street/A417 Challow Road/Ham Street (Camel Crossroads). At Mably Way, the improvements would take the form of geometric changes to the layout of the roundabout (as well as footway provision). At Camel Crossroads, the double-mini roundabout arrangement would be removed and replaced with full traffic signal control. It has been determined that at both of the junctions the effects of these measures would improve operational capacity and significantly reduce the levels of queuing.
The current pre-Application proposals at Stockham Farm have recently been considered and the highway authority has drawn attention to the developer that the junctions on Denchworh Road at Mill Street/Challow Road and at Mably Way are nearing capacity and a robust transport assessment will be required to confirm the continuing satisfactory performance of these junctions and to propose improvement works by way of mitigation where this is shown to be required."
Research carried out by the District Council has demonstrated that 6,100 new homes means 14,100 people, 10,330 jobs and 7,750 people driving to work from Wantage and Grove mainly along the A417 to the Science Park - except where people take the back roads though Steventon and along the Newbury Road.
The District Council expect that most of the jobs will be in Harwell Oxford or Milton Park so most of the traffic increase is likely to be along the A417 from Wantage towards the A34. The Highways Department have stated that this road is already close to capacity but theLocal Transport Plan 4 makes no suggests for improvement except to the A417 junctions (Rowstock & Featherbed lane), and limited ones on the A338. There will be new roads required within the developments, which could include a link road from the A338 to the A417 through Crab Hill, and a road round the Airfield development.
The increase in traffic will impact all the surounding villages as well as Wantage and Grove.
See the Oxfordshire County Council Local Transport Plan. The above image is taken from OCC SCOTS Final Report, October 2008 Figs 4 and 5 between pages 32 and 33. The red line has been added to highlight our main concern. As the previous plan states:
Traffic Concerns mean that the potential for at least 9,300 extra cars in Wantage and Grove with only limited improvements to existing roads. These improvements are to the A417 junctions (Rowstock & Featherbed lane), and limited ones on the A338.
"The population of the Vale is dispersed due to the rural nature of the district, creating challenges in relation to reducing travel by the private car. There are some good bus services in the Vale between the main settlements, such as from Abingdon-on-Thames to Oxford, Wantage and Grove to Didcot, and Faringdon to Swindon and Oxford. However, in the rural parts of the Vale, services are not sufficient to provide an alternative to the car. As a consequence, car ownership is relatively high within the district and continues to form the main mode of transport. Average car ownership per household in the district has risen from 1.41 in 2001 to 1.5 in 2011. This is above the national average but also above the average for Oxfordshire, which in 2011 was 1.38." [paragraph 3.3 of Topic Paper 6 Transport Final].
"The Southern Central Oxfordshire Transport Study (SCOTS) was prepared by Oxfordshire County Council with significant input from South Oxfordshire and the Vale of White Horse District Councils in consultation with the Highways Agency. This was a key piece of technical work in developing what is now described as the Science Vale UK Integrated Transport Package." [paragraph 6.15 of Topic Paper 6 Transport Final].
"The main aim of the SCOTS transport strategy for the area is to facilitate east/west travel and improve the links between the housing sites at Didcot, Wantage and Grove and the major employment sites at Harwell Oxford Campus and Milton Park. The study identifies how to achieve this through a combination of transport investment and demand management, particularly to achieve a higher degree of containment of trips within the area. It also identified necessary improvements to the transport network to enable further housing and employment development in the area." [paragraph 6.18 of Topic Paper 6 Transport Final].
"The employment sites are fairly remote from the main settlements and contain ample areas of parking provision, a large scale mode switch to public transport is therefore unlikely."[paragraph 6.23 of Topic Paper 6 Transport Final].
To express an opinion, see below.