According to the National Planning Policy Framework , plans and approvals must be realistic and sustainable. There are "Three dimensions to Sustainable Development"
These dimensions are: economic, social and environmental. These give rise to the need for the planning system to perform a number of roles:
an economic role - contributing to building a strong, responsive and competitive economy, by ensuring that sufficient land of the right type is
available in the right places and at the right time to support growth and innovation; and by identifying and coordinating development requirements, including the provision of infrastructure;
a social role - supporting strong, vibrant and healthy communities, by providing the supply of housing required to meet the needs of present and
future generations; and by creating a high quality built environment, with accessible local services that reflect the community's needs and support its health, social and cultural well-being; and
an environmental role - contributing to protecting and enhancing our natural, built and historic environment; and, as part of this, helping to improve biodiversity, use natural resources prudently, minimise waste and pollution, and mitigate and adapt to climate change including moving to a low carbon economy.
Local Plans should include strategic policies to deliver:
the homes and jobs needed in the area;
the provision of retail, leisure and other commercial development;
the provision of infrastructure for transport, telecommunications, waste management,
water supply, wastewater, flood risk and coastal change management,
and the provision of minerals and energy (including heat);
the provision of health, security, community and cultural infrastructure and other local facilities; and
climate change mitigation and adaptation, conservation and enhancement of the natural and historic environment, including landscape.
GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS Sustainable Wantage
suggests that we need to ensure that the developments proceed in the context of the UK target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050 and all that implies for housing, transport, local employment and sustainability.
The legally binding 80% target is enshrined in the Climate Change Act 2008, with an intermediate target of 34% reduction relative to 1990 by 2020 and 50% by 2025. The National Planning Policy Framework requires that development is implemented in line with the requirements of the Act. To achieve such reductions requires a fundamental rethink of the town planning, such that housing proceeds in tandem with local job creation, transport infrastructure reduces journeys and moves away from carbon-intensive options and developments achieve the highest standards of energy and environmental sustainability. To see how the UK is progressing see the Committee on Climate Change Report
The local plan for the Vale of the White Horse forecasts 22,982 more jobs by 2031.
In the local plan, all new jobs are going to concentrated in the Science Vale at Milton Park, Harwell and Culham (all more than 8 miles away with a very limited bus service) with the exception of a new area of mixed use development on the Monks Farm site (similar in size to the Grove Business park).
All of our A roads are close to capacity and none of our roads are wide enough to allow anyone to safely overtake a cyclist without crossing the white line and getting in the way of on-coming traffic.
There may be enhancements to Featherbed Lane and Rowstock Roundabout and both the Airfield and Crab Hill may include some Bypass Roads but no widening of existing roads out of town for bus stops or cyclists.
Wantage Road Station was closed in 1964 and there have been various ideas about re-opening the station since then. This is now back on a long term agenda.
New schools are planned for Grove Airfield and Crab Hill but these will not be built before 2021 at the earliest. Existing schools in Wantage and Grove have very few (if any) places available now and new homes are being built all the time.
The two GP practices in the Health Centre in Mably Way, Newbury Street and Church Street, are both essentially full. Our local Community Hospital is only providing midwife led maternity services, Minor Injuries closed temparily in 2002, In-patient facilities closed temporarily in July 2016, and Physiotherapy services have been removed.
Wantage Leisure centre is old and tired. A new leisure centre is planned on Mably Way but it will only have about half of the facilities required by a community of our planned size and is currently on hold.
Flooding has a significant impact on the people and economy of Oxfordshire.
Current plans propose 6,200 more homes in Wantage, Grove and surrounding villages by 2031. By the time all of the new 15,000 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 no commitments have been made for improvements to health services or existing roads.