The next consultation on the Oxfordshire 2050 Plan has been put back until Summer 2021, with final submission of the Plan not due until September 2022. Meanwhile, the Oxfordshire Growth Board is instead asking us all to comment on a Strategic Vision for Oxfordshire, that will sit above the 2050 Plan. The "engagement" closes 3rd January 2021. It's available here: https://www.oxfordshireopenthought.org/strategic-vision. You need to scroll through the blurb to find the start of the survey at the bottom.
The response from Need Not Greed Oxon (NNGO)is available on their website http://www.neednotgreedoxon.org.uk/resources/ and we'll be drafting our response shortly. NNGO make the point that the Vision explicitly omits the ‘quantum of housing or economic growth for Oxfordshire’ which is having such a detrimental impact across our landscape and many existing communities. Without this, the words risk becoming meaningless ‘motherhood and apple pie’.
See our page on the Oxfordshire plan
There is an application from Persimmon to build at least 531 (possibly up to 700) homes between the northern edge of the Grove Airfield development and the Denchworth Road. Comments can be submitted until 17 January. For details see our Grove Airfield Expansion page.
What's the Future for OX12 Leisure Centre?
The District Council has announced that they have formally agreed that all work on the proposed new leisure centre between Grove and Wantage will now come to an end, as they are unable to raise the £18.8 million the centre was expected to cost.
The project has been paused since September 2018 while they waited on confirmation from the government on its intentions for future council funding.
They are intending to develop and introduce a new Active Communities Strategy, which will identify ways of providing leisure activities in the heart of local communities both in Grove and Wantage and across the district.
So over the last 10 years nearly £6 million has been spent on the leisure facilities in Abingdon and about £176,000 has been spent on our existing leisure centre. Once again, no funding for OX12. What will happen to the contributions from developers towards leisure facilities? What has happened to the new homes bonus received for the housing built in OX12 so far?
We wait for further explanations...
Wantage Neighbourhood Plan
Wantage Neighbourhood Plan was first drafted in 2014/15, with the help of the Campaign Group but was rejected by a planning inspector in 2016. The updated Plan has been modified to amend or remove the policies that were deemed unacceptable by the Inspector, but disappointingly all other policies remain unchanged.
There is a copy of the draft plan and a survey to complete on the Town Council website. The deadline for responses is 15th January 2021 so don’t delay.
See also our comments.
Changes to the Planning System
There have been several consultations on the planning system in 2020 and we have contributed to all of them.
The first consultation was on the Changes to the Current Planning System. Our response is available here.
The second consultation was about wholesale changes to the planning system and included an proposal to impose a calculation which determines how many homes should be built. Our response is available here.
The proposed calculation was withdrawn on 16 December 2020.
What are we campaigning about?
Some 7,000 houses are in the pipeline for Wantage, Grove and the surrounding villages. More may soon follow as the new Council is thinking about the plan to 2050.
Government guidelines say that development should be "sustainable". We do not think it is sustainable
to put thousands of houses where medical facilities are increasingly inadequate, schools are virtually above capacity,
there is little employment in the area, and roads to where there is employment are unsuited to commuting.
We came together to campaign for a better deal for our area. As it says in our Aims:
We are not against any development in Wantage and Grove but:
- Developments should be proportionate and sustainable
- The infrastructure should enhance and improve quality of life for its residents
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