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Column 3rd June 2020

How vulnerable to development are the green spaces in OX12?

An article in the Herald last week covered the land for sale in Grove at Mary Green near Edington Place.

In the article it pointed out that Grove Parish Council and everyone else in the village had thought the Council owned the land and that permission was given for a memorial bench to be put there in March last year.

In fact the land is still owned by Davis Estates (Southern) Limited who developed the Grovelands estate in the 1970’s.

I’m sure that there are many small patches of land on developments around Wantage and Grove like this which are still owned by the original developers and could be sold for development.

This got us thinking.

What about the green spaces on the new developments being built now?

Could they be sold for development in the future?

For example, the green in Whittington Way on the recent development off Denchworth Road appears to be owned by a company called Vistry Homes Limited (previously Bovis Homes Limited until it changed its name in January this year).

Could they build on this green in the future?

Then Crab Hill, we asked the Town Council if they were taking ownership of the green spaces on the new development.

On this development there will be wooded areas, open space, a community orchard, several children’s play areas and a Multi-Use Games Area, allotments, three full size sports pitches, and a skate board park.

The Town Council has declined the offer to take over responsibility for all of this, but has expressed an interest in taking over responsibility for the allotments and the community orchard. These would be subject to a 99 year lease.

Although a significant contribution is included in the developer agreement (Section 106) for future maintenance, the Town Council estimated that these funds would be used up within about 25 years and that any future maintenance of the green spaces would be a cost to all the residents of Wantage.

The Town Council (unlike Grove Parish Council) does not currently maintain any significant open spaces in Wantage. These are either maintained by the District Council or private parties.

As the Town Council has declined to take ownership for 99 years, these facilities will be taken over by the Kingsgrove Management Company and any costs will be funded through a service charge to the Kingsgrove residents.

Does this mean only these residents can use the sports facilities and open spaces?


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