I wrote a column last week about Wantage Town Council, so I’m now writing about Grove Parish Council.
Until last year Grove Precept was considerably higher than Wantage, so the Council has had more money to play with in the past. This is no longer the case.
The Council own and directly manage the Old Mill Hall and their offices are on the upper floor.
As with Wantage, the Council are responsible for allotments and the cemetery but Grove Council also have responsibility for maintaining Grove Recreation Ground (includes Mably Way sports pitches) and Wasbrough Field as well as grass cutting of verges etc. on behalf of the County Council.
The Vale of White Horse District Council has given the Parish Council 12 months’ notice that the Mably Way pitches would no longer be available as they are on the site of the proposed new Leisure Centre.
New pitches should be available on Grove Airfield but not for a few years.
As with Wantage, most of the events in Grove are managed by groups other than the parish council. Grove Extravaganza for example, is run by the Rugby Club.
The Parish Council like Wantage Town Council continues to work with developers to see what plans are being put forward, but in practice they have little say.
These decisions are taken at County and District level.
Wantage does contribute to the upkeep of the museum, but Grove don’t.
Grove have been pushing for the opening of the railway station and momentum is growing. In the draft Local Plan Part 2, the station has been moved and is situated near the cemetery and not at the railway bridge where the original station was and where land was safeguarded in Local Plan Part 1.
So what do our local councils do to improve the area in which we live?
Neither appears to be doing anything to improve local bus services, although Grove is far better serviced with buses than many parts of Wantage.
Neither is doing anything to improve parking although the new Local Centre on Grove Airfield may reduce the need for additional spaces in Millbrook Square and Savile Way in the future.
Neither have neighbourhood plans which detail their vision of the future for the area and could protect land for green spaces and transport.
Grove have managed to get their new website up and running.