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Column 23rd December 2020

Wantage Neighbourhood Plan needs a refresh to get up to date.

The second version of Wantage Town News has now been delivered to most residents of the town, so if you haven’t received it or don’t live in Wantage but are interested in seeing it, then I believe an electronic version is available from the Town Council website.

It includes an update on the results of the survey into the further pedestrianisation of Wantage Market Place and the part closure of Newbury Street.

The results shown exclude the “don’t knows” and “didn’t answer” and show results in favour of the temporary scheme. It would be interesting to see how many people didn’t answer yes or no to these questions and why they didn’t.

If these people’s responses are being ignored then I wonder why that response was allowed in the questionnaire.

The Town News also includes a small section about the Draft Wantage Neighbourhood Plan.

There is a copy of the draft plan and a survey to complete on the website. The deadline for responses is 15th January so don’t delay.

The updated Plan has been modified to amend or remove the policies that were deemed unacceptable by the Inspector in 2016, but disappointingly all other policies remain unchanged.

Views of residents were last sought in 2014 – since then we have at least 500 more homes occupied and a significant change in the population.

Those new residents have been denied their views on what the plan for the town should include and can only comment on the policies which are included already.

This plan was written in 2015 and many things have changed since then.

Some of the policies refer to the “use classes” which guide the use of land and buildings. These changed in September 2020 and the plan still refers to the old “classes”.

We’re not sure what effect this would have on the policies but they are probably out of date.

All the maps in the plan relate to 2015 and therefore exclude several of the major new developments in the town.

The concept plans for green infrastructure links and cycle ways include potential routes through some of these new developments which can no longer be achieved.

One of the policies relates protecting  Assets of Community Value and the ambition (when the plan was originally written) was for several assets in the town to be designated. Yet no record of any designations can be found.

I think the Neighbourhood Plan needs a refresh before it is submitted.

 

 


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