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Column 28th July 2021

Who influences government planning policy?

Roads around Wantage are over capacity and improvements are very slow in coming.

The Oxfordshire Local Transport Plan, (Connecting Oxfordshire) was last updated in 2016 and the new Local Transport and Connectivity Plan should be available for consultation later this year.

The existing plan states that “A number of new road links and capacity improvements are necessary to accommodate the large scale of employment and residential development in Wantage, Grove, Harwell and Didcot”.

We’ve seen improvements around Harwell and Didcot with the new Harwell bypass, improvements to the Milton access to the A34 and the additional northern access to the A34 at Chilton but nothing closer to home.

There were plans for major improvements to Featherbed Lane including a new set of traffic lights where Featherbed Lane meets the A4130 Abingdon Road, realignment of the sharp double bends and a new roundabout at the junction with the A417 Reading Road.

But the design was ready in 2015 and no news of the Compulsory Purchase Orders is yet available so don’t hold your breath.

Houses continue to be built in Wantage with the expectation that people will commute to Oxford (via the A34) or London (via Didcot station) but no improvements to the roads from Wantage are happening.

The Wantage Eastern Link Road has been approved since 2015 and a grant from the Government for £7.71m of the £15m cost should be used before the end of 2021.

We are told that work will start this year – if it doesn’t the grant may be lost.

The Grove Northern Relief Road is supposed to link the Airplane Roundabout to the A338 near Williams, but land ownership issues mean that it may never be built as planned.

I’m sure that the original plan was a road directly from the roundabout up through the Airfield development.

But Persimmon don’t own the verges so there will only be two access roads; the first from Cane Lane/Newlands Drive on the eastern side and the second from Denchworth Road in the north.

From the Denchworth Road to the A338 is also subject to ownership issues with no access to the Denchworth Road seeming possible without more Compulsory Purchases.

Access directly to the Williams Roundabout has also been restricted by landowners.

It seems that landowners are making large profits from housing developments but not allowing us to have the road improvements that we need.


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