WaGCG : Wantage and Grove Campaign Group
Wantage and Grove Campaign Group (WaGCG)

Column 27th October 2021

Check planning applications carefully

An article in last weeks’ Herald caught my eye.

Plans are being drawn up for the 3,000 homes off Grenoble Road, so let’s hope that it’s a developer like St Modwen which appears to be meeting its obligations rather than one like Persimmon which hasn’t delivered any infrastructure yet.

Things we’ve learnt from reviewing plans include:
– Check ground heights. It’s easy for developers to build up land rather than remove excess so new homes can be metres higher than the existing homes next door.

- Check footpaths and cycleways. Make sure that they follow the route of least resistance – residents will anyway so it helps if paths are in the right place – and make sure that they are wide enough and disabled friendly.

- Check infrastructure. Timing is important. Roads do get built (but not always properly finished) but green spaces, sports pitches, community halls and additions to health facilities, schools etc. tend to be delivered much later.

- Check road layouts. Planners do promise things like the roundabout which was going to be built in East Challow but then removed because it couldn’t be designed to fit with the slope.

- check parking. There seems to be a move back towards on-street parking, but make sure that the parking is outside the correct home. Putting parking for one home in front of another is a recipe for arguments in the future.

I know we are supposed to be reducing private cars and getting active (and it might be possible on the outskirts of Oxford) but around Wantage and Grove public transport is about as scarce as hens’ teeth so cars are going to be around for many years.

Another article in the Herald refers to housing developers giving more to community facilities.

I’m glad the Community Infrastructure Levy payments are increasing but I wish it was easier to get the money spent.

The District Council seems to be sitting on over £34 million of money from developers and is exercising strong control on how it can be spent.

We know of groups who are having to jump through many hoops, to extract money which was promised to them, because of phraseology included in legal agreements written by the District Council lawyers.

Some of this money may have to be given back to developers just because of badly written agreements.

We don’t get to check the legal agreements but we hope that someone does!

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