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Column 28th December 2016

Good News?

We have had some good news this year and I’m not very good at acknowledging it so in advance of any New Year resolutions I thought it might be nice to celebrate some of the good news of the last year.

We had a number of roads around Wantage resurfaced and it is much easier to drive around town avoiding cyclists when they don’t have to divert around potholes all the time. Of course it would be good to get the man-hole covers in Ormond Road lifted a little so that the same problem could be avoided there but that’s a small point.

The developers have finally amended the road layout outside the Stockham Park Farm development. It’s definitely an improvement and it may now be possible to cross the road safely.

The wobbly wall on Wallingford Street has finally been fixed and we can use the pavement again. Hurrah! I wonder if anyone would be kind enough to plant wildflowers on the newly found ground above the wall. That would add some colour to our lives.

We enjoyed the celebrations for the Queen’s Birthday but missed the fun of King Alfred’s day and the Anglo-Saxon battle. We hear that we’ll miss it again next year as money will be spent on Armed Forces Day instead.

Two appeals against the refusal of planning applications for 200 homes on the edges of East Hanney were rejected by planning inspectors and an application for 50 homes near Windmill Place in East Challow was also refused. This proves that occasionally councillors, and inspectors, can show some semblance of sanity.

We managed to keep maternity and physiotherapy services operational at the Wantage Community Hospital even though the in-patient facilities have been closed TEMPORARILY. I emphasise the temporary nature of the closure, no firm decisions are to be made until after the NHS consultation next year.

We have a new Betjeman Bust outside the Vale and Downland Museum in Wantage.

In April the Herald announced that "KEY details" for a new leisure centre in Wantage were being finalised. The District Council is planning to build a new facility on Mably Way between Wantage and Grove in the coming years. The Vale asked King Alfred's Academy in Wantage to contribute £170,000 towards a new sports hall, swimming pool and other facilities for the new centre as part of a deal to give the school planning permission to sell off one of its three sites on Springfield Road. We await further news.

The Local Plan Part 1 was adopted by the District Council in December but if you thought that we could stop worrying about planning, think again. The Consultation on Part 2 is scheduled for February.


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