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

Column 13th April 2022

How much of our green space is private land?

There has been a flurry of comment in social media recently about the green space near the new Wantage Eastern Link Road and whether it can be managed as wild flowers.

As with all green space around the area, it depends on getting the owner’s permission.

Some green spaces near roads are owned by the County Council as extensions to the highway.

Grove Parish Council owns and maintains the grassed areas in the ‘older’ parts of Grove and have an agreement in place with Persimmon to take over the management of the open spaces and the community building on Grove Airfield.

They are have been negotiating with Bellway Homes to take responsibility for the Grove Meadow Development, but David Wilson Homes are placing the open space on their development in the hands of the management company.

Wantage Town Council only has responsibility for allotments and the cemetery. They are not interested in owning land for the benefit of the residents of the town.

In Wantage, the open spaces on the new developments off the Denchworth Road, Chain Hill and the green on Chapel Close off Garston Lane are all still owned by developers.

The District Council owns the Manor Road Recreation Ground, the Beacon, all of the green spaces off Harcourt Road and Foliat Drive as well as Stockham Park, Hamfield and Springfield Road, and all the areas to the east of the Denchworth Road.

Some other spaces like the old football/tennis field near Charlton Day Centre are owned by the County Council.

All of the green spaces on Crab Hill will be owned by the residents’ management company and they will be responsible for maintaining it for the full 125 years of the lease.

The Vale charges groups who hold events in the Manor Road Recreation Ground £500 for the privilege.

The Kingsgrove residents could, therefore, charge a fee for usage for anyone wanting to use their privately owned land.

After all, they have to pay for the upkeep of the land as part of the management fee and those costs will only increase.

If Crab Hill had remained in Grove instead of being moved to be part of Wantage, it might have been a different story.

Grove Parish Council would probably have taken responsibility of the open spaces for the benefit of the whole parish.

I’ve never really understood why Wantage Town Council wouldn’t do the same.

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