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

Column 14th September 2022

Why can't Persimmon deliver football pitches?

Persimmon are not meeting their contractual obligations.

There was a meeting of the Grove Airfield Forum recently at which County, District and Parish Councillors, Council Officers, representatives of community groups and Persimmon discussed progress and issues associated with the development.

According to the contract signed by Persimmon they have to deliver facilities for the residents at various points during the buildout.

They were supposed to deliver a replacement football training pitch and temporary changing facilities by the time that 50 homes were occupied and before the old training pitch was removed.

50 homes were occupied before the end of 2019 and as the roadworks have taken place along the Denchworth Road, the old training pitch has gone but the plans for the pitch weren’t approved until August this year.

The pitch is still not in a condition to be handed over to the Parish Council and it’s unlikely that this will happen until the end of the year.

By then 500 homes will be occupied and the replacement pitch will be three years late.

By this point they are supposed to have delivered two more pitches, some allotments and about 5 hectares of public open space as well as a primary school.

They have started building the primary school but the planning applications for the rest of this list haven’t even been submitted yet.

I would have thought that a major developer like Persimmon would have experience in this type of thing given the number of developments around the country but they assure me that they are working hard to deliver to schedule.

The evidence doesn’t support this.

Persimmon have submitted applications for a further 250 homes so I asked the District Council if they would delay approval of the homes until the pitches and allotments etc. had been delivered.

The answer was that they couldn’t do this - it would be against the law. But isn’t Persimmon breaking the law anyway?

Apparently the only recourse that the Council has it to take them to court to enforce the agreement but that would be very expensive and use our taxpayers’ money.

Surely in future agreements with developers there should be a penalty clause that requires an additional sum to be paid to the Council for every week that facilities for the residents are delayed.

This at least might focus some minds.

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