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

Column 9th May 2023

Lack of parking will affect usage at planned community hub

Campaigners fear the lack of parking spaces at a proposed community centre in Wantage would leave it unusable for the elderly and those living outside the town.

Kingsgrove Community Hub would be built as part of the 1,500 home Kingsgrove development which was approved by Vale of White Horse District Council in 2015.

A reserved matters application has been submitted to finalise the plans for the community hub, which would lie at the heart of the development next to the public square.

The hub would include a flexible working enterprise space, a café, and a large hall, as well as various other rooms. 

There would be 22 on-site parking spaces with the ability to utilise the proposed primary school car park by agreement.

St. Modwen, the master developer for the entire Kingsgrove development, want to encourage day-to-day users of the community hub to arrive by sustainable travel.

However, Wantage and Grove Campaign Group said the parking provision would be insufficient.

Member Bernard Connolly, 76, said: “I’m not against the community hub but I would have serious concerns about the parking.

"They think that everyone is just going to walk and cycle. Effectively, you are saying that the community hub is being used by just people there.

“If they actually came to the town they would see it’s about a 40 minute walk from there to the community hub.

“If it’s further than 40 minutes to walk then we will drive. I’m in my Seventies now and I am not as mobile as I was 20 years ago..

“If you don’t live in the area and you hear there is an event on, you are going to be disappointed by the number of cars that can park there.

“They want to encourage people to walk and cycle, but they are not looking ahead to what the problem is going to be.”

Group leader Julie Mabberley said: “There is not sufficient parking for any event which means people will be parking wherever they can.

“It’s fine if you live in rural areas where bus services are ok but if you live in one of the areas outside Wantage then forget it."

A spokeswoman for St. Modwen said: “Kingsgrove Community Hub is committed to encouraging use of sustainable means of travel for users of the Community Hub and to minimise use of private cars.

“A Parking Strategy submitted with the application sets out how car parking will be managed with the objective of reducing the environmental impact of travel and prevent unauthorised parking.

“Day-to-day users of the Community Hub will be encouraged to arrive via sustainable transport.

“For large events KCH will manage these in a number of ways including by providing clear information on available parking and sustainable travel, understanding the nature of the event and requirement for parking, and utilising stewards to prevent unauthorised parking.”

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