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

Column 26th July 2023

Bridge over Letcombe Brook

The Grove Northern Link Road (GNLR) could be in jeopardy.

The Link Road was included in the Local Plan 2011 at the same time as the initial plans for the development on Grove Airfield and is a road from the Wellington Gate Development, crossing the Denchworth Road north of Grove Cemetery and continuing due East over the Letcombe Brook to the A338 through Monks Farm.

It was designed to remove the through traffic from the conservation area in the centre of Grove.

The approval of the Grove Airfield development includes a condition that no more than 1,500 dwellings can be occupied before the GNLR has been constructed.

When the Monks Farm housing plans were proposed in 2016, the Link Road was the main route through the development but the County Council highlighted that although the development masterplan shows the GNLR connecting through to the Denchworth Road, there was a risk that this would never be completed as a through route.

This was because a small piece of land near the Denchworth Road was not in the control of the developers.

The current planning consent for the David Wilson development close to the Cemetery should link up with the developments on the A338 via the GLNR but allows them to build a secondary access road to the Denchworth Road near the entrance to the Maples.

This access road was not envisaged as part of the GNLR but according to the developers, it “could be temporary, and converted to a pedestrian / cycle link only, once the link to the Airfield has been constructed”.

There is a condition in this permission that requires no more than 55 homes to be occupied before the access to the A338 (via a bridge over the Brook) is completed.

David Wilson Homes has submitted an application to remove this condition.

Grove Parish Council strongly believe that if this planning condition is removed, the new Letcombe Brook Bridge will never be built and would therefore jeopardise the completion of the Northern Link Road.

Residents living near the site agree.

It does seem that David Wilson Homes are finding it very difficult to draw up plans for the bridge that are acceptable to the Environment Agency.

The reasons behind this ‘difficulty’ are unclear but they say that they are unable to complete the bridge until late 2025 and would like to build more homes before this.

Surely it can’t be that difficult to design and build a bridge over a brook.

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