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

Column 23rd August 2023

Is Grove Gateway just pie in the sky?

As it said in the Herald a couple of weeks ago, Grove Gateway could assist in the delivery and re-opening of Grove station.

Richborough (a land promotion company) are currently promoting the area between Grove and East Hanney as a potential development called Grove Gateway.

I guess that they are hoping to get this land into the new Joint Local Plan being developed by the Vale and South Oxfordshire District Councils.

Their brochure states that they “want to engage at this early stage to ensure the aspirations of the local community are reflected and delivered.”

I don’t think that our aspirations include even more development.

They give four objectives for their masterplan.

1. “Delivering a multi modal public transport hub to ensure there is a real choice in sustainable travel options and connectivity to Wantage, Grove, and wider destinations - at the heart of this will be the delivery of Grove Railway Station, a long-standing ambition for this part of Oxfordshire.”

Yes, we’d like a station at Grove but it isn’t a Government priority and not in Network Rail plans so I don’t think they can deliver it.

2. “Supplying significant employment land that will create conditions for a diverse range of world class employers in the commercial and industrial sectors focusing on science, renewable energy and high-tech sectors to put down roots in this part of the district.”

That’s what Savills said about the adjacent land just south of the railway but that turned into more homes.

3. “Providing growth that has the opportunity to deliver a significant net gain in biodiversity, green infrastructure and public open space owing to the extent of land under Richborough’s control and the ability of the masterplan to focus at the outset on a truly landscape led approach”.

What can be better than unadulterated farm land for providing biodiversity and green infrastructure, so why put houses on it?

We are already “Britain’s housebuilding capital” (see the columns on 9th August and on page 2 of last week’s Herald) so we need to keep as much biodiversity as we can.

4. “Creating new homes, including affordable, that meet the actual identified need for this part of the districts that are designed to be the highest quality and energy efficiency standards, including self-build plots, bungalows, and housing for older persons.”

I don’t know any developer working around here who would build 900 zero carbon homes or build bungalows so I can’t see this happening either.

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