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

Column 13th September 2023

Changes to the pedestrianisation

You only have two days to submit your response to the consultation on the amendments to be made to the pedestrianisation in Wantage Market Place.

The consultation can be found on the County Council website and comments can be sent in writing to the address below by 16 September.

Traffic Regulation Team (Ref: CM/12.6.391) Oxfordshire County Council, County Hall, New Road, Oxford, OX1 1ND or Email: christian.mauz@oxfordshire.gov.uk.

The current closure of the west end of Wantage Market Place was initially approved during Covid and was made permanent in March 2023.

Unfortunately the new proposals are very unclear but do include shortening the bus bays and reducing the taxi rank from 7 spaces to 4.

Two of the remaining Taxi parking places will also be made `general loading bays` to share at certain hours of the day.

What is also not clear is that the pedestrian area is being enlarged by an additional 7 metres.

Apparently this is because the highways regulations require a larger turning circle for vehicles and to quote the Town Clerk “the scheme proposed was the best the consultants could come up with given the physical restrictions in that area.”

No, it doesn’t make much sense to me either.

I would say that your comments would have value but I doubt it given the decision taken by the County Councillor for Highways at his meeting last week.

He considered the 20 mph proposals for Wantage but even though 52% of respondents were against the proposal and a further 16% were concerned about it, he approved it because “it’s County Council Policy”.

He didn’t even consider the impact that it might have on the Fire Brigade in Wantage.

They had responded to the consultation pointing out that “Wantage fire station is served by oncall staff that must live within 5 minutes. At 30mph, that's 2.5 miles away.

“Under a 20mph zone, this drops to 1.67 miles. The recruitment area would drop to 44.6% of its current size.

“This would, in all likelihood cause the Wantage fire station to close.

“Wantage, Grove and surrounding villages would then need to be served by crews from Abingdon and Didcot stations.

“The potential increase in deaths due to the increased response times would be a direct result of the implementation of the 20mph zones in Wantage.”

So if our fire station closes, it’s a direct result of the proposal put forward by the Town Council and approved by the County Council.

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