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

Column 4th September 2019

A look back on the future, as we saw it in 2015's town plan

In the draft Neighbourhood Plan prepared in 2015, the view of what Wantage would be like in 2031 included statements that:

1) The town would retain its special historic and architectural character by carefully managing change within its built up area and by protecting its setting and surrounding open countryside from development.

The application for Lidl on Grove Road and the developments on Challow Road have reduced some of the open countryside but new National Policy should protect the Area of Outstanding Beauty to the south.

2) The market place and shops would thrive and experience an increased footfall of customers. The Town Centre would become more accessible for all providing a safe pedestrian environment with public transport services.

No change for pedestrians so far – but there was a day when the area nearest the Church was closed to traffic.

The Market Place is turning into a bus station. So views across the market place are frequently blocked by buses.

3) There would be a mix of high quality housing, suitable for families and a diverse population, with adequate parking. Residents could move around easily with improved access to the Town Centre by public transport, car, cycle and on foot.

Since 2015 bus services have reduced, parking has got worse and nothing has been done to improve the cycling route network.

4) Shopping, education, health, sports and leisure, entertainment, social, and cultural opportunities have been improved for the wellbeing of the community.

Several shops have changed ownership but we still have no shoe shops. Crab Hill Primary School is being built, but the new Leisure Centre is still “on ice”. The Beacon and Wildwood are both showing films periodically and the Summer Festival and the Literary Festival still take place each year.

Wantage Hospital remains closed for everything except Maternity and the promised expansion of the Health Centre hasn’t happened yet.

5) There is a vibrant and diverse economy from micro, small and start up businesses to medium and large businesses, and sustainable business and employment opportunities.

No new employment premises have been built in the area although Grove Business Park is being given a make-over and there will be some jobs at the new Care Home being built on Grove Road and the new Primary School on Crab Hill.

Nowhere near enough jobs or infrastructure to support the new homes already built and planned.

Should we update the vision of our future?

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