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

Column 9th January 2019

Where is our share of Growth Board projects funding?

About a month ago, there was an article in the Herald which reported that a bus lane for the A34 was included in £150 million to be spent on 43 projects agreed by the Oxfordshire Growth Board.

This money is available because of the commitment to build 100,000 new homes in Oxfordshire including the 6,500+ homes in Wantage and Grove.

Surely if we are going to get over 6,500 new homes we should see some infrastructure improvements in our area as part of the £150 million.

We were promised a new cycleway to Milton Park and Didcot, but I can’t find any evidence of any money being allocated to that.

The only cycleway included anywhere in the Vale is the Milton pedestrian/cycle bridge over the A34. This will connect Milton Heights with Milton Park and Milton Gate via the recently completed Backhill Lane Tunnel under the railway.

We have already been promised a loan of £8,000,000 by the Government to speed up the development of the Wantage Eastern Link Road and apparently the Growth Deal includes an additional £2,000,000 to support this project and bring air quality benefits in central Wantage by reducing traffic and congestion.

This is the only money to be spent in OX12.

This is supposed to improve bus journey times and ease traffic around local schools and provide significant pedestrian and cycle infrastructure.

I can’t find any mention of the Western Link Road so traffic will continue to pour past Fitzwaryn School, Stockham School and King Alfred’s West site.

In fact the only school which might benefit from the Eastern Link Road is Charlton Primary School.

I have no idea what additional pedestrian infrastructure will be provided as we already have the footpath from Grove to Lockinge which goes through Crab Hill.

The only improvements to the A417 mentioned in the 43 projects are to the Featherbed Lane and Steventon junctions.

This includes an improved signalised junction at the southern end of Steventon High Street/A4130 Abingdon Road; a new set of traffic lights where Featherbed Lane meets the A4130 Abingdon Road and a new roundabout junction with the A417 Reading Road.

Surely the cycleway and the Western Link Road should be part of the key projects in the Vale or do our councillors on the Growth Board not negotiate as hard as those from other districts?

The Growth Board is supposed to represent all of the residents of Oxfordshire but doesn’t seem to consider Wantage and Grove.

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