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Newsletter 1 April 2021

I'm starting this email with a reminder:

We will be holding our Annual General meeting on Wednesday, April 14 at 7:30pm via Zoom. The link is:

https://zoom.us/j/95729085682?pwd=eEg5MXMzbmpSTmhOa2NFK2JBU0NIUT09

The following details should only be needed if connecting through a browser:

Meeting ID: 957 2908 5682
Passcode: 143232

I will be available to the meeting to answer questions so please join us.

We are looking for new members of the Executive Committee, who must be registered members of WaGCG. So if you are interested in becoming a committee member then please contact me or Geoff (our Chairman) chair@wantageandgrove.org for more details and make sure that you are a signed up member. The link to sign up for membership is https://wantageandgrove.org/joinform.php

Secondly, Newbury Street Patients Group are organising another talk via Zoom. This one is called “HEALTHY HEART AND MIND - Keeping Your Mind and Body Fit in Older Years” It's the evening after the AGM, Thursday 15th April 2021 at 8.00pm. The link to join the talk is: https://wantagetc-gov-uk.zoom.us/j/95514434896 and the Meeting ID is: 955 1443 4896.
The speakers will talk about how to keep fit and well in the later decades of life - physically, psychologically & socially. They include: Tom Jacobs – Physiotherapist, Dr Frances Watt – Newbury Street Practice, Tresa Cooper – AGE UK Social Prescriber, and Maggie Swain – October Club.

Now back to more normal business

1. Wantage Neighbourhood Plan
According to the Town Council Website the "updated draft Wantage Neighbourhood Plan published in November 2020 is undergoing further amendment in response to input from the survey that closed on 15 January and from the District Council Planning Department. The next version of the Plan will be published in early March." As it's now 1 April I guess they are a little behind!

2. Wantage pedestrianisation
Those of us who live in Wantage should have received a Newletter from Wantage Town Council recently (no, it's not on the website yet). In it there was an article about the pedestrianisation. I quote:
“The success of the vaccination programme to combat Covid-19 makes it unlikely that there is sufficient time to proceed with the temporary pedestrianisation of the south side of the Market Place before the pandemic restrictions are removed.”
“The temporary closure of the western end of the Market Place will continue until pandemic restrictions are ended” … “It remains the Town Council’s policy to make the western end closure permanent.”
“The temporary closure has helped to identify a number of issues that would need to be addressed for a permanent scheme, including access for delivery vehicles and improvements to the appearance of the closed area. Work will be continuing on developing proposals over the coming weeks.”

So Newbury Street has been given a reprieve.

3. County Transport Strategy
We have submitted our response to the consultation on the Vision for the Local Transport and Connectivity Plan. There is a link to our submission on the Website at https://www.wantageandgrove.org/

4. Oxford-Cambridge Arc
The Government has recently announced that the plans for an Oxford-Cambridge Expressway have been cancelled “… extensive analysis and local engagement reveals the expressway would not be cost-effective for the taxpayer…”
It's a shame that they haven't made the same decision about HS2 but Ho Hummm.
They haven't decided to remove the aim to build a million new homes in the Ox-Cam Arc.

5. Leisure Funding
I mentioned last month that the District Council had said that they would be contacting community groups and sporting organisations in Wantage, Grove and Faringdon to help to identify how more than £6 million of developer contributions will be spent. The latest press release on the subject says that
"local sports clubs in the Grove and Wantage area are helping Vale of White Horse District Council understand how money that’s coming in from new housing developments could be used to help provide appropriate new or improved leisure facilities for local residents."
"The clubs, along with their local town and parish councils and district councillors, are being asked to provide initial views on whether their current facilities – like sports pitches and courts – will be suitable for the forthcoming increase in population locally, or if they think they will need to improve existing facilities or build new ones."

So if you are a member of a sports club and would like to add ideas, then please check to see if your club has been contacted. If not then contact the Town Council (wantageclerk@gmail.com) or Grove Parish Council (clerk@grove-oxon.org.uk) and feed in your ideas - copy us in to your conversation so that we can help.

6. Planning Issues 
The Government has recently written to all local councils stating that the permission to hold council meeting remotely will not be renewed. Letter to council leaders So all council meetings from 7 May will have to be held face to face again, but the Government’s roadmap proposes that organised indoor meetings (e.g. performances, conferences) are only permitted from 17 May, subject to Covid secure guidelines and capacity rules so there will be at least 10 days when no meetings can be held.

The small block of flats on the site of the Breakspears Yard Denchworth Road Grove, has been given retrospective permission for the "accidential" change in height (an additional 60cm) and the addition of a bedroom for one flat in the roof space. See our column on the subject.

More of the small green spaces around Grove are up for sale. This is an ongoing problem at the moment. Much of the land is still owned by Davis Estates (Southern) Limited who developed the Grovelands estate in the 1970’s and they are now trying to maximise the value by selling them to the highest bidder. Much of this land is part of the highway so can't be used for anything anyway but odd patches are possible sites that developers might try to squeeze new homes onto. Grove Parish Council is keeping a watching brief. The same thing could happen on any of the developments in the area.

There are no other updates on the planning applications last month so I won't repeat them now.

Don't forget that you have to travel, you can access information about roadworks around here at https://one.network/ and if you don't get the Herald and would like to read our columns, we include them on our website at https://www.wantageandgrove.org/columns.php after they have been published.

That's all for now. Stay safe and if there is anything we can do to help you then please get in touch.

Thanks for reading,

Best wishes
Julie

Julie Mabberley
Campaign Manager

Wantage and Grove Campaign Group
www.wantageandgrove.org


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