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

Newsletter 2 September 2021

Wow, it's September already. Doesn't time fly.

I've finally caught up with the emails which came in while I was away and there are some things that I'd missed and some new items since then so this may take a while...

First I've had a reply from the Wantage Town Clerk to my questions at the last Council meeting which is attached as a pdf - too long to add in this email, but if you have trouble reading it let me know.

Secondly, he also answered my follow-up questom about forthcoming meetings. I quote:
"Currently the only firm dates for physical meetings are the 13 September for the Leisure and Amenities Committee and 11 October for a Council and Plans Only meeting. These to take place at 7.30 pm at The Beacon.
"An ‘informal’ online meeting of the Traffic Advisory Committee will be held using Zoom or Teams on Thursday 9 September at 2.30 pm. As this is not a decision making meeting and as the name implies, advisory, it is felt that an online meeting is acceptable. It should be noted that strictly this is a County Council meeting, not a Town Council one. The administration passed to the Town Council and Grove Parish Council many years ago. Initially this passed between Wantage and Grove on an annual basis but after a period it was agreed it should remain with Wantage.
"There is still a nervousness about holding physical meetings. Councillors are reluctant to return to gathering in the smaller rooms at The Beacon. The setting of meetings is likely to be affected by the availability of the larger rooms. This may mean moving from holding meetings on a Monday to another day of the week on an ad hoc basis.
"The above reflects comments made earlier in the month. The pandemic figures appear to have stabilised over the past three weeks and there may be a different view when we get into early September, allowing firm physical meeting dates to be set."

There is no agenda or other details of the Traffic Advisory meeting available yet on the Town Council Website.

Now for some good news!!!

The planning application has been submitted for the extension to the Health Centre. OK, I know, it was promised in 2012 but if it gets approval it might get built! So have a look at the plans and the design document on the District Council website at P21/V2416/FUL and if you think it's OK then you could support the application (I know we generally object but this could be one of the very few times that an application gets more support than objections). Comments can be submitted until 22 September.

While I'm on the subject of health, I know it's really difficult to get an appointment to see a doctor at the moment so Newbury Street Patient Group is hosting a Zoom on Thursday 16 September at 8pm entitled "Jumping through Hoops to Help You” which should tell us what support is available from people like pharmacists and paramedics so that we don't always have to speak to our GP. The link to join the Zoom Meeting is https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82281278837 and the Meeting ID is: 822 8127 8837

Last week I sent out a stop press email referring to the Oxfordshire 2050 formal Consultation and some free public webinars being held next week to give people the opportunity to learn more about the Oxfordshire Plan 2050. Please click the links below to register for a webinar or visit www.oxfordshireopenthought.org
 Wednesday 8 September – 12 noon – 1.30pm  Click here
 Thursday 9 September – 6.00 – 7.30pm  Click here   For any further information please contact info@oxfordshireplan.org

Need not Greed Oxfordshire have now provided a proforma letter which you can adapt to make it your own and to cover your specific concerns eg Green Belt, infrastructure, water quality, climate change etc. as a response to the consultation.

SEND TO:  info@oxfordshireplan.org

DEADLINE: 8 October

If you have a further minute, please share your email with your Councillors and MP and let them know that you do not agree with the options presented in the Oxfordshire 2050 Plan. Their email addresses are: Jenny.Hannaby@Oxfordshire.gov.uk; Jane.Hanna@Oxfordshire.gov.uk; yvonne.constance@oxfordshire.gov.uk; Amos.Duveen@whitehorsedc.gov.uk; Andy.Crawford@whitehorsedc.gov.uk; Patrick.O'leary@whitehorsedc.gov.uk; Paul.Barrow@whitehorsedc.gov.uk; Ron.Batstone@whitehorsedc.gov.uk; Ben.Mabbett@whitehorsedc.gov.uk; Matthew.Barber@whitehorsedc.gov.uk; Janet.Shelley@whitehorsedc.gov.uk; and David.Johnston.mp@parliament.uk

Dear Oxfordshire 2050 Team,

Preferred Policy Option 28 on Homes states:  ‘Through this consultation on the Regulation 18 Part 2 stage of the Oxfordshire Plan, the scenarios for the total housing requirement figure 2020-2050 (the OGNA) need to be considered and views are sought’.  My views are as follows:

I would like to see the total housing requirement set at the lowest possible figure, preferably lower than the Option 1 Standard Method, which is still substantially above that needed to cater for the existing population.

I am deeply concerned at the current and proposed levels of development in Oxfordshire and the plans to supercharge the growth of the county as traditionally measured.  This will result in many more people moving into the area requiring ever more houses, roads and traffic. This scale and pace of development, replacing countryside with concrete, is completely inconsistent with our declared climate and nature emergencies.

The housing growth option in the 2050 Plan described as ‘business as usual’ is actually continuing an exceptionally high growth plan which is set to transform much of our landscape over the coming years and will enable house builders and land owners to profit at the expense of the quality of life of existing residents.

There should be an option for Oxfordshire to grow organically, based on up to date natural population growth numbers produced by the Office for National Statistics, with the focus on making housing in the area more affordable. Policies on restricting buy to let and introducing a land value uplift tax would be good. Policies enabling housing association and council houses on brownfield sites would also be enormously helpful.

I also want our Council Leaders to resist any attempts by central Government to impose an increase on the number of houses to be built in Oxfordshire as part of the OxCam Arc proposals. 

Local and by-election results over the last couple of years suggest that a great many members of the public share these concerns and I would ask that you and our elected representatives robustly engage government to rethink its strategy for Oxfordshire and focus instead on their election promise of levelling up the UK – creating jobs where people already live.

[Add your name & address]

And one other planning matter - the application for adding 11 more homes to the Site at Park Farm, East Challow has been updated with new plans (basically adding a few trees) so if you want to add or amend your comments you have until 15 September. See P21/V0738/FUL

If you have to travel, you can access information about roadworks around here at https://one.network/ although don't forget that there will be a fair in Wantage next Saturday so the town centre will be closed to traffic 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.

Thanks for reading,

Best wishes

Julie Mabberley
Campaign Manager

Wantage and Grove Campaign Group

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