It's turning into a busy week.
Consultations seem to come in batches and there's another one which is relevant to anyone living on Crab Hill or who drives along the A417 towards the A34 regularly.
The proposal is to introduce a ‘Bus Gate’ restriction on Elder Way (eastern access to Crab Hill) between the junctions with the A417 & Appletons (the first side road within the estate). The proposals will prohibit other motor vehicles entering that section of road, with exemptions applying to buses, pedal-cycles & taxis. In order to help reinforce the bus gate, turning prohibitions will be introduced for vehicles travelling on the A417 Reading Road to prevent them entering Elder Way, and on Elder Way to prevent them accessing the A417 – again, similar exemptions will apply to buses, pedal-cycles & taxis. You can respond until 11 February. https://letstalk.oxfordshire.gov.uk/wantage_a417crabhill_busgate2022
This was included in the outline planning application and was designed to reduce the number of entrances from the development onto the A417. As you can imagine, this route might be seen as a shortcut for those dropping of children at the Primary School on Crab Hill and could create problems on the A417. If the parents have to get onto the development via the link road at either Mably Way or the new Lockinge Roundabout then the traffic may flow better. Of course, if taxis are exempt, any children going to school by taxi can still use this route.
Secondly the District Council is discussing reducing the 2 hour free parking in all the car parks to 1 hour to save money. This is in addition to the civil parking enforcement which means that more people are getting tickets for illegal parking.
This change is being proposed by Councillor Andy Crawford (Cabinet Member for Finance and a local Wantage Councillor). The report details the lost revenue in the last financial year (during the pandemic) when most people were isolating anyway. A decision will be made at the cabinet meeting on Friday this week.
Is this going to reduce the number of people who meet for a coffee in town (who may have to keep their conversations under the hour to be able to park for free)? Hospitality venues have already suffered badly under Covid so this could be another blow. If you have a view, you can contact Councillor Crawford Andy.Crawford@whitehorsedc.gov.uk
Finally I attended the District Council Scrutiny Committee on Tuesday evening where they were discussing both the car park issue but also the latest Officers Report on the Oxfordshire 2050 Plan. According the the report no-one in Wantage responded to the consultation - we know that this is untrue because we responded on your behalf.
Also the report stated that "Transformational growth received the highest level of positive responses" in the consultation. ('Transformational' growth means more than 150,000 new homes across Oxfordshire - 1 new house for every 2 existing homes). Most of these positive responses were from developers - who stand to gain financially and many of whom are based outside the county.
At the meeting it was stated that Oxford City was in favour of this higher number of new homes (even the lowest number is 100,000 new homes) but they don't have the space to build them so all homes would be build outside Oxford - many in the Vale. Why should the City and developers get to decide how many homes are built here?
The Scrutiny Committee 'noted' the report but didn't comment on it's bias or inaccuracies so they didn't help us either - our local councillors Ben Mabbett, Patrick O'Leary and Ron Batstone were all on the committee. If you want to listen to the discussion it's available on youtube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UKSJhLwNm-o
So that's enough from me for today.
Thanks for reading.
Wantage and Grove Campaign Group