Doesn't time fly - it's the end of March already.
I'll start with the reservoir this time. Both the County and District Councils are opposed to the reservoir and have responded to the Water Resources South East (WRSE) consultation, as have we. All three responses are available on our website with links on this page https://www.wantageandgrove.org/reservoir.php. I would have attached the response from GARD but it's 82 pages and much too big.
We've been working on a number of other consultations this month.
Most recently to the England's Economic Heartland (EEH) Swindon-Didcot-Oxford Connectivity Call for Evidence - https://www.englandseconomicheartland.com/our-work/connectivity-studies/swindon-didcot-oxford/ EEH is a partnership of local transport authorities (including Oxfordshire) and local enterprise partnerships (including the Oxfordshire LEP), including Swindon, Oxfordshire, Northamptonshire, Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire, Bedford, Milton Keynes and Luton. They should have access to government money so as this consultation covered our area we felt it was important.
We stressed the need to re-open Grove Station and made sure that all of the Councils (and our MP) knew about the consultation so that they could respond as well. We don't know if they did but our response is available here WaGCG Response to EEH.
The EEH work linked to the County Council draft Local Transport and Connectivity Plan to 2050 (which we have covered in previous emails) and you can see our response to the draft plan here WaGCG Response to LTCP.
We didn't respond to the District Council (together with South Oxfordshire) draft Design Guide consultation because it was just too difficult. It's a very fancy website and I found it really difficult to use - the previous version was a simple booklet and much easier to navigate. As I said last month, they've obviously spent loads of money on this but we didn't find it very user friendly and the consultation questions didn't give us the opportunity to tell then what we thought of it so we didn't bother.
Now some good news: The planning application for the extension to the Health Centre has been approved today!!! Hopefully we'll get some kind of timeline for when it will be built soon. The contractors will have to ensure that the building can still be used while construction takes place.
Still no news about the Leisure Strategy for the area and no-one from the District Council will talk to us about it. There used to be a Youth Strategy as well and that would have given some input to the Leisure needs but obviously the Council are focussing on planning design and not on infrastructure.
Lots of people have commented on the new Lidl application P22/V0286/FUL I guess it will go to a planning committee sometime.
The application about the snicket (alleyway) in the north east corner of the site between the Icknield School (or King Alfred’s East Site) development and Charlton Road P21/V3349/FUL still hasn't been decided but I guess that this is much too small an issue for the planning team to worry about - why should they upset a developer?
The application has been submitted for 300 homes on Tulwick Park (East of the A338 near Williams F1) for details see https://www.wantageandgrove.org/tulwick.php or go to the planning application P22/V0550/O to submit your comments. You have until 6 April. The only group in favour so far is Stagecoach (the Bus Company) who obviously want more people using their buses.
Don't forget the District Council has reduced the free parking in all the car parks to 1 hour from this next weekend. Don't get caught out I'm sure they will fine you if you stay more than an hour without paying. They've got to pay for the electric charging points somehow.
It's the time of year when the local councils have their annual meetings.
Wantage Town Council have their meeting in the Beacon at 7.30pm next Monday 4 April. They might tell us what the status is of the Neighbourhood Plan. They also might have copies of the latest Newsletter - it's supposed to be delivered to every home in the Town but I haven't got my copy yet - have you?
Grove Parish Council are holding their meeting in the Old Mill Hall on Friday 22 April. I think it starts at 7.30pm but I couldn't find any details on their website.
The Vale of the White Horse District Council will hold their annual meeting at 7pm on Wednesday 18 May in their offices in Milton Park (First Floor, 135 Eastern Avenue). I don't think that room is very large so I don't suppose they expect many people to attend.
I can't find any details of an Annual Meeting of the County Council - if you hear of one please let me know. I thought it was a legal requirement to hold one but I might be wrong...
Last month I mentioned road works expected at the Airplane roundabout starting late February and lasting for at least 8 weeks. They had traffic lights in place for three days and then decided to delay the works until the summer holidays when they believe that traffic levels will be less - when we get new dates we'll let you know.
I'm told that there should be another consultation on the Wantage Neighbourhood Plan soon but don't know any details.
Finally it's time for our Annual meeting again. We'll be holding it on Wednesday, 25 May at 7:30pm in Wantage Methodist Church. You can either attend in person or join us virtually on Zoom.
I'll be there in person to tell you what we think the future is for OX12. We already know about 2000 more homes which developers would like to build here so we really need to plan for a load of infrastructure and fire up ALL of the councils to make sure that the infrastructure gets delivered so come and join in the conversation.
Now that we are all out and about again don't forget that you can check for road works which may delay your journey at https://one.network/
That's all for now. I'm sure there are many things I've forgotten to mention so there might be a follow-up email soon but stay safe until then.
Thanks for reading.
Wantage and Grove Campaign Group