This might be the last update before Christmas so Happy Holidays and best wishes for 2023.
Firstly a reminder that you can still send me any comments on the proposal for the new Local Centre on Grove Airfield until the weekend. I'm aiming to send comments to Persimmon on Saturday morning so before then please. To save you looking for the previous email, the document is available from our website either via https://www.wantageandgrove.org/airfield.php or directly here https://www.wantageandgrove.org/images/GroveAirfieldLocalCentre.pdf. Many people have asked where this will be in relation to the existing roads, so I'll try to explain: as you go north up Newlands Drive, there is a turning off to the left into Sentinel Street just before you get to the turning to Savile Way on the right. This will be the nearest road access to the new Centre from old Grove. The new Extra Care Facility will be on the north side of Sentinel Street and you will need to drive past that and turn right to get to the Community Hub and past that to the shops. This phasing map https://www.wantageandgrove.org/images/airfieldphasing.jpg shows the area L1 which reflects the area in the draft design document.
So it's west of Savile Way and the back (east side) of the Care home and the Primary school will face Newlands Drive - but there won't be any direct access because of the ransom strip alongside Newlands Drive.
Comments received so far confirm the issues about access to the shops from the bus stop which will be about 200m further west from the centre and lack of parking near to main store and the Community Centre. People have also pointed out that there is not enough space for the school drop off, plus teacher parking and visitor parking and by making the school parking a close – there will be major bottle necks in the morning as cars turn round after drop off.
Someone suggested that they should put paving in front of the community centre (to create a “square” that works all year round), and then parking where the ”blue” shop now is. That would work for me..
The main problem is that the Local Centre needs to be accessible by existing Grove residents as well as those on the new development so needs to be as close to Newlands Drive as possible but also near the bus route which will be further west. I understand that buses won't be travelling up Newlands Drive but will go through the new development to the west of the Centre as shown by the pink line on page 5 of the draft design document.
Next changes to parking in Wantage town centre. There is a consultation taking place https://letstalk.oxfordshire.gov.uk/wantage_residentsparking2022 until 9 December (sorry for the short notice but you know what it's like setting up new computer systems):
Our comments include:
The application to remove the steps in the Snicket between the Bovis development on King Alfred's East Site and Charlton Road see P21/V3349/FUL still hasn't been approved. County Highways officers have objected as "having assessed the re-grading of the footpath in detail, it appears that amendment to the footpath width from 2.0 metres to 1.5 metres for a 20 metre stretch is being proposed. This is not a design which the County Highway Authority would desire." I don't think the developers are interested in spending any more time and money so the persuasion by the planning team to get plans for the slope may be in vain.
As I mentioned in September, the consultation on Wantage pedestrianisation has finished and contributions should be being evaluated. The project team will then report back on key outcomes. We still have no information about any decision date or when the report on the consultation published, and have received no response to a request to the Town Council for information.
The Lidl plans for a store on Grove Road just north of the Mably Roundabout have finally been approved and the legal agreements signed. Now Lidl just have to comply with them.
Work continues on the Health Centre expansion. We believe that things are still on track for the new consulting rooms to be ready to use by Easter next year. Let's hope that there will be more paved parking soon as the grass areas are horrendous in the recent wet weather with people parking everywhere.
There was an article in the Telegraph on 24th November which stated that Wantage Practice Care Network was in the 10 groups with the lowest number of face to face appointments. This was covered in an article in the Wantage Herald today - I'm chairman of Newbury Street Patient Group and given the shortage of NHS staff around the country, it seems very sensible to consult the doctor by phone or video rather than face to face if it's possible because it takes less of the Doctors time and they can fit in more appointments. If the Doctor feels that he/she needs to see you, he/she will make an appointment for you.
We reported last month that we now have a new page on the website with over 100 local organisations listed. See www.wantageandgrove.org/organisations.php. So if you make a new year resolution to do more sport or take up a new hobby, you might find the local organisation here.
We know that there are many organisations missing from this list and so if you have contact details for any of the organisers of other clubs, societies etc, or wish us to add your organisation to the list, please let us know.
Finally roadworks - I know that we don't list all the roadworks anymore but this one is significant so we decided to mention it in case you have missed it. As part of the scheme to improve Oxford railway station, Botley Road will be closed at Botley Road Rail Bridge from January to December 2023. Buses will turn round at the bridge so you might find Redbridge Park and Ride more convenient than Seacourt from the end of this month. It will of course get too full but that's the joy of Oxford. - don't forget that you can check for any road works which may delay your journey at https://one.network/
Thanks for reading.
Wantage and Grove Campaign Group