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

Newsletter 23 December 2022

Dear [Forename]

Just in time for the holidays, so sit down and have a read - this is a long one...

First, thank you for your comments on Persimmon's outline plans for the Airfield Community Centre. We submitted the following:
We believe that the Local Centre on the Wellington Gate (Grove Airfield) Development should be accessible to all in the local community by foot, cycle, bus and car. This means that it should be close to bus stops for those with limited mobility as well have adequate cycle and car parking close to the key Store and the Community Centre.
Given the draft design presented to us, we would prefer it if both the Community Centre and key Store should have parking and bus stops as close as possible (within 50 m) for the benefit of those with limited mobility, so should be at the west side of designated area nearer the bus route.
A Key Store directly opposite a school (in the “blue” location) with no parking in between doesn’t make sense. There is already not enough space for the drop off, plus teacher parking and visitor parking, and the access to the retail parking area is very close to the school so anyone trying to access the parking in the Local Centre at drop-off/pick-up times will have difficulty accessing the area.
It would be more sensible to put extra parking opposite the school and the Key Store close to parking and bus routes.
We suggest that it would be good to put paving in front of the community centre (to create a “square” that could be multi-functional and works all year round), and then parking where the ”blue” Key Store is currently shown.
The key store could be moved to the west with access off the main bus route for both customers and deliveries so that the lorries are not conflicting with school traffic (foot, cycle and cars). Other retail units would be to the east.

The draft design can be found at https://www.wantageandgrove.org/images/GroveAirfieldLocalCentre.pdf
We even submitted a rough diagram of what the revised plan might be, which you can see here https://www.wantageandgrove.org/images/airfield-community-hub.jpg
We'll see if they take any notice.

County Highways officers have removed their objection to the plans for a sloping path to remove the steps in the Snicket between the Bovis development on King Alfred's East Site and Charlton Road see P21/V3349/FUL so hopefully this will be approved in the new year and work will commence.

Following up the article in the Telegraph about Wantage Practice Care Network (repeated in the Wantage Herald) - my column in the Herald this week included feedback from the Practices. See https://www.wantageandgrove.org/column.php?id=301

The Reservoir - a Bad Idea
The plans for the reservoir are open for consultation again.
Don't forget it's huge - a large flan case plonked on the fields just to the east of the A338 near East Hanney. The Road from Hanney to Steventon will probably have to be moved. It will be the largest bunded reservoir in the northern hemisphere with banks up to 30m high. Water will have to be pumped into from the Thames and should the bank burst then at least 100 million litres of water will go a long way - did you see the aftermath of the fish tank in Berlin recently (than was only about 1 million litres)?
The Thames Water Plans were only released on 13th December so we haven't had time to review them throughly yet but they are planning to hold some events to show us the plans.

  • 20th January 2023 2pm – 8 pm – Trinity Church Abingdon – Drop in session
  • 1st February 2023 - Westgate, Oxford – ‘pop-up event’
  • 18th February 2023 2pm – 8pm - Steventon Village Hall – Drop in session

Let us know if you attend any of these events.
We will be holding a meeting on 27th January in Old Mill Hall, Grove where GARD (Group against Reservoir Development) will present details of the plans and how we can oppose them so please put the date in your diary. It will start at 7.30 pm.
A little background information first:
Water Resources South East is the grouping of 7 South-East Water Companies – including Thames Water and Affinity Water. They have published their draft Plan for the South-East until 2075. The consultation is available here
This plan is a summary of the draft plans of each of the Water Companies and the consultation closes on 23 February 2023.
We will be publishing comments on the plan in due course.
The consultation on the Thames Water Water Resource Management Plan is available here
The Plan includes the ‘Abingdon’ Reservoir. If approved, a start would be made in 2025, and the reservoir would be filled from 2037 to 2039 and be ready for 2040.
Thames Water supply 2.6 billion litres of water, but not all of that gets to their customers. At the moment, almost 24% of the water supplied is lost through leakage - that's 650 million litres per day (the same amount that the reservoir would provide).
The new plans suggest that most of the water is not for us but for people on the south coast or in East Anglia, the Vale is just a convenient place to put the reservoir.

You will remember the application for 300 homes on Tulwick Park to the East of the A338 opposite Bellingers Garage. David Wilson Homes have submitted an Appeal so once again we are at the mercy of planning inspectors. Comments can be submitted until 28th December but if you submitted comments to the planning application these have already been sent to the Planning Inspector. The Inspector appointed to decide the appeal is J Bore MRTPI and the inquiry will open at 10.00am on 21 February 2023. It is currently scheduled as 6 sitting days. Papers for the appeal can be found on the on the District Council website in the planning application folder. (P22/V0550/O).

Now a possible bit of good news about the crossing outside Fitzwaryn School - after some prompting from David Johnston MP, the County Council have said that they will submit a bid to the District Council for the necessary £130k of Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) funding for the upgrade of the crossing outside Fitzwaryn School from a simple Zebra crossing to a Puffin Crossing with traffic lights. If successful, they will add it to the list of schemes to be progressed during the 2023/2024. So all we need now are our District and County Councillors so show that they can make a difference and ensure that the bid is successful and the money spent.

We are still getting new organisations, sports clubs etc. to add to our new page on the website. 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 - Just a reminder that as part of the scheme to improve Oxford railway station, Botley Road will be closed at Botley Road Rail Bridge from 9th 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 and best wishes for 2023.

Best wishes

Julie Mabberley
Campaign Manager

Wantage and Grove Campaign Group


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