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

Newsletter 14 February 2023

Dear [Forename]

As you know we are subject to a proposal from Thames Water to build a Mega-Reservoir between East Hanney and Drayton (just north of the railway). This proposal is currently in two separate consultations which we need you to respond to.

The first one - now urgent, is the Water Resources South East (WRSE) consultation which closes next Monday 20 February.
To take part you can do one of three things:

  • Register at https://wrse.uk.engagementhq.com and then complete the consultation online
  • Email contact@wrse.org.uk
  • Write to WRSE draft regional plan consultation, c/o Adams Hendry Consulting Ltd, Sheridan House, 40-42 Jewry Street, Winchester, Hampshire, SO23 8RY.

Please make sure that they know you are contacting them about the WRSE plan.

You can see the draft Plan at https://wrse.uk.engagementhq.com/20131/widgets/57022/documents/33823. The Group Against Reservoir Development (GARD) https://www.abingdonreservoir.org.uk/ has suggested answers to the consultation here https://abingdonreservoir.org.uk/campaign%202022/WRSE%20response%202023%20-%20helpful%20ideas.pdf or for a summary see our column in the Herald this week which you can preview here https://wantageandgrove.org/column.php?id=309
The important thing is for as many people as possible to send in their comments so that they understand what people think (that means you and every member of your family). It's also important to put your response in your own words, but it could be as simple as:
"I don't trust Thames Water to be able to build and maintain a reservoir when they can't fix leaks in existing pipes and we don't need the reservoir anyway because the population forcasts are wrong and it would be much better to get the amount of water we need water from the River Severn"

The same proposal is also in the Thames Water Water Resource Management Plan (WRMP) but the deadline for responses to this plan is not until 20 March so we'll remind you again before then. The plan has it's own website at https://thames-wrmp.co.uk/

Other news this week is that both the District Council and the County Council are finalising their budgets. The County Council meeting is this morning (but you can watch it on catch-up at https://oxon.cc/FC14022023) and the District Council meeting is in the Beacon tomorrow evening at 7pm so we'll know how much our rates will increase by soon.

We've also heard that about £2 million has been obtained through a successful bid to a decarbonisation fund which will allow the replacement of the old gas boilers in the Wantage Leisure Centre with state of the art heat pumps, solar panels and much enhanced insulation. As Andy Crawford says - "not only will this have a massive impact on CO2 emissions it will also make the Leisure Centre more viable as it will slash running costs."
They did the same to Faringdon Leisure Centre several years ago. This will also give them the incentive to finally spend the Section 106 developer contributions for the swimming pool on a learner pool at the leisure centre at the same time - but don't hold your breath as (according to Andy Crawford again)
"the process will be:

  1. Draft design,
  2. Consult
  3. Detailed design
  4. Obtain planning permission
  5. Tender to builders
  6. Construct.

So not a quick process made more complex as land is owned by King Alfred's Educational Trust ( a separate charity) and Oxfordshire County Council have an interest as do the Vale Academy Trust as part of the Joint User Agreement which allows schools to have sole use of facility in school/term time".
Given that it has taken the last four years not to develop a Leisure Strategy I don't have a lot of confidence in the ability of the District Council to complete these steps quickly.

Thank you to those who have commented on the application for an Anaerobic Digestion facility to be built at Grove Farm off Cow Lane near the Sewage works (and the Letcombe Brook) between Grove and East Hanney. Planning Application P22/V2955/FUL (whitehorsedc.gov.uk). There are over 100 comments not including those who contributed to the "Community Objection" (its a bit like a petition) regarding the proposed AD plant at Bradfield Grove. We wait to see when this will be discussed at a Planning Meeting.

Now the Crab HIll application which I mentioned quickly in the last email. This is a revised outline application for 669 homes and the Neighbourhood Centre with an uplift of another 34 homes bringing to total to date to 1534 homes on Crab Hill. You can see it here P23/V0134/O This application appears to overrides all approved applications in the area so the approved application for drainage and ground levels which was approved last year P21/V2546/RM. So we have submitted an objection to try to ensure that the drainage gap between the existing homes on Charlton Heights and the new homes on Crab Hill is maintained.

Advance notice of a "Wellbeing Event" being organised by the Patient Groups of Newbury Street and Church Street Practices at the Beacon on 22 April 12.00- 16.00. Many of the 150 sports, cultural and community organisations included on our website at https://wantageandgrove.org/organisations.php will be invited to participate in the event so if you want to find out more about any activity in OX12, which you can participate in, please come along - or if you want to be represented there (and don't receive an email about it in the next two weeks) then please get in touch at wellbeing@ox12.org

Finally don't forget that you can check for any road works which may delay your journey at https://one.network/

Thanks for reading.

Best wishes

Julie Mabberley
Campaign Manager

Wantage and Grove Campaign Group


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