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

Newsletter 9 March 2023

Dear [Forename]

This is the second email covering other surveys and consultations:

Local health services: Our MP David Johnston has launched his own short consultation about Health Services in the constituency, it is only a few questions and although it asks for your name and email you don't have to agree to be added to his mailing list. It might help to influence the Government - who knows...

County Councillors: The Local Government Boundary Commission is consulting on the council boundaries for County Councillors in Oxfordshire. These are usually in line with parish or ward boundaries and currently all for the election of 63 County Councillors. The commission is 'minded to recommend that the council should have 69 councillors in the future' and is consulting on how the boundaries should change. You can go to https://consultation.lgbce.org.uk/have-your-say/686? for more details. You can also write to the commission at  reviews@lgbce.org.uk to give them your views.
This is important because Wantage and Grove have always had few councillors than Abingdon and therefore has less of a voice at the Council. The commission give details of the expected electorate numbers for 2029 (we don't know the source of the figures).
Using the figures, Grove and Wantage combined has a predicted electorate of 20,602 whilst the predicted electorate of Abingdon South, Abingdon North, and Abingdon East combined is 24,910 (very similar) yet we have only 2 County Councillors whilst Abingdon has 3. Didcot and Hagbourne is predicted to be 26,791 with 3 County council representatives. Perhaps some of the villages like the Letcombes or Challows should be moved from Shrivenham to Grove and Wantage to make the figures more equitable (around 8,300 per councillor). We have until 8 May to comment so more discussion is required.

Housing Numbers
Oxford City are consulting on their housing numbers for their new Local Plan until 27 March.
The problem is that the Housing and Economic Needs Assessment (HENA) calculates housing numbers for each district in Oxfordshire and if this is approved by Planning Inspectors, it may affect the ability of the Vale Council to use it's own figures.
If the Government doesn't change the planning policies on the Duty to Co-operate it will also require more homes to be built in the Vale to satisfy the housing needs for the City as the City says it can build enough homes to meet the need.
We believe that the reason why the Strategic plan for Oxfordshire didn't go ahead was because the Districts disagreed with the housing needs figures, so allowing these figures to be used is not democratic.
Para 4.19 of their draft Local Plan says: "This approach does not seek to impose an approach on other Oxfordshire authorities, it is for the other authorities to identify an appropriate housing requirement for their own areas and to identify an appropriate contribution for contributing towards Oxford’s unmet need." but the HENA clearly identifies figures for each district. We are therefore asking everyone to write to planningpolicy@oxford.gov.uk stating that that the HENA as produced should not be part of the Local Plan as it impinges on the democratic rights of residents of other parts of the county to make their own decisions.

Part 3 to follow ...

Thanks for reading.

Best wishes

Julie Mabberley
Campaign Manager

Wantage and Grove Campaign Group


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