The weather seems to be cooler today so the silly season may be over, but County Highways still seem to be doing peculiar things. Wantage hospital is back in the news, the plans for the reservoir are back to full size and there's a talk about what to do if your child is ill. Carry on reading...
The County Councillor for Highways considered the 20 mph proposals for Wantage at his meeting last week. Even though 52% of 243 respondents were against the proposal and a further 16% were concerned about it, he approved it because “it’s County Council Policy”.
He didn’t even consider the impact that it might have on the Fire Brigade in Wantage. They had responded to the consultation pointing out that
“Wantage fire station is served by oncall staff that must live within 5 minutes. At 30mph, that's 2.5 miles away. Under a 20mph zone, this drops to 1.67 miles. The recruitment area would drop to 44.6% of its current size. This would, in all likelihood cause the Wantage fire station to close. Wantage, Grove and surrounding villages would then need to be served by crews from Abingdon and Didcot stations. The potential increase in deaths due to the increased response times would be a direct result of the implementation of the 20mph zones in Wantage.”
So if our fire station closes, it’s a direct result of the proposal put forward by the Town Council and approved by the County Council. I don't suppose they had thought to talk to the emergency services first.
There is another consultation about the pedestrianisation of the Market Place which you ought to respond to but given the behaviour of the County Council I wouldn't hold out much hope of being listened to.
Anyway, the current closure of the west end of Wantage Market Place was initially approved during Covid and was made permanent in March 2023 but following further comments from the public and retail properties, some proposed adjustments are being considered. The consultation can be found on the County Council website https://letstalk.oxfordshire.gov.uk/wantage_marketplace_amendments2023 and comments can also be sent in writing to the address below before 16 September.
Traffic Regulation Team (Ref: CM/12.6.391), Oxfordshire County Council, County Hall, New Road, Oxford, OX1 1ND or by email to: email@example.com.
Unfortunately the new proposals are very unclear but do include shortening the bus bays (which the buses can't all fit into anyway) and reducing the taxi rank from 7 spaces to 4. Two of the remaining taxi parking places will also be made `general loading bays` to be shared with the taxis at certain hours of the day. What is also not clear is that the pedestrian area is being enlarged by an additional 7 metres. Apparently this is because the highways regulations require a larger turning circle for the vehicles that might be loading and to quote the Town Clerk “the scheme proposed was the best the consultants could come up with given the physical restrictions in that area.”
No, it doesn’t make much sense to me either, but your response should be completed and returned by 5pm on Friday 15 September 2023.
There is also a petition being organised by the businesses around the area to appeal against the moves - the Dolphin Gallery will have more details.
Wantage Communty Hospital is back in the news with Oxford Health Trust leading two stakeholder workshops to shape potential services in the hospital. They are looking for residents, users of local NHS services and representatives of local voluntary groups to participate. There will also be a survey to complete which I'll provide more details about when they become available. The stakeholder workshops will take place at The Beacon on either 19 September 1– 2.45pm or 20â€¯September 11-12.45 Residents and Representatives of voluntary sector / community groups are invited to attend one of the workshops.
Please fill in the following form to express your interest: https://forms.office.com/e/nrMYi3PGuS or contact the project team on firstname.lastname@example.org
The Kingsgrove (Crab Hill) application for their Central Park and the proposed zig-zag footpath up the hill pass the allotments on Grove Road P23/V1296/RM hasn't been decided yet and some of the plans have changed. They are now planning to put some ball stop fencing at the southern end of the two full size pitches but 1m high rabbit fencing at the northern end and no fencing at all at the ends of the smaller pitch. 1m high fencing is too high to get over easily to retrieve balls from the woodland area to the north but too low to stop balls going over - surely the ball stop fencing should apply to both ends of all three pitches for safety.
Once again you can submit comments until 15 September.
Water Resources South East and Thames Water have now published their revised plans and the summary is that they remain committed to using the inflated population growth models (in spite of the representations of Oxfordshire stakeholders) and the inflated abstraction reductions. Thames have had to give way on accepting the per capita consumption target, but have used this to reduce their deficit and eliminate the Severn Thames Transfer from their programme. They also still fail to reach 50% leakage reduction outside London, the leakage reduction in the Thames Valley and Swindon-Oxfordshire is just 27%. Despite all the comments from County and District Councils, WaGCG, GARD (Group Against Reservoir Development) and hundreds of others, the reservoir is back to full size (150 million cubic metres) see our Herald column for more details https://wantageandgrove.org/column.php?id=339
GARD would like to help (and more members) as they move to the next stage of their campaign; if you are interested then please contact Deborah (email@example.com). You could also write to David Johnston (firstname.lastname@example.org) asking him to press DEFRA Secretary of State, Therese Coffey to reject or call for modification of the Thames Water plans.
Finally, for those with small family members, the Church Street Patient Group (with the support of the Newbury Street Patient Group) are holding a talk on Monday 18th September by Dr Mackenzie titled: 'My child is ill, what shall I do?’. It starts at 7pm at Wantage Methodist Church and also on Zoom. The Zoom details are:
https://us06web.zoom.us/j/85973906487?pwd=TVc1bjY5UDFxNGlOV0ZYZjRjTWwvdz09 Meeting ID: 859 7390 6487, Passcode: 990357.
As you know, you can read columns from the Herald at https://wantageandgrove.org/columns.php, previous newsletters at https://wantageandgrove.org/newsletters.php and find a list of many of the sports, cultural and community organisations in OX12 at https://wantageandgrove.org/organisations.php
For roadworks see https://one.network/.
Thanks for reading.
Wantage and Grove Campaign Group