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

Newsletter 19 October 2023

Dear [Forename]

Doesn't it always happen - I send out the monthly update and then something important comes in a day or two later.. This email covers Thames Water's information events, Dews Meadow Farm Shop and the Abingdon Arms.

Thames Water are holding two information events where their team will be on hand to answer your questions about their revised draft Water Resources Management Plan 2024, setting out the measures, including building the new reservoir.

The first is in the East Hanney War Memorial Hall on Friday 10 November from 2pm to 8pm and the second is in Milton Hill House, on Milton Hill near Steventon on Wednesday 15 November also 2pm to 8pm. They are asking those who want to attend to register so that they can keep track of numbers and communicate any changes to the event arrangements, but you won’t be denied entry if you don’t.



You probably know that following the recent consultation process, Thames Water and the WRSE have published their plans to proceed with the Reservoir near Hanney increasing the proposed size again to 150 Billion Litres! Serious issues raised by us, GARD, the Oxford County Council and Vale of White Horse District Council, and many of you who responded individually, have been brushed aside.

The plans now go to the Secretary of State to approve or not, perhaps within weeks! You could attend one of the events to find out more from Thames Water but also you could lobby your MP urgently (addresses below). Ask them to intervene with the Secretary of State. Ask that the regulators ( RAPID, Ofwat, Environmental Agency) are urged to engage properly and mention that the following serious issues have not been addressed:

  • Safety and flooding risk (many of our homes could be at risk if the banks burst and we are all likely to have to evacuate the area if a fault in the banks is identified)
  • Lack of accurate, transparent comparison of costs (The reservoir is chosen over other schemes as it is cited as being 'best value' without clear evidence of this).
  • Lack of accurate, transparent comparison of carbon and environmental costs.
  • Serious issues regarding filling the reservoir from the Thames in dry periods, how much water it can provide and lack of drought resilience.
  • Use of outdated, over-exaggerated population data (Thames Water argue the regulators insist they use these figures, but the Secretary of State could require them to use up-to-date ONS figures).
  • Lack of proper scrutiny of alternate options and the selection of an inflexible plan that takes longer to implement in the face of climate change. (Thames Water have rejected the quicker and more adaptable solution of water transfer from wetter regions without adequate justification).
  • The costly and unacceptable plan to transfer water out of our dry region to Southern Water in Hampshire. This accounts for over â…” of the reservoir capacity and the cost and logic of this scheme is even disputed by Southern Water themselves!

GARD continue to campaign politically and seek to work with the regulators. They need our help to lobby our politicians.

Abingdon MP Layla Moran. https://members.parliament.uk/member/4656/contact
Wantage MP David Johnston. https://members.parliament.uk/member/4761/contact

While I'm here, Dews Meadow Farm Shop is closing at a date yet to be confirmed in November. They have been struggling with staff shortages, combined with medical issues within the family, and do not feel that they would be able to continue to provide the level of service that they have provided for so many years. We wish them well but will miss them.
As sad as this day will be, it’s not all gloom and doom - as although the farm shop will no longer be open, they will still be running their farm in Charney Bassett, raising, and breeding the wonderful variety of livestock. They say that they are in the very early stages of exploring many new innovative and exciting plans for the future. So we hope to hear some good news some time soon.

Also the Abingdon Arms in Wantage has been forced to close stating that it has become unviable.

Thanks for reading.

Best wishes

Julie Mabberley
Campaign Manager

Wantage and Grove Campaign Group


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