Wantange and Grove Campaign Group (WAGCG)
Wantage and Grove Campaign Group (WaGCG)


Latest information about all bridge closures etc
from Network Rail is available on our Rail Bridges page (last updated 2 August 2014)
A338 bridge at the Volunteer: they are planning to build a new bridge just to the east of the existing bridge. A drop-in Session to provide more information should take place late September. Work will probably start in November 2014 and continue to early summer 2015. Road closures are likely to be limited to overnight and weekends and are most likely to take place as the work comes to completion.
A417 bridge at Challow Station: The road will close for 13 weeks from September 06 – December 05 2014 (subject to approval). The good news is that Network Rail will fund a shuttle bus to/from Faringdon to Wantage if there is sufficient demand.

As you have probably seen Foxhall Road Bridge reconstruction (in Didcot) has started and will take 6 months (28 July 2014 – January 2015).

See our pages on Rail BridgesandRoad Closures for more detail.


Air Quality in the Vale

The District Council is consulting on their Air Quality Action Plan 2014.The key actions seem to be in Abingdon and Botley where traffic emissions are the highest. There are no plans to improve the local road network or public transport to reduce emissions and no recognition of the fact that building new homes miles from areas of employment or rail stations will increase emissions


Vale District Council commits to a feasibility study on a "new Settlement in the Vale"

At the Council meeting on 16th July the Councillors agreed to commit to a feasibility study and a public consultation for one or more new settlements in the Vale as solutions to our long term need for housing. This is outside work on the Local Plan so in addition to the 20,560 which are likely to be in the Local Plan, we could expect a further development of up to 30,000 new homes. This could double the number of homes in the Vale in the next 20 years. Where will the funding for the infrastructure required come from?

As Councillor Richard Webber said at the meeting:

"From an average build rate of 550 houses per annum, (last year 400 and only once in the last 30 years 700), we are now in the Local Plan for consultation seeking to achieve an average build rate in excess of 1000 new homes per annum. With the advent of the SHMA, the number could go up by another 3-400 per annum. If Oxford City wins its fight to pass over some of its SHMA allocation to the Districts, we could be over 1500 per annum, nearly 3 times our current average. Not for nothing is Oxfordshire the home of Alice in Wonderland."

Little boxes on the hillside ....[show more]


Time to give communities a real say in the planning process

On the 30th April 2014, Greg Mulholland MP introduced a bill, under the ten minute rule, for amendment of the NPPF. It was sponsored by MPs from all three major parties, and addresses a number of issues that affect us. Unfortunately the bill lapsed because of a shortage of parliamentary time. We hope that some of these ideas will reappear in the manifestos of some of the political parties.

See also Ed's letter to Nick Boles


Communities and Local Government Committee Submission - Our submission to the Commons Select Committee on the Operation of the National Planning Policy Framework has now been published and can be seen on the Government Website.Oral evidence is now being taken - see the recording at


Local Plan Update - housing numbers have increased by 50% from the draft plan 2013!
CPRE says these are grossly overstated.

The draft Local plan has been updated based on two key documents which have been produced recently.

  1. The Oxfordshire Economic Forecasting Final Report
    This suggests that new economic growth projects are expected to result in employment growth in the Vale of 23,000 jobs between 2011-31. However, between 2011 and 2014 growth has been nil so we are sceptical about this projection.
  2. The Oxfordshire Strategic Housing Market Assessment
    This used the new Economic Forecast as a base and then identified a need for up to 20,560 new homes in the Vale between 2011 and 2031. This is an increase of 7,430 on the figures used in the draft plan released in 2013.
We believe that these figures are optimistic in the least and probably no more accurate than the 2008 report which made provision for growth of around 14,300 new jobs, including 143 hectares of employment land, and at least 13,294 new homes during the plan period from 2006 to 2029.

The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) Oxfordshire commissioned planning expert Alan Wenban-Smith to look into the issue and he said the numbers 'grossly overstated' Oxfordshire's need.

Anyway, the Vale has taken these figures and found a number of new sites around the Vale suitable for more housing development. Most of these sites are near Harwell and Didcot but some are in the Green Belt north of Abingdon and the nearest to us are at site near the A338 in East Hanney (just south of the Steventon road) and another site in East Challow near the A417. Both of these sites are recommended for about 200 homes. See our comments on the revised plan.


The outline application for 2500 homes on the brown field site at Grove Airfield and the outline application for 1500 homes on Crab Hill green fields have both been recommended for approval by the Planning Department. Negotiations with the developers on infrastructure funding continue...


Applications are being considered by the District Council for 50 homes off Windmill Place in East Challow and 75 homes behind Bellingers' Garage in North Grove. Haven't the planning committee approved enough? They have now recommended more than 5000 homes be build around our area but don't have plans in place for any improvements in infrastructure.


Open Letter to Matthew Barber, [show detail]

And his reply.


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We should like to thank the Wantage Camera Club (Ian Bateman) for our banner at the top of the page.

We are not affiliated with any political party and our only source of funding is donations. You can donate to the campaign fund by credit or debit card or you can pay money straight into our bank account at HSBC Bank.
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Wantage and Grove Campaign Group
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Wantage and Grove Campaign Group
c/o 12 Barnards Way
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