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


News this week is not about roadworks but about health services.

Wantage Community Hospital is closing to ensure long-term safety.

"Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust will be closing Wantage Community Hospital and relocating services currently provided there to alternative local settings from early this summer. This is a planned closure, required on safety grounds, to permanently eradicate the risk of legionella in the hot water system.

Raised levels of legionella have been detected in the hot water system at Wantage and we have been applying effective short- term treatments to the system. Currently there is no legionella risk present. However, because pipework at WCH is old, corroded and hot water circulation is poor, legionella will recur unless the plumbing for the whole site is replaced."

This problem has been known for a long time and we are a little suspicious about the need for a "early" closure when there is a planned "consultation" later in the year.
This will be discussed at the Town Council Health Committee meeting on 23 May at 7.30pm.

As the press release states: "The closure will take place before a major public consultation planned for this autumn to determine the future provision of bed-based and ambulatory care for older people and adults with multiple long term conditions in Oxfordshire. We have set aside funds to carry out the necessary plumbing works once the outcome of that consultation is known."

So why is it closing earlier?

A campaign to save the hospital has been set up and you can sign the petition here


Strategic Economic Plan Refresh

OxLEP – Oxfordshire’s Local Enterprise Partnership – the unelected private company that is driving the economic growth in our county – is holding a public consultation on the ‘Refresh’ of the Strategic Economic Plan (SEP).

The consultation runs until Friday 27 May and is being hosted on the OxLEP website.You can also send in comments by email to info@oxfordshirelep.com

The public were not consulted on the original SEP – the economic strategy for Oxfordshire. When it was drafted in 2014, OxLEP promised a public consultation on its growth plans, but cancelled this due to ‘lack of time’!

But while the public are finally being given the opportunity to comment on some aspects of the Plan, the overall growth targets of 85,600 new jobs and 93,560 - 106,560 new homes by 2031 are not up for debate.

The questions asked in the consultation are shown below:

  1. Does the SEP capture the main characteristics of the Oxfordshire economy, its challenges and opportunities? If not, what else could be included?
  2. People – do we have the right priorities and commitments in place? If not, what is missing?
  3. Place – do we have the right priorities and commitments in place? If not, what is missing?
  4. Enterprise – do we have the right priorities and commitments in place? If not, what is missing?
  5. Connectivity – do we have the right priorities and commitments in place? If not, what is missing?
  6. Does the SEP articulate clearly the roles and responsibilities of OxLEP – both in itself and in relation to other processes?

We believe that Oxfordshire is a very diverse county with a range of industries and a specialist interest in scientific research and development. We are, currently, the most rural county in the South East. The number of jobs in the plan are based on errors and assumptions and have not been subject to any serious challenge. They do not link to the real priorities of the people in Oxfordshire.
Oxfordshire has a large percentage of people over the age of 65 and the forecast population growth is primarily in this age range so the priorities and commitments in the plan must include a strong emphasis on ultilising this knowledge and skills base but also ensuring that services and facilities are available to support them.
The plan makes no attempt to balance the needs of the population and the environmental impacts of population growth and climate change and without this is purely a way of expanding a few select companies and projects at the expense of the rural character of the county and the desires of its residents.

Please write to the LEP and give your own views on their plan refresh. Some ideas of what to write are included on the Need not Greed website at http://www.neednotgreedoxon.org.uk/


Planning Updates

  • The remainder of Monks Farm. The planning application has now been submitted for 456 dwellings. This will fill in the rest of the land around the cemetery from Denchworth Road to Williams F1 and Bellingers. See (Vale Ref: P16/V0981/O) and ourMonks Farm pagefor more details.
  • Grove Airfield - Still 2500 homes but details of planning conditions and financial contributions have still not been agreed. Until everyone has signed, nothing can happen. See (Vale Ref: P12/V0299/O) for details.
  • 150 homes on King Alfred's East Site - An outline application (P15/V2952/O) to turn the Kings Alfred's School East Site into a housing estate with 150 homes has been recommended for approval. This is an outline application and the Academy will sell the site to developers who will then submit a detailed application showing the exact number, position and size of houses to be built.
  • East Challow - Up to 36 dwellings on land at Challow Park (including former Council depot), Challow Road, East Challow. See (Vale Ref: P15/V2545/O) for details. This application has been recommended for approval by the Planning Committee.
    - 50 homes behind Windmill Place. See (Vale Ref: P14/V2318/FUL) for details. This application is back on the agenda with revised plans etc from Bovis. This application has still not gone to a planning committee, and
    - An outline application for the development of up to 88 dwellings on the corner between the Depot and the Village has now been submitted. See (Vale Ref: P16/V0652/O) for details.
    - See our East Challow page
  • East Hanney- Both applications for 200 homes were turned down by the Planning Committee on 25th November 2015. See (Vale Ref: P15/V1846/O) for details of the application east of the A338.
    - The application for 197 homes on the land south of Summertown, see Vale Ref: P15/V1616/FUL has gone to appeal.
    - a new outline application has been received for up to 30 homes south of The Causeway East Hanney, see Vale Ref: P16/V0364/O.
    - see our Hanneys page for detail of the impact on the Hanneys.
  • West Hanney - 16 dwellings off School Road, an application for the Hanneys was submitted in December 2015. This has now been amended. (P15/V2887/FUL)
    - A new planning application has been submitted for 11 homes on land adjacent to Church Farm (P16/V0635/FUL)
  • East Hendred A new outline planning application (see Vale Ref: P16/V0235/O) has been submitted for 75 homes near Featherbed Lane East Hendred after the first application was refused (see Vale Ref: P15/V2328/O). - The full planning application for 48 homes on land north of the A417 to the east of Portway Cottages, Reading Road, East Hendred has not yet gone to a planning committee (see Vale Ref: P15/V2560/FUL).
  • Crab Hill we still have no information about the developers of the 1500 homes at Crab Hill although we understand the site is under offer. We did write to the District Council recently about the requirement for a Development Delivery Forum for the development. According to Schedule 10 of the S106:
    "As soon as reasonably practicable after completion of this Agreement and in any event prior to the Commencement of Development, the Owners, the District Council and the County Council shall set up and implement the Forum in accordance with the terms of reference contained in this Schedule." "The membership of the Forum may vary from time to time but will include representatives of the Owners and subsequent developers and officers of the District Council and County Council, and may include local District and County Councillors, Town Council representatives, any other representative of relevant local organisations and representatives of the local residents." We would like to be a member of the Forum. See (Vale Ref: P13/V1764/O) for details or go to our Crab Hill) page for some more information about the application.


The Police Counter in Wantage Library has closed from the end of March 2016

Quote from Thames Valley Police:[show more]


For information on the status of the Local Plan Examination click here


The NPPF fails to protect against unsustainable development, reports Government committee - See the full report


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

At the Council meeting on 16th July 2014 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]


Open Letter to Matthew Barber, [show detail]

And his reply.


Developments around Wantage and Grove

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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
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