Wantange and Grove Campaign Group (WAGCG)
Sustainability Appraisal

It is a legal requirement that a Sustainability Appraisal is published for consultation alongside the ‘Proposed Submission’ Plan document. The Appraisal ‘identifies, describes and evaluates’ the likely significant effects of implementing ‘the plan, and reasonable alternatives’.

There are 11 Sustainability Objectives and this is our assessment of each Objective

1. Provide sufficient suitable homes including affordable homes to meet assessed need - The plan does this but the assessed need is out of all proportion with latest government estimates. The target should be 7000 for the entire Vale and somewhere between 580 and 2,400 for Wantage and Grove.

2. Ensure the availability of high quality services and facilities in the Vale’s towns and rural areas - Possibly in the medium to long term when funding allows but the need is now! Wantage and Grove is significantly underfunded. We have no school places, roads close to capacity, health centres groaning under the weight of demand and as the report states "It has been assessed (2005) that 0% of households meet all of the Accessible Natural Greenspace Standards and 51% meet none of the standards"

3. Reduce the need to travel and improve provisions for walking, cycling and public transport and reduce road congestion - There is nothing "sustainable" about building houses on the outskirts of Wantage and Grove, 10 miles from jobs with limited cycleways and public transport, and congested roads. As the reports says "Wherever practical, key facilities should be located within walking distance of most properties". What is more "key" than work?

4. Improve the health and well-being of Vale residents - In the National Planning Policy Framework, specific protection and promotion of town centres is encouraged. Specifically, local planning authorities should ‘define the extent of town centres’ and set policies that ‘make clear which uses will be permitted in such locations’, and ‘promote competitive town centres that provide customer choice and a diverse retail offer and which reflect the individuality of town centres’. The best that the appraisal can say is that the Plan will"not have any significant negative effects on this objective." We don't see any evidence of promoting competitive town centres in the draft plan.

5. Reduce inequality, poverty and social exclusion and raise educational achievement and skills levels - Providing affordable homes should do some of this but there are only 1200 people on the housing list (about 100 in Wantage). Raising educational achievement and skills levels requires school places now, but the percentage of working age population with an NVQ4 qualification or above is substantially higher than the national and regional figures already.

6. Support a strong and sustainable economy within the Vale’s towns and rural areas - This requires jobs to attact workers to live in the area (in 2008 64.4% of jobs within the Vale were filled by Vale residents and 54.1% of Vale residents had jobs within the Vale). The document seems to believe that building houses will bring everything with it - it could just create a dormitory town.

7. Improve and protect the natural environment including biodiversity, water and soil quality - Green Space will be included in new developments but if they didn't build them the green space would still be there...

8. Protect, enhance and manage the cultural heritage and provide a high quality townscape and landscape - The Appraisal seems to suggest that this will only happen in Botley - there is no mention of improvements to Wantage and Grove

9. Reduce air, noise and light pollution - The appraisal states that the Plan has "no significant negative effects." But surely new building will increase all of these simply by being there and occupied?

10. Reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the use of resources and improve resource efficiency - Our emissions from road transport are higher than any other district in the South East and an additional 7,500 people driving to work will only make this worse

11. Increase resilience to climate change and flooding - The impacts of any improvements will only be in the management of new developments, there are no plans to improve the resilience for existing residents

 

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