Wantange and Grove Campaign Group (WAGCG)
Crab Hill Proposal - Your Comments


Please make sure that your comments are also sent to the Council, thank you.

  • Vale District Council Planning Department
  • Oxfordshire County Highways Planning Department
  • Oxfordshire County Education Planning Department
  • Our comments can be downloaded at wagcg_comments.pdf

    The initial report from our planning consultant is available here and the traffic analysis is here


    Your Comments

    A massive detrimental effect on the immediate and surrounding areas [show detail]

    A 50% increase would be inconceivable [show detail]

    Take your development elsewhere [show detail]

    I believe it will be a very unsustainable community [show detail]

    I am truly appalled by the intended build at Crab Hill [show detail]

    Who will benefit from this expansion? [show detail]

    All I can do is save up and try and move away from my home one day [show detail]

    Please be careful with our precious countryside [show detail]

    This plan should be scrapped [show detail]

    Is this the worst thing that could happen? [show detail]

    Can we be confident that funding for infrastructure will be found? [show detail]

    40% growth will significantly impact the character of Wantage [show detail]

    No improvements to local infrastructure [show detail]

    This is not in the spirit of the legislation that guards AONB [show detail]

    A recipe for disaster for all of us who are living here [show detail]

    Bitterly disappointed at the Presentation [show detail]

    The overall dwelling density is much too high [show detail]

    This area is not suitable for the amount of houses planned [show detail]

    This is totally overdevelopment [show detail]

    We need houses, school, community centre and park. [show detail]



    Questions to the Council - see below for answers.

    1. In the Planning Statement it states:

    "6.4. In order to ensure that this submission has assessed a realistic "worst case" impact, the following development phasing has been assumed:
    Phase 1
    Commencement of house building to the eastern side of the site (approx. 450 dwellings), including provision off the A417 Reading Road of a primary school and part of the neighbourhood centre. Access to be achieved from two priority 'T' junctions off A417, as well as a newly constructed roundabout on the A417 incorporating the existing A417 Reading Road / West Lockinge priority 'T' junction and a short section of the WELR. This phase of the development would commence in 2015 and is anticipated to be fully complete by 2019."

    Can you please explain what is mean by assessed a realistic "worst case" impact ?

    Worst case Impact is the applicant’s assessment of how the scheme would be delivered without external funding.
    The transport assessment has been based upon a cumulative impact, i.e. the impact of phase 2 has been based upon the addition of 850 units to the network, rather than 400 on top of the 450 which would already be in the baseline by virtue of the completion of phase 1. This is an assessment of the worst possible case.It should further be noted that the Transport Assessment has made allowance for considerable development on other sites within Wantage and Grove within each of the horizon years that have been assessed, i.e. development at Grove Airfield, Monks Farm and Stockham Farm. As such, all assessment are a ‘worst case’ as the maximum level of traffic likely to be on the highway network has been assumed in all scenarios.


    2. In the same paragraph it states:

    "including provision off the A417 Reading Road of a primary school and part of the neighbourhood centre." yet in the document "VOL 07 CEMP" it states that "The construction of the Primary School, Community Centre and Commercial element of the Proposed Development is anticipated to occur within Phase 3 and is expected to commence in 2022 running until 2026."

    Can you explain this discrepancy please?

    Reference to Primary School is an error. It is anticipated the primary school will be delivered within phase 1. The remaining facilities are anticipated to be delivered in phase 3.


    3. In the document "12 Flooding, Hydrology and Water Resources" it states:

    "12.5.18 Historic land drainage plans indicate that there are a significant number of surface water land drains on-site. These were installed to move surface water away from flat areas of the Site more quickly, reducing the impact heavy rainfall has on the land use. As a result of this, discharge from the Site would be higher than Greenfield rates as the land drainage would increase the peak run-off rate. These drains discharge to varied locations, refer to Figure 4 in Appendix 12.1 for details.

    Where can I find Figure 4 in Appendix 12.1?

    With regard to the land drainage plans, there is an error in the document, there is no Appendix 12.1 however the drawings can be found at Appendix E of the FRA..


    4.  In Document 07 Sustainability Statement, It states: “3.2.6 An Energy Strategy has been prepared for the site.” But I can’t find a copy of this energy strategy anywhere. Can you provide a copy please?

    A high-level Energy Strategy was prepared for the client team as part of a wider viability assessment. As Ms Mabberley has confirmed this assessment has been referred to within both the Planning Statement and the Sustainability Statement to underline our client’s compliance to the carbon reduction commitments and planning policy. The Energy Strategy report has not been submitted as a formal supporting document as part of the outline planning application.


    5.  Can you please explain why the TRICS data shown in Appendix A of the TRANSPORT ASSESSMENT SCOPING STUDY is considered to represent travel patterns in Wantage and Grove? All of the areas referenced in the study are parts of larger conurbations and the likely travel patterns will be affected by the availability of public transport (likely to be more frequent than the hourly service here) and the distances to work/school/ shops etc. How were these areas chosen and how relevant are they to our area?

    TRICS is the national standard system of trip generation and analysis in the UK and Ireland, and is widely used as part of the planning process by both developers and local authorities. It is a database system containing survey data which allows its users to establish potential levels of trip generation for a wide range of development types.
    The TRICS database allows its users to filter through the data it holds by selecting or deselecting various criteria to ensure that theresults extracted are as closely related to an application site as possible.
    Naturally, it is impossible to select sites which precisely match the characteristics of an application site as no two sites are ever precisely thesame. However in this instance, the trip rates applied are based upon an average of data recorded at 16 different sites, all of which will have slightly varying characteristics. Nevertheless, by relying upon a largedata sample, it is considered that the extracted trip rates are a reasonable representation of those expected at the application site as some of the selected sites will generate more and some less traffic.
    It should of course be appreciated that the applicant sought approval to the use of the applied trip rates from the County Council prior to the Transport Assessment being completed and this approval was duly forthcoming.


    6.  Given that the Developers are still performing archaeological assessments of the site at the current time, how can the application be considered when the data is still not complete?
    Surely the application should be withdrawn until such time as the archaeological sampling is done and the report can be completed?

    It is not unusual for further survey work to be undertaken during a live application. The key issue is we have the results of these assessment prior to any decision. The report documenting the survey was received by the Council on 30th October. OCC Archaeology team have been consulted and the document is available on the Council’s website.


    7.  Given that the maximum height of properties in Charlton is approximately 7m, why do the developers require maximum heights of at least 9m as shown in Figure 4.3 - Max Build Heights Plan:

    “- Maximum 2 storeys (9m)
    - Maximum 2 storeys (10m)
    - Maximum 2.5 storeys (11m)
    - Maximum 3 storeys (12m)”?


    That is their aspiration – whether it is acceptable will be for the Local Planning Authority to consider.


    8.  Given that this is in effect a new village, shouldn’t it have its own Church?

    This is something being explored with the applicant. It maybe contributions are sought for existing church de-nominations and other religions.


    9.  Given that the most common feedback at the earlier consultant sessions were:

    “The comment made most often was that the scheme was too large or inappropriate.
    This was followed closely by the concern that there are not sufficient jobs in the area.
    Thirdly, that there was concern regarding the loss of agricultural land.”

    Does the Council feel it necessary to respond to these comments?

    Not at this point in time, these are valid concerns that will be considered as part of the application process.


    10.  As the most listed detailed design concerns at the earlier consultation were:

    “- the delivery of education provision as a result of the development.
    - that appropriate levels of car parking are required and thirdly,
    - that a doctors surgery is required.

    What have the developers changed in the proposal to address these issues?

    We are in negotiation with the applicant to bring education provision forward. Appropriate levels of car parking will be achieved in accordance with OCC standards. Contributions are sought for additional off site Doctor Surgery provision in consultation with the NHS property services team.


    11.  The offsite facilities that were ranked highest in the earlier consultation were the secondary school and highways works so what is the Council doing to address these concerns prior to approving the application?

    We are working on various scenarios to ensure both are delivered early.


    12.  The “Analysis of travel patterns of people living in new homes built between 2001 and 2007 in the Vale of White Horse” states that

    “Residents living in Wantage and Grove were concerned about the lack of infrastructure and parking in light of extensive new development in the area. Bus services were criticised for being expensive and infrequent, particularly in the evenings. Improved footpaths and cycle routes were also called for.”

    How has this been addressed in this development?

    Contributions are sought for increasing frequency of existing bus services between Abingdon, Oxford and Didcot as well as the key employment sites at Harwell and Milton Park. This will include the ability to provide improved service provision at evenings and weekends.
    The development will be connected by new footpaths and cycleways to Grove and Wantage and contributions are also being sought towards further improvements to off-site pedestrian and cycle infrastructure.
    Development is required to mitigate its own impact through the provision of, or contribution towards, infrastructure and services where it isnecessary to make the development acceptable in planning terms; directly related to the development; and fairly and reasonably related in scale and kind to the development.
    The Crab Hill development will be required to contribute towards bus services and infrastructure, provide footpaths and cycle routes from the development to key destinations, and meet the car parking standards for residential developments.


    13.  The Documents state that

    “Crab Hill, located to the northeast of Wantage, has been identified as the Vale of White Horse District Council’s preferred site for residential development within Wantage since publication of the ‘Core Strategy Preferred Options’ document in January 2009 and is now identified in the draft Vale of White Horse District Council ‘Local Plan 2029, Part 1’ as a strategic development site. “

    As the Core Strategy and the Local Plan have not been approved and all consultation with residents within the area has been against these developments, why is the council considering this development at this time?

    The council has no control over when an application is submitted. The applicant considers there is a case to justify this development prior to the new local plan being adopted due to the current shortage in housing land supply. It is now for the LPA to consider whether this development is acceptable based on the variety of issues raised, including planning policy.


    14.  Paragraph E.8 of the Transport Assessment  states

    “As part of the scope of assessment agreed with the County Council at preapplication stage, it was agreed that all traffic associated with the leisure, retail and education provision provided on-site would be ‘internalised’ within the site.”

    Does this mean that a leisure centre and secondary school will also be provided on the site as well as a full range of retail facilities?

    In short, no. There are various scenarios being considered for a new secondary school and leisure centre in the wider area.


    15.  Paragraph E.9 of the Transport Assessment states

    “Development generated traffic has been distributed across the local road network based upon travel to work patterns derived from the 2001 Census.”

    The analysis performed by the Vale in 2008 “Analysis of travel patterns of people living in new homes built between 2001 and 2007 in the Vale of White Horse” states that

    “The highest proportion of residents from Wantage and Grove are travelling between 15 and 30km to work, mainly to Oxford, Abingdon and Didcot.” And that
    “The figures show that there is a heavy dependence on the car to get to work from all areas of the Vale”.

    It also shows that car usage is increasing and that car usage in this area is higher than in many parts of the country.
    Has this information been taken into account when evaluating the transport assessment?

    Traffic generated by thedevelopment has been distributed across the highway network using data relating specifically to the Wantage Charlton, Wantage Segsbury and Grove wards. This has ensured that the applied assumptions are as closely as possible related to the anticipated travel patterns of those occupying the proposed development.
    The above referenced document has not therefore been used to inform the Transport Assessment given that it was considered that ward specific data provided a more reliable and focused basis for assessment.


    16.  Paragraph E.19 of the Transport Assessment states

    “The results of the capacity assessments reveal that the operation of the network worsens over time, with six of the junctions in the study area operating over capacity in 2019 in either the AM or PM peak hour, ten junctions in 2022 operating over capacity and eleven operating over capacity in 2026.”

    What will the District Council do to ensure that the roads are improved such that they operate within capacity?

    We have also noted this this issue and discussing this with the applicant in more detail with a view to finding an adequate solution.


    17.  Paragraph E. 29 of the Transport Assessment states

    “The impact assessment has shown that there will likely be a short term impact at junctions within the centre of Wantage, however these are not considered to be severe and therefore given the ability to deliver the Wantage Eastern Link Road as part of the development of Crab Hill, short term mitigation is not considered necessary or a beneficial use of financial resources.”

    Short term in this context seems to mean from 2014-2022 – 8 years. What studies have been done to show the impact on the use of Wantage town centre during this period?

    We havealso noted this this issue and discussing this with the applicant in more detail with a view to finding an adequate solution.


    18.  Paragraph E. 36 of the Transport Assessment states

    “Discussions with Oxfordshire County Council have revealed the aspirations for improved public transport permeability throughout the Science Vale UK region, including provision through the development site itself. In this regard it is anticipated that routes 31 and 36 would penetrate the development site along the internal link roads. The site would therefore be linked by public transport to the strategic employment sites at Harwell, Milton Park, to Wantage town centre, to Didcot town centre and rail station, to Oxford city centre and to Abingdon town centre. The site would therefore be afforded excellent public transport accessibility.”

    As the 36 bus service will no longer operate in the sections between Wantage & Didcot from mid-October and the 32 service between Grove, Wantage and Didcot will continue to run hourly for the time being, does the Council consider this to be “excellent public transport”? If not what is being done to address this?

    As discussed above, development is required to mitigate its own impact through the provision of, or contribution towards, infrastructure and services where it is necessary to make the development acceptable in planning terms; directly related to the development; and fairly and reasonably related in scale and kind to the development.
    The Crab Hill development will be required to contribute towards bus services and public transport infrastructure. The contribution will be sought to achieve a level of service through the site connecting to key destinations.It will not be tied to a numbered bus services such as 36 or 32 service in order to provide maximum flexibility and accommodate any changes in bus service provision between the time of the planning application and when the bus service is needed to serve the development.


    19.  Paragraph 3.3 of the Transport Assessment states

    “The UK Government set out its policies for the future of transport in ‘The Future of Transport White Paper A Network for 2030’.
    It states that a transport network is needed that can meet the challenges of a growing economy and the increasing demand for travel, but can also achieve their environmental objectives. This means coherent transport networks with:
    1. The road network providing a more reliable and freer flowing service for both personal travel and freight, with people able to make informed choices about how and when they travel;
    2. The rail network providing a fast, reliable and efficient service, particularly for interurban journeys and commuting into large urban areas;
    3. Bus services that are reliable, flexible, convenient and tailored to local needs;
    4. Making walking and cycling a real alternative for local trips; and
    5. Ports and airports providing international and domestic links.
    Paragraph 3.4 continues “The proposed development meets the criteria identified within this document in terms of being located close to good transport facilities, while maximising the opportunity for local trips to be made on foot and by bicycle.”

    Can you please explain how this development will meet the criteria defined in “1” and “3” above?

    As discussed above the development is required to mitigate its own impact through the provision of, or contribution towards, infrastructure and services where it is necessary to make the development acceptable in planning terms; directly related to the development; and fairly and reasonably related in scale and kind to the development.
    The development is contributing towards improved public transport and the Science Vale UK Transport Strategy which includes the Wantage Eastern Link Road.
    In terms of criteria 1, by assisting with the delivery of the Wantage Eastern Link Road, the development will contribute to providing a more reliable and freer flowing road network. In terms of criteria 3, the proposed enhancements to public transport services funded through contributions collected from the development, will be tailored to local needs and will, as much as possible be reliable, fast and efficient.


    20.  According to paragraph 3.20 of the Transport Assessment

    “The Local Transport Plan was adopted in 2011 and includes a separate transport strategy for the Science Vale UK area. The strategy identifies five key outcomes as being of special relevance:

    • Maximise the economic potential of the area by enabling the efficient and reliable movement of people and freight;
    • Reduce the carbon footprint to support targets for carbon reduction;
    • Increase the skill levels of people through realising the agglomeration benefits of the high-level research and development employment opportunities that will be created to meet the expected increased demand in hi-tech and science industries;
    • Increase opportunities for all through improved accessibility to employment, education and services; and
    • Promote the choice and design of measures that will not degrade the nature and built heritage, non-transport solutions will also have a role to play.”

    Can you please explain how this development will assist the achievement of each of the five outcomes identified above?

    The extract from the Science vale chapter of LTP3 lists the five strategic outcomes identified for the area up to 2030. All development within the Science Vale UK area will be requested to contribute to the SVUK Transport Strategy to enable the council to deliver these outcomes.


    21.  Paragraph 6.4.1 of the Design and Access Statement states that

    “Along the A417 to the south of the site a foot / cycle path will be located adjacent to the northern edge of the road carriageway. This route will extend from the existing eastern edge of Wantage where the pavement presently terminates on this side of the road, to the easternmost junction onto the A417. At this point the existing PROW presently crosses the A417 so the new connection will link Wantage to this wider route. The works to introduce the foot / cycle path will form part of the traffic calming works upon the A417, which will assist in reducing its speed to 30mph and incorporating it into the extended settlement boundary. This is likely to involve reduction in the carriageway width to accommodate the path.”

    We are not clear what this means. Will the foot/cycle path continue to the “easternmost junction onto the A417” i.e. to the WELR, or to the existing PROW?  We would prefer it to continue to the WELR so that it can be used by cyclists to link to the West Lockinge road and join the Regional Cycle Route 44 to Harwell.

    It is expected to continue to the WELR.


    22.  Paragraph 4.8.1 of Chapter 04 Proposed Development states that this development

    “meets the objectives of retaining the rural feeling of the Vale, while ensuring that development is sustainable, reducing the need for car use and ensuring that new developments are located in proximity to urban centres.”

    How can a development with housing densities of up to 55 homes per hectare meet the objectives of retaining a rural feeling? This is the very edge of a small market town where the density should certainly be no higher than in the adjacent areas in Charlton. The minimum number of dwellings per hectare (dph) is quoted as 25 which is the equivalent of most areas in Charlton The higher figure of 55 dph, quoted for some parts of this development, is inner city density and should not be even considered in a rural area.

    Concerns are noted. It will be for the LPA to consider whether the proposed density is acceptable.


    23.  Paragraph 4.10.16 of  Chapter 04 Proposed Development gives working hours for construction activities as 07:00 to 18:00hrs Monday to Friday and 08:00 to 13:00hrs on Saturdays. This is not appropriate for a residential area and should be reduced.

    This is standard industry practice.


    24.  Saved policy DC1 as quoted in Chapter 5 requires developments to be

    “of a high quality and inclusive design such that the layout, scale, mass, height, detailing, materials used and its relationship to adjoining buildings and open space do not adversely affect those attributes that make a positive contribution to the character of the locality”.

    As none of the buildings in Charlton are more than 2 storeys high, how can the design include buildings with 3 storeys?




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