The Spatial Vision for the Local Plan Part 1 is that:
“By 2029 the Vale of White Horse will have thriving and prosperous communities that have benefited from economic growth and where our strength in science and innovation continues to be recognised internationally. The Science Vale UK area will have become a first choice location for high value added business and research. New residential and economic growth will have been focused on the Science Vale UK area and will have delivered balanced and sustainable growth that has made a significant contribution to delivering important infrastructure. Strategic road improvements will have been implemented at Harwell, west of Didcot and at Wantage.
The Vale’s main settlements will provide healthy and sustainable communities where everyone has a decent place to live and work with good access to leisure and community services and facilities. The service centre roles of Abingdon on Thames, Botley, Faringdon, Grove and Wantage for the surrounding rural catchment areas will have been maintained and enhanced. The Vale’s villages will continue to provide thriving rural communities where appropriate growth has supported local services.
New development will have respected the local character of the Vale, protecting its outstanding and distinctive natural and built environment and continued to preserve its important heritage. High environmental standards will have been achieved through new development, which will also be more resilient to the likely impacts of climate change”.
The Oxfordshire Structure Plan for 2016 set out a strategy for Oxfordshire, [show detail]
The strategy for Oxfordshire aimed to:
- provide for the development of new homes, jobs and services and facilities to meet the needs of Oxfordshire’s people
- concentrate housing development in urban areas where it can be easily accessible to jobs,shops, services, community facilities and public transport
- provide for an increased number of affordable houses, including housing for key workers
- provide the framework to help sustain prosperity and develop Oxfordshire’s economy
- protect the countryside, towns and villages and the landscape setting and character of the City of Oxford
- provide in rural areas for development to support the economic and social well being of communities
- ensure supporting infrastructure and services are provided to support development
- encourage the location and design of development to promote high quality environments, make efficient use of energy and other resources and to help reduce the need to travel, and
- provide the necessary raw materials, for example minerals, to enable development to take place.
Chapter 4 of the Local Plan Part 1 talks about
"Focusing sustainable growth within the Science Vale UK area by: ..delivering a comprehensive package of strategic and local infrastructure and services alongside the housing and employment growth to ensure a balanced and sustainable mix of development. This will include significant investment in new roads and public transport to enable good access between Wantage and Grove, Harwell Oxford, Milton Park and Didcot."
The background to this statement is long and complex[show detail]
The only new roads will be the by-passes through the new developments. The only public transport will be:
a) an Interlink Route to connect Wantage and Grove with Milton Park, Didcot Parkway and the Orchard Centre, and
b) an hourly, peak time only service linking Wantage and Grove with Harwell Oxford.
It also talks about
"Reinforcing the service centre roles of the main settlements across the district by: establishing a policy framework which concentrates larger shopping, tourism and community facilities in the Market Towns and Local Service Centres of Abingdon on Thames, Botley, Faringdon, Grove and Wantage, to improve their vitality and ensure facilities are widely accessible including by alternatives to the private car" and
" allocating land for strategic employment growth at Faringdon and Grove, to complement the Science Vale UK sites and to provide jobs close to where people live.
Is 10 miles to Milton Park or Harwell, close to where people live?
Paragraph 5.41 of the Local Plan Part 1 states:
"The historic market town of Wantage and the nearby large village of Grove are separate settlements with their own unique character and identity, which need to be protected. The settlements also have a strong functional relationship, with many shared services, including for health, education and leisure. It is therefore important that any growth in the area is carefully coordinated to ensure service and infrastructure provision closely matches the needs of the two communities." But there will be houses before schools and roads so where is the careful co-ordination>
Paragraph 5.42 "Wantage is the second largest settlement in the district and is a shopping and service centre for a large rural catchment. Its attractive market place and downland setting are essential components of its character. The North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) extends to the southern edge of the town. The nearby large village of Grove is the third largest settlement in the district. However, previous housing permissions in the village, granted on appeal, have not delivered the range and quality of services a settlement of this size would normally expect. It is therefore essential that growth is planned to deliver necessary improvements for the village. So why couldn't the £3000 housing bonus for each house in all of those permissions be spent on the services now?
To express an opinion, see below.