WaGCG : Wantage and Grove Campaign Group
Wantage and Grove Campaign Group (WaGCG)

Column 17th January 2018

If the county council are worried about it – we definitely are

The Wantage and Grove Campaign Group spend a great deal of time monitoring the plans for both housing and the necessary infrastructure to support the new residents around Wantage and Grove.

This includes monitoring the activities of the County, District, Town and Parish Councils and the related bodies responsible for health and emergency services.

The Local Plan for the Vale should have the support of all these bodies and should include all the infrastructure required to support the planned expansion of our area.

Local Plan Part 1 was approved by Planning Inspectors on behalf of the Government in 2016 but didn’t include detailed plans for any improvements in health, social care or emergency services.

The Plan was, however, supported by the County Council who are responsible for transport (roads, footpaths, cycleways and public transport), education (primary schools, secondary schools, special education needs, early years and child care) and social care.

Since this plan was approved the Oxfordshire Growth Board (comprising all six Oxfordshire Local Authorities) has produced an Oxfordshire Infrastructure Strategy which, as we reported last August, suggests that delivering the necessary infrastructure to support housing growth in Oxfordshire from now to 2040 is estimated to cost at least £8.96 billion in 2016 terms.

This is only an estimate of capital delivery costs and does not include the additional annual running and maintenance costs.

It also doesn’t include any funding for community infrastructure such as community centres, leisure facilities and libraries.

Local Plan Part 2 was prepared by the District Council in 2017 and is likely to be approved sometime this year.

It is supposed to include plans for all the infrastructure required in the Vale to support the plans.

Yet the County Council has expressed concerns. They are not able to give reassurance that the necessary infrastructure will be able to be funded and delivered.

The County is also concerned that there has been insufficient attention to what infrastructure is required to support the development proposals in the Plan and how much it will cost and consider that the Plan appears to underestimate the infrastructure needs.

If they are worried then so are we.

The Campaign Group have already submitted a range of comments to the Vale and hope to be able to raise our concerns with the Planning Inspector when he reviews the Plan later this year.

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