I mentioned last week that that there are many small patches of land on developments around Wantage and Grove which are still owned by the original developers and could be sold for development.
Grove Parish Council takes the view that they maintain the grassed areas in the ‘older’ parts of Grove and this is paid out of the council tax and the newer developments should be treated exactly the same.
They have an agreement in place with Persimmon for Grove Airfield and will take over the management of the open spaces and the community building.
They are currently negotiating with Bellway Homes to take responsibility for the Grove Meadow Development, but David Wilson Homes are placing the open space on their development in the hands of the management company.
In Wantage, the open spaces on the Bovis (now Vistry Homes) development at Stockham Park Farm, the Regency Village Development on Chain Hill and the green on Chapel Close off Garston Lane are all still owned by developers.
As one of our members said, residents of these developments are paying twice. They pay council tax and a management fee.
We understand that the District Council owns most of the other green spaces around the town (the Town Council were offered the Manor Road Recreation Ground but turned it down).
The District Council owns the Recreation Ground, all of the green spaces on the Harwell development off Harcourt Road as well as Stockham Park, all the areas off the Denchworth Road, Hamfield and Springfield Road.
Some other spaces like the old football/tennis field near Charlton Day Centre are owned by the County Council.
We did see the article in February in the Herald in which two planning applications for housing had been submitted for an area of open space near Brasenose Road in Didcot owned by the County Council. The residents were very upset about the possibility of this small green space being lost.
At least in Grove, most of the green areas are (or will be) owned by the Parish Council and they are directly answerable to the residents.
In Wantage it’s either the District or County Councils or developers.
The District Council is nearly bankrupt and might do anything to make money.
The County own the land in Didcot where development is proposed.
Developers are in business to make a profit.
Wantage Town Council has no responsibility except for allotments and the cemetery.