Core Policy 15c of the Vale Local Plan says that a Grove Comprehensive Development Framework will be prepared.
This plan was approved years ago and houses continue to be built in Grove but no such document has been produced.
The plan states that it is important to consider the long-term development potential for Grove and plan effectively for its delivery and explains that all new development in Grove will be guided by a comprehensive development framework in the form of a Supplementary Planning Document (SPD).
It suggests that the SDP will “ensure proposals are considered holistically, including:
“i. understanding the cumulative infrastructure requirements for Grove, taking account of existing and future needs
“ii. exploring opportunities to maximise sustainable linkages between the existing settlements and the adjacent strategic site allocations, and
“iii. understanding how future growth should maximise opportunities for enhanced public transport connections, including a future railway station at Grove.”
It explains that “through engagement with a wide range of stakeholders, including Grove Parish Council and Oxfordshire County Council, the SPD will provide a framework to guide development to maximise its potential to deliver in a sustainable and cohesive manner in the longer term.”
So where is this SDP?
Planning applications have been submitted for up to 700 homes north of the Airfield (in addition to the 2,500 homes being built on the airfield) and for 300 homes on Tulwick Park to the east of the A338.
Yet there has been nothing from the Vale to suggest that they are even thinking about the cumulative infrastructure requirements or sustainable linkages.
As usual the land owners, developers and planners seem to think that this area can safely be a dumping ground for new homes without having to consider the needs of the current (and future) residents.
Didcot has had millions of pounds spent on improvements to the town centre to support the increases in population there but all that happens in Grove and Wantage is that houses get built, shops close, roads and pavements crumble or sink and no-one seems to care.
There is planning consent for an extension to the health centre and money for improvements to sport facilities.
The only ‘centre’ to Grove is Millbrook Square and when it’s a town of more than 7,500 homes in its own right (not including Wantage), that may not be enough.
Will any of the ‘stakeholders’ plan for a town centre for Grove?