‘New homes a risk to Grove’s identity’

‘New homes a risk to Grove’s identity’

‘New homes a risk to Grove’s identity’

First published in News Herald Series: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter covering Abingdon and Wantage, South Oxford and Kennington. Call me on 01865 425431

IF new homes are built on “the last gap between Grove and Wantage” it will erode Grove’s village identity, a councillor warns.

The 90 houses, to be built on a green field at Stockham Farm near 200 others already in the pipeline, were granted planning permission on Wednesday.

Grove parish councillor Sue Marchant, who also sits on Vale of White Horse District Council’s planning committee, objected to the scheme from developers Dandara.

She said: “That is our last gap between Wantage and Grove and it is important to have it.

“When you are a village next to a town you need to have some proof that you are separate, to keep your duality.

“We had a referendum years ago about whether to become a town and people said ‘no’. We are going to lose our identity.”

In 1995, 2,139 out of 2,959 residents voted for Grove to remain a village.

On December 4, developers Taylor Wimpey and Persimmon were given outline permission to build 2,500 homes on the Grove Airfield, opposite Stockham Farm.

Mrs Marchant warned that even though the developers would build new schools, those would not come for several years yet.

Residents in Roman Way and Stockham Farm, neighbouring the Stockham Farm development, sent letters to the Vale council raising concerns about school places and the extra pressure commuters living at Stockham Farm would put on already congested roads.

Planning committee member Sandy Lovatt, who abstained from voting at the meeting, said: “No matter what the rights and wrongs of an application, they will always win on appeal because the Vale cannot demonstrate a five-year land supply.”

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All districts in the UK had to demonstrate a five-year supply of land for housing in the National Planning Policy Framework.

The council currently has about three-and-a-half years’ supply.

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