Controversial homes plan north of Charlton for debate by councillors

There will be a special meeting of The Vale of White Horse District Council to discuss the plans

There will be a special meeting of The Vale of White Horse District Council to discuss the plans

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

A 1,500-HOME estate north of Charlton near Wantage will be put to councillors for a decision tomorrow night.

The “Crab Hill” application will be put to a special meeting of Vale of White Horse District Council’s planning committee.

If approved, developers will give more than £14m for schools, roads, public transport and community groups.

But residents, campaigners and councillors warn a new housing estate wouldl put too much pressure on local roads and services.

The development would be north of A417 and east of the A338.

London developer Lands Improvement Holdings (LIH) will provide £7.8m for a primary school and further cash for shops and a community hub.

It is in the council’s draft local plan of where major estates should be built to 2029 and officers recommend the Crab Hill plan be approved.

The “section 106” cash includes £3m towards a new link road between the A338 and the A417 and more than £1.3m for public transport.

Wantage and Grove Campaign Group (WAGCG) leader Julie Mabberley said: “Wantage and Grove currently lack adequate facilities in terms of education, health, leisure, public transport and roads.

“There should be no plans for a significant increase in the population of this area without substantial enhancement of infrastructure as a pre-condition.

“It is not sufficient to rely on minor developer-funded improvements staged over a long period.”

Planning officer Stuart Walker said: “This site is considered the most appropriate for large-scale residential development in Wantage.”

Wantage Town Council’s St John Dickson said the authority had been “working extremely hard to get the maximum funding possible from Crab Hill”.

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He said: “In an ideal world the development will be turned down but if the worst comes to the worst and it goes through we need to maximise the benefits we can get for the local communities.

“We have therefore tried exceedingly hard to get funding support for a total cross section of all our residents.”

The planning committee will be asked to make a decision at the Wantage Civic Hall.

Members of the public are invited to attend the meeting which starts at 6.30pm.

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