WANTAGE Neighbourhood Plan, which outlines areas of the town which could be developed, has been submitted for a formal consultation after being rejected in 2016.

A Government planning inspector said the previous draft did not meet the necessary "basic conditions" set out in the 2011 Localism Act and that there was not enough evidence for its various policies.

Steve Trinder, who was the town’s mayor at the time, said the number of meadows, fields and gardens marked for preservation in the plan would have to be cut.

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Herald Series: Former Mayor of Wantage Steve TrinderFormer Mayor of Wantage Steve Trinder

After seven years, the town council has finalised updates to the plan which includes modifications of policies but no new policies.

The plan includes introducing Class E uses of buildings which means including a “broad and diverse range of uses which principally serve the needs of visiting members of the public” as well as “sustaining and improving the retail and cultural value” with emphasis on resisting loss of shops and encouraging the reuse of existing space.

They also hope to expand the shopping space and create more pedestrian space within the Market Place with a focus on finding long term parking and ensuring buses have a space to drop off and pick up shoppers.

The town council also wants to improve cycling provision by improving existing cycle lanes and paths as well as creating new paths and bicycle storage.

Herald Series: Talking about the Wantage Neighbourhood Plan in the car park outside the The Beacon are, left to right, Julie Mabberley, Wantage Neighbourhood Plan member Tony Gilhome and Former mayor Steve TrinderTalking about the Wantage Neighbourhood Plan in the car park outside the The Beacon are, left to right, Julie Mabberley, Wantage Neighbourhood Plan member Tony Gilhome and Former mayor Steve Trinder

The plans state: “With more and more journeys in the area being made by bicycle, better facilities and infrastructure are needed to accommodate and ensure the safety of such journeys.

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“New developments often fail to make ‘spatial’ allowance for cycling in their design, and sometimes obliterate existing potential ‘space’ for cycling.”

A Green Infrastructure map has been produced to show spaces across the town that the council want to “conserve, enhance and for the benefit of residents, visitors and wildlife”

Herald Series: Green Infrastructure Map (Wantage Neighbourhood Plan)Green Infrastructure Map (Wantage Neighbourhood Plan)

It states, in line with Accessible Natural Greenspace Standard (ANGSt) recommendations, that every one, wherever they live, should have an accessible natural green space at least two hectares in size no more than a five minute walk from home.

Overall, the vision for the town by 2031 is: “Wantage will remain a thriving market town, with its retained historic and architectural character, busy town centre and attractive network of green spaces and links to the surrounding countryside and Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

“Emphasis will be placed on commercial and retail success to meet the demands of changing economic practices, greater accessibility and increased mix of housing and recreation whilst protecting the landscape setting, green infrastructure and community assets.”

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Mayor Jim Sibbald added: “We're hoping that this time it will get through because we've taken the inspectors so hopefully the consultation will go well and I encourage everyone in Wantage to take part in and comment on it if they feel so.

“What also was very good is that we have a town newsletter, which is on our website, but in the past they didn’t always get delivered to the right places.

“So we went with Royal Mail this time and actually it's worked out better because obviously the Neighbourhood Plan isn't just one town, there's a lot of villages and parishes around which use Wantage as a ‘Support Hub’

“So we used the Royal Mail to actually publish the newsletter and we've got some good comments back from people within the surrounding villages.”

Formal consultations for the plan began on June, 1 and will continue until his commenced on 1 June 2022 and will continue to July, 14.

To comment, email clerk@wantagetowncouncil.gov.uk 


Read more from this author

This story was written by Gee Harland, she joined the team in 2022 as a senior multimedia reporter.

Gee covers Wallingford and Didcot.

Get in touch with her by emailing: Gee.harland@newsquest.co.uk

Follow her on Twitter @Geeharland

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