Follow-On Community Consultation
In the context of East Challow preparing a Neighbourhood Plan, a year ago (27th June 2018) Dandara organised a community consultation event on its proposals which involve the delivery of the West Wantage Link Road (WWLR).
East Challow will benefit from the WWLR, so much so that even with the new 6,500 plus homes committed between now and 2031 in Grove and Wantage and thousands more houses in Faringdon and elsewhere in the Western Vale alongside background traffic growth and traffic associated with Dandara’s proposed development, there will still be fewer vehicles travelling through the village centre in 2031 than there are today.
The original proposals displayed last year sought to deliver the West Wantage Link Road, safeguarded in the adopted Local Plan, facilitated by new housing and associated community benefits and retail premises.
This original vision was informed by the results of the East Challow Neighbourhood Plan Community Survey in 2017 which identified the single biggest concerns from residents being the volume and speed of traffic on the A417.
The purpose of this second community consultation event is to share with residents the results of last year’s consultation, put forward alternative proposals and obtain feedback on these.
Following the 2018 community consultation event, completed feedback forms were received from 147 households across the village. The Neighbourhood Plan Group’s questionnaire was completed by 134 households.
Dandara consider it is important to share the results of the feedback and explain how these have informed the amended proposals.
With nearly 6,000 new homes coming to the Grove/Wantage area, do you believe that more infrastructure should be provided to cater for the increased population?
Yes- 140 (97.9%)
No – 2 (1.4%)
Don’t Know – 1 (0.7%)
Do you consider that the WWLR should be brought forward alongside the WELR as part of a comprehensive road improvement strategy for Wantage?
Yes- 118 (82.5%)
No- 4 (2.8%)
Don’t Know- 21 (14.7%)
Should major road improvements be a priority locally?
Yes- 139 (96.5%)
No- 0 (0%)
Don’t Know- 5 (3.5%)
Do you favour the re-opening of the station at Grove?
Yes- 100 (69.5%)
No- 31 (21.5%)
Don’t Know- 13 (9.0%)
Do you agree that development, particularly housing, should be used to fund the early delivery of strategic infrastructure such as the WWLR?
Yes- 118 (84.3%)
No- 10 (7.1%)
Don’t Know- 12 (8.6%)
Are you of the opinion, as some have suggested, that past developments did not bring tangible benefits to the village?
Yes- 81 (57.0%)
No- 26 (18.3%)
Don’t Know- 35 (24.7%)
Do you believe Dandara’s comprehensive proposals can bring long-term benefits to the village?
Yes- 89 (61.0%)
No- 27 (18.5%)
Don’t Know- 30 (20.5%)
Schedule of responses to the question above on support for ‘long-term benefits of Dandara’s proposal:
|Street in East Challow||Yes||No||Don’t Know|
|Hedge Hill Road||9||4||2|
|Old School Lane||3||0||0|
What community benefits would you like to see arising from the proposals?
|Item||Number of Requests|
|Improved education provision (all levels)||56|
|Improvements to local bus services, including suggestions to re-route the service||40|
|Public house / local family restaurant||28|
|Improved GP and health service facilities||20|
|Post Office, possibly co-located within a shop||13|
Other suggestions included more public open space, improved village parking and housing for older people.
Which particular elements of the proposals do you like or dislike and why?
Most supported element:
West Wantage Link Road, attracting over 20 specific references
Least supported element:
Quantum of new homes, attracting 11 specific references
The need to allow new homes to fund infrastructure
- Benefit of taking traffic out of East Challow on the A417 and improvement at the Camel Crossroads and reduced rat-running along Ickleton Road, Vicarage Hill and Letcombe Hill.
- Like the idea of the North Wantage bypass, as a result of the WELR and WWLR being delivered together.
- The need for a green gap and more public open space to compliment the development and protect the village.
- Some welcomed the largest single increase in public open space, and they wanted to ensure that this was not used in future years for further housing.
Would you consider it beneficial for policies in the emerging Neighbourhood Plan to guide the type of development delivered on the site such as the appearance or type of community facilities being provided?
Yes- 117 (90%)
No – 5 (3.8%)
Don’t Know – 8 (6.2%)
The principal concern raised at Dandara’s community consultation event last June and during subsequent informal meetings held with East Challow Parish Council and East Challow Neighbourhood Plan Group was coalescence with Wantage and the lack of green space.
With the Park Farm development and that of the former council depot in Challow Road now pressing ahead, Dandara shares the objective of maintaining a meaningful green gap between Wantage and East Challow.
This is the overriding reason for revising the Masterplan, as shown below. Dandara originally envisaged locating the majority of new housing on the western edge of Wantage, recognising its status as a ‘market town.’ This, however, had the unintended consequence of significantly reducing the amount of green space between the two settlements. Dandara’s new proposals look to deliver new housing adjacent to both Wantage and East Challow, which allows the green gap so valued by local residents, to be maintained alongside the new housing and delivery of the WWLR.
The revised Masterplan proposes to locate new housing at East Challow between two existing commercial developments, Haynes’ Yard and the W & G Estate. Likewise, the housing located adjacent to Wantage will be located between Crown Packaging and Grove Technology Park. This will integrate the new housing into the existing settlement pattern alongside optimising the amount of green space maintained between Wantage and East Challow.
Compared with the Masterplan shown at the community consultation event last year, the revised Masterplan maintains a similar residential area. However, there is more community and retail space. Importantly, one of the issues raised during the consultation event was greater public open space. The amount of retained public open space in the revised scheme is 28 hectares compared with 24.8 hectares in the earlier proposals, ensuring the green gap is maintained.
Reflecting the Findings of the 2017 Neighbourhood Plan Survey and 2018 Dandara Feedback Forms
The Revised Masterplan
- Gives greater protection for the green gap between Wantage and East Challow, respecting the individual identity of each settlement
- Takes a significant amount of traffic off the A417 in East Challow, by delivering the West Wantage Link Road alongside the Wantage Eastern Link Road to form a northern by-pass for Wantage
- Reduces traffic pollution within the village
- Brings improved village facilities such as a new primary school, pre-school play group, shop/Post Office, amenities which were strongly supported in the last community consultation.
- Provides a more direct route to Grove Technology Park – East Challow’s biggest employment area – and the proposed Grove Station, which is estimated to attract in excess of a million passengers in its first year of operation
Dandara consider that it benefits all if the safeguarded route of the West Wantage Link Road is delivered alongside the Wantage Eastern Link Road rather than it being delivered associated with a future Local Plan. Dandara also believes that the revised proposals bring all the benefits of the West Wantage Link Road in a form that not only avoids any perception of coalescence between East Challow and Wantage but delivers significant public space resource which would be protected in perpetuity.
Dandara’s objective remains to work alongside the local community to deliver the scheme through a Neighbourhood Plan. Today Dandara will be asking that the Neighbourhood Plan supports the delivery of the proposals, allowing the early arrival of the West Wantage Link Road and giving villagers control of density, appearance and community benefits as well as protecting against speculative development elsewhere in the future.