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‘Hold developers to account on facilities for huge estate’
PEOPLE in Grove have been urged to hold housing developers to account after plans to build 2,500 homes in the village got the go-ahead.
Taylor Wimpey and Persimmon were granted planning permission for the estate – expected to double the village population to 16,000 – at a Vale of White Horse District Council meeting on Wednesday night.
Developers will be required to provide £49m towards new schools, roads and community facilities.
And to make sure they stick to the agreed plans, and that money is contributed for infrastructure as agreed, the council’s planning committee ordered that a development delivery board should be created.
Committee member Sandy Lovatt said: “I think it is very important that the residents of Grove do get a report on whether each of the 65 planning conditions is met in some form or another.
“In that respect I entirely agree with the recommendation that there is a development delivery board.”
The new estate, on the former Second World War airfield in Grove, will include two primary schools built by the developers and a secondary school paid for by them.
The house builders will also contribute money to building a northern link road that, if completed, will stretch from the north of the estate to the A338, the main road to Oxford.
Concerns were also raised that the only local secondary school, King Alfred’s Academy, will be full by 2017, and the new secondary school may not be built until years later.
Julie Mabberley, leader of the Wantage and Grove Campaign Group for sustainable development, told councillors at the meeting: “We urge you to represent us and ensure we are not swamped with houses without adequate investment in infrastructure where it is needed, not five years later.”
Planning consultant Geraldine Le Cointe, who was employed by developers to work for the Vale council on the plan, told the meeting: “With regard to providing infrastructure up front, I don’t think there is anyone in this room who wouldn’t like to see that happen. We are looking to provide all of that necessary infrastructure as soon as possible.”
The developers told the meeting it was in their interest to create the infrastructure as soon as possible as it would make the estate more marketable.
Grove Parish Council chairman Frank Parnell said: “It was inevitable that decision would be made, the houses were part of the Local Plan.
“This is going to double the size of Grove and we need the facilities to make sure it is a whole village, not a separate development.”
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