5:00am Wednesday 23rd April 2014
By Pete Hughes
GROVE in 2040 could have a population of 30,000, wind farms and fracking to reduce council tax and a leisure centre with an Olympic-size swimming pool.
This is what Grove Parish Council, which is inviting people to discuss the future at this week’s annual parish meeting on Friday, predicts the future might be like.
The council warns that dramatic population growth from 4,000 new homes at Grove Airfield and Monks Farm will change the village significantly, and it wants residents to help create a Neighbourhood Plan with legal power to shape future development.
Council chairman Frank Parnell said: “This is our vision for what Grove might look like in 2040. We’re hoping people will say ‘I don’t want Grove to look like that’ and we will say to them ‘come along and help create a Neighbourhood Plan then’.”
The council has prepared a list of bullet points for Grove in 2040.
It includes generally favourable things, like “The Wilts Berks canal will be re-established, with the route having been protected from buildings and roads”.
It also includes some things which villagers may not like, like “The A338 and A417 will be dual carriageways”.
Mr Parnell said: “Some are more outrageous than others.
“The whole point is to get people interested in planning their community.”
Created under the 2011 Localism Act, Neighbourhood Planning allows communities to say where new houses should go, what materials they should be built out of and whether houses should have features such as bin storage and bike sheds.
Residents can also decide what shops should look like and the general character of their area.
The plans can be taken forward by a parish council but they must pass a village referendum, where half of residents vote in favour.
The Grove Neighbourhood Plan would have to accord with the Vale of White Horse District Council’s Local Plan for development 2029, so it could not, for example, say that 2,500 homes should not be built at Grove Airfield.
But once complete, it would be adopted into the Local Plan and carry the same weight.
Thame Town Council, which became the first in Oxfordshire to adopt a Neighbourhood Plan, has said it is doing “exactly what we hoped”, preserving the character of the town.
Mr Parnell added: “We can enforce where some of the houses go.
“For example, if we had a Neighbourhood Plan which said there will be no development east of the A338, then developers can’t go against that.”
WHAT GROVE MIGHT LOOK LIKE
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