Detailed Opportunities and Threats by Topic
Each working group made up of members of our community prepared SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analyses to inform their work, and some have prepared PEST (political, economic, social and technology influences) analyses.
Town centre, businesses, economy and technology
Undeveloped sites – e.g. Police Station, old Blanshards site.
Improvement of Market Place e.g. Pedestrianisation.
To identify ‘cells’ for development as certain uses.
Increasing population and thus demand will attract services.
IT provision to residential developments to assist home workers plus parking provision for visitors.
Development of art based business.
Commercial neighbours produce more market.
Eastern link road with cycle and foot paths
Western link road with cycle and foot paths
New developments to have self-sufficient off-road parking
Grove Rail station
Trams (Wantage/Grove or Wantage/Didcot/Harwell)
Reduce traffic through Market Square
All buses to have disabled access
Park and Ride system e.g. Challow, Grove Technology Park, Crab Hill
Improved bus services to key employment centres
Extend bus service to Grove Tech Park
Safe, continuous cycle paths for main corridors (e.g. employment, schools, shops) in town and beyond
Good broadband connections to all new buildings
Tourist accommodation (e.g new hotel)
Range of litter bins to include recycling options
Covered cycle parks
Coach and lorry parking
Local community and leisure centres (adequately sized for whole of Wantage)
Charging points for electric cars
New schools at Grove Airfield and Crab Hill
Use of KA's East Site for primary school earlier than Crab Hill
Inclusion of Adult Education within existing schools
Safe car, coach, cycle access to schools
Health/ Emergency Services
Health hub with improved primary healthcare, minor injuries unit, additional GP services (e.g. diagnostics)
Enhanced community hospital with beds for respite/convalescence, rehabilitation, re-enablement without prejudicing existing mobile services
Improve response time for ambulances in order to meet/exceed national standards
Extended hours at police counter
Health hub (medical centre) to also house 3rd practice
Reflect heritage features in new developments
Make better use of green corridors and improve signage/access
Wilts & Berks Canal restoration
Make more creative use of Industrial archaeological heritage
Make positive use of scientific heritage e.g. Harwell/Culham/RAL
Re-opening Railway Station
Arts projects and ARTISAN HUB potential
S106 monies from developments
Listing of community assets where risk of loss/insensitive development
Toning down the National chains branding
New developments - create new accessible green spaces in urban area for public enjoyment and recreation, including semi-natural habitats for wildlife and public enjoyment.
Protect, enhance and create green spaces, including areas with semi-natural habitats, biodiversity and nature conservation interest.
Connect green open spaces and habitats with green corridors to allow movement of species and people.
Letcombe Brook - designate, protect and enhance rare chalk stream and corridor with a brook restoration and management plan.
Protect Letcombe Brook from development, pollution and disturbance.
Promote nature conservation with local residents, especially children.
Restore the Wilts and Berks Canal providing recreation opportunities and a green corridor for wildlife.
Community action groups and partnerships - need to be more visible and supported.
Develop education and volunteer opportunities to engage and inspire new conservationists to tackle the ongoing problems faced by wildlife and the natural world.
Continue to support and increase resources to local environment groups eg: Letcombe Brook Project to raise awareness and engage people in caring for their environment.
Undertake a survey and engage the public in identifying areas of biodiversity interest, raise awareness of these, protect and enhance areas.
Carry out an environmental audit of green spaces and improve and integrate areas for recreation, biodiversity, and landscape.
Ensure developments are designed/constructed to high sustainable standards eg: energy efficiency, renewable energy, grey water recycling systems, water storage etc.
Develop a Green Plan for Wantage.
Improve signposting for footpaths and cycle routes and usage of public rights of way
Solar panels should be encouraged on roofs.
Undertake a tree survey, protect existing trees and plant new trees in appropriate areas.
Cycle friendly paths.
Provide more allotments as population increases.
Promote Wantage as 'Gateway to Ridgeway'.
Adopt woods for community use eg: Pewitt Wood.
Promote community spaces.
Promote local businesses using local products.
King Alfred Academy could help improve environmental education of pupils and parents.
Use of festivals to facilitate greater awareness of the environment.
Sponsorship opportunities for green/environmental improvements, eg: use of Trusts.
Recovery from recession means more prosperity, care and repair.
Public could be made more aware of conservation issues and responsibilities of owners to listed buildings, perhaps with displays at the Museum or leafleting.
Development of tourist industry would further incentivise proper maintenance.
New housing developments could increase demand for shops and hence value and status of commercial and residential properties.
Empty buildings in Alfred Street could be saved from dereliction by Council intervention. This would also promote commerce by improving pedestrian circulation.
Community Assets strategy could be used to purchase and protect vulnerable features, e.g. pubs.
Community Land Trusts could be established - self-funded redevelopments, combining housing with community spaces, e.g. Convent.
Crab Hill development and Science Vale Oxford would divert traffic away from town centre - less pollution, vibration.
Park & Ride at Grove Technology Park could reduce pollution in the town centre.
New trees could be planted where old ones have been removed.
Tree Preservation Orders could be used to protect ancient trees, where appropriate.
Development of eco materials, e.g. limecrete, clay paints, may bridge gap between traditional and modern building materials and make sympathetic repairs more feasible.
Chance to develop a vision for Wantage as a Neighbourhood comprising integrated sub-neighbourhoods/ communities
Chance to encourage use of sustainable & environmentally-friendly designs and materials (e.g. solar panels, ground sources heat, waste-recycling, facilities shared with Grove etc.)
All new developments to include accessible and enclosed public open space
All new open space to be places in Trust for the community and to include provision of finance for sustained management in perpetuity
Planning consent conditions to include mandatory 'environmentally sustainable compliance' and 'financial provision for sustained management/maintenance
Opportunity to meet local housing needs:
Homes with granny flats
Homes with space for home working
Homes for young couples/professionals
Opportunity to separate cars, cyclists and pedestrians
Create a coach park
Opportunities to provide sufficient residential parking with sustainable drainage
Opportunity to create the future heritage of the town
Opportunity to regenerate the Canal in Wantage
Youth, Leisure, Sport and Art
New leisure centre planned for Mably Way
Crab Hill development will have skate park, community hall and open spaces/play areas and sports pitches
VWHDC has plans to upgrade facilities in Manor Road park, possibly to include outdoor gym/ running track
Football club raising funds for Multi Use Games Area (MUGA) behind leisure centre
Leisure centre under new management from Sept 2014
The Beacon plan to show monthly films, including children's films
Town centre, businesses, economy and technology
Growth of other centres – e.g., Didcot.
Inadequate future proofing of the future needs of businesses.
Inadequate parking for future.
Inadequate protection of future and existing employment sites.
Inadequate provision for future transport.
No Western or Eastern link roads
Developers do not fulfil their obligations
Link roads only completed after new housing
A417E/A338N chronic congestion during peak hours
A34 or A420 problems leading to diversions through Wantage
Town centre gridlock
Increased number of road accidents for all users
Increased traffic causing further deterioration of road surfaces
Capacity of existing/planned facilities to cope with future demand – gas, leisure centre, telephone, mobile, electricity, cable, water, sewerage, drains, parking (regular, cycling and blue badge)
Increased flooding on roads and footpaths
Inadequately sized, inflexible community and leisure centres
Secondary schools concentrated in western Wantage
Capacity and phasing of existing/planned schools (including pre-schools) to cope with future demand
Potential loss of pre-schools due to land being ear-marked for other education needs
Developers fail to provide space/funding for new schools in step with demand from all new developments throughout Wantage and Grove (leads to disjointed community)
Monopoly provision of education by single academy trust
Capacity of existing/planned facilities (including "Strengths" opposite) to cope with future demand
Reduced funding for care providers
Increased road congestion hindering emergency services thus increasing response times even further
Closure of police counter service
Unforeseen changes in National Planning policies
Risk to heritage assets from increased traffic flows
Loss of green corridors due to adjacent development
Risk of loss of quality of Letcombe Brook corridor
General loss of character of Wantage through insensitive developments
Absentee landlord issues
Inadequate impact assessments open to public scrutiny
Inadequate enforcement of Environment Impact Assessments
Threat to heritage as a result of speed of developments
Changes in demographics and social structure having knock on effect on community organisations
Letcombe Brook has no legal protection, is not designated as important priority habitat, suffers from a range of issues and challenges; ecological status under the Water Framework Directive is failing 'Moderate to Poor'.
Climate change - increasing temperatures leading to intense rainfall in summer and prolonged wet periods on winter. Increasing regularity of surface, fluvial and pluvial flooding. Threats to people, homes and businesses, habitats and species.
Growing population - increasing demands on scarce resources eg: local water is supplied by the aquifers of the Letcombe Brook on which animals and plants rely.
Development pressure - increasing pressure on the natural environment and scarce resources; including strain on drainage system, roads, parking, crowded cemetery, etc.
Development on green field land and close to sensitive habitats such as Letcombe Brook and countryside in North Wessex Downs AONB.
Intensification of agriculture; solar farms in open rural countryside.
Loss of semi-natural habitats.
Lack of management of nature conservation areas.
Lack of knowledge about local biodiversity areas, and how to manage habitats and wildlife, and lack of monitoring and recording.
Tidier environment - we are less tolerant of "weeds" and use more pesticides. More space is covered by decking, gravel, tarmac and other sterile surfaces
Development - keep the countryside setting of the parish and green gaps between Wantage, Grove, and East Challow protected and where appropriate enhanced.
Non-native and invasive species eg: American signal crayfish, ash dieback and domination of areas with Himalayan balsam.
Lack of base-line data, monitoring to assess the environment eg: water quality before during and after developments.
People have less contact with their natural environment leading to a lack of environmental awareness.
Fly-tipping, vandalism, graffiti, litter and dog fouling a serious problem, which increases as population increases.
Future biodiversity offsetting needs to be properly evaluated locally.
Heavier traffic during construction works results in increase in pollution and roads become more dangerous for cyclists and pedestrians
Pressure from central government to convert and update old housing stock for residential use - large, non-local commercial developers uninterested in conservation and may actively subvert it.
Local authorities apparently unable or unwilling to prevent damage to or destruction of historic buildings, even in Conservation Areas, e.g. 16thcentury(?) Blanshards building, inappropriate doors and double glazing in some properties. Enforcement officers need to deal with these issues
No overall vision of the town as a "science based service centre"
Potential for flooding if run-off, Letcombe Brook, Humber Ditch and other ditches not managed
Not enough diversity in shops to encourage tourism
Permission granted for developments which create ghetto effects
Lack of finance for maintenance of community assets
"Identikit" housing developments destroy the character of the town
Youth, Leisure, Sport and Art
Better facilities for children available elsewhere e.g. Didcot Wave
Multiplex cinemas in Didcot and Oxford
Contact us at