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News & News Archive

What's on at The Beacon in April

on Sat, 01/04/2017 - 9:13pm

Vale Local Plan pt2 - 3 possible plots for 81 dwellings in Sparsholt & Westcot

on Thu, 30/03/2017 - 3:19pm

Updated 30/3/17

The Vale of the White Horse's "Local Plan 2031: Part 2 Preferred Options Consultation", published 9/3/17, includes a section called "Draft Housing and Economic Land Availability Assessment (HELAA)".

The HELAA document identifies 5 potential sites for housing developments in Sparsholt Parish (which includes Westcot) and indicates that these are suitable for a possible 81 dwellings.

The purpose of HELAA:-

" to assess the amount of land available for development in the district. On the basis of this assessment, sites can then be chosen for inclusion in the Local Plan, to meet housing and economic needs and deliver on wide ranging sustainable development objectives."

The HELAA document states that:-

" does not in itself determine whether a site should be allocated for development, or that planning permission would be granted if an application was submitted. It is the role of the HELAA to provide information on the range of sites available, whilst it is for the plan itself to determine which of these to allocate."

The section on Sparsholt Parish, which includes Westcot, identifies 5 potential sites for housing developments.

Of these 5 sites, the document 'indicates' a possible 81 dwellings in 0-5 years on three of them - 2 in Westcot and 1 in Sparsholt.

The sites are:-

  1. SPRS01 - 31 dwellings on Ram Paddock, Westcot (click)
  2. SPRS02 - 38 dwellings on Westcot Farmyard & Paddock (also known as 'Machinery Paddock') (click)
  3. SPRS05 - 12 dwellings on land at Church Way, Sparsholt (click)
  4. Map of the sites (click)

SPRS03 & SPRS04 are indicated as "Site not assessed (too small)".

Further details on the "Local Plan 2031: Part 2 Preferred Options Consultation" and "HELAA" can be found here:-

The next meeting of Sparsholt Parish Council, where HELAA will be considered, is on Tuesday, 11th April at 7.30pm at Griffin Hall, Sparsholt (click for details).

Residents of Sparsholt & Westcot are urged to submit comments to the Vale - you can comment to the Vale (by 5pm on Thursday, 4th May latest) by:

See also a response from Councillor Yvonne Constance <here> received 24/3/17.

UPDATE 30/3/17

The Vale's Planning Department were asked if it would like to categorically & unequivocally state that none of these sites are suitable 'in principle', for 'development' or 'deliverable' for housing development 'dwellings' at any time in the foreseeable future (as I would be very happy to update this page) and Joseph Brooke, Planning Policy Officer replied:-

"I can state that presently, the Local Plan Part 2 Detailed Sites and Policies is not promoting any sites for housing development in Sparsholt & Westcot."


Details on how to use the new defibrillator

on Wed, 29/03/2017 - 4:04pm

Details on how to use Sparsholt & Westcot's new defibrillator - including a short video - have been posted on a dedicated page on this site.

You can find them in the 'Directory' menu above, under 'Health'.

Or click <here>.

Amongst others, including Sparsholt Parish Council and the Griffin Hall committee, Sparsholt & Westcot residents have Norman Downie to thank for arranging the defibrillator - he obtained the generous £2,000 grant from Scottish and Southern Electricity that made it all possible.

Faringdon Folly Tower - Opening from April to October

on Wed, 29/03/2017 - 2:41pm

New five year Police and Crime Plan for the Thames Valley

on Wed, 29/03/2017 - 9:35am

The Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), Anthony Stansfeld, has launched his new five year Police and Crime Plan for the Thames Valley.

The document sets out the priorities for policing and other crime reduction organisations. It consists of five strategic priorities which are:

  • Vulnerability – Managing demand on services through working together with a particular focus on mental health, elder abuse, hidden abuse, and the criminal justice experience for victims
  • Prevention and Early Intervention – Improving safeguarding in both the physical and virtual space including tackling cyber crime, road safety, peer on peer abuse, hate crime and female genital mutilation (FGM)
  • Reducing Re-offending – Targeting and managing harm and risk with a focus on substance misuse, violence involving weapons and offender management
  • Serious Organised Crime and Terrorism – Improving the local response including increased public awareness, promoting a ‘dare to share’ culture, and preventing violent extremism and exploitation of vulnerable people.
  • Police Ethics and Reform – Increasing the pace of change with a focus on improved support for victims, uptake of new technology, and improving the perceptions of police among young people

The Plan was informed by the views of nearly 5000 residents, including over 1000 young people, who took part in the PCCs policing and crime survey in 2016.

It was also developed using a broad range of information including academic research, analysis of crime trends and consultation with partners including the police and local authorities.

Anthony Stansfeld said: “Demand on policing and community safety issues have changed over the last few years and my new plan reflects this. The Plan focuses on many new and emerging issues for policing but crimes such as household burglary and rural crime will also remain a priority.

“Tackling new demand, as well as maintaining support for the investigation of more traditional crimes, won’t be an easy task. However, as recent Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) inspections have shown, Thames Valley Police is a force we can be proud of and I have faith that they will be able to rise to this challenge and continue to safeguard the communities of Thames Valley.

“I will now be working closely with partner organisations to understand how they will address the issues identified.” 

For more information and to view the full Police and Crime Plan visit the PCC website:-

From a Thames Valley Alert received 28/3/17

Wantage Events Diary over the coming months

on Tue, 28/03/2017 - 4:27pm

Griffin Hall, Sparsholt - “Save the Roof” Update

on Mon, 27/03/2017 - 6:04pm

The Hall Committee are pleased to report that the roof fund has reached £28,255 so we have nearly made it to our target of £31,000. A big thank you, to all of you who have attended fundraising events, donated items  or your time and have donated through the “Buy a Tile” scheme. With continued community support we should make our target. At the Hall Management Committee meeting in March, it was agreed to appoint a contractor so the project can go ahead this year, because the sooner we start the project the better as costs continue to rise.

If you haven’t made a donation as part of the “Buy a Tile” scheme and you would like to click here for details.

You can follow our fundraising progress by checking the “Save the Roof” Ladder displayed on the Hall door.

Submitted by Angie Brown

Wantage twinning visit to Mably, France - 9-15th July - interested?

on Mon, 27/03/2017 - 9:43am

Green Lane - a byway running between Letcombe Regis/West Challow/Childrey

on Sun, 26/03/2017 - 11:13am

GREEN LANE – A BYWAY RUNNING  BETWEEN LETCOMBE REGIS/WEST CHALLOW/CHILDREY which runs from the bottom of Sincombe Hill on the B4001 and runs east towards Windmill Hill, a length of approx 2 miles. The second section of byway runs from the back of Letcombe Regis Village Hall up the hill and straight across the “muddy crossroads” to the B4507. A byway is a public highway which is open to all vehicles which must be street legal vehicles ie taxed and insured.

Since the Ridgeway was closed to vehicles a few years ago, the 4 x4’s and motor cycles have taken to using other routes for their enjoyment including Green Lane.   Unfortunately this has wrecked havoc with the surface of the tracks making it virtually impossible for any walkers, cyclists or horse riders to navigate safely.  These vehicles have left very deep muddy ruts in the tracks which fill with water and are very slippery. Some of the ruts are up to 2 foot in depth. Over the last 4 or 5 years the Countryside Team from Oxfordshire County Council has made efforts to repair the track but unfortunately it has not lasted and will not work as long as the vehicles keep using the track.

From a safety point of view, some of the sections of the track are extremely narrow and it is impossible for a vehicle and a walker/cyclist/horse rider to pass. This has meant that all other users of the tracks have had to move into the neighbouring fields. There have been several reports of horses being badly spooked by the motorbikes.  In their defence, some of the motor bike riders do turn their engines off and try to be courteous.  However, this is not resolving the issue of learning to share a space that is meant for the enjoyment of all.

It has been suggested that the track could be repaired (if there is any money in the County Council’s budget) and a six month winter closure put on the track. The vehicles and motor bikes would then be able to use the tracks in the summer when less damage would be caused.

There is currently a ”Slow Down for Horses Campaign” going on; most horse riders are only too pleased to be able to get off the roads and ride on bridleways but if they are not safe to use then they have no option but to stay on the road.

We want to make this a route for all to enjoy, so if you agree please could you (whether a horserider, walker with or without dogs or cyclist) take time to write an email to Oxfordshire County Council asking for this Green Lane to be restored to a state in which all parties  can enjoy this track SAFELY. Please contact:  Arthur McEwan-James at the Countryside department of Oxfordshire County Council.  If you can add any photographs that is a bonus. 

Please see the following website for further information.

This one also makes interesting reading:

Thank you for your support.

Submitted by Elizabeth Cook

Wantage Food Bank - do you or anyone you know need help with food?

on Fri, 24/03/2017 - 5:40pm