Chairman’s speech to Grove’s Annual Parish Meeting 26 April 2024

Thanks to Grove Parish Council for sending us the text of the Chair’s speech at the annual parish meeting on 26 April 2024 which we’re happy to reproduce here in full.

Good evening and welcome to Annual Parish Meeting.

During the last 12 months, the Parish Council has continued to support local good causes. A total of £20,790 worth of grants were made to local organisations by the Parish Council:

  • £7,395 to the Sweatbox Youth Centre,
  • £7,395 to GroW Families baby group,
  • £3,000 to the Vale Community Impact,
  • £2,500 to the Grove Day Centre for the Elderly,
  • £250 to the Grove Garden and Local History Club,
  • £250 to the Wantage and Grove Street Pastors.

The development forum for the Grove Airfield development (Wellington Gate) and the Crab Hill development continues to meet at least four times a year. The forum meetings enable the Parish Council to hear the latest information on these housing developments in Grove and in Wantage and challenge the developers when issues arise.

The Parish Council will also attend Community meetings for the Brookside Meadow development (Monks Farm), when they start to be held later in the year.

The first of thirteen new sports pitches arising from the Wellington Gate development on the Western Side of the Denchworth Road (together with temporary changing facilities) are going through the very last legal checks and will be transferred to the Parish Council very shortly. A further planning application for the remaining sports pitches has been submitted and those pitches should available in two years.

The planning application for the new Secondary School has now been approved and work on that will start later this year. It is expected to open its doors in September 2025.

Occupations of new dwellings arising from the Wellington Gate development now stands at 608.

The first play area on the Wellington Gate development is now ready for transfer to the Parish Council and this will take place as soon as the legal paperwork is in place.

An application for a Multi-Use Games Area (MUGA) and Neighbourhood Equipped Area for Play (NEAP) has also been submitted to the planning authority.

The first of three allotment sites (located just off the Denchworth Road) is currently going through the planning application process and will also be transferred to the Parish Council when ready.

At the last Parish Council election in May last year, only 11 out of 16 members stood for re-election. This has meant that the Council has had to co-opt ‘willing volunteers’ to sit as Parish Council members. The following members have all been co-opted onto the Council since the election last May; Parish Councillor Anthony Harker, Phil Ware, Graham Smeddle and more recently Magda Charlton. On behalf of the Parish, I thank them all for volunteering.

This does of course mean that there is still one vacancy. If you or you know of anyone willing to stand as Parish Councillor please do go and see the Clerk after this meeting or contact the office next week.

The annual Extravaganza will take place on Saturday 15 June on the Recreation Ground. A big thank you to Grove Rugby Football Club for organising and hosting this event. This-years ‘theme’ is a celebration of the eightieth anniversary of the D-Day landings, which of course Grove Airfield played a huge part.

The Parish Council has recently purchased Millbrook Square car park and the pedestrianised areas. This will guarantee the public ownership of a much-used asset for years to come.

The Parish Council has now also taken ownership of the land at Westbrook Play Area. This means that the play area can now be expanded and brought up to date.

The Parish Council are planning to hold an event (subject to the availability of the Silver Band) on the Recreation Ground on Thursday 6 June to mark the eightieth anniversary of the D-Day landings. If the event goes ahead it will commence at 7pm.

A very big thank you to all of our volunteer litter pickers. They meet on the second Friday of every month and go all around the village to pick up rubbish that has not been put in the bins. If you or if you know of anyone that would like to join the group, please contact the Parish Clerk and he will ensure that your details are passed on.

A big thank you to my Vice Chairman Stephen Dexter and fellow Parish Councillors who again have supported me as Chairman this year.

Thank you to both the office staff and the grounds staff for all the work they have done during the last 12 months.

Councillor June Stock
Chairman
Grove Parish Council

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