URGENT – Crab Hill Development Forum update


Given the comments etc following my Facebook post, and e-mails received, it is clear that a lot of people object to the toilets falling under the responsibility of the Kingsgrove Estate Management Company. As a result, I have taken advice from Julie Mabberley, Chair of the Wantage & Grove Campaign Group about possible next steps to ensure people’s views are heard.

She has advised that people send an e-mail to the planning officer responsible for the application as soon as possible.

  • To: Stuart Walker (planning@whitehorsedc.gov.uk)
  • CC: Erik Johnson, Charlton councillor and Chair of Wantage Town Council’s planning committee (erik.johnson@wantagetowncouncil.gov.uk)
  • Subject: Opposition to part of planning application P23/V1296/RM (Kingsgrove Central Park)
  • Body: The deadline for submissions was officially last month, so you need to make it clear why you are only now registering an objection – namely that you have only very recently received new information as to who will take on responsibility for the maintenance of the “public” toilets. Explain why you are objecting to the inclusion of the public toilets and ask that the simpler idea of a compost toilet being sited in the allotments be reconsidered. I think that asking for the public toilets to be removed from the building is likely the easiest way forward, rather than having the whole application thrown out.

Obviously, if you agree with having public toilets that we are responsible for, I would suggest that you send an e-mail, similar in structure to the one detailed above but with your own views. This is to ensure that your voice will be heard.

I will be posting much more detailed notes about the meeting that was held today as soon as I can but I wanted to get a particular part of the notes out into the public domain sooner rather than later, regarding about the ownership of the proposed public toilets in the pavilion in the Central Park.

I urge you to read through this as soon as you are able as any response to the contents is going to be very time sensitive.


From my notes from the Crab Hill Development Forum – 20 July:

Central Park

The pavilion is due to have two externally accessible toilets (1 disabled & 1 standard) in addition to the toilets within the building. These were included in the design as a replacement for the compost toilet that was originally going to be part of the allotment site when it was down near the A338. Now that the allotments have been relocated to the Central Park area, it was felt that they might as well be “open to all”. However, there was a lot of discussion about who was going to have ownership & management responsibilities for these. The allotments are highly likely to be adopted by Wantage Town Council, as is normal for allotment sites, but whether they would take on the toilets in a building that they didn’t fully manage is something that is going to need further investigation / conversations / agreements. The Community Hub, based behind where the cafe is currently, will also have toilets.

Subsequent discussions

Between that meeting and the meeting today (12 October), there seems to have been a lot of progress regarding the ownership / responsibility for the two externally accessible toilets.

  • Wantage Town Council have said that they are not prepared to take them on.
  • Wantage Town Football Club have said that, should they take on the lease for the pitches & pavilion, that they are not prepared to take on responsibility for these toilets. The reason behind this decision is that, in addition to the toilets in the changing rooms, the pavilion will also include toilets for supporters etc in the main part of the building so they feel that they don’t need the extra cost of maintaining the externally accessible toilets.
  • St. Modwen have instructed Preim to provide high-level costing for the Kingsgrove Estate Management Company to take over responsibility of the toilets. At the time of writing this, I am not able to share the exact figure (though I am trying to get that to you all as soon as possible) but a quick search shows that similar ventures (Section 8 Case Studies – Biggar) allocated a budget of £15000 per year.


I would be very interested in hearing the views of residents on whether they feel that approximately £15000 being added to the annual budget is something that they would be prepared to pay for.

Timescale to do something about this

If there is enough concern about this charge, we need to express that to the planning team as soon as possible. The Central Park plans are going to the planning committee no later than November 8, but a decision made be made even sooner should the Town Council formally rescind their objection (nothing to do with the toilets) to the plans given the fact that their concerns have been addressed. If their objection is rescinded, then the matter will be decided by the planning team with no need to take additional input from anyone.

Budget context

To provide a little context regarding the budget amount, if the development was fully finished with all 1534 homes occupied, it is envisaged that it would cost about £550K to manage. Currently, with approximately 500 homes occupied, the operational budget is about £130K. Obviously, the Central Park will be ready before all 1534 homes have been completed, so the additional £15K would constitute somewhere between roughly 3% and 11%. These numbers are indicative only, and quickly calculated, so can’t be completely relied upon but should hopefully help.

Please use the contact us page to let us know your views.