Didcot Expansion Approved

Plans for more than 1800 homes in Didcot have been approved by South Oxfordshire District Council raising fears of more traffic passing through neighbouring villages.

Croudace Homes and Reading University, the owners of the land north-east of the town, have been given planning permission by South Oxfordshire District Council to build 1880 homes, 40 per-cent of which will be affordable.

The development which is an extension of the Ladygrove estate in Didcot will also have two primary schools and secondary school, a day nursery, a leisure centre and sports pitches including a pavilion.

In addition there will be a neighbourhood centre comprising shops and small units, a pub-restaurant, community hall and a residential care home.  Children’s play areas and allotments are also planned as part of a green open space initiative.

The development which will take ten years to complete has absorbed a small part of Long Wittenham parish land.  It will bring Ladygrove to within a mile of the village, raising concerns about more traffic and congestion and placing more strain on Clifton Hampden Bridge.

The parish council objected to two exit and access points to the development along the B4016 road known locally as the “straight mile” because it would encourage the new residents of Ladygrove to drive through Long Wittenham to reach Oxford, Culham Science Centre, Abingdon and the M40.  But the developers said drivers would seek a less congested route south via the Didcot ring road to reach Milton and the A34.Traffic computer models showed a minimal increase in traffic.

Parish council chairman Gordon Rogers said: “We have no objection in principle to new homes which are desperately needed but in recent years we have seen higher volumes of traffic through the village and it will only get worse as Ladygrove expands over the next ten years.”

“Pollution levels are also a concern particularly for houses and the school along the High Street.  At peak travel times there is congestion between the chicanes and road humps, made worse by school traffic.  We would hope to get developer-funded money to improve traffic-calming measures in the village.”

Another concern is “Didcot sprawl”.  The parish council would oppose any attempt by developers to build homes in the green gap – land between the expanded Ladygrove and on the other side of Appleford road towards Long Wittenham.  Reading University also own this land.

The parish council says there’s an urgent need for a new road and river crossing linking Didcot with the Culham Science centre.  It would be a key factor in helping mitigate traffic issues.  But at an estimated cost of £125m it’s expected to be a long time coming.

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