Didcot Garden Town: Oxfordshire County Council secures £218m for major transport improvements

Transport improvements in and around Didcot will support the creation of new jobs and homes, thanks to a successful grant funding bid led by Oxfordshire County Council and supported by the district councils.

The funding will support the creation of new houses including affordable homes and will improve transport links including walking and cycling routes.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, has announced in this year’s Spring Statement the positive outcome of the Housing Infrastructure Funding (HIF) bid for the Didcot Garden Town and the delivery of projects which include:

  • A4130 widening from A34 Milton Interchange towards Didcot
  • A new “Science Bridge” over the A4130, Great Western Railway Line and Milton Road into the former Didcot A Power Station site
  • A new Culham to Didcot river crossing between the A415 and A4130
  • A Clifton Hampden Bypass

The package of measures has previously been identified in Local Plans to deliver growth across South Oxfordshire and the Vale of White Horse districts and is linked with the Housing and Growth Deal which will help support the delivery of 100,000 new homes in Oxfordshire by 2031.

This funding announcement will mean that necessary infrastructure improvements are delivered in parallel with new homes and jobs ensuring the long-term economic success in this part of Oxfordshire.

All schemes include improved segregated walking and cycling routes which will give people real travel choice. The lack of suitable crossings over the railway line and river coupled with the success of the Science Vale area has resulted in heavy congestion.  The same constraints have resulted in limited alternatives to the private car.

HIF will enable direct and convenient access between new and existing homes and key employment sites in and around Didcot. Oxfordshire County Council will continue to work with its partners and stakeholders to deliver the highway improvements to support growth across the area.

Working together to help residents and the local economy

Minister of State for Housing, Kit Malthouse MP, said: “This £218 million investment from the Government is big backing for a big project, improving local transport links to unlock new homes for the good people of Oxfordshire for decades to come.

“It’s all part of how the Government is firing on all cylinders to help deliver up to one million new homes across the Oxford-Cambridge Arc by 2050, helping a new generation to realise the dream of home ownership.”

Ian Hudspeth, Leader of Oxfordshire County Council said: “This is excellent news and shows the government recognises the importance of this area locally and nationally and the strength of our proposals to enable and sustain expected growth. It’s a much-needed boost and part of our wider plans for Oxfordshire so that communities, residents and businesses can thrive”.

Cllr Jane Murphy, Leader of South Oxfordshire District Council, described the announcement as “a significant moment for everybody living and working in Didcot and surrounding villages.  I’m delighted that we’ve been a part of this successful bid to bring much-needed infrastructure to our district – this award demonstrates that by working closely with government, delivering on growth, and building positive working relationships with other councils, we can deliver much needed improvements for our residents.”

Cllr Roger Cox, Leader of Vale of White Horse District council added: “This is great news for the local economy – by working together with our colleagues in the councils across Oxfordshire, we have helped to secure the infrastructure investment we needed to ensure that the Science Vale area continues to thrive, offering lots of high quality jobs and career opportunities for our residents.”

Homes England Deputy Chief Executive, Tom Walker said: “This is great news for Didcot and for Oxfordshire – the £218 million of Housing Infrastructure funding will secure the important infrastructure needed to support the delivery of thousands of new homes across Oxfordshire and help the local economy to grow. Homes England will continue to work alongside the local councils and the Oxfordshire Growth Board to help make these homes happen”

The garden town team have been working with the advisory board on prioritising the more than 60 individual projects listed in the delivery plan and will now take into account this new funding to support the new homes and jobs set to be created.

Book tokens up for grabs as children invited to draw their ‘Oxfordshire in 2050’

Children can win book tokens as part of a drawing competition for the Oxfordshire Plan 2050.

And the winning child’s design will feature in the final version of the Plan.

We’re asking primary school children to draw what they would like Oxfordshire to look like in 2050.

It could be a futuristic house, an exciting job in a new industry sector or a radical new mode of transport to get around. We want them to be as creative as possible.

It is part of our efforts to engage with young people about our Oxfordshire Plan 2050, which will set out aspirations for the county’s future and identify the sustainable growth needed to achieve a better quality of life for all.

We want young people to get involved because as the next generation they will be the ones potentially living and working in Oxfordshire by that time.

Lorraine Lindsay-Gale

Cllr Lorraine Lindsay-Gale, Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Education & Cultural Services, urged school children to show off their creative skills.

She said: “Imagine what an exciting world we’ll be living in by 2050. Driverless cars could be a standard mode of transport and children might be whizzing about on hoverboards.

“Robots could be helping to keep our homes tidy and all sorts of futuristic buildings will have sprouted up in towns and villages across the county. I’d urge children to let their imaginations run wild and show us how they would like Oxfordshire to look in 2050.”

The winner as chosen by our independent judge will win £20 of book tokens and have their drawing published in our final Plan. Second place will win £10 of book tokens and third place will win £5 of book tokens.

Entries should be accompanied by the name, address and email/phone number of the child’s parent/guardian.

They should then be posted to: My Oxfordshire in 2050 competition, Oxfordshire Plan 2050 Team, Speedwell House, Speedwell St, Oxford OX1 1NE.

The deadline for entries is Friday 26 April.

Those interested can download the competition template to print off here.

Terms and conditions apply.

Extra care homes for Chipping Norton supported by Growth Deal

A planning application for an extra care housing scheme in West Oxfordshire supported by £2.9 million of funding from the Oxfordshire Housing & Growth Deal, has been approved, subject to conditions.

The new scheme, to be built in Rockhill, Chipping Norton, will comprise of 80 extra care homes – 40 one-bed and 40 two-bed apartments – designed to meet the needs of older people. It will offer a number of communal facilities including gardens, a dining area, lounges and hobby/activity areas.

Some of the apartments will be let at affordable rents and others will be available for shared ownership.

Priority will be given to people who have a local connection to Chipping Norton and the surrounding area, then cascade to the whole District.

Extra care housing enables older people with care and support needs to live independently in self-contained accommodation.

A care team will be available on site 24 hours a day, catering for people with a range of needs from low care needs to high care needs. There will also be the flexibility to adjust the amount of care given, as people’s needs change over time.

Cllr Jeff Haine, Cabinet Member for Strategic Housing and Development, West Oxfordshire District Council, said: “As people are living longer, their care needs are growing. This scheme will allow many older people to continue to live independently, having any support they need on hand. This scheme will also allow them to stay involved with the local community that they have lived in for many years.”

The scheme will be developed by specialist provider Housing and Care 21.

West Oxfordshire District Council is contributing additional funding of £300,000.

Oxfordshire Plan 2050 launches Call for Ideas

The Oxfordshire Plan 2050 team has launched a ‘Call for Ideas’ to try to identify areas for new development and environmental protection in Oxfordshire.

The Plan is part of the £215m Housing & Growth Deal agreed by the Oxfordshire Growth Board with the Government, and is being formed by all Oxfordshire’s authorities.

It will set out aspirations for the county’s future and consider how best to deliver new homes and infrastructure and other improvements to achieve these for a better quality of life for all.

The plan team wants to gather public views on which broad locations should be considered within the Oxfordshire Plan 2050.

These could be locations for large-scale housing or employment, infrastructure projects, or for strategic environmental designations.

A submission form and guidance note with further information on the Call for Ideas are available on the Oxfordshire Plan 2050 consultation website.

Even if you just have some initial thoughts, please feel free to suggest ideas and let us know what you think.

The closing date for submissions is Friday 12 April 2019 at 5pm.

Following the consultation, all sites will be assessed for their suitability for suggested land uses.

The information about the sites will be used to inform a draft set of broad location options, which will be available for comment in the next public consultation later this year.

If you would like to stay informed about the Oxfordshire Plan 2050 and would like to receive future updates, please register online.