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Mixed views greet plans for 1,880 houses near to Didcot
A MASTERPLAN for 1,880 new homes for land to the north-east of Didcot was unveiled yesterday.
And residents had mixed views on the plans on display at the Cornerstone Arts Centre, for the £250m development on the 360-acre site next to the 3,500-home Ladygrove Estate.
Concerns were raised about the impact on traffic, the lack of new infrastructure planned for the development, and flooding fears – as part of it includes floodplain.
But developer Croudace moved to allay concerns with spokesman Alison Walker saying it had “spent a lot of time” addressing flooding problems.
She added: “The western area of the site looks like it has previously flooded the most from survey work we’ve done. So we’ve allocated mainly sports ground for that area.”
The plan includes two community centres, two primary schools, a secondary school, a small shopping centre, two care homes and 14 hectares of sports land.
While Ladygrove Estate resident Suzanne Jones welcomed the new facilities, she said: “I’m really concerned. It’s quite frightening to think about how the infrastructure and roads will hold out with developments like this – with others such as Great Western Park. The council doesn’t have the answers or the money to build everything.
“The proposed facilities look great on paper, but whether they happen or not is another thing.”
About 40 per cent of the new homes on the land, which is mainly owned by Reading University, would be affordable housing with a mixture of two and three-bedroom homes and flats.
Croudace held its first public consultation on the plan in April, but that was before any details were revealed.
The second drop-in session will be held today between 2.30pm and 4.30pm, but people will be able to have their say until November 8 at www.northeastdidcot.com.
Developers hope to submit an outline planning application to South Oxfordshire District Council in January with building due to start in early 2015 – 200 homes will be built every year up to 2026.
Margaret Davies, leader of Didcot Town Council, viewed the plans and said: “They seem reasonable. I think the developers have listened to people about concerns over flooding and building cycle routes and walking paths and they’ve tied it into the rest of the town which was a concern.”
The impact of traffic was raised concerning the amount the development will generate, particularly in villages north of Didcot.
Richard Swainston, 72, from Wheatfields in Didcot, said: “It seems reasonable, but it is difficult to link it into the town centre because it is a long way away from it. Traffic is going to be a problem, but it is almost everywhere.”
Chartered surveyor Paul Butt added: “The site has been allocated so it’s not about whether it’s going to happen, but about what happens next.”
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