IT'S been a year since H&M staff danced on the streets of Didcot to usher in a 'shiny new' era for the town. 

On March 22, 2018 owners Hammerson unveiled its long-awaited 28 unit expansion at the shopping centre.

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But after a year of trading, the jury is still out on whether the scheme has been a success and questions remain about its long term future. 

While take-up of the new units has improved throughout the year, empty spaces were still evident when the Oxford Mail visited yesterday.

With Hammerson operating in a tough financial climate, the shopping centre owner has said it is looking to offload some of its assets although has not confirmed whether the Orchard Centre is among them.   

The opening of sought-after brands like Jojo Maman Bebe and Marks & Spencer has been credited with showing how much Didcot has changed in recent years due to its rapid expansion in population. 

And residents have welcomed new restuarants including Berro Lounge and Kaspas, saying they have provided much-needed places to hang out in the town centre. 

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But with an ongoing row over parking time limits and concerns about the impact on independent shops, not all customers have fully embraced the shiny new version of the town. 

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