PLANS for a £60m development to transform the area opposite Didcot Parkway station have been withdrawn after the council deemed them to be 'outdated'.

South Oxfordshire District Council (SODC) planning committee unanimously approved the council's own planning application for the ‘Gateway’ project in February 2016 – now it has been scrapped.

The area opposite the station was set to be transformed by demolishing the existing buildings and putting up a 70-bedroom hotel, a gym, up to 300 homes and a new pub.

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The development was also supposed to include a replacement building for Lydalls Nursery and a new multi-storey car park. Lydalls Road was also going to be closed to allow for redevelopment and pedestrian access.

However a spokesperson for the council said this week: “The planning application submitted by South Oxfordshire District Council in 2015 became outdated and was therefore withdrawn.

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“A new proposal is being prepared by Homes England who were involved with the original planning application and own a significant part of the site.

“They are in a position to put forward a more up-to-date and viable application for the area, including the requirements for the Didcot Garden Town Delivery Plan.”

Having said the old plan was 'outdated', the council also said that the 2015 planning application was withdrawn because the parties involved could not agree on the details.

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The site in the original plan incorporated 'third-party' land which was outside of Homes England and South Oxfordshire District Council’s interests, it said.

The spokesperson added: “The proposal is being updated to incorporate updated policy and design requirements, including the Didcot Garden Delivery Plan and national design standards and will not include third party land.”

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Unlike most major council projects which are being postponed due to Covid-19, SODC said that the ‘Gateway’ project was not likely to be postponed.

The authority also highlighted that the project development had continued during lockdown and said Homes England remained committed to delivery.

The news comes the same week that Homes England confirmed it had submitted a massive planning application to build 3,000 homes at Chalgrove Airfield – also to SODC.

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It is still unknown what the new Didcot Gateway plan will look like, but residents have previously said they fear the demolition of the Princes of Wales pub through the development would be a great loss.

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In 2016, Didcot resident Penny Dakin Kiley said: "We want to see the site improved but not in a way that destroys existing community facilities and replaces them with high-rise blocks. There is a strong feeling that demolishing the Prince of Wales pub would be a huge loss and that any new development should reflect Didcot's heritage as a railway town."

Homeowners in the area also disagreed with parts of the 2015 plan. Laura Yuill, of Lydalls Road, objected to the planning application online and wrote: “I categorically object to part of the plans. I live directly opposite the nursery on Lydalls Road. I expressed my concerns that I currently have a clear view of trees and open space, and that any homes built opposite would be a complete infringement and loss of privacy on my property on such a narrow road.”

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However, a Mr Jones of Edinburgh Drive left a positive response on the planning application, saying: “The area does need to be tidied up as the first view any travellers have of Didcot when arriving by train is not pleasant.”

David Rouane, SODC cabinet member for housing and Didcot Garden Town, said: “That is the first site people see when they get to Didcot and get off the train so there should be a sense of arrival.

"It should be a welcome-to-Didcot site.”