ONE of the biggest housing estates ever planned for Oxfordshire, set to consist of 4,524 homes, has been given the go ahead – despite grave concerns about lack of healthcare, school places and safe travel access.

Vale of White Horse District Council's planning committee unanimously approved the outline plans for the development on Thursday, which will be known as Valley Park and be sandwiched between Great Western Park n Didcot and Harwell village.

It will form part of the Didcot Garden Town plan and 35 per cent of the homes are set to be affordable.

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Alongside thousands of homes, primary schools, sports pitches, community and leisure facilities, and a special needs school are also set to be build in the area.

The development has been hugely contested since Taylor Wimpey published the proposals in 2016 over fears that the community in Harwell will be engulfed in housing, with the parish council and Didcot Town Council formally objecting to the plans.

Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (OCCG), which plans, buys and oversees health services in the county, initially objected as the three GP practices in the area do not have the capacity to absorb this level of population increase.

Now, the OCCG will receive £2.8 million towards a new healthcare centre in Great Western Park or, should that not be built, £3.3 million so it can buy land elsewhere and build another nearby to serve new residents.

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Councillor for Harwell and Hendreds Sally Povolotsky, who spoke against the development at Thursday's meeting, highlighted that she is 'painfully aware of the pressures' on this committee and council to attain housing numbers within the district as laid down by the Government.

She said that in an 'ideal world', Valley Park will be designed as Low Traffic neighbourhoods, with a southern entry/ exit point and reduced traffic 'at all costs', but instead it puts motorists first.

Ms Povolotsky added: "Valley Park can be 'better' in so many ways, despite the unwanted growth by my residents and I in the locality.

"As we slowly emerge from an 18-month healthcare crisis and recognising the current impact of overdevelopment and under-provision within the area, I have to express just how frustrated my division is, especially rural areas who are hugely disadvantaged by the waiting times and stretched local resources.

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"Healthcare provision for Valley Park must be provided as early as possible within the scheme.

"The pressures locally caused in my division by the lack of urgency on Great Western Park is appalling and a lesson that should be learnt by all.

"I have residents with newborns that have never seen a health visitor in person, people with urgent symptoms on hold endlessly for appointments and delays or cancellations and frustrations across the board..

To find out more about the development, visit Vale of White Horse District Council planning website, using reference P14/V2873/O.