PLANS for a new 23-hectare technology park in Didcot have returned in a “greener” form. 

Reef Group, a developer from London, is seeking planning permission for the scheme off the A4130 on Hill Farm, immediately north of Appleford, in partnership with Vale of White Horse District Council and South Oxfordshire District Council. 

The plans, which include a data centre, waste management site, a wood recycling organisation and a battery storage facility, are similar to an application which Pro Vision, of Hampshire, applied for on the same site in 2016. 

Herald Series: Plans for the tech park first submitted in 2016 (Reef Group)Plans for the tech park first submitted in 2016 (Reef Group)

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However, the latest submission seeks mostly to apply a Local Development Order (LDO) to the technology park, which is something local authorities use to simplify the planning process. 

If the LDO were granted, it would allow the district councils to set “clear rules” for developing the entire site instead of receiving and deciding planning applications for individual parts as usual. 

It would also require the developers to use sustainable materials, provide energy efficient measures and restrict the height of buildings.

Herald Series: The site is predicted to create up to 2,000 jobs (Reef Group)The site is predicted to create up to 2,000 jobs (Reef Group)

A total of 2,000 new jobs are expected to be created in 950,000sq ft of “high-tech” offices, laboratories and manufacturing.  

The applicants aim to make the development “greener” by including landscaping, water features, wet woodland habitat, green walls and roofs, cycle routes and footpaths and electric vehicle and electric bike charging points. 

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They hope the new enterprise park will initially bring investment to the town and create new jobs, particularly in the space and technology sectors. 

Herald Series: It would include "high tech" offices (Reef Group)It would include "high tech" offices (Reef Group)

Councillor Debby Hallett, cabinet member for corporate services and transformation at Vale of White Horse District Council, said: “We support LDOs because they encourage the types of business and buildings that would be suitable for a site and help to ensure our aims to tackle climate change are taken into consideration. 

“We hope that this development will bring new jobs to support the economic recovery following the pandemic and this consultation is one of the ways residents and businesses can give us their views on how new the site is developed in the future.”  

The 55-acre site was included in the Didcot Growth Accelerator Enterprise Zone awarded by the government in January 2016 following a successful bid by the council.

Herald Series: The district councils hope to make it an LDO siteThe district councils hope to make it an LDO site

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It was Science Vale UK’s second Enterprise Zone joining The Harwell Campus and Milton Park, in Didcot.

The council hope the new enterprise park will initially bring investment to the town and create new jobs with a particular emphasis on the space and technology sectors.

Public consultation is open for the application until May 25. To comment, visit planning application reference P17/V2490/LDO.


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