A GREEN light has been given for the next phase of a £269 million transport network in Didcot.

Oxfordshire County Council’s cabinet has given the go-ahead for the next phase of the HIF1 Didcot and surrounding areas major infrastructure project with a revised deal with Government at a meeting on Tuesday (21).

HIF1 is the combination of four projects to ensure there is capacity to connect a wave of new houses set to be built to the south of Oxford.

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This includes the building of a dual carriageway on the A4130 east of Milton Interchange, a new road bridge over the A4130, railway line and Milton Road, a river crossing linking Didcot to Culham and a bypass for Clifton Hampden.

Herald Series: Artists impression of the bridge crossing the riverArtists impression of the bridge crossing the river

Approval followed an agreement in February to allocate additional funding to the project as part of its budget setting process. This funding will be combined with further investment from Homes England and the Oxfordshire LEP to deliver the project by mid-2026.

Homes England have also agreed that the council can make significant improvements to the sustainability of the scheme during the next phase of design.

In addition, the cabinet agreed that the county council will seek assurances from Homes England that it will support the council in seeking an extension to the funding period, should it be required in exceptional circumstances.

Councillor Duncan Enright, cabinet member for travel and development strategy, said: “We’ve reached a vital point in the delivery of this scheme, and I’m delighted that we’ve been able to work closely with our partners to agree new funding arrangements and timescales to take this project forward.

Herald Series: Artist's impression of A4130 with improved footways and cyclewaysArtist's impression of A4130 with improved footways and cycleways

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“Didcot is a growing community. We know the importance of this project – not just to support new housing and employment opportunities but to help reduce congestion and provide real sustainable travel options for people by improving walking and cycling connectivity and improving bus journey times.”

The approval comes after major backlash from environmental campaigners who have said they will carry on urging the council to backtrack on its decisions.

Chris Church, of Oxford Friends of the Earth, said the scheme goes against the council’s aim of having zero carbon emissions by the year 2040.

However, the council states the scheme will provide more sustainable travel options in and around Didcot as well as reducing a legacy of congestion in the surrounding villages and improving air quality and noise levels.

Mr Enright added: “Oxfordshire needs a modern, efficient, reliable, affordable and sustainable transport system. The cost of congestion is too high.

“We can't spend all of our lives stuck in traffic jams, so we have to rethink the way that people move around the county.

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“We have been working to make this an exemplar scheme in environmental terms - with additional biodiversity gain, reduced embedded carbon and a flexible use of the route for future transport modes all being explored."

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This story was written by Gee Harland, she joined the team in 2022 as a senior multimedia reporter.

Gee covers Wallingford and Didcot.

Get in touch with her by emailing: Gee.harland@newsquest.co.uk

Follow her on Twitter @Geeharland

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