VILLAGERS living near Didcot are demanding a new bridge over the Thames to cope with extra traffic created by more than 2,000 proposed new homes.

As part of South Oxfordshire District Council’s core strategy – a development blueprint for the next 15 years – about 10,000 new homes are planned for the district including about 9,000 homes in the Didcot area.

But before the core strategy can be approved, residents are being given the opportunity to tell a planning inspector if they disagree with elements of the plans for new homes.

And residents in Didcot and surrounding villages are complaining that SODC has failed to draw up plans for enough new infrastructure to cope, including new roads.

Chairman of Long Wittenham Parish Council Tom Bowtell said he and parish council chairmen from neighbouring villages would address the planning inspector next Tuesday and Thursday to spell out concerns.

He said: “As part of the core strategy there are plans for more than 2,000 new homes north of the Ladygrove estate, alongside the B4016 Didcot to Appleford road.

“The (Thames) bridges at Clifton Hampden and at Culham are already at full capacity and there is no provision in the core strategy for a new bridge.

“At the moment there are 500 vehicle movements per hour over Clifton Hampden bridge and villagers in the area believe it is at full capacity.

“If the core strategy gets the go-ahead, then building work will start on the first of these 2,000 homes straight away and once they are built there could be at least 2,000 new cars in the area.

“We don’t believe SODC has properly investigated north-south traffic movements and all the transport studies so far have concentrated on east-west traffic between Didcot and Grove.”

Mr Bowtell said Long Wittenham parish council has objected to the plan for the new homes and added that Clifton Hampden, Dorchester, North Moreton, Little Wittenham and Appleford parish councils would also make submissions to the planning inspector.

Didcot town council leader Margaret Davies said the town council was also concerned about the lack of infrastructure for 2,330 new homes north of the town.

She said: “The new homes will have water and electricity but there are no proper transport links drawn up and residents in East and West Hagbourne are also very concerned.”

A spokesman for South Oxfordshire District Council said: “Providing new infrastructure to go with the new housing proposed for Didcot is very important for the council.

“The policies in the core strategy, which will be tested this month by an independent planning inspector, are designed to ensure that a range of infrastructure improvements and new facilities are delivered along with the new homes.

“These include a new secondary school, a new sports centre, green infrastructure and transport improvements. These are set out in the Joint Didcot Infrastructure Delivery Plan, prepared jointly by South Oxfordshire and the Vale of White Horse district councils.”