Plans beyond 2011
Planning beyond 2011 started around 2005. KHR contributed to the debates and the EiP on the Oxfordshire Structure Plan for 2016, which included further expansion of Didcot. This was superseded by the South East Regional Plan (SE Plan) to 2026, which replaced the Oxfordshire Structure Plan.
Growth point status
The SE Plan included more housing at Didcot. To start with about 3000 houses were proposed but 1500 were added when SODC applied for and won ‘Growth Point’ status for Didcot. This meant that Didcot was awarded Government money for infrastructure, on condition that even more houses were built. VWH and SODC agreed to share the total of about 4500 houses equally. These proposals were opposed by KHR through several consultations and at the EiP on the SE Plan held in 2007. The housing plans for Didcot were incorporated in the SE Plan published in May 2009.
The local councils started to prepare their Local Development Framework Core Strategies (the documents that replaced the old Local Plans) in late 2007.
The draft VWH Plans in 2009/2010 included a Harwell Strategic Link Road from the A417 near the Kingswell Restaurant to the A4130 east of the Milton Interchange with the A34 and a Harwell Field Link Road from the A417 to the entrance of the Harwell Science and Innovation Campus on the A4185. Unfortunately the latest VWH Plan, the Consultation Draft Local Plan of February 2013, does not include the Harwell Field Link Road. Oxfordshire County Council is continuing to study potential road improvements in the area, but the current absence of the Harwell Field Link Road threatens Harwell with more traffic on the A417 Reading Road .
Link roads and proposed additional housing in VWH in 2009/2010
Planning up to 2029
KHR’s main concern for the future is that because VWH agreed to take half the 4,500 or so extra houses required for Didcot it is now proposing to build 2,150 houses west of Great Western Park by 2029. This would bring the development up to the A34 using up yet more quality agricultural land and removing the rural gap between Harwell village and Didcot. This development has become known as Valley Park.
SODC adopted its Local Plan 2029 in 2012. It includes plans for 2,030 houses to the north east of Didcot.
The Government has recently abolished the SE Plan, so local councils are not now obliged to follow its proposals or policies. VWH has though indicated that, pending revised housing needs forecasts, it will use the numbers for new housing that were in the SE Plan.
VWH published its Draft Local Plan 2029 for consultation in February 2013. It still includes up to 2,150 homes at ‘Valley Park, Harwell Parish, east of the A34’. The area covered has though now expanded to include land south of the B4493 Harwell – Didcot Road.
Last update March 2013