The story so far
KHR was formed in 1998 when Oxfordshire County Council (OCC) launched a consultation called Which Way Didcot. Didcot had been identified as a growth town and 3500 houses were to be planned for 2011, through The Oxfordshire Structure Plan 2011.
The question was where should the extra houses go: to the north to extend the Ladygrove estate, to the west, or a mixture of the two?
One of the problems is that Harwell lies in Vale of White Horse (VWH) District Council but Didcot is part of South Oxfordshire District Council (SODC). Didcot is expanding into both areas which causes problems when integrating policies and infrastructure.
Approximate boundaries of Harwell Parish and VWH and SODC District Councils
Plans up to 2011
OCC decided to expand Didcot to the north east but received sufficient formal objections to trigger an Examination in Public (EiP), chaired by an independent Inspector.
KHR was officially represented at the EiP into the ‘Alteration to the Oxfordshire Structure Plan 2011’ held in 1999, and supported the OCC position that Didcot should expand to the north east not to the west on sustainability grounds (not building on the high quality agricultural land to the west as recommended by the EiP panel report).
In March 2000 the Environment Committee of OCC was persuaded by supporters of the western site, including the developers and their agent, RPS Consulting, to vote to reject the EiP recommendation. Subsequently OCC put the western option rather than the north east option into its 2011 Structure Plan.
Extract from the Alteration to the Oxfordshire Structure Plan 2011, adopted April 2001.
KHR held a meeting in Harwell in the summer of 2000 to see if people wanted to continue fighting the western expansion of Didcot. There was strong support in the village and it is from this meeting that the current KHR Committee was formed.
From 2000 to 2004, KHR was active in the consultations held by VWH and SODC on their Local Plans for 2011. This involved a lot of work and liaison with many people in Didcot, Harwell and West and East Hagbourne who shared the same views. KHR was represented at the three Public Inquiries held on the Local Plans. The Inspector’s report on the Didcot Public Inquiry did not recommend any significant change to the proposals for ‘Didcot West’ but it did recognise that the expansion of Didcot posed problems to the infrastructure and traffic levels around Didcot.
Great Western Park
Approximate location and boundaries of Great Western Park (light blue). The dark blue triangle is the location of the new Orchard Centre in Didcot.
Outline planning permission for Great Western Park was granted by VWH and SODC in the summer of 2006. KHR has continued to comment on the impacts of the development and the detailed planning proposals. The agreements reached between VWH, SODC and the developers include some funds that could be put towards a future ‘Harwell bypass’, but this will not be built as a consequence of Great Western Park itself.
For more details about the planning applications for Great Western Park, please see the GWP page on the Parish Council website.
Last update July 2011