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Millions secured for green infrastructure in Didcot | Vale link

Millions of pounds have been secured for vital infrastructure, health provision and tackling climate change as part of a planning application for Didcot.

Developers will have to provide the funds as part of an application for up to 4,254 homes – 35% of which will be affordable – at Valley Park near Great Western Park through what is known as Section 106. The money includes £200,000 for biodiversity improvements, four times more than applicant Taylor Wimpey originally proposed, that must be made before any development begins.  There is also just under £4m for public transport, including bus shelters and bus services, to encourage sustainable travel to, from and around the site.

Following requests from Vale of White Horse District Council Planning Committee members, developers must also implement so-called ‘green wave’ technology to improve cyclist safety at the roundabout proposed on the B4493 Harwell / Didcot Road, as well additional cycleways to connect the site with the surrounding area.

Also secured on site are allotments, sports pitches, a community centre, two primary schools and a special educational needs school, and two local centres to provide services meeting the daily needs of future occupants. £9m is secured for improving and expanding secondary school provision.

The contributions will ensure the development contributes to the aims of Didcot Garden Town, which sets out how to build new homes in a well-planned and sustainable way.

Councillor Bethia Thomas, Cabinet Member for Community Engagement, said: “It is vital developers contribute towards the local community when planning new developments. We’re delighted that we have secured these funds for Didcot.

“Tackling climate change is one of our key priorities as a council and so I’m delighted that we’ve managed to increase the money for biodiversity to £200,000. And that further funds have been secured to try to encourage people to walk, cycle or use public transport wherever possible.

“Health provision is also vital so I’m pleased to see a commitment of nearly £3m for a health centre at the site, with more money pledged if the centre has to be located off site.”

The site was allocated in the Local Plan for development and is one the largest applications for development in terms of number of houses that the planning committee have dealt with.

The planning application was approved on February 21.

[Section 106 details]

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