Improvements to the outline planning permission for the Valley Park development between Didcot and Harwell have been welcomed by local Lib Dem councillors.
£3 million towards healthcare provision, a safer design for the proposed roundabout and better safeguarding of the site's biodiversity have been secured following the deferment of the scheme earlier this year by the Vale of White Horse District Council.
Lib Dem councillors had pushed for the deferral when the application came to Planning Committee in February of this year, due to concerns over healthcare, safe active travel access, sustainability and biodiversity.
The proposal for 4254 homes between Didcot and Harwell has now been passed, with conditions, by the Vale of White Horse Planning Committee, along with £3 million secured for health provision to serve the development.
Key improvements to the plan include:
- £3 million pounds towards health provision to serve the development
- Safer design for the large roundabout serving the site
- Upgrading of the Cow Lane cycle route to provide a safe alternative cycle route
- Bringing forward the £200,000 budget to support biodiversity
- Protection for mature trees on the site
Sarah Medley, councillor for Harwell and Great Western Park, said:
“We fought very hard to secure funding for health care to serve the new development. Our motion to the Vale Council led to talks with the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and ultimately to resolving the issue."
Hayleigh Gascoigne, councillor for Harwell and Great Western Park, said:
“It is vital that we do everything possible to protect biodiversity, safeguard trees and shift housebuilding to a zero carbon approach. There is still further to go, but we have made great progress on these plans.”
Sally Povolotsky, County Councillor for the Harwell area, said:
“I am delighted that we have won improvements to the large roundabout, including a commitment to the 'green wave' approach that will help cyclists. We have also won investment in the alternative Cow Lane route between Harwell village and the UTC.”
"There are still huge concerns about the pace of development in our area, but the local team has won some very significant improvements to this plan."
The team of councillors have said that they are going to continue to monitor progress on the development, check that the commitments are being delivered and work for further improvements on active travel, sustainability, carbon zero homes and biodiversity.”