South Oxfordshire Local Plan 2011, adopted January 2006

Section 10 Didcot

Introduction

10.1

This section contains details of development proposals for certain large sites at Didcot (over 0.5 hectare in area) where the Council wishes to see development take place over the period to 2011. In 2001 Didcot was the largest town in South Oxfordshire with a population of about 24,500. The Structure Plan proposes that over 62% of the district's new homes be located at Didcot (see Section 5). When this major additional housing development proposed at Didcot is completed, the town's population will have grown to about 32,000.

10.2

There are presently about 17,000 jobs in the Didcot area. Having regard to the potential for employment growth in business and industry in that part of the Didcot area that lies within the administrative area of the Vale of White Horse District Council, there will be no need for new land allocations for business and industry in that part of the Didcot area that lies within South Oxfordshire (see Section 6). In Didcot, however, there will be a significant increase in employment in the service sector associated with shopping and other service development, particularly in the town centre, that is intended to meet the social and community needs of the growing population.

Major development areas at Didcot

Policy DID1

The major development areas (MDAs) at Didcot will be implemented in accordance with comprehensive Planning and Development Briefs for the whole of each MDA and Design Statements for parts of each MDA. Adherence to the Planning and Development Brief and Design Statements when the MDAs are implemented will be secured by means of planning conditions or planning obligations.

10.3

There will be two major development areas (MDAs) at Didcot comprising the new area of Didcot West on the western edge of the town and Ladygrove East comprising the final part of the Ladygrove development area on the north-eastern edge of the town. The implementation of a comprehensive scheme of development will necessitate landowners and/or developers with a legal interest in land comprised in the MDAs to work together to prepare a Planning and Development Brief for the whole of each area and Design Statements for constituent parts of each area.

10.4

The Council considers that it is preferable if the landowners and/or developers in each MDA work together in a single body - "the Master Developer" or "Promoter" - that would assume responsibility for all stages of the planning, design and implementation of the MDAs. This is the approach advocated by the Urban Villages Forum as best able to achieve sustainable, high quality development in MDAs. The approach is consistent with Government policy for delivering sustainable development in PPS1. If the MDAs were developed piecemeal by a number of landowners/developers sharing no common purpose then it would be difficult for the Council to ensure the delivery of quality, of sustainability and of services when needed by the new resident population. The Council will seek a planning obligation that would establish a single body to act as Master Developer for each MDA.

10.5

The Council will impose planning conditions and will secure planning obligations to ensure that each MDA is implemented in accordance with a Planning and Development Brief for the whole MDA and Design Statements for parts of the MDA. The Council considers that adherence to the principles, undertakings and details contained in the briefs and statements will be essential if its intention to deliver sustainable, high-quality, mixed-use development in the MDAs is to be achieved.

10.6

The Planning and Development Brief will comprise a master plan and written statement with such drawings and illustrative material as necessary to indicate the following information:

(i)

the identity of the Master Developer with details of the land in the Developer's control and with a programme for the assembly of any further land needed to implement the MDA. The Council will expect the Master Developer to acquire land by private treaty but will be prepared to exercise its powers of compulsory land acquisition to overcome land ownership constraints where the Council considers it expedient to do so and where all costs involved in such action would be reimbursed to the Council.

(ii)

a Site Appraisal indicating how the constraints of existing topography, watercourses, boundaries, buildings and transport infrastructure, both on and off the MDA site, have influenced the urban form shown on the plans described in iii) and iv) below.

(iii)

a Development Strategy showing how the MDA would comprise one or more "walkable neighbourhoods" with homes in each neighbourhood within walking distance of local services located in centres on public transport routes. The Development Strategy will show the disposition of all built development in the form of perimeter street blocks with accompanying information on each block relating to its area, its net housing density, the estimated number and size of dwellings, the proportion of dwellings in the affordable category, and the location and size of buildings in non-residential use.

(iv)

a Public Realm Strategy showing the disposition of public buildings and of public urban space and public greenspace networks within and around the built development. With regard to public realm buildings to be provided in the MDA, the Strategy will give details and show the location of all schools, community centres, primary medical health care facilities, local convenience shops, emergency services facilities and indoor sports facilities. With regard to the public urban space and public greenspace networks, the Strategy will contain information on each space relating to its dimensions and design and to the public realm functions and facilities to be provided within it. These functions and facilities will include:

  • outdoor community sports
  • equipped children's play areas
  • allotment gardens
  • informal recreation (to be provided by civic spaces with paved surfaces, public gardens, open land with meadows and a varied topography including woodland, wetland, ponds and watercourses)
  • the assimilation and screening of buildings in the landscape (to be achieved by tree and woodland planting)
  • energy conservation including the shelter of buildings, mitigation of atmospheric pollution and safeguarding residential amenity from sources of noise (to be achieved by the provision of open land with meadows and woodland)
  • the enhancement of biodiversity (to be achieved by the provision of open land with meadows, public gardens, woodland, wetland, ponds and watercourses)
  • the creation of local distinctiveness (to be provided by works of public art).

(v)

a Transport Strategy showing the layout and design of all proposed footways, footpaths, cycletracks and roads in the MDA based on a permeable, generally rectilinear, grid pattern of movement corridors consistent with the objectives of the Didcot Area Integrated Transport Study. The Strategy will indicate proposals for the extension of this transport infrastructure where it is necessary to provide good communications between the MDA and key destinations in Didcot, key destinations in local employment centres, the A34 trunk road and the countryside. The Transport Strategy will also contain proposals for the enhancement of existing and provision of new public transport routes and services affording residents of the MDA good public transport access from Didcot and within Didcot. The Master Developer will undertake a Transport Assessment of the MDA and this assessment will inform the contents of the Transport Strategy.

(vi)

the definition of a number of Character Areas with each area comprising groups of adjacent perimeter street blocks. Information will be given on how building design, building materials, plot dimensions and boundary details and the design of the public realm would be varied between the Character Areas to achieve distinctiveness and thereby a sense of place and a legible townscape within each neighbourhood. The Planning and Development Brief will contain details of the layout of all buildings and public spaces in the local service centres, including streetscape illustrations of all building frontages in those centres.

(vii)

an Energy Conservation and Resource Management Strategy indicating the Planning and Development Brief's proposals for meeting targets for the conservation of energy and use of water resources in the MDA and for minimising the use and transport of natural resources, for maximising the use of recycled materials and for the management of waste. In relation to energy conservation the strategy will have regard to the targets recommended in the technical report entitled Energy Conservation Measures for Didcot Development-Targets produced for the Council by AEA Technology Environment in July 2001.

(viii)

a Surface Water Drainage Strategy indicating the Planning and Development Brief's proposals for a sustainable urban drainage system, including works and measures to prevent flooding of adjacent land and pollution of the water environment.

(ix)

a Strategy for the Protection of the Historic Environment indicating the Planning and Development Brief's proposals for the protection of buildings and places of architectural or historic interest and proposals for the preservation of archaeological remains that may exist on or under the land.

(x)

an Ecological Strategy indicating the Planning and Development Brief's proposals for the protection of sites of ecological importance on the land and proposals for the development of new sites of ecological importance to enhance biodiversity and to compensate for habitats lost through development. Particular attention will be given to the provision of continuous corridors for the movement of wildlife around and through the MDAs.

(xi)

the Management of Site Development. This will include a plan and accompanying timetable showing the Master Developer's intentions for the phased implementation of the MDA. In exceptional circumstances the Council may consider the desirability of compulsory purchase of land identified for housing, to bring it forward for development. However, this will only be considered where land remains undeveloped for a prolonged period because of ownership constraints, and where the Council's efforts to persuade owners to bring the land forward for development have failed.

(xii)

the Management of the Delivery of Infrastructure and Services. The Council must be assured that all elements of the public buildings, of the public urban space and public greenspace networks and of the facilities and services described in iii) to x) above will be made available for use by residents of the MDA when needed by them. The Planning and Development Brief will indicate when in the development timetable each element of these facilities and services will be delivered. It will also identify the body (including the Master Developer if appropriate) that has agreed to be responsible for the provision, including the construction and completion, of each element. In addition, the Planning and Development Brief will identify the body that has agreed to be responsible for the long-term management, including the maintenance, of each of these public realm facilities.

10.7

It is essential that the Master Developer works with the Council when the Planning and Development Brief is being prepared and takes into account the Council's views during that preparation. The draft Planning and Development Brief will be the subject of public consultation and the views of consultees will be taken into account before the brief is finalised and adopted as a supplementary planning document. The Planning and Development Brief should be adopted prior to the submission of any planning applications. In determining planning applications the Council will have regard to the requirements of the brief and may refuse permission for any proposals that do not comply with it.

10.8

The Council will require an application for approval of reserved matters pursuant to an outline planning permission for development in a MDA, or an application for full planning permission for the same development, to be accompanied by a Design Statement. For further information on design statements see paragraph 4.5 in Section 4 of this plan. A design statement relating to development in a MDA will include a written statement with such plans, drawings and other illustrative material as is necessary to convey the following information:

(i)

a Site Analysis with an explanation of how the layout of buildings and public spaces takes account of the opportunities, constraints and characteristics of the site.

(ii)

the Design Framework with an explanation of how the layout of buildings public spaces and transport corridors will conform with the Master Plan framework contained in the adopted Planning and Development Brief.

(iii)

the Design Concept Plan for the site with an explanation of how building frontages will be located so as to enclose strongly-defined streets and public spaces and with details of the locations of important vistas, gateways, focal points and key buildings.

(iv)

the Character Area Framework for the site with an explanation of how the design of buildings, plot dimensions, boundary treatments, public spaces, and the choice of materials used will conform with the Character Area for each part of the MDA as defined in the adopted Planning and Development Brief.

The Council may refuse planning permission in cases where the plans and drawings submitted with a planning application indicate to the Council that the development would not achieve the quality to which the Design Statement aspires.

10.9

The Council will seek a planning obligation that would require the Master Developer to prepare and obtain the Council's approval for a Design Statement relating to any part of the MDA that is proposed to be transferred by the Master Developer to another body. Council approval of the Design Statement will be obtained before that transfer is completed. The Council justifies this obligation on the grounds that it is essential that intending developers in the MDA have a clear idea of the high quality development sought by the Council before contract terms are agreed.

Didcot West Major Development Area

10.10

The Oxfordshire Structure Plan proposes major housing development at Didcot adjoining the western edge of the town and extending north and south of the Wantage Road (B4493). The administrative boundary between South Oxfordshire and the Vale of White Horse District Councils dissects this major development area and in preparing their local plans the two councils have worked together to determine the optimum disposition of development. The Proposals Map shows the land allocation for that part of the MDA that lies within South Oxfordshire. Map 14 below shows the whole extent of the MDA including that part which will be a land allocation in the Vale of White Horse Local Plan 2011. It includes a 12 hectare field in the north-western corner which is to be considered as a reserve allocation, solely for the purpose of accommodating playing fields, if such a facility cannot be located elsewhere within the area. The two District Councils have ensured that the planning policy framework for the Didcot West MDA is consistent in both local plans.

See Map 14: Didcot West Major Development Area.

Policy DID2

Proposals for development at Didcot West (as defined on the Proposals Map) will only be permitted where they are in accordance with the requirements of Policy DID1 and where all necessary on-site and off-site infrastructure and service requirements are met in accordance with Policy D11. It is proposed that the development of the site will include:

(i)

provision of about 3,200 dwellings of which about 2,700 dwellings will be located in South Oxfordshire District. The land developed in the MDA for housing (about 80 hectares) will be at 40 dwellings per hectare average net density;

(ii)

a mix of dwelling types and sizes of the general market housing with about 50% small (1 or 2 bedroom units);

(iii)

provision for 40% of dwelling units to be affordable housing in accordance with Policy H9 with the units distributed evenly throughout the area used for housing;

(iv)

provision of a District Centre including:

a)

a secondary school;

b)

a primary school;

c)

a community centre;

d)

an indoor community sports hall;

e)

playing fields for outdoor community sports and an equipped children's play area;

f)

premises for a primary health care practice;

g)

local shops and retail services, limited to uses within Part A of the Use Classes Order, including a small supermarket (about 500 square metres) and further small unit premises (about 1,200 square metres in total);

h)

narrow-fronted, mixed-use buildings generally more than two storeys in height. The street-level uses in these buildings will include the uses in (g) above. A proportion of these mixed-use buildings will be live-work units with internal access between the workspace and a dwelling at upper floor level; and

i)

buildings in residential use, within Part C of the Use Classes Order, generally narrow-fronted and more than two storeys in height.

(v)

two neighbourhood centres with each centre including:

a)

a primary school;

b)

a community centre;

c)

local shops and retail services, limited to uses within Part A of the Use Classes Order, in small unit premises (about 500 square metres in total);

d)

narrow-fronted mixed-use buildings as described in (iv)(h) above with the exception of small supermarkets; and

e)

buildings in residential use as described in (iv)(i) above;

(vi)

provision of a network of public urban spaces (not less than 8 hectares) including a primary civic space in the District Centre, secondary civic spaces in the neighbourhood centres and other civic spaces within the built-up area located at key junctions in the movement network;

(vii)

provision of a network of public greenspaces (not less than 62 hectares) including community outdoor playing space, children's play areas, public gardens, open grassland, woodland, hedgerows, wetland, ponds and watercourses. A significant proportion of the public greenspace network will be located around the western and southern edges of the built-up area within the major development area;

(viii)

provision of children's play areas within the land developed for housing in accordance with Policy R2;

(ix)

provision of off-site infrastructure and services in accordance with Policy D11 including, where appropriate, financial contributions towards improving:

a)

library, arts, cultural and entertainment facilities in Didcot town centre;

b)

community sports facilities at Didcot Wave Leisure Centre;

c)

facilities at Didcot Civic Hall; and

d)

waste management facilities in or near Didcot.

(x)

provision of off-site surface water drainage works; and

(xi)

provision of transport infrastructure in accordance with Policy T1, aimed at encouraging sustainable modes of travel and reduce the need to travel by car including:

(a)

a movement network of footways, footpaths, cycletracks and roads in the MDA, with connections connecting to existing and proposed networks at the site boundaries. The indicative location of road access connections is shown on the Proposals Map;

(b)

financial contributions to enable the provision of off-site footway, footpath and cycletrack links, road improvements and traffic management measures in Didcot, in the countryside and villages around Didcot and on the A34 trunk road made necessary by and as a consequence of development in the MDA in accordance with proposals contained in the Planning and Development Brief;

(c)

financial contributions to enable the provision of bus services and associated infrastructure to afford residents of the MDA good public transport access from Didcot and within Didcot in accordance with proposals contained in the Planning and Development Brief.

10.11

The criteria in Policy DID2 set out the planning requirements for development of the MDA site. The District Councils and Oxfordshire County Council will secure these requirements by means of planning conditions wherever possible, but certain requirements will need to be secured in agreements made under Section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. The average net housing density specified in criterion (i) is justified having regard to the need to make efficient use of land and to the large proportion of small dwellings required in the MDA by criterion (ii). It is also justified by the intended delivery in the MDA of very good accessibility by all modes of transport to a wide range of services, facilities and employment opportunities.

10.12

The proportion of small dwellings in the general market housing sector required by criterion (ii) is justified by the local need for this type and category of dwellings as shown in Section 5 of the plan. The Council will seek about 10% 1 bedroom units, 40% 2 bedroom units, 30% 3 bedroom units and 20% 4 bedroom units and larger. As far as the mix of affordable housing is concerned the Council will seek to ensure that the type and size of housing provided meets the need. The Council will also consider a mix of tenures depending on the identified needs and will clarify the detailed requirements for different categories of affordable housing in the MDA. This mix may change as the development progresses and the position alters. The Council will require the affordable housing required by criterion (iii) to be distributed evenly throughout the MDA in order to encourage the development of a mixed and balanced community as advocated in PPG3.

10.13

There will be three new neighbourhoods in the MDA with the district centre being the focal point of the central neighbourhood as well as being the focal point of the development as a whole. Neighbourhood centres will be the focal points of the two other neighbourhoods. These centres will enjoy good accessibility by all modes of transport and as such they are the appropriate locations for local services that generate many trips from the new homes. The centres and the main movement corridors linking them are also the preferred locations for higher-density development containing large numbers of small dwellings in accordance with criterion (ii).

10.14

The requirement for the provision of new schools is based on information received from the County Council, acting as local education authority and from the Learning and Skills Council. The school buildings should be focal points and key buildings in the townscape and should not be located away from street frontages in open campus settings where they would not fulfil these urban design functions.

10.15

The justification for the provision of three community centres in the Didcot West MDA is based on the identified accommodation requirements of those voluntary and local authority bodies that intend to provide valued services to the Didcot West community. In planning the three community centres the Master Developer should have regard to the outline planning briefs that these bodies have supplied to the Council setting out their accommodation needs. The Council, however, will seek to ensure by means of planning obligations that accommodation to be provided in all three community centres is not used exclusively by particular bodies. As with schools, the Council will require the community centre buildings to act as focal points and key buildings in the townscape of the district and neighbourhood centres.

10.16

In planning the provision of indoor and outdoor community sports facilities the Council will require the Planning and Development Brief to have regard to the background paper entitled: Didcot West Development Sport and Recreation Facilities Planning Brief published by the Council. This Planning Brief recommends that all the community sports facilities in the MDA be located at and adjacent to the new secondary school. This location will enable the provision of a dual use sports facility maximising the benefits that can be obtained by both the school and the community in terms of the quality of the facilities to be provided and in terms of engaging young people in sports activity.

10.17

In accordance with PPS6, the Council is proposing the establishment of convenience shops and other service uses in the district centre and two neighbourhood centres to meet people's day-to-day needs for convenience goods and services. The limitations on the number of such shop and service uses in the MDA and on the amount of floorspace to be provided are justified having regard to the position of the district and neighbourhood centres in the local hierarchy of centres. These local centres should be small in scale and the trade generated in them should not be such as to undermine the vitality and viability of Didcot town centre.

10.18

In order to enhance their vitality, the Council will require the provision in the district centre and two neighbourhood centres of a number of two- and three-storey buildings with a mix of land uses in individual buildings. As a guideline, the Council suggests the provision of about ten such individual buildings in mixed-use in the district centre and three such buildings in each of the two neighbourhood centres. The reason for the limitation on the number and size of commercial uses is explained in paragraph 10.17 above. A proportion of these mixed-use buildings will be "live-work units" where the commercial use at street level would be linked internally to a dwelling at upper floor level. As a guideline, the Council suggests that 50% of these mixed-use buildings should comprise "live-work units." Narrow-fronted buildings (5 to 8 metres wide) are required to create active frontages and a rich variety of buildings in the three centres.

10.19

The requirement for the provision of primary health care facilities located in the district centre is based on advice received from the local Primary Care Trust relating to the health care requirements of the MDA population.

10.20

The amount of land to be used for public urban space and public greenspace networks is based on the standards contained in the South Oxfordshire Design Guide and on the particular circumstances of the Didcot West site. The public urban spaces will comprise focal points in the built-up area. Civic squares will have predominantly paved surfaces providing an open setting for buildings enclosing them. The focal points will also include public gardens with predominantly planted surfaces. The land uses to be accommodated in public greenspace are set out in criterion (vii) and the public realm functions are described in paragraph 10.6(iv) above. This requirement is justified particularly having regard to the need to provide generous space for informal recreation in a MDA containing a high proportion of small dwellings, some of which will lack private gardens. There is also a need to provide wide belts and blocks of woodland around the periphery of Didcot West to screen and soften the landscape impact of buildings on an elevated and prominent site. These open areas will also form a buffer between the new development and nearby villages and the built development in the MDA will not extend farther south than the line of the existing southern built-up limit of Didcot. The boundary of the MDA shown on Map 14 includes a field in the north-western corner which may be necessary to accommodate playing fields if suitable land cannot be found elsewhere on the site. If it is not required for this purpose the land should not be developed and should remain in agricultural use.

10.21

It is important that as MDA residents move into their new homes they are afforded the opportunity for ease of movement by all modes of transport from Didcot and within Didcot. Criterion (xi) will secure this objective by providing appropriate on and off-site transport infrastructure. The highway authority and the Highways Agency will advise on the transport measures required. These measures will be identified through the development of an integrated transport strategy for the Didcot area, having regard to the following objectives:

  • to reduce reliance on the use of the private car by improving choices available to meet transport needs within Didcot and between Didcot and surrounding settlements
  • to increase accessibility to facilities for those without cars and/or with mobility impairment
  • to promote the use of public transport (bus and rail)
  • to identify and provide a safe, continuous and high quality network of pedestrian and cycle routes
  • to promote road safety and reduce the number and severity of road casualties
  • to promote efficient highway management including the identification of transport infrastructure as appropriate, and parking demand and supply
  • to improve provision for interchange between all modes of transport
  • to relieve traffic congestion where it is causing significant amenity or environmental problems.

Ladygrove East Major Development Area

Policy DID3

Proposals for development at Ladygrove East, Didcot (as defined on the Proposals Map) will only be permitted where they are in accordance with the requirements of Policy DID1 and where all necessary on-site and off-site infrastructure and service requirements are met in accordance with Policy D11. It is proposed that the development of the site will include:

(i)

provision of about 670 dwellings with the land developed for housing (16.8 hectares) at 40 dwellings per hectare average net density;

(ii)

a mix of dwelling types and sizes of the general market housing with about 50% small (1 or 2 bedroom units);

(iii)

provision for 40% of dwelling units to be affordable housing in accordance with Policy H9;

(iv)

provision of a neighbourhood centre with a primary school and a community centre;

(v)

provision of a network of public urban spaces and public greenspaces (not less than 8 hectares) with the largest greenspace comprising a local park (not less than 6 hectares) containing an equipped children's play area, open grassland, woodland, wetland, ponds and watercourses located in the south-western part of the allocated area. Other greenspaces will comprise green corridors in the movement network and buffer zones, containing open grassland, earth mounding and woodland. The buffer zones will be of sufficient width to protect homes from noise generated on major distributor roads and to protect road users from the Hadden Hill golf course. A buffer zone not less than 30 metres in width will separate any dwelling from the centre line of the HV overhead electricity transmission lines that cross the site;

(vi)

provision of children's play areas within the land developed for housing in accordance with Policy R2;

(vii)

provision of off-site infrastructure and services in accordance with Policy D11 including inter alia, financial contributions towards improving:

a)

primary and secondary education facilities;

b)

library, arts, cultural and entertainment facilities in Didcot town centre;

c)

community sports facilities at Didcot Wave Leisure Centre;

d)

facilities at Didcot Civic Hall; and

e)

waste management facilities in or near Didcot.

(viii)

provision of transport infrastructure including:

a)

completion of the Didcot northern perimeter road between Abingdon Road and Wallingford Road before more than 200 dwellings are occupied in the MDA;

b)

completion of a footway and cycletrack between Upperway Furlong and the primary school in the MDA via Abingdon Road prior to the opening of the school;

c)

completion of a movement network of footways, footpaths, cycletracks and roads in the MDA, with connections to existing networks at the site boundaries. The indicative location of road access connections is shown on the Proposals Map;

d)

financial contributions to enable the provision of off-site footway, footpath and cycletrack links, road improvements and traffic management measures in Didcot and in the countryside and villages around Didcot made necessary by and as a consequence of development in the MDA, in accordance with proposals contained in the Planning and Development Brief; and

e)

financial contributions to enable the provision of bus services and associated infrastructure to afford residents of the MDA good public transport access from Didcot and within Didcot in accordance with proposals contained in the Planning and Development Brief.

10.22

Development in the Ladygrove town expansion area has been continuing since 1987 in accordance with allocations made in earlier local plans. In 1997 and 2000 the Council received planning applications proposing housing development on the land at Ladygrove East.

10.23

The proportion of small dwellings in the general market housing sector required by criterion (ii) is justified by the local need for this type and category of dwellings as shown in Section 5 of the plan. The Council will seek about 10% 1 bedroom units, 40% 2 bedroom units, 30% 3 bedroom units and 20% 4 bedroom units and larger. The amount of affordable housing specified in criterion (iii) is in accordance with the provisions of Policy H9. The Council will require the affordable housing required by criterion (iii) to be distributed evenly in seven parcels throughout the MDA in order to encourage the development of a mixed and balanced community as advocated in PPG3.

10.24

The requirement for the provision of a primary school is based on information relating to the need for the school received from the County Council, acting as local education authority. The Council justifies the provision of a community centre having regard to the likely accommodation requirements of voluntary bodies that intend to provide valued services to the Ladygrove East community. The Master Developer should have regard to the outline planning brief that these bodies have supplied to the Council, setting out their accommodation needs. The Council, however, will seek a planning obligation to ensure that the accommodation to be provided in the community centre is not used exclusively by particular bodies.

10.25

The amount of land to be used for public urban space and public greenspace networks is based on the proposals contained in the Local Plan adopted in 1997. The requirement for a relatively large local park in the Ladygrove East MDA arises from the remoteness of the MDA from Ladygrove Park and from the need to provide a large and thereby attractive area of public greenspace to meet the informal recreation needs of MDA residents. The local park will contain an area of land for informal recreation use that was not provided in earlier phases of the housing development at Ladygrove East. Developers of those earlier phases made financial contributions to the Council to enable the Council to provide a large local park elsewhere in the MDA. The Council will use these contributions to compensate the Master Developer of Ladygrove East for this enlargement of the park on to land that would otherwise have been developed for housing.

10.26

There is a need for dwellings to be set back from Wallingford Road and from the proposed northern perimeter road in order to protect residents from traffic noise. The resulting buffer zone is best used to provide a continuous green corridor around the edge of the MDA. The woodland planting would soften the landscape impact of buildings where the expanded town adjoins the countryside. A wide buffer zone is required to protect users of the perimeter road from golf balls played on the adjacent golf course. The buffer zone would also reduce the adverse visual and noise impact of traffic on users of the golf course. Earth mounding and woodland planting in this buffer zone would be appropriate and would also serve to soften the landscape impact of the MDA. The high voltage overhead electricity transmission lines in the MDA are visually intrusive and it is desirable that residential amenity is protected by the buffer zone proposed.

10.27

The Didcot Northern Perimeter Road must be completed before more than 200 homes are occupied on the MDA. Additional traffic from the MDA must not be allowed to exacerbate the environmental problems, inconvenience and road safety hazards already being experienced on Abingdon Road that would be mitigated by completion of the Perimeter Road.

10.28

The Council considers it desirable that the movement network includes an internal link for use by all modes of transport that would run through the MDA between Abingdon Road and Wallingford Road between the points marked A and B on the Proposals Map via Upperway Furlong/Middle Furlong. This internal link is not an essential pre-requisite for further housing development to take place in the MDA as the highway authority advises that a convenient and sustainable movement network can be provided in the MDA without it. The link would, however, be a desirable addition to the movement network by further improving accessibility in the vicinity. However, ownership constraints on land in the earlier, completed phases of the MDA may obstruct the connection of the movement network in the MDA to the public highway in Upperway Furlong/Middle Furlong. The Council will, therefore, seek planning obligations from the Master Developer in the following terms:

  • the Developer will construct the internal access road and footways up to the northern boundary of the MDA so as to afford connection of that road and footways to Upperway Furlong/Middle Furlong. The Developer will also undertake not to impose any premium on the Council or other bodies for the right to connect Upperway Furlong/Middle Furlong to the internal access road and footways constructed in the MDA.
  • prior to the opening of the primary school to be built in the MDA the Developer will construct and make available for public use a footway and cycletrack along the general alignment A, C, D and E shown on the Proposals Map with point E being located at the entrance to the primary school.
  • the Developer will reimburse the Council in respect of all costs and claims for compensation that may arise in connection with the Council's compulsory acquisition of any land required to effect completion of the internal link road between Abingdon Road and Wallingford Road, and in connection with the construction costs thereof. In its turn, the Council would undertake to open the internal link road for use by all traffic at the earliest possible date.

10.29

It is important that as MDA residents move into their new homes they are afforded the opportunity for ease of movement by all modes of transport from Didcot and within Didcot. The pattern of movement corridors and the connections, required by criterion (viii), should ensure that this objective is achieved.

Vauxhall Barracks

10.30

The Ministry of Defence has indicated that Vauxhall Barracks will be surplus to requirements and available for redevelopment by 2007. The site should be considered comprehensively and a planning brief for the site has been prepared and was adopted as supplementary planning guidance in February 2004. The barracks site accommodates offices and other ancillary buildings. There is existing housing for military personnel to the south and west of the site which is being retained.

10.31

The Council considers that the site would be suitable for residential and community uses but could also accommodate a hotel and/or limited B1 employment uses. The only building which is worthy of retention is the Officers' Mess and consideration should be given to the retention and conversion of the original part of this building.

Policy DID4

Proposals for development at Vauxhall Barracks, Didcot as defined on the Proposals Map will be permitted provided that they:

(i)

provide a comprehensive scheme for the development of the site for residential and community uses. A hotel and/or limited B1 employment uses could also be accommodated on the site;

(ii)

provide for the retention of the playing field and tennis courts on the site and the provision of children's play areas and amenity open space;

(iii)

provide a landscaping scheme which includes provision for the protection and maintenance of the important trees on the site and provides for the retention and maintenance of the memorial garden;

(iv)

comply with policies for encouraging sustainable and high-quality development in Section 4 of the Plan;

(v)

provide for a pedestrian, cycle and public transport link through the site and linking with routes in the Didcot West MDA to the west of the site;

(vi)

provide for 40% of the dwelling units to be affordable housing in accordance with Policy H9;

(vii)

provide for a mix of dwelling types and sizes in accordance with Policy H7;

(viii)

make provision for off-site and on-site infrastructure and services in accordance with Policy D11 including contributions towards transport works and measures, education facilities, library, arts, cultural and entertainment facilities in Didcot town centre, health care facilities, community centre facilities, indoor community sports facilities including improvements at the Didcot Wave Leisure Centre, improvements to Didcot Civic Hall and towards improvements to waste management facilities in or near Didcot.

10.32

The site contains a playing field and tennis courts and these facilities should be retained or acceptable alternative provision made. The site also contains a number of important trees and provision should be made for their retention. In the south east of the site is a memorial rose garden which should also be retained and enhanced as part of any scheme.

10.33

New development on the site should be in accordance with the policies in Section 4 and 5 of the Plan and have regard to the South Oxfordshire Design Guide. Particular attention will need to be given to the design of development along the frontages of the site to the B4493 and Foxhall Road.

10.34

The proposed Major Development Area at Didcot West lies immediately to the west of the site and it is important that there is a pedestrian, cycle and bus link between the two sites to allow access by the residents of the Vauxhall Barracks site to the services, facilities and open space to be provided in the MDA and to provide a good public transport and cycle route to Didcot town centre and railway station.

10.35

The Council will seek the provision of 40% affordable housing which should be evenly distributed throughout the site. A mix of dwelling types and sizes should be provided in accordance with Policy H7. Infrastructure and services will also be required. These are likely to include contributions to the provision of a primary and the secondary school at Didcot West, indoor community sports and leisure facilities, community hall, primary health care facilities and on- and off-site transport infrastructure and services.

Land at Station Road and Haydon Road

Policy DID5

Proposals for mixed-use development including housing and Class B1a offices will be permitted on the land at Station Road and Haydon Road, Didcot (as defined on the Proposals Map).

10.36

In 1998 planning permission was granted for 22 dwellings and 1,160 square metres of offices on this 0.65 hectare site at the corner of Station Road and Haydon Road, Didcot. The dwellings would be located on the southern part of the site and would be two-storey buildings designed to be in keeping with existing development in Haydon Road and Lydalls Road. The offices would occupy the northern part of the site adding to the existing concentration of commercial uses near the railway station and creating a key "gateway" building on the entrance to the station area from the west.

10.37

Having regard to the requirements of Policy E6, no objection is raised in this case to the loss of Julian's Garage, which is used in part for the repair/maintenance of motor vehicles. It is recognised that the existing use does not make best use of land in the commercial area near the station and the replacement of the existing unattractive buildings and uses would also enhance the appearance of this important "gateway" site on the western approach to the town centre. The loss of the commuter car parking facility on the southern part of the site would be compensated by the provision of additional long-stay car parking for commuters in accordance with Policy DID10.

10.38

The planning permission granted in 1998 has expired through lapse of time and any further permission would only be granted if it was in accordance with the policies in Section 5 of the plan. In this respect, provision would need to be made for smaller dwelling units in accordance with Policy H7, for a net housing density that accorded with Policy H8 and for affordable housing in accordance with Policy H9.

The expansion of Didcot town centre

This policy has not been saved beyond 19 January 2009 and will no longer be used.

Policy DID6

Proposals for mixed-use development on land at Broadway, Station Road and Station Road Industrial Estate, Didcot (as defined on the Proposals Map) will only be permitted where that development comprises part of a comprehensive scheme for the site and where all necessary on-site and off-site infrastructure is provided in accordance with Policy D11. It is proposed that the development of the site will include:

(i)

a superstore (Class A1) up to about 7000 square metres total gross internal area (GIA);

(ii)

Class A1 retail units up to about 14,800 square metres GIA;

(iii)

Class D1 uses including premises for a primary health care practice;

(iv)

Class D2 uses including an arts, cultural and entertainments building, a cinema and gymnasium/health and fitness facilities;

(v)

an urban civic space network including a large town square on a pedestrian-priority street network;

(vi)

the provision of tree and shrub planting and areas for the enhancement of biodiversity;

(vii)

a petrol filling station;

(viii)

about 22 dwellings on land adjacent to the Station Road Conservation Area;

(ix)

Class B1a office premises on land adjacent to Broadway and the bus link road and further offices (Class B1a or A2), where appropriate, in upper floor accommodation in accordance with Policy TC6, up to a total of about 3,000 square metres GIA;

(x)

public conveniences;

(xi)

parking facilities for bicycles and private cars including not less than about 550 car parking spaces in car parks available to the public and operated on a short-stay basis;

(xii)

a public transport (bus) interchange and bus-only road link between Broadway and the DMH2 link road; and

(xiii)

a network of footways, cycletracks and roads connecting to existing networks at the site boundaries with the main road access from DMH2 located where shown on the Proposals Map. Motor vehicles will be excluded from the main shopping streets and civic spaces.

10.39

In accordance with the strategy for Didcot proposed in the Structure Plan the Council is proposing a major expansion of town centre uses in Didcot town centre to meet the needs of the town's growing population. The scale of retail development proposed is justified by the recommendations of the South Oxfordshire Shopping Study 2000 and is intended to elevate Didcot town centre to the status of a major district centre in the local hierarchy of centres.

10.40

The major expansion of the town centre should be carried out as a comprehensive scheme in order that good pedestrian linkages between the new town centre uses and the heart of the existing town centre at Broadway and Market Place are established as soon as the scheme is completed. These linkages are important to achieve the objective of enhancing the vitality and viability of the town centre as a whole.

10.41

In 2001 the Council granted full planning permission for a comprehensive scheme of development on the land allocated in Policy DID6. This permission secured the planning requirements set out in the criteria of Policy DID6 and a Section 106 agreement secured planning obligations in accordance with Policy D11. The Council has also supported the expansion of Didcot town centre by land acquisition and this initiative also included the making of a compulsory purchase order. The relocation of existing businesses from the land to be redeveloped has been facilitated by the Council acquiring vacant industrial land at Southmead Business Park and by making that land available to existing businesses.

Regeneration of Market Place and Broadway

Policy DID7

Planning permission will be granted for proposals for the regeneration of Market Place and Broadway (as defined on the Proposals Map) involving:

(i)

the demolition of the existing building occupied by a bank in the centre of Market Place and the enlargement of the existing civic space or for alterations to the existing building to create either:

a)

a covered civic space, or

b)

accommodation at street level for the type of key town centre uses, as specified in Policy TC1, that would present active building frontages to Market Place;

(ii)

redevelopment of the terraces at numbers 84a to 98 Broadway and at 114 to 128 Broadway to provide new two- and three-storey buildings accommodating the type of key town centre uses, as specified in Policy TC1, that would present active frontages to the street. Residential or office uses would be accommodated at upper floor levels in accordance with Policies TC4 and TC6;

(iii)

refurbishment of the existing three-storey terrace at 100 to 112 Broadway; and

(iv)

provision of a communal car parking and servicing area at the rear of the premises in (ii) and (iii) accessed from Broadway.

10.42

In 2001 the Civic Trust Regeneration Unit prepared a Centre Vision Report entitled: Didcot Town Centre Making the Link for the District Council, the Town Council and the Didcot Development Agency. This Report recommended that action was necessary by all those with a stake in the future of Market Place and Broadway to carry out works and measures to improve and regenerate these town centre streets to secure their future economic prosperity. The development proposals contained in the Vision Report are set out in Policy DID7. The Report also recommends the carrying out of a number of public realm improvements and town centre management initiatives to help to secure the prosperity of Market Place and Broadway.

10.43

In Market Place the demolition of the central building, occupied by a bank, would enlarge the existing civic space, thereby enabling Market Place to accommodate a larger street market, more open-air eating and drinking uses and more street entertainment activities that have the potential to enhance the vitality of the area. The existing central building has "dead" frontages at street level on three sides. If the building is not demolished then it would be desirable to modify it to create either a covered public space at street level, or new street level uses with active frontages that would present attractive shopfronts to the street.

10.44

The existing street block between 84a and 128 Broadway contains two terraces of mediocre appearance with cramped or out-dated floorspace that does not meet modern business requirements. Redevelopment of both these terraces with larger, more attractive buildings in mixed use and designed to meet business requirements would be appropriate. The substantial, three-storey terrace in the centre of the street block should be retained and works carried out to improve its external appearance. Vehicle parking and servicing requirements for the street block would be met in a new communal service yard located at the rear of the premises with a single vehicular access from Broadway.

Land to the east of the Didcot town centre expansion scheme

Policy DID8

Following completion of the town centre expansion proposed in Policy DID6, mixed-use development for key town centre uses, as defined in Policy TC1, will be permitted on the land to the east of that development (as shown on the Proposals Map) subject to the following requirements being met:

(i)

the existence of sufficient retail capacity in the Didcot area to support the amount of retail floorspace proposed;

(ii)

sufficient land and premises being made available elsewhere in Didcot to enable businesses to relocate from their existing premises on the land;

(iii)

provision of vehicular accesses from DMH2 (via the access road serving the development proposed in Policy DID6) and from Lower Broadway; and

(iv)

the access requirements of pedestrians, cyclists and public transport being accommodated including good footway linkage with the development proposed in Policy DID6 and Broadway.

10.45

Following completion of the town centre expansion scheme proposed in Policy DID6, development proposals may be received for key town centre uses on the land to the east of that scheme. This land is presently used by a wide variety of small businesses mostly engaged in retail and service trades. The existing premises are generally out-dated and of poor quality design and those fronting Lower Broadway detract from the eastern part of the town centre. There is, therefore, merit in redeveloping the land to improve the appearance of the area.

10.46

The Council will be seeking uses that complement the uses in Didcot town centre as expanded by the development proposed in Policy DID6. A mixed-use development would be appropriate and should only be permitted on the basis of a Development Brief, approved by the Council, relating to a comprehensive proposal. This could include retail development if sufficient capacity exists, a hotel, commercial leisure development, offices and a limited element of housing.

10.47

The Council will expect the developer to provide alternative land and premises for those businesses affected by the redevelopment that wish to relocate to alternative sites in Didcot. The importance of maintaining land and premises for service trades that provide a valued service to the community has been explained in Section 6 of the plan. The Council will seek a planning obligation to secure this requirement.

Land at Southmead Business Park

Policy DID9

Proposals for business, industry, storage and distribution (Classes B1 and B8) will be permitted on sites (i) and (ii) at Southmead Business Park as shown on the Proposals Map.

10.48

The majority of the 37 hectares of land at the Southmead Business Park is now developed. A wide variety of firms have become established and Southmead has proved particularly attractive to storage and distribution firms. The two sites identified on the Proposals Map are the only remaining sites yet to be fully developed. Site (i) extends to 2.66 hectares and is owned by the Council. It is intended to be used for the re-location of firms being displaced by the town centre redevelopment proposed in Policies DID6 and DID8. If land is not required by firms relocating from the town centre, then consideration will be given to other Class B1 and B8 development on the site. Site (ii) extends to 0.26 hectare and the northern part is used for low-intensity open storage purposes. The site could be used more intensively for Class B1 and B8 development. Proposals for such development on this site would need to comply with the relevant policies in Sections 4, 6 and 8 of this plan.

Land at Didcot Parkway railway station

Policy DID10

Land at Didcot Parkway railway station as shown on the Proposals Map will be used for development related to the expansion of railway transport services and for the improvement of interchange facilities between those services and other modes of transport. Development proposals will be in accordance with a comprehensive scheme that meets the following requirements:

(i)

land to the south of the Paddington-Bristol railway will be used for:

a)

the provision of footways and cycle tracks linked to the wider movement network with bicycle parking facilities at the Station entrance;

b)

the provision of facilities for bus and taxi hire operators to set down and collect railway passengers including facilities for the lay-over of vehicles; and

c)

the provision of facilities for private car drivers to set down and collect railway passengers with a short duration of vehicle stay and spaces for disabled drivers;

(ii)

land to the north of the Paddington-Bristol railway will be used for:

a)

the provision of footways and cycletracks linked to the wider movement network with bicycle parking facilities at the Station entrance; and

b)

the provision of long-stay car parks for railway passengers. Improvements to off-site footway, cycletrack and road infrastructure will be secured in accordance with Policy D11 and the improvements will be completed before any enlarged long-stay car parks are first used.

Policy DID11

Proposals for Class B1 business-use development will be permitted on land at Didcot Parkway railway station, where the land proposed for this use would not be required in the long term for the expansion of railway services and for the improvement of interchange facilities between those services and other modes of transport.

10.49

The Council supports proposals by the Strategic Rail Authority, the rail infrastructure company and train operating companies to expand rail services at Didcot Parkway railway station, including proposals to improve the interchange facilities. The Council considers that development at the station should only proceed in accordance with a comprehensive scheme and programme that will ensure that growth in railway passenger traffic proceeds in parallel with improvements to interchange facilities and other transport infrastructure that will be needed by those passengers. The comprehensive scheme should be supported by a transport assessment in accordance with Policy T3.

10.50

It is important to improve access to the Station Road entrance to Didcot Parkway railway station for pedestrians, cyclists, local bus services, taxis and car drivers who deliver and collect passengers from that entrance involving only a very short duration of stay. The land to the south of the Paddington-Bristol railway should be used to accommodate these activities to the maximum extent possible to encourage the use of more sustainable modes of transport. The comprehensive scheme should aim to segregate footways and cycletracks from motor vehicle movements in the interests of safety. It should also aim to meet the access requirements of those with impaired mobility in accordance with Policy D7. An attractive public realm should be provided in this area in order to enhance the Station Road "gateway" to Didcot town centre.

10.51

The Council considers that the existing long-stay car parks, located to the south of the railway, should be re-located on to land north of the railway. This would reduce peak-hour traffic flows in Station Road, reduce traffic congestion near the station entrance and release land for the more sustainable modes of transport in this location. The Council will oppose any proposals to enlarge the existing commuter car parks adjacent to Station Road by the provision of decked car park buildings. Such buildings would increase traffic flows on Station Road and exacerbate traffic congestion at the station entrance. The buildings would also be visually intrusive at this "gateway" to Didcot town centre. The Council will permit decked, long-stay car parks to be built on land north of the railway on the site of the existing surface level car park. The interchange improvements should include improved pedestrian access to the station platforms from these long-stay car parks.

10.52

Policy DID11 permits Class B1 development for business use on any land at Didcot Parkway railway station where the Council is satisfied that the land to be so used is genuinely surplus to requirements for the expansion of railway services and for the improvement of interchange facilities. In making such a determination the Council will have regard to the contents of the comprehensive scheme for the future development of the whole of the station site and to the likely long-term transport needs of the Didcot area as advised by the County Council as local transport authority.

The published printed copy is the definitive version of the Local Plan, the interactive version is for information only.