at Planning Committee 28 July 2021
District Councillors Sarah Medley & Hayleigh Gascoigne
Statement to Planning Committee
Statement on Facebook after the meeting
VALLEY PARK PLANNING PERMISSION APPROVED
The Valley Park proposal for 4254 new houses between Didcot and Harwell came back to planning committee yesterday. The decision was deferred back in February due to the three key issues we and the local community raised at the time: lack of health care provision, inadequate cycling infrastructure and insufficient sustainability commitments.
The planning application was approved this time, and we are very pleased that it now places the following extra requirements on the developers:
✅ Over £3 million to be provided for local healthcare provision in the area surrounding Valley Park, or
✅ Dedicated land for a health care centre on the Valley Park site and £2.8million to be provided towards its construction.
✅ All funding to be ringfenced for healthcare provision in the local Didcot area only.
✅ Mega 5-arm roundabout design now much safer for pedestrians, cyclists and equestrians with traffic-light controlled crossings at every junction.
✅ Traffic lights to use an innovative ‘green wave’ system which prioritises cycling over driving: automatic detection of cyclists synchronises the green traffic lights to allow unimpeded cycling across the roundabout.
✅ Full all-weather surface upgrade of the cycle path from Cow Lane through to the UTC at Great Western Park, providing an alternative cycle route between Harwell and Didcot for less confident cyclists and children riding to school.
✅ £200,000 payment for protecting biodiversity brought forward – to be paid before construction starts.
✅ Existing mature trees on the Valley Park site to be preserved.
✅ Zero carbon housing standards to be implemented as early as possible.
None of this was in place when the Valley Park application came to committee in February, or when it was first approved back in 2016. We are delighted that by working together with our fantastic local community we have been able to collectively secure these improvements. Huge well done to Harwell Parish Council, Sustainable Harwell, HarBUG – Harwell Bicycle Users Group and the Patient Participation Groups of the three Didcot Medical Centres.
Although permission has now been granted for this massive new development the size of Wallingford, with a build-out phase of the next 10-20 years, this is not the end – it’s only the beginning. The devil is in the detail, and rest assured that when the individual housing plans come through for further approval, we’ll be there every step of the way, scrutinising and challenging to ensure that we get the best outcome for our residents 🕵️♀️🕵🏽♀️
For as long as we and Cllr Sally – Hendreds & Harwell have the privilege of being elected as the local councillors for the area around Valley Park, we can guarantee that we will continue to work hard to represent the views of our community and campaign for our sustainable vision for Valley Park ✊💚✊🏽