Cycling and walking improvements set to come to Didcot

Didcot residents and visitors are set to benefit from potential improvements that will encourage cycling and walking in and around the town and neighbouring villages.

Oxfordshire County Council has approved the Didcot Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan (LCWIP), which will set out how to improve the town’s active travel network, reduce the reliance on private motor vehicles and cut congestion.

Councillor Andrew Gant, Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Transport Management, said: “We want walking and cycling to become the everyday choice for short journeys or as part of longer journeys combined with using public transport in Didcot and beyond.

“The Didcot LCWIP will help achieve a culture of walking and cycling. This can create  thriving, healthy, inclusive and climate sensitive communities, where improvements enhance the environment that makes Didcot a great place to live, work and visit.”

Approval was given on 14 December by Cllr Gant at a delegated decisions meeting for the cabinet member for transport management.

The LCWIP will provide a ten year plan for the delivery of cycling and walking interventions to maximise the uptake of active travel to help meet the travel needs of the growing populations of Didcot and surrounding areas. It will be reviewed and updated regularly.

There are a number of barriers to more people walking and cycling in Didcot. Key to this is a lack of a joined-up network of walking and cycling routes that improve road safety and make walking and cycling for local journeys more attractive as an alternative to private motor vehicles.

The LCWIP intends to tackle these, with potential improvements including:

  • New and improved crossings, including over the River Thames, and junction redesigns for walking and cycling.
  • Removal or modification of barriers on walking and cycling routes to improve accessibility.
  • On-carriageway cycling improvements.
  • Provision of segregated cycle tracks and additional high quality cycle parking.
  • Permissions for cycling on some routes where it is not currently permitted.
  • Footway widening and public realm improvements.
  • New and improved walking and cycling routes between Didcot and other key local destinations outside the town.

Didcot lies at the heart of Science Vale, the UK’s leading area for science, technology, innovation and research, and there is some overlap between the Didcot LCWIP network, the Science Vale Active Travel Network (SVATN) – previously known as the Science Vale Cycle Network (SVCN) – and the Strategic Active Travel Network (SATN). The three projects are complementary, and care has been taken to incorporate the relevant sections of the SVATN and the SATN into the LCWIP proposals.

The Didcot plan is the seventh LCWIP to be approved in Oxfordshire, following on from Oxford, Bicester, Abingdon, Witney, Banbury, and Kidlington.

Formally approving the plan is expected to make it easier for the council to negotiate funding from developers and the government to deliver the improvements it proposes.

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