Oxfordshire County Council awarded £218m in funding from Homes England

Oxfordshire residents are to benefit from a funding agreement with Homes England for £218m from the Housing Infrastructure Fund (HIF) dedicated to providing access to the Didcot Garden Town area.

This funding is great news for the people of Oxfordshire, allowing the council to improve travel for residents, communities and business whilst supporting thousands of new homes and jobs. All schemes include segregated walking and cycling routes and will facilitate new bus services which will give people real sustainable travel choice.

This sum of £218m (towards infrastructure costs of £234m) will deliver:

  • Widening the A4130 from A34 Milton Interchange towards Didcot from single to dual carriageway;
  • A new Science Bridge over the A4130, Great Western Railway Line and Milton Road into the former Didcot A Power Station site;
  • A new Didcot to Culham bridge between the A4130 and A415; and
  • A Clifton Hampden bypass

The lack of suitable crossings over the railway line and river coupled with significant housing and employment growth in the past three decades has resulted in severe congestion in the Didcot Garden Town and the surrounding area.

The new infrastructure not only provides opportunities for sustainable travel along the new routes but enables traffic demand management measures to be implemented elsewhere to prioritise non-motorised traffic, where appropriate. It also provides new opportunities to connect areas of employment and housing for those on foot and bike using existing public rights of way.

A landscaping strategy will be implemented that will include tree planting to make the routes greener and provide screening, helping to minimise their impact on the landscape. Improvements to biodiversity will also be made where possible in line with the completion of a full Environmental Impact Assessment.

This funding will enable direct and convenient, sustainable access between new and existing homes and key employment sites in and around Didcot. The HIF schemes have been identified as essential in Local Plan development to deliver sustainable growth across South Oxfordshire and the Vale of White Horse districts and Oxfordshire County Council has been working in partnership with the two district councils to help enable this necessary infrastructure.

Cllr Ian Hudspeth, Leader of Oxfordshire County Council said:

“This win for more than £200m is great news for the sustainable growth ambitions of Oxfordshire. It demonstrates that Government is listening and the recognition that infrastructure is required in parallel to the delivery of new homes. The infrastructure will also be vital to economic growth and support job creation in an area important to the local and national economy whilst helping to support the objectives of Didcot Garden Town; It’s a significant win for the people of Oxfordshire.”

Oxfordshire County Council held a consultation to hear residents’ views on plans to support growth around Didcot in late 2018 and a second round in March-April this year. Analysis of the responses received to this latest consultation will be published shortly.

The Housing Infrastructure Fund is helping to deliver up to 300,000 new homes across England by providing local authorities with grant funding for new infrastructure to unlock homes in areas of greatest housing demand. It is administered by the government’s housing agency, Homes England, which works in partnership with ambitious local authorities to help them meet their local housing needs.