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Redevelopment plans 'confusing' say council's critics
12:10pm Thursday 30th August 2012 in News
DISTRICT council leaders have come under fire for a “confused approach” to redeveloping the Didcot Island site.
South Oxfordshire District Council revealed in February that consultants Aecom were drawing up a masterplan for how the town should be developed after Science Vale UK won Enterprise Zone status.
The plan includes a proposal for how the Didcot Island site, the area in front of Didcot railway station, should be redeveloped.
But following two new planning applications for housing and shops, town council leader Margaret Davies said the district council’s approach needed to be reviewed.
Abingdon developers Barlow and Webster have submitted a planning application to build five shops and 10 flats on the former Jet garage site in Station Road. And Blewbury firm Howbro has submitted an application to demolish an existing two-storey building on the neighbouring site, at 77 Station Road, and build a new three-storey block featuring two shops and seven one-bed flats.
Mrs Davies said: “Developers are trying to chip away at the area in front of the station and that’s happening because of a muddled and confused approach on behalf of the district council.
“SODC needs to provide clear design guidelines for the area otherwise we are going to end up with something higgledy-piggedly on this key site.
District council leader Ann Ducker said: “There is nothing to stop developers coming forward with applications, but the council is trying to steer the development of this important area in the right direction.”