AN EXTRA 5,500 jobs could be created at a South Oxfordshire business park in a £250m expansion.

As part of a planned ten-year expansion of Milton Park, which would see it increase in size by almost 50 per cent, bosses are hoping to bring in companies from all over the world.

There are currently more than 200 companies at the business park near Didcot, with 7,000 employees.

In February the park was granted a local development order by Vale of White Horse District Council, which allows planning applications to be fast-tracked.

Now two new buildings, 101 and 102 Park Drive, are due for completion in January and May, and will bring in the first 500 new jobs.

Andrew Barlow, commercial director of MEPC, the property investment and development business which manages Milton Park, said: “We have been here for 25 years and we know the companies in Oxfordshire and Thames Valley, and further afield, so we expect that there will be the demand.

“Ten years is a long period of time but there is already demand from growing companies.”

Mr Barlow said there was interest in the site from already established companies, both national and international, and some businesses already based at Milton Park were looking to expand.

The expansion would see an extra one million square feet added to the current 2.5 million square foot park.

Mr Barlow estimated that new buildings being built at the park over the next decade would be valued at a total of £250m, but did not say precisely how many new buildings would be built.

He said: “In terms of jobs, it is going to create a large number at Milton Park, which is an important part of the Didcot area and Oxfordshire as a whole. It would bring vitality and benefits to the area.”

Companies which are already based at the site include developer Linden Homes, supermarket Londis, Smeg UK Ltd, nursery company kidsunlimited and The Oxford Archaeological Unit Ltd.

But it is not the first science park in the county where business is booming. Earlier this year, the owner of Culham Science Park, UK Atomic Energy Authority, said it was looking at “significant growth” on its site and is inviting more companies to express an interest in moving into the new buildings. It is hoping to bring in 1,000 new jobs to its site off Abingdon Road.

Didcot Chamber of Commerce president, Jayne Reddyhoff, welcomed the proposed expansion at Milton Park.

She said: “This can’t be anything but good from the point of view of businesses in the area.

“Everybody is glad Didcot is expanding and becoming a more significant town.

“I think this is in keeping with all the other development and it is going to be a boost to families who already have jobs at the business park if it allows the park to grow and new businesses to start.”