RESIDENTS in Didcot are protesting against plans that could see seven buses an hour running past their homes.

Last month residents on Station Road in Didcot were sent a letter by consultant GL Hearn outlining a proposed bus-route change as part of plans for the £50million Orchard Centre Phase Two development.

The letter detailed re-routing the existing bus route from Didcot Parkway to the shopping centre, replacing the current service road between Broadway and Hitchcock Way which will be built on.

But residents said the new route would cause too much congestion, and 600 signed an online petition in just 24 hours opposing the move.

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No buses currently run along that part of Station Road, which is home to a row of houses built in 1904 for railway workers.

Station Road resident Jenny Wilson, a 34-year-old IT manager, said: “A two-lane bus route along Station Road with promises to retain resident parking has been met with incredulity with many who know the narrow road with its tight S-bend entrance.

“The plans extend to removing the outdoor seating area of Boswell’s cafe to introduce a flow of buses every seven to nine minutes, in both directions, along the length of the current pedestrianised zone.”

The new bus route would feature two lanes along Station Road, which residents say is too narrow.

Developers suggest re-routing buses along Station Road to the Orchard Centre, which would avoid the heavily congested Jubilee Way roundabout.

Hammerson is putting forward plans for an extension featuring 24 new shops, including a Marks and Spencer food store, as well as six restaurants and cafes and 225 parking spaces.

Consultants GL Hearn said the change would mean an average of seven bus trips an hour along the road.

Its letter to residents stated: “While we appreciate this is a change to the current arrangements, it is important that users can access the buses in a central and convenient location.”

Ms Wilson added: “Local town and county councillors were not able to provide full details of the considered options for the relocation of the bus route and mentioned that the proposal had received strong support from local bus companies.”

Bill Service, cabinet member for leisure and Didcot said: “I agree with residents. It is an idiotic idea.”

Labour town councillor Margaret Davies previously called for improvements at the Jubilee Way roundabout to increase capacity but the county council has yet to schedule any work.