A LONG-discussed funding bid for £218m will now be spent on new roads and bridges to ease traffic around Didcot.

An agreement with Homes England for £218m from the Housing Infrastructure Fund (HIF) will be dedicated to providing access to the Didcot Garden Town area.

The funding bid has been in the pipeline since 2017, and will improve roads and create new bridges so the town can cope with extra traffic from its growing population.

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The HIF is helping to build £4.1 billion of infrastructure across the UK, and Oxfordshire’s slice will be spent on four particular projects around Didcot to support the garden town scheme.

This sum of £218m will help to pay for:

  • 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

All of these schemes include segregated walking and cycling routes and will support new bus services.

Oxford Mail:

In red: where the road improvements will be. Picture: Google Maps

The total costs of the new infrastructure is £234 million, with the £16 million not covered by the HIF bid coming from contributions made by housing developers.

Ian Hudspeth, Leader of Oxfordshire County Council said confirmation of the bid was ‘great news for the sustainable growth ambitions of Oxfordshire’.

He added: “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.”

Oxford Mail:

Ian Hudspeth

According to the county council the lack of crossings over the railway line and the growth in homes and jobs in Didcot over the last three decades have led to a huge increase in traffic in the town.

According to the Office for National Statistics, Didcot had a population of 25,231 in the 2001 census.

This had grown to 26,920 in the 2011 census, and was estimated to be 30,120 as of 2018.

Some of the funding will also be used to plant trees and other plants along the newly improved roads.

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The HIF schemes an important part of the Local Plans of the two district councils which have a say in different parts of Didcot: Vale of White Horse and South Oxfordshire district councils.

The Housing Infrastructure Fund is helping to deliver up to 300,000 new homes across England by providing local authorities with grant funding for infrastructure.

While the Didcot bid is the largest one in Oxfordshire, another smaller HIF bid by the county council has also been successful.

This £102 million pot of money was awarded to the council in November last year.

It will be spent on converting parts of the A40 in West Oxfordshire into a dual carriageway and extending a bus lane.