PLANS for new housing and jobs in Didcot do not go far enough, critics said yesterday.

A spokesman for a housing developer also said it was a 'mystery' why more was not being planned in the town.

The criticism came on the latest day of the public examination of South Oxfordshire District Council's Local Plan for development.

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The plan is a blueprint for thousands of new homes across the district by 2034, including new homes in Didcot.

In 2015, the Government awarded Didcot ‘garden town’ status, endorsing the delivery of 15,000 new jobs and 20,000 new homes in the area.

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But yesterday David Murray-Cox, a director at Turley planning consultancy, said he did not think the SODC Local Plan would help Didcot to achieve these figures by 2031.

He said: “It is absolutely clear that this is not a plan which helps to support the ‘garden town’ expectations whether by 2031 or 2035.”

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He added: “There is clearly a disconnect between the level of job growth envisaged and the housing that goes alongside it.”

Planning consultant Caroline Chave also said the plan had missed opportunities for growth.

She said: “The approach taken for growth in Didcot is inconsistent with the council's ambitions for the town and has missed opportunities for growth that would contribute not just housing, but also deliver on other garden town objectives.”

Jon Waite spoke on behalf of developer Taylor Wimpy and said: “Didcot does have a good range of facilities and connections and it is a bit of a mystery as to why the growth allocated there is so small. My client believes that there is a real risk with this limited growth that there could be issues in the future with limited affordable housing and limited new facilities.”

Council leader Sue Cooper said that making Didcot a 'garden town' needed to involve more than just new housing.

She said: “I think there is a very strong need to develop Didcot as a ‘garden town’ not merely as a collection of housing sites, which it gives the impression of being at the moment, and if we had more added that would add to the problem.

Oxford Mail:

"We need to see much better utilisation of the ‘garden town’ principles and they need to be set out as part of the plan and it would make the plan more positive.”

She added: “One of the major points about Didcot is its railway position people arriving in Didcot look at the Gateway sites opposite, it is really necessary to have a good welcoming centre there so that people realise they have come to a really good place.”