PLANS for a new health centre, cycle paths, pop-ups and council offices are some of the latest developments for Didcot Gateway.

More than 260 homes, shops, offices and cafes are to be built opposite Didcot railway station under Homes England’s multi-million pound scheme.

Members of the Didcot Garden Town Advisory Board met on October 23 to hear about the latest developments for Didcot Gateway and other key initiatives around the town.

South Oxfordshire District Council plans to build its new offices at Didcot Gateway opposite the railway station.

During the meeting, Homes England’s proposals and online community engagement which it carried out during this summer were discussed.

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The council has said that it is pleased to be working with Homes England to ensure that its new offices play an important part of the overall 'sustainable' redevelopment of the site.

In the meeting, the council's Lib Dem leader Sue Cooper said: “We are really pleased that we have decided to build a new office on that site.

“It is obviously a very important site particularly because it is so visible from the railway line.”

She added: “I am really quite excited about the potential for making the entrance to Didcot look a lot more welcoming by having a really good building there.”

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Members were updated on a range of initiatives, including plans for a new health centre and a county council-led project to improve roads and cycle paths for the wider 'garden town' area.

The virtual meeting was chaired by councillor Ian Hudspeth and was attended by eight parish councillors from the garden town’s surrounding villages.

Parish councillors' views on housing quality, maintaining green buffers between town and villages, transport links and infrastructure plans for residents living in more rural areas will be used to inform projects which will benefit the area.

Councillor Ian Hudspeth, chair of Didcot Garden Town Advisory Board, said: “It’s a busy time for the garden town.

“The sounding boards have started with some valuable feedback and projects are beginning to get off the ground, the biggest being the redevelopment of Didcot Gateway.

“It’s a highly visible and strategic site for the area and having the district councils’ offices in the heart of the garden town demonstrates their commitment to helping to build sustainable garden communities.”

The Didcot Garden Town team plan to engage with local residents and businesses, through resident and business-led 'sounding boards', which will provide further information on the projects with the opportunity to feedback on the new proposals.

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Councillors and residents had questions for Homes England on the future of the Gateway.

David Rouane raised the concern of bats in some of the buildings that are set to be demolished to make way for the Gateway site.

He said: “I have been hearing on social media that bats have moved into some of the buildings, so that might be delaying the project.”

Catherine Turner from Homes England responded and said: “Surveys for the bats were conducted on the site and no evidence of bat roosts was found. Neighbours will be notified before the demolition begins.”

She also highlighted that residents should make Home England aware if they do notice a bat roost.

Catherine Turner also received questions about the progress for the potential of pop ups in the town.

She said that Homes England is currently working with their arts development officer to create a plan for pop ups in Didcot.

The spaces that are identified for improvement could be used for art, green structures or temporary pop ups which will aim to engage and involve residents in the plan.