Work has now begun on the installation of footpaths on a Didcot housing estate after the Oxford Mail and Didcot Herald amplified voices of residents calling out developers for failing to deliver them.  

Residents of Dida Gardens in Didcot first noticed diggers appear on the estate yesterday morning (Thursday, February 29), laying a new footpath to provide pedestrian access to and from the estate.

Residents and councillors spoke out about footpaths not being provided to the development, built by David Wilson Homes, in the summer of 2020, which caused them to be “cut off” from local shops, schools and bus routes on foot.

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As a result people have had to walk over muddy sections of ground to access these amenities. They have sourced wooden boards to lay on the ground in an attempt to facilitate crossings.

Developer Taylor Wimpey, who owns the majority of the land, was accused of failing to fulfil obligations but said the original planning consent did not include any footpath connection.

Leader of the Dida Gardens residents’ association, Craig Rouse, who previously described the situation as “a nightmare”, said he had observed a digger and workers on the site yesterday creating one new footpath, despite a need for three.

Mr Rouse said: "The residents of Dida Gardens have been fighting to get safe access to Great Western Park for well over three years.

“A week after the story was covered by the local media and construction has begun. I should point out that this is only the first of three routes, and they say this one should be completed by today (Friday, March 1).

“We are hopeful Taylor Wimpey will keep their commitments and complete the other two paths very soon."

South Oxfordshire District Council previously confirmed it was “doing everything” to work with David Wilson Homes and Taylor Wimpey to find a resolution.  

Didcot West county and district councillor Ian Snowdon said: “This is a common theme now with issues we face – bodies acting when they receive adverse media coverage instead of when residents raise concerns.

“The district council never enforced a traffic plan on this estate which promised it would be integrated with Great Western Park. I sit through meetings where officers speak about inclusivity yet here residents are again left with no help until they get media coverage.

“We have a planning authority with no plan, who are heavy handed with residents but not developers.”

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A Taylor Wimpey spokesperson said: We can confirm that work to install new footpaths to connect the newly built Dida Gardens to our existing Great Western Park development has started.

“While our original planning consent did not require us to provide these footpaths, we have listened to the feedback from local residents and are pleased to be providing better links to facilitate access to the community facilities at the development.

“We are working to complete the new footpaths as soon as possible and hope they will benefit residents for years to come.”