A £6.7m scheme to revamp Didcot’s railway station forecourt needs to be completed before phase two of the Orchard shopping centre opens, a county councillor has warned.

A £125m extension to the shopping centre is due to open by the end of 2014 with Marks & Spencer and Debenhams expected to open branches.

In October last year plans to revamp the station forecourt were delayed for a second time.

And Didcot county councillor Bill Service said he wanted the 18-month project, which is being led by the county council, to start as soon as possible so the transport hub for pedestrians, cyclists, cars and buses was completed before new shops started attracting more traffic.

The work was originally due to start in March last year but was held back because of contract delays and safety checks by landowners Network Rail.

The October start date was later cancelled and no new date has been given.

Mr Service said: “The final designs from the county council have been completed and I understand Network Rail is still holding up the project.

“The station forecourt is an important transport hub for the district and we need a start date so that the work can be completed before phase two of the Orchard Centre is completed.

“The money has been allocated, there is no problem with that, but this has been delayed for too long.

“The work is necessary because it’s confusing at the moment on the forecourt. It’s difficult to tell what goes where in terms of buses, cars and taxis and it’s not a great experience if you are a pedestrian.”

County council cabinet member for transport Rodney Rose agreed that the scheme had been delayed for “too long”.

Mr Rose said officers met to discuss mapping the location of utilities cables on Friday and added: “We need the agreement of Network Rail before we can go ahead and I am putting pressure on them.”

Network Rail spokesman Sam Kelly said: “Network Rail owns the land and our role is to make sure that what is being proposed does not have an adverse impact on the running of the railway.”

She added that Network Rail has “assisted the local authority at every stage” and would continue to do so to ensure work could begin as soon as possible.

The station forecourt will be landscaped so areas for different users are clearly marked out.