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Square deal for gateway plans
A PUBLIC square and 33 new flats form part of an ambitious proposal to regenerate the area opposite Didcot Parkway train station.
With a scheme costing about £7m to reorganise the station forecourt expected to be completed in the autumn, the Government-backed Homes and Community Agency, which works with local authorities on urban regeneration, has put forward a planning application for redevelopment of the former Labour Club in Station Road.
The plan for a new square, flats and offices is part of a wider project known as Didcot Gateway, which could also include a new hotel and a multi-storey car park.
The plan has come forward after members of the public were consulted last year on how they wanted to see the area regenerated.
Town council leader Margaret Davies said: “The former Labour Club has been boarded up now for about 18 months and the consultation asked people what they thought should be done with the land between Haydon Road and the club.
“This application by the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) shows it is serious about creating a more pleasant place for people arriving in Didcot and the idea is to create a new gateway through to the Orchard Shopping Centre.
“A public space with trees is being created and it will be a vast improvement on what is there now.
“There are several different proposals for the gateway area and it would be a good idea if work is completed in different stages so that progress can be made.
“This development will require some parking spaces as parking on the site is currently used by commuters.
“I think this application shows that the HCA is very keen to make progress.”
The design and access statement for the plan says: “The former Didcot Labour Club has come to the end of its current use and is now vacant.
“It offers very little to its immediate environment and creates an inactive edge on Station Road and Lydalls Road.
“The public space in front of the site is not used to its full potential and only provides a pedestrian thoroughfare with no incentive to stop and use the urban space.”
The HCA has been working closely with South Oxfordshire District Council over the redevelopment of the gateway site and the planning application is due to be considered by March 3.
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