New bus station is needed for growth
A NEW bus station and multi-storey car park should be built on land opposite Didcot Parkway, according to a lobby group.
Last month district council leaders launched a consultation to ask the public what should be done with key sites.
And Didcot First, which represents businesses, voluntary agencies and the public, said a bus interchange is vital for the growing town.
Chairman Dave Pryor, who also runs Pryors Taxis, said the growth of Didcot meant that a bus station needed to be built on the site opposite the railway station, known as the Didcot Island site.
The town already has approximately 30,000 residents and about 9,000 new homes will be built by 2026, including 3,300 at Great Western Park off the A4130.
Mr Pryor said: “After visiting other towns, I think it would make sense to have a dedicated bus terminal at the station.
“It is absolutely critical that plans for the Island site anticipate a need for further development of the station forecourt as it becomes the key transportation hub for the area.
“Any plans must allow for further expansion and accommodate facilities such as a dedicated bus terminal and multi-storey car park.
“A possible way to achieve this would be diverting the route of Station Road so it sweeps further south.”
In October last year, £6.7m plans to reorganise the layout of the railway station forecourt, adjacent to the Island site, were delayed for a second time and there is currently no start date for the project.
Network Rail says it is working with the county council to ensure work starts as soon as possible.
Mr Pryor said the forecourt revamp would improve traffic flows, but added that there would be constraints on space.
The infrastructure consultation is being carried out by consultants Aecom after Science Vale UK, which includes Harwell Oxford and Milton Park, won Enterprise Zone status last year.
The area is one of 10 new Enterprise Zones created by the Government and it is estimated there could be a £9m-a-year boost to the economy with 8,400 jobs created by 2015.
Aecom’s brief is to talk to people about how they would like to see Didcot developed.
South Oxfordshire District Council leader Ann Ducker said: “Part of the Island site already has planning permission for houses, which could make it unlikely for a bus terminal.
“But I have seen Didcot First’s submission on this and it will go into the mix as part of the on-going discussions.”
District councillor for Didcot Ladygrove, Bill Service, said: “I wouldn’t back this bus station plan.
“I think the land between Haydon Road and Station Road should definitely be used for a hotel.”