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Forecourt work is back on track
A £6.7m project to revamp the forecourt at Didcot Parkway railway station is back on track after a year of delays.
Improvement work, first outlined in 2001, was originally due to start in March last year, but was postponed following safety assessments carried out by landowners Network Rail.
In October 2011 another start date was postponed.
Demolition work finally started last week at the site off Station Road and the project is due to be completed late next year, in advance of the £125m extension of the Orchard Shopping Centre.
The transport hub is being reorganised to make it easier and safer for cars, buses, cyclists, taxis and pedestrians to use.
Disused buildings in the west car park are being demolished to create a temporary car park, paving the way for construction work to begin in the autumn.
Town council leader Margaret Davies said: “This is excellent news and when people saw the work starting last week it caused quite a buzz.
“Hopefully the work will be finished before phase two of the shopping centre is completed.
“The scheme will also mean an end to the flooding of the station subway as work is being carried out to pump the water away under Cow Lane bridge.”
Oxfordshire County Council is providing the bulk of the funding.
Didcot county councillor Bill Service, right, said: “This is a significant investment and once it is completed it will be a major improvement. A lot of people living on the Ladygrove estate commute and every day you see the march from Cow Lane bridge to the station.”
The new temporary car park should be ready in the summer and will be in use for 18 months.
During the first phase of work, there will be temporary traffic lights in Station Road from 9.30am to 4pm.
First Great Western spokesman John Ratchford said: “We’re delighted the work is under way, and pleased we can work in partnership with Oxfordshire County Council and South Oxfordshire District Council.”
Didcot Chamber of Commerce president Julia Williams said: “This is excellent news for the local economy.
“The forecourt needed tidying up to make it less confusing in terms of where pedestrians and other users are directed, and this is a good opportunity to create new signs showing the way to the town centre.”
2001: Plans for a new transport hub put forward in feasibility study.
2009: Oxfordshire County Council announces £5.4m plan to revamp forecourt.
2010: Contract for £5.7m scheme goes out to tender.
2011: £5.7m scheme scheduled to start in February gets delayed six months and then postponed again.
2012: Work starts on £6.7m scheme, due to finish at end of 2013.