Rail travel
Didcot’s rail links are often used to justify housing at Didcot. However, in 2010 a train service from Didcot was ranked as the most overcrowded train into London and more Didcot services featured in the top ten. Improvements have been made, but overcrowding and the cost of rail fares are still a really big issue. 

Didcot is the second busiest station in Oxfordshire with passenger numbers in excess of  
3 million a year. This is expected to increase by 50% in the next 10 years. Didcot is currently undergoing a forecourt upgrade, which may reduce congestion on the road outside, but will do little for the train services.

BBC Report on overcrowding

This is often cited by councils as a reason for further housing development at Didcot. But then it is turned on its head and new businesses are encouraged to locate near the town because of the new housing… a cycle of expansion.

Formalised as ‘Science Vale UK’, incentives are now being offered to research establishments and business to locate at Harwell Oxford and Milton Park. According to South Oxfordshire District Council (SODC) these two centres have the ‘potential’ to create 8,500 jobs before 2027. 

Download SODC’s business in Didcot leaflet

South East 
London and the South East’s population of 16.8 million accounts for 26% of the UK population on 7.8% of the land area. 

People are unhappy that the sprawl spiralling out of London is leading to too much countryside being lost to homes, industry, airports, roads and housing - having a detrimental effect on people’s quality of life. 

There is also concern that growth here unfairly compromises other regions, puts too much pressure on resources, such as water and that congestion is costly to the economy.

The press relates stories of South East housing targets being too high and actually hampering housing provision, as large housing estates on greenfield sites lead to protests.  

Developers contributions ‘planning gain’
Didcot has seen recent improvements to its town centre with improved shopping and entertainment facilities, provided initially by developer Taylor Woodrow, but now owned by Hammerson. Timings of a possible phase 2 of the Orchard Shopping Centre have not been decided on.

Developers of housing are expected to financially contribute to many things in the district. Didcot can expect new schools, a new leisure centre (in the north of town), road schemes, community centres and playing fields.

The Government is also offering incentives to councils to build new homes. 
See www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-21943007http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/mindthegap/2011/01/do_you_get_one_of_the_top_10_m.htmlhttp://www.didcotparkway.infoBuilding on countryside_files/business%20in%20didcot.pdfhttp://www.sciencevale.comhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-21943007shapeimage_1_link_0shapeimage_1_link_1shapeimage_1_link_2shapeimage_1_link_3shapeimage_1_link_4
How local council’s justify big estates here
Opposition to greenfield development has intensified over the last few years as the Government wants to simplify planning law, to make house building easier.

The National Trust, CPRE, Woodland Trust, RSPB, Friends of the Earth and the Telegraph all campaign on the issue.
Housing need
South Oxfordshire District Council say they are planning to meet a predicted housing need of 11,000 new homes for communities across the district. The neighbouring Vale of White Horse District Council, whose boundary Great Western Park straddles, has also allocated new homes to Didcot to meet its housing targets.

But do we need all these houses? Not everyone thinks so… Moneyweek article

Road travel
Oxfordshire councils currently like large housing estates to be near to the A34 trunk road, which is running above its capacity. Oxford’s growth is restrained by greenbelt, so Didcot and Bicester are expanding to help fill Oxford’s housing needs too. This policy means many travel daily to work in Oxford from both locations along the congested A34. 

The Highway Agency objects to so much new housing being located to take advantage of the road, predicting the A34 will become one of the most congested routes in the South East. They want to discourage local traffic as the A34 is the main north/south route linking Southampton docks to the Midlands and the M4 to the M40. 

Oxford Mail: Highways Agency predict A34 gridlock by 2026
Oxford Mail report on improvements to A34http://www.moneyweek.com/investments/property/uk/uk-housing-market-planning-changes-may-trigger-house-price-crash-60500http://www.oxfordmail.co.uk/news/1066052.print/http://www.oxfordmail.co.uk/archive/2005/08/16/Oxfordshire+Archive/6642077.A34_relief__years_away_/shapeimage_3_link_0shapeimage_3_link_1shapeimage_3_link_2
More homes 
are in the planning for 
2031 bringing the total at Didcot to over 10,000