Planning: From Didcot West to Great Western Park

District councils normally decide which greenfield sites can be used for housing, with a public inquiry where individuals put their views to an independent inspector.

But Didcot West, known locally as the Didcot Dogmile, was different. In 2000 it was chosen for housing development by Oxfordshire County Council (OCC), before the district council local plans had been drawn up or a public inquiry held. There was an Examination in Public (EIP) but only councils, organisations and groups could participate: members of the public could only listen. 

The Examination in Public concluded that Didcot West was not the best place to build, and that development should go to the north-east of the town.

Then an odd thing happened. Oxfordshire County Council ignored these findings. Didcot West was heavily used by walkers, yet its 14 well-used footpaths were not considered. At the time, very little investigation had taken place into the archaeology on the site.

Robert Jackson MP said the direction of growth at Didcot was the most divisive issue in his Wantage constituency since he became MP in 1963.
More about the process:

The County Council decision

Public inquiry and planning application

Campaign groups

Download footpath map

The future:

10,000+ new homes for Didcot’s countryside

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