Valley Park
amended March 2016, August 2016, January 2020, March 2020, May 2020, Dec 2020


Land to the West of Great Western Park development Didcot (in the parishes of Harwell and Milton)

Outline planning application for a residential development of up to 4,254 dwellings, mixed-use local centres, primary schools, sports pitches, community and leisure facilities, special needs school, open space and extensive green infrastructure, hard and soft landscaping, attenuation areas, diversions to public rights of way, pedestrian and vehicular access and associated works

(as amended by drawings and information accompanying letter from Agent dated 18 September 2015)

(as amended by drawings and information accompanying letter from Agent dated 10 March 2016)

(as amended by drawings and information accompanying letter from Agent dated 10 March 2016 and on 21 August 2019)

as amended by drawings and information accompanying letter from Agent dated 10 March 2016, 21 August 2019 and 24 January 2020)

as amended by additional information – surface water drainage 30.3.2020

as amended by revised plans 0 parameter and phasing May 2020

as amended by amended plans – parameters & access December 2020


Valley Park
amended March 2016, August 2016, January 2020, March 2020, May 2020, Dec 2020

Status Objects
Major application? Major
Registration Date January 20, 2015
Consultation Start Date January 20, 2015
Consultation End Date January 25, 2021
Target Decision Date February 26, 2021
PC Meeting Date January 21, 2021
PC Comments See Developments page
Original application discussed at meeting 2015-03-10,
Amendments first discussed at meeting 2015-10-06.
Response (objection) agreed at committee meeting 2015-10-27.
Draft of further response discussed at committee meeting 2016-03-29. Subject to corrections approved for submission by due date of 6 April. Objection. RESPONSE TO AMENDED APPLICATION April 2020 (PC meeting 22.4.2020) - No comments. RESPONSE TO AMENDED APPLICATION Feb 2020 - The council reiterates its former objections to the application. Whilst recognising that one of the cycle paths has been widened, the design is still unsafe as it allows parking parallel to the path. With regard to archaeological searches, the council welcomes the proposed arrangements and requests that they are carried out as proposed. Noting the comments of Harwell Parish History Group, the council asks that any finds are suitably catalogued and that the information is provided for the parish. If possible could the finds be displayed in the parish? RESPONSE TO AMENDED APPLICATION Oct 2019 - NB Original comments on this application still apply - please see previous responses. Council objects to this application - Council has concerns about lack of healthcare provision, especially as it now appears that a crisis is looming locally because of an already overloaded healthcare system. Regular appointments in Didcot surgeries are currently running at a 5 week waiting period and, with doubts over the deliverability of a sufficient capacity site on GWP, it would be prudent to assign land in Valley Park in the event it is needed for this purpose. The amended design and access (DAS) statement raises serious concerns. The original approved road layout included segregated cycle tracks along the main route through Valley Park and this was actually one of the better features of this development. These plans have been dropped in this proposal in favour of throwing cyclists onto the main road with no protection. The developers claim a 20mph limit is sufficient but without sufficient engineering or enforcement this limit will be routinely exceeded, particularly on the main road through the site. This is already demonstrated in GWP where, despite bends and chicanes, the 20mph limit is widely ignored. This approach also contravenes the OCC cycling design standards which is clear that on Spine or Primary distributor roads, a minimum of stepped tracks are to be provided if the road serves more than 500 homes. This applies regardless of the speed limit, including 20mph and is due to the traffic volume expected. From the OCC cycling design standards, 2017. "2.2.6 Along such roads, sometimes referred to as spine roads, the minimum provisions for cycle users are stepped cycle tracks (sometimes called hybrid cycle lanes, terraced or similar) on each side of the road. This applies to any new road serving a new development where it connects together two existing roads and serves a development of greater than 500 houses. This also applies to smaller sites where these will ultimately form a larger overall development meeting these criteria." Table 1. also makes clear that stepped tracks would be the minimum expected provision for this type of road. Design of cycle paths/lanes does not adhere to the Walking & Cycling Design Guide – the design of the cycle paths/lanes should revert to original designs to give maximum protection to cyclists. Cycle paths should also be cohesive with neighbouring developments. Another major concern are the illustrative road layouts. B1-C, B2, C-D and A-B2. These appear to show cycle lanes/tracks in the door zone of car parking and is completely unacceptable. Either relocate the cycle tracks to the other side of the verge, remove the parking or widen the cycle tracks to allow safe space to pass parked cars. Where bus stops cross the cycle path, bus stop bypasses should be used to prevent buses and cyclists crossing paths. C-D has cycle tracks widths below the minimum specified in the cycling standards, it is completely unacceptable that on a blank canvas development anything narrower than the recommended width be provided. There are no on carriageway cycle tracks in this masterplan that meet the recommended width of 1.8m. Council has serious concerns about the design of the roundabout at Harwell Link Road as shown in the amended DAS. The construction of this roundabout severed the relatively easy pedestrian/cyclist route to/from Didcot, a section that is a key part of the major cyclist commuting route serving the Village, Harwell Campus and local schools. It is also popular with mobility scooter users going to/from GWP and Didcot. While traffic levels are low, the informal crossings on this roundabout are manageable. At busier periods however it can be harder to cross, especially for those who require a bit more time. The alternative that has been provided, a bridleway and signalised crossing, is so inconvenient that is is rarely used. The new plans include a 5 arm roundabout design that again directly contravenes the cycling design standards (3.3.5) with tangential design on every arm. This roundabout is designed for speed and, with the higher volume of traffic expected from Valley Park, this will make informal crossings completely unsuitable, provision of zebra crossings on the slower speed arms (all arms except the link road) would improve this design.. The current design completely ignore the needs of non-motorised users. There are no safe and convenient cycle paths/bridle paths, no pedestrian crossings on the Link Road arm of the roundabout, and turning angles are too shallow to slow traffic enough to allow safe passage for cyclists and pedestrians. Response to amended application June 2020 - Objection - reiterate previous objections. Response to amended application January 2021 - The council objects to the application, supports the comments from HarBUG & Harwell Campus employees and asks that the following comments are taken into consideration by planners: 1. Latest proposal for roundabout on Didcot Road: As Harbug says in its recent submission: The incorrect design standard has been used for the design. The roundabout has been designed to conform to the Design Manual for Roads and Bridges (DMRB). DMRB is the Highways England standard for the design of motorways and trunk roads. None of the roads connecting to the roundabout are trunk roads and the design of the roundabout should reflect that other modes of travel will be using the junction, not just motorised vehicles. The document CD 116 from Highways England covers the “Geometric design of roundabouts”. It says in section 2.3 that where the speed limit is less than 40mph the compact design should be used, unless the traffic volume is greater than 12,000 AADT – Annual average daily traffic. The choice of the ‘normal’ design isn’t justified in the proposal by reference to likely traffic figures. But CD 116 goes on to say that the Compact design: “can be more suitable where there is a need to accommodate at-grade crossings for pedestrians or cyclists” and “Non-flared entries / exits of a compact roundabout give more flexibility for the inclusion of pedestrian crossings …” The document gives these layouts: A previous plan for the proposed roundabout, which is very similar as regards the roads to the current proposal, supposedly tabulated the entry radius for vehicles entering the junction: The latest plan is this, to which has been added curves of varying radii: It is quite clear that the radii at best apply to vehicles taking the next exit from where they entered. In the case of the Northern Site road, the radius for taking the Didcot exit is more than 50 metres, and the entry radius from the north is for such a short distance as to be meaningless. This is obvious from the way there is a ‘flat’ section of kerb, as indicated. For all the marking of 2 lanes, they have very little impact on driver speeds as it is not practical to be alongside another vehicle on the roundabout. The flared entries and exits should be redesigned so that there are no two-lane sections on the same carriageway, and the centre lines should be removed from the road surface of the roundabout to discourage excessive speed and to assist pedestrians who in the present design will be discouraged from walking between Harwell & Didcot. Extra formal crossing points should be available on each arm of the roundabout, in addition to the crossings already shown. The dog-leg section shown in the plan above should be redesigned on the western approach of the bridleway. 2. Footpaths & bridleways Footpaths should have a 3 metre width along their full length. There should be a dedicated footpath along the B4493 (or safe alternative route) to ensure safe pedestrian access to schools. This could include an east-west link north of Zulu Farm. Cow Lane should remain as a bridleway but should be resurfaced suitably (at present it is broken stone, not suitable for horses). The surface of The Driftway also needs to be improved. Plans (Document D Planning in Access documents) do not show the steep bank at the proposed Pegasus crossing on the eastern side of Harwell Link Road near The Driftway. There should be a formal crossing where the bridleway meets the new access road. The bridleway access on the Harwell side of the roundabout needs to be defined. 3. Link Road junction with access road Are there plans to make the exit onto the Link Road left turn only? Have existing problems at Hagbourne Hill been taken into consideration? This section is already busy and traffic backs up frequently. 4. Design & Access Statement Plans of proposed car and bus parking bays show car parking bays as too narrow for cyclists to pass safely – the bays are not wide enough to allow a car door to open within the bay. 5. Allotments Adequate screening/noise alleviation for the main allotments site on the grounds of noise from the A34 should be provided. The symbol on the plan says the site is ‘poor semi-improved neutral grassland’ which is not accurate. It is a spoil heap from the A34 construction. The site should be assessed for suitability for allotments and levelled or the bank flattened out. Some plans of this triangle show the original OS contours, some show none, and some show the 1-metre survey: Below is a cross-section A-B, note different scales for vertical and horizontal There is no road access for vehicles so this should be addressed. The allotments site should be finished before all housing is occupied. 6. General comments Roads in the development should be redesigned where necessary to allow use of speed monitoring devices & mitigation should be in place to reduce traffic speeds. The proposed retail, health, dental and other amenities appear insufficient for such a large development. Existing facilities in Didcot are already overstretched, with facilities within Great Western Park not preventing traffic from that development to travel into Didcot for shops and healthcare. Buildings should be constructed beyond current minimum legislation on sustainability, eg solar panelling, charging points for electric vehicles, alternatives to gas boilers and use of sustainable building materials should be standard (or provision for easy installation of such items), rather than adhering to current guidelines on insulation etc, to abide by the Climate Emergency. The council welcomes the green strips due to be preserved by the water course (as identified on page 31 of the Design & Access Statement).
Vale Decision Date
Vale Decision No decision yet
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