A report was published last week concerning transport provision and planning for new housing developments. In the report the authors visited several new developments in the U.K. and Europe. One of the developments visited was Great Western Park.
HarBUG has sent the email below to Didcot and Harwell County and District Councillors, in addition it has been sent to Didcot Town Councillors.
I don’t know whether you are aware of a report published last week, concerning transport for new developments.
Great Western Park in Didcot featured as one of the developments visited, to see where transport has been based around cars and has failed for other more sustainable options.
The report can be downloaded here: http://www.transportfornewhomes.org.uk/the-project/
There was also a report on BBC News: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-45956792
HarBUG (Harwell Campus Bicycle Users Group) has highlighted the issues with Great Western Park before and the findings in the report are generally what we have witnessed.
In addition, Great Western Park has had an adverse affect on cycle routes to both the Harwell Campus and Milton Park, despite cycle infrastructure investment at both the Winnaway and Backhill Tunnel.
We don’t believe that the lessons of GWP have been learned. Valley Park plans have quality cycle paths planned within the development, thanks to the intervention of the County Council Travel Planners. However the junctions with the A4130 and Wantage Road are entirely car focussed and further erode the integrity of cycle routes to business parks from Didcot. Further planned smaller developments with access onto the A4130 will also make cycling less appealing. We have seen the same issues with the Crab Hill development in Wantage.
HarBUG has a positive and productive dialogue with the County Council’s Travel Planning Team but other parts of the County Council and the District Councils planning committees / departments appear to be less aware of the needs and advantages of providing good cycle infrastructure.
In addition, the lack of political will to challenge Southern Oxfordshire’s car dependency and developers who will not look beyond their boundaries mean that Didcot and the Science Vale are likely to be stuck with 20th century travel options for the foreseeable future.
We acknowledge that GWP has reasonable cycle provision within the development and that new hybrid cycle paths are going to be built along Wantage Road from Foxhall Road Roundabout to Didcot Hospital. This is a welcome positive step.
We would like to suggest some ideas going forward:
- Produce a list of projects / improvements for Great Western Park connections for potential future funding possibilities.
- Ensure that cycle routes from Didcot to business parks are developed to be high quality, convenient and fast routes. This was originally specified in the Science Vale Cycling Strategy in LTP4.
- Ensure that Great Western Park does not impede the development of cycle routes through to Didcot from Valley Park and that the smaller developments, along the A4130 and Wantage Road are included in the development of cycle routes.
- Make sure we learn the lessons from Great Western Park and ensure we don’t make the same mistakes at Didcot North East, Power Station site, Grove Airfield, Crab Hill (probably too late) and other developments in the Science Vale area.
Thank you for your time reading this email.
Didcot, OX11 0DF.