A34 Lodgehill Diamond Interchange and 900 new houses in Abingdon got the go ahead today

A34 Slips
The postponed VWHDC (Vale of White Horse District Council) planning meeting to decide on outline planning permission for an estate of 800 houses north of Abingdon took place at the Amey Theatre in Abingdon School.

The meeting had been postponed because the Environment Agency had an objection, which has now been overcome with some modifications to the plan by CEG, the developer, who we learned had been working on this scheme for several years, and even worked closely with the VWHDC to get the VWHDC local plan adopted – which allows these 800 houses.
A34 Slips
A government announcement earlier today removed the issue that could have held up the plan . It was dependent on the south facing slipways to the A34 at Lodge Hill being built to ease traffic in Abingdon. That slipway scheme will now receive about £9.45m over four years from central government. And central government has further funds to help open the way to new developments, allowing Oxfordshire County Council to feel confident they can ‘forward fund’ the rest – even before developer funding becomes available.

Oxfordshire County Council are now saying the slips could be open by the end of 2020.
A34 Slips
After the news of the A34 Lodgehill Diamond Interchange the rest of the detail was largely nodded through by the committee in a unanimous vote to allow the 900 houses.

People speaking against had asked that no houses be built until the new slipway to the A34 is built. 400 houses will be allowed. It was noted by objectors that the number of houses has now gone up from 800 to 900. Somehow that was explained by the council officer as being only ‘up to 900’. There will be less 2 bedroom houses, and more 3,4 and 5 houses. That was explained by the council officer as market forces.

On the positive side there was a commitment by CEG that 35% of the total will be affordable housing. There will also be a central area with primary school, community hub, and shop(s). CEG were praised even by some objectors for listening to the community, and said they would continue to listen.

22 thoughts on “A34 Lodgehill Diamond Interchange and 900 new houses in Abingdon got the go ahead today

  1. Peter Del

    What is meant by ‘affordable’? Affordable to investors who want to buy (with borrowed money) to rent at a cost higher than a mortgage – so eventually they own a house that cost them nothing?

  2. newcomer

    So, the Vale has spent more time, care and effort talking to CEG than it ever has done the electors of Abingdon.

  3. ppjs

    Market forces – what about first time buyers? Developers building leasehold houses, cramming more houses onto the site before infrastructure has been installed to meet the increased demand.

    Have Councillors and Officers not understood that you cannot get quarts into pint bottles?

  4. nothappy

    What a joke reducing the number of 2 bed houses!! I’m guessing the Vale are all having nice holidays this year funded by the developer!! At least the A34 will be sorted but this must be done before anymore houses go up Abingdon is gridlocked as it is!!!

  5. Janet

    Oh wonderful! The diamond interchange slips MAY be open by 2020. This is what they do. They promise new infrastructure and the 800 houses will be built before any interchange. The traffic around the Milton interchange and the Tesco roundabout will be at a standstill.

  6. Hester

    To be fair, the Oxfordshire County Council guy was a lot more positive than that about the completion date – he repeatedly said that, based on their recent experience with the very similar Chilton interchange, and the stage they are at with the planning of this one, he was completely confident that the slips would be in operation in 2020. He also said that according to the projected build-rate for the houses, about 180 would be completed by then.
    NB I am just reporting what was said, not commenting on it!
    Personally I am very concerned about the housing mix question – only 21.8% will be 1-2 bed. Apparently that is a question of “market forces” – but I think most people round here think the man demand is for smaller homes and th slow sales on Morland Gardens would seem to support that. I am no expert but would be surprised if people wanting 4-5 bed houses really want to live in such a high-density development.
    CEG have set up a community forum of some kind so there may be opportunity for continuing dialogue on this?

  7. ppjs

    Rudi: I agree that that was the promise yesterday, but the legislation has yet to be passed. I am sure that it will be, but in the meantime the damage has been done to thousands of people.

    When the sale of council houses was introduced without the possibility of good replacement housing being built by councils, it was the green light for speculative investors. Since the best returns are not to be found on two-bedroom starter houses, very few have been built compared with the actual need. When people sing the praises of the free market, I throw away the songsheet. Markets need regulation – especially housing markets.

  8. Marketforces

    Mysterious market they are operating in. Look on Rightmove, loads of 3, 4 & 5 beds available in Abingdon already! 198 3, 4 & 5 beds vs 25 1 & 2 beds…

  9. pjh64

    This is a good start on the chronic housing shortage that’s been the result of national planning policy for 50 years.

    How many homes does Oxfordshire need just to meet current demand?

    One suspects it’s many tens of thousands more than are being built, so expect further massive expansion of Abingdon up to the borders of Oxford and Didcot, whilst subsuming Culham, Marcham and Radley into what will be a considerable new conurbation.

  10. ppjs

    The infrastructure will come down with the morning dew presumably: roads, schools, sewers, clinics and surgeries, theatres, cinemas – all forgotten in the mad dash to buy houses.

    What about the quality of life we are offering people? This is not a rant about housing; it is a rant about the lack of joined-up thinking which blights town and regional planning.

  11. Deedee

    I really do not understand this? Hardly anyone (if anyone at all) is in favour of this development yet our councillors, (they who are supposed to represent us) voted unanimously for it ! They, the entire bunch, have betrayed their electorate. Shame on all of you!
    Of course messers Lovatt and Co will be crying in their soup when they loose the next election to the Lib/Dems, and as sure as eggs are eggs that will happen.
    So who are going to occupy these 900 homes? They can’t sell the remaining 150 at Morland Green, there are to be 3500 on Dalton Barracks, another 3500 at Culham plus the plethora of developments in the surrounding villages.
    This Diamond interchange, if it ever happens will do nothing for the south of Abingdon, still the queues will grow ever longer along the Drayton and Culham roads, it’s a shambles !

  12. Unknownelement

    I personally think the new houses are a great idea.good location for commutes to oxford and beyond, and far enough away from the drab town centre. Win all round I think!

  13. Janet

    As far as I am aware there is to be no new G P surgery so everyone in the new houses will have to register with the existing Abingdon G P’s pushing up waiting times. When I travel around Abingdon I see lots of houses for sale. We are told we need all these new houses. I think we are being conned. However, developers contribute to the Conservative party and it has been reported that several M P’s have financial interests in development projects so not surprised that developments are allowed to go ahead putting strains on existing infrastructure.

  14. Su

    There is now apparently a site for a satellite surgery.
    Having attended the meeting I fail to see the point in residents, parish and town councils making reasonable representations against elements of this development. Given the amount of frankly nauseating backslapping between the developer and the planning officer, this seems to have been signed sealed and delivered before the meeting. I fully accept the need for affordable housing in Abingdon, but given the proportion of 4+ bed properties in this scheme, this is all about profit.

  15. Deedee

    Abingdon drab ! Absolutely not, if you want to see an example of drab I suggest you visit Didcot!
    Having never heard of CEG I googled them
    Commercial Estate Group, they have a very interesting never ending trail on Companies House?
    No less than 15 entries under CEG but their various directors have “interests” in a miriad of companies in countries such as Malta, Cypres, Netherlands, Norway and believe it or not they appear to own Leeds United football club.

  16. Unknownelement

    Most definitely drab! The town centre can’t even attract a major player in the restaurant sector.. let alone an anchor supermarket for a decent shopping arcade.. I mean, it’s a bad thing to know that probably the busiest shop in the centre is a vaping shop with queues out of the door… and the busiest other businesses are one of the 3,000,000 hair cutting salons!

  17. ppjs

    And that drab Guildhall and that drab St Nicholas Church and that drab St Helen’s Church and that drab West St Helen’s Street and that drab East St Helen’s Street and that drab bridge and the drab river Thames.

    Oh drab, drab, drab!

  18. Unknownelement

    Well.. it could all do with a wash down cause of the fumes from all the traffic you lot love so much!

    Let’s just put it this way.. abingdon has done the same now, as what it did when it refused the mainline railway.. got left behind in the Times!

  19. ppjs

    Dulwich, where I grew, also rejected the railway. It is one of the most special places in the capital city. Tranquillity is worth a bit of inconvenience!


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