£125 million town centre for Didcot gets go-ahead

Released on March 21, 2011

On Monday 21 March South Oxfordshire District Council leader and Hammerson PLC are entering into an agreement to develop a £125 million town centre in Didcot.  The Orchard Centre phase two deal will see a major new shopping complex and town centre amenities on a 10 acre site next to the existing Orchard Centre, which opened in 2005.

The 200,000 sq ft retail development will almost double the amount of shopping in the town and will include a number of leading high street brands, restaurants, cafes and civic spaces all within a new leisure quarter. The development, with its emphasis on a high quality environment, will make Didcot one of the premier centres in Oxfordshire, for residents and for visitors.

The council and Hammerson are working together to deliver this exciting scheme and work is underway to bring forward a planning application

Simon Betty, Development Executive for Hammerson, commented:
 “We are delighted to be working in partnership with South Oxfordshire to enhance Didcot town centre.  The current Orchard Centre, which we have managed for four years, is 100% let and trading well and we are confident in Didcot as a location to invest in.  Hammerson is one of the biggest retail developers and managers in the country and we have chosen Didcot because of its enviable location and positive attitude.  There is a strong business case for further investment in the town and this scheme will put Didcot on the map as a great place to shop and socialise’

David Buckle, Chief Executive of South Oxfordshire District Council, said:
“This agreement  to develop phase two of the Orchard Centre marks an important moment for the future of Didcot.  We are proud of what we have achieved so far with the Orchard Centre phase one and Cornerstone Arts Centre and I am really looking forward to seeing the town centre grow to meet the wishes of Didcot residents

"At a time when many developments are paused because of market uncertainty Didcot is thriving. The Great Western Park housing development of 3200 homes is underway and now we are able to bring forward this fantastic development of a new town centre

"A few years ago we asked the young people of Didcot what they wanted - and we’re now delivering it. This will be a much improved town centre, with restaurants, cafes and a wide range of shops that will mean residents of all ages will find what they need in Didcot. The new centre will also bring more job opportunities to the town."

Notes

1. Didcot
Didcot was designated a government New Growth Point in 2007 and is set to be the focus for almost 9000 new homes by 2027. It is located in the heart of Science Vale UK, with Milton Park, Harwell and Culham Science Centre all within six miles of the town. The planned jobs growth on these major internationally renowned science and business parks will bring great opportunities for the residents of Didcot.   The New Growth Points programme has enabled a new transport interchange and upgraded station forecourt at a cost of £5.6 million to be developed at Didcot, with a start date of September 2011 planned. Cornerstone Arts Centre opened two years ago. A new exercise and leisure trail, ‘Ladygrove Loop’ was opened a few weeks ago and other regeneration projects are planned for the town. A 3200 home development by Taylor Wimpey is underway.

2. About Hammerson plc
Hammerson is a leading European real estate company, operating in the UK and France. The group creates value by developing and actively managing prime shopping centres, retail parks and offices.
Hammerson’s vision is to be the best owner-manager and developer of retail and office property in the UK and France. Their strategy is to focus on prime regional shopping centres and out-of-town retail, while exploiting opportunities in the office sector.
Hammerson has built a reputation for providing exceptional buildings. Their expertise lies in  management of these properties, through understanding customers / from retail analysis and benchmarking to the provision of sustainability services to occupiers. They pride themselves on their relationships with joint venture and local authority partners, customers and investors.

3. ‘Brilliant Didcot’
The ‘Brilliant Didcot’ logo attached to this press release was developed by the Didcot Forum, a representative body of community organisations to signify that Didcot is going places. It is used in a number of forms, such as Brilliant Shopping’ and Brilliant Horizons’