Step closer for Orchard Centre expansion
The development firm behind the £50million expansion of the Orchard Centre in Didcot has announced an important project milestone with the closure of High Street. This allows construction of the new public square and surrounding restaurants to begin, connecting the existing centre to the new shops already being built.
In addition to this, two additional areas of car parking are now becoming available for shoppers and visitors, with 120 spaces already open and a further 70 to follow shortly. These new spaces will provide two hours free parking as with the rest of the Orchard Centre car park. More spaces will also be opened in the future once the expansion is completed (adjacent to the new shops).
Thomas Cochrane, Development Manager at Hammerson, said “Work is now well under way and on schedule, with the development already taking shape as new structures including the flagship M&S Food Hall building are put into place. Convenient car parking is essential and so we are pleased that these extra spaces are becoming available and that we continue to offer free parking, for up to two hours.”
“We are grateful to everyone visiting the Orchard Centre for their patience while construction work continues and hope they are excited as us about the improvements this will bring, with a greater variety of shops and leisure choice.”
Councillor John Cotton, Leader of South Oxfordshire District Council, said: “Local residents, shoppers and visitors will be aware of the closure of some parking spaces at council-run temporary car parks in High Street and Broadway to make way for the second phase of the Orchard Centre.
“We know that any loss of parking spaces has an impact and we have worked closely with Hammerson on this issue, including providing the land at the rear of Sainsbury’s for the creation of extra parking.
“We are very pleased these extra spaces are becoming available at an early stage in the development and that, on completion, there will be over 300 extra parking spaces at the Orchard Centre. The Council also intends to create more long-stay only parking spaces, close to the town centre, as part of the proposed Didcot Garden Town plans, which will see the creation of 20,000 new jobs and 15,000 new homes and exciting community facilities over the next 20 years.”
Bus services were re-routed along Station Road in preparation for the closure of High Street to ensure bus users continue to have easy access to the town centre.
To see illustrations of how the new centre will look, take a look at the fly-through video.
A total of 875 car parking spaces will be available at the Orchard Centre, when expansion work is complete.
Major names already signed up for the 95,000sqft extension include M&S Food Hall, H&M, River Island and TK Maxx, as well as Costa Coffee and Starbucks.