Construction work on the major £50 million expansion of the Orchard Centre in Didcot will begin in May, following the completion of necessary enabling works which started in January. This follows the signing of a 250 year lease agreement by Hammerson and South Oxfordshire District Council for phase two, providing up to 21 new shops and seven cafes and restaurants.
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. The new phase will also see new public areas and an additional 191 car parking spaces. The new shops, restaurants and cafes are expected to open in spring 2018.
The expansion of the Orchard Centre is a significant milestone for the future growth of Didcot town centre, as part of wider plans to transform Didcot into a Garden Town and deliver 20,000 new jobs and 15,000 new homes over the next 20 years.
Existing bus routes serving the Orchard Centre will be rerouted along Station Road, allowing construction on the new shops to begin whilst ensuring that buses continue to provide easy access for shoppers.
Andrew Berger-North, Director at Hammerson, said “We’re delighted to be able to complete our agreement with South Oxfordshire District Council. The expansion of the Orchard Centre is an important project for us and one which we look forward to seeing come to fruition.”
Cllr John Cotton, Leader of South Oxfordshire District Council, said “This is fantastic news for residents and visitors to Didcot. It’s vital that we have a town centre that meets the needs of the town’s growing population and supports the wider Science Vale and Didcot Garden Town. The expanded site will provide a significantly improved shopping area, helping to attract more visitors and potential investors to the town. We have worked very hard to ensure this development can take place and I’m delighted that we’ve now signed the lease agreement with Hammerson.”
A fly-through video is now available showing residents what they can look forward to when the new area opens in 2018 –