GP Practice redevelopment at Great Western Park, Didcot 

Update April 2024 

The NHS Buckinghamshire Oxfordshire and Berkshire West Integrated Care Board (BOB ICB) (and its clinical commissioning group predecessor),Vale of White Horse and South Oxfordshire District Councils and local GP practices have been working closely for many years to try to use an allocated site at Great Western Park to provide new GP premises for the growing population.  

BOB ICB recently approved the business case for the new building and agreed to provide funding in addition to the money from developer contributions, known as section 106 funding.

The Vale of White Horse District Council is currently working with housing developer Taylor Wimpey to take transfer of the site, as set out in the section 106 agreement.

Once the site is transferred to the Vale, the council will enter into an agreement for lease with the NHS primary care developer who will build the new premises (once planning permission is granted) and then lease it to Woodlands Medical Centre which will run it as a branch surgery.

The ICB also continues to work with Woodlands Medical Centre to expand its current premises at Woodlands Road in Didcot.

Update February 2024 

After (a) extensive work and negotiations with the medical estates developer of the site, and (b) due consideration of the significant needs of the increasing Didcot population, the executive Board of BOB ICB has accepted the business case for the GP new building. It  has agreed to provide the required revenue funding to add to the capital contribution resulting from the above-mentioned S106 Agreement. 

This will be welcome news to all local stakeholders but, to proceed, the project requires full planning consent and a series of legal agreements (between Vale of White Horse District Council , the ICB, the Woodlands Medical Centre, the medical estates developer and NHS England) before a construction tender can be entered into and  building work started.

It should be noted that many GP premises across Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire West need additional capacity and modernisation, due to the mix of house conversions or older purpose-built surgery buildings not designed for modern day healthcare. There are currently 156 practices operating out of 223 practice sites. Very few have room to expand which means practices have outgrown their existing space. 

The ICB considers many requests for expansion/extension of GP premises some of which can be funded or part funded by housing developer contributions through the Town Planning system. However, these contributions are not generally easily allocated nor sufficient to fund major new build projects in areas of significant population growth. Each business case therefore needs to be carefully considered based on significant priority and within the constraints of limited financial resources.  

Didcot has major housing growth over the next 15 years. The existing primary care estate has absorbed growth beyond capacity, despite other smaller projects (the extension of Woodlands Medical Centre in 2017 and conversion of admin space into clinical accommodation at Oak Tree Health Centre in 2021).

The new-build project at Great Western Park is considered by the ICB as being a top priority for the following reasons:

  • This project is considered high priority as determined by the ICB prioritisation matrix.
  • The developer contributions are available (making the development less expensive to the NHS than otherwise)
  • There is an allocated site
  • The project is highly deliverable
  • A clear case for change has been set out
  • The ICB is satisfied that given the strategic need for this development, it is value for money.


Didcot is an area of major housing growth in South Oxfordshire.  It was awarded garden town status in 2015 with plans to accommodate more than 15,000 new homes and 20,000 new jobs in the area.   

Didcot Primary Care Network (PCN) is made up of three local GP practices, each of which have premises that are all facing significant pressure from the growth in patient numbers as more people move into new homes. 

The plan to address these needs is a two-phase development including new-build premises to be run as a branch surgery by the Woodlands Medical Centre team on the Great Western Park development and a further extension of the current Woodlands Medical Centre to meet longer term demand. A medical estates developer will build the new premises. Partial funding will be provided by housing developer contributions previously agreed. 

The new building would include conventional GP accommodation as well as space for an innovative range of services planned via the PCN to improve health promotion, disease prevention, effective management and care closer to home, especially for older patients with long term multiple conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and dementia. It would also offer space for more holistic health and wellbeing services and significant opportunities to work more closely with colleagues from mental health services and allow the development of more in-house specialist skills.  

Work on this project has been subject to many frustrating delays for patients, healthcare staff, the local authorities and for BOB ICB which develops and manages the health needs of the local population, the NHS budget and arranges for the provision of health services in a geographical area. 

The delays in this new Great Western Park Heath Centre project have been due to the legal complexities emanating from the S106 Agreement (developer funding contributions), the multiagency involvement in the project and the challenging economic circumstances that currently face property developments.

BOB ICB does not hold funds for ‘capital’ projects such as new GP practices premises. Funding for these comes via contributions for infrastructure from housing and/or medical estate developers (with the latter receiving a return on capital via a lease rent which the ICB funds).      

For more information, please go the Vale Of White Horse District Council website