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New housing brings millions in benefits
A development of 1,000 homes which will unlock millions of pounds of investment for Witney has been agreed.
The plan will see the homes – including at least 30 per cent affordable properties – built on land between Downs Road and Deer Park Road.
It will also bring a £6.5m roundabout on the A40 at Downs Road, a new primary school and, if necessary, a new secondary school.
Developer Oxfordshire Land Limited will contribute £100,000 to reopen the Corn Exchange and £250,000 to revamp facilities at West Witney Sports Ground.
West Oxfordshire District Council granted the planning permission at a lowlands area planning subcommittee meeting yesterday.
The scheme is part of the council’s current and draft core strategy, a blueprint for where thousands of homes will be built by 2029.
Warwick Robinson, cabinet member for strategic planning, said: “I believe this development will first and foremost be a desirable place to live and will contribute positively to the growth of Witney in many ways, to the benefit of not only the residents of Witney but also the surrounding villages. I hope the developers will now move forward rapidly to build the site and the associated infrastructure as both are urgently needed.”
He paid tribute to the council’s planning officers who negotiated “doggedly and determinedly” to secure the funding.
Speaking at the meeting, Witney mayor Harry Eaglestone said: “It really is a gratifying outcome, and the only good news I’ve had in two years as mayor of Witney.”
But Carterton councillors Pete Handley and Henry Howard voted against the plan.
Mr Handley said the council should wait until after its core strategy had been agreed before making a decision and Mr Howard said the roundabout on the A40 would lead to queues and ratrunning through Brize Norton to Carterton. He argued instead for four-way slip roads.
But planning officer Phil Shaw said slip roads would cost £10m to install, which would be taken from the agreed developer funding.
Mr Robinson said it was a £250m scheme, with homes each averaging a value of about £250,000.
He said he expected planning applications for 100 to 200 houses at a time from different developers to start be submitted this year. He also confirmed the total value of the developer funding was £25m.
Richard Briggs, of Oxfordshire Land Limited, said: “We are delighted to have secured planning permission. We are creating a new neighbourhood and worked closely with councils and local residents to create a scheme that is right for the local area.
“Our development will provide much needed housing as well as necessary community facilities, employment space and new jobs. We hope to start on site soon.”
Oxfordshire Land Limited is a consortium made up of Persimmon Homes, Bovis Homes and Sovereign Land (Witney) Ltd.