A NEW development will be firmly embedded in Witney's history after it was revealed its streets would bear the names of those who have played a major role in the town's past.

The first phase of the West Witney development is now under way and will eventually consist of 1,000 homes.

Following consultation with the town council and with the help of a local historian, the street names of the new development have now been revealed, with virtually all referencing a significant figure in Witney’s heritage.

The only exception is Centenary Way, which was named to mark 100 years since the end of the First World War.

Street names will include Mary Box Crescent – after Mary Box, who co-founded The Henry Box School with her husband Henry.

There will also be a Mott Close, after Edward Mott, who was awarded the Victoria Cross while serving with the 1st Battalion, The Border Regiment, in the First World War.

Rayson Lane will take its name from Thomas Rayson, the architect responsible for both the central Witney and Newland war memorials and site engineer with Witney Aerodrome.

Leader of West Oxfordshire District Council, James Mills, was thrilled that important figures from Witney’s past could be remembered in this way.

He said: “Many of the names will be familiar to local people as they are of individuals in living memory who have made a major contribution to the town.

“This is a wonderful way of commemorating their efforts and will ensure they continue to be familiar to future generations.”

The 73-hectare development, led by Persimmon Homes, Bloor Homes and Bovis Homes, will include a new primary school, space for a secondary school, a neighbourhood centre with shops, a free car park and potential for other amenities.

A minimum of 30 per cent of the housing will be affordable and there is provision for an 80-unit extra care home, comprised of 40 affordable units.

There will be significant highway improvements as a result of the development, with developer-funded contributions going towards west Witney's recreation ground (£250,000) and the Corn Exchange (£100,000), as well as town centre and car parking improvements (£250,000) and public art (£100,000).

Planning permission was approved by West Oxfordshire District Council’s planning committee in March 2013.