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Council forced to hand back £4.8m after Cogges Link Road bid is blocked
WITNEY residents will not get a new road scheme to cut town centre congestion in the near future, County Hall has said.
And £4.78m of funding for its failed Cogges Link Road scheme looks set to be returned to developers.
The council is now drawing up alternative schemes.
County council leader Ian Hudspeth said: “There is an awful lot of backroom work needs to go on.
“We have got to go through all the process of how the schemes stack up against each other. We are not looking at delivering a new scheme in the near future. It is as frustrating for me as it is for anyone who lives in Witney.”
The council had £17.23m budgetted to pay for the road, including £8.24m in secured infrastrcture contributions from developers and £4.62m from council funds. It has already spent an estimated £4m on the scheme, including £1.4m on the public inquiry.
The developers of the 1,500-home Madley Park estate put in £4.78m, but this will be returned because under the original agreement this money could only be used on the link road and no other project.
Mr Hudspeth said the council had learnt lessons from the issue, adding: “In the future perhaps the council might link development of infrastructure schemes more closely to the housing development.”
Landowner James Mawle, of the Mawle Trust, which gave 75 per cent of the £4.78m, said: “We offered to change the agreement in 2002 and 2005 but they (the council) consistently refused our offers to make changes.
“The council would have to get agreement from all parties to the section 106 money, not just the Mawles, and there is no reason for those developers to sign up for that.”
He said the council spent more money before the public inquiry than it would have cost to build an alternative “Shores Green” option.
A Government inspector refused to allow County Hall permission to compulsorily purchase land needed for the link road earlier this year and said creating a £3.8m four-way junction on the A40 at Shores Green, was a better option.
Alternative schemes being looked at include improvements to Ducklington Road/Station Lane, Bridge Street and Downs Road junctions, Mr Hudspeth said.