AS A new year approaches, Witney and West Oxfordshire face familiar challenges.

Pressure for more housing development is a familiar theme, which we return to once again on our front page today.

While the district council may finally have an approved Local Plan in place during the coming year, setting out clear guidance on development and allowing it to rein in the current crop of speculative planning applications from developers, the district will still have to shoulder a hefty burden of new homes over coming years.

Inevitably this will put yet more pressure on the district’s already stretched infra-structure, where we are paying the price for too little forward planning and investment over many years.

The saga over the failed Cogges Link Road scheme in Witney put other options for tackling the town’s traffic problems on hold for a long time and there are still precious few signs of progress on the alternative of making the Shores Green junction on the A40 into a full interchange.

And efforts to tackle congestion on the A40 between Witney and Oxford and to offer drivers alternatives to using their cars also appear to be stuck in the slow lane.

While money has been allocated by the Government to improve bus links on this corridor, work on this scheme is still at the planning stage.

What West Oxfordshire needs to see in 2015 are practical steps to get to grips with these issues, with action plans agreed and a start made on implementing solutions to meet demand as new homes are built.

Happy New Year to all our readers.