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Community welcomes £25m bonus from new Witney housing
COMMUNITY groups, councillors and businesses have expressed their “delight” that Witney will get £25m of funding from the new 1,000-home estate west of the town.
The money will go towards a new £6.5m roundabout junction on the A40, help to reopen the Corn Exchange and improve facilities at West Witney Sports Ground.
West Oxfordshire District Council’s lowland area planning sub-committee granted the new estate permission at a meeting on Monday.
Developer funding will also go towards the costs of a new primary school at the heart of the development and land will be set aside for a new secondary school if that is needed as well.
And 10 hectares of land for business and employment development will be set aside at the northern end of the site.
Witney Town Council is to receive £100,000 which will be allocated to go towards the costs of reopening the Corn Exchange.
The council closed the building suddenly in November 2011 after a safety inspection found it had “major problems”.
Jeanette Baker, the deputy chairman of the council’s public halls committee, said: “I’m delighted with the funding. It just helps us on our way.”
West Witney Sports Ground, in Burford Road, will get £250,000 from the consortium of housing developers to help refurbish and improve its facilities.
Witney Central ward Labour district councillor Andrew Coles, who is a member of the West Witney Sports and Social Club committee, said: “I’m obviously delighted. It gives West Witney a sense of security.
“It’s vital that the sports ground remains a vibrant part of the town, and this will help with that.”
A further £6.5m will be spent building a roundabout on the A40 at the southern end of Downs Road, which will give lorries travelling to and from the Windrush Industrial Estate and the Minster Industrial Park an alternative link with the A40, avoiding the congested Duck-lington Lane and Station Lane junction.
Steve Radband, the owner of Bampton firm SJ Radband Haulage, said: “It will be a hell of a lot better if it stops the congestion around Thorney Leys.
“We have to use the Ducklington Lane/Station Lane junction twice a day and it’s a nightmare.”
Witney Allotments Assoc-iation secretary Maggie Perrin said she was delighted that the developers had agreed to set aside land for new allotments as part of the project.
She said: “We have still got a waiting list for allotments of around 150 people, so the more space we can get, the better.
“It will allow us to take some people off the list but I think we still need to keep looking for another site.”
Town councillor Chrissie Curry said that she was “absolutely thrilled” that a BMX track would be created at the site and said that young people should help to design it.
She said: “I have been trying to get a BMX track in Witney for six years. There are loads of kids in the town that love BMXing and they need a track.”
Another £250,000 of funds will help provide more free parking spaces in Witney town centre.
The district council’s head of community services, Bill Oddy, said: “It will assist the council in meeting demand for the town centre parking in the future.”
Mr Oddy added that the town’s car parks were already at capacity during peak periods and said that the money could be used to purchase new land or build additional decks on existing car parks.
The developers will also pay £100,000 for works of art to be installed around the site, a new multi-use games park off Deer Park Road adjacent to the BMX track and a central community hub area, which could include a pub, supermarket and restaurants.