doc

A SERIES of transport plans across Oxfordshire, including long-awaited action to tackle jams in Witney, have been approved by county council leaders.

But after the planswereapproved yesterday, the leader of Oxfordshire County Council criticised a Witney landowner for holding up long-awaited work to rid the town of congestion.

Ian Hudspeth’s comments came as the council approved transport strategies for five different parts of the county.

The county council’s cabinet approved updates to the local transport plans for Banbury, Carterton, Bicester, Science Vale and Witney.

Included in the plans for Witney is the long-awaited Shores Green scheme, which would involve creating new slip roads along the A40.

But Mr Hudspeth said he had no idea when work on the scheme might start because it depends on financial contributions relating to a planning application which he claims James Mawle, who owns land needed for the scheme, has said he would submit.

He said: “Until a planning application is in we won’t be able to consider the funding of the scheme.

There is also the issue of the compulsory purchase orders.

“This is the same person that was going to give the money for the Cogges Link Road scheme to the Shores Green scheme but he has not delivered on the promises he has made.

“We cannot ask people to put in planning applications. We are not a property developer.

“It is very frustrating because the Cogges Link Road would be open by now.

“The residents of Witney are the ones I feel sorry for.”

The county council had hoped to build the £20m link road to cut congestion and traffic pollution in the town centre.

But after a lengthy campaign against the scheme, the Secretary of State for Transport rejected the scheme in 2012 and gave her backing to the Shores Green proposals.

The county council’s transport strategy for Witney now includes the Shores Green scheme for westfacing slip roads and improvements to the B4022 Oxford Hill junction with Jubilee Way and Cogges Hill Road.

David Condon, who campaigned against the Cogges Link Road, said: “I am delighted that the county councilhasat last decided to get the wheels in motion.

“We want it to happen as soon as possible. The Shores Green scheme is absolutely vital for Witney.”

County councillor for Witney South and Central Laura Price said: “This is crucial for people in Witney because they can see their town growing and no infrastructure coming up to support it.”

Strategies for Witney, Carterton, Science Vale, Banbury and Bicester were approved at yesterday’s meeting at County Hall.

They include plans for improvements at the Milton and Chilton interchanges on the A34, a perimetre route around Bicester and a number of road improvement schemes in Banbury.

The Oxford Mail contacted James Mawle but he did not respond.