Wednesday, 23 January 2019

£2.5m put aside for work on bypasses

ALMOST £2.5 million has been allocated for the initial work on bypasses for Watlington and Benson.

The money for feasibility and design work has come from the Oxfordshire Growth Board, which is responsible for £215 million of government money to be spent on infrastructure
projects.

The relief roads will cost about £12 million each with the rest of the money expected to come from developers.

They are seen as vital in helping to relieve congestion in Benson and Watlington, which are both facing the prospect of hundreds of new homes.

The Watlington bypass will run from the B4009 and run to the west and north of the parish.

The board says it will:

• Create a long-term solution to air quality problems in the town

• Provide an alternative route for heavy goods vehicles

• Improve bus journey times.

• Offer better conditions for walking and cycling.

The board says: “By providing improved highway infrastructure, the scheme releases capacity to support housing growth in Watlington and the surrounding area.

“Approximately 400 dwellings are planned and allocated through the neighbourhood plan to be delivered in the next seven years. The project will be part funded by the development.”

The Benson bypass will provide an alternative route from the A4074 and B4009 to the north of the village, particularly for HGVs.

The board says: “The road will help unlock development sites to the north of the village along the new route, delivering around 600 new homes, with the Growth Deal funding enabling the work ahead of significant developer contributions.”

Developers have to make payments under the Community Infrastructure Levy or Section 106 as part of their planning permission.

The Oxfordshire Housing & Growth Deal, which was signed in April, includes
£30million a year over five years to accelerate transport infrastructure projects including road, rail, cycle routes and footpaths as well social infrastructure including new schools.

Delivery of the programme is overseen by the Growth Board, which comprises the six Oxfordshire councils.

Councillor Jane Murphy, leader of South Oxfordshire District Council, who chairs the board, said: “Getting infrastructure right is one of our greatest responsibilities as local councils.

“This is a list of much-needed projects that will have a meaningful and positive effect on the quality of life for our residents.”

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