Growth Board welcomes further government announcement on investment for Oxfordshire

Published: Wednesday, 21st March 2018

The Oxfordshire Growth Board has welcomed the Government’s confirmation that two of the county’s bids to the Housing and Infrastructure Fund (HIF) are progressing through to co-development.

Detailed business plans will now be developed for the £300 million of transport infrastructure investment that will help bring forward the Didcot Garden Town and West Oxfordshire Garden Village, near Eynsham.

If agreed, the investment would substantially improve the county’s transport infrastructure, including a new river crossing at Culham and an upgrade of the A40. The improved infrastructure would enable the development of new living and employment areas using sustainable design principles, including improved cycling provision.

Oxfordshire County Council, the county’s transport authority, submitted the funding applications last September as part of a package of infrastructure investment needed to allow the development of new garden towns and villages across the county.

The announcement comes on top of the recently agreed £215 million Oxfordshire Housing & Growth Deal, which will fund transport improvements and more affordable housing.

Didcot Garden Town – £171m is sought for transport improvements including a Didcot Science Bridge and A4130 dual carriageway, a new river crossing at Culham and Clifton Hampden Bypass. This would support the delivery of over 22,000 homes in Didcot, Culham, Harwell and Berinsfield.  Additionally up to £70m of cycle and other sustainable transport improvements are proposed for inclusion in the bid plan.

West Oxfordshire Garden Village – £135m is sought for further upgrades to the A40, building on existing schemes and based on the approved A40 Long Term Strategy including development of the Rapid Transit network and additional highway capacity on A40 transport corridor. This would support the delivery of over 10,000 homes in Witney & Carterton, and around Eynsham. 

Final funding awards for the bids will be determined by Government following the agreement of detailed business plans on the delivery of the new infrastructure. The Oxfordshire Infrastructure Strategy, commissioned by the Growth Board, was used to identify infrastructure priorities that offered the prospect of a step-change in housing provision in a defined area.

Councillor Ian Hudspeth, Leader of Oxfordshire County Council, which submitted the HIF bids, said: “The government is showing it is rightly confident that Oxfordshire can deliver new homes and jobs while sticking to the principles of sustainable development. This is a big boost for Oxfordshire and underlines our commitment to ensuring that the infrastructure is in place to support new homes.”

Councillor Bob Price, Chair of the Oxfordshire Growth Board, said: “I’m pleased to see the Government is looking to make good its commitment that the Housing and Growth Deal should be seen as a downpayment on future investment in the county. Our ability to attract funding is testament to the national importance of Oxfordshire’s knowledge-based economy  and the result of strong collaboration and partnership working by Growth Board partners.”

Councillor John Cotton, Leader of South Oxfordshire District Council, said: “We’re delighted to see continued commitment to supporting South Oxfordshire housing growth from the government.  I am serious - and so is the Growth Board - about ensuring the county’s residents get the infrastructure they need to maintain and improve the quality of life in the Oxfordshire as a whole, and this news is a great example of how we’re going about doing that.”

Councillor James Mills, Leader of West Oxfordshire District Council, said: “West Oxfordshire’s proposed garden village near Eynsham would be a major contribution towards meeting our current housing demands as it would provide much-needed homes in a high quality and sustainable environment. It is boosting our case for improvements to transport links and in particular the urgent need to upgrade the A40. I am delighted that we are now closer to gaining  Government investment through the Housing Infrastructure Fund; it is positive news for the District and is additional support for the A40 long term strategy.”

The North of Oxford bid for infrastructure to support the delivery of 5,570 homes in Woodstock, Begbroke/Yarnton and the Northern Gateway, was not successful at this stage.

The Oxfordshire Growth Board comprises the six councils: Cherwell District Council, Oxford City Council, Oxfordshire County Council, South Oxfordshire District Council, Vale of White Horse District Council and West Oxfordshire District Council, together with and the county’s Local Enterprise Partnership (OxLEP).

This press release is issued on behalf of the Oxfordshire Growth Board – concerning the Government’s announcement re projects it is taking forward under the Housing Infrastructure Fund.