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Corn Exchange could get £100,000 windfall
RESTORATION work for Witney’s Corn Exchange will get a £100,000 boost if a 1,000-home housing estate is given the go-ahead.
The West Witney development, between Downs Road and Deer Park Road, will create “a new community”.
Councillors are set make a decision on Monday.
The development is part of the district council’s core strategy, a blueprint to allocate sites for 4,300 new homes to meet housing needs until 2026.
As part of the project, the developer, Oxfordshire Land Limited, will provide about £10m worth of new and upgraded facilities for Witney.
This includes £6.5m to build a new junction on the A40 at Downs Road, 10 acres of employment land and at least 30 per cent affordable housing.
It will also create a new primary school and, if Oxfordshire County Council determines it is needed, a third secondary school for Witney.
On top of this, the developers will build a new BMX track and multi-use games park in Deer Park Road, new allotments and a community centre – which could include a pub, shops and restaurants.
The developers will also contribute £100,000 for public art within the site, £100,000 to restore the Corn Exchange, £250,000 to improve facilities at West Witney Sports Ground and £250,000 for increased free car parking in Witney.
The plan won the backing of Witney Town Council, which said: “The council welcomes this development and the improvements to the road infrastructure at Downs Road on to the A40.”
It called for developer contributions towards the Corn Exchange, which the council closed in November 2011 after major problems were discovered and hopes to reopen by 2015.
The application has received 10 representations from residents, who said the development would “swamp” the town’s parking spaces and roads and the A40 needed to be dualled between Witney and Oxford first.
District councillor Verena Hunt, along with Brize Norton Parish Council, wrote to object to the A40 junction due to “major concerns” it would lead to more rat-running through Brize Norton to Carterton.
She said: “If this junction is to go ahead something needs to be done now to address this problem – even before any potential large-scale development at Carterton is considered.”
District council officers have recommended approving the plan, saying it is “generally consistent” with existing and emerging local plan policies.
The district council’s lowlands area planning sub-committee meeting is at the council’s Woodgreen offices on Monday, starting at 2pm.