A LANDOWNER has said he will now discuss selling the site needed to make way for the Shores Green A40 scheme.

Mark Walker, who owns the land in High Cogges, south of the dual carriageway, previously said that he would resist any efforts to buy the land.

But now he has changed his position. He said: “A different offer to previous ones has been made and I am now in discussions. It is no longer the case that the Walker family will not sell. It must be for a reasonable price, but we are willing vendors.”

The potential buyer is Mawle Trustees, led by James Mawle, which owns much of the land north of the A40 needed for the scheme which would see two new slip roads at the junction.

The group’s proposed 300-home East Witney development is expected to pay for the £5m construction of the Shores Green junction.

A supporter of the scheme, Mr Mawle has in the past called for Oxfordshire County Council to make a compulsory purchase of Mr Walker’s land. But the new discussions open the possibility of progress for the scheme, which has already been approved by the county council.

Mr Mawle said: “I have made an approach recently and Mr Walker is being more realistic.

“We are nowhere near getting anything signed, but discussions are ongoing and we hope we will reach a deal.”

The county council should also come to the table for the negotiations, Mr Walker said, but said his group’s relationship with it is currently “non-existent”.

The two parties have in the past disagreed about where funding for Shores Green should come from.

Council leader Ian Hudspeth has said the first step would require a planning application for East Witney to be submitted.

Mr Mawle said: “We cannot commit to that. We are ready to do our bit, but what is really holding us up is acquiring the land. We fully accept the need for Shores Green to go ahead as soon as possible and we could probably do it at the start of the development.

“The council has to help deliver this scheme and come to the table.”

Mr Hudspeth said: “There is no funding for Shores Green and there are land ownership problems. Mr Mawle has our contact details. If he can provide the money [for the scheme] then we will sit down and negotiate.”