THE building of thousands of new homes should be put on hold until infrastructure is given a chance to catch up, according to frustrated residents.

While broadly welcoming proposals to construct new roads in and around Didcot, first unveiled last week, people packed out a council event to complain it ‘felt like an afterthought,’ given the existing traffic problems around the town.

Oxfordshire County Council is bidding for Government funding to pay for improvements, including spending up to £100m on a new Thames bridge at Culham, and has asked for feedback on initial proposals.

At the first of two consultation events at Didcot Civic Hall on Wednesday, Cathy Champion, the council's infrastructure lead, said: “A lot of growth is coming and we know the road capacity is not set up to cope with this.

“We’ve come up with these proposals and now we want to hear if people think it is the right way forward or are there other solutions that will achieve the same things?”

The Oxford Times:

She added: “A lot of the sites already have permissions in place so we cannot stop them building.

“But at this point, if another application came in tomorrow we would object on the basis the network could not cope.

“If we are successful with this bid then work will have started within five years.

“It would be a blow if we don’t get it but there are different funding pots coming forward and we would work towards the next one.”

The other proposed schemes involve turning the A4130 between Didcot and the Milton Interchange into a dual carriageway, a bypass in Clifton Hampden and a ‘science bridge' connecting two parts of the A4130.

The council has a preferred route for the Thames crossing which would avoid many of the historic sites in the area but still cut across the green belt.

Paul Randell, 63, who has lived in the area all his life, said the 20 minute journey to Oxford can now routinely take an hour.

He said: “As soon as something goes wrong, the whole network becomes a nightmare.

“I feel all this should have come a long time ago. There shouldn’t be any more houses built until this is all put in place.

“I am supportive, I just hope I live long enough to see it all succeed.”