CHANGES to a major development to the west of Witney have been unveiled before the proposal goes before a planning committee later this month.

The West Witney estate, which has been in the pipeline for more than a decade, will consist of 1,000 homes as well as a new primary school and shops.

But the final form of the estate has now been settled on and it is set to go before a planning committee on Monday, December 17.

Witney mayor Harry Eaglestone said: “The sooner it goes ahead the better. People need houses and you couldn’t get a more attractive place to live than Witney.

“Quite a bit of this estate is going to be social housing which is going to help people who cannot afford to buy.

“And it will give access to the A40 for the lorries from the trading estates so it will take traffic away from Deer Park Road and Thorney Leys.”

Plans for the huge site between Downs Road and Deer Park Road were submitted at the beginning of the year but had been held up because of negotiations over access and community contributions.

West Oxfordshire District Council has agreed on a few changes with the applicant, consortium Oxfordshire Land Limited, including the scrapping of a second access route to the estate from Downs Road because it would not be needed.

The proposed roundabout on the A40 has been reduced in size following a safety audit and discussions with Oxfordshire County Council, the highways authority.

It has also been agreed that trees will be planted around the roundabout to screen it off.

County councillor Steve Hayward, who is also a haulier, said: “It is very important that we get this junction built as soon as possible.

“For more than 20 years people in Thorney Leys have been blighted by traffic and it is also very important to the businesses there who have to compete with national companies.”

The new estate will feature a village square, with a primary school and three or four small shops to create a community focal point. The plan will also include space for 70 allotments.

District council planning officer Phil Shaw said this was likely to be the final form of the estate and the changes have been readvertised.

Tim Binnington, chairman of Sovereign Land which is a member of the consortium behind the development, said: “Everyone has been working very hard towards this for many years.

“The junction will be the first bit that gets going and that will be towards the middle end of next year.”