A CONTROVERSIAL new housing development in Wallingford should be built as soon as possible, according to South Oxfordshire District Council leader Ann Ducker.

Mrs Ducker said building work for 555 homes at Slade End Farm, off Wantage Road, should begin at the earliest opportunity.

In October, a last-minute ruling by a planning inspector switched the location of where the new homes will be built.

The council’s core strategy, agreed last month, had proposed siting the homes at Winterbrook off Reading Road, instead of at Slade End Farm. But the final ruling by inspector Roy Foster picked Slade End Farm.

Mrs Ducker, who lives near Wallingford, said seeing new homes built in the town was one of her priorities.

She added: “Where new housing should go in Wallingford has been controversial all the way, but now the core strategy has been agreed we will ask the developers to push on as soon as possible.

“We will now be encouraging the developers to get on with it.”

The inspector’s final decision to choose Slade End Farm was “mainly because of the additional sensitivities at the Winterbrook site, relating to historic conservation, together with closeness to a possible minerals extraction site”, according to SODC last year.

The 555 homes will be built alongside a new primary school, open space, allotments and new sports pitches next to Wallingford Sports Park.

David Butcher, a spokesman for developers PRUPIM, said: “We are looking forward to working with local stakeholders, as well as SODC and Oxfordshire County Council, to bring forward a development that is a benefit to the town.

“The team is currently working to produce a design brief to be agreed with SODC that will set the broad parameters for a future planning application for the site.”