CONSTRUCTION work on a £250m, 1,000-home housing development on the western edge of Witney is a step closer.

A legal agreement for the estate between Curbridge Road and Downs Road is expected to be signed early next year, West Oxfordshire District Council said yesterday.

Outline planning permission was granted in March for up to 1,000 homes and an employment area, subject to the legal agreement being finalised, securing associated road improvements, sites for schools and other benefits for the town.

At least 30 per cent of the houses will be classified as affordable. There will also be a care home, with half the accommodation classed as affordable.

The council’s lowlands area planning sub-committee heard on Monday that in the six months since planning permission was given, a number of the infrastructure conditions have been agreed with the consortium behind the development, Oxfordshire Land Ltd.

One of the outstanding issues is a new primary school, proposed for a site in the centre of the estate, but council officers expect this to be resolved soon.

Land will also be set aside for a secondary school to be built in the future.

The council’s cabinet member for strategic planning and housing, Warwick Robinson, who also chairs the sub-committee, said: “This development will meet our housing, recreational, educational, employment and commercial needs for the coming years.

"Through it our officers have also negotiated some significant benefits for the local area.

“I’m pleased that most of the terms have been agreed and there are now only a small number of outstanding issues.

“These relate mainly to the primary school but with further information now available from Oxfordshire County Council, we expect the final agreement to be concluded soon.”

Oxfordshire Land is set to contribute £25m to infrastructure under the agreement, including the primary school and a £6.5m roundabout to connect the A40 with Downs Road and ease pressure on the road junctions around the A415/A40 interchange in Ducklington Lane.

Another £100,000 will be put towards the restoration of the Corn Exchange and £250,000 is allocated for improved facilities at West Witney Sports Ground.

A BMX cycle track, allotments, playing fields and a multi-use games area, as well as a neighbourhood centre with shops and a car park, will also be incorporated in the development.

Oxfordshire Land is owned by Persimmon Homes, Bovis Homes and Sovereign Land (Witney) Ltd.