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New sewers will get homes plans flowing
A £7M drainage scheme on the edge of Oxford has finished, ending the moratorium on new buildings in the area. .
Thames Water finished the sewer expansion project this summer and Vale of White Horse District Council is to lift a ban on anyone occupying new builds.
Problems with drainage in Botley and Cumnor Hill led to a block on any development, with about 20 planning bids put on hold.
It also meant some homes that had been built could not be occupied.
But the sewer work, which started last September, has paved the way for almost 450 homes to be built and a £15m revamp of Seacourt Retail Park.
Council spokesman Andy Roberts said: “The drainage works were scheduled to finish in September so the moratorium for people to move into houses is expected to be lifted by the end of the month.”
New residents have already been moving into homes being built by developer Persimmons Homes at the former Timbmet site in Cumnor Hill after the firm built a temporary sewage facility to stop the work from delaying the scheme. The developer had already built 31 before the 192-home scheme was halted.
Schemes for 150 homes in Tilbury Lane and 130 homes in Lime Road, which already have outline planning permission, can also progress along with a revamp of Seacourt Retail Park.
Brad Critcher, director at TDH Estates, which is developing the retail site on behalf of British Airways’ pension fund, said the firm was sorting out lease issues with new and existing tenants.
He said: “It’s the last hurdles that all developments have to cross. BA would very much like to be on site within the next 12 months.”
Eric Batts, district council member for North Hinksey and Wytham, said he was glad to see the work done so efficiently.
He said: “The local residents have been waiting for this to happen for a long time.”
He said new homes would also bring vital affordable housing and developer contributions to help infrastructure.
Neil Clark, a North Hinksey Parish Council member, said developers were busy in the area with small scale projects coming forward.
He said: “We have a full agenda at every planning meeting we have now.”
But he added: “We are worried about the pace of development. We have concerns about the infrastructure.”
Thames Water spokesman Natalie Slater said the firm would be monitoring the flow of the sewers to check everything was working correctly.
She said: “We need to monitor the flow for a few months to make sure we can take accurate readings of the performance of the new network – but this is the only additional work we are doing.”
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