COUNCIL leaders have welcomed a £1m boost in transport funding to help improve links between major employment sites in southern Oxfordshire.
The cash, awarded to the county council through the Government’s Local Sustainable Transport Fund, will improve transport links in the Science Vale UK Enterprise Zone in southern Oxfordshire.
The funding follows the £108m Growth Deal announcement last week, which included £26m for the £123m Western Conveyance flood channel, designed to prevent major flooding in Oxford once it is built.
The £1m measures, to be delivered over the next year, will improve the Science Vale cycle network.
It will also improve public transport between Didcot Parkway and strategic employment areas.
Cabinet member for transport David Nimmo Smith said: “This is really good news and means that we can develop some worthwhile projects which will contribute to the success of the area.
“The money will all go towards sustainable transport and making alternatives to the car more feasible.”
The cash will be spent on improving existing cycle route networks, new cycleway signs, and a cycle hire scheme at Didcot Parkway, Harwell Oxford and Milton Park business park.
There will also be a Wheels to Work initiative to loan mopeds to young people not in education, employment or training (NEET) to make it easier for them to get to future work.
And the council plans to improve the Thames Travel 32 and X32 bus routes from Didcot Parkway to Harwell Oxford. The county council will work with a range of partners to deliver the improvements, including South and Vale district councils, Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership, Oxfordshire Local Transport Board, Thames Travel and Oxfordshire Cycle Challenge.
Mr Nimmo Smith added: “The recent Growth Deal money will help build new facilities, and the £1m will help us develop and promote cycling and public transport as an effective way to get around, so the latest funding announcement comes at just the right time.
“I am excited by projects such as the cycle hire scheme, bus route improvements, and a ‘wheels to work’ scheme.”
Acting leader of South Oxfordshire District Council Anna Badcock said: “We are delighted with the extra funding to deliver the much-needed cycle network across the Science Vale area.”
“The delivery of such a positive scheme is testament to the joint working between the county council and the district councils.”
Full details of all the schemes have not yet been revealed.
Earlier this week it emerged that only £15,000 had been spent from a £362,000 fund for cycle improvements in Oxford, which needs approval from the county council as it is the highways authority.
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