A MAJOR housing site that hinges on a ‘crucial’ new A34 interchange could be built before the junction is started.

Outline plans for 950 homes in North Abingdon have been unanimously approved, and could crop up prior to the long-coveted 'diamond interchange' at Lodge Hill.

Campaigners warn traffic ‘chaos’ will ensue without the extra slip roads, with hundreds more southbound drivers having to travel through Abingdon to get on the A34 at Marcham.

Vale of White Horse District Council’s decision came despite pressure to only approve the housing on the condition that southern slip roads are built before any homes are occupied.

Speaking at a planning meeting on Wednesday night, town councillor Margaret Crick warned: “The amount of traffic this will create will throw Abingdon into chaos.”

She was among those calling for a condition that would force CEG - the developer set to build the houses off Dunmore Road - to halt progress until the full junction is in place.

An Oxfordshire County Council officer insisted slip roads will be in place within three years, thanks to £9.43m of Government funding announced on Wednesday.

He said: “The benefits of this scheme really cannot be underestimated, it’s absolutely crucial. These houses are desperately needed.”

But residents wanted a fall-back in case funding fell through or the scheme was unexpectedly delayed.

The committee, which met at Abingdon’s Amey Theatre, decided to stick to a less strict condition.

It states: “No more than 150 dwellings [can be] occupied prior to written confirmation of government funding for Lodge Hill slip roads.”

A further condition states no more than 400 homes can be occupied before a contract is agreed to build the slips.

Drayton resident Brian Eastoe said the planning committee’s decision marked a ‘sad day for democracy’.

Addressing councillors prior to their decision, he said: “Enough is enough. We should insist this development can’t proceed until Lodge Hill is completed. Not just funded, but finished.”

Oxford West and Abingdon MP Layla Moran highlighted a petition signed by 1,046 residents, calling for slips before development.

North Abingdon councillor Emily Smith said she was ‘disappointed’ the committee did not enforce stricter rules.

CEG will put £3.3m towards the junction, and will contribute to a list of other community improvements.

The site will include a school, surgery, sports facilities and a community hub. CEG development manager Iain Macsween said he was ‘delighted’ to gain approval. 

He went on: "As well as bringing much needed new homes to the Vale, our proposals will also help to deliver a range of benefits for existing and new residents including, of course, £3.325m towards the delivery of the new slip roads at Lodge Hill.

"It was particularly heartening to hear the praise for our approach to community engagement and we look forward to working with stakeholders and the local community as we move towards the construction of this high quality new development."