A MAJOR roadworks project could be delayed for even longer as Oxfordshire County Council tries to get its hands on more cash for the scheme.

The next stage of the £12.5m Access to Headington scheme was due to start on Headley Way on January 22.

But the council postponed the work a week before and said it needed more time to calculate how it would pay for it.

It is thought the next phase could now start as late as March – although the county council failed to confirm that when the Oxford Mail contacted it yesterday.

Roz Smith, a county councillor for Headington and Quarry, said the scheme had descended into ‘a farce’.

She said: “The whole thing is become a farce.

"As a local member I’m being kept in the dark. This is a major project for Headington.

“It is a farce [not to know what is happening]. It’s so important because if the design is changing we need to know.

“It affects the schools, the hospitals.”

The delay in January was the second disruption to the work, which was set to stretch from Headley Way and include works outside the John Radcliffe Hospital and to the Marsh Lane junction.

It had been delayed for the first time last summer.

The council said earlier this year that the eventual decision on funding could mean work is downscaled or is enhanced.

The money to pay for the project comes from £108.5m secured from the Government’s Local Growth Fund, which was awarded in January 2015.

The project has been managed by the county council.

It is understood that as a result of increasing labour costs paid to the council’s contractor Skanska and delays caused by diversions because of utilities, like water and gas pipes, completing the scheme has become increasingly more expensive.

The Oxford Mail has been told the council was told the cost of the work would be £500,000 more than the £6m it had initially expected it would need to pay for one phase.

The project forms part of a plan which was discussed at the Oxfordshire Growth Board on Thursday – but the progress of the works were not mentioned.

Owen Morton, Oxfordshire County Council spokesman, said last week: “Access to Headington is being put forward for inclusion in the growth deal delivery plan, which is currently still under discussion and requires government agreement.

“The Growth Board agreed the plan in principle, but this is not yet currently finalised awaiting agreement by the Government.”