MILLIONS of pounds in funding has been approved for investigating congestion-busting improvements across Oxford, including widening the Botley Road bridge and 'enhancing' the Access to Headington project.

The Oxfordshire Growth Board has today published details of the first round of major projects to receive funding in year one of the five-year Oxfordshire Housing & Growth Deal, signed last month with the Government.

There will be £3.2m spent on the Botley Road corridor project, plus £500,000 to look at widening Botley Road rail bridge.

However, this cash will be for 'feasibility' work and is unlikely to result in any building work taking place initially.

Other big winners include the Access to Headington scheme, which gets £3m and there is a cash boost of £1.4m for cycle and pedestrian routes across the city.

Making today’s announcement Oxford city councillor Bob Price, chairman of the Oxfordshire Growth Board, said: “This is a significant moment for Oxfordshire.

Oxford Mail: Bob Price at Oxford Town Hall to give his reaction to the Budget - Picture by Richard Cave 22.11.17.

"Just last month all the districts, the city council and the county council united to seal a deal with Government, and now we are delighted to announce this first year of funding to start delivering the infrastructure residents have been calling for as we continue to prosper and grow as a county."

The Deal will deliver £215m over a five year-period to pay for infrastructure and affordable housing.

It backs the county's ambition to plan and support the building of up to 100,000 new homes across Oxfordshire between 2011 and 2031.

This is the level of housing growth identified by the Oxfordshire Strategic Housing Market Assessment 2014.

Ten key projects from across the county will share around £12m worth of funding over the next year.

The schemes include:

  • A feasibility study to provide a westbound bus lane linking Wolvercote to the proposed Eynsham Park and Ride site
  • Improvements to key link roads in Carterton and Banbury
  • Widening of the Botley Road rail bridge in Oxford and improvements to the Botley Road corridor
  • Upgrading Featherbed Lane, near Milton Hill to provide improved and safer access between the Didcot and Wantage areas.

In addition, the Growth Board has announced a further £20m of funding to be used in South Oxfordshire, Vale of White Horse, Cherwell, West Oxfordshire and Oxford to support a range of other infrastructure projects.

These projects are being finalised with developers and landowners before the details can be announced.

Mr Price added: "We hope the project funding being announced today is the start of further investment to follow in the coming months, as we await news of the Housing Infrastructure Fund (HIF) bids submitted last September for Didcot Garden Town, West Oxfordshire and North of Oxford; not to mention further opportunities through the Government’s Marginal Viability Fund where we had five successful bids from across Oxfordshire earlier this year.”

In total, about £30m will be spent on infrastructure in the first year (2018/19), with similar amounts in each of the following four years.

The money will be used for detailed design work and to determine funding required from developers and other sources, or to kick start initiatives and pay for works.

The new infrastructure will help support the delivery of new homes to address the county’s severe housing shortage and expected economic growth.

While the £150m infrastructure funding in the Deal does not meet the full infrastructure investment needed to support new housing in Oxfordshire, it will underpin the delivery of approximately 6,500 houses during the five year period of the Deal, and a total of up to 14,000 by 2031.

It will also establish an infrastructure fund that will lever in additional investment.

All the projects receiving funding, whether announced today or still in negotiation, are included in district and city council Local Plans and in the Oxfordshire Infrastructure Strategy (OxIS), which sets outs the county’s infrastructure priorities.

The first £30m marks the start, with more projects under consideration for inclusion in the rest of the five-year programme which is now well under development.

The growth board is made up of the county’s six councils – Cherwell District Council, Oxford City Council, Oxfordshire County Council, South Oxfordshire District Council, Vale of White Horse District Council and West Oxfordshire District Council, together with representatives of the Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (OxLEP), which includes the two universities.

The year one schemes are: 

A40 Western Strategic Corridor Improvements - £1m

Access to Carterton: £575,000

Access to Headington: £3m

Oxford-wide cycle and pedestrian routes: £1.4m

North of Oxford Corridor Routes Improvements: £1.5m

Botley Road Rail Bridge: £500,000

South East Oxford Corridor Improvements: £300,000

Botley Road Corridor: £3.2m

Featherbed Lane capacity improvements, South Oxfordshire: £200,000

Tramway Road Banbury: £657,000