THE £215m Oxfordshire Housing and Growth Deal has been officially signed – with another £300m of transport improvements potentially on the way for county schemes.

Housing Minister Dominic Raab, representatives from the county’s six councils, Oxfordshire Growth Board chairman Bob Price and other key officials signed off the deal, five months after it was first proposed in the Budget.

Signed in Upper Heyford, near Bicester, it will mean £150m of Government money is used to pay for transport infrastructure, with £60m set to pay for affordable housing.

Another £5m will increase the councils’ planning capacity to deal with housebuilding.

More money is expected to follow, with Chancellor Philip Hammond referring to the £215m as a ‘down payment’ when he announced the project last November.

Mr Raab said: “Our priority is to work with councils to build the right homes in the right places that work for everyone.

“I am delighted to be here to see first hand how our new funding will help deliver 100,000 homes for the county, not only helping address Oxfordshire’s housing challenges but also providing the kind of transport infrastructure such as roads, bridges and roundabouts, which new homes need.”

Oxfordshire’s five district councils agreed to the deal over recent months, along with the county council’s cabinet. The money will help deliver housing outlined in local plans – documents which work as guides for where councils want to build. About 94,000 of the 100,000 homes are already outlined in the plans.

Oxfordshire Growth Board chairman Bob Price, who until February was the leader of Oxford City Council, said the deal was important in outlining how the UK could prosper in the future.

He said: “It demonstrates the Government’s commitment to working with Oxfordshire and recognises the critical role the county will play in driving forward the UK economy post-Brexit, attracting global investment.”

The county is at the heart of new development plans for the ‘arc’ between Oxford and Cambridge – which could result in a £3bn expressway linking the country’s premier university cities.

The county council was told earlier this week that two of its three multi-million pound bids for infrastructure will be given further consideration ahead of approval in the autumn.

A £171m bid for development at the future Didcot Garden Town and a £135m proposal for a garden village near Eynsham to upgrade the A40 will both be studied further.

The Government will decide whether to approve the money being spent, which is in addition to the Growth Deal.

The county council is leading on the bids as Oxfordshire’s transport authority.

The third bid, which asked for £152m to support more than 5,000 homes north of Oxford and could have delivered a new park and ride, will not be taken any further.