OXFORDSHIRE has been handed a multi-million pound funding boost to help build new roads, including a new bridge across the River Thames.

In yesterday's spring statement, the Chancellor Philip Hammond announced that Oxfordshire County Council will get the £218million it asked for to pay for four projects in and around Didcot.

The money, from the Housing Infrastructure Fund, will improve the road network to support the building of thousands of new homes.

Oxford Mail:

Ian Hudspeth, leader of Oxfordshire County Council said: “This is excellent news and shows the government recognises the importance of this area locally and nationally and the strength of our proposals to enable and sustain expected growth.

"It’s a much-needed boost and part of our wider plans for Oxfordshire so that communities, residents and businesses can thrive."

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The schemes sharing the funding are the widening of the A4130 from Milton Interchange towards Didcot; a new Science Bridge over the A4130; a new Culham to Didcot river crossing between the A4130 and A415; and a Clifton Hampden bypass.

All are intended to make it easier to travel between new housing estates and key employment sites including the Culham Science Centre and Harwell Campus and will come with walking and cycling options.

The council has previously said that once funding was confirmed work could start within five years.

Oxford Mail:

Jane Murphy, leader of South Oxfordshire District Council, described the announcement as 'a significant moment' for everybody living and working in Didcot and the surrounding area.

She added: "I’m delighted that we’ve been a part of this successful bid to bring much-needed infrastructure to our district – this award demonstrates that by working closely with government, delivering on growth, and building positive working relationships with other councils, we can deliver much needed improvements for our residents.”

The spring statement also saw the Government confirm it's commitment to the so-called Oxford to Cambridge Arc, which includes all the land between Oxford, Milton Keynes and Cambridge.

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It published a joint declaration between Government and local partners that includes an ambition for one million new homes to be built across the arc by 2050.

Ministers have analysed the economic opportunities and challenges facing the arc and how a commitment to nature and the environment can be incorporated into the plans for growth.

The Chancellor also pledged to invest £81 million in state-of-the-art laser technology at the Extreme Photonics Centre in Oxfordshire.