‘DESPERATELY needed’ A40 slip roads were top of the agenda as residents had their say on a 450-home site planned for Witney.

Cogges Manor Farm hosted the second public exhibition for the East Witney Strategic Development Area (SDA) on Thursday, which could also deliver slip roads at Shores Green and a community hub.

Residents have long called for upgrades to the west side of Shores Green, with Isabel Johnstone, who volunteers at the farm and lives in Witney, keen to see progress soon.

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She said: “The key thing for me is that at long last Shores Green will be going ahead, which is desperately needed.

“I’m also quite pleased they’re taking conservation seriously and keeping existing trees and hedgerows.

“We need houses and they seem to be doing it in a sympathetic way.”

West Oxfordshire District Council’s issues paper for East Witney suggested new slip roads at Shores Green could ‘significantly’ reduce traffic in Bridge Street.

The town centre route was declared an Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) in 2005, due to excessive Nitrogen Dioxide emissions.

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Design work at Shores Green is set to begin this summer, while other highway improvements could be in the pipeline, including to the Oxford Hill/Cogges Hill Road/Jubilee Way junction.

Housing would be split between 420 homes in the Cogges Triangle, west of Oxford Hill, and 30 at Cogges South, north of the A40.

At least 40 per cent of properties would be affordable, but one resident called house prices in Witney a ‘bugbear’ and hoped new homes would benefit young people.

The site is below the 600-home threshold for a new primary school, while GP practices in the town have confirmed they will ‘absorb’ the rise in new patients in the short term, according to Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group.

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Ms Johnstone said: “When you have to wait three or four weeks to get an appointment at a GP already, a new surgery is going to be needed.”

Residents were asked for their views on a community hub, which could include a shop, community centre and a space for worship.

The district council also emphasised the environmental advantages of the site, which planning policy manager, Chris Hargraves, said is a major positive.

He added: “It’s a big selling point. You’ve already got bus stops on Oxford Hill and there’s improvements that could be made there.

“Hanborough Station isn’t a million miles away and the potential to build on connections through the town centre is fantastic."

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Mr Hargraves said Shores Green was the ‘number one’ issue, but added several people raised concerns about the 4,702 houses earmarked for Witney in the local plan.

He said: “Several people talked about the cumulative impact of growth. When you add it to what’s being built in the vicinity, that’s what people are concerned about.”