THE JUNCTION at the centre of a 10-year campaign could see work start on it as early as next year.

The former mayor of Witney, Duncan Enright, has led calls to see the A40 junction in east Witney, over Oxford Hill, turned into a four-way junction.

Now, Oxfordshire County Council says a scheme for the Shores Green junction has been analysed, with a preferred option on how it will be built now identified.

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A spokesperson for the county council said: “The Access to Witney (Shores Green) Scheme has reached the end of its feasibility stage, during which over 20 alternative options have been thoroughly reviewed and assessed.

“All options have been assessed against the scheme’s objectives, in particular how well they help support planned growth in Witney, as part of the adopted West Oxfordshire Local Plan 2031, and address traffic congestion and environmental issues within Witney town centre.

“Options were also assessed against a set of wider strategic criteria focused on affordability, deliverability and acceptability for the various stakeholders and general public.

“A preferred option has now been identified and engineering and environmental consultants have been commissioned to progress the design.

“Initial engagement has commenced with local councillors, landowners, district and parish councils that will be directly impacted by the scheme, all of which is ahead of a formal public engagement process scheduled for May/June 2021.”

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Consultants are now undertaking environmental surveys and transport assessments that will inform an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of the preferred option.

This preferred option design and EIA will be submitted as part of a planning application later this year, with construction targeted to start in autumn 2022.

The project will be funded by a combination of housing growth deal funding and Section 106 contributions from developments in the Witney area.

More than a thousand people have signed an online petition to see a four-way junction at Shores Green built, with Mr Enright saying the junction would reduce air pollution and traffic in the town.

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He added that the proposed costs of the junction had gone from about £4.5 million to over £13 million in the last decade, saying building the junction had ‘got stuck in traffic repeatedly’.

“I’ve campaigned for this for this over the last 10 years, the delays are unacceptable and it feels like a shocker to me,” he said.

“It’s taken 10 years to get to this point and the costs have spiralled.

“We have seen this junction get stuck in traffic repeatedly, and we can’t let it get put back further because the funds have been spent elsewhere.

“The junction has got to go ahead as soon as possible.”