WORK is now under way on a long-awaited connecting road set to ease worsening traffic in parts of Oxfordshire, growing rapidly after the approval of a planning application for hundreds of new homes.

The link, dubbed the Wantage Eastern Link Road (WELR), will help improve travel for the expanding community in Kingsgrove and the surrounding areas, and relieve congestion on smaller local roads.

The 'key piece of infrastructure', which will include cycling and walking facilities, is part of developer St Modwen's plan for 1,500 new homes in Kingsgrove, being built on the eastern fringe of Wantage.

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It will link the A417 to the east of the town with the A338 to the north and run along the north of the housing estate.

Explaining what the new road will mean for the community Tim Jones, senior project manager for St Modwen, said: "This is a vital piece of infrastructure and a major milestone in the evolution of the project, which follows on from the fantastic progress with the opening of the primary school on site and completion of key access roads, landscaping and other infrastructure works.

"With four leading housebuilders now already underway on site and more good news to come on neighbourhood facilities, we are well advanced in delivering the new community at Kingsgrove."

Funding for the relief road was announced by Vale of White Horse District Council in November 2019.

The part funding of £1.951 million for WELR, was secured by Oxfordshire County Council from the Government's Housing Infrastructure Fund.

Five phases of the development, totalling around 720 homes, are now under construction by housebuilders with St Modwen Homes, joined by CALA Homes, Taylor Wimpey, and Bellway.

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Lands Improvement Holdings and Carter Jonas originally obtained outline planning permission for the 227 acre site in July 2015 from the district council for up to 1,500 homes, a new primary school, a neighbourhood centre including a pub/restaurant and local retail accommodation, sports pitches, employment space and community amenities set around a central park.

However, St Modwen then signed a development agreement with the landowners to take forward the delivery of the masterplan and infrastructure in June 2017.

Less than a year ago, GEMS Wantage Primary Academy, which is part of the housing estate, opened doors and welcomed its first students after securing planning permission in 2019.

Set in 2.2 hectares of grounds, the contemporary school building, it can accommodate up to 420 primary students and has 26 full-time nursery places.