The Oxfordshire Growth Board has published details of the infrastructure projects that will be supported by funding across the five years of the Oxfordshire Housing & Growth Deal, unlocking nearly £500 million of investment that will include contributions from developers.
The £215 million Deal, agreed with Government earlier this year, includes £30 million a year for five years to help accelerate transport infrastructure projects including road, rail, cycle routes and footpaths as well social infrastructure including new schools. The £150 million Growth Deal infrastructure funding has now been earmarked for specific projects. By improving infrastructure in specific locations across the county where it is most needed, this will help ensure that new homes are delivered in a planned and sustainable way.
The Growth Board has endorsed funding for 43 projects, with starting dates for each phased over the five year period. These range from new slip roads to improve access to Carterton from the A40, and a relief road for Watlington; to a cycle and pedestrian bridge over the A34 at the Milton Interchange and a new primary school in Shrivenham.
Forward funding projects through the Growth Deal also helps unlock further funds that are paid by developers as new homes are built, to support the completion of the various infrastructure schemes. This funding is typically made in the form of Community Infrastructure Levy or Section 106 payments and will be captured in a new countywide Infrastructure Fund. Therefore, the total value of the schemes to be unlocked by the five year infrastructure programme is significantly higher than the initial £150 million Growth Deal contribution – at over £500 million, excluding the costs of the major rail projects which are still to be confirmed.
A further £300 million of investment from the Government’s Housing and Infrastructure Fund (HIF) is awaiting final approval. This will fund transport infrastructure needed to support the delivery of Didcot Garden Town and the Oxfordshire Cotswolds Garden Village, near Eynsham.
There are some changes to the list of projects published in March that commence in Year 1 of the Deal – the current financial year – largely due to third party delays, for example developers delayed in agreeing the scope of schemes with other third parties. These projects have been moved to delivery during Years 2-5 of the Deal. In addition, one scheme – the A40 Smart Corridor improvements, with the creation of a bus lane from Duke’s Cut Canal Bridge to the planned Eynsham Park & Ride – is now part of the HIF bid for the A40 Smart Corridor which is out for consultation on 30 Novermber 2018. .
New projects for Year 1 now include feasibility and design work for relief roads for Watlington and Benson; a detailed study with Network Rail to help deliver the Cowley Branch Line; as well as a £5 million contribution to the Oxford Flood Alleviation Scheme.
All of the projects receiving funding are included in District and City Council Local Plans and in the Oxfordshire Infrastructure Strategy, published in 2017, which sets out the county’s infrastructure priorities. Delivery of the programme of work is overseen by the Growth Board’s Infrastructure Advisory Sub-Group, comprising elected representatives at cabinet level from each of Oxfordshire’s six councils.
The list of Growth Deal infrastructure projects is available on the Oxfordshire Growth Board website here.
Councillor Jane Murphy, Leader of South Oxfordshire District Council and Chair of the Oxfordshire Growth Board, said:
“Getting infrastructure right is one or our greatest responsibilities as local councils. This is a list of much-needed projects that will have a meaningful and positive effect on the quality of life for our residents. This is at the heart of what we are doing with the Growth Deal, and I think this demonstrates how we’re able to tackle these challenges effectively across the whole of Oxfordshire better than we have ever been able to do so before.”
Councillor Ian Hudspeth, Leader of Oxfordshire County Council and Chair of the Growth Board Infrastructure Advisory Sub-Group, said:
“This is a major public and private sector investment in Oxfordshire that will create much-needed homes with better transport links, including walking and cycling. As important, is the investment in schools and other infrastructure that Oxfordshire’s communities need to thrive. I want to foster a sense of place in existing and new communities, while supporting the economic growth we need to ensure a good quality of life in the future.”
The Oxfordshire Growth Board comprises the six Oxfordshire councils: Cherwell District Council, Oxford City Council, Oxfordshire County Council, South Oxfordshire District Council, Vale of White Horse District Council and West Oxfordshire District Council. Non-voting members include OxLEP, the universities, Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group, Homes England and the Environment Agency.