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Developer to apply for cash to fund road
WORK to build a major new road replacing Bicester’s Howes Lane could start next year if funding is approved.
The construction of a new eco-town near Bicester has raised concerns current roads may not cope with an influx of traffic.
Developer A2Dominion said it will this month apply for Government cash to fund the new route.
If the application – to the Homes and Communities Agency’s large sites infrastructure fund – is approved, the developer said work could start in 2015.
Regional development director Gerry Walker said: “It’s our intention to put infrastructure in to enable other phases to start.
“This fund is set up by the Government to help unlock large sites in terms of forward funding of key infrastructure.
“A2Dominion hopes the NW Bicester project will be an attractive development to the Homes and Communities Agency.
“All bids received will need to go through a process before any bids are selected or otherwise.”
The proposed new road will be opposite the current Howes Lane, a tunnel would be built under the railway embankment, and a new junction created at Bucknell Road and Lords Lane. It will have a 30mph speed limit and will not form part of the Bicester ring-road, A2Dominion said, which would be located at the south of the town via Graven Hill and Langford Village.
A2Dominion said at this stage it cannot say how much funding it is applying for or how much the road project will cost.
Mr Walker told Bicester town councillors once the first few hundred homes in the first phase at Banbury Road were built, both Lords Lane and Howes Lane would be at “capacity”.
He said: “It’s not a long way off. What we know is the junction at Howes Lane and Lords Lane will almost be at capacity therefore the junction is not fit for purpose.”
The news comes after work started last month on the first phase of the 6,000-home eco-town at North West Bicester.
Town, district and county councillor Les Sibley raised concerns the new Howes Lane would attract more traffic, including larger lorries that at the moment cannot fit around the junction at the Bucknell Road railway bridge.
He said: “It’s going to link all roads – Skimmingdish Lane, Southwold Lane, Lords Lane, Howes Lane and Vendee Drive.
“They are trying to play it down saying it’s just a little road. It isn’t, it’s going to be a main road going through that end of town.”
Town and district councillor Nick Mawer said he supported the move to re-align the road but was concerned it would be less straightfoward for motorists to reach the A41 and M40 and so people would drive through the town centre instead.
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