Oxfordshire County Council logo

Your questions about Access to Witney answered

This page includes the most talked about elements of the Access to Witney scheme.

Access to Witney

The Access to Witney scheme seeks to improve access between Witney and the A40 as part of the Oxfordshire County Council Witney Transport Strategy. 

The principal aims of the project are to:

  • reduce congestion and improve air quality in central Witney, including on Bridge Street and in the Air Quality Management Area;
  • support the delivery of planned housing growth in Witney as set out the West Oxfordshire Local Plan 2031; and
  • improve access to the A40 from east and north-east Witney.

When we will build this scheme

The scheme is currently in design development and the necessary consents to build the scheme are still being sought. Construction is scheduled to start in mid-2024 and be completed by mid-2025.

How much the Access to Witney scheme will cost

The estimated total value of the scheme is £25 million.

How we are funding the scheme

The scheme is being funded via a combination of the Oxfordshire Housing and Growth Deal and S106 funding contributions from developers. 

Aligning the works with the A40 Smart Corridor

The Access to Witney scheme is not part of the West Oxfordshire A40 Smart Corridor schemes, and it has separate funding.

However, the scheme is close to the A40 highway improvements. We are aligning the works to reduce the potential impact on local communities.

The options we considered

We considered 33 options with the potential to tackle the identified issues with movement, congestion, and air quality in Witney. These options comprised interventions across the whole of the Access to Witney study area and included:

  • upgraded junctions;
  • new road links;
  • public transport improvements;
  • active travel interventions; and
  • parking management. 

We assessed each option for its performance against the Access to Witney objectives and their:

  • feasibility;
  • deliverability;
  • affordability; and
  • acceptability. 

You can see the discounted options in the public consultation information.

How we arrived at the preferred option

We shortlisted five options for further review and assessment. We then identified the west-facing slip roads as the preferred option. After further analysis and design refinement, we produced three layouts for public engagement.

The signalised junctions with the B4022 slip road is the preferred layout. The layout:

  • requires the least amount of land
  • minimised the impact on local utilities 
  • is considered the safest layout for pedestrians and cyclists.

Improvements for cycling and walking

The scheme will provide new walking and cycling facilities on the B4022 and alongside the A40 that will provide improved connections between South Leigh, High Cogges and Witney and also to the shared path along the A40 to Oxford.

Private land use for construction

The preferred options will require small parcels of land to be acquired to accommodate the scheme’s footprint. 

Planning permission

We submitted a planning application for the A40 Access to Witney scheme in April 2022.  On 5 June 2023, Oxfordshire County Council’s Planning and Regulation Committee resolved to grant the scheme planning permission

How the A40 and B4022 will be affected by construction works

There will be some disruption to traffic on the B4022 and to a lesser extent along the A40 during the construction of the scheme. We will communicate the temporary traffic management plans in advance and work closely with relevant stakeholders, including local parish and town councils, throughout the construction period.

Traffic through local villages

The traffic modelling we have completed does not predict that the scheme will have an adverse impact on traffic flow through local villages.

However, we recognise and have sympathy with the concerns that have been raised with regards to existing and potential future ‘rat-running’ traffic through local villages, particularly when there is heavy congestion on the A40.  Oxfordshire County Council is committed to monitoring the impacts of the scheme on traffic flows across the local road network.  The council is also committed to working with the local parish councils and their communities to discuss their concerns and to consider potential complementary traffic calming measures

Environmental impact

As part of the design development, we have carried out a comprehensive Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). The EIA assessed the scheme's environmental implications, including impacts on:

  • ecology
  • noise
  • air quality
  • landscape
  • bio-diversity
  • climate change. 

The findings of the EIA were reported in the Environmental Statement (ES) submitted as part of the planning application for the scheme in April 2022.

Where we are now? 

At the Cabinet meeting of 23 May 2023, Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Members gave authority to make and advertise the compulsory purchase order (CPO) and side roads order (SRO) for the Access to Witney scheme.  

The CPO and the SRO (the Orders) were formally signed, sealed and dated by the Council on 27 June and have been published.