I recognise that current capacity constraints at junction 9 are directly inhibiting the wider potential for growth within the Bicester area.
I wrote to the leader of Oxfordshire county council in November 2009 confirming that the Highways Agency is committed to an interim scheme, commencing in the spring of 2010-11, to improve the movement of traffic onto the A34 southbound from the M40 southbound at junction 9. The Department for Transport remains committed to deliver the proposed medium-term solution subject to the outcome of any forthcoming spending review.
My officials are working closely with Cherwell district council and Oxfordshire county council in developing the transport aspects of their proposals and a planning application is expected to be submitted shortly. I expect that priority will be given to more sustainable transport options, as set out in the Planning Policy Statement on eco-towns published in July 2009, which is consistent with the key aims set out in “Developing a Sustainable Transport System”.