A DIGGER has started churning up a field in Abingdon, which is set to be filled by 950 homes.

The machine was spotted yesterday digging up land next to Dunmore Road and Oxford Road. 

Developer CEG was granted planning permission at the end of July to build a major housing estate on the site, which was outlined for development in Vale of White Horse District Council’s local plan.

A CEG spokesman said this morning that activity on site does not mark the start of building works, but that workers are carrying out ground investigation including testing 'top soil, sub soil and rock depths as well as infiltration rates'.

He added: "No building is likely to happen for at least nine months.

"The Section 106 agreement needs to be signed then all reserved matters and detailed applications need to be submitted and approved."

Planning permission was unanimously granted on several conditions, and came just as the Government announced £9.45m funding for the long-promised diamond interchange on the A34 at nearby Lodge Hill.

The estate will include 900 homes, 50 retirement homes, a care home, a school and nursery, a restaurant, retail unit, recreation areas and sports pitches.

Passersby said they saw the JCB digger on the field, opposite Boulter Drive.

The site also includes land off Twelve Acre Drive.