A TEN-week closure of the main road out of a village has caused uproar among its residents and councillors.

Blenheim Hill in Harwell will be shut off for major drainage works for a new housing development from Monday.

Frustrated county councillor Stewart Lilly said his authority's highways team had been left to clear up the pieces of the district council's planning approval.

He said: "The road closure has been the cause of much frustration, anger and concern from residents and of course myself.

"Road safety is the county council's responsibility but it was the district council who gave permission for this development and it was the district council and their officers who failed to ascertain that the existing Victorian drainage works will not be able to take any more capacity.

"The county council is not the planning authority – we just have to go in with a dustpan and brush after the district council's planning decisions.

"This is a major inconvenience as it is the main tributary from lots of villages to Didcot."

Vale of White Horse district council approved a 90-home development in the village six months ago.

A trench five metres deep will need to be dug in order to put the new sewage works in for the development.

The road closure will stop all vehicles travelling down Blenheim Hill from its junction with Linden Gate to its junction with The Driftway.

Mr Lilly, who has lived in Harwell for 30 years, added: "It is going to be a big problem, but what is worrying is that the village is going to see more road closures like this.

"The Vale recently approved planning permission for 4,300 homes at Valley Park.

"There is no way the current system will be able to manage with this new development: 4,300 new bathrooms is going to cause an awful lot of waste."

Tim Howse, who lives in the village and is a campaigner for Keep Harwell Rural, warned journey times would increase by at least half an hour.

The 56-year-old said: "Everyone who needs to get to Didcot will have to either go through Milton or round through the Hagbournes.

"Now if you have to catch a train for work, you're going to have to be leaving the house at 6.30 or 7 to avoid the traffic.

"It is only going to clog up every alternative of getting in and out of the village.

"Who knows what is going to happen when the schools open again in six weeks and you've got school buses trying to pick the children up."

In a bid to ease the pressure Mr Lilly has worked with Thames Travel to arrange a special bus service to take stranded residents into the neighbouring villages and towns.

The shuttle service, 32S, will run every 15 minutes from Didcot Parkway station, Didcot Orchard Centre, Broadway, Didcot Hospital, then through Great Western Park, Milton Interchange, Rowstock Corner, and Harwell before turning around at Townsend and vice versa.

A spokesman for Vale of White Horse said: "The co-ordination of delivering infrastructure isn't something that planning legislation have control over.

"We obviously do consider the long-term impact of development and the associated impact on services, but upgrade timings are controlled by statutory operators and their operation and funding schedule."

For more information on the 32S service visit thames-travel.co.uk/news-service-updates/harwell-village-closure