A BARN that will house a huge mountain of road salt has opened, despite neighbours warning it will be a 'nuisance.' 

Oxfordshire County Council has officially opened a new 'salt barn' between Drayton and Sutton Courtenay, which will stockpile up to 5,500 tonnes of road salt during icy weather.

The barn is located at the council's highway maintenance depot in Milton Road, and received planning approval in June 2017.

Permission was secured despite a strong-worded objection from Sutton Courtenay Parish Council, which told the council it had 'considerable concerns regarding the size of the building.'

The council's objection, lodged on the planning application, stated: "[It will be] some 114 feet long x 91 ft wide x 42 ft high. 

"This effectively is significantly larger than the size of an aircraft hanger. 

"It will have a major visual impact on the surrounding area, even with the attempt to screen it by trees. 

"The scale adversely affects the nearby residents."

Gritters try out the new salt barn. Video: Oxfordshire County Council

The parish council warned of 'extensive impact from light pollution' due to the base mainly being used during the dark winter months.

It stated: "Light pollution can be a statutory nuisance. 

"Such a building of that size, brightly lit on a regular basis, would be troublesome for the nearby residents and have other environmental consequences."

The building was approved regardless, and was officially opened this week. 

Herald Series:

Cutting the ribbon at the salt barn (Yvonne Constance middle). Pic: Oxfordshire County Council

Until now the salt had been kept outdoors, and the council said the purpose-built facility offer better moisture control.

County councillor Yvonne Constance, cabinet member for environment, said: "The new salt barn will be a great advantage next winter as it will increase our capacity to store more salt and potentially order it in, at times when prices are lower."

She said the council's gritting team, which has been deployed 38 times since November, do an 'excellent job.' 

The councillor added: "They deal with whatever the weather has to throw at them and make sure that the salt gets out on the roads.

"We must not forget that they also have day jobs helping to maintain and fix Oxfordshire’s roads – they are a hard-working and committed bunch.

"I’d like to thank everyone for the work that they do during the harshest of weathers, often in the middle of the night when most people are still in bed, so that we can get where we need to be safely."

The Drayton depot covers nine gritting routes and is staffed by 18 drivers, who have access to 10 gritting vehicles.

The county council also has highways depots at Deddington near Banbury, and a smaller satellite depot at Wood Eaton.