We need to work together.........
This was the key message when the invited delegates from towns and villages across South Oxfordshire had the opportunity to air their views to local MP John Howell in March
The clear message was the South Oxfordshire's road infrastructure needs close examination and traffic volumes are creating problems and that HGV's are a particular concern. Narrow roads, historic buildings and public safety are under threat not to mention increasing levels of pollution. As Henley in Transition's Justin Bowles stated "we need to put the HGV's on the designated trunk routes"
We need goods delivered by lorry but some overseas drivers ignore the rules and regulations paying little heed to weight limits and movement in unsocial hours. Surprisingly, some of the biggest offenders have proved to be supermarket lorries passing through towns where that supermarket is not represented.
For some time WATNEXT have identified that Oxfordshire County Council hold the key to both short and long term solutions - but where do South Oxfordshire feature when it comes to distributing transport infrastructure funding?
80% of the population of South Oxfordshire live in rural locations and we are reliant on the support of the County Council in giving serious attention to our needs
Budgets seems to appear when needed - so working together is vital !
A summary of the meeting ......
Several speakers felt that Oxfordshire County Council seemed to have no vision or strategy for the future. Its structure was fragmented with problems being passed from one department or official to another so nothing was ever achieved.
Other issues touched on by delegates included:
SHIRBURN: speeding through the village.
PYRTON: any bypass for Watlington would probably be funded by housing development which would in turn generate more traffic and pollution; poor road maintenance; commuter traffic/parking generated by the Oxford Tube bus service; potential for a major problem in South Oxfordshire if a third Reading bridge was eventually built.
WATLINGTON: HGVs and pollution. Not enough traffic survey information — how much was passing through and how much was on legitimate business locally?
SWYNCOMBE: speeding is a big issue. WATNEXT was seen as a very helpful initiative.
CUXHAM: speeding; HGVs on a narrow road with no pavements; accelerating damage to the road, which was partly reconstructed only in 2010 at a cost of £320,000.
LEWKNOR: defaqto park-and-ride for the Oxford Tube at Junction 6 was a big problem with overspill from Oxford Thornhill. Cars now parking in the village. HGVs parking overnight in lay-bys. Flooding in Postcombe due to debris from poorly maintained roads.
HENLEY: huge problems with HGVs going through the town causing pollution and damaging listed buildings. Four working groups were trying to develop a vision for the future.
WHEATLEY: the main issue was commuter traffic cutting through from the Oxford Ring Road to the M40, up to 600 vehicles an hour at times. There seemed to be no planning at County Council level for relief roads, but spending at Didcot showed that funds were available.
CHALGROVE: the main issues were too many cars and not enough parking in the village and commuter traffic.
EWELME: problems were generally smaller-scale: speeding, parking, poor road maintenance and some HGVs.
LITTLE MILTON: ongoing problems with HGVs on a High Street that had changed little from the horse-and-cart era. The village wanted a 7.5-tonne weight limit.
At John Howell’s suggestion, the meeting formed small working groups to look at:
HGVs and weight limits
Road signs, particularly on the M40, and sat-nav routing
Enforcement of speed limits and weight restrictions
Air pollution levels in Watlington and Henley are a real concern
Two further meetings have now taken place to report on progress and at long last Oxfordshire County Council appear to be examining the issues which are primarily their problem!