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Oxfordshire Local Transport Plan 2015-31 Consultation

Friday, 13 February 2015 14:44

Oxfordshire County Council is consulting, until 2 April, on its draft new Local Transport Plan.   Proposals include a number of new Park & Ride sites in the Green Belt, a new Thames crossing near Sutton Courtenay and bus tunnels under Oxford City Centre.   Have your say!

See the Oxfordshire County Council website for details of how to respond, plus the full draft plan, area strategies covering Oxford, Science Vale, Banbury, Bicester, Witney, Carterton and the A420, and strategies for cyling, freight and bus.  

The challenges

As a result of the growth envisaged by the Strategic Economic Plan, the County says that Oxford alone will face a 25% increase in journeys by 2031, and 40% more buses. Population in the county could as much as double by 2050 and many junctions will be over capacity by 2031, even before the full SHMA housing figures are taken into account. In terms of maintenance, funding levels over the last 25 years have been such that roads are able to be rebuilt approximately every 255 years on average, as opposed to the optimal 40 years.

The key issues

CPRE Oxfordshire welcomes many of the proposals, including the more strategic look at improving cycling routes, the focus on rail and the commitment to reduce the clutter of road signage.

But here are some of the issues we will be thinking more about it as we prepare our own response to the consultation:

1. Park & Rides – proposals include closing three existing sites near Oxford (Peartree, Water Eaton and Redbridge) and replacing them with sites in the Green Belt incl. Langford Lane, Kidlington, Cumnor, Lodge Hill and Sandford. ( p.13, Oxford Transport Strategy) It is not clear what would happen to the old sites – there is a suggestion that they might be used for freight consolidation centres.

These proposals are very concerning not just because of the impact on the Green Belt but also the likely increase in traffic to and from the radial routes to surrounding towns.  It does nothing to get people out of their cars in the first place which would be better tackled by putting park & ride facilities at towns, within walking or cycling distance of people's homes. 

2. Transit Tunnels – (p.16, Oxford Transport Strategy) – bus tunnels are proposed under Oxford city centre, an incredibly ambitious plan in terms of the costs (benchmark in excess of £500m) and the land grab required in the centre of Oxford. What is the Plan B if this can't be delivered?

3. New Thames crossing proposed near Sutton Courtenay with a new road north out of Didcot.

4. A number of key elements have yet to be brought forward including a detailed route strategy for the A40, the Green Infrastructure Strategy and the Rights of Way Improvement Plan. 

5. A commitment to support growth at London Oxford airport (p54, main policy document).

 

The Strategic Environmental Assessment says:  

There is 'Potential for significant negative impacts on landscape character identified as a result of delivering the Science Vale Area Strategy (e.g. impact on landscape features, loss of open countryside, loss of tranquillity, and change in visual amenity). Road and junction improvements (including a new Thames river crossing), and park and rides are likely to have a negative effect on landscape character.'

 

So, plenty to think about!  We will share our response here on the website in due course.  Meanwhile, if you have views you would like to share with us on these issues please do get in touch:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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