cpre-oxfordshire-logo-online-257x79

Skip to navigation

Ox-Cam Expressway: Corridor to development

Wednesday, 12 September 2018 11:46

The Government has today announced its chosen Corridor for the Oxford-Cambridge Expressway - putting swathes of countryside at risk.

 Oxford to Cambridge Expressway: A Corridor to Development

The Government has today announced that it is to press ahead with the Oxford to Cambridge Expressway and has selected Corridor B as its preference for the eventual route.
See: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/route-announced-to-unlock-full-potential-of-englands-economic-heartland

CPRE Oxfordshire has been, and remains, against the building of the Expressway and associated development. The new road is specifically intended to unleash a tidal wave of development: 300,000 houses, or 6 new cities the size of Oxford, are being planned for Oxfordshire.

Let’s plan for real need: the right development for the future of Oxfordshire. The Government’s own figures show Oxfordshire needs 50,000 new houses up to 2031 to meet local demand.

Despite Road Minister Jesse Norman’s claims that the choice comes ‘after considerable consultation and review’, the Corridor choice has actually been made based on recommendations from Highways England, without any public consultation at all. Highways England should not be dictating to local communities like this. Oxfordshire needs good quality, high density development not a wholesale transformation into urban sprawl.

Decisions on the future of Oxfordshire should not be made behind closed doors. The public will only have an opportunity to raise their concerns about actual routes next year, 2019.

We’ll be looking closely at landscape issues across the chosen Corridor, working with other organisations and groups to protect rural Oxfordshire and the countryside that stands in the path of the Expressway.

CPRE Views on Corridor B

The announcement leaves the route options around Oxford City vague which is unhelpful given the tremendous blight being felt by local communities.

We very much welcome the Government’s decision to rule out construction in the area of the Otmoor nature reserve and pay tribute to the local campaigners who have done so much work to raise awareness of its importance.

However, it is disingenuous to suggest that this is all that is needed in order to protect the natural environment, when the road and associated development is likely to cause significant harm whichever the final route chosen.

CPRE Oxfordshire does not believe Corridor B is an acceptable choice. Corridor B does not maximise existing highways and serves no existing towns other than Winslow, and perhaps Bicester, necessitating the building of further roads linking to the Expressway and encouraging further development.

Should the Expressway go ahead, the choice of sub-options around Oxford will be critical as all the routes will involve significant impacts on the Oxford Green Belt and open countryside. In our view, Sub-Corridor S1 (the A34) would provide a least worst option within Corridor B. The existing road can be improved, for example by junction improvement and variable speed limits, and less new road would need to be built. It also provides the opportunity to protect the most Green Belt and open countryside. We’ll be working with other organisations and groups to ensure as much of the Oxfordshire landscape is preserved as possible.

CPRE Oxfordshire’s consultation recommendation to Highways England was that Corridor C is the least worst option as existing roads could be enhanced and improved for road users. We will be investigating the rationale for choosing Corridor B and looking at opportunities to challenge this decision, particularly on the basis that there has been no public inquiry and this decision has effectively been made behind closed doors.

 

You can see a Hghways England booklet providing more information here

And see the National CPRE response here.

 

 

CPRE Oxfordshire

12 Sept 2018

join us

Donate with JustGiving

heartlogo800x750.jpg

Back to top

background