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Didcot Infrastructure Improvements Consultation

Friday, 01 May 2020 09:56

Oxfordshire County Council held an online consultation to update local people on the proposed package of infrastructure improvements in Didcot (closed April 30th). CPRE believes the focus on new roads is misguided – the priorities should be reducing the need to travel, followed by public transport & active travel.

CPRE South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse Districts have submitted a combined response to the consultation:

The focus on new roads is misguided – the priorities should be reducing the need to travel, followed by public transport & active travel.

This consultation must be considered in light of our Climate Emergency, the urgent need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the recent Department of Transport Strategy (Decarbonising Transport Setting the Challenge, Dept of Transport March 2020) and associated comments by the Secretary of State for Transport (Grant Shapps):
‘Public transport and active travel will be the natural first choice for our daily activities. We will use our cars less and be able to rely on a convenient, cost-effective and coherent public transport network.’
It is therefore surprising, and short-sighted, that this consultation focuses wholly on road improvements and considers no options for improvement of rail and bus improvements nor the needed radical quantum shift in settlement, working and connectivity patterns.

The Didcot Garden Town Delivery Plan from 2017 describes in detail the Didcot to Culham route as a ‘Garden Line’, restricted entirely to pedestrians, cyclists and autonomous vehicles. It is therefore shocking to see, three years later, proposals for a major new road system dominated by road freight and cars. Didcot Garden Town Delivery Plan was a major and expensive development which was subject to extensive consultation and supported by Central Government. What justification is there for this to be abandoned?

CPRE is pleased to see cycleways on most of the new roads. However, greater priority should be given to pedestrian and cycle ways.

CPRE disputes the assertion that these schemes will reduce pressure on the A34 (SV 2.16).

A new town in the Green Belt at Culham is inappropriate and unnecessary. Whilst there may be limited scope for small-scale development on brownfield land at Culham Science Centre, CPRE entirely rejects the need to develop a significant new settlement at this location.

Download the consultation response in full below.

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