Connecting Oxfordshire - The Local Transport Plan Consultation

Friday, 13 March 2015

Sunningwell Parish Council and Sunningwell Parishioners Against Damage to the Environment (SPADE) have jointly be considering the latest consultation from the County Council.

“Connecting Oxfordshire” is the new Local Transport Plan which is intended to run from 2015 to 2031. It sets out the proposed transport solutions for the county. It identifies the ongoing challenges of enabling people to make the journeys they need as the population grows, avoiding damage to the economy caused by severe congestion, and protecting the environment. It promotes a significant shift away from dependence on private cars, towards more people using forms of transport that use less road capacity and damage the environment less – where possible walking, cycling, or using public transport.
Whilst the plan is wide-ranging it specifically identifies a major challenge, the level and frequency of congestion on the A34, which may be of particular concern to Sunningwell Parish residents.
The plan includes ideas designed to improve transport links along the A34 corridor. Specifically it proposes a new Park and Ride facility near Lodge Hill (the exact location is not identified). This would be accessed from a proposed new “all movements” junction (with south facing slip roads) also at Lodge Hill linking the A34 and the A4183. The site would be one of a number of such “remote” park and ride sites and would be large enough to replace the Redbridge and Seacourt facilities. In the longer term it has been proposed that the Lodge Hill site, if developed as envisaged, could also be a location for a lorry park / lorry service area.
Parishioners may also remember a recent newspaper article featuring speculation that Lodge Hill could be the starting point for a completely new road which would travel east and connect to the M40 at Junction 8. Whilst not a formal proposal in the consultation, passing reference is made to a future East-West road “south of Oxford.” No funding has been announced for such a project which would take in excess of 10 years to plan and build. Many people consider this as speculative at this time. However, it is acknowledged by the Highways Agency that in the long term, action will be necessary to maintain the viability of the A34.
The Parish Council and SPADE will respond to the consultation (which can be found on the County Council website here:- OCC LTP Consultation Home Page ) before the closing date on the 2nd April. Neither the PC nor SPADE have powers to “approve or reject” the plan and can only respond with reasoned and factual arguments. Individuals can, and are encouraged to, respond using the online forms if they wish to do so. It is only through engaging with the planners individually and collectively that our views can be heard.
Before making their respective responses, both the PC and SPADE are interested to hear views of local residents. Some people may consider the proposals beneficial whilst others may be more concerned over such matters as impact on the Green Belt, noise and light pollution and the potential for “rat running” through the parish to access the new park and ride and junction. Parish Councillors and SPADE representatives are hosting an informal “drop in session” at the village hall on Sunday 29th March between 12 and 3pm. If you have views or questions, come and have a cup of coffee and talk to us. - Paul Wooldridge and Bob Warne - Chairmen of SPC and SPADE


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