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Column 10th April 2019

Time to find out if we're getting ahead with trasnport plans

As a Campaign Group, we submitted our comments on the early version of the Oxfordshire 2050 plan recently.

To see the detail please go to our website at www.wantageandgrove.org

The next consultation may be the new Oxfordshire Local Transport Plan. The last plan was approved in 2015 and included many aspirations for the Science Vale (which includes Wantage).

I quote:

“To support planned growth it is vital that new and improved transport infrastructure is provided as well as measures to encourage and facilitate sustainable travel. Movement within Science Vale and connections with the rest of Oxfordshire’s transport network also need to be efficient and reliable.”

I’m not sure that anything has changed in the Wantage and Grove area since then except a reduction in bus services.

Given that our nearest rail station is Didcot, a bus service which takes 45 minutes to travel the 8 miles to the station isn’t going to encourage many people to use public transport.

We’ve had some road resurfacing and are told that improvements will be made to Featherbed Lane this year but a quarter of the year has gone and nothing has been announced.

To get some clues about how the County Council is thinking, I looked at their comments on the Oxfordshire 2050 Plan.

“Whilst it is right to highlight sustainable modes of travel, most people do currently drive, and this therefore needs to be planned for too, particularly in the light of the level of growth planned.”

I think this means that: we know people will continue to drive.

“It should also envision well connected and strategic cycle routes across the county”

This translates as: there won’t be any money but we should think about better cycle routes.

“A dispersal option [to the Spatial Strategy] would … be problematic in transport terms as none of the development will likely be large enough to provide transport infrastructure and it is unlikely that areas in which such a development would be located will have strong public transport or sustainable transport connections. This would result in a settlement that is predominantly car dependant.”

So people will continue to drive.

“The county council would encourage the infrastructure section of the Plan to indicate that developer contributions, and a potential range of other funding sources and investment opportunities will be required to fund the infrastructure needed to support new development.”

This can be interpreted as: without lots of money nothing will happen.

Grand words. So what will the new transport plan do to improve the roads?


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