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10,000 more Vehicles on Existing Roads

The existing roads in Grove and Wantage are not capable of accommodating all the traffic from the development without seriously harming the amenities of existing residents or jeopardising highway safety. .."
(para 8.27 of Local Plan 2011)

See this analysis of the traffic levels to and from Wantage based on the 2011 census.

Paragraph 2.28 of the Local Plan Part 1 2031 states "It is important that growth across the district, including within the Science Vale UK area, the Enterprise Zone sites and at Wantage and Grove, within Harwell Parish east of the A34, and elsewhere, should address the constraints presented by the existing road network."

Research carried out by the District Council has demonstrated that 6,200 new homes means 14,335 people, 10,500 jobs and 7,900 people driving to work from Wantage and Grove mainly along the A417 to the Science Park - except where people take the back roads though Steventon and along the Newbury Road.

The District Council expect that most of the jobs will be in Harwell Oxford or Milton Park so most of the traffic increase is likely to be along the A417 from Wantage towards the A34. The Highways Department have stated that this road is already close to capacity but the Local Transport Plan 4 makes no suggests for improvement except to the A417 junctions (Rowstock & Featherbed lane), and limited ones on the A338. There will be new roads required within the developments, which will include a link road from the A338 to the A417 through Crab Hill by 2021, and eventually a relief road through North Grove.

The increase in traffic will impact all the surounding villages as well as Wantage and Grove.

Taken from OCC SCOTS Final Report, October 2008 Figs 4 and 5 between pages 32 and 33. The red line has been addedTaken from OCC SCOTS Final Report, October 2008 page 32, The red line has been added.

See the Oxfordshire County Council Local Transport Plan. The above image is taken from OCC SCOTS Final Report, October 2008 Figs 4 and 5 between pages 32 and 33. The red line has been added to highlight our main concern. As the previous plan states:

Access to the area is constrained by river crossings and the North Wessex Downs. The inter-urban routes are served by highway links that are not built to current standards and are thus subject to speed limits lower than the National Speed Limit. (para 17.4)
... The strategically important local roads located within the Science Vale UK area are the A338, A4130, A417 and A4185 and they provide vital north-south and east-west links between Didcot, Wantage & Grove and the employment sites. Traffic growth in the area is generally higher than the national average and, as a sign of the areas growing success, some key gateway locations are already experiencing congestion. ...(para 17.8)
By 2026, approximately 13,000 dwellings and 12,000 additional jobs are planned for the Science Vale UK area. This represents a significant challenge in terms of delivering the transport infrastructure to support the planned growth. (para 17.15)

Traffic Concerns mean that the potential for at least 9,300 extra cars in Wantage and Grove with only limited improvements to existing roads. These improvements are to the A417 junctions (Rowstock & Featherbed lane), and limited ones on the A338.

"The main aim of the SCOTS transport strategy for the area is to facilitate east/west travel and improve the links between the housing sites at Didcot, Wantage and Grove and the major employment sites at Harwell Oxford Campus and Milton Park. The study identifies how to achieve this through a combination of transport investment and demand management, particularly to achieve a higher degree of containment of trips within the area. It also identified necessary improvements to the transport network to enable further housing and employment development in the area." [paragraph 6.18 of Topic Paper 6 Transport Final].

"The employment sites are fairly remote from the main settlements and contain ample areas of parking provision, a large scale mode switch to public transport is therefore unlikely."[paragraph 6.23 of Topic Paper 6 Transport Final].

Denchworth Road

Quote from the Highways authority:
"The highway authority acknowledges and shares your concerns regarding existing traffic levels and the impacts of these developments on the local road network and, notably, on Denchworth Road and its junctions.  The Grove Airfield transport assessment has, for example, determined that with or without development the Denchworth Road/Mill Street/A417 Challow Road/Ham Street junction in its current form will operate over capacity in the future with substantial queuing in the peak periods.

Associated with all of these proposed developments, the highway authority has sought to secure packages of measures to mitigate the effects of additional traffic and specifically, in respect of Grove Airfield, these include proposals to provide improvements at the junctions of Denchworth Road/A417 Mably Way and Denchworth Road/Mill Street/A417 Challow Road/Ham Street (Camel Crossroads).  At Mably Way, the improvements would take the form of geometric changes to the layout of the roundabout (as well as footway provision).  At Camel Crossroads, the double-mini roundabout arrangement would be removed and replaced with full traffic signal control.  It has been determined that at both of the junctions the effects of these measures would improve operational capacity and significantly reduce the levels of queuing."

For details of future traffic projects see the County Council Website.

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