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Column 22nd December 2021

Cycleways and new developments

A couple of weeks ago I started answering question 4: what infrastructure is going to be provided to match this huge increase in population, if any?

I talked about schools (three primary schools and hopefully a new secondary school).

I didn’t mention the contributions from developers to the County Council for extensions to existing schools including King Alfred’s, Charlton, Grove C of E, St Nicholas C of E (East Challow) and Fitzwaryn)

I talked about the Wantage Eastern Relief Road and the Grove Northern Relief Road but didn’t mention any other road improvements.

There are no other planned improvements to the A338 and A417 through OX12 even though these roads are at capacity but money from developments at Kingston Bagpuize and Marcham will eventually fund improvements to the Frilford junction to the north of us.

The County is supposedly removing the sharp bends on Featherbed Lane and improving the junctions at both ends of the lane but this has been planned for many years and no action yet.

I’m told that this is held up by yet another ownership problem but don’t know if this is true.

So that’s roads and schools, cycleways are another issue.

We’re all being told to get active and get on our bikes but the roads around here don’t make cycling easy.

Lots of money has been spent on the cycle route between Wantage and Harwell Campus but the wrong surface has been laid and the route is now only suitable for mountain bikes not road bikes.

Most of the developments around here were approved before the new cycleway standards were approved by the County so even though they aren’t built yet they only have to meet the standards in place when they were approved (which was for joint cycle/footpaths and not separate routes).

As an aside, the developers seem able to amend the initial agreements to suit their needs on other issues but not when it might be beneficial to us.

As developers generally only have to fund cycleways through new developments most cycleways don’t join up and we have patches of cycleways and no funding for anything in between.

On the Airfield Development many of the cycle paths are along the edges of new roads and are already being used as additional car parking spaces so are useless as cycle paths anyway.

I’ve still got to cover health and leisure but no space this week.


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