A40 update ~ June 2021

Since the two village meetings the Parish Council has had two additional Zoom (or equivalent) meetings with:

  • Duncan Enright – County Councillor for Transport Strategy, Oxfordshire County Council (OCC).
  • We also attended each of the Webinar consultation opportunities available, raising questions at each.
  • We launched the straw poll via the website asking for views on closing the Barnard Gate Road out of the village at the A40.
All this has crystallised our approach into the following headings for further action:

Shores Green Junction
  • Narrowing of the entrance road into the village.
  • Mitigating measures for noise, pollution, light, biodiversity and increased traffic.
  • The new stretch of dual carriageway.
  • Possible closure of the Barnard Gate Road onto the A40.
  • Cycling and walking routes.
  • Bus stops.
First, a general note:  The current consultation is the first of many and is asking people to comment on the overall scheme.  Each part of the scheme will have its own more detailed consultation covering all areas, including noise, air and light pollution, nature and biodiversity and traffic ameliorations.  The first of these is a 'Scoping Paper' which I am about to send out under separate cover
Shores Green Junction
We are pushing hard for the already completed (and any future) traffic studies and the assumptions that these studies are released so that we can feel happy that the Oxfordshire County Council’s favoured solution is indeed the best method and, if not, fight to have it changed to our preferred roundabout suggestion. We are in increasingly firm email correspondence with the Council and if the study data is not delivered (as they have promised) we will be launching a Freedom of Information action.
If the suggested junction does go ahead as the Council proposes, we are told that proposed traffic lights will be as a traditional 'T' junction, and that the lights will be computer controlled so as to read the traffic situation at any time and automatically change to allow traffic to flow as smoothly as possible.  We are constantly reminding them that this area is also covered by our Neighbourhood Plan which they have to take notice of.
Dual Carriageway
The new stretches of dual carriageway will take land from our Parish.  We are very aware that we need it not to impinge on our countryside and lives in any other ways, so we are insisting that some types of amelioration are vitally important
Barnard Gate Road and Roundabout
We launched a straw poll to gather views of our residents regarding the possible closure of this road and therefore not needing the access on to or off the A40. To date that survey is showing an 80% vote in favour of this proposal.  The Parish Council is universally in favour and, therefore, we intend to pursue this further.  We have already discovered that it would need the equivalent of a separate 'work number' and we, backed by Duncan Enright, County Councillor for Transport Strategy, are in the process of following this through and have already contacted the OCC officer in charge.  We will keep you updated.
Cycle Paths and Public Transport
Although the whole A40 scheme is supposed to improve access via cycling and public transport, the cycle paths planned for our part of the scheme seem to be both complex and not well thought through.  Dick Pears, on behalf of the Parish Council, is pulling together what we think might be a better solution which could allow our residents and people a better and safer access to Cogges and Witney.  Again, more news as things become clearer.
Any changes at Shores Green present an ideal opportunity to improve the siting of the bus stops there and, although nothing is under discussion at the moment, we will be forming a view and asking your opinion.
Traffic increase
OCC have now admitted that traffic through the village is likely to increase.  We have started to have outline conversations with them regarding what methods of traffic calming could be used.  Some villages (not in Oxfordshire) use average speed cameras - your Parish Council, led by Lysette Nicholls, feels that this would be an ideal solution as it would mean only one camera at the beginning of the village and another one at the other end. This would reduce ugly street furniture and maintaining our rural aspect.  It is expensive and we will have to fight hard but, in our opinion, it will be well worth a major effort!
I have tried to include as much detail as possible in this brief report without making it too long. I hope there is enough to show you that this development represents a major issue for South Leigh and High Cogges and that we are working hard on it on your behalf. Please do ask if you want more detail on all on any part of this process. Click the button below to go to the OCC's web page to track the application.

Nicky Brooks, Chair, South Leigh Parish Council, June 2021

Copy of email sent to Tom Shuttleworth, OCC A40 Programme Lead, on 19th May 2021

Dear Tom,

I am addressing this reply to you as the points refer to our discussion just after Easter. I'm afraid I have used the video conferencing name of Zoom whilst I know you use a different system - I hope you will excuse the generalisation. I have asked for the website contact details to be changed so your contact details are not shown and I have copied this correspondence to that address also. I'm afraid I missed the webinar yesterday - I got stuck on the M1! Is it possible to view it even though it's too late to take part?

Initial response of South Leigh Parish Council to the A40 Consultation with particular regard to Shores Green junction / dual carriageway extension / Barnard Gate roundabout

We accept as a Parish that there may be wider compelling reasons for the proposed A40 works for the benefit of the County and indeed our District, so this response is predicated on the current assumption that something is going to happen and therefore we write with regard to the concerns of the Parish alone.

Looking at these matters from the perspective of the Parish, we must begin by referring to our Neighbourhood Plan. As we are sure you are aware, we have a Made Plan which was passed by referendum with an overwhelming majority of 92% Our Made Plan contains many policies and aspirations relevant to this consultation.

Our reply is divided into the following constituent sections:

  • Shores Green
  • A40 dualling
  • Barnard Gate roundabout
  • Impact on traffic through the built areas of the Parish
Shores Green
Whilst easier access to and from the built areas of the Parish would be appreciated by our parishioners and the proposed scheme and is being actively considered by the parishioners via a series of meetings, we nonetheless have concerns under the following main headings:

  • Any increase in through traffic through the built areas
  • Any more light pollution
  • Any more noise pollution
  • Any increase in emissions pollution
  • Any increased risk of flooding
  • Any loss of biodiversity
We appreciate that all these matters are no doubt under consideration and in due course we would wish to see the County’s proposals for mitigation or to receive written assurances that there is no need for concern. Incidentally, all these matters are referred to within our Neighbourhood Plan

Parishioners have quite properly raised concerns about pedestrian and cycle access through the proposed Shores Green interchange and up Oxford Hill. Again our Neighbourhood Plan refers.

A40 dualling

The logic of the line of the proposed new roadway is understood but obviously the effect will be to bring the new carriageway closer to the major built areas of the Parish. Our concerns are similar to the concerns relating to the Shores Green interchange, though here we would like to propose for consideration a line of mounding or such like as a means of addressing noise pollution together with tree planting as a means of lessening the visual, sound and pollution impact. We would appreciate confirmation that the A40 will not be lit and we would hope that this will also apply to the new interchanges. We would also appreciate assurances about the type of tarmac and would request that a sound quietening type is used.

Barnard Gate roundabout

When the present A40 is blocked for whatever reason, the single track lane running from Barnard Gate past Green Farm becomes a rat run. With its blind corners, this road is particularly dangerous and the situation is made worse by the fact that this single track road is extremely popular with walkers, dog walkers and cyclists. In consequence, we would like to propose that the access from the single track lane to the A40 is closed. If for whatever reason that is impossible to achieve, then we would like to limit access to agricultural purposes through a locked gate.

We would also like to see your proposals on how pedestrians and cyclists would be able to cross the now dual carriageway A40.

Impact on traffic through the Built Areas

If our proposal regarding the Barnard Gate roundabout is not adopted, then we fear there will be a significant increase in cut-through traffic on the single track lane. This roundabout will be the first option to turn off the A40 after leaving Witney.

We are also very concerned about traffic along Chapel Lane and Station Road which are already used as a rat-run cut from Witney to Eynsham and the toll bridge on one side and Standlake and Abingdon on the other. We have at various times been told that 'improvements' to Shores Green would either lead to increased traffic through the built area or bizarrely to no increased traffic. Your current modelling apparently shows no significant increase whilst modelling done by WODC in 2016 (when there were less cars on the road) says the opposite. We would like to understand the differences and accordingly we would appreciate sight of the full, latest traffic modelling, traffic projections and the basis and assumptions that led to any conclusions as well as the reports from the traffic number monitoring device set at the exit of the village on the Stanton Harcourt Road, along with details of your point scheme that led to preferred options - details that led to the conclusion that lower costs were involved. We note that this information was promised to us at our Parish Council / OCC Zoom meeting just after Easter.

However, given that of course, even the most sophisticated modelling will not be infallible, we anticipate that further traffic-calming measures beyond the present 30mph limit (which only applies to part of the built area anyway) will be required. By way of mitigation we would like you to consider the installation of average speed cameras at Shores Green leading through to the junction of the Stanton Harcourt Road and the B4449. We believe that only average speed cameras would act as a sufficient deterrent to drivers speeding. Of course we understand that should the A40 be blocked for whatever reason, its highly likely that additional traffic volume will use these roads and we would like to see your proposals for traffic calming mitigation, again as alluded to in our Zoom meeting.

Whilst we dare say you are aware, we think it worth repeating now, that the village roads are not lit, there are few pavements with most pedestrians having to walk in the road. Whilst in some part of the roadways there is a clear vision line, the roads are nonetheless single track, more lanes than roads, and in particular the twists and turns and occasional 90 degree bends make these roadways extremely dangerous when there is a high volume of speeding traffic.

It is also worth mentioning that South Leigh is extremely popular with recreational cyclists where speeding cars pose a particular hazard when abruptly faced by a pack of cyclists.

This response is not complete because further promised information is still awaited from you and we reserve the right to make further and additional comments and representations.

Nicky Brooks, Chair, South Leigh Parish Council
01993 701137

OCC A40 Programme - public engagement

As per our recent updates we have a public engagement event commencing today on two of the A40 projects notably:

We welcome all Parish Councils' feedback on the proposals.

Alongside the engagement event we have also relaunched the A40 webpages where updates on the progress of the A40 Programme will be regularly posted as the schemes progress towards and through construction.

Tom Shuttleworth
A40 Programme Lead - A40 Programme

Major Infrastructure Capital Programme
Environment & Place Directorate

Oxfordshire County Council
County Hall, Oxford OX1 1DJ

OCC logo
Public Zoom meeting ~ Tuesday, 20th April at 7:30pm ~ To discuss the proposed Shores Green / A40 & Barnard Gate alterations

As statutory consultees your Parish Council (PC) has been given advanced warning of this proposal - see more details below.

We would like to consult with as many parishioners as possible on these early proposals from Oxfordshire County Council (OCC) to take an initial sounding of the reaction of the Parish and to begin the compilation of a schedule of requests for additional information and proposals for mitigation and improvement of the scheme.

Our intention is to submit our response to OCC as soon as convenient after the public meeting. However, you should be aware that thereafter there will be a general public consultation beginning in May and the projected date for the planning submission is not forecast until October 2021 with the anticipated planning decision not being made until April 2022. Obviously, up until the point that a final decision is made, it will be perfectly right and proper for your PC to make further and additional representations on any aspect of the scheme. Bear in mind especially that during the course of the consultation and submissions, further reports will be produced which will require additional consideration and scrutiny. Whilst the PC wishes to represent the views of the Parish, there is nothing it can do or say that will in any way limit the ability of any individual parishioner to make his or her own representations.

Whilst we hope that the views of the PC, never mind those of the parishioners, would be respected by the OCC, you will appreciate that the implementation of the scheme is a matter for the OCC and your PC has no control of the scheme whatsoever. That doesn’t mean, however, that we can't apply a suitable amount of pressure to have our voice heard.

Nicky Brooks     01993 701137 or    nickybrooks@southleigh.info

A40 corridor improvements and improving access to Witney (Shores Green)

These notes are from a meeting held with OCC on Wednesday, 31st March 2021 with regard to the above and reference is made to the presentation made by them and which is reproduced below.

Pages 2 & 3 show the whole scheme - the portion between Eynsham and Oxford - has been handled under a separate consultation which has now concluded.

Page 4 shows how the scheme includes the new housing development in Witney and the target to reduce the traffic in the air quality management area and is explained further by page 5.

Pages 5, 6 & 7 show how the different options have been assessed by the OCC - they are now undertaking Stage 2 - and then the assessment criteria they use.

We are aware of the options that OCC have been assessing and have asked for the details of how each one scored.

Page 8 shows the various options.

Page 9 shows the shortlisted options.

Pages 10 & 11 show the pros and cons of the shortlisted options against the criteria.

Page 12 shows OCC’s traffic modelling results - again we have asked for the figures.

Page 13 concerns, predictions & considerations.

Page 14 next steps / timetable.

Page 15 moves on to the extension of the dual carriageway from where it currently ends by Salutation Farm to the new Eynsham Park and Ride (just to the north-west of the existing Eynsham roundabout). You will see that this not only includes a new roundabout at the Barnard Gate Crossing but also re-routes the road from the A40 to the village through Green Farm to some extent.

Some land will be taken from the fields to the south of the current A40.

At the meeting held between the Parish Council and OCC, it was requested and agreed, that OCC would record the meeting and a copy would be available for us to publish. Unfortunately at the moment, they are expressing concern about data protection issues. We will be following this up and making sure that a transcript is made available - we need to have a record of both our questions and, more importantly, their answers.

You will see that they are suggesting traffic lights on the Shores Green junction. OCC say this is because the traffic flow comes from four directions but that most traffic is going onto the A40. OCC also say that their modelling shows the traffic will build up on the slip roads if there is a roundabout whilst traffic lights gives all traffic an equal chance.

Our focus, therefore, is to drill down into OCC’s studies so that we fully understand their models and know what we are dealing with.

The Barnard Gate junction is also of concern… if traffic builds up there in rush hour, people will just cut through the village from that point. On both junctions there is an issue of cycling and safe access points. There is a suggestion that a new cycle path to Witney from Shores Green be built into the plans to give access to both East Witney (Cogges) and Witney town centre via a path that is separate from Oxford Hill and removes the need to go up that hill.

A consideration may be that we ask for the Barnard Gate road through the village be closed off - possibly changed to cycle access only. Access to either direction on the A40 will be provided by the Shores Green junction and therefore possibly negates the need for access to the A40 along the Barnard Gate / Green Farm road.

Finally we are concerned with the order of works over the whole scheme. We want to ensure that they are done in a way that causes the least amount of traffic to cut through the village.

This is the beginning of the consultation. Your views are obviously important to us and I very much hope that you let us know what your initial feelings are. I imagine that we will be calling a public meeting in the near future. My suggestion is that we include it as part of the AGM which will be held in May.

Nicky Brooks     01993 701137 or    nickybrooks@southleigh.info

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An Oxford Mail story about Shores Green, published on 7th April, 2021, can be read here.

Oxford Mail logo

New consultation on 4-way junction at Shores Green, dualling of the A40 and new roundabout at Barnard Gate.

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