Wednesday, 30 September 2020

Village could introduce temporary one-way system

A TEMPORARY one-way system could be introduced in the centre of Goring to make social distancing easier.

The parish council has sought funding for a study into the proposal, which would remain in place until the threat of coronavirus has passed.

The pavements in High Street are narrow, particularly on the southern side near Mary S Interiors and Warminghams estate agents, so it is hard for pedestrians to pass each other at a safe distance.

By narrowing the road to a single lane, as is already the case at the pinch point nearby, it would be safer for people to step into the road.

Councillor David Brooker, who has long campaigned to improve Goring’s traffic problems, says businesses along that stretch support the idea.

The council has applied for a £2,700 grant towards the study from South Oxfordshire District Council, which is backing schemes that help increase footfall in communities emerging from the lockdown.

If the study recommends going ahead with the system, public consultation would still take place before it was implemented.

If it advises against the idea, the parish council will consider other options, such as new signage.

In 2015, the village considered a similar scheme in which drivers could only travel westwards along the central section of High Street.

Those heading east would have been diverted along Thames Road, Glebe Ride and Cleeve Road then emerged further along High Street. Nothing came of this idea.

Speaking at a virtual parish council meeting, Councillor John Wills said: “I’m totally opposed to directing traffic around those residential streets. It would be absolutely wrong when you see the size of some of the vehicles that come here.” Councillor Lawrie Reavill said the study would be a waste of money and suggested seeking residents’ views.

He added: “Perhaps we’re underestimating our friends’ and colleagues’ ability to make a reasoned decision.”

Cllr Brooker said he was disappointed to hear the idea being dismissed.

He said: “That virus is killing people and won’t put itself on hold while we set up a referendum. We need to be doing things right now and this proposal is only to establish whether it’s feasible.”

Council chairman Kevin Bulmer said: “It’s not a waste of money — it’s the opposite.

“We must be able to tell the village that what we’re proposing will work, otherwise everything will be based on gut reaction. Proper data is always useful.”

Meanwhile, a series of permanent improvements to the high street costing £60,000 is coming closer to fruition. The proposals include:

• Installing a shallow “speed cushion” to slow drivers as they pass the Davis Tate estate agents.

• Building up the kerb near the alleyway leading to the Wheel Orchard car park to stop motorists from mounting it, which poses a danger to pedestrians.

• Building out the pavement at the “Give Way” lines where the road narrows at The Arcade, which would force drivers to comply and not try to squeeze past oncoming vehicles.

The parish council has asked Oxfordshire County Council, the highways authority, to carry out a public consultation. It has also set aside £45,000 for the work, including £10,000 in statutory contributions from developers and £15,000 originally earmarked for the improvement of the pavilion at Sheepcot recreation ground, which has been put on hold.

The county council will provide £9,000 and it’s hoped that the district council can provide the rest.

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